The Hypocrisy of Hating Facebook Privacy Rules but Embracing Obamacare

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

David Williams, the founder and president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, performed an interesting social experiment by posting the following status update on his Facebook page:

“I am amazed that some folks get all up in arms and start petitions when an optional service (Facebook) threatens their privacy yet have no problem when the government forces them to do something.”

He was surprised by the number of liberals/progressives who missed the point and “liked” his status. After all, Obamacare, which most of them supported, forces action and threatens privacy, as do most big government ideas.

Something to think about.

Read all about it here.

-Drew Johnson

 

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75 Responses to “The Hypocrisy of Hating Facebook Privacy Rules but Embracing Obamacare”

  1. #1 |  ALowe | 

    You see, the difference is that when Facebook uses your info, they do it to generate profits for private corporations, but when the government does it, they do it to generate profits for private corporations.

  2. #2 |  Lefty | 

    While I’m generally pretty happy with broadening health care the mandate does disturb me.

  3. #3 |  Stephen | 

    OT – since we like dogs. Here is a pretty impressive dog.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamse_(St._Bernard)

  4. #4 |  GeneralGarbage | 

    hawr hawr hawr! Liberals is dumb!

    Better guest bloggers, please.

  5. #5 |  Darwin | 

    The individual mandate is so watered down to be almost meaningless. There are many exceptions and minimal fines. But it’s the only excuse the ignorant have about making the insurance companies live up to what they are paid to do.
    Cause you know, keep your government hands off my Medicare and such…

  6. #6 |  James D | 

    “GeneralGarbage” … pretty well sums up your opinion as well …..

  7. #7 |  GeneralGarbage | 

    I know, it’s garbage not to think that liberals are totally dumb.

  8. #8 |  Brandon | 

    There’s a difference between being “dumb” and completely lacking in self awareness or intellectual curiosity.

    And Darwin, if the individual mandate is “almost meaningless,” why would striking it down have invalidated the entire supreme court, as so many lefty writers suggested before last Thursday?

  9. #9 |  JFC | 

    When FB changes their security settings and opens up your account for all to see, they are doing so for private profit and letting your information out FOR ALL TO SEE.

    The ACA puts in a weak “requirement” that is an attempt to curb rising health costs by having everybody contribute to their own health care. After all, not all libertarians and other short-sighted thinkers who CHOOSE to not get health care are like that failed GOP candidate’s flunky – a decent enough person to let himself die rather than force his health expenses on the rest of us.

  10. #10 |  Charlie Potts | 

    Obamacare is going to save me about $5,000 a year. Facebook not so much.

  11. #11 |  Mattocracy | 

    It’s a little premature to state what Obamacare is going cost/save anyone, is it not?

  12. #12 |  faloi | 

    I’ve already seen my expenses go up with Obamacare. Granted, the amount hasn’t been staggering, but the restrictions on what I can purchase with flex spending dollars and capping the contributions to flex spending means that I’m paying more for the care of my family than I was a few years ago.

  13. #13 |  Matt | 

    @9

    More accurately, if your numbers are correct Obamacare is going to extract $5000 worth of value from other people at gunpoint and redistribute it to you, right?

  14. #14 |  BamBam | 

    @12 for The Win

  15. #15 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Ah yes, only corporations are allowed to sell your data for profit, it’s evil when the government tries to make your life better by having proper medical records.

  16. #16 |  el coronado | 

    “Obamacare is going to save me $5K/year.”

    We may already have us a contender for ‘Best classic quote on a new Government Social Program’! Along with such gems as…..

    * “The new Social Security will only take 1% of the first $2000 you make in a year, plus a matching 1% contribution from your employer.”
    * “Your Social Security number will _never_ be used as an identification number!”
    * “Payroll withholding will only be in effect for the duration, and then it’ll stop *instantly*!” (the ‘duration’ meaning World War 2, of course.)
    * “Our projections show that Medicare will cost no more than $100 million a year by 1990.”

    Good luck with that…

  17. #17 |  Matt | 

    @14

    If I had heard on good authority that a government agent was coming to my house in an attempt to “make my life better” I would run as far away as I could.

  18. #18 |  Mattocracy | 

    Thank god leon came here to show us the error of our ways. I’m sure we’ll all change our minds now.

  19. #19 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Wow, Drew’s hitting them out of the park with rightwing website sources so far.

    So this “social experiment” consisted of his posting a Facebook status and seeing who liked it? I mean, of his “friends” who actually saw it AND bothered to like it.

    His friends are really the only thing we learn about in that, and it’s not like we should be surprised.

    BTW, Facebook takes info in order to make you a product they can sell. Obamacare uses your info help you get healthcare. There’s quite an obvious difference.

  20. #20 |  Jay | 

    We are seeing effects of Obamacare now. In my state, Colorado, maternity coverage was a buy-up/option with most carriers, but you had to have the option before you got pregnant.

    Now, with children 18 and under being guarantee to issue, as well as mandating maternity coverage, my rates as a single male went up nearly 40%.

    Individual rates will slowly start to increase to the point where it’s as expensive as group insurance, but with no employer contribution as we approach ‘no pre-existing conditions’ limitations and 2014.

    But at least if I get pregnant it will be covered, so that’s nice.

  21. #21 |  Sean L. | 

    #18 Christopher -

    I have insurance and a doctor, ergo, I have healthcare. What the hell do they need my info for?

  22. #22 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher Swing,

    “BTW, Facebook takes info in order to make you a product they can sell. Obamacare uses your info help you get healthcare. There’s quite an obvious difference.”

    Yeah, but the obvious difference is this: Facebook is “selling you” to advertisers whose products you do not have to buy. Obamacare is “selling you” (and everyone else) to insurance companies whose products you will soon be required to buy.

    How do you see that as a favorable comparison for Obamacare?

  23. #23 |  EH | 

    And so now it’s possible that David Williams sees the downside of irony and sarcasm: the risk that people will take your words at face value.

  24. #24 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    #9 | Charlie Potts | July 5th, 2012 at 3:18 pm
    Obamacare is going to save me about $5,000 a year.

    It’s all about money with you liberals. Just wish you had stronger morality like the libertarians.

    PS: Just so we’re clear, Republicans, you’re party ain’t gonna repeal anything. This is an expansion of government and that doesn’t get rolled back ever.

  25. #25 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    it’s evil when the government tries to make your life better by having proper medical records.

    Holy Euphemisms, Batman! That’s as candy-coated as government knob-washing gets.

    How the hell can someone spend time on this site and still think government can be trusted to stay inside the lines?

  26. #26 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Jesus eff my typing is terrible today…”your”.

  27. #27 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Guess what, Other Sean, it’s still better than the crap system we’ve got.

    It’s not going to be perfect overnight.

