Afternoon Links

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

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110 Responses to “Afternoon Links”

  1. #1 |  AJP | 

    Your tagline for the last bullet point has my vote for all-time favorite.

  2. #2 |  MH | 

    Lol, today was a good day.

  3. #3 |  Abe Froman | 

    I know followers of The Agitator are fans of The Wire. So I think you’ll all get a kick out of Funny or Die’s “The Wire-The Musical” starring Michael Kenneth Williams reprising his role as Omar.

  4. #4 |  Other Sean | 

    I’ve always felt that Ice Cube was just building on Easy E’s work on quantum field theory…

  5. #5 |  Evan | 

    I’m sorry, but everything but the first link about the WI recall is bullshit. “Progressives” issued death threats, talked about the end of democracy and wished cancer on the lieutenant governor. You link to: a bunch of nobodys on twitter talking about killing Walker, a news video of some guy standing outside the Capitol building, and a guy in a bandanna in the street hoping for cancer. Look up “nutpicking.” It’s absolute bullshit to lead off discussion of a major news event with links to stories about inconsequential anonymous people saying intemperate things (and the guy talking about the end of democracy isn’t even intemperate).

  6. #6 |  Len | 

    I get tired of people talking states or cities violating the 1st amendment. It says “THE CONGRESS”, and no the 14th did not incorporate the Bill of Rights, the thing that was supposed to protect the states police powers from the federal government, into the USC. Why a libertarian site would favor centralized government is beyond me.

    Ah, while I’m going off here anyway, people study the USC and you’ll understand that as an agreement between the states Lincoln, and then the 39th congress threw the USC away.

  7. #7 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “She’ll be in court June 12. Gondola was charged with interfering with police.”

    I’m not sure I even believed her until I saw the stupid charges against her.
    I was in New Haven a month ago and the top story in the local paper was “Cops agree to let citizens photograph them.”
    Maybe in Syria they should print the word “Democracy!” on the front page and everyone will go back to work….

  8. #8 |  solenadon | 

    When I saw the first line the first thing through my mind was “2nd amendment solutions”.

    I’m not sure if Radley made any comments when teabaggers threw out the “2nd amendment solutions” quip, or had the gun site map up. But, it was implied, in the media, that progressives shouldn’t get to worked up by those comments/images. Now some people venting on twitter is cause for teabagger pearls to be clutched.

    I would suggest those comments be treated the way progressive concerns were treated…with a stern “suck it up princess”.

  9. #9 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    Shorter Evan: “Your blog needs to link to my preferred links.”

  10. #10 |  Pi Guy | 

    It was a good day – if you’re not a union prog!

    Yeah. I knew there was no way I’d be first on the AK-theme. *sigh*

  11. #11 |  Pi Guy | 

    Wow. Two trolls, right out of the gate.

    Len: uh… What?

  12. #12 |  Johnny Clamboat | 

    @ #6: “I get tired of people talking states or cities violating the 1st amendment….. Why a libertarian site would favor centralized government is beyond me.”

    How does advocacy for limiting the actions of cities and states translate to favoring centralized government? You’re missing a link or three.

  13. #13 |  Evan | 

    Well, link to whatever you want, but maybe if you only provide 4 links, don’t have 2 of them exclusively quote nobodies. There’s way too many well-written liberal crybaby wrap-ups to quote 25 random people on Twitter. Is this a controversial opinion?

  14. #14 |  David Chesler | 

    I give the NHPD credit for thinking of this. Now they don’t have to arrest people for filming them misbehaving, they can seize the video as evidence and then accidentally destroy it.

  15. #15 |  Aresen | 

    @ Evan | June 6th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    So, I assume that the next time some asshole shoots up a school or a mall, you won’t blame the “gun nuts” who support the Second Amendment?

  16. #16 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 


    LMFAO! Come on, Radley. With all due respect, you don’t really mean to imply that half-literate twitter thugs like this tool box are representative of the average Progressive. Are some Progressives overreacting or speaking in apocalyptic terms? Of course. But libertarians engage in this shit-talking on a regular basis. This is why ideology–any ideology–tends to be a trap.

    You know as well as I do that inferences about killing people (police, politicians, etc) have appeared many, many times on The Agitator. You have had to crack down on that yourself when it got out of hand. Do these implied threats and epithets represent what the average libertarian is thinking?

    Why the soft spot for Walker, Radley? The guy tries to break it off in the ass of some public sector workers in WI and suddenly he’s the second coming of Murray Rothbard? Come on, he’s still a politician. When he exempted police and fire fighters I knew he was just a fucking shill. He’s just trying to squash unions in one of the few places they still exist. Yeah he’ll fuck over a public aid caseworker (like my wife) in a heart beat, but let’s leave the POlice alone. Long hot summer and all that. And he’ll never touch the war on drugs or other wastes of taxpayer money, so fuck him. He’s a hypocrite.

    Walker is a pawn of the executive class. He is an elitist. He is not for the little guy and against the “spoiled” public sector workers. He exists to support the managerial class, both private and public sector managers. Walker is the boss. And the boss, whether he works in government or private industry, has a tremendous amount of power over little wage slaves (like me). The boss can dangle your livelihood over your head and say “hey, you’ll do it or you can just risk eviction and starvation.” He’ll say “I don’t care if you find that unethical, do it or else peon!” No, the boss can’t put you in jail, but he can still ruin your life.

    As a private sector employee working in a non-union workplace, I have seen this phenomenon in action. So even though I don’t see unions as the optimal solution, I totally understand why people want them to exist. Unfortunately, this is a huge blindspot for libertarians. It’s also the primary reason I hesitate to call myself a libertarian. Well that, and labels (ideology) are dangerous.

  17. #17 |  Aresen | 

    @ David Chesler | June 6th, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    You must be new to this blog.

    That has standard LEO procedure for some time.

  18. #18 |  Len | 

    Pi guy, the USC was not a national constitution, and thus the 1st amendment does not apply to any government other than the federal one. Thus…Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Further, see the reason for the Bill of Rights (the BOR preamble)…

    THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added

    The states to ensure that the federal government did overreach added certain clarifying amendments known as the BOR. The BOR does not apply to state or local governments, unless you believe as many claim that they were incorporated through the 14th amendment.

  19. #19 |  Evan | 

    My point is, it’s not representative, it’s not interesting, and it’s not important. So why bother linking to it?

  20. #20 |  Evan | 

    @Aresen: Of course not. I’m going to blame the Muslims.

    Seriously, try harder. Do you really think a bunch of idiots on twitter is in the top 4 things written about the recall, or are you just trying to score points against some idiot on the internet?

  21. #21 |  Len | 

    Johnny clamboat..because the lead states the 1st amendment is being violated. Were the argument merely stated as it being wrong for a state or local government to do such, I would have no problem with that.

    I would then consider such an argument from a libertarian/property based argument. This is frankly muddled when we have such things public parks. Were a park private, then the issue would simply be, under what conditions are people allowed to use the would all be up to the owner, and however he contracts such use? When a park is public, then unfortunately the controlling government which does not charge for access, may indeed determine that certain things are public nuisances. Being public does not mean unfettered access, anymore than say clogging sidewalks for protests which are there for the purpose of conveyance should be allowed.

