Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Mere Libertarianism

 

Libertarianism is the subject of regular debate on Ricochet, both between conservatives and libertarians and — if you really want to see heated debate — among different kinds of libertarians. Taking inspiration from C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, member Sal Padula and I recorded a conversation in which we attempt to distill libertarianism down to its essence and explore some basic questions about it, including:

What is libertarianism? What isn’t libertarianism? What is its relationship to conservatism (both in America and abroad)? How do contemporary politicians fare under a libertarian analysis? The results may surprise you (and are largely free of references to Rand Paul!).


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Resources: Hayek’s essay “Why I Am Not a Conservative.”

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  1. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Could you have Max add a button to download this? A lot of us like to download the podcasts so we can listen to them away from the computer.

    • #1
    • October 12, 2015, at 11:34 AM PDT
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  2. BrentB67 Inactive

    Tom, I will have to postpone my indulging this performance until I have a drink in my hand.

    I see the recording is a mere 44 minutes. Did counselor Padula yield a few minutes for rebuttal?

    • #2
    • October 12, 2015, at 11:35 AM PDT
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  3. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Isn’t libertarian what effeminate men call themselves in front of liberal chicks to sound tough?

    (That was a joke people. Lighten up, he said preemptively.)

    • #3
    • October 12, 2015, at 11:42 AM PDT
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  4. BrentB67 Inactive

    The King Prawn:Isn’t libertarian what effeminate men called themselves in front of liberal chicks to sound tough?

    (That was a joke people. Lighten up, he said preemptively.)

    That just added a 100 comments before sun down.

    • #4
    • October 12, 2015, at 11:43 AM PDT
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  5. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Randy Weivoda:Could you have Max add a button to download this? A lot of us like to download the podcasts so we can listen to them away from the computer.

    Done!

    • #5
    • October 12, 2015, at 11:47 AM PDT
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  6. Done Contributor

    Huckabee also opposes entitlement reform…

    • #6
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:16 PM PDT
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  7. Misthiocracy held his nose and Member
    Misthiocracy held his nose and Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men.” – Milton Friedman

    “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.” – Matt Kibbe

    It ain’t rocket surgery.

    • #7
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:20 PM PDT
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  8. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Adult who can give valid consent? Please define that better. Surely it cannot be defined by an arbitrary number of times the earth has revolved around the sun (or vice versa, depending on your individually held beliefs) but rather on the individual in question. How then would people acting in society prevent one from rubbing genitals with a non-adult except by interviewing the potential child after the fact. Or, the other option would be people acting in society giving consent before any genital rubbing occurs. Neither seems like a good option. Am I just being obtuse (always a possibility)?

    • #8
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:21 PM PDT
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  9. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    The King Prawn: Adult who can give valid consent? Please define that better. Surely it cannot be defined by an arbitrary number of times the earth has revolved around the sun (or vice versa, depending on your individually held beliefs) but rather on the individual in question.

    I’d say that age is a useful heuristic for maturity on the ground that it’s reasonably accurate and (more importantly) easy to determine. Other standards may make more sense, but could also be sufficiently complicated as to be more easily gamed and/or taken advantage of.

    • #9
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:30 PM PDT
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  10. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    The King Prawn: Adult who can give valid consent? Please define that better. Surely it cannot be defined by an arbitrary number of times the earth has revolved around the sun (or vice versa, depending on your individually held beliefs) but rather on the individual in question.

    I’d say that age is a useful heuristic for maturity on the ground that it’s reasonably accurate and (more importantly) easy to determine. Other standards may make more sense, but could also be sufficiently complicated as to be more easily gamed and/or taken advantage of.

    But for someone 17 years, 364 days old it’s an exceptionally arbitrary standard and aggresses grievously against that person’s autonomy. The point, I suppose, is that sometimes that arbitrariness is required no matter how distasteful it is to us because the logical conclusion of doing away with it is chaos and bedlam. Or at least a level of lawlessness unacceptable to almost all of us.