  28. #28 |  Christopher Swing | 

    BTW, if you’re really upset about Obamacare or the continuing move to universal healthcare, feel free to head for a developed nation that doesn’t already have it. You can find one, right?

    Because the only people served by our healthcare system are those that profit from it.

  29. #29 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher Swing,

    Seriously, I’m asking because I want to know how someone of with your views resolves this question.

    You say it’s bad when one organization gives your name to an advertiser who hopes to entice you into a voluntary purchase. But then you say it’s good when another organization uses compulsion to make you purchase a product.

    What is so special about the second organization, that makes you endorse behavior (the half of which) you would not tolerate from the first?

    You can answer that question without starting a comprehensive debate on health care.

    I’m not trying to bait you into some wide-ranging argument, I’m really am just very curious to know your response.

  30. #30 |  Matt | 

    @27

    [ancient_greece]
    BTW Socrates, if you’re really upset about slavery, feel free to head to a developed country or city-state that doesn’t practice it. You can find one, right?
    [/ancient_greece]

  31. #31 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Unless I plan on never being sick, ever, I’m going to have to get healthcare at some point. The idea that it’s optional is flawed from the start.

    It doesn’t matter, anyway. Eventually we’re going to have universal healthcare at some point, or the system’s going to collapse. And what will become of the libertarian state then… oh wait. There never has been one. And likely never will be.

    @29 See the above paragraph.

  32. #32 |  Christopher Swing | 

    (And really, not getting the point that “being the only developed nation that doesn’t have universal healthcare might be worth looking into” is one of the more entertaining things to see here. I think Radley’s great on the civil liberties and police/legal system misconduct stuff; the Liberterianism is entertaining nonsense that I try not to let get in the way of appreciating that.)

  33. #33 |  Matt | 

    @30

    Unless I plan on never eating, ever, I’m going to have to get food at some point. The idea that food is optional is flawed from the start.

    Yet, the government does not provide our food. Food is (for the most part) provided by private individuals engaging in voluntary transactions. Where the government does interfere with food it makes it more dangerous, more violent, and worse.

    As for the universal healthcare canard, I think the system is going to collapse regardless of whether we keep the current moronic healthcare system or move to a moronic single-payer system. Mathematically it cannot continue, so it will not continue. The self-perpetuating system of violence will increase until it collapses.

    And you also ignored my argument. Simply because “there has never been a libertarian state” does not mean that libertarianism is wrong. Just in case you didn’t understand it, your exact argument could be used as a pro-slavery argument in Ancient Greece. There were no developed countries at the time that didn’t have slaves, so according to you slavery should be just fine, right?

    Honestly I don’t give a shit whether or not we go single-payer or not. Its not like it will make a difference. I do think that we will have to have a system that isn’t based upon theft, violence, rape and murder before we get a healthcare system that works, though.

  34. #34 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher Swing,

    Hopefully you’re responding to Matt @29 and 32, because his comment is quite good and definitely deserves a response.

    I would add to it:

    The fact that every other “developed nation”* has “universal healthcare”* would only be interesting if most of all of those nations had tried free market health care, and then abandoned it. Then you might be able to claim a verdict by experiment, badly uncontrolled though the experiment would be.

    Of course the opposite is true. Health care only became a positive value in the early 1900s. Before that, a trip to the doctor was more likely to kill you than cure you. (Long story, something to do with having not much science thanks to fifteen centuries of superstition.)

    By then economic statism had already swept the globe. Scientists were still figuring out how to make penicillin in quantity (a very key problem in helping doctors not be murderers) when most of the developed world was living under National Socialism, International Socialism, or “temporary” War Socialism.

    In other words, health care didn’t really exist as an actual thing of economic value until most of the developed world’s economies were under substantial state control.

  35. #35 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Where the government does interfere with food it makes it more dangerous, more violent, and worse.”

    That’s only slightly insane.

    It does however, regulate the production of food, amongst other things. You might think you’d like a world where that doesn’t happen, but I suspect you wouldn’t live long in it. Fortunately, you can make these declarations in a world where you don’t have to deal with the consequences of what you propose.

    “Simply because “there has never been a libertarian state” does not mean that libertarianism is wrong.”

    I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m saying it’s nonsense, and it’s almost impossible that it will every be the dominant state. I understand what you’re trying to say about Greece, but that’s not the point. Libertarianism really isn’t much of a threat. Look at your biggest guy, Ron Paul.

    And the more you guys talk, the fewer people take you seriously.

    “The fact that every other “developed nation”* has “universal healthcare”* would only be interesting if most of all of those nations had tried free market health care, and then abandoned it.”

    Why bother trying the broken way if you’ve found a way that works better to begin with? See, more nonsense.

    Here’s a thought: maybe healthcare shouldn’t be ruled by economic value. Maybe profit motive is a *bad* idea in some cases.

    In any case, go on, keep at it. There’s always handy things like http://world.std.com/~mhuben/faq.html to point people at if they ever really start taking libertarianism seriously. And if they’re dead set on it even after having the folly of it explained to them, you probably don’t want those people on your side anyway.

    As far as this site goes, Radley really does good work on the civil liberties and injustice stuff, as I’ve said. The right wingnut stuff we’re getting from Drew here now and the Libertarian stuff in general is simply entertainment.

  36. #36 |  Christopher Swing | 

    And hey, as long as we’re having partisan-as-hell biased links to base entire posts from now, here’s one: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/07/03/colorado-springs-and-the-government

    Might as well provide an entertaining example of what happens when “taxes are bad!” people get what they want. :D

  37. #37 |  Matt | 

    It does however, regulate the production of food, amongst other things. You might think you’d like a world where that doesn’t happen, but I suspect you wouldn’t live long in it.

    Oh no what would we do without FOOD REGULATION? Oh right, it wouldn’t be a big deal. The reason food now is the same reason food would be safe in a nonviolent economy – it isn’t a good idea to kill your customers. The government has nothing to do with it. Do you really think the government inspects every single piece of food from the farmer to your table?

    I’m not saying it’s wrong. I’m saying it’s nonsense, and it’s almost impossible that it will every be the dominant state. I understand what you’re trying to say about Greece, but that’s not the point. Libertarianism really isn’t much of a threat. Look at your biggest guy, Ron Paul.

    Who cares about Ron Paul? What does that have to do with anything? There’s a $16 trillion dollar national debt and $75 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. Your system of government is complete nonsense. The money isn’t there. It cannot continue, and it will not continue. When it collapses, perhaps we can create a nonviolent system in its place.

    Why bother trying the broken way if you’ve found a way that works better to begin with? See, more nonsense.

    A bunch of flat broke nations have some bad healthcare systems that by some metrics are better than our flat broke healthcare system? Who cares? You are talking nonsense. We already have 5 single payer systems by my count, although I’m sure I’ve missed a few. What makes you think that another will fix it? Why will giving the government more power to kidnap, rape, and murder fix healthcare?

