Thursday, October 8, 2015

Here It Comes, Just What I Feared...

....A new focus on "wonderful" socialism.

Salon headline:
Bernie Sanders is Ayn Rand’s worst nightmare: He’s changing how we view socialism — and exposing free market parasites


  1. Maybe libertarians shouldn’t try to use the word ‘socialist’ hoping that it has the same effect as calling someone a racist. It may be seen as a compliment. We have to focus on demonstrating quickly and simply why Bernie’s ideas are bad.

    1. I'm of the view that making a straight line to the NAP has been a big mistake. That is too far from most people's psyche to convince most people. Talking about government action as violence, and using an axiom of the NAP, that is, that there is no moral difference between an individual's and a group of individuals' aka the state's actions I believe will be more effective.

    2. Indeed, not because it is not easily comprehensible, but because as a derived concept, it is easily susceptible to criticism. If libertarians started from correct first principles, i.e., self-ownership/control of body, moving to property rights, and then end up in the prohibition against aggression, they'd have more of an impact and argumentative success. At least they'd look more logical and reasoned instead of simply asserting.

      Most libertarians just start with non-aggression, which is fundamentally and strategically wrong.

    3. "At least they'd look more logical and reasoned instead of simply asserting."

      Is there anything controversial about asserting the non-aggression principle? (just that principle, not its implications mind you)

    4. Well, there's nothing wrong with the NAP, but my point was that people seem to think there is a moral difference between them doing something and the government doing it. That is the place I think we should attack. Having people think about the violence being used and then asking them 'Will you take the gun and shoot the law breaker yourself, and feel you did something moral when there is no violence being done to you? So why are you hiring the govt to do it for you?' I think that instantly makes a person much more libertarian. Most people would not use violence in their own lives except in self defense, and in cases of emergency. That immediately brings many of them to a minarchist emergency-night watchman state position, if they actually sit down and think about it.

    5. zee

      I don't mean to say your suggested approach is right or wrong, as I believe different people are reached in different ways and different people are more effective in doing the reaching in different ways.

      With that said...I cannot think of too many beliefs in the national (American) psyche more well accepted that the belief that wearing a badge makes every action OK. In other words, by definition government action cannot be violence, cannot be the initiation of aggression.

    6. I agree, there are multiple ways to approach the subject. I suggest this approach because I don't see almost anyone using it. The only ones I've actually seen use this approach apart from myself is actually Blimey Cow, in one of their videos 'there ought to be a law' by bringing the imagery of violence to mind. Virtually everyone else makes a straight shot for the NAP, and I think we need multiple strategies. I've actually changed the minds of a few liberals that I've discussed issues with online using this approach.

      In addition, the advantage of this approach allows us to reverse the attack line that we libertarians are just interested in 'abstract principles' and have no link to reality. With this attack line, suddenly we are bringing in the vivid and visceral ideas of violence to mind, and we can accuse the opposition of only discussing violence in abstract terms and euphemisms, while we talk about it in real life in plain English.

    7. For whatever it's worth, I don't think I've ever heard from one person(other than self indentified libertarian Minarchists, I'm serious about that!) ever tell me when I've explained the NAP, "You know, I don't know if I agree with the non-aggression principle."

      Of course, when I get into it's implications it starts to make people uncomfortable, but I actually don't always do that...I give most people time to get their brain around the NAP first if I have ongoing interactions with them. It's the implications that are "mind blowing" in my opinion. I like starting with the NAP personally, it's short & simple and fairly uncontroversial until you start talking about implications, which you can spoon feed people over time.

      Now maybe some of you have had people reject the NAP on first discussion(or maybe that was after you started talking about the implications, which is different in my mind)- it just hasn't happened to me, so I skip the self ownership & Lockean property rights stuff when talking with people without knowledge of libertarianism in general.

  2. My favorite “honker” line from the story is this:

    “At this point in history, markets are necessary for human innovation and wealth creation.”

    As if markets being necessary is simply a function of which “point of history” we currently inhabit. Mises had refuted this likely before the article’s author was born.

  3. Well, that is Salon, after all. What else do we expect. Once Reason starts posting headlines like that, it will be a major problem.

  4. These are all lagging indicators. This change happened a long time ago.