Doug Carkuff

I have always taken it as a good thing that libertarians are detested by both the left and the right. To me it is proof positive that we libertarians are in the right. After all, both the left and the right are fundamentally the same — authoritarian statists who wish to use the force of government to make society in their own images and to compel others to live in ways that they approve of. And let’s be honest, both the left and the right do truly hate us and whatever we may ostensibly have in common with either — say free markets with the right and human rights with the left (of course neither really supports either except in qualified and conditional ways) — what they find detestable about us involves fundamental differences which can never be overcome as long as they remain “left” and “right,” as long as they remain wedded to that dialectic.

I’ll be honest, at this point in my life I find political philosophy to be tiresome or maybe I have just become tired and lazy. Beyond considering the merits of minarchism versus anarchism I don’t like to go much into any of it anymore. Debates about the implications of the privatization of this particular thing versus government control of that seem to me pointless. From my perspective, if you believe you own your own life, if you believe in liberty, there is nothing to debate. You are never going to convince anyone who doesn’t believe in or understand liberty in a meaningful way to come over to your side. At best, the arguments will all be utilitarian in nature and both sides are going to make counter arguments which are often essentially meaningless — what if this scenario occurred or what would happen in that particular circumstance.

Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy watching YouTubes of my libertarian heroes — most associated with Lew’s site and Mises and way too many to mention. And, of course, the great Dr. Paul — but when I see a libertarian debate a statist of whatever stripe the futility of it is tiring. It is as though they are talking different languages. It is particularly trying when I see what we often refer to as a “beltway libertarian” (think Cato, Reason) debating a main stream “progressive” or a main stream “conservative.” The feeling I get is that they are pretending at disagreeing, both of them really committed to never changing anything fundamentally.

The bottom line is that I have been troubled by the inability of libertarians in general to make any substantial inroads into the minds and hearts and thinking of most Americans, which is fairly ironic when you consider that the values on which this country was founded and the values continually espoused when speaking reverently about this country are distinctly libertarian values. Funny how they sound so foreign and unfathomable (and dangerous), except in the abstract, to so many devoted Americans. It’s fine to talk about dedication to liberty, but it’s something else altogether to actually consider living by the principles of liberty. It strikes me that whenever libertarians and those who are suspicious of libertarians talk they invariably talk past each other. It strikes me that our approach as libertarians has been off the mark. We are never going to win by talking principles and philosophy. The only way we are going to reach those who cannot hear us now is to show them what they are missing and what they are losing by being afraid to seriously consider liberty and the kind of world they could inhabit by embracing the principles of liberty.

Also invariably critics on the left accuse libertarians of being “selfish” and “greedy” and being for rich people and against ordinary people. This charge is so far off the mark and beside the point it is almost impossible to respond to. It’s like accusing a computer of being short. It has nothing to do with what a computer is. But we get stuck in those kinds of arguments. For me, the best or at least most effective argument for libertarianism is that it is the one approach to governance that has the greatest hope of producing a humane society. The problem is to find a way to explain to people why that is so. “Progressives” like to consider themselves humane and singular in their concern for their fellow man. I don’t doubt the good intentions of those who consider themselves progressive (although, given the history of mankind you would have be somewhat dim to believe collectivism of any sort can lead to anything except misery and misery primarily for the most vulnerable and unconnected), but they seem not to be able to see the implications and unintended consequences of their philosophy.

Moreover, they tend to be primarily concerned with how they feel about their supposed altruism rather than the actual consequences of their initiatives. There are multitudes of examples of the way good intentions and supposedly progressive legislation has led to the suffering of those it is intended to help. This current recession/depression is a typical example, due in large part to the “ownership society” initiative which was intended to put anybody who wanted into a home of their own. It sounded good, but where are so many of those people now? How many of those people who could not pay their mortgages with their teaser rates are now on the street and have nothing?

This new healthcare plan will almost certainly lead to the same sort of thing. How many small businesses will go under or not be started at all and how many other businesses will cut back, all of which leading to job losses for those who need jobs the most? Again, the most vulnerable will end up suffering for the good intentions of those who think they know best how to arrange society. And then there is the current hysteria over global warming — sorry, climate change. How many of those who can least afford it will suffer the consequences of programs like cap and trade or carbon taxes? The list is really endless.

