Whither Libertarianism?


http://therightstuff.biz/2014/02/28/whither-libertarianism/

by Michael Enoch

Many harsh criticisms have been made on this site, by myself and others, of the more autisticneckbeardy and fedoraish strains of Libertarianism. Bulbasaur in particular has gained a reputation for pouring vitriol and contempt down on Libertarianism and its bastard stepchildren, Voluntaryism and Anarcho-capitalism. I have tried to take a more moderate approach, but have not always been exactly charitable. This may have seemed like hate to many of you. The words may have stung. Some buttcheeks may have gotten red, chapped or perhaps a bit numb and tingly over the whole affair. (You know who you are.) But Let me assure you dear readers, this was not done out of hatred or anger. At least not entirely. We did it because we cared. It was tough love. In contrast I am now offering my apology for Libertarianism.

Is it?

Is it?

If you leave aside the absurd and rather ham-fisted attempts at formulating a universal and objective basis for the concept of natural rights, the self-righteous moral preaching about the initiation of violence and the tendency to monomaniacally focus on the state as the source of all human ills, Libertarianism has a solid foundation. One question worth asking is why progressives hate it so much. The answer is because of the Libertarian focus on property rights and capitalism as institutions to be preserved and defended. As I have said elsewhere and still maintain, anti-capitalism is retarded. Socialism is flawed. Communism is abominable. Allow me to quote myself:

“Property is the physical foundation of society. Property is elitist, inegalitarian and hierarchical. It necessarily creates an inequality between those with and those without. This originally manifests itself in human history as an inequality in the ability to successfully engage in violence. Those who secure property for themselves through violence and are able to defend it are then in a better position to acquire more and more property due to the lowered risk of further violence that comes with each subsequent property acquisition. This in a nutshell is the origin of the ancient landed aristocracy, and ultimately the state. Under the state social life becomes more predictable as property norms are established and enforced. Wealth and productivity increase. This is a fundamentally healthy process.

The next step is increased trade and markets. Markets are simply a non-violent means of distribution and exchange. They are necessary if people want to avoid constant violence over resources. This is not to say that violence is necessarily bad. All markets exist and are sustained within a context that contains a perpetual threat of violence to maintain order. Markets are a means to avoid incessant violence, but like any stable human system they rely on men willing to use violence to back them up when rules are broken and norms are not respected. The idea of a purely free, voluntary and non-violent market has never been anything but a dildo of massive proportions.

Division of labor, productivity and trade help create the material conditions for the development of civilization and meaningful human existence.”

There really is no good argument for anti-capitalism. Most objections to it devolve into maudlin whining over “fairness” and tearful special pleading for this or that poor oppressed victim group. No matter how edgy, reactionary or unexpected your political views are, if you honestly think you can organize the production and distribution of goods and services at the state level, you are retarded and you will fail. Libertarianism gets this right. But there are some other troubling trends that need be addressed.

Recently, due to its rising popularity and exposure, Libertarianism has become a target for infiltration and rent-seeking by assorted liberals, Marxists and feminists with varying agendas. Sites such as Bleeding Heart Libertarians have cropped up in an effort to make Libertarianism more palatable to liberals and progressives by pandering to their prejudices and claiming that free markets will achieve “social justice” better and faster than statism. This rather lukewarm political trend is mostly made of up tepid and uninspired middle-aged economics professors such as Steve Horwitz. These milquetoasts are no doubt driven by an unconscious desire to fit in better ideologically with their progressive peers in academia.

Marxist factions, masquerading under the less odious labels of “Mutualism” or “Left-Libertarianism,” have sought to co-opt certain aspects of Libertarian political economy in an effort to yet again resurrect the long discredited Marxist Labor Theory of Value and steer Libertarianism in an explicitly left wing direction. This effort, spearheaded by overweight, pretentious and socially awkward bloggers Kevin CarsonBrad SpanglerCharles W. Johnson and Shawn P. Wilbur along with morbidly obese philosophy professor Roderick Long has largely fizzled out over the last couple years. Mutualism has been abandoned. No one really knew what it was in the first place. Many individuals that were initially seduced by Carson’s Marxist revision of Libertarian theory have since been assimilated back into the mainstream Brahmin anarchist movement (AKA the Democratic Party in college). The website for C4SS, the flagship think-tank of this tendency, has dwindled into obscurity and now contents itself to be a mouthpiece for bizarre outpourings of critical Gender and Queer theory. Left-Libertarianism has effectively been reclaimed by the progressives.

Feminists, mostly active on college campuses, have infiltrated Libertarianism using their typical rent-seeking tactics of inserting themselves into male dominated spaces, exploiting the immature sexuality of socially awkward nerds, demanding equal representation and insisting all the rules be changed to accommodate them. Thus college Libertarianism has largely become a yet another campus gay rights movement and forum for bored, trivial and spoiled middle class women to whine about privilege and talk about their vaginas. This inevitably leads to the standard feminist griping that Libertarianism is too white, too male, too privileged etc. Of course it is. If it were not, entitlement minded feminists would never have zeroed in on it as a huge, juicy pile of untapped resources in the first place.

The problem is not that Libertarianism is primarily made up of affluent white males. Just the opposite. The problem is that this is seen as a problem. The problem is that people take these complaints seriously and try to integrate women and non-whites for no other reason than race or gender. Libertarianism has always been an ideology for white males. It is an intellectual forum in which they can engage in philosophical argument, repartee, camaraderie and nonviolent competition for status. It should be celebrated and preserved as a masculine, Western-oriented political movement standing against the tide of progressivism, Marxism, feminism and egalitarianism, not allow itself to be co-opted or handicapped by these poisonous ideologies.

About these ads

66 responses to “Whither Libertarianism?

  1. Setting aside the (Marksist) canard that C4SS is a Marxist front, it’s hardly “dwindled into obscurity.”

    We managed “mainstream media” publication of 1,000 op-eds in our first three years and look set to do it again in the next two years. That is an upward, not downward, trend. And per Alexa, c4ss.org seems to get more traffic than therightstuff.biz.

    C4SS does not “content itself” to be a postmodernist critical theory outlet. There’s an internal struggle on that subject (I’m on — hell, I may BE — the “it’s silly and useless crap that we should stay away from” side).

    • Just a heads up that Alexa is a bad measure of actual traffic, though I am sure that C4SS gets more traffic than we do. Alexa depends on users having installed the Alexa toolbar and this is in no way an indicator of actual traffic.And as far as the fact that you even have a debate on whether to publish critical theory stuff, that is problematic. Every time I go to your site all I see is trannie and queer shit which has absolutely zero to do with libertarianism.

