Desmond Ravenstone Asks

In a long thread on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/groups/FreeMindsFreeMarkets/permalink/1872544956396563/?comment_id=1872730083044717&notif_t=group_comment_mention&notif_id=1506217198880301

Desmond Ravenstone asks:
“Am I to assume that many of the previous commenters here equate libertarianism with ethical egoism??”

Ben Bachrach responded:
“Libertarianism is about using force only for self defense. It is a political philosophy. Ethical egoism claims to encompass more than politics.”

Desmond Ravenstone responded:
” Ben, the comments I’m reading here come across as justifying sheer self-interest in the name of liberty. Is it any wonder that you have LP members cherry-picking on issues, such as opposing its immigration policy because they think it will hurt *them*?

Just as freedom of speech and press is useless if you prevent people from learning how to read or write or express themselves, I find it hard to justify calls for economic liberty when so many people are prevented from access to the tools for exercising it, and people egoistically argue “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, so anyone else should be able to do so.”

Louis Kelso, who pioneered employee stock ownership plans, put forward this analogy: “The Roman arena was technically a level playing field. But on one side were the lions with all the weapons, and on the other the Christians with all the blood. That’s not a level playing field. That’s a slaughter. And so is putting people into the economy without equipping them with capital, while equipping a tiny handful of people with hundreds and thousands of times more than they can use.” So the challenge remains for libertarians to find market-based solutions for giving more people access to the means of creating wealth.”

My reply starts here:
Desmond, thank you for your long reply.  I find it difficult to respond to long comments on Facebook, so have directed you here. Your words in blue, my response in black

the comments I’m reading here come across as justifying sheer self-interest in the name of liberty.

I will let each commentator speak for themselves. I am just responding to what you and I wrote.  I do not understand why sheer self-interest needs to be justified as long as people use moral means to seek their self-interest. It seems you are trying to set up a strawman, by giving a negative connotation to self-interest, and then conflating that to libertarianism.

Is it any wonder that you have LP members cherry-picking on issues, such as opposing its immigration policy because they think it will hurt *them*?

Since I support open borders, and don’t use consequentialist arguments, I ignore those who think closed borders are moral. I find lots of people who support closed borders because they think it would be good for the country, and the nation’s poor. Please provide some examples of people who argue for closed borders because they think open borders will hurt themselves. 

Just as freedom of speech and press is useless if you prevent people from learning how to read or write or express themselves, I find it hard to justify calls for economic liberty when so many people are prevented from access to the tools for exercising it, and people egoistically argue “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, so anyone else should be able to do so.”

I know of no one who calls themselves libertarian who advocates for governments to prevent people learning to read, write, or express themselves. Nor do I know of libertarians who advocate government policies that restrict economic liberty.  Rather libertarians support universal economic liberty.  

Louis Kelso, who pioneered employee stock ownership plans, put forward this analogy: “The Roman arena was technically a level playing field. But on one side were the lions with all the weapons, and on the other the Christians with all the blood. That’s not a level playing field. That’s a slaughter. And so is putting people into the economy without equipping them with capital, while equipping a tiny handful of people with hundreds and thousands of times more than they can use.” So the challenge remains for libertarians to find market-based solutions for giving more people access to the means of creating wealth.

The Roman arena you bring up was not a voluntary situation. Your metaphor does not align with a free economy. The only ones who put somebody into an economy is the person’s parents. If someone has a complaint about where their adventure in life started, than all they can do is blame their parents.   Libertarians don’t need to find market-based solutions for giving more people access to the means of creating wealth. We believe people not shacked by the those willing to initiate force can find their own solutions to have a happy life. Creating wealth is not a libertarian goal, it is a consequence of libertarian policies.

Privacy is foolish public policy

Zoltan Istvan writes

Liberty Might be Better Served by Doing Away with Privacy

I agree and would also say that knowledge is power, and the more that knowledge is spread through society the more just is the society. With everyone having equal access to knowledge, fraud and deceit is minimized especially when it is politicians and government that are trying to deceive by keeping secrets. Knowledge like liberty is something you can give everyone without taking something physically from someone. The idea that knowledge can be used for economic or political advantage should be considered immoral just as the use of force is considered immoral by those following the Non-Aggression Principle.

