We found the kook

Normally I wouldn’t call out a reader like this, but since it was posted by Anonymous, eh…

This comment was left on my last post Open letter to the Libertarians:

Libertarians aren’t seeking moral approval from armed robbers. You can hold whatever opinion you choose, but as soon as you point a gun at Americans to “draft” them into your war, or to pay “taxes” to support your war, then you belong in a prison with the Nazis. Who did the very same thing. Why didn’t the German Jews make their own guns and fight their own defensive war? As an educated, mechanically skilled, relatively well-off group numbering in the millions they were in a great position to fight. If they had simply disobeyed as a group nothing would have happened to them, just like when Americans disobeyed additional gun registration in Connecticut in 2014 and California in 2018 without consequence.

Libertarians aren’t seeking moral approval from people who don’t understand economics and will starve people as a consequence. After a hurricane, jacking up the price of water or other necessities which have become more scarce or harder to deliver is the only reliable way to get those necessities to people. If the price is mandated not to increase, then stuff will be sold out and there will be none available. This is not an improvement. The free market is the best mechanism to react quickly to supply damage from natural disasters, and further ration what is available. You can hold whatever opinion you choose, but as soon as you point a gun at Americans to “mandate” them not to change prices, then you belong in a prison with the Nazis. Who did the very same thing.

People who knowingly sell fake medicine belong in prison.

This right there is a kook and why Libertarianism is dead as a political entity.

If you believe in taxation, you are a Nazi.

I guess that includes our Founding Fathers.  Sure, we didn’t have a Federal income tax at the founding of this nation, but we did have taxes and a department of the treasury to oversee their collection.

Rational people can have discussions all day about taxation, what is too much, on what should they be spend, so on and so forth.

Personally I’m big on a flat tax.  Same rate for everybody regardless of how income is made, e.g., wages, salary, income on investment, etc.

There are things not mandated in our Constitution that we spent money on that I’m glad we did.  I’m a huge fan of NASA.  I love that we went to the moon and put a telescope in space for no other reason than science.  That also goes for some of the research done by the Department of Energy on high energy physics, like what is done at Stanford, Argonne, and Fermi National Labs.

We can discuss spending on welfare projects, subsidies to industries, no bid contracts, and all the wasteful spending we do.  That’s reasonable.

I value freedom, I can’t state that strongly enough.   But there is a tipping point at which freedom turns into anarchy and instead of America, you get Somalia.

Instead of the wealthiest and most stable nation on earth, you get one of the poorest and most chaotic.

The goverment spent money to electrify the interior of the United States.  The free market made it cost effective to electrify the major cities of the coasts.  After a certain point, it wasn’t worth it to the electric companies to run wires to rural America because power would be prohibitively expensive and rural Americans wound’t buy it.

In one of the few great progressive victories, our goverment realized it would be a bad idea for the coasts to be 20th century cities with electricity and telephones and middle of the country to be stuck in the 19th century without electricity or flush toilets.  That would cause national instability.  Money was spent to subsidize the power companies to electrify America’s farm land.

The byproduct of that was a green revolution, industrial development in Middle America, and middle class economic growth.

Or we could be like the third world nations of Africa where the rich in the cities have cellphones and the poor in rural areas are still poking in the ground with sticks to subsistence farm.

You do not achieve national stability when you have the first world and third world joined together as one nation.

I don’t think it makes me a Nazi because I’m glad the government paid to run power to the middle of Nebraska or put a man on the moon and taxed Americans to do it.

The achievement was worth the cost.

“Taxation is theft, and I will stand on that principle even if it means that society collapses all around me into socioeconomic anarchy.”

That’s why Libertarians can’t have nice things.

 

19 Replies to “We found the kook”

  1. Ever notice that people who study history are very reluctant to call someone a Nazi?

    Ever notice that they don’t much espouse libertarian principles?

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  2. Wait until they get their pot everywhere, but the government taxes it, and their heads explode.

    But thanks for pointing out the delusional example.
    Road signs are always helpful to conscientious drivers.

  3. Pick on them all you want but I would rather deal with the libertarians all day then spend 5 minutes with a leftest. The party will grow up when pot gets legalized and the potheads go back to voteing democrat. At that point a libertarian canidatewho focuses on goverment reform and anticorruption would have a real chance.