      • Michael,

        You’re correct that Alexa is a non-objective measure of traffic.

        On the other hand, it’s pretty much the best thing available to people who aren’t interested in spending money on more objective measurement services (e.g. Compete).

        If every time you go to C4SS all you see is “trannie and queer shit which has absolutely zero to do with libertarianism,” all I can do is suggest that you consult an ophthalmologist.

    • I also never said C4SS was a Marxist front. I said Carson was a Marxist, because I think he is, and I linked to an article that does an in depth critique of his theory and method to argue that.

  2. Libertarianism is false because beards. Fat man is wrong. Ugh, libertarians just want to talk about their vaginas all day cf. Herbert Spencer.

    Only vicious fools preach about the non-initiation of violence. Violence must be meted out by our boys – white libertarians. Middle-aged men are nearly always wrong.

    Opinions are like, so edgy and stuff?

  3. Reading something like this does make me wonder how liberalism- a basic and reasonable set of proposals for limited government and basic rights, ended up so far up its own arse.

  4. This is an entertainingly bitchy attack, but doesn’t touch the left libertarians in their essentials.

    I’m not aware that Kevin Carson is stout, but hardly regard Roderick Long’s size as relevant to what he says. You might as well denounce Gibbon for his hydrocele and cirrhosis of the liver – or try refuting Marx because he looked like a glum Father Christmas. It’s what people write that counts, not their personal appearance.

    So far as they endorse the labour theory of value – and most don’t seem to – they are barking up the wrong tree. I also disagree with their negative view of the Old Order in England, and with their dislike of tradition and their liking for open borders. At the same time, their denunciations of the present corporate elite are valuable. I don’t have to agree with everything RL and KC say to appreciate what they have contributed to the Movement.

  5. Well anarcho capitalism is not egalitarian – Murray Rothbard (whatever his other faults) made that clear in “Egalitarianism : A Revolt Against Nature”. One can oppose anarchocapitalism without implying it is egalitarian.

    I do not believe that the Voluntaryists (whether the people around the Leeds Mercury newspaper in the 19th century – or the modern ones) are egalitarians either. Although there may be some odd people who claim to support Voluntaryism and are really collectivist (i.e. compulsory) egalitarians.

    However, it is clear that there is a major problem with the various different factions of what might be called the “libertarian left” (although who is and is not a “libertarian” leftist is upon to dispute).

    It started off with “we are in favour of the nonaggression principle – but we are against the big capitalists and landowners” (there would be then efforts to show that ownership of large scale factories and landed estates was only due to state intervention in history – which is not true), but it did not stop there.

    A different faction (Matt Z. and his “Bleeding Heart” friends) then opposed the non aggression principle itself – proposing “Social Justice” (the traditional aim of the collectivists) as the objective of policy, i.e. that income and wealth were rightly owned by the collective (“the people”) and justice was a matter of “fair distribution” for the benefit of the poor. There was even an attempt (by Matt Z) to pretend that F.A. Hayek (in reality an enemy of the “Social Justice” concept) was a follower of John Rawls by quoting that page of “Law. Legislation and Liberty” where Hayek says something nice about John Rawls, leaving out the statement from Hayek ON THE SAME PAGE that he (Hayek) has not read the main work of Rawls “A Theory of Justice”. So Hayek is presented as a supporter of a work he had never read – and whose central message (that income and wealth are rightly owned by the collective and that “justice” is a “fair distribution” of these things by the state) he (Hayek) utterly opposed.

    All rather theoretical – but things have moved on into practical politics.

    Take “Reason” (one of the main “libertarian” magazines in the United States). In 2008 it became obvious that there were some Obama supporters associated with this publication – in spite of this man (Barack Obama) being from a life long collectivist background (even in boyhood his guide was first his mother, then Frank Marshall Davis – then off to the Comrades in Occidental, Columbia, and decades with the Comrades in Chicago) – this could have been a “moment of madness”, but far more recent things give cause for concern.

    First “Reason” said that people who warned of health rationing and vast job losses resulting from “Obamacare” were telling “whoppers” (lying) – even as these things have started to happen. This weird position of “Reason” (which claimed to be against Obamacare whilst claiming that TRUTHFUL conservative critics were lying) caused quite a lot head scratching.

    Things have now moved on again……

    Now we are told (by “Reason”) that people who are against SLAVERY (i.e. FORCING some people to serve other people – for example bake wedding cakes, or take wedding photographs AGAINST THEIR WILL) are just taking part in a “homophobic stunt” and “Gay bashing”.

    I think at this point the distinction between the “libertarian” Reason Magazine and the (collectivist) “mainstream media” (msm) finally collapsed. If this form of “libertarianism” supports SLAVERY (which it clearly does) then it is not libertarianism at all. Even ignoring the utter contempt for religious liberty (religious toleration) that “Reason” magazine also showed.

    This is the sort of thing one expects from the collectivists who control most universities and schools in the United States (and much of the rest of the Western World – including the United Kingdom) not from libertarians.

    In short the same that was done to American “liberalism” in the 1920s (i.e. a movement that had been about making government smaller, turned round 180 degrees into a collectivist movement) is now being tried with the libertarian movement.

    Whether this effort to transform libertarianism 180 degrees (turn it into yet another collectivist movement) will succeed – I just do not know. But I hope it does not succeed in the United Kingdom.

    • “Who or what is the libertarian left” is an interesting question.

      Although there’s some overlap in personnel between the Center for a Stateless Society and Bleeding Heart Libertarians, I wouldn’t classify the latter as a site of the libertarian left.

      Of course, there’s a lot of debate about what constitutes left and right. For example, I see Paul classifying Obama as a leftist. I agree with Republican pundit Wayne Allyn Root when he says that America is a center-right country. It has now elected Obama to the White House twice, and his policies seem to track as George W. Bush’s third and fourth terms, so I classify him as a center-rightist (like pretty much every American president since Grover Cleveland).

  6. Of course I am not claiming that F.A. Hayek was a libertarian – he was not. Not in the philosophical sense or in the political sense. However, to imply that Hayek was one of the justice is fair shares crowd was obscene.

    As for certain people just being against the “modern corporate elite” – sadly not true. Indeed one can find them coming out with the same old leftist falsehoods (against large scale business people) that (for example) Burton Folsom refutes in his “The Myth Of The Robber Barons”.