For many progressives it all seems to be about how they feel about themselves and the sense of self-righteousness that their “generosity” affords them. Of course, self-righteousness is hardly the domain of the left. Having lived through the reign of terror of the “religious right” and their devotion to their belief that they are God’s true representatives on earth, well, it was scary stuff. The left thinks they are on the side of the angels and the right thinks God is on their side. Libertarians don’t presume that they can divine the intentions of the almighty beyond the fundamental belief that we are all created equal and are endowed by our creator (whatever “creator” means to you) with certain inalienable rights.

The central libertarian principle is the principle of nonaggression. Taken to its logical conclusions it pretty much covers everything that is the cause of so much consternation in the life of our society. You would think that no one could possibly have a problem with this principle, but many people do. In order for the nonaggression principle to mean anything you have to believe you own yourself and, by extension, that you own the fruits of your endeavors. For any statist/collectivist self-ownership is conditional. In other words, you only own yourself to the extent society says you own yourself which is really the same as saying you don’t own yourself at all. You can make the decisions about your life that society/the state says you can make. Ultimately and inescapably, in the statist’s view, society/the state owns everything and anything you own, including yourself — you only own conditionally.

If you follow that logic then society cannot aggress against you since they own you. They cannot aggress against your property, since it is really society’s property. It is amazing to me how many are comfortable with this perspective on things. Without self-ownership the nonaggression principle means nothing. It may be that people don’t generally recognize how they are owned by society/the state and unless they are personally and painfully inconvenienced by their lifetime indenturement or their serfdom. Until it is your property being appropriated by the state by eminent domain and until it is you who is prevented from finding relief from your illness by laws dictating what substances you may or may not ingest into your own body you can continue to pretend to yourself that you are sovereign over your own existence. You can argue until you are blue in the face that conscription and income tax are both forms of slavery and are unjust in their conception, but until people feel it in their gut, they won’t get it. It’s just the price we pay for being “free.”

If you ask virtually any American if they are free the vast majority will tell you yes, this in spite of the multitude of ways we are not free. Most Germans thought they were free under Hitler. You are free only to the extent the government and society does not want anything from you beyond what you are already willing and ready to give and if you were to decide you were not willing and ready to give those things you already do, you would quickly see how free you are not. My argument and the argument of most libertarians is that personal, individual liberty over all aspects of our lives is the only way to achieve all the legitimate, defensible desires of both the right and the left. It is the rational hope for ever having a humane society with liberty and justice for all and the only way for both the right and the left to ever get the things they claim matter to them is to risk embracing liberty in all aspects of life.

This is what we are not communicating to those who oppose us. What they don’t see is that we want all of the things that they legitimately want, but we actually have a way to achieve it. If you want social justice, it is only liberty that can give it to you. If you want prosperity and opportunity and sustainability, if you want equality (in a legitimate sense), if you want peace and commerce and goodwill between men, liberty is the best hope for achieving those things. Libertarians are also often accused of being utopian and that for real liberty to work we must all be men of goodwill and compassion. This is exactly wrong. It is those who think they can fashion society to fit some ideal they imagine who are utopian. Libertarianism is the only political philosophy which actually takes into account the fallibility and corruptibility of man by recognizing that the last thing we should do is give men power over the lives of other men. If man cannot be trusted to govern their own lives as the left and right believe, then how can they possibly be entrusted with the power to govern the lives of others? They like to believe that the best and the brightest will gravitate toward positions of authority over others. Talk about utopian. The message we need to get across that we have not is that it is liberty with all its implications — for each of us individually, for commerce and enterprise and for everything else — that is the best hope for the kinds of society both the left and right dream of. A society where all men can live in peace and prosper and pursue happiness and find social justice and equal opportunity and learn to love his fellow man. There is a reason why that ubiquitous Ron Paul Revolution sign had the word love highlighted in it. If you really love your fellow man set him free to chart his own course and to follow his own dreams instead of some dream the collective has dreamed for him. Set people free to be everything they can be and the human race can achieve things we can now only dream of.

