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  • How Sex Sells the Loss of Freedom

    Posted by Shannon Love on May 24th, 2009 (All posts by )

    Classical Values [h/t Instapundit] asks:

    Sometimes I wonder whether “getting the government out of our bedrooms” (supposedly accomplished by Lawrence v. Texas) wasn’t just a ruse so people could imagine they were more free.

    Oh, that’s exactly what leftists are doing. It’s quite clear that they use the lure of sexual freedom to disguise their removal of personal freedom in every other area of life. 

    Let’s look at a little table that compares the degree to which the Left or the Right ideologically grants more freedom in a particular area. Blue indicates one side ideologically and consistently grants more freedom to the individual in that area. Red indicates the opposite. Grey or green indicates an area in which neither side is consistent.  (For these purposes, libertarians are grouped with the Right. Although, there are so few libertarians it doesn’t alter the balance much.)

     

     

    Freedom Left Right
    Speech    
    Work    
    Business    
    Food    
    Housing    
    Consumer Goods    
    Transportation    
    Medical Care    
    Education    
    Free Trade    
    Self-Defense    
    Property Rights    
    Parental Rights    
    National Security    
    Police Powers    
    Recreational Drugs    
    Sexuality    

     

    Kinda shocking to see it laid out like that, isn’t?

    Most of these comparisons should be obvious. National security, police powers and recreational drugs are pretty much a wash. When in power, leftists have implemented or signed off on broad expansions of national-security powers. Those on the Right generally support more police power to combat ordinary crime but leftists support increased police power in matters of environmental enforcement and guns. The social conservatives on the Right and social engineers on the Left balance each other out in supporting drug laws. Libertarians on the Right and libertines on the Left balance each other out on ending the drug war. 

    As little as 30 years ago, the Left would have trounced the right on issues of free speech, yet today the Left is the source of almost all assaults on free speech. The Right seeks to impose traditional restrictions on pornographic speech, but leftist speech codes on campus, sensitivity training, gangs of leftist thugs shouting down non-leftist speakers on college campuses, hate-crime laws, the reimposition of content control on broadcasters via the “Fairness Doctrine”, etc., all reveal a Left that no longer defends free speech on critical political matters. Today, it is the Right that protects people’s right to engage in unpopular, stupid or hateful speech. The days when leftists fought to let the Nazis march in Skokie are long gone. 

    Only in the area of sexuality does the Left demonstrate a pronounced and consistent preference for individual decision-making. Why? I think it merely a matter of individual and group self-interest. Leftism as an ideology exists to provide a mechanism for advancing the economic interest and social status of articulate intellectuals. As an ideology leftism seeks to restrict the freedoms, especially the economic freedoms, of everyone who doesn’t work as an articulate intellectual, while at the same time maximizing the freedom of articulate intellectuals. Advocating sexual freedom, sometimes to the point of subsidizing irresponsibility, lets articulate intellectuals kill two birds with one stone. On a personal level it creates moral permission for individual leftists to make their own sexual decisions. For the group, it lets leftists collectively claim to be increasing personal freedom in one very powerful area (especially among the young) which disguises their destruction of individual choice in every other arena of life.  

    Most people forget that fascists, communists and the lesser tyrannies of the 20th Century did not initially rise to power as violent, mass-murdering police states. Instead, they began with economic control. They first controlled people’s access to material necessities: to jobs, to housing, to medical care, to education, etc. Only when they could control people’s material environment did they obtain the power to unleash the police state. 

    Leftists in the free world are driving us down the same path, albeit in slow motion. They do so by shifting language. They have defined “personal” to mean only those decisions that touch upon sex. Anything that doesn’t touch on sex is not personal and is therefore a matter subject to state control. With this definition they can claim to protect personal freedoms while locking down every other freedom. More and more people have to go hat-in-hand to politicians just get the basic necessities. 

    As you go through your day-to-day life, watch all the decisions that you make that influence your total quality of life. Each time you make such a decision, ask yourself if a leftist would let you make that decision if they had the power to stop you. Would they let you have your house, your job, your car, your food, your random stuff? Would they let you run your own business? Would they protect your right to free speech if they disagreed with you? Would they let you educate your children as you see fit? Would they let you have input on your minor children’s reproductive choices?

    Finally, Ask yourself how many of those decisions would you trade for your sex life? 

    The Left has learned the first truth of marketing: Sex sells. In their case, it sells the incremental loss of real freedom. 

     

    78 Responses to “How Sex Sells the Loss of Freedom”

    1. Luke H Says:

      Would they let you have input on their reproductive choices?

      Not sure what you mean by this sentence – are you saying that we should be allowed to control the reproductive choices of others, or is there a misplaced word here?

    2. Shannon Love Says:

      Luke H,

      Sorry, I cleaned the sentence up to read, “Would they let you have input on your minor children’s reproductive choices?”

    3. fred lapides Says:

      a rather odd and meaningless table that offers nothing whatsoever but some colors to make a case based upon….what, exactly? explain, say work? how is one better than the other and based upon what statistics or ideas and compiled by whom? this sort of tabulation would not convince anyone who sought objective verification.

    4. mishu Says:

      Fred you are being obtuse on purpose to obfuscate Shannon’s post and you fail miserably. Of those issues listed above, which political movement grants the most individual freedom and why? If you disagree with Shannon’s findings, say so and show your work.

    5. jimbino Says:

      You left out some important rights, which include:

      1. Right not to be penalized for being not married.
      2. Right not to be penalized for being a non-breeder.
      3. Right to booze 24/7.
      4. Right to drugs of your choice.
      5. Right to abort.
      6. Rights of fathers.
      7. Right to travel.

      Both Left and Right are comfortable in punishing folks for not marrying and not breeding.

      The Right comes down harder in denying the right to booze, drugs and abortion.

      Both Left and Right seem not to honor a right to travel (Cuba) or the Rights of fathers regarding birth/abortion and child support.

    6. Ron Coleman Says:

      Mishu, I’m with Fred. Shannon is the proponent of the table — she is the one who should “show her work”!

    7. Ginny Says:

      You know people on the left who are deeply opposed to aid to dependent children? You know people on the far left who think people should have a choice of whether to sell birth control or even, in some cases, do abortions? You certainly seem to know different people “on the left” than I do. In fact, I was struck by why I’d become more conservative by listening to a group of people talk lately: those on one side believed we shouldn’t consider nature in terms of sociology and that the pendulum had swung too far that way, they also thought that someone (one guy implied it should be he, himself) should tell people what to do with their land, especially their wetlands. the other side were NRA types. It struck me that one group wanted to tell me what to do; the other side didn’t give a damn if I had a gun or not – they just wanted one. I’ll agree if you come to it with a different mindset, Shannon’s graph isn’t very convincing. If you come to it with my experience, it may cause a laugh but it doesn’t seem all that wrong.