  38. #38 |  bill | 

    not being an american(canadian) i am not to sure about the details of obamacare. what is the loss of privacy that is involved ? does it have to do with medical records ? tax status ?
    i assume most medical professionals in the us belong to medical associations that enforce patient confidentiality, and that they could face the punishment of not being able to practice if they breech that trust. does america have a privacy commission, or standards for conduct of government members/ employees.
    i don’t think a facebook employee will ever lose his abilityy to practice his craft for violating your privacy. maybe his current job , but he wont be banned from the practice of being a code monkey.
    I disliked the part of the post where he said “it is easy to log off or find other social networking sites.” logging off doesn’t eliminate the gathered info, and finding another social networking site would require that the people you wish to be social with also join that site.
    when he said”Finding a new government is a lot more difficult than finding a new website to share pictures and jokes.” i couldn’t help but laugh. Have they stopped having elections in the US. does he think that the social networking of facebook is as simple as a place to post pictures and jokes. would he disagree that if facebook violates privacy to amass a file on you that your danger of gov intrusion in your private affairs increases. or does he think that facebook would fight the gov if it wanted access to that info.(like the telecom companies,ha ha)
    Then there is also this part “These liberal protests complain about the monolithic Facebook bureaucracy and urge their fellow citizens to “Like” a page that urges Facebook to be more transparent about their privacy settings being changed.” people like facebook(not me personally), people like privacy. asking facebook to respect privacy more would seem like the first place to start.

  39. #39 |  Mattocracy | 

    I really wish liberals would stop saying ObamaCare give people access to healthcare. It gives people access to insurance. That is not the same thing. Healthcare come from medical professionals. Unless we get more healthcare providers in this country, all the insurance in the world isn’t going to do dick except make things more expensive. When you increase demand and not supply, there is only one outcome.

  40. #40 |  Juice | 

    Unless I plan on never being sick, ever, I’m going to have to get healthcare at some point.

    You could plan ahead on your own and save up money for a rainy day and have some cheap catastrophic health insurance in case of an emergency (the purpose of insurance). Anyone too poor to do this would already have some sort of Medicaid or Medicare. The mandate just forces you to pay into the present system that everyone hates.

  41. #41 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Do you really think the government inspects every single piece of food from the farmer to your table?”

    Of course not. See, more nonsense. You don’t have to fully inspect every single piece of *anything* that is mass-produced. What makes you think *that’s* the requirement? Because it’s not, and never has been.

    “Who cares about Ron Paul?”

    Not many people, and he’s the best Libertarians appear to be able to do. That’s the point.

    “What does that have to do with anything? There’s a $16 trillion dollar national debt and $75 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities. Your system of government is complete nonsense.”

    However, *it exists*. Which is still more than the imaginary libertarian system has going for it.

    “The money isn’t there. It cannot continue, and it will not continue. When it collapses, perhaps we can create a nonviolent system in its place.”

    So you’re with the right wingnuts in the Apocalypse is Nigh stuff. Not surprising.

    “A bunch of flat broke nations have some bad healthcare systems that by some metrics are better than our flat broke healthcare system?”

    Funny, we pay twice as much for the same or worse healthcare those other nations have. Well, those that can afford to pay for it anyway. We don’t even manage to cover everybody.

    “Why will giving the government more power to kidnap, rape, and murder fix healthcare?”

    And aside from nonsense, paranoid bits like this aren’t helping your position much, either.

    “I really wish liberals would stop saying ObamaCare give people access to healthcare. It gives people access to insurance. That is not the same thing.”

    In our broken-ass system, it effectively is the same thing. That’s why we need to start fixing it. Obamacare is screwed up, mostly because it’s effectively a Republican plan that rewards insurance companies at the moment, but it’s what it took to get things started. This isn’t a one-step process.

  42. #42 |  Matt | 

    @37

    i am not to sure about the details of obamacare. what is the loss of privacy that is involved ? does it have to do with medical records ? tax status ?

    The law requires healthcare companies to turn over all private health data to the government. Anyone with access to the government databases can view your entire health record. As the government already runs healthcare in Canada and already maintains those records for Canadians this wouldn’t be new to you.

    i assume most medical professionals in the us belong to medical associations that enforce patient confidentiality, and that they could face the punishment of not being able to practice if they breech that trust.

    Yes, this is true, for private employees. However, the law requires they turn over this information so you can’t really blame them.

    does america have a privacy commission, or standards for conduct of government members/ employees.

    Government employees are unionized; they can’t be fired. Short of embarking on a shooting spree they have employment for life regardless of their conduct. They also have varying degrees of immunity from prosecution depending on their position.

    i don’t think a facebook employee will ever lose his abilityy to practice his craft for violating your privacy. maybe his current job , but he wont be banned from the practice of being a code monkey.

    No, I don’t think it would be possible or desirable for a government to ban someone from a particular trade. It would make them nearly unemployable, though. IT jobs depend quite a bit on honesty and trust. A dishonest programmer could destroy a company from the inside if they wanted to.

    I disliked the part of the post where he said “it is easy to log off or find other social networking sites.” logging off doesn’t eliminate the gathered info, and finding another social networking site would require that the people you wish to be social with also join that site.

    Deleting your account would stop new information from being gathered. You also don’t have to join a social networking site at all: it isn’t difficult to not join something.

    when he said”Finding a new government is a lot more difficult than finding a new website to share pictures and jokes.” i couldn’t help but laugh. Have they stopped having elections in the US.

    Uh, you do realize that a single person can’t replace a government? It takes many people to do that, and not all of them think the same way you do. Also, politicians redraw their districts to ensure they are re-elected. Re-election rates for incumbents usually approaches or exceeds 95%. Democracy is a joke and I can’t understand why anyone would take it seriously.

    So compare the amount of work needed to replace even a single congressman vs the amount of work needed to delete your Facebook account: 1. Log on to Facebook. 2. Delete your account. Poof, no more data collection. They might retain some data, but you agreed to that when you signed up for the account. The alternative, not signing up for the account, was something you did not choose.

  43. #43 |  Matt | 

    @40

    Of course not. See, more nonsense. You don’t have to fully inspect every single piece of *anything* that is mass-produced. What makes you think *that’s* the requirement? Because it’s not, and never has been.

    So government doesn’t need to inspect food? Glad we are on the same page!

    Not many people, and he’s the best Libertarians appear to be able to do. That’s the point.

    You assume when I say “libertarian” I am talking politics. I want nothing to do with the legal fiction you call “government”.

    However, *it exists*. Which is still more than the imaginary libertarian system has going for it.

    Libertarianism doesn’t exist? How many transactions have you had without pulling a gun on someone? Voluntary transactions are the essence of liberty and happen every day. Government, on the other hand, is an unsustainable fiction that is pretty clearly nearing the end of its lifespan. Hopefully it will not be resurrected.

