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.
...and this discussion is a perfect example of my biggest issue with the libertarian party. When I was involved with the party in the late 80's the one big issue I couldn't get past was one of economics. I lived and breathed mid-to-large businesses and couldn't reconcile what I saw happening in the absence of regulation/oversight and what the party line was. When I would bring this up during meetings I would get the same answer..."If only we had a free market..." or variations of the same. When I would attempt to press the issue that there is no such thing as a free market and there never was, or never will be, I would be ignored (with some rather interesting looks). When I then uttered the sacrilege that a "free market" wouldn't necessarily be a good thing for us, I was asked to leave. Don't get me wrong...I loved the idea of everybody getting along and nobody being poor; but that only happened in my SciFi books.
When I challenge points with examples of where capitalism has failed us ethically I hear back things like "That's anarcho-capitalism" or I follow "rule of law" capitalism. I can't pin them down or get them to demonstrate the successes of a Libertarian government. There are 195 countries in the world and about 10,000 years of written history. No examples exist? It's like nailing Jello to the wall. Everything in moderation I say.
I couldn't agree more! There is no magic formula that is fail-safe. We just have to be flexible and do what works while it works; if in ten years what works now stops working, discard the old way and come up with something else (even if temporarily). Nothing is static, right?
Okay, I didn't read all four pages of comments, so please forgive me if I ask questions that have already been answered. I'm a political science major, and I have always been a bit of a socialist, and in some ways a neoliberal, but I had to read some Libertarian stuff (Charles Murray and Ron Paul) for a political theory course, and, while I'm not entirely on board yet, I'm definitely interested. So, I am tentatively saying that I may now have some significant classical liberal sympathies.
To sum up the reasoning behind this, I will simply say: 1. Government spending is entirely out of control, and I have seen very little evidence to suggest that the more we've spent, the more we've gained. 2. It seems like the people who are pissing me off, and have been since I was 13, are mostly government officials. Why do I continue to support expanding their power(s)?
I can name a few ways the gov't is pissing me off:
-telling me who I can / can't marry
-telling me what I can/can't drink, smoke, ingest
-promoting attacks on this country with an overagressive and expansive foreign policy bordering on imperialism
-taking a ton of my money from my paycheck
-making America the land of "permits"... seriously, I can't even throw a line into the water without getting permission from the government? come on, it's stuff people have done for thousands of years
I wouldn't look to expand government as a whole. I'd jump for joy to see a military cut in half. That's because I don't fear us being attacked. We'd still have the largest military in the world by a wide margin and we'd free up more than 300 billion a year.
There are areas that could benefit from gov oversight. I'm a Bismark healthcare proponent. it leaves it all privatized with access and price controls being governed by a panel. japan, 3000 insurance providers. Germany, health care as good as you would get in the US. It gives us a voice, a choice, and prevents excessive profit on misery.
There are many areas to shrink. Need FCC to tell us what to watch or listen to? No. Need DEA fighting War on Drugs that makes no headway whereas Portugal and Netherlands have decriminalized drugs only to find profit and lower crime rates? No. The list would go on.
Our problem in the US is that we think enforcement is the answer to everything. It isn't. There are things that have shown a lack of regulation is detrimental to all (Stock market), whereas regulation is the detriment to us all (drugs).
That's my small two cents on the sizing of gov.
Also, let's not forget GEICO. That stands for Government Employee Insurance COmpany. It was opened to the public as the "public option" of auto insurance. By providing real competition, without getting sucked up into the oligopoly, it keeps the other insurance companies honest. It is explicitly NOT a free market solution in that it is direct government intervention.
I'm not worried about the size of government, but i am worried about corruption of government. Here I vehemently disagree with Libertarian ideology. I do because unregulated business will have too much ability to "purchase" favors from legislators. You know, like they do now, but worse.
For the US to survive we cannot keep our current level of debt (and debt increase). Priorities are going to have to be set. Were the debate is going to get nasty is on what the priorities are. I feel that our military should be provisioned with the best there is, however, with two wars going on the DOD budget is way high (stratosphere). My personal feeling is that both wars have gone for too long and should end. For that reason alone the costs would drop dramatically. The so-called war on drugs is an abismal failure. All we are doing is putting money into the drug cartel's hands and imprisoning our citizens (at what cost?). I don't know the latest statistics, but it is a tragedy how many people are in prison for marijuana possession. That's like imprisoning people for possession of a case of beer for pete's sake! I also think the IRS could shrink by a lot as well. I know that flat-rate tax isn't popular but today's tax code has too many loop holes. I've seen too many rich people slide by and end up paying little tax, which makes me sick. A simplified tax system could reduce this abuse. Some of my thoughts.
We may be in a minority with the flat tax, but it speaks my language. For example, i have a corp. My truck as an example costs me about $6000 a year with fuel, maint, etc. The standard deduction is 14 k. Thank you all for the extra 8 grand that I don't have to pay taxes on or justify.
If I had a private jet, and I wanted to fly from Seattle to Miami for a meeting. I don't want to spend four hours in airports, you know. So I spend 10 grand an hour or 120,000 to fly (fuel, pilots, land fees, maint, hangar fee, etc.) For four hours savings, I now don't have to pay taxes on 3 average workers salaries. Thanks average workers!
This is our tax code as is. It's brilliant from the top.
I agree, quite possibly totally. I would want the standard deduction to stand for those who are struggling to make end's meet. All dollars above the standard deduction should be taxed at the same rate. All income; no matter what kind. That includes dividends, capital gains, etc.
There are too many loopholes. How did they get in there? See my above comments about the influence of private interests on government through favors of service and finance.
How much reading about the government have you been doing since you were 13?
Why do you think government spending is out of control? Welfare? Pre-school funding? No, the military budget is ridiculous and much of it unnecessary. For example why do we need to spend many times over on the military (not including the cost of the wars) compared to our nearest competitor China, when they're an authoritarian state in a semi-stable region. We've got a very stable continent and we're supposedly a democratic republic.
And WHICH government officials are you mad at? Congress? Understaffed regulators? Social workers? Some government officials do great jobs and are underpaid actually (when they could be in the private sector making better money). Most politicians are terrible due to the nature of the system and those who aren't terrible are generally sidelined.
I've basically heard Libertarians argue that there should be no social safety net. I grew up in poverty and had government health care and school lunches and look at me now, I'm studying abroad in Japan, and attend one of the most elite universities in the country and can chat on a broad range of subjects. Now I know most people don't expect that from someone from the "ghetto" but I would be probably working full-time and going to college part time at state, if it were not for government help and a social safety net. Otherwise its going to be like feudal Europe all over again, where pretty much where you were born is where you stay no matter how intelligent you are or how hard you work.