 

Questions for those who want Abortion to be illegal

  1. If abortion is illegal:
    • 1a – what should the penalties be for the woman who has an abortion?
    • 1b- the man if he supported her decision?
    • 1c. the medical staff or drug companies who assisted the event?
    • 1d. a doctor or other person who learns of an abortion and does not report it to the authorities?
  2. Should the government investigate all miscarriages to determine if a crime has been committed?
  3. Should women who are pregnant have to register with the government when they know they are pregnant, so the officials will know who to monitor for possible criminal activity?
  4. Should doctors have to report to the government when they learn a woman is pregnant, so officials will know who to monitor for possible criminal activity?

I am not trolling, these are questions I would like someone who wants to make abortion illegal provide either answers, or a link to a site that provides answers to these questions.

Lets make America Stronger by making the Government Weaker.

In a previous post Jacob Hornberger  argues in favor of making the government weaker. I support his position, but extended the discussion to the following with some editing.

Ben:
One of the push backs by those who favor at least some significant standing army/navy is that today we would not have the time we had before WWI and WWII to mobilize and without large conventional forces the U.S. government would be more likely to use nuclear weapons.

Jacob:
“No nation state has the remotest military capability (or the interest) in invading the U.S. It is an absolute impossibility. Most people have no idea of what would be needed to cross the ocean and carry out a successful invasion. By the time some nation had gathered together the millions of troops, ships, aircraft, supplies, bullets, bombs, and other things necessary for an invasion (and occupation), the U.S. would have plenty of time to prepare to defend, especially since the nation would already be oriented to defense. See Switzerland. They are not separated by an ocean and still no one jacks with them. It is much easier for a force to defend than to attack. It was a terrible mistake to convert the U.S. into a national security state–in my opinion the worst in U.S. history. It is taking our country down, both with the destruction of our freedom and financial bankruptcy.”
 
Ben:
People seem to want more than protection from total invasion. They want protection from:

  •  lone wolf terrorist attacks
  • rogue states like North Korea lobbing a nuke at us
  • and even internet hacking or alleged hacking.

Those attacks don’t take months of preparation to be sure, but people also need to understand it does not take a standing army with outpost in 100 nations to try to protect us from those occurrences.

The public doesn’t want to trust that the problem is our interventions, and that other people would not bother us if we did not bother them.  Most people still think that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor for the hell of it, and the World Trade Center attack was because Arabs do not like our freedom.
The U.S. should pull its troops out of South Korea and let the world know we will not defend South Korea unless:
  • South Korea formally notifies the U.N. that South Korea is a U.S. protectorate,
  • and all South Korean businessmen annually send in 1040 Forms and remittances to the the U.S.

When I have nothing better to do, I will try to get John Bolton to make that policy recommendation.

Final words from Jacob:
“The problem is that anti-American terrorism is rooted in what the military and the CIA do to people over there. So, it becomes a never-ending racket–they go kill people over there, people retaliate, and then people say, “we have to be over there to kill them before they kill us over here, and so they kill more people, which then causes people to retaliate, etc. etc.

In other words, the threat of retaliation becomes the justification for doing what is causing the retaliation. That’s why I keep bringing up Switzerland. It limits itself to defense. It isn’t killing people in other countries. It’s not stationed in Korea or anywhere else. No terrorist retaliatory strikes. North Korea is much more concerned about a U.S. war of aggression than in invading South Korea. It just wants to be left alone but it knows that the US national securty state isn’t  going to leave it alone, any more than it left Iraq alone, or Libya, or Syria.
 
Morever, terrorism is a criminal offense. You don’t need an enormous standing army to deal with it.
 
Japan bombed Pearl Harbor because FDR squeezed them with the embargo on oil. Once that embargo went into place, Japan had two options: cease military operations in China, which it was never going to do, or try to knock out the U.S. ability to interfere with taking oil from the Dutch East Indies. There was never any threat by Japan to invade and occupy the U.S. And Germany couldn’t even cross the English Channel to invade England. Fat chance of crossing the Atlantic to invade the U.S. In any event, FDR got what he wanted and why he was provoking the Japanese into attacking–entry of the U.S. into WWII.
 