    So you’re with the right wingnuts in the Apocalypse is Nigh stuff. Not surprising.

    You think the current debt/deficit level is sustainable? And you are calling me crazy. Where do you think the money is going to come from to pay for this? Narnia?

    Funny, we pay twice as much for the same or worse healthcare those other nations have. Well, those that can afford to pay for it anyway. We don’t even manage to cover everybody.

    As I’ve already said, I don’t care which terrible healthcare system we end up with. Preferably something that spends lots of money. The fact that you wish to move from our terrible government-run system to a different terrible government run system doesn’t really matter to me.

    And aside from nonsense, paranoid bits like this aren’t helping your position much, either.

    If you don’t pay your taxes, you will get a letter from the government. Then you’ll get another letter. Then you’ll get a court date. If you don’t show up for that you’ll get an armed group of psychopaths in blue costumes at your doorstep who will kidnap you and throw you in a cage, where you will be repeatedly raped. If you lift a finger to defend yourself against these thugs you will be killed.

    Do you disagree with any of the above paragraph? If not, why dispute what I said?

  44. #44 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “Deleting your account would stop new information from being gathered.”

    HAhahahhahahahahahahahaahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Be sure to install Ghostery/Adblock/NoScript/whateverelseisnewnextweekforthenextwebbug, and you’ll slow down the information collected. Some.

    “So government doesn’t need to inspect food? Glad we are on the same page!”

    Another libertarian hallmark: an absolute lack of nuance.

    “Libertarianism doesn’t exist? How many transactions have you had without pulling a gun on someone? Voluntary transactions are the essence of liberty and happen every day.”

    And willfully missing the point that what was being said is that there is no libertarian state.

    Also, #23 from the FAQ I linked earlier:

    “I want self-government, not other-government.

    “Self government” is libertarian newspeak for “everybody ought to be able to live as if they are the only human in the universe, if only they believe in the power of libertarianism.” It’s a utopian ideal like those of some Marxists and born-agains that would essentially require some sort of human perfection to work.

    “More explicitly, “self government” is the peculiar notion that other people ought not to be able to regulate your behavior. Much as we would like to be free of such regulation, most people also want to be able to regulate the behavior of others for practical reasons. Some libertarians claim that they want the first so much, that they will be willing to forgo the second. Most other people feel that both are necessary (and that it would be hypocritical or stupid to want just one.) ”

    “If you don’t pay your taxes… [blah blah blah]”

    =yawn= FAQ #6

    “If you don’t pay your taxes, men with guns will show up at your house, initiate force and put you in jail.

    “This is not initiation of force. It is enforcement of contract, in this case an explicit social contract. Many libertarians make a big deal of “men with guns” enforcing laws, yet try to overlook the fact that “men with guns” are the basis of enforcement of any complete social system. Even if libertarians reduced all law to “don’t commit fraud or initiate force”, they would still enforce with guns.”

  45. #45 |  Mattocracy | 

    “So you’re with the right wingnuts in the Apocalypse is Nigh stuff. Not surprising.”

    And likewise, you’re with the leftwing nuts that have their head in the sand about national debt. The same people who said the housing bubble wasn’t going to burst and that Fannie and Freddie were solvent.

    Keep on trolling. I know you love to think you’re winning but you’re just treading water, rehashing the same old liberal talking points that mean absolutely nothing.

  46. #46 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “And likewise, you’re with the leftwing nuts that have their head in the sand about national debt.”

    I simply disagree that it’s going to result in the absolute collapse of the nation before anything is done about it. There’s plenty to be done before that, and there are a great number of options that don’t involve screwing over a great deal of the population in the process.

    It’s always all or nothing with you guys, isn’t it?

    “Keep on trolling. I know you love to think you’re winning but you’re just treading water, rehashing the same old liberal talking points that mean absolutely nothing.”

    Actually, you’re the one who keeps on bringing up libertarian talking points that are so tired they’re on the FAQ. That’s not trolling, that’s just the most efficient way to respond to your standard points that have already been debunked.

  47. #47 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher Swing,

    I actually went and read that FAQ today. Most of your talking points do come directly from it, so at least you’re honest about the fact that you’ve been following a rhetorical formula rather than actually taking part in a discussion. Even the exasperated tone of your insults (“Ha! That’s only slightly insane!”) seems to have been part of the author’s original recipe.

    It’s strange, though, that you assume the correct purpose of an argument is to defend one fixed position against another.

    Have you never known the idea that arguments can be used as a method of inquiry, a means of self-teaching, a way of bringing one’s mind into contact with difficult concepts and unanswered questions?

    Those are the best reasons to argue. That’s really the whole point of forums like this. If our only purpose was to hit each other over the head with debate scripts written back in the ancient days of usenet, what would be the point?

    You may not believe me, but I offer this advice in total sincerity: throw that old simulacrum of an argument in the trash and try the real thing. In the long run, you won’t be disappointed.

  48. #48 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “I actually went and read that FAQ today. Most of your talking points do come directly from it, so at least you’re honest about the fact that you’ve been following a rhetorical formula rather than actually taking part in a discussion.”

    Dude, I said the quotes were from the FAQ. Why bother re-writing responses to YOUR talking points?

    “Even the exasperated tone of your insults (“Ha! That’s only slightly insane!”) seems to have been part of the author’s original recipe.”

    I think you’re mistaken about my generally being tired of hearing the same things over and over as “insults.”

    “Have you never known the idea that arguments can be used as a method of inquiry, a means of self-teaching, a way of bringing one’s mind into contact with difficult concepts and unanswered questions?”

    Yeah, when are the hardcore liberterians here going to try that?

    I keep seeing the same FAQ-points reiterated here again and again. And here because a guest blogger linked to a half-assed “social experiment” that was really designed only as an excuse to make a talking point in the first place.

    And here, let’s swing it the other direction, re: the original post: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/07/conservative-misinformation-campaign-about-obamacare-has-worked-really-really-wel

    Just for fun, and to have a nice swing to the left to chase that bender to the right.

  49. #49 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Oh and hey, why would we want the government to have any influence over health care or drug companies, they’d never do anything underhanded and shady for $$$…

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2012/07/02/feds-say-dr-drew-was-paid-by-glaxo-to-talk-up-antidepressant/

    …often. Sad to see the Invisible Hand of the Free Market swooped in to save us from that and then the ebil gummint stole the credit. /sarcasm

  50. #50 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Oh, and Mattocracy, about your “leftwing nuts” that are “The same people who said the housing bubble wasn’t going to burst and that Fannie and Freddie were solvent.”

    Nope, nope. I think that had to do with both sides being paid off pretty equally:

    “Traditionally, Countrywide used its VIP Loan program to process loans for company executives and their friends, but a new report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform shows the program was also used to incentivize members of Congress, including former Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, Former Republican California Rep. Tom Campbell, New York Democrat Rep. Edolphus Towns and California Republican Rep. Elton Gallegly.