    The truth is that they (the collectivist “libertarians”) are against large scale private land owners or industrial “capitalists” as-such not against any particular historical state intervention (the latter they just produce as excuses for their hatred).This can easily be checked by, for example, asking them (the collectivist “libertarians”) how much they admire a modern industrialist – such as Jon Huntsman.

    As for the “social left” libertarians (such as “Reason” magazine) – I must admit I did not expect them to (de facto) endorse slavery (the forcing of people to serve other people) – but, it appears, such fashionable causes as “Gay Rights” are more important to them than resisting slavery (and certainly more important than religious liberty – religious toleration).

    Fair enough. now we know; They (the “social left”) are not libertarians at all.

    • “I must admit I did not expect [Reason] to (de facto) endorse slavery (the forcing of people to serve other people)”

      Neither did I.

      Can you point to an instance of them doing so?

  7. Thomas – the terms “left” and “right” have been used for many different things.

    I agree that George Walker Bush was utterly useless – a big government man of confused (if any) political philosophy.

    As for the implied claim that whilst Barack Obama’s background (Marxism) is very different from the background of George Walker Bush, the PRACTICAL EFFECT of his policies (more government spending. more credit money, more regulations) is the same – pushing the United States ever closer to de facto bankruptcy and economic collapse, I AGREE again.

    Kant may have been obsessed with motivations (intentions) – but, in practical politics, the actual consequences of policy are more important.

    As for the last President to reduce the size and scope of government being Grover Cleveland – not true. Both Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge also reduced the size of government.

    Indeed it even happened under Eisenhower (if one compares the size of the Federal government in 1960 to what it was in 1952 – as proportion of the economy, and in terms of regulations) – in spite of “Ike” having no clear political philosophy.

  8. Thomas – I gave an example of what I was talking about.

  9. Paul,

    I must have missed your example.

    I see that you wrote:

    —–
    Now we are told (by “Reason”) that people who are against SLAVERY (i.e. FORCING some people to serve other people – for example bake wedding cakes, or take wedding photographs AGAINST THEIR WILL) are just taking part in a “homophobic stunt” and “Gay bashing”.
    —–

    And I see that you wrote:

    “I must admit I did not expect [Reason] to (de facto) endorse slavery (the forcing of people to serve other people)”

    But I don’t see where you pointed to them doing so.

    I suspect that you’re talking about Tuccille’s piece, in which he points out that while the EFFECT of the legislation in e.g. Kansas and Arizona, would have been to (partially, in some few instances) protect freedom, the INTENT of the legislation was to signal to the GOP’s anti-gay-bigot faction, for vote-buying purposes, “we’re on your side.”

    Here’s the piece I wrote on the subject:

    http://knappster.blogspot.com/2014/02/here-we-go-again.html

  10. Of course supporting people being FORCED to bake cakes, or take wedding photographs (as long as it is for “Gay Marriage”) will not stop there. Although the position of “Reason” magazine that resistance to this slavery is a “homophobic stunt” and “Gay bashing” is vile – utterly vile. As is their total contempt for religious liberty (religious toleration).

    The agenda of the Progressives (if Thomas, perhaps rightly, to my use of the words “left” and “leftists”) goes way beyond forcing people to bake wedding cakes and take photographs.

    For example, the Progressives “anti war on women” stance and “women’s reproductive rights” tap dance includes FORCING people to take part in abortions.

    Does “Reason” support that as well?

    And where is the apology for calling claims of health rationing and massive job losses from Obamacare (both of which are turning out to be true) “whoppers”?

    By the way – Tuccille is utterly wrong (whether he knows it I will leave to Kant) – there are no votes to be had here (the people who care about religious liberty would vote GOP anyway). For example I watched the lady who is one of the leading supporters of the Arizona Bill being interviewed – to call her a “Gay Basher” (and on and on) is just disgusting.

    How long before R magazine sells out completely and starts calling resistance to people being forced to take part in abortions a “war on women stunt”?

    “We stand for liberty – but we will undermine any effort to defend it, we will call such efforts “stunts” and “Gay Bashing” and we will pretend that truthful charges against Obamacare are “whoppers” lies”.

    Is that the position?

    How long before they de facto endorse forcing people to take part in abortions also?

    • Paul,

      I am unaware that Reason has offered up any of the statements about ObamaCare that you refer to. And of course, it’s not my job to defend Reason.

      With respect to the “religious freedom” legislation, yes, it was in fact a gay-bashing stunt undertaken entirely for the purpose of appealing to bigoted voters. That it did actually protect religious freedom in some instances was the coincidence that was used to camouflage the intent of the appeal.

      The only good thing about the legislation was that either way things went, the evil authoritarian statists lost. If it had passed, the evil authoritarian statists who want to force people to bake cakes for gay couples would have lost. When it failed, the evil authoritarian statists who want to maintain power through gay-bashing lost.

  11. Thomas – saying that one opposes Obamacare (late on in an article) is not good if one opens the article by describing true statements (that Obamacare will lead to rationing and to massive job losses) as “whoppers”.

    Most people (including me) judge an article an article by how it starts – that is the impression that is left in the mind (not the qualifications later on). As professional writers the “Reason” people must know this.

    As for the rest of your comment “Gay bashing”, “bigoted voters” (and so on).

    You are doing exactly what “Reason” did – i.e. you are behaving in a despicable way.

    • —–
      Thomas – saying that one opposes Obamacare (late on in an article) is not good if one opens the article by describing true statements (that Obamacare will lead to rationing and to massive job losses) as “whoppers”.
      —–

      True. But once again you’re referring to something as having happened, when I have absolutely no reason to believe that it ever happened, except that you say so. If you’re going to refer to something, it’s usually smart to point to the thing you are referring to, so that people can know it is a real thing and not just a figment of your imagination.

      As for the rest of my comment, it was factually correct and accurately descriptive. I don’t have to support enslaving bakers in order to recognize other evils where I see them.

  12. “Critical Theory” is what the Marxist Frankfurt School people are calling themselves these days (the late Andrew Breitbart spread the truth about that).

    As for Kevin – well he uses Marxist methods and Marxist “facts” (which are not facts at all) and he is pro “Occupy”. However, he could be a Black Flag person (a communal “anarchist” type) rather than a formal Marxist.

    In practice it makes no difference – as in organisations such as Occupy and the Teacher Unions (for example the Chicago Teachers Union) Black Flag types and Red Flag types happily cooperate.

