I get tagged with it all the time: "Libertarian." And word has it, my real age is somewhere between 5 and 16 (if you read the latest psychodouche on the Intertubes).
It just so happens, that range of time period roughly coincides with my own youthful formation, here. That's a link to an interactive Google map of where this blogger got his first taste at a real human life. Here's a screen clip. (You can click for the full size, or go to the link and get a bigger view altogether. That's a current pic. Back then—60s and 70s—it was far less developed, -80% so. Far more open fields, many with horses in them.)
I grew up in the place at the very lower left corner (4040 Goodsell Ln, Reno, NV, built by my parents on land given them by my grandfather as a wedding present in around 1960), and it didn't have the garage behind it. The place next to it, right on the river is new. In the 60s and 70s when I lived there, it was a modest house on the river (a quintessential river house) my grandfather built himself, with a small workshop behind it: where he and one, sometimes two, employees hand painted all the signs for all the casinos in Reno at the time (as well as on the doors of their cars & trucks, and sides of buildings). He was an artist at heart.
..."Grandpa, draw me a horse"....or this and that, and he would. He could also draw—perhaps even with more ease and enthusiasm—a hotly decked out casino showfloor-performer. ...He had a lot of his drawings of women in his shop, here and there. As a young boy, I was expert at finding them and looking at them all, when no one was watching me. I spent a lot of time there, as it was hugely educational on many levels.
He was a flirt, flatterer, or "asshole"—whenever whichever one seemed to suit him best at the time, and which was never when he was fishing—his first love. And perhaps, that's what I learned the best from him. Some measure, but only some.
But anyway, that whole greenbelt you see between the river and highway, all the way from those houses to just above the top end of the photo, was my grandfather's property. That's where I spent my early life—barefoot, bareback, and in cutoff jeans in the summer. I had "scary" experiences with girls my parents and grandparents never had a hint of. In looking at the picture, put a 4-5ft human kid in that open space. It was enormous, to me. ...And after that, we moved to a place north of Reno with a 5,000 sq ft garden; and chickens, goats and rabbits. I was the chief executioner, at about 15.
None of it was the african savannah.
Rather, it was my own real slice of life that I loved, and that I cherish to this day. I didn't grow up in an urban or suburban environment—being indoctrinated daily in how to be a better and better thief and manipulator of "the system." Many others did, it seems, now wringing hands over how to justify the propriety of their formation. In fact, what they got was a sterile, burgeoning corporatist environment: a gov-corp alliance. And I did not, so much. I didn't...so lump it. I'm not responsible for that...but they are—those who still want to be thieves or live off thievery.
And I'll have none of it, ever, and I introduce the foregoing into evidence as to why. But one more thing, first. All those roads you see were privately owned. They (gravel roads initially) were built by the people who came first, and then maintained by my grandfather and his brother—and a few helpful property owners in the area—who got it all paved in the early 70's when my grandfather and the aforementioned interested parties wrote checks to a contractor who did the work. Yes, in case you didn't know, private citizens can actually build and maintain roadz!!! There's another cool aspect to private roads, too. You can drive on them without a state license, or interference from feral pigs of city and state. I did, from about the age of 8 or 9 on my dad's Honda 50 scooter...later my grandfather's Honda 90...and even later, cars and trucks and stuff. I'd driven thousands of miles long before I was ordained by the State of Nevada to "learn to drive" at 15.
...And thieves (people) wonder why I fart in their general direction. I do not need them...those not in my tight circle. They have nothing to offer me beyond being just another bunch of thieves, like everybody else who claims the mantle of "adult maturity."
I'm not much of a "libertarian" for three reasons off the top of my head:
Let me use a word many readers are more likely to recognize and identify with: efficiency. I'll quote a recent blog comment from Martin Kilpatrick.
Nikoley you bell-end, how about the next time you decide to start spouting off about "collectivism" and "socialism" (i.e. giving a shit about other people other than your own selfish ass), why don't you check your facts you moron. Progressive socialized health care is not only more effective than your "personal responsibility" Yankee Doodle dog-eat-dog bullshit, but it actuallys SAVES your precious tax-payers money. [...]
And by the way Nikoley, give the flag waving a rest mate. Freedom? You don't even know the meaning of the word.
Real freedom is waking up every day without having to worry about whether you have enough money to pay for treatment if you get hit by a bus or struck by lightning. Freedom is having peace of mind. Now if you can't handle freedom, if you don't wake up every day loving the sweet smell of freedom, then why don't you fuck back off to Russia and shove a turnip up your ass!
Now, everyone always gets to judge for themselves, but I basically see a guy who doesn't really want to deal with a real, honest-to-god human life. Judge that for yourself. One of my longtime readers and friend, Bill, well answered the latter part of Martin's queef.