    “Countrywide’s VIP unit processed loans for key senators and Senate staff who could be helpful when legislation that affected the company was drafted or up for a vote,” the report explains.”

    http://crooksandliars.com/nicole-belle/countrywide-influenced-congress-sweet

    It’s a good thing we essentially let banks/corporations do exactly what they want.

  51. #51 |  Matt | 

    “Self government” is libertarian newspeak for “everybody ought to be able to live as if they are the only human in the universe, if only they believe in the power of libertarianism.” It’s a utopian ideal like those of some Marxists and born-agains…

    What does this even mean? Of course you can’t live as if you were the only human in the universe. You could not function in society otherwise. If I were to go to a store and act as if I was the only human in the universe, I would simply take things off of the shelf and walk out the door with them. If I did this, however, I would most likely find myself barred from that store and indeed all other stores who heard of my conduct. I could not survive in such a situation. How could anyone think this anything but a ridiculous strawman?

    The point is not to use guns against peaceful individuals. If you are not harming anyone else, what right do I have to shoot you? If you disagree with this, what basis do you have for opposing any of the authoritarian views you claim to dislike?

    “This is not initiation of force. It is enforcement of contract, in this case an explicit social contract.

    Well it seems you have changed your position from “what paranoid nonsense, you crazy libertarians” to “OK, the robbery, kidnapping, rape and murder does happen, but I don’t have an issue with it and in fact support it”. Are we in agreement that this is your current position?

    Show me this contract. Where’s the signature? No signature, no contract, no argument. If things were as you say there would certainly be no problem with the mafia shaking down local businesses for “protection” money. There’s an explicit contract, is there not?

    Many libertarians make a big deal of “men with guns” enforcing laws, yet try to overlook the fact that “men with guns” are the basis of enforcement of any complete social system. Even if libertarians reduced all law to “don’t commit fraud or initiate force”, they would still enforce with guns.”

    Wrong. While a gun might be necessary in a life or death situation (IE a person breaking into your house to kill you), they are not necessary in regular disputes of contract. No need for theoretical situations, there are real world examples of how contracts can be effectively enforced with no guns. Take Amazon Marketplace and Ebay.

    If I am a seller on Amazon Marketplace, and you buy something from me, and I don’t send it to you, there is a contract dispute. You can lodge a complaint with Amazon, who will investigate the case. If they find that I didn’t send you the product, they will refund your money and take the money from me. No guns are involved in this dispute, and all negotiations and transactions are voluntary.

    A similar thing happens with Ebay: when I fail to send you your goods, you can file a negative review with me. This is incredibly bad news for me as a seller: who would buy from me if it is apparent that I will not send out what was paid for? I have a choice between doing everything I can to make things right with you or to cease doing business on Ebay. Dispute resolved, no guns needed.

    Just because you aren’t clever enough to think of ways of solving these problems that don’t involve armed psychopaths does not mean such methods do not exist.

  52. #52 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher Swing #47,

    Okay, so you’ve given me a really good example. That Mother Jones piece you copied in purports to measure the harm done by “conservative misinformation about Obamacare”, using a quiz from the Kaiser foundation.

    The second question on that quiz was clearly aimed to find out if respondents believed in “death panels”, though for some reason it did not use those exact words (a serious error in methods).

    The question was phrased: “Will the health reform law allow a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare?”

    If someone answered “no”, they were credited with a correct response. If someone answered “yes”, they were marked down as a victim of conservative misinformation.

    But here’s the problem: given the peculiar way it was phrased, the only possible answer to that question is “yes”. Let me explain.

    Medicare is a medical insurance program for people over 65; in other words, for people approaching the end of their lives. Medicare pays for some medical services in full, some in part, and some not at all. In choosing to pay for some things but not others, the Medicare system is making decisions about what care will be available to people at the end of their lives. And since no one person decides what services Medicare should cover and what services it should refuse, it is perfectly accurate to describe such decisions as being made by a panel.

    Of course there is nothing sinister about this. All insurance systems do the same thing – they impanel experts to decide what services should be covered, and in doing so, they make decisions about the care their clients will and will not receive. It will always be thus, as long as health care resources fall below the infinite, there will have to be some means of allocating the scarcity – whether by pricing, queuing, or some hybrid of the two.

    So it turns out – in a way that has nothing to do with Sarah Palin and anything she ever said on Twitter – that the answer is “Yes! The health reform law will continue to allow a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare?”

    Don’t you find it interesting that Mother Jones and Kaiser not only got their own quiz question wrong, but they went on to dismiss anyone who answered it correctly as a dupe of conservative propaganda?

    What do think about that? It’s not covered in the FAQ, so I’d love to hear your response off the cuff.

  53. #53 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “What does this even mean? Of course you can’t live as if you were the only human in the universe.”

    And then with the witless *intentionally missing the point/taking metaphors literally*.

    “The point is not to use guns against peaceful individuals.”

    FAQ #29

    “Show me this contract. Where’s the signature? No signature, no contract, no argument.”

    Why don’t you just quote FAQ #7?:

    “Social Contract? I never signed no steenking social contract.

    “That argument and some of the following libertarian arguments are commonly quoted from Lysander Spooner.

    “The constitution and the laws are our written contracts with the government.

    “There are several explicit means by which people make the social contract with government. The commonest is when your parents choose your residency and/or citizenship after your birth. In that case, your parents or guardians are contracting for you, exercising their power of custody. No further explicit action is required on your part to continue the agreement, and you may end it at any time by departing and renouncing your citizenship.

    “Immigrants, residents, and visitors contract through the oath of citizenship (swearing to uphold the laws and constitution), residency permits, and visas. Citizens reaffirm it in whole or part when they take political office, join the armed forces, etc. This contract has a fairly common form: once entered into, it is implicitly continued until explicitly revoked. Many other contracts have this form: some leases, most utility services (such as phone and electricity), etc.

    “Some libertarians make a big deal about needing to actually sign a contract. Take them to a restaurant and see if they think it ethical to walk out without paying because they didn’t sign anything. Even if it is a restaurant with a minimum charge and they haven’t ordered anything. The restaurant gets to set the price and the method of contract so that even your presence creates a debt. What is a libertarian going to do about that? Create a regulation? ”

    Also FAQ #8 & #9, do me a favor and read those before you repeat those as well. Granted, you already referenced the mafia, but that doesn’t usually show up until #15.

    “If they find that I didn’t send you the product, they will refund your money and take the money from me. No guns are involved in this dispute, and all negotiations and transactions are voluntary.”

    Except it doesn’t always work that way, it then goes to court, and you end up with guns enforcing the court’s decision anyway.

    “Just because you aren’t clever enough to think of ways of solving these problems that don’t involve armed psychopaths does not mean such methods do not exist.”