  13. baloocartoons

    A great into to what libertarianism is and what it isn’t. Reblogged and quibcagged here:
    http://ex-army.blogspot.com/2014/03/again-what-libertarianism-is-and-what.html

  14. Thomas – the article was sent to my inbox by “Reason”. Just as the later article was. No doubt it was sent to your inbox also (unless you do not accept articles from “Reason” – and I do not any more).

    So stop the tap dance. Accusing people of telling “whoppers” when they were not undermines the attack on Obamacare later on in the article (indeed I can not even remember what the details of the attack on Obamacare were in the article – as the “Red Mist” had come down).

    And when you are called upon to defend people against slavery (being forced to serve others against one’s will – today in things like baking cakes and taking photographs, no doubt later in things such as being forced to perform abortions) your response is “Gay Bashing” and “bigoted voters”.

    Pathetic.

    • “So stop the tap dance.”

      By “tap dance,” I assume you mean asking you to provide evidence for your claims, instead of just accepting them as true without evidence?

      No dice. You’ve said enough demonstrably untrue things about e.g. Kevin Carson, and we’ve discussed your falsehoods at enough length, that you’re not someone I just automatically trust.

      As it happens, I ran the terms “whoppers,” “Obamacare” and site:reason.com through Google, and came up with this article:

      http://reason.com/archives/2014/02/12/the-lovecraftian-world-of-obamacare/1

      Said article is very, very hard on Obamacare.

      In fact, it notes that the real Obamacare is bad enough that conservatives don’t need to lie about it to make it look bad, and suggests they stop doing so.

      So your heartburn seems to be that Reason’s writers think truth is better than falsehood. I happen to agree with them. Based on your own record, I can see why you don’t.

  15. baloocartoons – actually I like “Firefly” and “Atlas Shrugged” (although I did read the latter on night shift years ago – I had more time when I was a security guard).

    Also I do not understand this “white male” thing that Michael Enoch is going on about. I am a white male myself – but why can not a female (such as Ayn Rand) be pro liberty, or a black man such as Walter Williams?

    I have nothing in common, politically, with someone like Gordon Brown or Joe Biden – and they are both white males.

    I judge someone on what side they are on – not whether they are “white males”.

    After all Kevin C. is a “white male”.

    • Paul, from a look around the site (and indeed the last paragraph of the article) it seems their conceptualisation of liberty is as a kind of blokey club, rather than as a practical political or social philosophy. It might be worth giving it a special label; I suggest “(Jeremy) Clarkson Liberterianism”.

      The reference to (among the list of things that Clarkson Libertarians do) “compete for status” also suggests an adherence to a kind of boneheaded simplistic sociobiology/evolutionary psychology narrative that is currently doing the rounds in which it is the role of males to spend all day wrestling lions to the ground to prove who is the alpha male.

      Also, girls are stupid.

      • Julie near Chicago

        Ian,

        I resent that. We are NOT stupid. We know how to tell a good provider, in the unlikely event that one such should appear before us — himself, not a photo. (Did I get that quote right? Somebody go ring Plum.)

        So there.

        Love & kisses,

        –J.
        PS. Although it’s true that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. :>))

        • Julie near Chicago

          HAH!! The only way to remember it right is to write it wrong first, in indelible ink (or pixels).

          It’s “…in the flesh — himself, not a copy.”

          Thanks to Bertie for correcting me. (Must’ve been Bertie. There’s nobody else home.)

    • baloocartoons

      Paul, your comment suggests that I criticized Atlas and Firefly, but I didn’t. I criticized the naive idea that such things can bring the world into the libertarian way of thinking. They can’t. They’re dependent on the readers and viewers being members of Western civilization and prepared by their heritage to accept the ideas expressed in them.
      And you’re missing the point. It’s not that women or Blacks or whatever _can’t_ be pro-liberty, but that they’re very _unlikely_ to, and can do so only in a society already made proto-libertarian by all these White males.

      Not all dogs can herd sheep, and maybe there’s one cat in a million that can. But if you want your sheep herded, get a dog. But of course watch out for sheep-eating dogs.

  16. This is the single most hilarious discussion I’ve read in the last few years. You guys could sell a lot of tickets as a comedy act. Or fiction writers. Lord knows this isn’t any kind of serious analysis of libertarianism. You simply do not know what you are talking about. But really, thanks for the laughs.

  17. Julie near Chicago

    The only problem with Rep. Bachmann’s statements in CNN’s Blitzer interview is that while tolerance (on both sides, as she says) is required in a civil society, and “the free exercise of religion” is guaranteed us by the First Amendment, Freedom from Involuntary Servitude (Amendment 13) is at least equally important.

    Paying somebody for work you forced him to do does not make that work voluntary. And a law requiring bakers or photographers or anybody else to serve people they do not wish to serve amounts to slavery,* for it requires the individual to forgo acting on his own free choice or will; i.e., it denies him his individual autonomy, i.e. his right of self-determination, and requires that he subjugate himself to the will of others.

    To fail to understand this is to fail to understand the right of self-determination as the moral foundation of libertarianism. (It is this absolute moral right from which the libertarian principle of the Non-Initiation of Force (or Coercion) logically follows.)

    *See, e.g., Webster’s 1913 online, Slavery, No. 2.

    . . .
    The fact is, nobody has a “right” to a wedding cake (unless he makes it himself), and nobody has a right to a wedding photo (or any other kind of photo) unless he takes it himself.

    This is all Classical Liberalism 101, which is the prereq for Classical Liberalism 102: Libertarianism.

  18. Julie near Chicago

    Putting my point another way: If we do not jealously guard our right of self-determination, our rights of freedom of religion and indeed of freedom of speech are both dead and gone as well. For they too follow from the right of self-determination, even though the Constitutional mention of them is intended as a guarantee that Congress, i.e. the Federal Government, will not fail to honor these rights.

  19. Whatever Paul Marks thinks of me, he and I are in complete agreement about the “gay wedding cake” issue. That case is a perfect illustration of what I mean by “totalitarian humanism”: the view that all other liberties-speech, privacy, property, religious, economic, associational-must be curtailed so that no group favored by the Left ever experiences even the slightest offense or inconvenience. Whether the religious freedom bill was motivated by bigotry or not is beside the point. Policies should be evaluated by their effect, not their intent. The purpose of that bill was to protect zones of autonomy for people and groups with a dissenting cultural or religious perspective. There’s a quote in this piece that’s well worth considering:

    “Religious liberty is a deeply radical concept. It was at this country’s founding and it hasn’t become less so. Preserving it has always been a full-time battle. But it’s important, because religion is at the core of people’s identity. A government that tramples religious liberty is not a government that protects economic freedom. It’s certainly not a government that protects conscience rights. A government that tramples religious liberty does not have expansive press freedoms. Can you think of one country with a narrow view of religious liberty but an expansive view of economic freedom, freedom of association, press freedoms or free speech rights? One?”
    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/ross-raises-the-white-flag-on-gay-marriage/

  20. Thomas – it does not matter if “Reason” accuses the left (i.e. big government people – if you demand a definition) of ALSO telling “whoppers”. Even if it accuses them of telling worse “whoppers”.