Doug Carkuff

January 4, 2010

Doug Carkuff
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  • http://n/a James the Wanderer

    I agree with Mr. Carkuff that libertarians are poor at arguing statists into agreement with libertarian principles. This is similar to why persuasion converted no Inquisitionists to atheism; statists tend towards blind faith in the ability of the state to accomplish anything, even in the face of conflicting evidence. “We just didn’t practice socialism in a pure enough, dedicated enough form,” the Soviet apologists would insist. “Greater determination and enthusiasm for the socialist cause will prevail!” We have the same here; only the flavors are (slightly) different.
    I suggest that the only way to convince statists that libertarian principles are superior is to, well, succeed. After the next currency collapse and the ensuing public disorder, perhaps enough libertarians will survive and prosper to re-create at least one state (New Hampshire?) in the libertarian mold. It’s subsequent success will inspire copycats, until at last one might hope for a nifty Fifty of libertarian accomplishments. I do not at all suggest that this will be easy – only absolutely, positively necessary, to keep the lights on and the ongoing process of civilization advancing for our children. Otherwise, darkness awaits – and darkness is truly, positively patient, like the entropy it tends to resemble. We too must be as patient as the darkness, shining our little lights until its retreat is certain and accomplished.

  • Linda Brady Traynham

    Dear Mr. Carcuff:

    I appreciated your great article, and thanks for helping me see that I guess I’m not a Libertarian! You lost me with the Utopian aspects. I don’t believe that any society not composed of rugged individualists who “kill their own snakes” (which means solving their own problems) can ever survive and thrive. That is what made America the greatest country since time began, and when it got into politics-driven socialism it started to die.

    If I were forced to describe myself in one phrase it would be “laissez faire.” You leave me alone, I’ll leave you alone, nobody owes anyone else anything by “right” of their mere existence, and contracts WILL be kept. We cooperate when it is to our mutual advantage, but other than that no one should expect me to be a slave or moderate my behavior in any ways that are not actively, demonstrably harmful, such as shooting out your tires unless you are fleeing after a robbery.

    If anyone wants a stereotype, a great John Wayne cowboy movie role will do fine. Louis L’Amour’s Tell Sackett, although I’m actually more partial to Nolan. Smile..Nolan and Logan are my kind of guys, like gunnys, smadges, and COBs. We do what is right, stand on our own two feet, and don’t whine about the consequences of failure to think and work because we fulfill our obligations and do the work that must be done because it is there. We can’t help ourselves; we’re the kind who glance automatically at the dog’s water bowl EVERY time we go past it. We have the greatest contempt for those who neglect animals or obligations.

    Do I think government has ANY legitimate purposes? Sure. Defending our borders, although I think that the right sort of citizenry could do even that better, although coming up with Black Hawks, 155 mm howitzers, and bunker busters is a little difficult at present.. I”m sitting here considering it very carefully, and I’m not even sure I’m in favor of police departments–which the Supreme Court pronounced recently are NOT responsible for defending any particular citizen at any given time. I KNOW I’m against “public” education (an expensive farce that does not educate our children but spends a lot of time brainwashing them.) UPS and FedEx deliver mail faster, cheaper, and more reliably. Courts? There is a much simpler solution, available in our Texas Constitution. A jury is half a dozen or more of the nearest citizens and a judge. No lawyers allowed. The decision of the jury is final. The judge is there to explain what the law is.

    Roads? I’m in favor of toll roads myself; if there is a demand, someone will build them and flourish off the fees. Regulating everything that moves? Certainly not. The public is quite capable of doing that through not dealing with the unscrupulous and incompetent. Prisons? Why? Execute those who are found guilty of murder, rape, and torture, outsource those guilty of lesser offenses to Mexican prisons–an experience that would give felons a very strong inclination to go and sin no more and not cost the price of a Harvard education, and instead of “three strikes and you’re out,” what about trying ONE strike and you lose your citizenship? Do we NEED any burglers, rapists, “illegal aliens,” con artists, or drunk drivers? Of course not. All of those things are voluntary acts. We simply have not made the penalties severe enough to deter them. A “war” on drugs? Why? Besides the fact that wars on abstractions always fail. The ONLY way to stop behavior of that sort is to execute everyone found guilty of it, and that does seem a trifle excessive. I don’t care if other people choose to fry their irreplaceable brains. I don’t do it. I don’t see why I should be robbed to incarcerate them, “counsel” them, or prevent them from doing what they are hell-bent to do. If they cause property damage, they should be required to make full restitution. It is insane to demand that those who do not risk damage to their priceless minds should pay the medical bills of those who do–or anyone else, for that matter. I am very tired of being treated like a slave and cash cow. Y’all name me Empress of the Universe and we’ll sort this mess out very quickly. I have a few basic rules: “He’s right, you’re wrong, make it good.” “Take that troublemaker out and shoot him.” This is known as “pour encourger les autres.” Not to behave in such ways. “This is the correct course of action; do it that way or get out of the Empire.” You think Ron Paul is tough?! Try dealing with the Princess of Partially Parallel and Only Slightly Skewed Universes. Life really IS extremely simple when every citizen is held accountable for his own behavior an no man is robbed to support another–which is what the founding fathers thought they had ensured.. Don’t bother to whine about the few who are genuinely feebleminded or disabled; that’s what families, churches, and organizations devoted to charitable “good” works are for. Anyone who hasn’t managed to win the allegiance of one of those isn’t worth saving, and I really don’t care what happens to them.