    By “you” do you mean the rest of the human race?

    Go back to #6 again. Eventually someone decides not to play nice, *because that is how real humans behave.* You realize people aren’t perfectly rational beings, right?

    Oh and Other Sean

    “Medicare is a medical insurance program for people over 65; in other words, for people approaching the end of their lives. Medicare pays for some medical services in full, some in part, and some not at all. In choosing to pay for some things but not others, the Medicare system is making decisions about what care will be available to people at the end of their lives.”

    Hey, let’s quibble about what it *really* means, right? WTF, we all die at some point. You could technically argue that ALL health care is end of life care, because we’re all dying, right now.

    So your only problem with the entire survey (which was still about 1,000 times better than the lame “Facebook experiment” used to initiate this cheap shot post) was that one question? That’s designed to find if people have been led to think something, which is what it was explicitly designed to do?

    And you wonder why you’re not taken seriously?

  54. #54 |  Other Sean | 

    Man, you missed it. There’s a lot of knowledge to be gained by thinking about just that one issue, but to get at it, you have to be able to break the issue down into it’s component parts, examine them one at a time, put them back together, examine them again, etc. Sometimes that means looking at just one question from one little survey from one little source, to see if maybe it’s representative of something larger.

    In this case – in the example I picked for you – it definitely was. The error that Kaiser and Mother Jones made in just that one question betrays a deep well of ignorance about the most basic concepts in economics.

    (Since you were never going to ask, the spoiler is this: Anyone who understood the central fact of scarcity in economics would have been unable to make that mistake. True socialists favor rationing of health care, free market supporters favor pricing. What exists between them is an honest and interesting dispute.

    But to describe a health care system with NEITHER rationing nor pricing, as Kaiser did so pre-reflectively in that question, is to describe something that cannot exist.

    Think about how many people collaborated to produce that survey. Think about how many people saw and read and talked about it. Most of those people were from the political left or center-left, and none of them noticed anything wrong with that question.

    But if their opinions about health care economics are not based on a knowledge of economics, then on what type of knowledge are they based?

    That’s a serious question requiring a serious answer. It’s a question you could try to answer, if you wanted.

  55. #55 |  Matt | 

    @52

    And then with the witless *intentionally missing the point/taking metaphors literally*.

    OK, so you didn’t mean what you said? You only meant that libertarians wish to live their lives in peace without affecting others? Then what’s the big deal? Why is this a bad thing?

    blah blah blah Constitution social contract

    Why are the constitution and this social contract valid? Because the government has guns? “Might makes right?” Then what makes the Mafia invalid? The FAQ says that the Mafia doesn’t own the land and therefore doesn’t have a valid claim to violence. Why not? According to the FAQ, both the landowner and the state own the land (or maybe it thinks the state owns all land and the landowners can rent pieces of it, I’m not sure, I never understood the “dual ownership” thing). If the state can “own” land by conquest (which the FAQ states is perfectly valid) why can’t the Mafia? Why does “might make right” in one case and not another? This moronic FAQ doesn’t deal with that, does it?

    You are saying that it is perfectly fine to kidnap, rape, and murder peaceful people simply because they live in a massive arbitrary geographic area and don’t accept this “social contract” that doesn’t exist and that no one has signed.

    Except it doesn’t always work that way, it then goes to court, and you end up with guns enforcing the court’s decision anyway.

    Neither necessary nor desirable. Amazon, for example, being the runs running the service, could simply take out “deadbeat insurance” for sellers that didn’t end up sending out goods. This would certainly be more efficient than the current court system, which is probably the worst way of resolving disputes this side of Vikings testing if people were guilty or not by throwing them in a river to see if they floated or sank.

    By “you” do you mean the rest of the human race?

    If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. If all you have is the state…

    Go back to #6 again. Eventually someone decides not to play nice, *because that is how real humans behave.* You realize people aren’t perfectly rational beings, right?

    Most people will do what is in their best interest. The superior way to deal with normal violators of contract would be the same way you deal with them on ebay or Amazon marketplace: refusing to engage in any sort of commerce with them. People would do anything to attempt to enter back into normal society, in the same way that an ebay seller who has wronged you in some way will do anything to rectify the situation with you. He has to if he wants to keep existing.

    So what about the worst of the worst? The people who will kill you for your wallet? Well, as I’ve already said before, perhaps using violence in self defense is the only way to deal with such people (though you would not be initiating violence against peaceful individuals if you did this). However, attempting to use this argument against me is a textbook nirvana fallacy:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy
    You are assuming a perfect solution exists to a problem and ignoring a better solution because it has some flaws, as opposed to the horrifying problems that the status quo has.

  56. #56 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Sean: What you’re trying to say is that you picked that one thing because you could go off on a tangent about economics, when *the point* was showing that the conservative misinformation campaign has been successful. Which it seems to have done. It doesn’t matter what answer to the particular question is right or wrong, it’s whether people have been persuaded to *believe* a particular answer.

    So once again, get an question you can’t answer, go ahead and answer a question you weren’t asked.

    Matt: Keep going, you’re pretty much validating *everything* in the FAQ. You seem to be confused; it’s Libertarians that have a nirvana/utopia fantasy going on.

    I notice both of you have no answer for the Colorado link. They got freedom from excessive taxation and government just like they wanted!

    Matt, also nothing about your snipe about the housing bubble getting smacked down. What, don’t like it when the Invisible Hand of the Free Market leaves fingerprints all over the representatives like that?

  57. #57 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher,

    You haven’t asked me any questions that I’ve failed to answer. In fact, you haven’t asked me any questions at all. Not your style, I guess. But that’s too bad because asking non-rhetorical questions is one of the best ways to learn new things in an argument.

    Also, I must point out that when people try to measure misinformation, it is in fact crucially important that they themselves know the correct answer to any questions they’re asking. Otherwise, they can’t properly mark the line between misinformation and information.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Speaking of unanswered questions, what about the one I posed at the end of #53: how do you think it came to pass that one side in the debate over health care economics chose to develop its approach without reference to, and in stark defiance of the principle of scarcity, one of the most basic economic concepts there is?

    I think there’s something very interesting about that.

    When Sarah Palin started talking about “death panels”, your team could have come back at her and said “Death panels already exist. They exist in the for profit insurance market, and everywhere else. Every time someone files an insurance claim, they are putting their future health in the hands of panel, which decides (or has already decided) what treatments they will receive and what treatments they will be denied. You can’t blame Obamacare for that.”

    That would not only have been true, it would have been damn good politics as well. But instead your team chose to point at Palin and say “There goes that crazy bitch spreading myths again. There are no death panels.” And I don’t think they were lying, I think they really did not know enough economics to criticize Palin in the way she deserved.

    And getting back to my question…I’m asking you to help me understand WHY they didn’t know, and why they let Palin off the hook. Do you have an answer?