    What matters is the opening lines where it accuses the opponents of Obamacare of telling “whoppers” by talking about health rationing (i.e. Death Panels – or whatever nice name is used instead, in the U.K. the name actually is N.I.C.E – someone in the Brown government may have been reading the C.S. Lewis’ book that “Hideous Strength” and thought it was a instruction manual, hopefully none of us will get to meet “The Head” of N.I.C.E.) and millions of jobs being threatened.

    “But then go to attack Obamacare Paul” – yes I said that, but who freaking cares? All the average reader will remember is that the basic claims against Obamacare are “whoppers” (which they are NOT).

    As for “Gay Bashing” and “bigoted voters”.

    Have you actually read Senate Bill 1062 in Arizona?

    Have you watched an interview with Cathi Harrod (the women who pushed the Bill – indeed basically wrote it)?

    I doubt it.

    After all one must not let facts disturb ignorance must one?

    So just stick to helping the left (i.e. ever bigger government) by denouncing any opposition to ever less freedom as “Gay Bashing”, to appeal to “bigoted voters” with “whoppers”.

  21. Paul,

    Yes, I’ve read SB 1062. Have you?

    The truth matters — both when it reflects badly on the left, and when it reflects badly on the right.

    Apparently the only truth you care about is truth that reflects badly on the left.

    And in point of fact, as we have seen before, so long as something reflects badly on the left, you don’t really give a damn if it’s true or not.

  22. Keith Preston – whatever our enmity on other matters I am forced to agree with you on this one.

    There was a time when the left was not totally dominated by socialists and other big government types (for example Bastiat sat on the left hand side of the French National Assembly – although even in the early 19th century he was surrounded by socialists who hated everything he stood for) and “religious liberty” was supposed a great cause of “forward thinking” people (at least in America – in France “left” always, in the main, implied religious persecution right from the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in 1790).

    Thomas Jefferson was basically a deist (religious yes – but not an orthodox Christian) but he did not demand that strict Baptists (and so on) “leave their religion at the Church door”. Indeed his famous letter about the “Wall of Separation” between Church and State was meant to protect the CHUCHES – it is perfectly plain from the full text of the letter (not the one line the establishment historians pick out) that Jefferson would have been totally in favour of such things as Senate Bill 1062 in Arizona – even if Cathi Harrod was a “Gay Basher” and a “Bigot” (as Thomas seems to maintain).

    Indeed without the “Black Robed Regiment” (the preachers of what would today would be called “fundamentalist” belief – as opposed to the more relaxed Church of England) the American War of Independence would have ended in total and absolute defeat.

    Again although the term “fundamentalist” is actually from the early 1900s (the essays on the “Fundamentals” written against the Big Government “Social Gospel” of the Progressives) what are now called “fundamentalists” were actually the backbone of the 19th century anti slavery movement (for example Wilberforce in England was motivated by his passionate Christianity as was Wesley and G. Sharpe before him).

    Who do the media (and the education people) thing the anti slavery Republicans in “Bleeding Kansas” (1850s) were?

    They are the same people the Republicans there are now (as opposed to the “civilised” Republicans back East) – i.e. “Bible Bashers”. Who believed (and still believe) in the “three G.s”.

    God, Guns and Gold.

    Bible in one hand – but pistol in the other (and account book in the back pocket).

  23. Ian the thing is I “do not get it” – I really do not understand (I am not just pretending I do not understand).

    Why do they have this obsession with “White Males” – why is Ayn Rand or Walter Williams (or Star Parker or……) supposed to be somehow unnatural?

    Most of my political ENEMIES are “white males” and this is has been true all my life.

    Am I supposed to hate white males because of that?

    Or am supposed to hate those non-white people who are ON THE SAME SIDE AS ME?

    Or the women who are on the same side as me? Am I supposed to hate them?

    Or homosexuals – after all some brave homosexuals (who reject the media elite) came out IN FAVOUR of SB 1062 in Arizona (they do NOT all want the State to use violence to make other people serve them).

    Even if we are doing “majority” it does not work.

    After all historically in the Britain – women were LESS likely to vote socialist than men were.

    So I am supposed to hate Mrs Thatcher and love Clement Atlee?

    I repeat – I do not get it, I do not understand.

    These “white males only” libertarians just confuse me.

  24. Good Thomas you have read SB 1062.

    Now will you stop calling the defenders of religious liberty “Gay Bashers” and “Bigots”.

    And will you get “Reason” magazine to apologise for calling truthful attacks on Obamacare “whoppers”.

    • Paul,

      I never have called defenders of religious liberty “gay bashers” and “bigots.”

      Some of the supporters of SB1062 and like bills in other states were, in fact, defenders of religious liberty.

      That doesn’t change the fact that the reason the bills were put into motion was to appeal politically to gay bashers and bigots, not to defend religious liberty.

      The fact is that SB 1062 and like bills were unnecessary grandstanding for that explicit purpose, because the bills were entirely unnecessary to achieve their claimed objective.

      All that was necessary to achieve the claimed objective of those bills was for the courts to uphold the First and Thirteenth Amendments to the US Constitution.

      As far as the Reason article is concerned, I’m inclined to agree with you that Palin’s “death panel” claim was not, in fact, a “whopper.” On the other hand, the claim that the CBO report said that ObamaCare would kill 2 million jobs was a “whopper” — that report said no such thing.

      Here’s what I wrote on “death panels” at the time Palin said what she said:

      http://knappster.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-death-panels-claim-is-plausible.html

      http://knappster.blogspot.com/2009/08/more-on-death-panels.html

      With respect to Reason itself, I think maybe you’re expecting a bit too much from them. There is a Reason Foundation, which seems to have somewhat specific political goals (mostly of the fake “privatization” variety). Reason magazine, on the other hand, is a newsstand publication of mainstream or near-mainstream variety, which while generally “libertarian-leaning” probably doesn’t impose any specific editorial line on its writers and can be expected to publish a wide range of opinion.