      What strikes me about some of these “rights” is that conservatives in general have a larger horizon. They think the marketplace of ideas works. I will admit I’m not too impressed with the kind of person who uses the words “breeders.” It doesn’t imply much sense of history, the community, biology. It has not been my experience that conservatives do encourage “breeding” – they expect responsibility from mothers. They are more likely to notice that men are generally dissed in modern society. They are more likely to believe that a father should have rights, too. And you must be aware that those who fervently believe in the right to abort are, by the nature of the extremity of their position, often opposed to the rights of fathers (of the infant or of the underage mother).

    8. Ginny Says:

      Okay, Jimbino, I wasn’t thinking clearly. 1, 2, and 5 are all about sex, procreation, etc. I suspect you could argue that 6 is in the category, too. I’m not sure what other category it should be in. It certainly has to do with the products of sex. Shannon has already said that is where the left is libertarian. I don’t know any conservatives (nor actually do I know any liberals) who want to restrict the right to travel; of course, many on the left are wanting to restrict the traveling of businesses, etc. Is that what you are talking about? Actually the people who are really in favor of boooze 24/7 are the bar owners (I have no idea how they lean politically) and the people against it – at least in some votes in Austin – were the musicians (generally not a right-wing group). But their reasons didn’t have to do with restricting others, they just wanted to get home before dawn. Late nights do result in more accidents; some of them are horrific. But the MAD people are not, generally on the right, are they?

      Of course, this isn’t important and I don’t think any of us are proving anything – although Shannon is making it a lot more interesting and attractive.

    9. Birt Says:

      I have to say the only consistent in regards to the left and freedom is that they only seem to be interested in freedom from responsibility. I’m not giving the conservative right a free pass, they could also use some lessons in freedom & liberty, but on the average, I think the right does a better job then the left concerning our personal liberties. Let’s face it, most people are scared to death of freedom and the responsibility it entails.

    10. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapides,

      a rather odd and meaningless table that offers nothing whatsoever but some colors to make a case based upon….what, exactly? explain, say work?

      I used colors to create a visual pattern to show the preponderance of restrictions on freedom on the left side of the political spectrum.

      As to details, I originally broke down each category and wrote a paragraph explaining each but then the post ran to 2,000 words. Then I realized that for most people the difference would be obvious so I didn’t bother.

      However, if you need help I can flesh it out the argument in the case of work. Which side’s policies restrict an individual’s right to set their own conditions for employment. Take compulsory unions. The left loves the idea that the government can force an individual to choose between having a job or joining a union. They force individuals to pay dues to the union which the union then uses for political activity. Leftist have strenuously fought enforcing the laws that require unions to the portion of dues (which is usually over half) that goes to political activity which the individual opposes.

      Imagine the opposite situation in which the government forced all employees to pay dues to their employers which the employers would then use to support political policies of which the employer approves. Leftist would freak in such a situation but they have no problem doing the exact same thing when it benefits them.

      When I was in college, I had to work multiple minimum wage jobs to pay my way. (The free-market minimum wage was higher than the legally mandated one by the way.) I had to work 60+ hours a week to pay the bills but I couldn’t just work at one job. The reason I had to work multiple jobs was that overtime laws made my labor to expensive. I couldn’t just put in 60 hours a week at one job. Instead, I had to work 8hrs at one job, then commute to my other job and I had to work 7 days a week. So, I was “protected” into loosing an hour or two commuting every day between jobs and working 7 days a week for months on end (while taking classes). I could choose to negotiate with an employer to work a single 10 or 12 hour shift at just one job.

      Leftist justify themselves by claiming that they’re restricting freedom in order to protect workers from exploitation but that doesn’t mean they aren’t restricting freedom. Leftist protect individuals by imposing the leftist own assessment of what is best for whatever abstract group the leftist believe the individual belongs to.

      Leftist protect people the same way rancher protect cattle by surrounding them with fences to keep them from wandering into danger. But people aren’t cows and they don’t need self-appointed betters fencing them in.

    11. Shannon Love Says:

      Jimbino,

      Well, your list pretty much reinforces my point:

      1. Right not to be penalized for being not married. Not sure what you mean. There aren’t any legal penalties for being married. The tax code for decades penalized people for being married. In any case, there isn’t any clear left/right breakdown in regards to being married per se.
      2. Right not to be penalized for being a non-breeder. Again, a wash at least form a legal perspective.
      3. Right to booze 24/7. This is classified under recreational drugs and is a wash. The social conservatives like to restrict access to alcohol but leftist like to tax it and create state monopolies on liquor sales.
      4. Right to drugs of your choice. Ibid. Although if your talking about medicinal drugs, the left is much more keen to restrict access than the right.
      5. Right to abort. Abortion is tied to sexual freedom and therefore the left has a pronounced advantage. Most abortions are carried out for birth control and the left has persistently pushed the right to abortion specifically to allow people to have a sex life without the natural consequence of children. Abortion is also something of special case because the primary political debates centers on whether abortion is merely a matter of an individual controlling their own body or whether its a case of one individual killing another.
      6. Rights of fathers. Depending on what you mean by rights one side or the other might have an advantage. The left today is actively misandronistic and wants to lock men out of children’s lives at the sole discretion of the mother. On the other side, the social conservatives on the right are fanatical about forcing fathers to meet their financial and emotional responsibilities towards their children.
      7. Right to travel. That’s classified under national security and is a wash.

      You still see the same pattern in your list. On matters of sexuality, the left has a clear freedom advantage. We could even give the edge to the left on recreational drugs. In both cases I would argue that the left is using sex and drugs to sell restrictions on the freedom to acquire the basics of life. The offer give sensual pleasures in return for physical restrictions on the basic necessities of life. You can bonk whomever and whatever and get any kind of high as long as you let the leftist tell you what to eat, what to wear, where and how to live, what car you drive (if any), how you receive medical care and what you can say.

      Of course, once they control your physical existence, they won’t have to respect your sexual or drug freedoms either. What exactly are you going to do if they decide you’re sex life doesn’t serve their goals? It’s the road to serfdom to trade one freedom for another.

    12. TMLutas Says:

      Once you buy into certain bedrock “chain of life” assumptions like building your roads and other structures to last multiple generations, you’ve implicitly limited your sexual freedom. If there aren’t enough kids, maintaining the old bargain becomes hard and eventually impossible if the reproductive rate drops persistently to one that is too low. Early symptoms are rising taxes, restrictions on building infrastructure that can’t be handled by the coming generation, and declining elder care as disfavored old relatives get shipped off to be warehoused in homes.

      Societies with a lower than 2.1 TFR can balance this by immigration but that’s only going to last as long as world TFR is significantly above the world replacement rate (2.1 for the developed world, 2.33 for the developing world). World TFR according to the UN has shrunk from 2.65 in the first half of this decade to 2.55 in the present half.

    13. david foster Says:

      Leftists, of course, would not present it this way, but would instead use the language of rights. Thus, they wouldn’t advocate “restriction of free trade” but rather “the right to a good job with a middle-class income.” Nor would they advocate “restriction of free speech” but rather “the right to be protected from hate speech.”