    • #10
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:34 PM PDT
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  11. Done Contributor

    The King Prawn: Surely it cannot be defined by an arbitrary number of times the earth has revolved around the sun

    The number isn’t arbitrary. It’s fair to say it doesn’t cover the issue on it’s own, but it certainly isn’t arbitrary.

    • #11
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:36 PM PDT
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  12. Done Contributor

    The King Prawn:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    The King Prawn: Adult who can give valid consent? Please define that better. Surely it cannot be defined by an arbitrary number of times the earth has revolved around the sun (or vice versa, depending on your individually held beliefs) but rather on the individual in question.

    I’d say that age is a useful heuristic for maturity on the ground that it’s reasonably accurate and (more importantly) easy to determine. Other standards may make more sense, but could also be sufficiently complicated as to be more easily gamed and/or taken advantage of.

    But for someone 17 years, 364 days old it’s an exceptionally arbitrary standard and aggresses grievously against that person’s autonomy. The point, I suppose, is that sometimes that arbitrariness is required no matter how distasteful it is to us because the logical conclusion of doing away with it is chaos and bedlam. Or at least a level of lawlessness unacceptable to almost all of us.

    The word you are looking for is “approximation”, not “arbitrary”.

    • #12
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:38 PM PDT
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  13. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Frank Soto: The number isn’t arbitrary.

    Quothe the Raven: BS. What is the legal age to consume alcohol? What was it in 1983? Why can my 16 year old daughter consent to sex with an 18 year old in Vancouver, Wa, but not in Portland Or, right across the bridge? We pull those numbers out of our rears as a society.

    • #13
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:42 PM PDT
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  14. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Frank Soto: The word you are looking for is “approximation”, not “arbitrary”.

    According to Parmenides the beginning of wisdom is to say what is and is not. Our laws follow this in that they are very binary. Today something illegal, tomorrow it is not. There is no approximation to it.

    • #14
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:44 PM PDT
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  15. BrentB67 Inactive

    Frank Soto:Huckabee also opposes entitlement reform…

    That’s Ok. Most people oppose Huckabee.

    • #15
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:45 PM PDT
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  16. Done Contributor

    The King Prawn:

    Frank Soto: The number isn’t arbitrary.

    Quothe the Raven: BS. What is the legal age to consume alcohol? What was it in 1983? Why can my 16 year old daughter consent to sex with an 18 year old in Vancouver, Wa, but not in Portland Or, right across the bridge? We pull those numbers out of our rears as a society.

    Not really. The age of consent varies from 16-18. Average American life expectancy is about 79. That 3 year span of 16-18 represents less than 4% of the ages where consent could have been set if it was actually arbitrary.

    That range clearly was chosen for non arbitrary reasons, though it reflects disagreement about where the exact line should be drawn.

    • #16
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:46 PM PDT
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  17. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Frank Soto:

    The King Prawn:

    Frank Soto: The number isn’t arbitrary.

    Quothe the Raven: BS. What is the legal age to consume alcohol? What was it in 1983? Why can my 16 year old daughter consent to sex with an 18 year old in Vancouver, Wa, but not in Portland Or, right across the bridge? We pull those numbers out of our rears as a society.

    Not really. The age of consent varies from 16-18. Average American life expectancy is about 79. That 3 year span of 16-18 represents less than 4% of the ages where consent could have been set if it was actually arbitrary.

    That range clearly was chosen for non arbitrary reasons, though reflects disagreement about where the exact line should be drawn.

    But what does that have to do with being an adult capable of giving valid consent especially when we’re talking about the citizen’s relationship to the state and the state’s rightful claim to initiate force and deprive an individual of physical liberty?

    • #17
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:49 PM PDT
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  18. Salvatore Padula Inactive

    I’m a little surprised the the criteria for valid consent are what has elicited the most controversy, particularly since it is a concept that our society uses all the time in a variety of contexts without a great deal of difficulty.

