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But our culture has already degraded to a point that customers cannot expect business owners to issue, let alone enforce, demands of respectful behavior... for both legal and non-legal reasons.
That said, we won't escape the status quo and restore old standards of neighborly respect by only talking about it.
There's an easy and powerful action to alleviate situations like this: stop patronizing theaters and restaurants that don't enforce cell phone bans - and tell them you're doing it.
Perhaps you're right, and business owners have become cowards. But so have customers if they keep spending their own hard-earned money at businesses that annoy them.
However, while we're talking about proportionality, it can't be forgotten that the womanslappedWilliamson (I assume it was across the face) after he grabbed her phone. It may have been pure reaction on her part, but would you say it was an overreaction on her part?
She certainly overstepped as well, but that's no justification for what he did - especially since he acted first and could not know how she would react.
Since when is a theater a "public" place? It is a private business, and Williamson should have respected that he was on someone else's property.
At some point, the responsibility for too many annoying cell phone users in a theater or restaurant lies with the proprietor, not the patron.
And if one does feel the need to take matters into one's own hand, let's use some proportionality. Physical intervention is proper in the cases of assault being bandied about in this thread - but it is overwrought against a woman and her cell phone. Kudos to those here who have found "peaceful" methods of pestering cell phone users into submission.
I hope Obama isn't brought down. Forcing him out of office would simply allow the press to portray him as a victim, and would put Republicans in the history books as the party that ran the first black president out of town.
It would be much more devastating to let Obama stay right where he is: roasting on the skewer. We have discovered that when cornered, Obama is a master at making himself less appealing. All he needs is unwavering but moderate pressure from Republicans, and he provides the self-destruction himself.
His diehard supporters will never leave him. But another 3 years of Obama embarrassing himself and the country might be the best tool to demoralize the huge "mushy middle" that believed in the Obama fantasy.
I actually think it is worth acknowledging that some super-PACs might have been trying to obtain non-profit status while engaging in political activism. After all, those tax laws were democratically enacted.
But there are some more important points liberals need to accept:
- If the president thought conservative super-PACs were playing foul, he should have publicly called shenanigans instead of secretly sending government goons after them.
- Democratic PACs try to skirt tax laws just as much as Republicans.
- Democrats need to accept that they have lost the campaign finance debate. And considering they won the last election, it shouldn't be such a bitter pill to swallow.
Sometimes I wish we could coin a new term for those of us who call ourselves libertarian but are not pro-libertine, amoral, anarchist, or total isolationists.
There is a term for such people: libertarian.
Libertarianism is not amoral, it is definitely distinct from libertinism, does not reject all law, and places a great value on voluntary community and civil society. · 1 minute ago
Agreed, but just like the term "liberal," "libertarian" has taken on connotations in our contemporary society which would be unrecognizable by its past luminaries (or us).
No, but if there was Jello involved they might sponsor a disrobing ceremony.
I still think that an entirely separate but still incredibly serious problem is the skyrocketing cost of education.
A common issue here is the role of residential life departments in modern secondary education. Dorms on campus used to be a way of lowering costs and facilitating academic and some social exchange for students. Now most colleges run their residential life departments as profit-seeking, politically- and marketing-driven Club Meds.
And skyrocketing tuition often helps this racket by bundling academics and residential life into one package price - thus allowing funds to be siphoned off for useless or silly activities, while using academics as an excuse for raising prices.
Nothing is wrong with HOAs. The problem is complacency and lack of involvement. ...Unfortunately, the nags and improvers are the ones who want to be on board and that's why they are always getting into trouble.
I would argue that both of your latter points are things that are "wrong" with HOAs. But I agree that they serve a vital role.
My hunch is simply that as we collectively learn from experience, more responsibility will be shifted away from boards elected by simple majorities, and toward independently-contracted, for-profit property managers who carry the liability for their actions. I also imagine that HOA "democracies" will slowly take a cue from the U.S. Constitution and implement more checks and balances, and perhaps supermajority requirements for more decisions/elections.