    14. DJF Says:

      In a nutshell, one could say that the Left favors an adult version of the freedom of the playpen (meaning the right to engage in consequence-free sex). Meanwhile, while the “Right” (a label Leftists cynically use to speciously link their opponents to Nazis, fascists, etc.) favor expanding an adult’s freedom to interact with the world as a responsible adult in the roles of citizen (free speech and political activity), economic actor (business owner, investor, career pursuer), and parent.

      Put another way, the Left is chiefly concerned with a person’s freedom to engage in activities one performs in private and in the nude (having sex and undergoing abortions). The “Right” is more concerned with the freedom to enage in activities performed in public and clothed. I think the founders of this country had the latter kind of freedom in mind.

    15. JewishAtheist Says:

      Speech? Are you kidding me? The right is more likely to censor television, radio, etc. Yes there is minority support for the Fairness Doctrine on the left, but it’s the right under John Ashcroft who spent millions of federal dollars fighting pornography! (Not just sex, but violence, “naughty words,” “adult themes,” etc. It’s the right who are always fighting to remove books from libraries, etc.

      Work? Are you kidding me? The right thinks that employers should be allowed to fire you for being black or gay or whatever.

      Food? The right wants to make it harder for consumers to know if their food is safe… and they work to make it less safe too. Oh, and they make ridiculous bans on French cheeses, etc.

      Medical care? MEDICAL CARE??? Abortion, Plan B, contraception, legal ability to sue for malpractice, non-discrimination for insurance, etc. Medical marijuana?

      Recreational drugs?? You say that’s a push? What a crock.

      Self-defense is the only one you have a case on. The rest is pure spin and BS.

    16. bgates Says:

      Work? Are you kidding me? The right thinks that employers should be allowed to

      See, when you’re arguing that the right thinks that people should be allowed to do more things, you’re not making a very good argument that the right is anti-freedom. Because freedom involves doing things without government interference.

      Food? The right wants to make it harder for consumers to know if their food is safe

      …by making food vendors free (there’s that word again) to decide how much information about their food to present. You would still be free to choose the food vendors that choose to meet or exceed current FDA standards.

      Medical care? MEDICAL CARE??? Abortion, Plan B, contraception

      No, medical care. People should be free (have you heard of the concept?) to choose doctors and insurance companies, and vice versa. I don’t know what your malpractice reference is about. As far as medical marijuana and recreational drugs, we’re not claiming that the right uses more themselves – Obama’s an admitted hard drug user, for instance. But there’s no question that the left’s interest in taxing and harassing tobacco out of existence dwarfs whatever lip service some fringe pays to the idea of legalizing other drugs. Even the pot movement won’t last, once someone explains to them that burning marijuana releases toxic carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    17. Dove Says:

      The critics have a good point. I read the post and thought, “potentially persuasive, but largely content-free.” It needs a good definition of individual freedom and some indication of how you picked the categories. And then a list of the major policies each side supports and how they stack up against your definition. Attempting such a sweeping summary of the political landscape without some indication of your standards and methods seems irresponsible.

      As it is, the table looks impressive, but since I cannot examine the data behind it (which must surely rely on a lot of personal judgement), I cannot take it at face value. Hence I cannot take the commentary that builds on it very seriously.

    18. Dove Says:

      Work? Are you kidding me? The right thinks that employers should be allowed to fire you for being black or gay or whatever.

      That may be true of some. It is true of me; I think employers should be able to hire or fire for any reason they darn well please. But in this day and age, I don’t think that statement is true of most. Curiously, though, your underlying assumption is that the freedom in question is the “freedom to have a job,” which will be violated if you’re fired. I reject that phaseology. That’s not freedom, but entitlement; you want someone to give you something, not the right to act as you see fit in a world that does the same. Freedom would be companies and workers being able to enter into any ecomonic arrangement they both think is worthwhile.

      Food? The right wants to make it harder for consumers to know if their food is safe… and they work to make it less safe too.
      Once again, you consider a freedom something I consider an economic benefit–the freedom to know what’s in your food and how it’s made and even to have it made a certain way. I would rather have the freedom to buy food that’s been expensively and extensively tested (if I want) or that’s cheaply been made in good faith (if I want). A guaranteed benefit is not freedom, even when it’s information we’re talking about. The ability to choose what you produce and what you get is freedom.

      Oh, and they make ridiculous bans on French cheeses, etc.
      Er?? Hadn’t heard of that one.

      Medical care? MEDICAL CARE??? Abortion, Plan B, contraception, legal ability to sue for malpractice, non-discrimination for insurance, etc. Medical marijuana?
      Abortion’s fair, though the side that opposes it doesn’t think it’s individual freedom, but murder, so you can hardly blame them that much for blowing off a little personal freedom. Contraception I hadn’t heard proposed limits on from the right beyond allowing vendors not to sell it if they don’t want to. That’s a point for freedom — I’m looking for the right to buy and sell as you personally see fit, not the right to access something as conveniently as possible. Medical marijauna, that’s a point, though it’s tangled up with the drug issue, so I’m not sure it scores here.

      That’s all extremely minor, though, compared to one massive problem with health care/health insurance from my perspective: your employer is required to provide it. I do not have the freedom to choose my level of coverage and to pay for it myself unless I am self-employed. I am forced to take whatever my employer gives me. In my present situation, it is extremely expensive (for my employer) and ill-suited to my needs, and I suspect that is commonly the case. It irks me to no end that I cannot negotiate it myself. Not being a legal scholar, I’m not sure whose idea that was . . . but I know who “right to X level of health coverage” sure sounds like!

      It is Orwellian to express entitlement and regulation in terms of freedom. Free from unemployment, free from high prices, free from class envy–what a great description of a repressive system! It is a distortion. When you say “freedom from,” you really mean law and regulation. When you say “free to have”, you mean entitlement. Actual individual freedom, as I see it, is “freedom to.” It means the ability to attempt things without outside distortion or interference–not that you will necessarily succeed, but that nothing hinders you trying beyond the inherent difficulties and dangers of the problem. Free to act. Free to choose. Not free to avoid or to have.

    19. UNRR Says:

      This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 5/26/2009, at The Unreligious Right

    20. tehag Says:

      It wouldn’t matter if you could mathematically prove the divisions on this table. “Freedom” doesn’t mean the same thing twice. I recently saw a public service add that promoted human right #15 (I think): “Freedom to have a Nationality.” That’s nonsense to me, and likely a lie, but someone believes it will achieve the end they wish, so they invent a pithy phrase with the word freedom in it. “Freedom from want.” “Freedom from sickness.” “Freedom to hire people you trust.” “Freedom to keep your job.”