      Even within more specifically ideologically inclined “think tanks” and so on, there are often competing opinions between analysts (C4SS’s writers, for example, run the economic gamut from mutualist/LTV Carson to Austrian/value subjectivist me, with lots of other players as well). But at least a critique of a think tank’s ideological balance can be coherent.

      Expecting (to name five Reason writers) Nick Gillespie, A. Barton Hinkle, JD Tuccille, Jesse Walker and Brian Doherty to agree on any two things, or to believe that the “real line” of Reason comes from any of them in particular, is a little much. Gillespie is a beltway cosmotarian. I don’t know anything about Hinkle. Tuccille is scion of an anarcho-capitalist family. Walker is a left-libertarian. Doherty seems to be in the Ron Paul/Rand Paul camp.

  25. Thomas – I have remembered you are an ex Marine so you may honestly not know, so I will tell you. I am not disputing your intelligence (you may be far more intelligent than me – which would not be hard these days) – I am just pointing out that this is not your area of knowledge. And I honour your service.

    In politics what mattes is the “Talking Points” – the few words (the slogan) that people take away from a speech or a piece of writing.

    It does not matter what else someone says or writes. – what matters is the basic talking points.

    And the talking points from the two “Reason” articles are…..

    That defenders of religious liberty are just “Gay Bashers” and “Bigots”.

    And that the main attacks on Obamacare (the main talking points in attack upon Obamacare – “Death Panel” rationing and millions of jobs at risk) are “whoppers”.

    What “Reason” magazine then goes on to say – is irrelevant.

    Perhaps politics should not be this way – but it is.

    And, unlike yourself, the “Reason” magazine people must know that politics is like this. They must have known what they were doing when they did it.

  26. Thomas.

    “Paul I have never called defenders of religious liberty Gay Bashers or bigots”.

    Well then Thomas there is some other person writing comments (under your name) on this thread.

    Remember it is the Talking Points words that matter – not subtle qualifications in the rest of the piece of writing.

    However, I am glad that you understand that claims of Death Panels (even if they are called N.I.C.E) and millions of jobs at risk are not “whoppers”.

  27. baloocartoons I accept your qualification, but I still get the feeling that a lot of this is based on irritation (rather than a deep argument that only our civilisation can really grasp liberty).

    For example, irritation watching the Hollywoodheads being obsessed by race (slavery in the early 19th century America) and AIDS – yet again.

    Perhaps I am wrong (you would argue that I am wrong) – but I would like to thing that people from other civilisations can understand the concept or liberty.

    And if women (from our own civilisation) can not (mostly) understand the concept of liberty, we are really all wasting our time.

    Which reminds me – I need a walk.

  28. It seems we’re into the realm of class consciousness here. If liberty really is only the class consciousness of some certain class (“white males”) then it seems to be not only indefinitely unattainable, but not much use either.

    It is at least feasible to imagine a whites only society, but a males only society doesn’t seem like a very long term proposition. In which case, you’re forced into a society imposed on women by men, in which case, congratulations, you’ve just proved the Feminist movement right.

    Anyway, IIRC Joseph Chamberlain, Lloyd George, Clement Attlee, Tony Blair, the Frankfurt School, Alexander Hamilton, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama, Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, Hitler and every other great statist were not women. Were they?

  29. Yes Ian.

    Women make up about half of society – if liberty just does not tend to appeal to most women (regardless of arguments and presentation), then we are really wasting our time.

  30. Julie near Chicago

    All I can say is, if you guys want us to support your “liberty” obsession, you better bribe us but good.

    Or would you prefer to live on nothing but raw parsnips and fermented yak’s milk for the rest of your lives?

    Of course, girls may be stupid, as Ian notes, but we’re not dumb. :>))

    –J.

  31. I forgot to give the details of that terrible first paragraph in the “Reason” Obamacare article.

    “The Lovecraftian World of Obamacare” February 12th 2014. By A. Barton Hinkle.

    “Obamacare’s conservative critics sure know how to make themselves look out of touch. From Sarah Palin’s 2009 musings about “death panels” to last week’s headline that a new CBO report said that the Affordable Care Act would kill more than two million jobs, the law’s critics keep telling whoppers”.

    it does not matter if you then go on to write the best article in the history of humanity – the first paragraph has given Obama and co all they could want.

    • Well, the simple fact is that the claim that the CBO report said Obamacare would kill more than two million jobs was, in fact, a “whopper.”

      The CBO report said no such thing. It said something so different that it took a conscious effort of dishonesty to pretend that it said that.

      What the CBO report said was that given the conditions of ObamaCare, two million Americans might be expected to either cut back their hours or quit their jobs In the former case, the jobs aren’t “killed” because the people are still working at them, just fewer hours per week. In the latter case, the jobs are only “killed” if the worker who quits isn’t replaced.

      The point of the Reason article wasn’t that ObamaCare is good. Reason authors appear to be unanimous in agreeing that ObamaCare sucks.

      But the author of that particular article thinks — correctly in my view — that lying about ObamaCare is not a good way to fight ObamaCare.

      I happen to agree.

  32. Obamacare will cost millions of jobs – that is not “lying”, that is the truth.

  33. And your point is? What was called a “whopper” was not the claim that ObamaCare will cost millions of jobs.

    What was a “whopper” was the demonstrably false claim that a particular report said that ObamaCare would cost a particular number of jobs.

    It was a lie. A big, fat, whopper of a lie. There is absolutely not doubt whatsoever that it was a lie.

    It’s sort of like when you claim Kevin Carson says [X], and I ask for a citation, and you point me to a quote of Kevin Carson saying [not-X]. And then you turn around and argue that even though Carson said [not-X], your psychic powers tell you that Carson believes X. Even if your psychic powers are right and Carson believes X, you are lying when you say he said something he clearly didn’t say.

  34. Thomas I have already stated “my point” repeatedly. If you are too dumb to understand it – that is not my problem.

    • Yes, you have stated your “point” repeatedly.

      The problem is that your “point” is that we should agree with lies instead of calling them lies, if they’re convenient lies, and that Reason violated this “point” by being truthful. I disagree. I prefer the truth to lies, even when lies are more convenient.

  35. As for Kevin Carson – I gave pages and pages of stuff by Kevin (over a period of six years). Normally in direct reply to posts on this very website.