    • #18
    • October 12, 2015, at 12:59 PM PDT
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  19. Done Contributor

    The King Prawn:

    Frank Soto:

    Not really. The age of consent varies from 16-18. Average American life expectancy is about 79. That 3 year span of 16-18 represents less than 4% of the ages where consent could have been set if it was actually arbitrary.

    That range clearly was chosen for non arbitrary reasons, though reflects disagreement about where the exact line should be drawn.

    But what does that have to do with being an adult capable of giving valid consent especially when we’re talking about the citizen’s relationship to the state and the state’s rightful claim to initiate force and deprive an individual of physical liberty?

    1) I assume you’d agree that we libertarians consider rape a violation of the harm principle.

    2) I further assume you’d agree that someone without sufficient mental capacity is not capable of giving consent, and therefore responsibility falls to the other party to insure harm is avoided.

    3) I also consider it a safe assumption that you’d agree that human mental capabilities increase with age until somewhere in the twenties. Though people all develop a little differently, I’m not sure why you would find it surprising that age would therefore become the primary measure of when a person is able to give consent.

    • #19
    • October 12, 2015, at 1:01 PM PDT
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  20. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Frank Soto: 1) I assume you’d agree that we libertarians consider rape a violation of the harm principle. 2) I further assume you’d agree that someone without sufficient mental capacity is not capable of giving consent, and therefore responsibility falls to the other party to insure harm is avoided. 3) I also consider it a safe assumption that you’d agree that human mental capabilities increase with age until somewhere in the twenties. Though people all develop a little differently, I’m not sure why you would find it surprising that age would therefore become the primary measure of when a person is able to give consent.

    I agree on all these point. What I disagree on is that today the development is not sufficient to give valid consent but tomorrow it will be. It’s not that age is the primary measure; rather, it’s that age becomes a proxy for mental capacity to give valid consent whether or not it is true for the individual in question.

    I’m not saying we should have no age of consent, I’m just trying to wrest from some the admission of the reality that most of our laws, even the ones we like, don’t make much sense on an individual level especially in close proximity to where a binary flips. We can’t get it right for individuals, and libertarianism generally doesn’t err on the side of the collective.

    • #20
    • October 12, 2015, at 1:12 PM PDT
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  21. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Salvatore Padula:I’m a little surprised the the criteria for valid consent are what has elicited the most controversy, particularly since it is a concept that our society uses all the time in a variety of contexts without a great deal of difficulty.

    Given the right hypothetical (and not even an unrealistic one), consent laws can provide an outcome that is absolutely unjust by the NAP but is entirely acceptable to libertarians.

    • #21
    • October 12, 2015, at 1:15 PM PDT
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  22. Done Contributor

    The King Prawn:

    Frank Soto: 1) I assume you’d agree that we libertarians consider rape a violation of the harm principle. 2) I further assume you’d agree that someone without sufficient mental capacity is not capable of giving consent, and therefore responsibility falls to the other party to insure harm is avoided. 3) I also consider it a safe assumption that you’d agree that human mental capabilities increase with age until somewhere in the twenties. Though people all develop a little differently, I’m not sure why you would find it surprising that age would therefore become the primary measure of when a person is able to give consent.

    I agree on all these point. What I disagree on is that today the development is not sufficient to give valid consent but tomorrow it will be. It’s not that age is the primary measure; rather, it’s that age becomes a proxy for mental capacity to give valid consent whether or not it is true for the individual in question.

    I’m not saying we should have no age of consent, I’m just trying to wrest from some the admission of the reality that most of our laws, even the ones we like, don’t make much sense on an individual level especially in close proximity to where a binary flips. We can’t get it right for individuals, and libertarianism generally doesn’t err on the side of the collective.

    This isn’t right on a few levels. Your take on libertarianism would require libertarians to believe that if a given law ever results in an innocent man being imprisoned, then the law shouldn’t exist.