    21. jjv Says:

      The fact is no “control of your sex life” on the right even comes close to the economic control of the Left. Was this a free country in John Kennedy’s time? We had abortion laws, fault divorce, and most states had laws regulating birth control to adults or some such(and connecticut not allowing their sale at all). Was 1961 and age of sexual tyranny? To state the proposition is to refute it.

      The Right, by and large, is simply trying to allow the same family environment pre-Roe. Sorry, but Woodstock took place in that environment so spare me the “Handmaid’s Tale” crapola.

      The Left want to control my family size by shoving me in tiny cars, making public schools so awful I have to shell out for private school with after tax dollars, and promotes sexual confusion that makes dating and marrying a circus.

      I also believe the Left promotes drug use more than any but the N.O.R.M.L Right. So depending on your point of view they should not be green on your chart.

    22. alanstorm Says:

      JewishAtheist:

      Others have already answered the rest, but curiously missed one of your most vulnerable points:

      “Speech? Are you kidding me? The right is more likely to censor television, radio, etc.”

      You have to be joking. The left wants to censor political speech, shutting up those who don’t toe the liberal line. It’s not conservatives pushing campus speech codes and shouting down speakers they don’t agree with. You have, in essence, just stated that you would choose to be able to view pornography over the right to express yourself politically. How pathetic.

    23. Bill Dalasio Says:

      The more liberal commenters here are proving the point raised by others. Consistently, they seem to refer to liberties as goodies from the state.

    24. Rob Crawford Says:

      Speech? Are you kidding me? The right is more likely to censor television, radio, etc. Yes there is minority support for the Fairness Doctrine on the left, but it’s the right under John Ashcroft who spent millions of federal dollars fighting pornography! (Not just sex, but violence, “naughty words,” “adult themes,” etc. It’s the right who are always fighting to remove books from libraries, etc.

      I’ve yet to hear of a conservative demanding the removal of the works of Mark Twain for their supposed racism. Or of any but the squishy right (I’m looking at you, John McCain) arguing for the restriction of political speech.

      As for violence, well, again, most of those demanding the excising of violence from entertainment are coming from the left, not the right.

      You might want to ask yourself why Warner Brothers chose Whoopi Goldberg to give an introduction to classic WB cartoons, to warn parents about their content (violence, ‘racism’, etc.).

    25. Michael Ronayne Says:

      Quote: Ayn Rand,

      “Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a person’s sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions. Tell me what a person finds sexually attractive and I will tell you their entire philosophy of life. Show me the person they sleep with and I will tell you their valuation of themselves. No matter what corruption they’re taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which they cannot perform for any motive but their own enjoyment – just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity! – an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exultation, only on the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces them to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and accept their real ego as their standard of value. They will always be attracted to the person who reflects their deepest vision of themselves, the person whose surrender permits them to experience – or to fake – a sense of self-esteem .. Love is our response to our highest values – and can be nothing else.”

    26. brian Says:

      JewishAtheist:

      Speech? Are you kidding me? The right is more likely to censor television, radio, etc.

      Tell me, then, why every major censorship bill in the past two decades was authored by a liberal Democrat? And then co-sponsored by more liberal Democrats and liberal Republicans?

      Jim Exon – Communications Decency Act
      Leland Yee – several acts concerning the production, distribution, and sale of violent video games.
      Joseph Lieberman – ditto.
      Nancy Pelosi et. al. – The Son of the Fairness Doctrine.
      John McCain and Russell Feingold – BCRA.

      Liberals crush speech and free expression because any information that they do not control is a threat to their narrative.

      This is shown time and again from Soviet Russia, to Mao’s China, on and on and on.

      So please stop trying to get other people to believe that the “right” is interested in censorship.

    27. Cliff Says:

      As a criticism, I found the above chart to be confusing, because you used blue and red, which are colors that I associate with left wing and right wing already. I think if you used different colors that don’t have a connotation to them the chart would be more readable.

      It is good work though.

    28. Shannon Love Says:

      Jewish Atheist,

      but it’s the right under John Ashcroft who spent millions of federal dollars fighting pornography!

      Yes, but that would rather firmly fall under the catagory of “Sexuality” wouldn’t it. Did I not state in the parent,

      As little as 30 years ago, the Left would have trounced the right on issues of free speech, yet today the Left is the source of almost all assaults on free speech. The Right seeks to impose traditional restrictions on pornographic speech, but leftist speech codes on campus, sensitivity training, gangs of leftist thugs shouting down non-leftist speakers on college campuses, hate-crime laws,

      The left wants to censor speech about everything except sex. I view this as relatively harmless because (1) we survived for nearly two hundred years without pornography and (2) in the end pornography is merely entertainment.

      The left by contrast supports suppression of expression about serious concrete political policy. They do so simply by defining any ideas of which they disapprove of as being bigotry which gives them moral permission to use any means to censor the speech. Support for the fairness doctrine is far from a minority within the Democratic party as a whole and certainly not with the 25% most left part of the entire political spectrum. Many leftist seriously argue that corporations have no right of speech. On universities, speech codes, “sensitivity training”, the heckler’s veto and outright violence have been used by leftist against speech of which they disapprove apparently with the consent of the leftwing university administrations. (This is not even counting how non-leftist are hounded out of the humanities or how the very organizational structure of the liberal arts now represents leftist ideas only.) In Canada, a bell weather for the American left, “hate-speech” tribunals are used only to prosecute people that leftist disagree with usually on the say so of just one anonymous complainant.

      Work? Are you kidding me? The right thinks that employers should be allowed to fire you for being black or gay or whatever.

      Two points: (1) Again we not only survived back when employment was “at will” but we prospered and built the most diverse, tolerant and egalitarian culture in history. (2) The most serious forms of discrimination occurred when the government forced employers not to hire people in certain groups. Jim crow laws, racist unions, racist immigration laws, property ownership restrictions etc were all put in place because employers preferred to make more money hiring people based on merit rather than lose money pursuing some concept of the greater good that was popular at the time. The Civil Rights movement primarily overturned government interventions in the free-market. Bigotry is stupidity and the free-market punishes stupidity. The competitive pressures of the market forces employers to hire and fire based solely on merit.

      This is a good example of how leftist can only claim to increase the freedom of one group while decreasing the freedom of another. In this case, leftist protect employees while reducing the freedom of employers and other employees. Businesses large and small have to jump through hoops to fire incompetent of even dangerous employees and the competent and sane employees have to suffer for it. If I start a business why do I have to assume all the risk of bad employees? Why do you get to tell me what risk I must take with employees?

      You also did not address the leftist restrictions on an individuals work that I mentioned in the comment above. Yes, you might “protect” me from some arbitrary actions from employers but you do so by restricting my own freedom by restricting me to a legal corral. Shouldn’t people be able to work without joining a union? Shouldn’t people be able to legally compete with unionized workers for jobs? Shouldn’t individuals be able to decide what wages and benefits they will work for? What happens when your protections price people out of the jobs themselves?