  58. #58 |  Sancho | 

    This is a very peculiar debate to watch from Australia.

    Reading American websites, you’d think that the US is about to embark on an untested leap of faith with its healthcare system without any idea what the result will be, rather than a very mild, centre-right reform that caters to corporations and doesn’t come even close to the successful state healthcare that the rest of the developed world takes for granted.

  59. #59 |  Other Sean | 

    Sancho,

    But that’s just it – lots of countries have monopoly or monopsony health care systems. A few have two tracked systems (I think yours may be an example). But the system were embarking on in America is a really strange and untried hybrid.

    That’s why you see the plan being criticized by left, right, and libertarian elements in U.S. politics.

  60. #60 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Other Sean: You presume there’s anything new to learn about libertarianism. You’re doomed from the start.

    “Also, I must point out that when people try to measure misinformation, it is in fact crucially important that they themselves know the correct answer to any questions they’re asking. Otherwise, they can’t properly mark the line between misinformation and information.”

    Unless there’s technically no “correct” answer and you’re trying to measure how misinformation has swayed *opinion*, which is the point you’re still missing. As usual, black and white with you guys.

    “Speaking of unanswered questions, what about the one I posed at the end of #53: how do you think it came to pass…”

    I did answer. I told you economics wasn’t the point, and you bringing it up was your way of trying to change the subject and avoid the original point. It still is.

    As for Palin, you’re being disingenuous. You can’t tell me that as an intelligent, adult human being you don’t think she was using a blatant exaggeration as a scare tactic. And trying to say death panels technically exist is also a dumb exaggeration. Please stop playing stupid, if indeed you are playing.

    And Other Sean, WHAT ABOUT COLORADO, EH? It’s the Libertarian Ideal in Real Life Action! Still no comment?

    Sancho: it’s amazing what the loudest US people on the internet don’t get. This thing as it is is an enormous gift to the insurance industry, and will still have to be changed to be what they think they’re talking about, and what it probably should be. Most of them are simply arguing against it because of what side pushed it through.

  61. #61 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher,

    You said: “You presume there’s anything new to learn about libertarianism. You’re doomed from the start.”

    It’s incredible how brazenly you admit to having closed your mind. At first I didn’t believe it, but you really do think everything you need to know about political theory is contained in that usenet FAQ. You’re missing so much

    Sadly, I think you also missed the point of my Sarah Palin example. Of course she was being disingenuous (or maybe just plain stupid) when she talked about death panels. But her critics – people who pride themselves on being so much smarter and more sophisticated than Sarah Palin – proved themselves to be every bit as ignorant, and ignorant in exactly the same way. They proved not to understand economics any better than she does.

    Because here’s where you are most gravely mistaken. The debate about health care isn’t a debate about morality, because everyone agrees that health care is a good and desirable thing. It isn’t a debate about medical science, because there is no purely technological solution to the problem of making health care available to the greatest possible number of people.

    It’s a debate about how to allocate the scarce good known as health care, and the only science capable of rendering an opinion on that point is ECONOMICS.

    The fact that you accused me of changing the subject when I brought that word into this thread says a lot about what you don’t know, and you’ve already said quite enough about what makes you so unwilling to learn.

    Why don’t you put that hoary old FAQ away for a while? You can always pick it back up later, if you choose. In the meantime you might change your life.

  62. #62 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “It’s incredible how brazenly you admit to having closed your mind. At first I didn’t believe it, but you really do think everything you need to know about political theory is contained in that usenet FAQ.”

    *Your* “political theory.”

    “The fact that you accused me of changing the subject when I brought that word into this thread says a lot about what you don’t know…”

    You didn’t just bring a *word* into something, you rambled off on a tangent to avoid the actual point. This has nothing to do with what I know or don’t. You could also say I’m not putting up with your dishonest shenanigans.

    And we see here, you’re *all about* yammering about theory, but not a word about what happens in real life when your “theories” get put into effect: Colorado.

    You won’t talk about that Colorado link. Could it be because it’s another fine example of libertarianism *not working* in real life?

    You should look at the Colorado link. There’s a lot you could learn from real life instead of arguing about theories. XD

  63. #63 |  Other Sean | 

    That Colorado link leads to some story about a wildfire that no one could have prevented or controlled, which blames the resulting disaster on a shortage of fireman and police. It reads like it was co-written by a funding hungry local fire chief working closely with a butthurt spokesman for the Colorado Springs police association.

    What has any of that to do with the things we’ve been talking about here?

  64. #64 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Well, Other Sean, let’s spell it out for you since you’re obviously unable to comprehend it on your own;

    First off, the link is to a commentary ON a story about the current Colorado wildfires. The original is from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-02/wildfire-tests-police-force-in-colorado-anti-tax-movement-s-home.html

    So there’s the full story that was excerpted from, in case you were too lazy to click to it. It took you long enough to acknowledge the link here, anyway.

    But what’s that first excerpt?

    “As Colorado Springs battles a rash of burglaries after a wildfire that still licks at its boundaries, it does so with fewer police and firefighters.
    The city where the Waldo Canyon fire destroyed 346 homes and forced more than 34,000 residents to evacuate turned off one-third of its streetlights two years ago, halted park maintenance and cut services to close a $28 million budget gap after sales-tax revenue plummeted and voters rejected a property-tax increase.
    The municipality, at 416,000 the state’s second-largest, auctioned both its police helicopters and shrank public-safety ranks through attrition by about 8 percent; it has 50 fewer police and 39 fewer firefighters than five years ago. More than 180 National Guard troops have been mobilized to secure the city after the state’s most destructive fire. At least 32 evacuated homes were burglarized and dozens of evacuees’ cars were broken into, said Police Chief Pete Carey.
    “It has impacted the response,” said Karin White, a 54- year-old accountant, who returned home June 28 to a looted and vandalized house, with a treasured, century-old family heirloom smashed.”

    Huh, so much for that “self-reliance” thing you guys like to talk about. “We don’t need all this government!” becomes “SHIT WHERE’S THE GOVERNMENT!” really goddamn quick when something bad happens.

    But I do like the conclusion:

    “We in Seattle are enjoying a cool summer day. No stress at all. Lots of sun for the leaves. No clouds for now. Everything looks great out my window. I’m even enjoying the wind chimes. Why should we in perfectly perfect Seattle pay federal taxes and shit like that? Because a fucking disaster could strike us in the future. And in this future, Colorado Springs could very well be doing great, having a nice day, and enjoying the sounds of wind chimes. Get this, tea people: We need a functioning government more than we need rich people on welfare. We cannot cut costs because we do not want to tax corporations or the wealthy. The function of the state is always to distribute the good luck and the bad luck—the good luck of a sunny day or a big payday; the bad luck of a natural disaster or a job injury.”