    Do I hear a gasp of, “My God, you’re a barbarian and a heartless monster and probably have the soul of a Robber Baron?!” What a lovely compliment, thank you. I try. I advocated recently cutting our losses and encouraging our successes where our CHILDREN are concerned. Devote your time, funds, and energy to those who excel, follow the rules you taught them, and develop their characters and drive to succeed. Treat the others like what they are: human Cocker Spaniels. Take care of their physical needs and pat them on their heads occasionally when they do something cute, but don’t waste your time or emotions trying to change them, and certainly do not use family resources that should be devoted to those who will benefit from them. Toss the losers out at eighteen and let them figure out how to survive in their Gamma and Delta worlds. Mama is only interested in Alpha Primes, which we considere “normal” in our family. I have two splendid, highly successful “children” I am inordinarely proud of. Andrew is summa cum laude, MBA, working on a CPA, and I expect him to be at least Assistant Comptroller for his corporation this year. He is 26. They’re high on him (and headhunted him) and he has “future CFO and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champanion” written all over him. I could dispense with the martial arts, maybe, but he is also a concert caliber pianist and a great credit as the Head of our Clan. My gorgeous daughter, 34, is a senior mortgage banker with an equally successful husband, and they will do splendidly under any condition short of dictatorship. I virtually never admit to my first born, who was 49 on Pearl Harbor Day, and has NEVER held a single respectable job with any sort of future despite having a college degree and high intelligence. She has spent her entire life supported by her doting grandmother (who did NOTHING for her other four grandchildren), being told smarmily, “I will always love you no matter what you do.” That is an irresistible challenge: “I got arrested for drunk driving. Do you still love me?” “I got arrested for fomenting a riot on a public beach and urinating in public. Do you still love me?” “I am in jail because I forged a prescription for controlled substances. Do you still love me?” “I shaved half my head and had a snake tattoed on it, and died what was left crimson. Do you still love me?” No matter what it was batty Grandma did. The rest of us wouldn’t lift a finger for the family disgrace. Granny, with whom Leslie had lived since she was 12 because she was already in counseling and the pair of them talked me into seeing if she would do better if allowed to live on the ranch, being horse mad, continued to love Leslie obsessively, and I think crippled her beyond redemption. So far as I am concerned, those who choose to live on welfare whining that they are “bi-polor” (but don’t take medication for what is basically manic-depressive) and too good to live as wage slaves and “lifers” don’t deserve a dime from any of us, and sure aren’t getting any more of the family assets. No. Ride our successes and cut our losses. Help those who will provide a good return on investment.

    I hired a college freshman today to work for us two days a week. A three hour interview and one look at his boots and hands and it was clear that Trey and I had a lot to offer each other. The kid is young, but he is majoring in range management, he’ll be around quite a while, and he is horse mad with years of experience with the critters. His job is training our horses, riding the fences once a week, checking the livestock regularly, rounding cows up and moving them so they become accustomed to it, and anything else useful in the time he has left. Trey is glowing, because that is his idea of utter bliss AND he will get fed lavishly twice a week and paid small amounts of money, that being what the job is worth around here. Eighty bucks a week is a lot to a college kid. Today he worked the horses and set up the tack room right for the first time since Daddy died in ’92. I nearly CRIED to see three good saddles on their stands and about 15 running feet of halters, bridles, and hackamores hanging neatly on pegs. I watched him work our two spoiled brats, and it’s going to take a little longer than we thought, but he has made a good start on explaining what is not tolerated and who the boss is. Trey schedules all his classes between 9:30 and 6:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and works three days a week at another ranch. If he works out as I expect–and he has 5 months until his apartment lease is up to impress me–I am REALLY going to reward him by offering him one of our spare motor homes/travel trailers and utilities to live in plus all meals. That is worth a good $700/mo to the kiddo. AND…I’ll let him bring his two horses he misses so and keep them here, and you have no idea what THAT is worth. A bunch.. In return I’ll expect reasonable amounts of extra work. Please the Princess and she will hand you every golden dream you have so long as you do your work right. Let her down and she’ll fire you and toss you in the moat. I added two to the unemployment statistics last year for laziness, irresponsibility, pilferage, and not doing even an hour and a half’s work a day.