      Food? The right wants to make it harder for consumers to know if their food is safe

      Again, you protect by corralling, not by increasing freedom. For example, my spouse like unpasteurized cheeses but the government has decreed that it’s to dangerous although the French have some how survived all these years. Again, shouldn’t I have the right to choose which foods I want to buy. Shouldn’t I have the right to pay for what labeling and safety methods I wish?

      But even if I grant you labeling and safety, how about all the wide ranging restrictions leftist seek to impose on all food consumption not based on safety but to pursue their own goals of environmental protection or “fair” trade. Why should I be forced to participate in your little experiment?

      Medical care?

      With the exception of abortion, a glaring exception I might add, the left seeks to establish political control over all aspects of medical care and to eliminate personal choice. For example, most states mandate that all individual who purchase health insurance must pay for protections they may not want or even need. For example, single males have to purchase insurance against pregnancy.

      Here’s your major intellectual failing in thinking about this dynamic: You have been indoctrinated to believe that safety and freedom are the same thing! You think that protecting people from harm as you see fit equates to giving people the legal right to make their own decisions. Worse, you “protect” people by actively reducing their choices.

      As Benjamin Franklin pointed out, freedom and security are often immediately antithetical. Leftist want people to trade economic and material freedoms for economic security but in the end the people get neither.

    29. Joan of Argghh! Says:

      Yes, but the abundance of sexually transmitted diseases will curb that rush to madness. Next up: legalized marijuana. It’s what Castro does to keep his “children” quiet.

    30. moptop Says:

      I am all for not penalizing “non breeders”, if you are all for not having anybody to take care of you in your old age.

    31. Snorri Godhi Says:

      Yes, it’s kinda shocking to see it laid out like that. The only thing that I would add is that sexual freedom is by no means safe in the hands of the “left”. For example, in Sweden prostitution can be punished by long jail sentences (although that might fall under business freedom). Besides, given the choice between offending Muslims and offending homosexuals, we all know what the “left” would do.

    32. 135 Says:

      Question: in determining that the Left is superior in sexual freedom, did you consider the significant push from the Left to get the government to license same-sex marriage? What business does the government have being involved? Why does the Left insist the state has a right to license such relationships? Whatever happened to keep your laws off my body?

    33. Ivan Lenin Says:

      Very good point – leftists do know how to sell sex in exchange for freedom. Although to be fair, conservatives did help create this market, by continually putting sex-related issues on the very top of their agenda.

    34. moptop Says:

      “Speech? Are you kidding me? The right is more likely to censor television, radio, etc”

      Can there be any clearer proof of the point than the above quote?

    35. submandave Says:

      Both Left and Right are comfortable in punishing folks for not marrying and not breeding.

      The extension of benefits or privilege to individuals that choose to participate in a designated activity is not the same as punishing individuals that choose not to participate in the activity. I recommend you retake Logic 101.

      On the other hand, considering that without “breeders” the society would cease to exist it seems to make sense that any government should have an interest in supporting such activity, including the model that has historically been demonstrated to be the best way to produce productive, compliant citizens (i.e. marriage).

    36. DADvocate Says:

      The left’s position on sexual freedeom versus their positions on nearly everything else reminds me of Huxley’s “Brave New World.” You can have sex with almost anyone but, otherwise, you life is regimented in everyway to conform to the “standards.”

    37. Francis W. Porretto Says:

      I find it intriguing that the only mention so far of Sweden, the archetypal case for this sort of “marketing,” was in connection with prostitution. In his 1974 book The New Totalitarians, Roland Huntford noted that “freedom” to the Swedes had come to mean sexual freedom and only that. The Swedes had esentially eliminated the political meaning of the word.

      I haven’t kept up with developments in Sweden these past couple of decades. I’d love to know whether anything relevant to that remarkable linguistic shift has occurred.

    38. david foster Says:

      This is just a hypothesis based on limited data…but it seems that in practice, Left-totalitarian governments have sometimes been much more restrictive of sexual freedom than have Right-totalitarian governments. Certainly it seems that the Stalin-era Soviet Union was much more restrictive (at least, as far as heterosexual sex goes) than was Nazi Germany.

      I’m guessing that the anti-sex league in Orwell’s “1984” was extrapolated from Soviet practice.

    39. Toads Says:

      How can this be true, when right-wing women are so much better looking than left-wing women? Exactly what is the left ‘selling’?

    40. Anonymous Says:

      (first trip to this website; arrived via link from Instapundit)
      The essay is obscure to me. Not sure what you are talking about. Examples needed. I do laud one thought, which I paraphrase as:

      “As you go through life today, watch the decisions you make. Ask yourself if the government would let you make that decision if it had the power to stop you.”

      Since becoming sensitized to Liberty, I’ve been looking for a concise statement to communicate awareness that more government equals less freedom.

    41. Thomass Says:

      “Most people forget that fascists, communists and the lesser tyrannies of the 20th Century”

      Something else often forgotten is they had a ‘free love’ component before taking power / they both clearly played the same card.

    42. Snorri Godhi Says:

      I am happy to see The New Totalitarians mentioned here (by Francis Porretto in his comment). I read parts of that book in a library about 10 years ago, and I’d like to go back to it eventually; but I’ll have to buy it, because I am very far from that library.

      WRT Sweden it is also worth pointing out that drug policy used to be very liberal (i.e. libertarian) in Sweden, until the government decided that, since they pay for health care, they should regulate drugs as well.

    43. Max D. Says:

      I’m a smart guy, so it’s not farfetched for me to aspire to “articulate intellectual” status. What are the barriers to entry? Will I be barred if, for example, I didn’t go to a New York university or currently work as a college professor?

    44. fred lapides Says:

      Dear S.–you give but the one example, work. Ok. “leftists”–oh, lord you sure love that word, seem to favor unions. But the fact is that the NLRB has for years favored corporations rather than unions. In fact, The US and S. Africa are the only two industrialized nations in the world where workers on strike can be readily replaced–and permanently–by scabs…UI had worked at a factory where whenever there was an attempt during lun ch hours to broadcast speeches for organizing a union, the company broadcast very loud music to drown out the organizers, on the street, and that was always legal. I have a friend who was a vice president of one of the largest and richest corporations in America. His job? to go to any plant where workers might be considering a union and to find out what they grieved ab out and change things to keep the union out. He said to me: the only time a company gets a union is when they deserve one. Now I will grant that you might have a clear ex;osition for all the blocks of colors but I am not convinced till I see what such things stand for. Work is a much more obvious difference than most of the other slots you use.

    45. dan-O Says:

      “DADvocate” above mentioned Brave New World and I think it is very appropriate. In that allegorical story, “sexual freedom” was encouraged (along with the drug soma). This kept the people intoxicated with worldly pleasures while they lived a life of enslavement.

      I think the argument could be made that the Left in not necessarily interested in “sexual freedom” per se, but rather is interested in sexual promiscuity as an opiate for the masses.