  22. #22 |  Radley Balko | 

    Evan: I’d hardly call the people quoted in the third link “nobodies.”

    Helmut: I have no love for Walker. I just loathe hyper-partisanship. And the collective fit the left threw over what were relatively minor reforms was nonsense. I also have no objections to private sector unions. Only public sector, in part for the reasons I write about every day on this site.

  23. #23 |  Evan | 

    Radley: None of those people said anything about the “end of America” either.

  24. #24 |  Ariel | 


    Section 1 of the 14th is pretty explicit; Amendments, by very design, do constitutionally modify all previous work, including anything debated by the Federalists or Anti-Federalists or written by the Framers. You might better look at the writers of the 14th and their intentions, because only those apply.

    When you go to hang your hat, rest assured thin air makes a poor hanger.

  25. #25 |  Radley Balko | 

    Len: I believe in the Priviliges or Immuniities clause. There’s plenty of historical evidence that the intent behind it was to incorporate basic rights to the states. I don’t favor “centralized government.” I do believe states and localities shouldn’t be permitted to trample on individual rights.

    You’re free to disagree.

  26. #26 |  Fred | 

    R.I.P. Ray Bradbury

    Make sure you read the first comment

    Kip Russell

    Somewhere in America, a boy tap-dances a on a tuned segment of discarded wooden sidewalk, calling his friends to run over the hills by moonlight…

    Out on the Veldt, the animals pause for a moment, as though something unseen had passed through their midst…

    Somewhere on Mars, a new silver fire is burning to welcome him…

    By the river, a Book stops it’s recitation for the day, to remember a fine man who wrote such fine, fine things.

  27. #27 |  Ariel | 

    Radley, that was the intent of the framers of the 14th. You are exactly right, and all these quotes from the late 1780s through the Rebellion have absolutely no bearing. Amendments modify the Constitution, rightly so, and are the best way to do so.

    The constant reinterpretation into meaninglessness of the Interstate Commerce Clause is a prime example of why we have the Amending clause: to keep Congress and the Judiciary from playing Humpty Dumpty. Yet, they do…

  28. #28 |  Pi Guy | 

    Here’s just one instance of where 1A applies to all the way down to the local school system.

    Somewhere in the 1st Amendment is this little thingy about peacably assembling as well. Inalienable is how these rights are characterized in the, as you say, USC. If they’re not assembling peacefully then, and only then, have they forfeited this right. At that point, it’s likely that local laws have been broken and arrests are warranted.

    Here’s a case that absolutely declares 2A that Constitution must still be honored at lower-than-federal level.

    Students are winning these sorts of law suits all over the place and Chicago and, more recently, the state of Maryland, are being challenged on their unconstitutional gun laws. So it would seem that your assertion about the USC/Lincoln/39th Congress/yadda 3x applying only at the federal level – or not at all anymore? it’s not clear what you’re implying… – is pretty unfounded.

  29. #29 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @21 – Yes, you think people’s basic rights are based on who they work for. Hence, they’re *entirely* conditional. At that point, EVERY single basic right has to be negotiated for in any situation.

    Me, I prefer basic rights to be non-optional. You’re undermining basically everything you talk about elsewhere, in many cases unfortunately.

  30. #30 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Helmut: I have no love for Walker. I just loathe hyper-partisanship.”

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on that one. And it’s good to hear that you don’t object to private sector unions. You have refused to drink the libertarian kool aid on that one and I commend you. I would agree that public sector employees should be treated differently and that they should remember who that they work for the public. But remember, they have actual bosses–managers– too. Public sector employees can also be treated horribly by abusive bosses or threatened with their livelihood if they object to certain practices at work. As I said earlier, bosses are bosses.

    Private sector unions are fading away, not necessarily because employees don’t want this (admittedly imperfect) representation, but because of intimidation by employers. In my workplace, it is common knowledge that you are not to even use the word “union” if you do not want to face stern questioning from overseers, err, management. An understanding of power relationships in all areas of life is vital if we are ever going to turn away from corporatism (some call it capitalism) and embrace REAL freedom . Government is up to its neck in many of the abuses of the system, but it has many willing partners that love things just the way they are.

  31. #31 |  Juice | 

    The plain reading of the bill of rights “incorporates” them to the states. The first amendment still says “Congress shall” but the rest don’t specify. They just say things like the right of the people shall not be infringed, or the right of the people shall not be violated, or no person shall be held, or in all criminal prosecutions, etc.

    No where in those supreme laws of the land does it say “except when done by a state or local government.”

    Also, even though the 14th grants every citizen the same privileges and immunities, the 1st amendment is still only a prohibition put on Congress. I’m glad that courts read more into it than that, but it would be great if there were a separate amendment that made the language of the 1st as general as the language of the rest.

  32. #32 |  Personanongrata | 

    #6 | Len | June 6th, 2012 at 4:24 pm
    I get tired of people talking states or cities violating the 1st amendment. It says “THE CONGRESS”,

    Len please read NYS’s oath of office:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ……, according to the best of my ability;”

    You may have noticed that the oath of office in NYS requires all members of the legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial (and I quite certain oaths of office in other states require the same) to support the US constitution and that includes the 1st amendment.

  33. #33 |  Ron | 

    Hey Helmut:

    You don’t like your boss? Fine. Leave your job and find a new one.

    Do you like high prices? If so, thank a union. I say fuck the unions. Fuck them all, public and private. America will be a (somewhat) better place when every single one of them is beaten, smashed, destroyed, and thrown into the dustbin of history.

  34. #34 |  StrangeOne | 

    Wtf happened here? Double trolls and Leon bitching about public sector unions being a “basic right”. Actually maybe triple trolls, “Radley Balko” isn’t posting with admin status like he always does.

    I don’t know, sitting the rest of this one out.

  35. #35 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @31 – That’s right, your share portfolio prices are riding high because of the weakness of unions, and they’ll go much higher when you trample worker right and workers into the ground. I’m quite sure you’ll Beat, smash, destroy and murder anyone who questions your view of corporatist utopia.

    Hyperbole? Absolutely. You started it. The concept that workers should be prohibited from talking to each other, in direct contravention to the free speech you praise in other contexts…it’s exactly what I said: A conditional right which has to be negotiated for, and can be negated.

    If you’re letting unions run closed shops, that’s another matter to address entirely.

  36. #36 |  Brandon | 

    Jesus Christ Leon, even for you this is dense.

  37. #37 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @34 – That’s right, I’m not uncritically supporting your viewpoint.

    Example: “You don’t support free speech when to comes to Unions, there’s a lot more reasons why school kids free speech rights should be restricted”.

    You’ve already surrendered and salted your high ground on basic rights. But no, DENSE because I don’t sing from your hymnbook and am an anarchist.

  38. #38 |  StrangeOne | 

    Leon, if all unions did was engage in speech I would totally agree with you. If teachers or police unions only did things like campaign for ballot initiatives for raises, benefits, etc, then it would simply be a free speech issue.