Fascinating, Martin. So for some reason you think people are out there "having to worry..." And what weird things to worry about.
I don't wake up worried over anything. Why would you? And I certainly don't wake up thinking "OMG, what if I get hit by a bus today!?!" Not high on my list of concerns.
Do you actually wake up worrying about these things? If so, I suggest a good counselor will do much more for you than socialized medicine.
When I was broke, unemployed, in debt, with the landlord calling the night before to tell me I was being evicted, I didn't wake up worrying. Maybe that's why all of those things are not the case today.
A simple question. They have a dispute over freedom. Who's more free?...And isn't it essentially New-Speak; Orwellian, on some level? "Freedom," now, is what's most efficient, most comfortable, and not having to "worry"? Really? Or, are things only more comfortable, efficient, carefree...because society is organized in such a way that the intellectually and connivingly cleverest get the spoils: and we now call what might better be called unearned privilege, "Freedom"?
Another utilitarian/libertarian bugaboo is the notion of efficient laws. One of the greatest examples of pure efficiency in lawfulness, to me, is the history of the Wannsee Conference, dramatized in the excellent film, Conspiracy. My take: 'Hitler is messy, unstable. Let's clean up after him and make the Jewish extermination efficient. More importantly: let's make it legal.'
Go check it out for all the calls for efficiency and obeisance to law in the commission of atrocities. Do it, because you really need to stop using those words (efficiency, law) as though they mean something beyond the importance of a hammer. That is: hammers are important. They're amoral. Just a tool. They don't come with automatic morality so's that you don't have to think and be very circumspect in their use.
The extermination of the Jews was both efficient and legal. All those who participated were efficient little minions of state authority, in full obedience of law. That's a simple real-inconvenient truth, whether you like it or not. So why did anyone complain? Youz guizes are always telling me what a child I am because I complain about such stuff—obviously lacking your breadth of adult nuance—so what's up? Tell me, please, because I'm apparently wallowing in my childish fantasies, here, and can't see forests for trees.
...Just as I'm often criticized for being too principled, or, hanging onto "first principles." It really makes me laugh a bit because principles, by nature, are a hierarchy of philosophical logic (good, bad, evil). The weird logic, to me, is that you can apparently hold some principles—just not their foundation—the "first ones," from which others are logically derived—and somehow be more effective and efficient than simply going The Full Monte.
I opine that the reason for not being principled lies in the desire to be seen as effective and efficient™. Oh, and caring and compassionate™. For example, who wants to say that maybe more people will suffer and die, but we ought to dump this and that anyway because it's just not right? Who wants to say that you might not be able to travel effortlessly on interstate highways, but we ought not steal from people to build them? Who wants to say say that they don't care that tax money goes to more "efficient" uses—to "create jobs" or "care" for people and such—but that you just don't steal to do anything, even save lives?
Libertarians have been an endless frustration to me precisely for what I'm criticized for the most: I don't care about "efficiency"...or "utility"—makes my hackles go up every time. It's not, and never will be my job to show anyone how they can have just as good of a deal if you take institutionalized, systemic theft, force and coercion out of the equation. My guess is that it will be better for some, worse for others—and human beings will get to be closer to being the human beings I thought I might be fortunate enough to be a part of when I was frolicking in the greenbelt and swimming in the river all summer long. ...Yea, childish.
I know. I'm such a child. I think it's bad to steal from people. So childish. See, way back when—maybe now still—we taught children not to take by force, and to at least try to be a bit charitable in their toy dealing with other children (share and the like). Little did I know that what we really meant was that you have to be systemic. That's sophistication, see. "You can't steal yet. You're not an adult and you don't yet know how to call it something else, much less pretend that stealing is helping." Once you achieve "adult" enlightenment, you get to steal far, far more from people...but it'll be sophisticated, adult style-stealing. Bonus: you'll get to call people who really don't like to steal, children.
We teach our children to not take toys. And to share them. We turn around and teach them how to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, cilvil workers on gold-standard pensions for life: to steal far more efficiently, effectively. We wrap it all up in a bow: it's better for everyone. That's how we work it out.
...John Durant, a blogger friend of mine, just let off a whole huge whiff of smelly, obnoxious steam on Twitter about the Obamanation of Obamacare (beginning 7/6/12), which is a bit part of the impetus for this post. You might want to check out his bits & pieces on that. I do like his take on it: reverse sexism. He's right. Check it out.
...And nobody should vote. Not men, nor women either. Nobody. Spooner saw this whole thing coming in 1877.
Women are human beings, and consequently have all the natural rights that any human beings can have. They have just as good a right to make laws as men have, and no better; AND THAT IS JUST NO RIGHT AT ALL. No human being, nor any number of human beings, have any right to make laws, and compel other human beings to obey them. To say that they have is to say that they are the masters and owners of those of whom they require such obedience.