  4. Most of your points are sane and congruent with the relevant human experience. One is a bit off.

    It may be predatory/immoral to charge $100 for a flashlight battery after a hurricane, but it is NOT immoral to charge a premium over the going price prior to the hurricane. The premium price serves two functions: first, it insures that the available batteries will go to those who *really* need them, instead of all of them selling out to the first “just in case” buyers in line. Second, it insures the most rapid restocking possible, because some nut will notice that there’s money to be made in buying batteries out of the hurricane zone, transporting them to the hurricane zone, and selling them there. This effect will insure both the availability of batteries AND the return of the price toward pre-hurricane levels, as the supply/demand mismatch is oversome.

    Prices are a means of transmitting information. If the price change is suppressed through government action, the effects of the resultant misinformation are frequently worse than the “problem” of temporary higher prices.

    You’re an engineer. Reality, as you know, is NOT negotiable. Take a look at this:

    https://realityisnotoptional.com/2013/06/18/price-controls-cause-famines/

    and consider revising your opinion of the morality of price changes in severe conditions.

    YMMV….

    1. I agree with the free market when there is time to respond. I’ve also seen price gouging go into effect after a hurricane. I think there is a reasonable balance between to be had. Fixing prices at pre disaster levels doesn’t account for increased difficulty in getting resupply. Letting shop owners sell goods at 500% markup in a panic causes more panic. Limiting the market to small marginal price increases for a short period until near normal supply chains are back in place is a reasonable precaution against social problems.

      Or let me be blunt. After a hurricane, gasoline is a precious commodity for generators. It’s hard for people to stockpile it. What happens if the gas station owner jacks gas up to $25 per gallon? The righ guy fills his generator so he can run his AC and TV while the working class people can’t refil their chainsaws to clear away debris. It’s a bad misappropriation of resources.

      Look at California. Water there is scarce in places like LA. Water rationing occurs during droughts. The fine for going over your allotment is so much per gallon. What happens? The millionaires and celebrities have full swimming pools and green lawns because they can afford the fines while the working class people shower every other day and wear the same clothes three times before washing them. All this does is breed resentment as a resource is misappropriated by the wealthiest. I believe a fine for water over use should be proportional to income or property value. When a working making $1000 per pay check has to pay a $100 fine for going 100 gallons over then the celeb making $1 million per paycheck should pay $100,000 for the same 100 gallons.

      1. The resources don’t belong to you, they aren’t yours to redistribute. Didn’t your mother teach you that stealing was wrong? Envy is wrong, stealing is wrong, and wearing a fancy badge labeled “government” changes nothing.

        1. If you want so much radical individualism that social cohesion breaks down, that’s your opinion.

          What you should do is understand the cause of the October Revolution in Russia and why it did not manifest in the Unites States.

          I’ll give you a hint as to one of the reasons: Theodore Roosevelt.

          1. “Social cohesion” means the envious should be allowed to act on their envy, and steal from the rich. I agree envy is a fact of human behavior; I disagree that envy should be accommodated. The “looters will be shot” sign that goes up where a tornado touches down works just fine to defend against envy.

      2. The rich is a moot point. They don’t have a problem acquiring anything in any circumstances because resources (money) is not an issue. Keeping prices the same or higher is not going to stop a rich guy from buying 1000gallons of gas in a hurricane if he wants to. You concede as much yourself when you acknowledge rich peolpe pay the penalty to fill their pools.

        The only effective way is strict rationing or qty controls. That hits everyone equally. The rightness or goodness of that is another matter entirely.

        1. And under normal or close to normal circumstances, I don’t want the goverment involved. The the days immediately following a hurricane, I am fine with price fixing and rationing because it maintains social cohesion.

          Or let the rich buy all the gasoline and don’t allow the working class to have a drop. Give it a week and I guarantee some working class person will shoot a rich person for his gas so the working class person can run his generator to power the fridge he keeps his kid’s insulin in.

          If you want a 100% free market, move to Mogadishu. There are no goverment regulations. It’s not an economic paradise. I’ll take a 90% free market if the 10% buys me a peaceful society in which people are encouraged to play by the rules.

          There is a whole world between Kooky Libertarianism which is barely distinguishable from market anarchy, and centrally planned Communism.

          1. I don’t believe I disagreed with you in the least bit, I merely stated your method of control (price fixing) is inadequate….

            Again, the rightness, goodness, or morality of rationing is a discussion separate to and outside of its possible effectiveness.

  5. Thank you for addressing my comment!

    Your moral framing is simply wrong; you are simply assuming the moral correctness of majority vote with a circular argument. Monkey politics feels right to you because you genetically inherited that instinctual programming from the human species’ great ape ancestors. But just because it “feels right” doesn’t mean a system that evolved to handle 100 individuals in a group will behave reasonably with a group of 350 million. Chimpanzees can and do leave groups, and the small group size limits the power of the top monkey. However, after you double the group size log(350E6)/log(2) =~ 28 times, that software no longer works sanely. Note the track record of PRC, USSR, NSDAP.