    But that’s not what they do. What public sector unions currently do is they take away the ability to hire, fire, and discipline their members from the public that pays them. Police unions have completely captured the disciplinary process for officers and there are dozens of cases of woefully unqualified teachers who are protected by their unions. You have a right to free speech, but no one has the right to keep a job regardless of qualifications or fitness.

    You’re not advocating the free speech of workers. What you’re advocating is allowing government employees to have complete control of their own careers. That is simply a dangerously large amount of discretion to give to already powerful government interests. You might as well let elected officials determine how often we get to vote, or let generals decide who we go to war with.

    I’m an anarchist, and I can’t fathom how you would so casually grant a group of government employees such a huge degree of unaccountable autonomy.

  39. #39 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @39 – So, again, you’re arguing that rights depend on who you’re employed by. That means that they’re entirely conditional.

    The right WILL use this to strip other people of rights and defend discrimination. And you’ve lost any effective response. Moreover, this is a VERY slippery slope… does your company do contract work for the government? Is it significantly affecting government actions? Well then…

    A better response is to fix closed shops, but no…it’s hardly “unaccountable” for people to be able to legally talk to each other and agree on the conditions in which they want to work. Regardless of who their employer is.

  40. #40 |  Xenocles | 

    #6 Len-

    Fine, take it from TN’s constitution:

    “The free communication of thoughts and opinions, is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write, and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.”

  41. #41 |  Xenocles | 

    After RTFA, I admit that this is really the better passage to cite:

    “That the citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good…”

  42. #42 |  StrangeOne | 

    Rights are not dependent on who your employed by, I was very clear in that.

    Everyone has a right to speech.
    Everyone has a right to peaceably assemble.
    No one has a right to keep a job.

    Having a union is not some separate body of rights, its a consequence of the first two. Public and Private institutions should be free to terminate or discipline employees at their discretion. Anyone that has a problem with that can use the first two rights to say so. Free and open public discourse is the fairest way to resolve these issues.

    Police unions do not engage in just speech, your position is a direct contradiction of reality. They get to control everything up to and including criminal investigations of their own members. You talk about fairness, but that is standard that does not exist for any other group in society. I disagree with teachers unions on principle, but the fact that police have, through unions, written themselves as being above the law has serious consequences for the rights of everyone.

    Your concerns over what “the right” will do is completely incidental to what police unions are already doing; providing cover for felon officers. I’m not concerned about potential future abuse on some unknown group, the pressing issue are the crimes being committed right now by public sector unions. The fact that you can’t even admit the reality of police union behavior, despite being a regular commenter on this site, betrays your intense bias. You have to keep switching back to talking of speech and employers to ignore the very real criminal conspiracy many police unions engage in.

  43. #43 |  Ariel | 

    StrangeOne @ 9:12 PM,

    Really well put. Police unions put the lie to “honor and integrity”. Oh, wait, they wear a uniform while constantly fearing for their safety…I must be wrong.

  44. #44 |  Len | 

    Ariel, section 1 is pretty explicit about what? Where specifically does it say the Bill of Rights are now incorporated against the states?? It doesn’t. All the “incorporatists” have is a few statements made outside of the debates. Not to mention an incorrect understanding of privileges and immunities as known at the time of the USCs ratification.

  45. #45 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @42 – “Public and Private institutions should be free to terminate or discipline employees at their discretion”

    Fire-at-will. A charter which enforces abusive behavior to get the maximum possible work out of employees in the short term. Using your “rights”…gets you fired. Period. They cease to be meaningful.

    “crimes being committed right now by public sector unions”

    Ah right, you’re a *criminal* if you dare try and use said rights in any way. Even better! Given there’s no difference to the labor you do in an equivalent job in the private vs public sector, that means ANY union by definition.

    @43 – Right, so you’ve identified abuses. And your response is to strip sets of people in different jobs of rights. Oh, you’re /starting/ with an arbitrary distinction based on employer, but it won’t stop there of course.

  46. #46 |  Len | 

    Personongrata, I’m concerned about your clear lack of analytical thinking. The NY oath of office does not state to apply the USC to the state. In fact the oath should mean as it did to Jefferson and Madison, that they are obligated to defy the federal government when it intrudes on the powers of NY.

  47. #47 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Are those posts from the real Helmut? I question it because in the past he has been measured and rational.

    Now excuse me. I ran out of honey, so I will use for my tea the sweet tears of the Left which flow in abundance from Wisconsin. On the Internet, that is proof I’m a neo-con right winger.


    The right WILL use this to strip other people of rights

    Won’t the Left do the same thing? Don’t unions strip non-union workers of “rights”? At least kind of? In a tiny little way? Any chance you can see this? Even a bit?

  48. #48 |  Mattocracy | 

    Leon only hears what he wants to hear from other people. If you say the sky is blue, he’ll say that you hate free speech.

  49. #49 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @47 – No. Because I get together with other workers for certain rights, that this means that other people can’t do the same. In fact, in the UK it’s no coincidence that VERY few fields have a single union.

    You’re talking about closed shops, a massive abuse which is a scourge of workers, but which you automatically conflate with unions. The kind of evils you attribute to Unions existence have caused the wastelands of Germany the Nordics.

    Oh wait, the very countries who have best weathered this crisis of capital markets. And if you act like a duck, quack like a duck…

    @48 – That’s right, I’m not worshiping your gods of corporate welfare so I’m automatically incorrect. The joke is you complain about zero tolerance in other situations.

  50. #50 |  Len | 

    Pi guy..amazing how clearl I made it for you and others, yet you insist on adding language not present. WHAT ABOUT THE PREAMBLE…NOT TO MENTION THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE CONGRESS DON”T YOU UNDERSTAND???

    All of the amendments were put in place for the FEDRAL government, and unless specifically stated they CANNOT apply to the states. In fact Madison had a version of the 10th amendment that actually stated such you have alleged, that the states could not interfere with speech, with religion and such, basically a version of the 1st, but applying to the states…IT WAS REJECTED!!!

    So I now repeat myself, as someone who has actually bothered to spend years of studying the USC, I tire of people who son’t know what they’re talking about and say such things as a state violated the first amendment.

    Yes I do know more than you. Yes I’m right, and I don’t care of sounds cocky to you. It just shows why it’s pointless to try to argue with an ever increasing majority of people don’t understand the USC, who don’t understand true libertarianism, and who don’t understand economics. I will just continue to stockpile, wait for SHTF and hope I’m not overwhelmed by a mob.

  51. #51 |  Ariel | 

    Sigh, because what the Framers wrote in the late 1780s has no bearing on what the framers of the 14th Amendment meant. None. You have to look at what they wrote at the time of that amendment and it is pretty clear from what I remember that they were incorporating the protection of the BOR to include all citizens of these United States (removing Dred Scott) and declared that all born or naturalized are citizens of these United States as well the states they reside. The whole language of Section 1 is incorporatist, and even the SCOTUS execrable Plessy v Ferguson recognizes that in its “separate but equal” language.

    An Originalist looks beyond the original Framers to the framers of each amendment. The states prior to Reconstruction did not necessarily offer the INHERENT (using the Framers language since you so like it, does inherent need explaining?) rights under the BOR, but the rebellious states to be accepted back into the Union had to recognize those rights as did all states accepted into the Union after Reconstruction.