    This isn’t even a caricature of libertarianism, but a stick figure drawing of it.

    (You can tell the stick figure libertarian apart from the stick figure conservative because the libertarian one is smoking weed while the conservative one is holding a bible. The progressive one is robbing them both at gunpoint.)

    • #22
    • October 12, 2015, at 1:19 PM PDT
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  23. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Frank Soto: This isn’t even a caricature of libertarianism, but a stick figure drawing of it.

    Sal is the one who said the state should have no say in two people rubbing genitals so long as they’re both “adults who can give valid consent.” I think determining what that actually means is too complicated for libertarianism. If I am wrong, then please use libertarianism to demonstrate how revolutions around the sun is the right method, especially since physical liberty and a scarlet letter hang in the balance should someone violate the law on this.

    • #23
    • October 12, 2015, at 1:38 PM PDT
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  24. Done Contributor

    The King Prawn:

    Frank Soto: This isn’t even a caricature of libertarianism, but a stick figure drawing of it.

    Sal is the one who said the state should have no say in two people rubbing genitals so long as they’re both “adults who can give valid consent.” I think determining what that actually means is too complicated for libertarianism. If I am wrong, then please use libertarianism to demonstrate how revolutions around the sun is the right method, especially since physical liberty and a scarlet letter hang in the balance should someone violate the law on this.

    I totally did this already.

    • #24
    • October 12, 2015, at 1:51 PM PDT
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  25. Mike Rapkoch Moderator

    I’m wondering whether the issue of consent–which is a fascinating question–could be raised in a separate post. KP, would you be interested in writing such a post?

    • #25
    • October 12, 2015, at 1:52 PM PDT
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  26. Done Contributor

    Though KP’s example is terrible, I suspect that what he is trying to do is find a law that we all like where an individual understanding of rights doesn’t logically lead to it’s creation, and only some sort of group rights could get you there.

    Rape clearly being a harm to an individual, is obviously within the purview of government under an individual rights framework.

    Aside from affirmative action laws (which we on the right loathe), I can’t think of an example.

    • #26
    • October 12, 2015, at 2:04 PM PDT
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  27. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Frank Soto: (You can tell the stick figure libertarian apart from the stick figure conservative because the libertarian one is smoking weed while the conservative one is holding a bible. The progressive one is robbing them both at gunpoint.)

    Well, this conservative would be holding a bible, smoking a cigar, and blasting the Progressive with a .44. So, get your stereotypes right, would ya?

    • #27
    • October 12, 2015, at 2:09 PM PDT
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  28. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The King Prawn: If I am wrong, then please use libertarianism to demonstrate how revolutions around the sun is the right method

    I hate to disagree with you KP, but I don’t think you are making a valid point. We have determined that in general, there is a point in one’s life where, while they may not make the best choices for themselves, they are certainly capable. We measure ones gestational development by time. All elements of time are related to the rotation and revolution of the earth. Nobody said “Let’s decide whether someone is an adult or not buy how many times the universe has gone around the earth, which lies at the center of the universe.”

    • #28
    • October 12, 2015, at 2:19 PM PDT
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  29. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    BrentB67:I see the recording is a mere 44 minutes. Did counselor Padula yield a few minutes for rebuttal?

    Sal talked so slow even us regular people could follow him :-)

    Or maybe that was the decaf talking…

    The part I enjoyed most was that bit about Rudy Giuliani. Tiny part, I know. But so many of us aren’t used to thinking about who’s socially liberal and fiscally conservative AND not libertarian.

    (Would Trump qualify? Or at least the image Trump wants to project of himself to voters?)

    • #29
    • October 12, 2015, at 2:36 PM PDT
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  30. Salvatore Padula Inactive

    Midge: “Would Trump qualify? Or at least the image Trump wants to project of himself to voters?”

    Trump is definitely not a libertarian, but I’m reluctant to describe him as conservative in any real ideological sense either.

    • #30
    • October 12, 2015, at 2:44 PM PDT
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