    My new Farm Manager just got handed the dream he thought at least six years away. He gets full room and board (including for his small goat herd and dog), a motor home and utilities, and use of the land, farm machinery, fencing and other supplies, seeds, fertilizer, everything he needs except the work he will do to run a 2-acre truck farm (all one man can handle) and raise four acres of grain to feed the animals. His market is already arranged, and half of what we make selling produce startiing this summer is his to keep; the other half will go into the Farm accounts for extra fertilizer and equipment. Y’all can feel faint if you want to, but this glorified version of being a tenant farmer is a deal he never expected to be offered. The Princess waved her hand and everything he needs is there (because she has been accumulating it for three years and didn’t begin to think she could garden on that scale herself but knew that eventually the right man would appear. C. Northcote Parkinson: you only want one candidate, the best for the job.) If he wants to move on, eventually–he doesn’t! All he cares about is farming, and he doesn’t “need” to own land the way I do–he will have an utterly splendid credential to put on his resume. In the meantime ALL his needs and those of his goats are met and he knows I’ll okay any expenditure he can demonstrate the need for. I get the farming operation I want set up right, and he starts making actual money for the first time in two years (he apprenticed himself, basically, to a very successful truck farmer to learn the business) while proving that his mentor is right and he IS ready to run his own operation. He can increase his precious goat herd–all four of which are pregnant by my championship-caliber buck, gratis–and learn a lot from me and my friends about how to care for them and make cheese. ALL of us gain, nobody loses, no one is taken advantage of. Well, smile, I’ve been more generous than I had to, but I’m always willing to pay for what I want and win the allegiance of those who make my life safer, more interesting, and more self-sufficient.

    If I’m not a Libertarian, what am I? One of a kind or at least a very few? A good candidate for Galt’s Gulch if I ever find it? A throw back to 1810?

    I’m a trader, not an investor or a philanthropist. What I really suspect I am IS someone who will survive the coming hard times on the fiefdom I am building. I am developing BARONS who will owe their allegience to me. Serfs we can find when the world falls apart. Trill of laughter…I am soooo absurd, am I not?

    Perhaps so, but very probably not. If my candidates for barons work out as I expect–and there is room for more–we will ride out a greater Depression or worse raising our own beef, pork, chickens, eggs, milk, butter, fish, and vegetables. If the food distribution system breaks down, we will want for nothing. I may be a megalomaniac (I don’t really think I am), but if anyone has a better plan for TEOT-WAWKI as we know it, I would love to hear about it. ALL of my chosen few love the country and our life and would never live any other, given any choice at all in the matter. We’re happy, healthy, and work well together. What more can anyone ask–other than a world where my land is MINE and not held at the mercy of property taxes that the founding fathers forbid for very good reasons?

    If I am wrong, someone try explaining to me how and why, please.



  • Linda Brady Traynham

    James, dear, how about if we live our lives as shining examples of laissez fair self-sufficiency, avoid as many taxes as we can by producing our own needs and buying things second hand, and watch without much interest as socialist America collapses? I fear the problem is too big for the few of us who grasp it, and I’m not in the business of rescuing human flotsam. Ooooh, I am SUCH a meanie!