    What’s going to happen is that one of the crypto-protected financial exchange systems will become popular, and make tax collection cost more than it collects. At that point organized crime won’t pay, and most of the crime by the relatively rational criminals will end. The logistical support allowing you to hire an army to do whatever to innocents will end.

    At that point most humans, who need monkey politics to keep their brain software counters in their normal ranges, will freak out. I don’t know if they will freak out for a week, month, two years, or the entire rest of their lives. But since they desire to own me as a chattel or debt slave, my sympathy is limited. Their freakout is really their problem, not mine.

    http://www.charleslindbergh.com/americanfirst/speech.asp

    The US Founding Lawyers were commies. What they actually did was become a brand-new aristocracy, by taking by conquest from Britain’s aristocracy the “royal property right” to “tax” the White debt slaves. This only worked because the Atlantic ocean was too expensive for British armies to operate across. General Washington quickly crushed the Whiskey Rebellion using the legal argument ‘taxation without representation is find if we do it’, so the Eastern Establishment’s war bonds would be paid.

    But there is a tipping point at which freedom turns into anarchy and instead of America, you get Somalia.

    Please cite the experimental results which support that conclusion; there must have been hundreds of famous ones for “government” to be so established a principle, right? The Hobbes book Leviathan cites no historical examples. The fear of too much liberty is nothing but a scare story, like Hell, Peak Oil, or Global Warming.

    @Ivan HTF Place, by what algorithm do you know what the price of a flashlight battery “should” be in a disaster zone, so that you know how much additional price is “predatory/immoral”? Maybe they need that battery to do emergency surgery at night. During 1920-1930 the Economic Calculation Debate proved that in the absence of prices, you can’t rationally plan at all.

    1. “What’s going to happen is that one of the crypto-protected financial exchange systems will become popular, and make tax collection cost more than it collects. At that point organized crime won’t pay, and most of the crime by the relatively rational criminals will end.” – Wow. That is a nugget. but not the metal kind.

      Maybe you should not call other people monkey-brained if you’re the one flinging poo around?

    2. The more I read this sort of stuff, the more I realize that Eric Hoffer was absolutely right.
      If there’s anyone out there who hasn’t read ‘The True Believer’, do yourself the favor.

    3. How will tax collection become more expensive? As things further computerize and automate it’s going become cheaper, less human involved, and basically automatic.

      If anything there will be a point not long from now where you won’t even need to/be allowed to file your own taxes, it will all be automatically done and all you will be able to do is file disputes. Everything is computerized now and this can be achieved with current computing power, all it will take is the legal mandate and money. Now imagine one more factor or generational increase in computing power and the literally unimaginable things that will be possible.

      1. How will tax collection become more expensive?

        The US government does gun control against cryptography because it recognizes cryptography has military utility. Cryptography makes it more costly in investigative work and codebreaking for governments to examine data.

        Your argument assumes taxpayers will follow the path of doing whatever the government tells them to do, using whatever government-controlled financial systems the government tells them to use. Your argument only works because of this assumption. The militarily critical factor is an obedience behavior which is physically distributed in brains, and under individual control. Government can only force 5% of population to do anything, there is no military means to force a large fraction to obey. For example, additional gun registration in Connecticut in 2014 and California in 2018 was disobeyed without consequence. Tax payment could be disobeyed, too.

        Consider what happens if middle class taxpayers and retirees, being pushed down a Trail of Tears by currency inflation and Obamacare, shift to doing more trade on the black market using a bunch of Silk Road type systems. If government can’t inspect the money flow due to cryptography, it can’t take a cut. If government sees reduced tax revenue, then it can’t pay as many employees. This snowballs. The track record of tax protests, such as this one in Chicago during the Great Depression, is that once ordinary middle class persons are seen to get away with it, participation grows.

        http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/1230.html

        Social Security is bankrupt due to demographics. The retirees are going to do something else to earn a living, and I predict that won’t involve paying more taxes.

        1. My assumption is that you will not have a choice of any other way to file your your taxes in the future and I think there are some compelling non gloom and doom reasons why this might not be bad. This is a separate argument from taxes themselves being good, bad, necessary, etc.

          What we are really talking about here sounds like two different things; filing taxes and the costs associated with various methods and moving to alternative currencies because of their competitive advantages.