The only law that any human being can rightfully be compelled to obey is simply the law of justice. And justice is not a thing that is made, or that can be unmade, or altered, by any human authority. It is a natural principle, inhering in the very nature of man and of things. It is that natural principle which determines what is mine and what is thine, what is one man’s right or property and what is another man’s right or property. It is, so to speak, the line that Nature has drawn between one man’s rights of person and property and another man’s rights of person and property.
This natural principle, which we will call justice, and which assigns to each and every human being, is, I repeat, not a thing that has made, but is a matter of science to be learned, like mathematics, or chemistry, or geology. And all the laws, so called, that men have ever made, either to create, define, or control the rights of individuals, were intrinsically just as absurd and ridiculous as would be laws to create, define, or control mathematics, or chemistry, or geology.
Again: principles matter.
"Richard, you're bullshit. Offer us a better system."
"System" is the quintessential euphemism.
Here, I can help: "Richard, you're bullshit. Offer us a better way that involves stealing less, but more efficiently."
That's basically what it boils down to. You see, when everyone who exists is basically a thief—one way or another—including myself (I didn't want to be, back in that idyllic childhood fantasy of mine)—that's what you get when you admonish people to stop their thieving ways: well, what are we going to do then?
And I delight in being a huge disappointment, because unlike all the Libertarian "think tanks," I have zero prescriptions for you. I'm sincerely sorry. I simply cannot show you how your life will be better if nobody is stealing for you institutionally, with corporations and government in bed with one-another—each pining for the other to to be a bit bigger and better in bed next time. ...I just don't know. How can I top that you get to go to a voting booth and a whole multi trillion dollar-corp-state-enterprise steals on your behalf? See, I can't, nor can anybody compete with your perception of the wonderful bounty it represents for you, and you'll never believe it's bullshit until your face is in the dirt, where perhaps we all rightly belong.
I suppose Paleo has effected me in this way because I prefer to be mildly proscriptive.
- Paleo: Kurt Harris-esque; avoid grains, sugar, vegetable/seed oils.
- Society: Avoid force, theft, coercion. Stop trying to live off it.
Other euphemisms abound, but you get the idea.
Again: it's not a "system." It's institutionalized theft.
This is basically related to the prior two points, but I thought I ought to have Three Reasons, so this serves as the wrap up.
While I suppose one could draw a valid distinction between libertarian philosophy and practical politics, and that I do still see value in the philosophical side, I just see nothing on the practical politics side that isn't essentially collectivist. So its claim to fame, I guess, is that it's less collectivist than what the DemoRebublicrats want.
It's still wholly collectivist, only: taxes should be lower, laws fewer, government smaller and oh yea...everybody should be able to smoke dope. And how does one go about accomplishing any of these goals? Voting. Yep, in some fantasy world somewhere in the universe, there may be a place where even though people could vote themselves the largess the politicians promise they'll take from others to give them, they don't.
But that's never happening on this world.
You will never, ever collectively vote your way out of collectivism. Everyone is always going to clamor to live at the expense of everyone else—there's your Tragedy of the Commons, right big & ugly up there in your face. Voting grows government. It always has and always will as a prime raison d'être; governments get bigger and bigger, budgets bigger and bigger, deficits bigger and bigger...and the whole despicable cannibal pot in general: bigger and bigger, so that more and more can be tossed in, so that more and more can feast on the values produced and stolen from others.
I'm for markets, or "free markets," to use what I consider a redundancy. Unfortunately, we have precious little of that around here. Basically, you've got Craig's List, eBay, garage sales, and private barter that largely constitute our only truly free markets. Everything else is so constrained by onerous regulation throughout the entire supply chain that nobody has any idea of what the value of something at the retail level really ought to reasonably be, because the costs of all that government intervention—from raw material acquisition, manufacturing, distributions, to product on the shelf—is baked into the cake.
Consequently, I'm not much of a "capitalist," either. Markets is really the only term I need to describe the way real humans ought to deal with one another as traders of values. The term capitalism is now so mired in corporatism—itself a creation of the state that shields owners and capitalists from personal liability for their directive actions—that I hardly know what to think of it, anymore.
I'm for businesses run as classic proprietorships or partnerships, where personal liability exists as a logical principle for doing business. And I'm for individuals and businesses dealing with one another as traders of values in markets. I don't need libertarian woo, i.e., state sanctioned and protected corporatism and capitalism, so-called "free markets" that have been "privatized" (a government contract with a state-protected corporation), or any of their other less-collectivist machinations.
I'm not interested in stealing less, regulating less, or any of the other unprincipled libertarian gibberish.
I'm interested in opposing theft and force unconditionally, at all times, with no exceptions ever and thus, I'm just not much of a libertarian.