  • Jim Rich

    Dear Gary –
    Reading Doug Carkuff’s article in praise of Libertarianism I thought – just some more drivel – but then I’m getting used to drivel as it seems to come at me from all sides (left-right, up-down). So much comes in the form of a fix – political fix – economic fix – social fix – religious fix and even agricultural fixes (chemical fix, GMO fix and now Biochar fix). All fixes eventually end up on the scrap heap but not before often causing great suffering and destruction. It is as if we presume the world (maybe even the universe) was made in the form of a problem to be solved. However a trial by error world doesn’t seem to be working and we don’t have much time to get something working. I’m drawn to parts of Libertarianism, (which I see as the flip side of Marxism) as I am to most of the other political/economic fixes, but it doesn’t work trying to put them together as they are all closed systems. So now I’m in the process of dissolving all fixes and going to ground zero. Real possibilities are already showing up. In getting to ground zero our addiction to fixes must be completely broken or else we will just start accumulating them again. The process of getting to ground zero is a process of dis-identifying with any particular point of view so that Reality, which is a whole with no point of view, will be the guiding principle. In this process there is no place for conflict or righteousness since we are all fundamentalists of one kind or another!

    Keep the stimulating Whiskey going!

  • dean roberts

    hi well said i live near oneonta with 40 acres ,chickens,goats and a health food store drop me a email i would like to buy you lunch if you get up this way

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  • Dave Narby

    IMO… Simplify the argument.

    For instance…

    I say I am a PRACTICAL LIBERTARIAN. That means I want the least amount of government PRACTICAL, not possible. IOW, I don’t care where the solution that government is providing comes from (left, right, center), I just want it done right, the first time, and without taking more of my money than necessary in the process.

    I am for COMMUNITY STANDARDS. The fundamentalist Christians are NEVER going to convince the transgendered queens they should change their ways and should just leave them the hell alone… AND VICE VERSA. People in NYC, San Fransisco and Austin shouldn’t be telling people in Dallas, Birmingham or Salt Lake City how to live… OR VICE VERSA.

    The vast majority of the ills that happen in this country are from people who disagree trying to force other people to do as they say. STOP IT.

    If you don’t like your community, you can move. If you don’t like your community and stay there to try and change them – Then you get what you deserve, which is going to be a truckload of frustration.

    Obviously God/Gaia/The Universe/Whatever LOVES DIVERSITY… So stop trying to make other people think and act like you!

    So I say to one and all: Embrace diversity… SOMEWHERE ELSE!

    And then launch into the fiscal aspects, e.g. it’s a lot easier to get your town’s mayor to listen to how you think he should be spending your money than some a**hole hundreds or thousands of miles away in Washington, etc.

    I have put these ideas in this manner to both my liberal and conservative friends, and as long as I keep it short and sweet, they always agree… Although it usually leads to more discussions on ‘what about this and that’, but at that point, you probably have ’em hooked. : D

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  • 1peter2:16

    Dave – Get some goats (the ultimate libertarian domesticated animal) and you will see again why people hate defenders of liberty. I am almost univerally mocked for my herd…just don’t try to sell raw milk. 1 Peter 2:16

  • 1peter2:16

    Excuse my error – Doug.

  • Linda Brady Traynham

    Hi, first Peter! What kind of girls do you have? Aren’t they wonderful?! Life without goats is is missing a very wonderful thing. I think we just came up with something worthy of Ayn Rand: “Let us work towards a world where NO ONE denies our right to sell goat juice and the right of others to buy it!” Cordially, Linda

  • Emtravels

    Mr. Carkuff
    Kindly refrain from telling me that I hate you and detest you.
    You don’t know me.
    Obviously you are frustrated at not being able to persuade enough people to your way of thinking. If everyone shared you view of life, Linda would not have such trouble finding suitable farm help.
    You seem to think that because I view the world in a particular way, then I agree with ALL that is done by my government. Not true. But no one cares and my liberty allows me to disagree without making a big deal of it. I’m in the same boat you are, wondering why so many don’t see the world my way.

    Get you some goats. They don’t take forty acres. And the dream you put off is the one most likely not to be realized.

  • Emtravels

    “Moreover, they tend to be primarily concerned with how they feel about their supposed altruism rather than the actual consequences of their initiatives. There are multitudes of examples of the way good intentions and supposedly progressive legislation has led to the suffering of those it is intended to help. This current recession/depression is a typical example, due in large part to the “ownership society” initiative which was intended to put anybody who wanted into a home of their own. It sounded good, but where are so many of those people now? How many of those people who could not pay their mortgages with their teaser rates are now on the street and have nothing?”