          You might make the case of some overlap by arguing that any system that encourages disobedience adds cost to the system. I’d say that an automatic, free system that simplifies a complicated pain in the ass process for the vast majority of people will not be disobeyed. This will be further amplified as the last two generations die off, the people traditionally wary of or uncomfortable with and lacking knowledge of computers and digitization are replaced by people who have been enmeshed with computers almost all of or all of their lives. That is where any resistance to non digital and highly automated methods as practical methods will cease.

          IMO, alternative crypto currencies do not offer enough convenience yet for adaption by the average user except in extreme circumstances. We’ve seen large increases in the value of bitcoin due to financial instability in Greece, Italy, China, India, and Latin America, ie extreme circumstances. I do not believe we are currently close to any situation where this will happen.

          Again this is where younger generations will increasingly move from old systems to newer, they will be much greater users of and adopters of crypto currencies. However I think it is foolish to think that Uncle Sam will not be wise to what is going on and employ his essentially infinite resources to make sure he knows the flow of crypto in and out of your accounts. The government for example will basically have unlimited access to quantum computers long before the average person, and that level of computing makes traditional cryptography obsolete.

          I live in CT, so I am quite aware of what is going on here. I’d say consequences are simply delayed not non-existent. If you get caught for something else, that is when they are going to catch up to you and it has happened to a few people already.

          Again, comfort and convenience needs to degrade to a point where the average person who owns a home, has a family, a job, etc has more to loose by maintaining status quo than turning to disobedience. When that happens, then yea it is people embracing black markets, ducking taxes, withdrawal limits, austerity, etc. Barring some catastrophe or the government finally spending itself into bankruptcy, people still have too much to loose and I suspect it will be that way for the foreseeable future.

          1. comfort and convenience needs to degrade to a point where the average person who owns a home, has a family, a job, etc has more to loose by maintaining status quo than turning to disobedience.

            I agree. Denninger believes cost growth of Medicare will cause that situation by the end of Trump’s first term. Retirees have this idea they each deserve a $250K payout for medical expenses in the last year of life, plus they should get to keep their home. The math for this does not work. In his testimony to the Senate, Laurence Kotlikoff calculated the US federal government would need an additional $210 trillion to make good on all of its promises like Social Security and Medicare.

            https://www.kotlikoff.net/sites/default/files/Kotlikoffbudgetcom2-25-2015.pdf

            The physical meaning of this $2T number is about 3 times total yearly human production. I predict that in an attempt to pretend it’s not bankrupt, the federal government will hyperinflate the dollar. Previous countries which were believed to have the most sound currency, called “reserve currency status”, were Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, France, and Britain. Each lost that status after about 100 years, after social service overpromises and losing a war. The US is right on time at 100-mumble years.

            However I think it is foolish to think that Uncle Sam will not be wise to what is going on and employ his essentially infinite resources to make sure he knows the flow of crypto in and out of your accounts.

            Uncle Sam does not have essentially infinite resources; what Uncle Sam has is resources to mess with no more than 5% of the population. Any 5% can be scapegoated and put in prisons or camps. Any larger fraction is untouchable. I think it enormously important to note that while Russians, Germans, etc. registered and turned in their guns when commanded, Americans did not. That, plus the disruptive appearance of crypto mechanisms, is why I think the American national bankruptcy will go differently than the previous five. Military capabilities come first, and moral platitudes adjust later to match.

            I’d say that an automatic, free system that simplifies a complicated pain in the ass process for the vast majority of people will not be disobeyed.

            Reform one of the main mechanisms, the tax code, by which one group parasitizes another? Simplify and make it uniform? Not going to happen. If congress wanted to just send you a bill, they could have done that in 1970.

            1. I believe you are pretty much spot on with the money. To me, money as it is today, it is the biggest ponzi scheme man has ever seen, and we will suffer some horrendous inflation if things are not taken care of in a more circumspect manner.

              I disagree, Uncle Sam has resources above and beyond either of our knowledge or true comprehension. He may have the resources to take on 5% of the population at once, but at an individual or group level he can take on anyone. Just look at court cases, the gov will spend millions pursuing terrible cases because money exists in abstract when you can essentially will it into existence whenever it is needed. Look at the investigative power and authority of the various agencies, you can be under surveillance by multiple agencies at any given point, totally unaware and essentially indefinitely. Hell, tons of it is happening now as we speak as passive surveillance just capturing all out 1s and 0s we throw out there for review at a later convienence. Plainly the man power and money the gov can deploy to make a singular individual’s life very uncomfortable is incredible.

              I don’t mean the tax code itself would simplify, because that would make sense, shrink gov, and make things easier in a meaningful structural way. Requiring digitization and automatic entry and sharing of records and transactions that even tangentially touch a tax id (SSN etc) to make it harder for people to cheat seems very likely.

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