I'm not sure that women in combat is an issue on which there is a divide between libertarians and conservatives. It seems to me to be an empirical question about whether women are capable of performing the tasks combatant positions require. Everyone capable has a right to serve, but the nature of their service should be governed by their suitablity to a particular task. As to the "integration training," that seems to me to be fairly antithetical to a libertarian idea.
Agree with Sal.
I am concerned that many conservatives often ascribe opinions to libertarians which most of us do not hold (other examples being SSM or abortion). We do not take the knee-jerk liberal position on any and all "social" issues.
Of course, "libertarianism" is like Walt Whitman - large and containing self-contradicting multitudes. Sometimes I wish we could coin a new term for those of us who call ourselves libertarian but are not pro-libertine, amoral, anarchist, or total isolationists.
The latter may be something of a paradox, but no one said libertarianism is self-sustaining without constant vigilence by its participants. · 6 minutes ago
I don't think it's a paradox at all. Where is the paradox in saying that we should have narrowly limited laws, but they should be strictly enforced? There's no paradox in saying we should have a strong military, but should limit our wars to those of necessity.
It may not be a formal paradox, but I do think it runs against human nature, especially the nature of self-governed groups.
I think your military example demonstrates this: having a strong military has led to a constant temptation to use it, one to which we regularly succumb. It is difficult for society, and especially society's representatives in government, to wield great power yet restrain themselves from using it.
2. The biggest external check of all is reality.
But when it comes to morality, the conservatives seem to ignore the effects of incentives and demand that the government take coercive action to protect the morals of society. ..
Conservatives should understand that you can't legislate behavior - that it arises from the incentive system created by society and by government.
I think we as libertarians also have to admit that we too often present an oversimplified picture of the incentive structures constraining private behavior vs. economic behavior.
The transactional nature of business provides an external brake on destructive behavior in a way that is unmatched in the private realm. The consequences of being a bad worker are usually felt much more directly than those of bad child-rearing.
The incentives are also of a different nature. Incentives, at their root, are psychological phenomena with similar goals but differing manifestations: our internal reward for earning money feels different from the reward for having promiscuous sex or getting high.
I still believe that libertarian policies will achieve the best results in non-economic matters, but we shouldn't breeze over serious differences between economic and personal incentives.
Thanks for sharing, Doug. I find HOAs to be peculiar phenomena: on the one hand, they seem to be a large step toward free market/libertarian ideals: a self-chosen and self-governing community above and beyond (if by no means independent of) codified law.
On the other hand, HOAs seem to make nearly everyone involved unhappy.
Does that mean that mediocre is the best we can wish for in a free-association-based society? Or are HOAs still so novel as to be an underdeveloped intermediate form of self-governance, an evolutionary baby step?
I hope it's the latter. But I can also imagine that any further developments in residential communities will see less democracy and more skin-in-the-game, business-style arrangements.
But a government which is too weak erodes civil society in a different fashion. ....What is required is a strong set of laws that lay a firm foundation for liberty. These laws must be limited, and must be checked and mixed.
Agree. As a libertarian, I think we too often conflate the notions of having a weak government and having a limited but strong government.
The latter may be something of a paradox, but no one said libertarianism is self-sustaining without constant vigilence by its participants.
Fred, I agree with your entire post. But I think you're missing a major conservative criticism of libertarianism.
Most conservatives agree that the welfare state, entitlements, and other financial support structures allievate the need for (or even push away) families, communities, and the church. I don't think many conservatives disagree with most of what you wrote.
The differences between conservatives and libertarians always arise around the issues of non-traditional or non-"virtuous" lifestyle choices and to what extent the state or civil society should tolerate them.
The conservative view of human nature is that without strong external checks on certainly seemingly harmless behaviors, man will inevitably enter into a moral downward spiral which will spread throughout civil society.
Sweet and Low
But what is the viable alternative?
Profiling. · 1 hour ago
And arm pilots. · 7 minutes ago
A good idea, but not a substitute for TSA security checks. An armed pilot is little help against a fuselage with a bombhole in its side.
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