    OMG…you are confused. All these people in houses they can’t pay for are the result, not of anyone’s good intentions, nor progressive thought come true, but the leavings of opportunists who led down the primrose path people who couldn’t figure out where it would all end for them. And the opportunists looked just to the next bonus for signing up the most people that week, They didn’t have the integrity not to take advantage of those they fleeced. Follow the money….everybody in the chain looked towards the Friday paycheck. So locked away their social and person conscience.
    And when did anyone in this society ever stress the principle that one never, never, never, risks the roof over one’s head? Those of us who repeated this were ignored and laughed at. The money would pour down forever. There was too much money to be made taking both money and dignity from” the least of these.” The worst thing this country has endured is the opening of the big money pot that Social Security and Medicare created. And then the government guarantee of insurance against risky behaviour. Wherever there is a pot of money, somebody will go after it. And sure enough, they did. But what is the cost to us all of having people sleeping on our sidewalks, as in Calcutta, and dying of contagious untreatable diseases in the slums of our nation? Nothing, until it’s your family that contracts one of these diseases.

    The trouble is, life is complicated–especially when there are large numbers of people involved. There are few or no rights and wrongs anymore. Most of it is a grey area. Education and wisdom are needed, but MTV and comic strip thought rule.

    “Do unto others…” seems like a good rule to me. I’d like to see more of that in my world.

  • Linda Brady Traynham

    Dear Emtravels:

    Blink. What set YOU off? As part of “do unto others” how about starting off being nice? It always works for me–and I could always turn nasty if it didn’t.

    You made an excellent point that the people who bought the pups were trying to get something for nothing. Most of them deserved what happened to them, but all of us were damaged by their actions and the greed (or helplessness) of bankers and lust for power of politicians. That is all beyond our control, and Epictetus is ALWAYS right. Ignore it, and go on living a moral life. I disagree totally; the statists have taught for over 50 years that the world is in shades of gray…but it is not so. Almost everything is black or white with a very few instances of mitigating circumstances. Go live the best, most moral life that YOU can, and work out how to protect yourself and yours. At least you like goats! Linda

  • Bill Ross

    Justice Defined: We are all free to profit or suffer and learn (adapt to excellence) by facing the consequences of our OWN choices. Injustice is to be forced to suffer the consequences of choices of unaccountable (irresponsible) others.

    The “rule of law” once ENFORCED peace and justice, now rationalized away:

    “The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern. The law of liberty tends to abolish the reign of race over race, of faith over faith, of class over class.” ~ Lord Acton

    Darwin also warned us: Survival EQUALS ability to adapt to environment EQUALS ability to choose correctly EQUALS freedom:

    THINK about it:

  • Devin Doyle

    It’s difficult for there to be a common identity, let alone party, among libertarians though. To be a libertarian means to be self-reliant, so it would be difficult to mobilize true libertarians together as that collectivization contradicts the very things they believe. I’m not saying libertarians can’t unite; I’m just saying they have a rough time uniting for its own sake. Communion is just the likely byproduct of PRACTICING libertarians. So good luck. I’m a proud libertarian, but not a member of any LP party. Never will be.

  • Linda Brady Traynham

    Dear Devin:

    Sounds fine to me because all I want is a world with no “Thou shalts” and very few “Thoou shalt nots.” Y’know, the simple things, like no murder, stealing, torture, telling lies that get other people into trouble…oh, wait…we call those the people part of the ten commandments, don’t we?!

  • doug carkuff

    Linda, I’m a little confused by your post. You believe in liberty and you believe government should be limited to those functions that only government can effectively perform. I think that makes you a libertarian. I believe in liberty for liberty’s sake and that it is the natural state of things, but I also believe that liberty will inevitably lead to a more humane/prosperous society and this is the only argument that will begin to reach those who believe that we need to engineer humanity and prosperity into society.

    Given the opportunity to function cooperatively and to live peacefully with each other, humans will do that because that is how we, in general, are hardwired. If we were not, we would have expired as a species a hundred thousand years ago. It doesn’t take altruism or particular “social consciousness”. Our intentions are irrelevant (as has been revealed time after time through human history – the road to hell having been paved over and over again with “good intentions”. My point is that libertarianism is NOT utopian and it is the only political philosophy that is not and the side effect of liberty is a more humane society and that i more people understood that they would find that their contempt for libertarians is entirely misplaced. My best, Doug

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