Much like arguing with Religionists, Libertarians don't seem to need to have facts. Simple ideas and rhetoric is all that you need. I've hammered on the free capitalism arguments they make. If you take it to it's end, either you have too much government or two little and we never have the right mix to show where capitalism works. We are looking for friggin Goldilocks on all issues only we can't ever find the "just right" example of Libertarianism working. I have a Facebook friend whom I like. But he has 1800 FB friends and it's a Libertarian Hive Mind on his page. He posted a question today. There were 15 answers of bullshit. One of the persons had posted three times. I post the likely answer to his question, and the circle of denial starts all over again.
If you are a Libertarian, you should ask yourself this question. Am I arguing based on historical evidence, or wish thinking? If you are an Atheist you undoubtedly are choosing to live based on reality. The following has been altered to the relevant posts, but is an example of being dishonest with one's self. Consistently, this is what I run into with Libertarians. Facts... don't need those, I have ideology! It's as much a douche move as denying science and accepting religion.
I agree that I find that firebrand Libertarians are the most unpleasant to debate with. They do tend to attack me the most out of any differing political position from my own and the most ferociously.
At least I understand that most religious fundamentalists are coming from a place of ignorance and don't pretend to be highly educated and rational when they're not.
I have taken 3 college level economics classes and can point out the flaws of applying free market thinking universally and thinking it will always be efficient (when in fact even classical economic theory says that it will not always do that ie monopolies, oligopolies). For example for classical economic theory to work, it is based on a few assumptions and those assumptions are sometimes true and sometimes not depending on the market/industry you're taking about. (Any decent economist can tell you that water is a natural monopoly and there just cannot be a perfectly free competitive market for distributing water through pipelines) [Also in how many industries is there completely free access to information (no asymmetries between buyer and seller) and no formidable barriers to entry? And that there are no firms big enough to alone shift the price of the market is an assumption in what they teach you in microeconomics theory and if you've taken a look at the world, there are a lot of firms who can alone shift the prices of the markets alone.)
So there alone the assumptions that free market fundamentalists rely on do not exist in reality.] Anyway and thats just the flaws I can point out from what I know from classical economic theories they teach in college, I'm much more of a radical and ask tougher questions such as how can our entire model of wealth depend on unlimited growth on a planet with dwindling and finite resources?
The problem I find with free market fundamentalists is that they're enamored by a simplistic idea that's so enticing that it blinds them to seeing that the world is much more complicated and that all of human production and consumption cannot easily be explained by a simple hypothesis or theory.
Sometimes it feels like Libertarianism is almost like a religion! (Sort of like how Marxism is almost like a religion to some Marxists, though I'm definitely not against all socialists especially those who aren't just sectarians who think for themselves and don't just worship the dogma of some past intellectual)
We need only look as far as the BP spill to prove your point. BP skimped on safety equipment and rushed the well capping to save a few bucks. There was no requirement compelling them to take those precautions, and they had an economic interest in... understating the risks...
They continued to understate the spill until they were forced to admit the magnitude of it. They also refused to release footage, and when they did, they released the lowest resolution video they could even though they had HD video that could have helped determine the flow rate.
Not enough? Ok... Remember the financial meltdown of 2008? The regulations on the risk that banks are allowed to take with your money were stripped away. As soon as they were, they banks engaged in activity that would virtually guarantee a collapse. Of course, once again people had short term financial interests in mind. Pure profit does not lead to moral or benign decisions almost ever.
I got really into Ayn Rand for a while myself... though now I see how a lot of her views were too extreme. For a while, I was convinced that Capitalism was the way to go, but I failed to see that what she was insinuating was that those entrepreneurial people should run the world and that we could or should trust them.
Her message that "The Mind" should be the most revered quality in a person, and that people who were creative, thoughtful, inventive, etc... were being used and abused really resonated with me. That particular message still does resonate with me! When people sue doctors for "malpractice" on the one hand, then praise God that their loved one "miraculously" survived, I get really frustrated. Doctors get no credit for what they do for humanity! Scientists get no credit! The list of "great minds" goes on, and people take all their contributions completely for granted. Like I said, this message really spoke to me... so it was easy to swallow the rest of her message as well.
What I realize now is that there are still creative, inventive, genius people who are also greedy, opportunistic, callus and, generally, just bad! She didn't seem to realize that intelligence is not synonymous with goodness, and that people capable of creating something as awe-inspiring as a computer can also actively work to exploit their employees. She also seemed to have a lack of respect for the "working class" who made the inventions of her heroes possible through their toil and sweat.
It's too bad that much of her message was lost due to her subscription to pure Capitalism or even Libertarianism. She definitely had too much "faith" the character of her heroes. There's so much of what she said that instilled pride and confidence in me where religion had stripped me of my identity and self-worth.
Either way, now I see that Libertarianism is too idealistic and, ironically, very self-centered. I just wish we could come up with a workable, realistic system.
A few years back I asked an Objectivist to give me a summary of this Randian philosophy. I was told that it was best if I read some of Rand's work. I told him that I didn't feel that it was necessary to read a large work of fiction in order to understand it. He had a real hard time finding a way to explain it to me in a convincing manner.
But that made me realize the hook in Objectivism. Despite the namesake and the stated nature of this philosophy, it is an emotionally charged position. You can better understand Objectivism by reading Rand's work because she paints ideal protagonists and antagonists for it to work. She sets the stage and directs the characters in ways that will justify and vindicate her viewpoints. Readers engage with these characters and either sympathize or vilify. People then get caught up in heady arguments of logic that are fueled by emotion in order to justify it as well.
These visceral opinions, however, can blind many to logical conclusions and blatant contradictions and problems. This is what I see with religion, too. It has a similar basis and leads to this similar self delusion.
I agree. It's definitely ironic that Objectivism is so emotionally charged... since um, we're supposed to be objective. And you're completely right; she did set up the entire story to support her convictions. In the real world, it is not the way she painted it. There is no John Galt or Hank Reardon, and "everyone else" is not always a leech! And the Hank Reardons of the world are not always trustworthy, and that's the basic premise of Rand's philosophy that I have to reject.
Frink is the one who blasted me for being so... Randy. ;)
A truly free market leads to several things. A prohibitive monopoly, where there's no competition because it is crushed by the eventual 'victor'. The cheapest possible means of production and the least amount of honesty in negotiations will win, so we'll see harmful chemicals, externalized costs, etc. Lastly those very powerful businesses will have nearly unlimited 'funding' opportunities for politicians, virtually guaranteeing a perpetually corrupt government. (Worse than it is even today)
That's in my line of thinking as well. It's not unlike history either. It's why we've had to grow the government. I feel like it's too big, but have you heard of Enron, Credit Swaps, Derivatives, etc. It's still not controlled. You bring up those things and "No, that's not free market's fault." Ugh! When in history did we have free market and where is this beacon that we should aspire to? [crickets]
Right and when a corporation, which is legally compelled to try to improve their bottom line, exploits holes in regulations to do so; all I hear from them is "Well they're still too regulated and that's the problem."
Exactly what regulations still need to be removed and why? As you say...[crickets]
Corporations are government-created entities. If there was an actual "seperation of market and state" you wouldn't see government creating those entities. Neither would you see corporations buying off politicians in order to keep small businesses down.