  36. Julie near Chicago

    Paul, please. You can’t fault Reason for using whatever seems near-to-hand for a quick smear of conservatives (or Republicans). You have to be like the guy who was almost killed by the grizzly, who told the Park Rangers not to put the bear down because “he was only doing what was his nature.” Just so, it’s simply blind instinct with Reason. We see the same behavior with Cato; it’s pure reflex.
    . . .

    On the alleged “whoppers”:

    I think this is an interesting quote from — note it well — CNBC (my boldfaced type):

    “President Barack Obama’s signature health-care law will contribute to this phenomenon, the CBO said, citing new estimates that the Affordable Care Act will cause a larger-than-expected reduction in working hours—eliminating the equivalent of about 2.3 million workers in 2021.

    “In 2011, the CBO estimated the law would cause a reduction of about 800,000 full-time equivalent workers.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101352868#_gus

    The fact is that the language in Report 45010 isn’t all that clear, and different internet sites have phrased it slightly differently and interpreted it differently. However, the quotation above is actually as clear as I’ve seen anywhere, including in 45010 itself. And yet this one isn’t all that clear, either.

    Of course, in terms of reality what’s interesting is that the Report gives this as one of the main reasons for this “reduction”: People earning below a certain amount will discover that if they work more hours, so that their income goes up, then the amount of their subsidy goes down: so they’re working more for the same pay or even less. Why not go fishing instead.

    Gosh! Ya think??

    As for the swipe at Mrs. Palin and the Death Panels, of course she was right on with that one. I haven’t a source to hand, but anybody who’s been paying any attention on the Net has seen the reports of this or that Dem honcho or librul website that has ruefully admitted that the description was apt.
    . . .

    The issue, of course, is not whether Hinkle, or Reason, supports or pans Obamacare. It’s the instinctive put-down of the conservatives, who include all sorts of lower-class types like Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz or Michele Bachmann and lord knows who-all else. Anyway, they only bathe twice a year and they all marry their cousins. You know. And they’re inclined to be anti-abortion, and too many of them cling bitterly to their guns and their religion. (Well, they might be given a pass on the “guns” part.)

    In sum, the effect of the opening paragraph is to throw shut the door of the reader’s mind to any vague consideration that conservatives might be knowledgeable, might have common sense, might be intelligent and have some worthwhile things to say.

  37. Julie near Chicago

    PS. If anybody cares to read the 182 pages of the dratted thing, Report 45010 is at

    http://cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/45010-Outlook2014_Feb.pdf

    Area of interest in this discussion: See especially pp. 123 & ff.

  38. Julie near Chicago

    Prof. Hayek on “Social Justice,” ~14 min.:

  39. Thomas I am not going to through all the Kevin stuff again.

    I always told the truth about what Kevin said – and you, Thomas Knapp, are not.

    I have also NEVER said that “Reason” magazine and Kevin are the same.

    Kevin is malevolent – I know that when I looked at “Contract Feudalism” on the train home from a “Libertarian Alliance” conference quite some years ago now (I think it was in 2006).

    What Kevin did (and does) was the same as what some of Mr Putin’s “Russia Today” television people station do – they get libertarian language (even quoting Austrian School economists) and then twist it – turn it round 180 degrees.

    What was intended as a defence of “capitalists” (big land owners, factory owners, mine owners, retail chain owners – whatever) is twisted around to attack them.

    Reason magazine is NOT like this – it is very different. more a hopeless mess than actively malevolent.

    As Julie says -you do not fight Obama by PLAYING IN TO HIS TALKING POINTS.

    Politics is about Talking Points – staying “on message” from the first paragraph.

    Whether it is religious freedom (as with the Arizona Bill – which never became an Act) or about Obamacare – you make clear your support, in the first paragraph (get the basic Talking Points right).

    If you want to make qualifications and so on later on – then fine.

    But get the thing right to start with.

    No one should be FORCED to go against their religious conscience to bake a cake or take photographs at a homosexual event.

    Indeed I would go further – no one should be forced to take part in this stuff even if it is NOT a matter of religious conscience.

    And Obamacare……..

    It will lead to health rationing, and it will cost millions of jobs.

    Someone gets those two basic points in the first paragraph – or they are just hopeless.

    • —–
      If you want to make qualifications and so on later on – then fine.

      But get the thing right to start with.
      —–

      You’re acting like the piece you’re complaining about was not “later on.”

      Google sometimes produces vague results by date, but as best I can tell, Reason was attacking Obamacare well before Obama’s inauguration with articles like “Obamacare’s 12 false premises and broken promises.:

      They got the “talking points” right. Over and over. For years and years.

      You’re mad because they pointed out a lie as a lie. Apparently you think that when your allies lie and get caught lying, you should pretend they were telling the truth because “TALKING POINTS.” That is a poor position both morally and practically.

      And yes, you lied multiple times about what Carson wrote. You would say he wrote “X.” I’d ask where, and you would trot out a cite of him saying something other than X, then insist that even though it didn’t say X, you knew that it really secretly meant X. That also a poor tactic from both moral and practical perspectives. Even if you’re right, you don’t convince anyone by publicly and flagrantly lying.

      Now, to another issue — Sarah Palin. Yes, she got “death panels” right.

      But no, my dislike of her has nothing whatsoever to do with her being a “redneck.”

      Sarah Palin was elected mayor of Wasilla, Alaska as an open, unabashed, announced “progressive.” And she ran the town as a “progressive,” putting it millions of dollars in debt for a tax-funded, eminent-domain-enabled boondoggle of a “sports center.”

      She then moved on to Alaska’s oil commission and governorship as a “progressive” Republican, even proposing to give every Alaskan a special debit card, topped off every month with tax funds, to buy gasoline.

      Then she got picked as John McCain’s running mate and instantly and magically remade herself as a “conservative” and proceeded to make bank. I certainly don’t begrudge her to make money as a progressive actress playing a stereotype conservative to a gullible crowd, but I’m also not willing to pretend she’s anything BUT a progressive actress playing a stereotype conservative to a gullible crowd.

  40. Yes Julie – with SOME (NOT all) of the people at “Reason” and co it is snobbery, just snobbery.

    For example, say the words “Sarah Palin” to these people and their faces twist as if it was a bad smell – then they come out with some “intellectual” put down.

    They could not do a speech half as good as the one that Sarah Palin did at CPAC – but they are the “intellectuals” whereas Sarah Palin is just a “Red Neck woman” so they are superior (at least they think they are).

    They play straight into the Obama Talking Points (as if they were six years old) but they are the clever ones, they are the “people of intellect”.

    Kevin is quite different (totally different).