    The whole movement from Reconstruction on was incorporatist and was Constitutional by the very Framers intent that an Amendment can change the fundamental nature of the Constitution. It’s why they made it so difficult and the post-Rebellion was a difficult time.

  52. #52 |  Len's Wrong | 

    Way to hijack the thread and be wrong and be a troll (crank?):

    See, a our system is just a bit more complex than just reading the Constitution and stuff. That is why we have a legal system and people go to law school.

  53. #53 |  StrangeOne | 

    Leon, do me a favor, go to google and copy and paste this into the search bar: “police”AND”union”

    The first result begins with a summary of a police union that tolerated an officer raping a teenage girl, illegal raids used to steal property, arresting and beating a legal firearm owner, and sexually assaulting women during raids. The article concludes with the same union trying to eject a retired member for wearing his uniform to an Occupy protest.

    The eighth is about how a Florida union blocked dozens of officers with multiple ethics violations from being fired. Those “violations” included sex with prisoners, beating a girlfriend, and sex with (yet another) teenage girl. You know, crimes.

    Those are the most egregious examples. But It goes on, and you probably commented on some of these articles. So keep it up, keep pretending we hate free speech and that police unions are some pristine model of left leaning labor negotiations. Anyone of these groups could be easily charged with criminal conspiracy under the RICO act, if any member of the Justice Department had the balls to do so.

  54. #54 |  StrangeOne | 

    Holy shit, opposing public sector unions is corporate welfare now?

    You’re an excellent parody of yourself.

  55. #55 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @52 – You can fix those problems without your blatant attacks on free speech and worker rights, and your persistent lies about what I’m actually typing, and trying to outright to paint me as being party to a criminal conspiracy for not sucking up to the Party Line.

    Moreover, you are not stopping with police unions, you’re saying the same thing applies to EVERY employee of a given type. (For now, to be expanded later…)

    Other countries have fixed the issue without removing basic rights. America is not a unique snowflake.

  56. #56 |  Ariel | 

    My post at 10:07 PM was directed at Len 9:37PM

  57. #57 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @53 – No, I’m a left winger. When people like you shill for legal fictions having significantly more rights than people, and to ensure they have a privileged position when it comes to contacts…

    …No, you don’t understand the word “parody”.

  58. #58 |  StrangeOne | 

    What basic right is violated by not giving unions control of firing their own members? What other group of people in this country gets discretion over whether or not they are arrested?

    And please, I gave examples. So expand on how other countries fixed the problem of entrenched public sector unions, without either disbanding the unions in their current form or significantly removing some aspect of their legal status.

    You keep saying these things can be fixed, and then decrying every solution as a human rights violation.

  59. #59 |  StrangeOne | 

    A few hours ago you were an anarchist, now you’re left wing? Whats next, Libertarian Communist?

    How am I shilling for legal fictions having more rights? Did you for get that you are the pro-union guy in this argument? People have rights, unions have no more rights than their collective member, namely speech and assembly.

  60. #60 |  Poly the Tick | 

    Anybody who follows Wisconsin politics closely knows that Walker was bought and paid for by the Koch Bros (along with a few other neocons). It makes sense that Radley would love Walker.

    But union whining aside, much of what Walker has done isn’t bad, it is how he has done it. The end does not justify the means. And if he is going to sell off State assets such as the state power plants, they should be put up for bid–not simply sold to his pals at fire sale prices.

    Unfortunately, the Democrats had blinders on and were only concerned with their damned unions. There is so much more going on here.

    Even though the Democrats were MASSIVELY out spent with mostly out-of-state special interest money, they could have put up a much better fight. They have no moral ground and couldn’t even field a decent candidate.

    Any libertarian who supports Scott Walker is likely deluding themselves.

  61. #61 |  Ariel | 

    You mean like those Democrats bought by Soros? Anybody who follows national politics closely knows that those Democrats were bought and paid for by Soros (along with a few of those Hollywood lefties). I hope you were being as sarcastic as I just was, but you’ll likely leave me without hope.

    I love the “they were bought by” soup du jour. Make any predictions on who you’ll say the next year or so? I might want to make book…

  62. #62 |  Other Sean | 

    Len #50,

    I’m sorry for the years you wasted. It’s a time-killing, soul-draining habit to worry about what the U.S. Constitution says, means, or meant to say, etc.

    When you look at the state, you’re looking at an exercise in brute force backed by popular will. Part of that charade involves a few robed officials presiding over courts, and pretending to distill their actions from a sacred text – a text, mind you, that has never long failed to give the state whatever reading it most wants.

    Your position is the judicial equivalent of birtherism: the dream that one day a magic bullet made of paper will come crashing in to turn the tide of history, the dream that one day the state will look down, read some ancient passage, and say “my bad…I’ll stop now. I didn’t realize we weren’t supposed to do that.”

    The only thing a libertarian should do with the constitution is what every other faction does with it: drape ourselves in it when convenient, ignore it when not, as we push an agenda that in no way depends on anyone else taking the old scrap seriously. Because lord knows they don’t and never have.

  63. #63 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @57 – Strangely enough, this country doesn’t allow that kind of abuse. And abuse it is, the problem is NOT Unions. Given only one “solution” has been offered (again, to ban forms of free speech and assembly you disapprove of)…

    You’re the one who’s yelling “human rights” as well. I’m using basic rights for a reason – because of the free market. (No, not capitalism…)

    There are plenty of models to chose from, as I’ve said. NOT a Unique Snowflake.

    @58 – So you don’t even realize that a significant strand of anarchism is left wing? Entirely typical. I’m a British Mutualist, who have always been strongly associated with the left. (It’s also gradualist)

    You are fine with Corporations having extensive, expensive rights, but Unions? Oh no, they’re collections of WORKERS. Say, what about worker-owned companies?

  64. #64 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @61 – See, THAT I completely agree with. It’s /exactly/ how I view codified constitutions!

    I prefer the Westminster position of parliamentary sovereignty – Government can pass a law to do anything at any time. It’s simply more honest.

  65. #65 |  contrarian | 

    Radley, I thought you’d be all over this one:

    Judge learns how cops treat ordinary citizens.

  66. #66 |  StrangeOne | 

    That kind of abuse does exist in this country. This very site documents frequently how police unions shield their members from discipline, termination, and even arrest.

    I’ve said nothing about banning speech or assembly, I’ve said the exact opposite at length, you’ve ignored it in favor of strawmen. Unions should not have rights that supersede their employers. Unions having control at any level of the hiring and firing of officers undermine the basic premise of public service. Cops can argue in the paper, or on the television, or on the street all day long that they are not paid enough or need more benefits or anything like that. But the second they take over the management of their brother officers, all accountability is lost; all reasonable discourse shut out.

    You have intentionally conflated the right to say anything with the right to control everything, which is insane. Speech and assembly are entirely different from being given the legal reigns of your own department.

    There are so many different models to choose from, you can’t even list one. I don’t why your harping on this “uniqueness” claim, I never pretended this country was.