    This is why libertarians always fail, and will more than likely continue to do so. People try putting your theories into action every so often. And we end up with stuff like this. (Fortunately, most people won’t ever have to deal with the full consequences of libertarianism, because eventually the federal government will step in. Much like what is likely to happen in Florida with their service-cutting-induced TB outbreak.)

    Libertarianism is the political theory of fail. Even when it’s just conservatives putting these things into action, it’s disastrous. Can you imagine how bad a full-on libertarian government would be? The trouble for you guys is, most people can.

  65. #65 |  Other Sean | 

    Are you suggesting that the town of Colorado Springs is a valid example of a libertarian society, such that it functions as a definitive case study?

    Is that what you’re claiming here?

    You are aware that Colorado Springs is currently located in the United States, right?

  66. #66 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Other Sean: clue time. It doesn’t even have to be an entirely libertarian society. Just a few libertarian ideals are enough to screw things up, and like I said, the federal government is tending to keep the full screwing over from happening.

    Stop pretending you don’t get what I said. It just makes you look even more ridiculous, Other Sean.

  67. #67 |  Other Sean | 

    So you think letting the police and fire departments shrink 8% by attrition during a budget crisis is a “libertarian ideal”?

    Since you seem to know…what would be the correct size for the public safety labor force in Colorado Springs? What would be the optimal ratio of cops to citizens? What should they be paid at entry level? How many fire captains would it take to supervise the local force? Should the police own a helicopter, or just contract for a Cesna? How many officers should be trained for the SWAT team?

    How will you know when you’ve reached a level of non-libertarianism sufficient for the town’s needs?

    How do you plan to arrive at these numbers?

    Don’t forget to show your work.

  68. #68 |  Christopher Swing | 

    Other Sean: You don’t get to pick one detail of all those in the story and act like that was the whole thing. And really, a lame attempt to turn that one little thing into an question you’ve already decided can’t be answered?

    Now you’re just being dishonest in your desperation.

    The people there wanted their “no taxes! more smaller gubmint!,” got it, and look at the results is the point. People in Florida are getting the same thing (with a nice TB outbreak as well!) for another current example.

    Or would you care to go straight to #25, that there’s some sort of conspiracy preventing a libertarian state from existing?

    (Hint: people generally not being dumb enough to fall for something isn’t a conspiracy. Every so often we have the exceptions above that prove the rule.)

  69. #69 |  Other Sean | 

    Besides an 8% reduction in police and fire budget, how exactly did the people of Colorado Springs get smaller government? And if the government they got is indeed too small, you really should be able to tell me what would be its correct size, as I requested in the post before last?

    You should also be able to put forth a theory about how that smaller government caused the problems experienced there? It isn’t enough to say “this happened first, and that happened next, and therefore this is the cause of that.”

    How would that extra 8% of cops and firemen have prevented the town from suffering damage and disorder in a massive wildfire?

  70. #70 |  Christopher Swing | 

    No, Other Sean, you don’t get to keep trying to change the subject.

    “…turned off one-third of its streetlights two years ago, halted park maintenance and cut services to close a $28 million budget gap after sales-tax revenue plummeted and voters rejected a property-tax increase.”

    Apparently you can’t fuckin’ read, or simply don’t want to. And that’s just part of it. You don’t get to sit there and ask questions that are answered in the articles. Because you just made it clear you haven’t actually read the source article. And then there’s the continuance of the mental-illness-level fixation on minor aspects of the larger point thing, like the “economics” distraction you tried earlier.

    It’s the same kind of weirdness I’ve seen out of libertarian candidates on the local level. It’s like libertarianism is often just being republican with Aspberger’s Syndrome.

  71. #71 |  Other Sean | 

    Christopher,

    It’s still your burden to explain HOW what you call the “small government” of Colorado Springs led to the problems described in that article. I’m not saying you don’t have some rationale, but you’ve never put it forward and so your argument still reduces down to post hoc ergo propter hoc. You also have the related burden of explaining how much more government you think would be required to remedy or prevent such problems.

    And for the record: I’m not playing dumb to your intentions. I use the question and response format not to irritate you, but because it is usually an excellent means keeping a discussion within hailing distance of its purpose.

    The way most people talk about politics is a total waste of time. You’ve seen it, here and elsewhere. The pattern resembles the children’s card game “war”:

    The liberal leads off with “Bush lied”. The conservative shoots back something about Hilary backing the war. The liberal name checks the Koch brothers, The conservative mentions George Soros. The liberal fumes about the oil spill. The conservative calls out Al Gore’s home electric bill. The liberal plays his Hitler card. The conservative plays his Stalin. The liberal points toward Sweden. The conservative holds up Hong Kong.

    The libertarian, at first excluded from the game, jumps in to play his “there is as yet no historic model of a free society” card, whereupon both the liberal and the conservative join together screaming “shut the fuck up!”

    I don’t have conversations like that. If you want to talk about health care, I’ll talk about health care. If you want to switch to a discussion of property tax cuts and their alleged causal relationship with prairie fires, that’s okay with me. But I won’t just trade assertions from a packaged deal, and I won’t pretend to know what you’re talking about when I actually don’t understand what you’re talking about.

    I’ll talk to Christopher Swing until he gets bored or gives me back nothing but pure ad hominem, but why would I want to debate a FAQ posing a man. My questions are sincere, and I really do want to know if and how you can answer them. It’s nothing more sinister than that.

  72. #72 |  Christopher Swing | 

    “It’s still your burden to explain HOW what you call the ‘small government’ of Colorado Springs led to the problems described in that article.”

    You just want me to re-iterate what the article explains? Why?

    “I use the question and response format not to irritate you, but because it is usually an excellent means keeping a discussion within hailing distance of its purpose.”

    Says the guy who keeps trying to steer it onto tangents.

    “If you want to switch to a discussion of property tax cuts and their alleged causal relationship with prairie fires, that’s okay with me. ”

    There’s that fixation again. It wasn’t just about fires, and you know it.

    In any case, point made. This whole stream is evidence of why libertarians aren’t getting elected in any meaningful numbers. It’s a pattern that repeats over and over and over, from political races down to comment threads, fail in fractal form.

  73. #73 |  Other Sean | 

    I’m no expert in campaign strategy, but I think libertarians aren’t getting elected because there is just a really huge number of people who love using force to get free stuff and control other people’s lives.

    Considering the things one would have to promise those people to win their votes, not getting elected is something of which every libertarian should be proud.

  74. #74 |  el coronado | 

    You GO, Other Sean! It’s excellent Karma to deny a troll the last word he’s (so obviously) trying to get. (so he/she can then claim “victory”) Whenever an internet troll is denied the last comment, especially a snarky statist troll, an Angel gets his wings.

  75. #75 |  Return of the Agitator « The Honest Courtesan | 

    [...] about a Tennessee government program to force poor people to take handouts they don’t want, a social experiment conducted on Facebook, Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccination campaign and a pork project called “The National First [...]

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