    46. Tom DeGisi Says:

      Fred Lapides,

      That’s how big government statism/socialism/fascism always ends up working – see Animal Farm. The actual workers in whose name the ‘reforms’ (see health care ‘reform’) are made end up with the least freedom, while management (including the union bosses) gets a better deal. Economists explain this via regulatory capture.

      Yours,
      Tom DeGisi, aka Wince and Nod

    47. Spendulus Says:

      The strength of the table is shown by the weakness and ease of refutabing the liberal defenses in the above posts. Yes, I too could criticize the table, and not various minor issues. But nit picking is not winning, it is proving oneself a nit picker.

      Thus when faced with a challenge such as this table, the Left posters will move to ridicule, insults of the ad hominem variety, and attempts to reframe or divert the argument.

      Saul Alinky’s Rules for Radicals: #2, 3, 5, 6, 12.

      http://www.geocities.com/WallStreet/8925/alinsky.htm

    48. jennifer Says:

      Not so sure that the left is more for sexual freedom. A lot of very left feminist types are the ones who are always pushing pushing pushing for more rules rules rules about everything. In some colleges you’re practically supposed have to have a notarized statement before you let a guy touch your breast.

    49. Liz Says:

      Well this is very interesting. I’m inclined to say there’s some truth in this.

    50. T. Greer Says:

      Shannon-

      I think the left deserves a little more credit than you give them. I notice that you neglected to include Privacy Rights on your ‘little table.’ The right is certainly on the wrong side of the PATRIOT act on this one, are they not?

      P.S. Stating that the PATRIOT Act falls under police powers or national security is a bit weak. If it is unfair to piegeon hole “food” into “consumer goods” than it is just as unfair to place privacy rights under either of these broader issues.

    51. Independent Says:

      T. Greer said: The right is certainly on the wrong side of the PATRIOT act on this one, are they not

      Whatever you may think of the PATRIOT Act, you need to remember that an overwhelming majority of Democrats, as well as an overwhelming majority of Republicans, voted for the bill and its subsequent renewal. When you picture the key proponents of the PATRIOT Act, think of George Bush — and also Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, etc.

    52. Shannon Love Says:

      T. Geer,

      I think the left deserves a little more credit than you give them. I notice that you neglected to include Privacy Rights on your ‘little table.’ The right is certainly on the wrong side of the PATRIOT act on this one, are they not?

      Not really. As a practical matter, the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders have signed off and continued almost all the Bush era invasions of privacy. The Clinton administration created the NSA’s Echelon system which is the heart of our modern communications surveillance. It was Democrats who inserted many of the banking provisions into the PATIOT act so they could track down tax evaders. The Department of Homeland Security was envisioned by Gary Hart. Clearly when they fear being blamed for a terrorist attack, the real-world leftist politicians suddenly discover the virtues of a strong intelligence system.

      More importantly, leftist only show concern for privacy in matters of national security. For example, they favor a hyper detailed tax code which requires that people report their economic affairs in minute detail. For people who itemize, you can reconstruct their movements and activities in detail from their tax records. Leftist also support the state having full access to people’s medical records, work records etc all in the interest of managing social welfare programs. I could go on.

      I think it safe to say that leftist think of privacy for most people only in terms of sexuality. They also value the economic privacy of articulate intellectuals such as lawyers, journalist and academics. Anything else is fair game. They don’t believe you have right to economic privacy or privacy relating to any assistance the government might force you take.

      As by others above, leftists tend support freedoms until such freedoms become inconvenient for them. I think the Democrats apparent sea change on anti-terrorist methods is part of this pattern.

    53. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapidies,

      The US and S. Africa are the only two industrialized nations in the world where workers on strike can be readily replaced–and permanently–by scabs…

      So, the US and S. Africa are the only two countries in which people are free to bid on jobs without fear of having their legs broke by Jimmy the Weasel? Unions don’t increase freedom. Unions instead grant a legal monopoly on supplying labor to an industry to a specially privileged group of workers. The violence carried out by unions is directed against other workers who compete with the unions members for their jobs. They stigmatize their economic competitors as “scrabs.”

      Unions decrease the freedom of everyone not in the union. First, unions prevent other workers from getting union jobs. Second, they force all consumers of the products of unionized industries to pay increased prices which go straight into the pockets of union members. For 30 years after WWII, everyone who bought a car in America, bought steel or coal had to pay a tax to union goons.

      Of course, there is also the unions long history of racism and xenophobia.

      Unions only increase freedom when they are voluntary. If unions gain jobs by offering superior work to companies and their customers, then they make the world a better place. When unions create a monopoly by the direct use of violence or when they use a combination of violence and political pressure to have the state grant them a monopoly they reduce the freedom of everyone else in society.

    54. david foster Says:

      privacy…major infringements of privacy by indoctrination at universities, as in this example.

      This stuff generally comes from the left.

    55. JewishAtheist Says:

      Okay, here’s one thing we’re getting tripped on. Apparently the right believes that only freedoms from government matter, not freedoms from other individuals. So they recognize no “freedom” from being fired because you’re black (or white, if they’re consistent, which they generally are not), “freedom” from corporations abusing monopoly position, “freedom” from being lied to and poisoned by corporations, etc. Okay, that’s a position to hold. I don’t think it’s something to brag about, but okay.

      The other thing to remember is that the libertarian-authoritarian spectrum is orthogonal to the right-left spectrum. There are both right- and left-libertarians and right- and left-authoritarians. So just because some Dems support the Fairness Doctrine doesn’t make it a left issue.

      In fact, this whole line of argument is nothing more than guilt-by-association.

      Nobody would ever accuse me of being a rightist, for example, but I strongly support the right to self-defense (i.e. guns) free speech, free everything except the freedom to infringe upon other people’s freedoms. (That’s a traditional libertarian exception, mind you.) I’m not the only one. Howard Dean, the last chairman of the DNC, got an A rating from the NRA.

    56. Shannon Love Says:

      JewishAtheist,

      Apparently the right believes that only freedoms from government matter, not freedoms from other individuals.

      Actually, it boils down to freedom from violence. The violence can be the explicit violence of private individuals such as when union members murder competing workers i.e. scabs or it can be the implicit violence that backs every law of the state. A person is free in a particular circumstance when they can choose between two of more alternatives without fear of violent reprisal for making the “wrong” choice. This is true even if one of the alternatives is vastly superior to the others. For example, we currently have freedom in medical decisions for adults because any adult can choose what medical treatment if any they wish including the choice of refusing all treatment even if it will result in a horrible death.

      So they recognize no “freedom” from being fired because you’re black (or white, if they’re consistent, which they generally are not), “freedom” from corporations abusing monopoly position, “freedom” from being lied to and poisoned by corporations, etc.

      Well, no because such actions do not involve violence. We all must make many tradeoffs in our lives and we must collectively balance many, many, many different individual preferences. The only means of doing that in the least violent means possible is to allow people to carry out voluntary exchanges at will. Each individual must balance all the tradeoffs in their own lives and decide if the sum of tradeoffs of any particular exchange are the best for them.