    As I point out above – Kevin is (and has been for years) actively malevolent – he is an enemy of the “capitalists”.

    The mobs of “Occupy” people waving their Black Flags (and their Red Flags), denouncing the rich (class war), smashing windows, burning cars, throwing human excrement about, even raping their own members…..

    That is the side Kevin is on.

    Whether it is Oakland or Cairo – that is the side he is on (the mobs in Cairo calling for free bread and “Social Justice” Kevin SUPPORTED them, just as he did the Occupy savages in the United States)..

    There may indeed be technical differences between “Black Flaggers” (“mutualists”, communal “anarchists” – whatever name they want to use for themselves) and “Red Flaggers” (Marxists) – but for all-practical-purposes these differences do-not-matter.

    Do they cooperate in the Teacher Unions?

    Yes they do.

    Do they cooperate in the “Occupy” thing?

    Yes they do.

    Are they both foes of people of substantial (“capitalistic”) property such as Jon Huntsman?

    Yes they are.

    So the technical differences between “Black Flaggers” and “Red Flaggers” just do not matter in practice.

  41. Julie near Chicago

    On the difference between two ideas of freedom: “The freedom of the slave” vs. “the freedom of agency.” Not that we don’t understand it perfectly well already, but I do think that in the comment below Michael Enoch (who commented above) summarizes exceptionally well the difference between leftists’ (whether full-on or not, such as the Bleeding Heats), Progs’, libruls’, etc.’s. meaning of “freedom,” and that of sensible libertarians and conservatives. (Mr. Enoch is one of the NeoReactionary folks, and, he says, a “post-libertarian.” Occasionally my curiosity gets the better of me, so I have wandered around a bit amongst the NR/Dark-Enlightenment folks.)

    “…. The idea [as far as I understand it] is that slavery provides a certain kind of freedom to the slave, and that this is in fact what much of the left is talking about when they demand jobs, housing, welfare etc. Freedom from want and uncertainty is the freedom of the slave. Many people want this more than they want the freedom of agency, meaning the freedom to act, that libertarians talk about. A man with slaves actually is less free because he has the burden of responsibility.”

    http://therightstuff.biz/2014/02/01/rip-pete-seeger-swpl-and-communist-1919-2014/

    (By the way — if anybody else is as ignorant as I was as to the meaning of “SWPL”: It stands for “Stuff White People Like,” as sort of poking fun at the Lefties/Libruls by one of their own, per

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuff_White_People_Like )

    PS. Mr. Enoch’s comment is partway into the Comments after the main posting (“RIP Pete Seeger). On the way down to it, posted as a counterirritant to Mr. Seeger’s strumming, there is a complete performance of the St. John’s Passion by a Mr. J. S. Bach, directed by Eugen Jochum. Runs 2:09.

  42. Julie near Chicago

    Too delicious to pass up:

    “But now, we don’t have to worry anymore, thanks to the wonders of Obamacare!

    A new Congressional Budget Office report estimates that up to 2.5 million people will leave the work force by 2024 as a result of the Affordable Care Act. That’s equal to the number of people who live in Vermont, Montana and South Dakota. Combined.

    That’s a good thing, according to the Obama administration. “Because of this law, individuals will be empowered to make choices about their own lives and livelihoods,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, “…As part of this new day in health care, Americans would no longer be trapped in a job just to provide coverage for their families, and would have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.”

    Got that? Feeling newly empowered, tomorrow you can walk into your boss’s office, lean over his desk and tell him to take this job and shove it! You can go home, no longer trapped, and realize your dream of opening a kite shop in Telluride.

    [ ... ]

    http://flyoverculture.com/2014/02/06/go-fly-a-kite-obamacares-death-of-the-working-schlub/#more-4071

  43. Yes Julie – and this is just one of the excuses the left will make “arguing” that bigger government has good results when it actually has bad results. The Harry Reid approach is to call true statements about Obamacare “lies” – and some “libertarians” appear to have taken Harry Reid as their political mentor (at least in the key talking points – although they go on to blah, blah, blah).

    It will not work – people see things are not working, and they will vote accordingly (yesterday’s result in Florida shows that). The real question is will the Republicans actually repeal the things they say they oppose or will they “RINO out” AS THEY HAVE SO OFTEN DONE.

    True some Republicans at some times have repealed some things – but too often (much too often) they have not. Indeed sometimes they have added new things to government – as George Walker Bush did with his statist “compassionate conservativism” (“compassionate” with the money of other people? what sort of “compassion” is that?).

  44. Thomas – I did not see your reply till now.

    If you really do not understand what is wrong with the “Reason” article on Obamacare (why someone should never start an article that way) and you do not understand why the “Reason” article in opposition to the Arizona Bill (calling good people “bigots” and so on) was radically misguided – well then I can not explain it to you. I suppose it would be like you explaining Marine tactics to me – it is outside my areas of knowledge,.

    On Sarah Palin you actually have a point – but not the point you think you have.

    Actually Sarah Palin is generally conservative (for example her opposition to the State wide building code in Alaska), The great exception is OIL.

    There are two ways of seeing the ownership of oil and gas. Let us call them the “North Dakota way” and the “Alaska way”.

    In North Dakota the oil or gas discovered tends to belong to the land owner – the big winner is the person who owns the land. The company that extracts the oil or gas pays the landowner (they also pay taxes – but the landowner is important).

    In Alaska (and Rousseau would have loved this) the “natural resources” are seen as for the “benefit of the people” – nearly everyone up there believes in a lot of “public” benefit for “the people”. Politicians in Alaska must not be seen as too close to “big oil” (the oil companies), one does not need to go as far as Kevin would, but one has to make “semi Kevin like noises” (on this one industry – NOT on all industries) to get elected – even though this is actually undermining the oil and gas industry in Alaska (although Federal restrictions are just as serious a problem as local over taxation).

    Which do I favour?

    I favour the way things are done in the Dakotas (actually South Dakota is better than North Dakota – general taxes are lower, but South Dakota has less oil).

    However private land ownership is not the normal way, of oil and gas, in Alaska – perhaps that is the difference between becoming a State in the 1880s and becoming a State in 1959.

  45. In Alaska one can be anti high taxes and anti regulations (such as the State wide building code – imposed as a condition of Obamacare) generally, but not as concerns the oil industry (even though these massive taxes have undermined the industry in Alaska).

    Someone like me would be presented as a “friend of big oil” – I would not be elected dog catcher.

  46. Julie near Chicago

    Good info, Paul. Thanks.