    I’ve heard of left anarchism, its also called libertarian socialism, and left libertarianism, and socialist anarchism (wiki it). You know what all those have in common? A belief in a state-less society, or at least as minimalistic a state as possible. Those philosophies barely tolerate the existence of police at all, much less police unions. Whatever you are, most anarchists wouldn’t have much to agree with you on, and I’m one of them.

    Finally, hit ctrl-f and type corporations, your post is the first to mention corporations at all. Your arguing with the strawman in your head, I’ve said nothing about the rights of corporations until you brought it up just now. I have only advocated the right of all people to speak and assemble freely, worker or not. I love worker-owned companies, they’re called small businesses. I don’t however like a police-run state, a Police State as it were.

  67. #67 |  albatross | 

    Just as an aside, I am kind-of skeptical that the right way to handle the abuses of police unions is to eliminate public sector unions entirely. My guess is that without a formal union, there would be some other justification for letting the cops get away with crimes in places where the city government, local prosecutors, etc., wanted to. Similarly, a school system that is okay with sheltering incompetent or worse teachers from any consequences is probably going to find a way with or without a union.

    Is there data anywhere that bears on this? For example, are there cities or states without police/teacher unions? And if so, is there an obvious difference in outcomes or performance?

  68. #68 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @65 – “hiring and firing”

    Hiring? That’s going back to “closed shops bad”.
    Firing? Why shouldn’t people be able to have union reps when faced with disciplinary proceedings? It dramatically reduces employer bullying.

    There’s a reason professional regulatory bodies and unions are different things. (See, for example, the GMC vs BMA for Doctors)

    “There are so many different models to choose from, you can’t even list one.”

    England’s, Scotland’s, Ireland’s, Norway’s…I can list a LOT of countries. Actually, one problem with the UK system is a company which has intruded into the process, the ACPO, but that’s another rant.

    “I’ve heard of left anarchism, its also called libertarian socialism, and left libertarianism, and socialist anarchism”

    Er, no. Ignoring the fact they’re not the same, I’m none of those – I’m a mutualist in the British tradition, NOT a libertarian (or a socialist, the favourite attack of the British right, grr). There’s a substantial difference, including an explicit rejection of both revolutionary theory and capitalism (But NOT the free market).

    “I love worker-owned companies, they’re called small businesses. ”

    There is absolutely NO reason larger businesses cannot be successfully worker-run, except legislative bias. The Cooperative Bank and John Lewis in the UK are great examples of this.

    I also am arguing FOR Unions, not for the police. What I’d like to do to the current UK police force…well, it’s along the lines of changing their initial training and then a rapid, phased replacement… (Along the lines of SEVERAL reports which would rebalance their relationship with the population, all of which Governments have ignored)

  69. #69 |  Other Sean | 

    #66 Albatross,

    It was so fraught with method problems as to be meaningless, but I have done a comparison of the police scandals in a big city police department against those in the adjacent mid-sized suburbs. (The former had a powerful collective bargaining unit, while the latter were mostly fire-at-will.)

    The short version is: there were plenty of scandals in both, but practically the only people fired from the city police were those who also got themselves indicted. The suburban cops got fired all the time, but almost never lost their licenses, and because of artificial scarcity in the police labor market (shit, there goes my uneasy peace with Leon!) created by that very same licensing regime, they almost always found new police jobs in neighboring towns.

    To really fix the problem with cops and teachers, fire-at-will is not enough. You would also need to dismantle the “license raj” that limits entry to an unnaturally small pool of “certified” candidates. Unions are only half the problem.

  70. #70 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Ron: “Hey Helmut:
    “You don’t like your boss? Fine. Leave your job and find a new one.”

    This is what I was talking about when I discussed brought up the libertarian blind spot for employment issues. It’s very easy to say “leave your job and find a new one,” especially if you are a salaried employee. For wage workers like me, this talk sounds a bit fanciful. I have bills to pay, I need shelter, I need food, etc. The employer can dangle that over my head if I get to critical of my work environment. In my case, I am looking to move on. In fact, I am switching careers. Ron, it is just not as easy as you make it sound.

    Boyd: Sorry if you thought my posts weren’t measured and rational. I was a bit worked up on this one. I’ll admit that. But this is just one area where I think libertarians don’t quite get it.

  71. #71 |  Jeremy | 

    Organized labor should own up to the fact that it was once again sold down the river by the Democratic Party (only now it’s public employees who are being declared expendable after forty years of it happening to private-sector workers). The popular front isn’t working anymore, fellas.

    And I agree with Helmut about Scott Walker. Regardless of how one feels about unions, Walker is just another crooked politician as well as an utter moron who couldn’t even tell he was being crank called.

  72. #72 |  Other Sean | 

    Helmut #69,

    You have a point, in that libertarians (particularly those who came in through the Rand Gate) sometimes turn a shamefully deaf ear to private forms of oppression. Many of the worst abuses I’ve witnessed in my life were done by private actors, in a context that did not directly involve state power. If we are honest we must admit that our philosophy does not address all of these things.

    But look closer Helmut, and you’ll see that it does address more than you think. Consider two fairly basic examples:

    1.) A female medical office manager with two tears of college who works 50 hours a week and suffers constant sexual harassment from her doctor boss.

    2.) A fifteen year old girl growing up with severely abusive parents in a poor area, who cannot accumulate enough savings to run away.

    On the surface, neither of these two seem like victims of the state, but they are.

    The first is chiefly a victim of medical licensing, which gives her boss an anti market power to collect artificially high rents and forestall competition with his services. This allows him to pay a higher-than-market wage to his employees, while similar occupational licensing schemes (in everything from interior design to hairdressing) limit what is available to her. Occupational entry barriers skew her choices in two ways: it makes her current job artificially lucrative, so she is more liable to suffer its downside, and it makes her other options artificially scarce. From day to day, her boss is the source of her torments, but in the long run the state is the source of his power.

    The second case is even worse, because this young victim is bound by the state on all sides. Child labor and school attendance laws prevent her from seeking a job. But even if they did not, her marginal productivity is so low that the minimum wage would price her out of the labor market. She might resort to prostitution, but the state ban on that profession would make it uniquely life threatening. She might form a long term survival-sex relationship with an adult man, but no such man will have her in his house because age of consent laws threaten him with terrifying and disproportionate consequences. Imperfect as some of these choices may be, she doesn’t even have them, because every law alleged to protect her welfare does so by reducing her options. So she stays with her parents and continue to suffer beating backed indirectly by the state.

    Helmut…tomorrow take a look at whatever asshole boss you got stuck with in this grotesquely mangled economy, and ask yourself where he gets his power. One thing I can promise you: it’s not from the market.

  73. #73 |  Xenocles | 

    I don’t see what being salaried or hourly has to do with it. It’s hard either way. Then again, you don’t have a right to a job you like. You just have a right to not work at a job you hate.

  74. #74 |  guidonet | 

    I’m confused. All this talk about the police unions and no mention of the fact that they were exempt from this. If this were truly a libertarian issue you should be up in arms about that. How exactly Is it fair for the government to pick which public union is better?

  75. #75 |  Burgers Allday | 

    You have a point, in that libertarians (particularly those who came in through the Rand Gate) sometimes turn a shamefully deaf ear to private forms of oppression. Many of the worst abuses I’ve witnessed in my life were done by private actors, in a context that did not directly involve state power. If we are honest we must admit that our philosophy does not address all of these things.