      So, no you don’t have the “freedom” to use the violent force-monopoly of the state to force people to hire you or anybody else based on the political fad of the day. Holding a gun to people’s heads and forcing them to do something they don’t want to do is not the basis of a just or stable society. Decreasing freedom for some people over their non-violent actions, even idiots, does not create a more free society. n this case, you would use threats of violence to force people to hire individuals that they do not trust. You would force them to expend their time and resources in the furtherance of your personal judgment of right and wrong.

      I would point out that Jim Crow laws, racist unions, racist immigration laws etc where all attempts by people in the past to subvert the voluntary interaction between individuals and to instead force them to cleave to what others thoughts as the best interactions. Jim Crow laws were primarily economic laws aimed at preventing African-Americans from competing with whites for jobs. Segregation laws were passed because the free-market would not support segregation on its own. LIkewise, racist unions were formed because factory owners would gladly employee African-Americans and immigrants instead of white workers. The Civil Rights movement from the 1870’s-1964 was couched in terms of individual rights in the traditional American sense. They sought to over turn the racist state intervention in voluntary transactions instead of using state power to force interactions. When the Civil Rights movement stopped being about protecting people form violence and became about directing violence against some people, it lost its moral bearings.

      Neither do you have the right to use violence to force other people to sell you the products they create at a price only you deem fit. If someone has a natural monopoly that monopoly exist only because the cost of using something else is to high. Without the force of the state, monopolies only exist because people choose to use them. A monopoly cannot force people to make use of their products. If people are willing to pay the tradeoffs of using other products they can. For example, I don’t use Microsoft products. This causes me inconvenience at times but I find the tradeoffs worth it in my personal case. Obviously, most other people do not.

      You do have the right to use violence to enforce contracts including implied contracts that others will sell you products that present an acceptable level of risk. However, the target of that violence has voluntarily assumed the obligation of the implied contract and has to make good. This is far different than you standing on the side lines as an uninvolved party and imposing with violence your concept of acceptable risk on both buyer and seller.

      …free everything except the freedom to infringe upon other people’s freedoms.

      You say that but quite clearly you use the word “freedom” to mean something different than the way I mean it. When you say “freedom” you mean that a person does not have to make tradeoffs that you personally find unpleasant. If you force another person to hire another person based on whatever criteria you choose, then from my perspective you have reduced the freedom of the employer but not increased the freedom of the employee since the employee always had the option to accept employment if it was offered.

      Our ultimate goal should be a society in which people live free from violence. In an idealized world, no violence, not even state violence would exist or be necessary at all. We don’t move towards that goal by trying to use violence to correct past uses of violence.

    57. JewishAtheist Says:

      Shannon Love:

      Actually, it boils down to freedom from violence.

      Says who?

      In this case, you would use threats of violence to force people to hire individuals that they do not trust.

      How do you figure? The penalty for discriminating against, e.g., blacks is not a bullet to the head. It’s purely pecuniary. (Ultimately the whole justice system is backed by the threat of violence if you want to look at it that way, but that’s no different than the enforcement of contracts, etc.)

      Neither do you have the right to use violence to force other people to sell you the products they create at a price only you deem fit. If someone has a natural monopoly that monopoly exist only because the cost of using something else is to high. Without the force of the state, monopolies only exist because people choose to use them. A monopoly cannot force people to make use of their products. If people are willing to pay the tradeoffs of using other products they can. For example, I don’t use Microsoft products. This causes me inconvenience at times but I find the tradeoffs worth it in my personal case. Obviously, most other people do not.

      LOL. See this is where right-libertarianism completely falls apart. The only difference between a state monopoly (communism) and a corporate monopoly (the common result of a totally free market) is words on a piece of paper. The effects are still the same: stifling of innovation, inferior products, crappy service, etc. Microsoft is not a complete monopoly only because of government regulations. If unregulated, they would be free to engage in anti-competitive practices which would long ago have driven Apple (and Sun, etc.) out of business.

      When you say “freedom” you mean that a person does not have to make tradeoffs that you personally find unpleasant.

      I see no fundamental difference between the “freedom” to not be punched in the nose and the “freedom” to not be fired for your race.

      You make all these assertions as if they are facts when they are just your personal preferences.

    58. Jonathan Says:

      Jewish Atheist wrote:
      How do you figure? The penalty for discriminating against, e.g., blacks is not a bullet to the head. It’s purely pecuniary. (Ultimately the whole justice system is backed by the threat of violence if you want to look at it that way, but that’s no different than the enforcement of contracts, etc.)

      The central flaw of your argument is that you treat coerced compliance with govt diktats of which you approve as being morally the same as voluntary contracts — i.e., in both cases one can choose not to comply with a rule and bear the consequences. But the kind of choice you cite is fundamentally different from a contract, since it is not voluntary. If I don’t like a proposed contract I don’t have to agree to it or obey its conditions; but if I don’t like the govt’s restrictions on the kinds of voluntary agreements I can make with third parties I have no choice but to be subject to the govt’s rules whether I want to or not. It’s my understanding that in our legal system contracts made when one party is under duress are generally considered to be invalid. Is this principle a poor one? Or perhaps some of our laws are unjust. It wasn’t so long ago that govts in many parts of the USA mandated discrimination against black people. Maybe govt shouldn’t interfere in private contracts.

      I see no fundamental difference between the “freedom” to not be punched in the nose and the “freedom” to not be fired for your race.

      You make all these assertions as if they are facts when they are just your personal preferences.

      Not personal preferences but profound moral differences that you don’t recognize. You did not agree to be punched. The person punching you is violating your rights. But you did agree to work for an employer who could fire you on a racial (or other) whim. No one forced you to work for this employer, and if you didn’t like his terms you could have either refused to work for him or attempted to negotiate limitations on his ability to fire you. You are saying that if you make a voluntary deal and it doesn’t work out well for you, then that is essentially the same thing as if someone imposes his will on you by force. It isn’t.

    59. Shannon Love Says:

      JewishAtheist,

      The penalty for discriminating against, e.g., blacks is not a bullet to the head.

      Yes it is. If you break equal opportunity laws (or if your simply innocent and convicted any way) you will be fined. If you refuse the fine and/or evade paying it, you will be imprisoned. If you attempt to escape imprisonment, even from a minimal security prison, you will be shot in the back and killed. The enforcement of every law from jaywalking on up ultimately relies on the states ability to bring overwhelming lethal force down upon any who disobey.

      The vast majority of people never push the system to its lethal extremes because they know it is pointless to do so. A few times every year, however, you will read a story about some marginally sane person who gets in a tiff with some level of government over some trivial matter and who violently resist the states power. They usually end up dead by SWAT team even though the law they broke poised no physical threat to anyone.

      Governments kill. All they accomplish for good or bad comes their ability to kill. Without the ability to kill a government becomes nothing more than a debating society. Governments use the threat of killing to conduct their routine day-to-day activities.

