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 |  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.

  2. #2 |  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.

  3. #3 |  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?

  4. #4 |  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.

  5. #5 |  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.

  6. #6 |  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?

  7. #7 |  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?

  8. #8 |  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.

  9. #9 |  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.

  10. #10 |  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.

  11. #11 |  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.

  12. #12 |  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

  13. #13 |  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?

  14. #14 |  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.

  15. #15 |  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?

  16. #16 |  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.

  17. #17 |  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.

  18. #18 |  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.)

  19. #19 |  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?

  20. #20 |  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.

  21. #21 |  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.

  22. #22 |  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.

  23. #23 |  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.

  24. #24 |  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.

  25. #25 |  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 […]