People are still convinced that the military industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA–all Cold War institutions–are necessary for their security and wellbeing. Our ancestors had it right–which is why America lived without these things for more than 100 years–they bring a nation down, not only with respect to the destruction of liberty and privacy but also financially.”

BEMUSED OVER RUSSIAN “MEDDLING”

Jacob Hornberger considers the Left’s concerns about the Trump – Russian axis.

Click here for full article

Excepts:

What’s wrong with an American politician “colluding” with a Russian politician to win an American election?

How come no one talked about prosecuting FDR for colluding with the Soviet communists?

While we are on the subject of U.S. regime-change operations, both foreign and domestic, a question naturally arises: If Russian “meddling” in U.S. elections is considered to be a bad thing, then why does the U.S. government meddle in elections and other domestic politics in other countries?

 

Maybe — just maybe — the Trump-Russia controversy will cause more Americans to do some serious soul-searching over the meddling in which the U.S. government has engaged in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and yes, even Russia. Maybe — just maybe — the Trump-Russia controversy will cause Americans to question why their government is now based on the principles of empire, a national-security state, and foreign interventionism.

 

 

Simplify Tax Paying

There is talk that Congress will revise the Income Tax laws.  Usually these revisions make filing tax returns more complicated.

If the majority of Americans continue to want the IRS to collect income taxes, lets at least reduce the burden on the typical American.

Currently the system requires the individual to file tax returns. The IRS then compares the information you provided with W-2, 1099’s, Mortgage Payments etc they receive from third parties, and decide whether to bother you, or send you a refund.

How about doing it the other way. Let the IRS compute what they think your income taxes should be based on the information they collect, then send you a statement. If you agree with their calculations, then pay the amount owed or ask for a check for the over-payment. If you disagree with their statement then file a return stating what you think is the proper amount.

 

 

 

 

Time for Single Payer Food System

foodPrepWhen I drive on the highway near my home, I pass dozens of eating establishments. Most are 1/2 empty. What a waste.

I go to the supermarket and see aisles and aisles of food languishing on the shelves. What a waste.

Most homes have a stove and an oven that at most are used 10% of the time. What a waste.

Many people drive to supermarkets in gasoline powered vehicles emitting dreaded carbon-dioxide. Wrecking the environment.

Some people cannot afford to pay for food without getting government SNAP cards. Just think of the cost to determine who is eligible for SNAP cards.

Professional nutritionists know best what everybody needs. How many people consult with a nutritionist before deciding what to eat?

It is time to make the food delivery system less costly, and equally available to everyone.

A single payer system could be the best way to go. Using your tax dollars, experts in Washington would pay all the costs of preparing and delivering a nourishing broth to everyone. The broth would be scientifically formulated so that all someone would need to do is eat the proper amount within a 24 hour period to remain healthy.

There could be a fine imposed on anyone who did not eat the right amount. The fine would start small for the slacker who just happened to forget to eat the required portion, but would ramp up for those who seriously under eat. The fine is justified because those who do not eat enough will end up in the health care system, and we would all have to pay for making the person healthy.

About 8.5 million stoves are bought each year. Think of the saving if people did not need to buy stoves. Next year sales are expected to be even higher. www.statista.com/statistics/295477/unit-shipments-of-electric-gas-cooking-appliances/

People are concerned about pipelines that carry petroleum products. A system can be developed that would allow us to eliminate these potentially dangerous pipelines. The government kitchens would be built near the well head of major pipelines, and then (after proper cleaning) the nourishing broth could be delivered to major cities in the pipelines. All the details would have to be worked out, but the concept is sound. Think of all the jobs that would be created building the broth infrastructure. The oil pipelines would no longer be needed, because people would not be driving to supermarkets or restaurants.

Just think, coupon clipping for food discounts would be obsolete. Newspapers and mail carriers will be delighted not having to print and deliver coupons.

If you have other good ideas how a SPFS (Single Payer Food System) would be best for the country let me know at BenBachrach@gmail.com.