    I have tried for years now to convince Mr. Balko that the most important function of the government in peacetime is to protect the lower economic classes from the upper one(s).

    I often call it antitrust libertarianism. The flipside is corporatarianism.

    AFAICT, he is a total Randgater on this kind of stuff. If anything, I imagine the HuffPo experience is making the metaphorical even harder in his mind on that kind of thing.

  76. #76 |  UvalDuvalCuckoo | 

    @Helmut O’ Hooligan – It’s hardly Libertarian Kool-Aid. Pretty much every libertarian i know (and no, I’m not saying that’s somehow representative of the whole) and Libertarian thought leaders are either ‘ok’ with private sector unions or at least hold no animus to them in theory. People have problems with Davis Bacon and some legislative aspects but that’s a different issue. If you did completely away with govt legislation regarding unionization – I’m quite sure every single mainstream Libertarian would fully support the right of employees to band together and collectively bargain. When it comes to legislative aspects or pieces of the current AFL-CIO agenda (protectionism, Card Check ) Libertarians are against those issues, but that’s a far cry from being knee-jerk anti-union. Free Assembly free labor markets means you can work for, or not work for whoever you want. You’re free to unionize, the company is free to work with you or fire you. Seems the most free approach with the least coercion involved

  77. #77 |  UvalDuvalCuckoo | 

    #59 – What a lame post. Where’s any proof Radley a blind Koch Lackey or just falls in line with what they think? Other than your contention that ‘anyone who follows WI politics’ b/c you say so, what proof do you have? You really want to claim that Walker doesn’t believe in his positions, it’s only b/c the Koch brother’s flung money his way that he implements the policies he does? Seems like he was pretty consistent in advocating the policies he’s put/tried to put in place throughout his political career. If he believes in these policies and the Koch’s (or anyone else) also agrees with them and in turn spend money supporting a candidate that shares their beliefs, how is this being bought and paid for or anything of the sort? I’m violating my own policy here by even responding, I have a rule of just ignoring anyone once they start the Koch crap, so shame on me, but you’re throwing out a lot of accusations with nothing to back it up – and that’s b/c you don’t have anything to back it up other then your opinion. I’m sure you’ll post some links to a bunch of random things that show support from the Kochs with some ‘A-HA See this proves it” gluing it together – I’ll gladly eat my words and apologize if I’m wrong

  78. #78 |  Other Sean | 


    That’s only true in part. No libertarian wants to ban unions (or any other association) by law, but many libertarians influenced by the Austrian school believe that unions are inherently coercive, have never done anything but harm, and would never exist in a free market. I.E, they believe an unrestricted labor market is both necessary and sufficient to protect workers, and that unions are purely destructive because all they ever do is raise the cost of labor above its marginal revenue product.

    It would be disingenuous not to call them anti-union.

  79. #79 |  Personanongrata | 

    #46 | Len | June 6th, 2012 at 9:40 pm
    Personongrata, I’m concerned about your clear lack of analytical thinking. The NY oath of office does not state to apply the USC to the state. In fact the oath should mean as it did to Jefferson and Madison, that they are obligated to defy the federal government when it intrudes on the powers of NY.

    Leon, your reading compreshension skills are lacking.

    Let us pretend that you are correct and the NYS oath of office does not apply to the constitution of the US.

    The NYS constitution itself in Article I, Section 8. Freedom of speech and press; criminal prosecutions for libel, acknowledges that the people of NYS have the inherent right to freedom of speech (the other 49 states have similiar language).

    And that being as such any elected or appointed representative/civil servant is bound by their oath of office to uphold the constitution.

    If the representative/civil servant is actively/passively working to undermined the very document(s) he/she solemnly swore to uphold we have word for that and it is treason.

  80. #80 |  UvalDuvalCuckoo | 

    #74 – with your level of certainty on the subject, can you kindly tell me what defines the classes? Is it annual income? Accumulated net worth? Educational Pedigree? Does working for someone else vs being self-employed come into play? Combination of the above. If it needs to be govt policy, then we’d need some pretty clear lines to draw to implement policies around.

    I see a lot of instances of poor people being unfairly locked up going on. I see a lot of the same with poor people being shot and killed by cops going on. I see a lot of stories about poor people have their rights stamped on and/or ignored. I see a lot of cases about arbitrary regulations being enforced against the poor. With the exception of rights being trampled on, none of those are being done by private sector actors – it’s all being done by the public sector and in the one exception I cited where the private sector is in on the action too, they can only do it with the blessing of the public sector. I’m not trolling I’m legitimately asking – what am I missing?

  81. #81 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The biggest abuser of the poor is the state. Which is why statists’ support of the state to protect the poor are viewed by many as insane.

  82. #82 |  Other Sean | 


    Given the expansive way you’ve defined treason just not, the law you should be quoting from is Article 58 of the Russian SFSR.

  83. #83 |  Burgers Allday | 

    #74 – with your level of certainty on the subject, can you kindly tell me what defines the classes? Is it annual income? Accumulated net worth?

    Wealth. Control over capital.

    Income is nothing, a red herring.

  84. #84 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @68 – Yea, funny, I prefer trained police. The training needs revision, yes…

    @71 – You blame the state for everything.

    It’s SO terrible that people can afford, generally (although this is ending anyway) to eat and afford shelter). And oddly enough, when you can’t fire people at will, you can report sexual harassment.

    And I see, you think the answer to child abuse is to reinstate child labor and do away with age of consent laws. Basically removing a vast chunk of the /definition/ of child abuse. Rather than having functional a social network and society.

    @75 – Ah right, and the fact that there’s not a labor shortage, when that approach might work…the power involved is massively unequal, it’s pure corporatism.

    @82 – Absolutely! Wages continue to plummet as a share of income…capital continues to push it out.

  85. #85 |  Tim | 

    I think everyone is overlooking the most important aspect of radley’s posts here. What does Icecube know about the UFO war in the south pole, and what is his link to the Nazi’s Fourth Reich? I think it is high time some one made him talk…

    hope you guys got another smile out of this

  86. #86 |  Tim | 

    damn! I forgot this:

    for the lols

  87. #87 |  Pi Guy | 

    What does Icecube know about the UFO war in the south pole…

    I assure you that there’s no such thing as extraterrestial aliens because, if there were, we’d be sending them foreign aid too.

  88. #88 |  David Chesler | 

    FBI investigating NHPD:

  89. #89 |  albatross | 


    The question isn’t whether employers, bankers, landlords, utilities, parents, priests, and other non-governmental powerful people often screw over weaker people–probably everyone above the age of 12 knows they often do.

    The question is, what can and should we do about that? Many proposed solutions may have side effects that are worse than the problem being solved. For example, parents abusing or neglecting their kids are a real problem, with real victims and horrible stories associated with them. But the solutions we know how to do (child protective services, laws against child abuse/neglect, foster care, orphanages, etc.) are deeply imperfect–they inevitably make things worse for some kids, while not helping a lot of kids that need help.

    Similarly, employers often treat their employees really badly. Sometimes, this includes stuff that wrecks their health, or constant bullying by a boss that makes the employee’s life hell, or screwing the employees over wrt benefits or overtime or whatever. There’s no doubt this happens all the time.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s obvious how to make it better. Creating more regulatory bureaucracy for employers, instituting formal rules to make it harder to fire employees, making it easier for employees to successfully sue employers–all that will probably help with the mistreatment of employees, but will also introduce a lot of extra costs. One likely consequence of making it hard to fire someone is making employers very reluctant to hire anyone who has a less than perfect record. More regulatory bureaucracy for employers discourages companies getting big enough to have to comply with the rules, and gives big companies an advantage over smaller competitors. The threat of lawsuits can change behavior in a lot of bad ways, like doing hiring and promotion entirely on credentials rather than the boss’ judgment. And so on.

    It’s common for libertarians to say “we should not have law X to prevent bad thing Y,” and to have non-libertarians think that means libertarians don’t care about bad thing Y. This pattern appears everywhere from the war on drugs (note: smoking crack is a really bad idea, even though I’d rather you didn’t go to jail for it) to the war on terror (note: there really are some nasty foreigners who want to murder Americans, even though I’d rather we didn’t run secret wars in a dozen countries trying to fight them) to the fight against racism (note: statistically, it sucks being a black male in this country, even though I don’t think black males should be given easier admissions to universities as a result).

  90. #90 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    albatross – The thing is, though, that there’s generally no statistical link found between the level of job regulation and economic success.

    “The results are consistent with those of Olson et al. (1998) who found that productivity growth is strongly correlated with the quality of governance, and Kauffman et al (2005) who found that the quality of governance has a positive effect on incomes.”

    “There appears to be little or no association between employment protection legislation strictness and overall unemployment”

    I could go on, but regulations have NOT changed significantly over the last four years, but unemployment rates HAVE.

    Your answer, of letting abusive behavior not only go unchecked, but to be actively rewarded…

  91. #91 |  nigmalg | 

    I have tried for years now to convince Mr. Balko that the most important function of the government in peacetime is to protect the lower economic classes from the upper one(s).

    Yuck. Disgusting. The lower classes don’t need “protection”; they need education. They need to increase their value to society to better their economic situation.

    Teach a man to fish.

    I understand that in the real world employees can’t just get up and quit when they don’t like their boss. But no mater how tight your finances might be, you have absolutely no right to demand payment for unsolicited services.

    We’ve created this fiction where employment is somehow distinct from any other free market trade of services.

  92. #92 |  Pi Guy | 

    We’ve created this fiction where having a high-paying, easy job with lots of prestige is a right.

  93. #93 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Yuck. Disgusting. The lower classes don’t need “protection”; they need education. They need to increase their value to society to better their economic situation.

    I am not talking about welfare here. or socialized education. or socialized medicine.

    I said antitrust libertarian and that is what I meant, nigmaligs.

  94. #94 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    We’ve created this fiction where having a high-paying, easy job with lots of prestige is a right.

    No. They’ll bitch about that, too.

    I understand that in the real world employees can’t just get up and quit when they don’t like their boss.

    I deny this is the case…mostly because it happens every day (I’ve certainly done it). Granted, it is harder for some people. But, that’s like saying no one can slam dunk.

  95. #95 |  uvalduvalcuckoo | 

    #82 so what level of wealth makes on the predatory class? I’m trying to figure where one goes from hard working striver to evil plutocrat that the poor need defended from? And what isn’poor’ I’m asking specifics here not generalities

  96. #96 |  Burgers Allday | 

    #82 so what level of wealth makes on the predatory class? I’m trying to figure where one goes from hard working striver to evil plutocrat that the poor need defended from? And what isn’poor’ I’m asking specifics here not generalities

    The biggest component of the answer is classical (and nominally extant in the US) antitrust law. Applied like it used to be applied, but not the way it is applied now.

    Tax structure also needs changed, but that is secondary and should not be done for the purpose of increased wealth distribution I don’t think. This thread isn’t the place for details on that.

    antitrust libertarian

    that’s the buzzword.

    Burgers, out!

  97. #97 |  Other Sean | 

    Leon #83,

    You do me a disservice here, dude. How can you say that I blame the state for everything after I wrote this back @ #71:

    “Many of the worst abuses I’ve witnessed in my life were done by private actors, in a context that did not directly involve state power. If we are honest we must admit that our philosophy does not address all of these things.”

    You could have said “Sean assigns the state no credit whatsoever, and much blame”. That would have been fair.

    But even I recognize the state is not behind everything bad in this world. To borrow an example from your friend Karl Marx: even Libertopianism cannot solve the problem of unrequited love.

  98. #98 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @96 – Marx isn’t my friend. I’m not a Marxist, I’m a Mutualist. It’s an entirely different tradition, stemming from anarchism not socialism/communism.

    The problem is that Neoliberal economics has caused terrible damage – it’s allowed capital to push out wages in the economy, and only the countries which have resisted in are now doing well, among the modern economies.

    I’ve said this before, I care about results and not theories at the end of the day, and people are facing starvation, turning off utilities and homelessness as the Juggernaut of capital rolls on.

    In the UK, I am in a group allied with Libertarians both right and left against the current excesses of Corporatism for exactly that reason. 38 Degrees – – is part of it, but it goes well beyond that.

    We want, for instance, PR – so that our diverse views can be properly represented (neither the left as a whole nor the free market right are represented in the present UK government). We’re all

    You’re trying to weaken Government, but without doing anything about the Corporate power networks, which will inevitable dramatically extend their power and they’ve proven both anything but farsighted and in some cases actively hostile to people’s interests.

    This shit’s real. It’s people’s lives.

  99. #99 |  Other Sean | 


    You wrote: “Marx isn’t my friend.” Hey, we all have friends we’d rather not be seen with in certain places. Some libertarians prefer to keep Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard locked in a closet, so they can pretend they just happened upon some interesting political theories on their way back from breakfast or something.

    I just noticed when arguing with you elsewhere about wage rates that you seem to follow the exploitation model of profit, to believe wages are arbitrary, that the misery of the workers must inevitably increase in a race to the bottom, etc.. Those are all Marxist concepts – not necessarily original with him, but definitely best known through his brand. In any case, there’s no shame in acknowledging his influence.

    “This shit’s real. It’s people’s lives.” Points for the homage to Bad Boys II.

  100. #100 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @98 – This is typical. Absolutely typical.

    You absolutely refuse to admit that there can be different strands of left-thinking thought. It’s like me comparing you with Palin, bluntly. Sure, you’re both on the right…

    The ideals of Marxism – a revolutionary, anti-free market philosophy and Mutualism – a gradualist, pro-free market philosophy are VERY different.

    “to believe wages are arbitrary”

    Not at all. Capital pushing out wages is anything but “arbitrary”. It’s an *expected result* in a Corporatist system. When you have an ever-decreasing percentage of income paid as wages, what do you think happens?

    It’s simple cause and effect. And it can be seen across the developed world.

  101. #101 |  Other Sean | 

    Of course I’m well aware of several different strains in leftist thought over time. It’s just that these days you don’t see too many Kropotkinites running around conspiring with the followers of Catholic social teaching. Since about 1960, Marxism and various forms of pseudo-Marxism have pretty well taken over the intellectual territory of the left. But hey, if I’ve got you wrong then answer two quick questions for me:

    1) Who decides what price a worker is paid for his labor?

    2) If a voluntary worker uses capital owned by a voluntary investor to produce a good voluntarily purchased by a consumer, at whose expense has the profit been gained?

    If you can answer those questions in a non-Marxist way, I’ll be so obsequious in my apology you’ll feel embarrassed just to read it.

  102. #102 |  Pi Guy | 

    @ #50 Len:

    Yes I do know more than you. Yes I’m right, and I don’t care of sounds cocky to you.

    Conceited much? No, it doesn’t sound cocky at all. It sounds absolutely irrational given your very unique reading of it. Yes, I’m right and I don’t care if that sounds condescending to you.

    And it must really suck to have to keep telling everyone how smart you are. I mean, why can’t everyone just tell your a freaking genius on sight? Probably because you’re constantly telling people they’re wrong without the slightest shred of support for that stance. None.

    So I now repeat myself, as someone who has actually bothered to spend years of studying the USC…

    Yup. You’re the only one on this entire thread who’s “actually bothered to spend years studying the USC.” The rest of us, we just apply the Rules According to Barney.

    Look: if the Constitution doesn’t apply to the states – or at all? again, it’s not clear what your claiming here – then why were the 1A and 2A cases I cite above decided that way? How did DC manage to turn back their unconstitutional gun laws if they didn’t apply to lower-than-federal entities?

    I’m serious. I’m at a total loss to understand what justification you believe exists for this position? You keep ad homineming all over while referring to the same Constitution that we’ve all read – and studied hard, I assure you – and have come to a wildly divergent interpretation of it compared to the rest of us.

    And while you’re at it, explain it to the Supreme Court as well. Because they sure seem to think it applies to the states.

  103. #103 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @101 – Marx and Proudhon were rivals among left-wing thinkers.

    Marx /took/ many elements of Proudhon and twisted them to fit his own stateist, revolutionary ideology. Marx cribbed wholesale from Proudhon, for example, the theory of surplus value – which Proudhon used critically.

    @1 – The Free Market. With a floor based on basic living requirements. But, bluntly, that doesn’t mean I think the current power of capital should go unchecked. Or that Unions shouldn’t have powers (the /same/ powers, none of this closed-shop nonsense) in terms of collective bargaining, regardless of the employer. Or that, for example, worker cooperatives should be disadvantaged as they are in many cases under the present system.

    @2 – I’d ask who profits? The capitalist, unduly, under the current system. The actual producer of the goods is seeing his share of the added value being constantly reduced. This isn’t sustainable.

    I think you might find the Mutualist view of property as something whose “ownership” should be based on usage more radical, frankly. (But again, it’s a long-term aim)

  104. #104 |  Other Sean | 


    Based on your answer to question 1), I do owe you a partial groveling apology. It was not the same as mine, but it was not quite Marxist. Although the phrase “current power of capital should [not] go unchecked” does have a certain ring, and does raise a small question: why do you not say “the current power of capital in collusion with the state?” Because its not as though capital itself has any of the powers that distress you when you speak of Corporatism.

    But…your answer to question 2) would be considered Marxist by most people, since it contains the notion that profit comes from a disparity between what a worker produces and what he is paid. And again, it’s not that Marx invented the idea (Smith and Ricardo had it before him), it’s just that the only serious group to stick with that theory after 1870 was the Marxists. Or I should say, the Marxists and evidently also Leon.

    In case you care, here are my answers to the same two questions – though in a sense they are really facets of a single question:

    1) Who decides what price a worker is paid for his labor?

    No one “decides”. Ultimately, the value of labor is decided by what people are willing to pay for its produce. So you could say “everyone decides a little tiny bit”. Which is definitely closer to your answer than I expected.

    2) If a voluntary worker uses capital owned by a voluntary investor to produce a good voluntarily purchased by a consumer, at whose expense has the profit been gained?

    At no one’s expense. As described, the transaction is beneficial to all parties.

  105. #105 |  Leon Wolfeson | 


    Because capital by it’s nature lends itself to utilizing the state to suppress completion, as it has since the 70’s in the West. To some degree, this is unavoidable if you’re going to have a social infrastructure, but it can and should be compensated for.

    “it’s just that the only serious group to stick with that theory after 1870 was the Marxists”

    Again, you’re ignoring the fact I’m a mutualist, not a radical at the end of nowhere. I’m a moderate, yes, but the entire point is that we’re gradualists – revolution eats it’s children.

    And you’re completely ignoring the disruptive effects of some kinds of inventions, of course. I’m certainly not arguing for technological suppression, but automation can put people out of work – that’s not beneficial to all parties: you can’t ignore the effects on society.

    Then there’s other things which are “good” which have been captured near-entirely by capital: For example, IP. (I’m no PirateParty radical, but it’s getting out of hand as a control measure…)

  106. #106 |  Xenocles | 

    “Look: if the Constitution doesn’t apply to the states – or at all? again, it’s not clear what your claiming here – then why were the 1A and 2A cases I cite above decided that way? How did DC manage to turn back their unconstitutional gun laws if they didn’t apply to lower-than-federal entities?”

    Because DC is under Congress’s direct authority. In recent decades, Congress has granted DC a degree of home rule, but those powers are simply delegated by Congress and subject to all the constitutional restrictions on Congress.

  107. #107 |  Other Sean | 


    I stand corrected, though technically I’m sitting-on-my-ass corrected at this particular moment.

    Despite years of studying political theory (which of course included Proudhon), I really had no idea there was still a going concern known as mutualism. So it seems you guys are the OTHER last remaining group that still believes in the labor theory of value. And therefore I was wrong to see a Marxist influence in your remarks.

    May I ask: how are you not troubled (by which I mean “totally convinced”) by the well-known criticisms of that theory? And are you familiar with the various theories of interest and capital income that try to explain why they should not be treated as simply unearned rents?

  108. #108 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @107 – To be fair, I think it’s a /tiny/ fringe in America. But it’s definitely NOT so in the UK, and in parts of Europe.

    I don’t believe in the communist version of the theory, against which most of the criticisms are leveled. Very few also apply to “to each according to his deeds”, which calls not for central planning and direct redistribution of all products of labor, but for people’s labor to be the significant factor in their remuneration!

    I believe that unearned income should have higher tax rates than earned income, not that it shouldn’t exist!

  109. #109 |  Pi Guy | 

    #106 Xenocles
    “Because DC is under Congress’s direct authority.”

    But Chicago is not. That was also a 2A challenge. So how was that ruling justified? And Kelo (Connecticut)? And Brown v. Bd of Ed (Kansas)?

    Still waiting for Len to tell me where the Constitution doesn’t apply to the states. And for anyone to identify a SCOTUS case that didn’t hinge on its constitutionality.

  110. #110 |  Pi Guy | 

    Damn, I hate not being able to preview before posting. One kiopardon for the crazy-ass links. Again.

    Upping the dosage of caffiene right now…