      Private businesses on the other hand cannot kill. A business can bribe, spin, wheedle and beg but they can’t kill you if you don’t interact with them. No matter how seductive a product they offer you, you can always refuse if your willing to make the tradeoff. Government does not offer that option. You obey the diktats of the state or you die.

      So, when you decide to force people to assume the risk of hiring people they don’t want to, you are in effect saying you are willing to kill them if they fail to comply with your demands. Such a system works short term but long term the results are gruesome.

      The only difference between a state monopoly (communism) and a corporate monopoly (the common result of a totally free market) is words on a piece of paper.

      Well, that and the oppression of conscience, enforced uniformity of thought, material privation, enslavement, torture and mass murder. Besides that the two systems are very similar.

      The idea that natural monopolies cause a lack of innovation and produce expensive and inferior products is not born out by history. During the late 1800’s during the era of the great trust, the standard of living exploded, technical innovation exploded and the cost of all the products and services produced by trust plummeted. As long as the government does not step in to enforce a cartel, natural monopolies are not stable. The cost of maintaining the monopoly ultimately destroys their competitiveness.

      Even if they didn’t it doesn’t inherently follow that the real world political system can produce a better outcome.

      I see no fundamental difference between the “freedom” to not be punched in the nose and the “freedom” to not be fired for your race.

      I can only assume you’ve never actually received a beating. Only people who’ve never faced real violence can be so flippant about it.

      Would you compare someone not wishing to talk to you in the street as being the same a being punched in the nose? After all, the individual is voluntarily refusing to talk to you. If you want to gain some personal advantage by talking to them, haven’t they done you harm. Do you then have the right to use the threat of violence to get them to talk to you? Why should employment be any different? Why do you have the right to threaten me with violence in order to coerce me into hiring you?

      Less philosophically, can you point to any time at which the pure free-market denied people employment based on merit? As I pointed out above, people in the past were denied jobs based on race as the result of government policies, not the prejudices of employers. The history of America has shown that employers were always eager to employe based on merit and it was workers who demanded the state prevent them from doing so.

      Even if a reasonable person could equate a refusal to interact with an actual physical attack, it wouldn’t mean that the best solution to the problem would be government coercion. Instead, history tells us we should let the market punish the irrational bigots with poverty and reward the tolerant with wealth.

    60. JewishAtheist Says:

      Jonathan:

      The central flaw of your argument is that you treat coerced compliance with govt diktats of which you approve as being morally the same as voluntary contracts — i.e., in both cases one can choose not to comply with a rule and bear the consequences. But the kind of choice you cite is fundamentally different from a contract, since it is not voluntary. If I don’t like a proposed contract I don’t have to agree to it or obey its conditions; but if I don’t like the govt’s restrictions on the kinds of voluntary agreements I can make with third parties I have no choice but to be subject to the govt’s rules whether I want to or not.

      That is not true. If you don’t like the govt’s rules, you are free to leave the country. The rules are the contract of citizens (and residents) with the government. And they are morally valid because this is a democratic republic. (“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”)

      Not personal preferences but profound moral differences that you don’t recognize. You did not agree to be punched. The person punching you is violating your rights. But you did agree to work for an employer who could fire you on a racial (or other) whim.

      Oh please. You did agree to be within punching distance of the person, just as you did agree to be within firing authority of the employer. It’s the same damn thing.

      You are saying that if you make a voluntary deal and it doesn’t work out well for you, then that is essentially the same thing as if someone imposes his will on you by force. It isn’t.

      But I didn’t make a voluntary deal to be fired or not hired because of my ethnicity.

      Shannon Love:

      Yes it is. If you break equal opportunity laws (or if your simply innocent and convicted any way) you will be fined. If you refuse the fine and/or evade paying it, you will be imprisoned. If you attempt to escape imprisonment, even from a minimal security prison, you will be shot in the back and killed. The enforcement of every law from jaywalking on up ultimately relies on the states ability to bring overwhelming lethal force down upon any who disobey.

      Oh come on. This is a stupid cutesy argument. The government will not fine you or imprison you for not starting a business. If you CHOOSE to start a business and CHOOSE to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, etc., then the government can enforce the contract you make by starting your business within the United States of America. If you don’t like it, go live in Dubai or something. See how much you like it there.

      Private businesses on the other hand cannot kill. A business can bribe, spin, wheedle and beg but they can’t kill you if you don’t interact with them. No matter how seductive a product they offer you, you can always refuse if your willing to make the tradeoff. Government does not offer that option. You obey the diktats of the state or you die.

      Every American not already under arrest (or similar) is free to leave at any time. Government *does* offer that option. This isn’t the USSR.

      Would you compare someone not wishing to talk to you in the street as being the same a being punched in the nose? After all, the individual is voluntarily refusing to talk to you. If you want to gain some personal advantage by talking to them, haven’t they done you harm. Do you then have the right to use the threat of violence to get them to talk to you? Why should employment be any different? Why do you have the right to threaten me with violence in order to coerce me into hiring you?

      I don’t. I (the gov’t) merely have the right to force you to obey the laws to which you implicitly or explicitly agreed to by living in this country.

      Less philosophically, can you point to any time at which the pure free-market denied people employment based on merit? As I pointed out above, people in the past were denied jobs based on race as the result of government policies, not the prejudices of employers. The history of America has shown that employers were always eager to employe based on merit and it was workers who demanded the state prevent them from doing so.

      Are you really *that* ignorant? No employers ever voluntarily discriminated based on race?? LOL.

      Instead, history tells us we should let the market punish the irrational bigots with poverty and reward the tolerant with wealth.

      Riiiight. Because the free market is magic! People are perfectly rational actors, always making the correct long-term decisions!! LOL. Sometimes I think libertarians are more religious than Mormons.

    61. Jonathan Says:

      Jewish Atheist wrote:
      That is not true. If you don’t like the govt’s rules, you are free to leave the country. The rules are the contract of citizens (and residents) with the government. And they are morally valid because this is a democratic republic. (”That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”)

      It’s a very loose contract if a contract at all. “Consent of the governed” is not the same as majority rule and certainly does not imply that morality is determined by majority vote. (For example, the majority once tolerated chattel slavery.) Indeed, preventing tryanny by majority was one of the chief aims of the authors of the document that you quote.

      Oh please. You did agree to be within punching distance of the person, just as you did agree to be within firing authority of the employer. It’s the same damn thing.

      Consent to someone’s close presence is not consent to be punched. (Does a woman who allows a man to be near her consent to be raped?) By contrast, employment is a contract with specific terms, all of which you consent to if you sign it. If you and an employer agree to the terms, and the employer later fires you for reasons that are allowed by the contract, you have no grounds to criticize him. If you don’t like this situation read the contract before you sign it. If you don’t like it, walk away.

      But I didn’t make a voluntary deal to be fired or not hired because of my ethnicity.

      You made a voluntary deal whose terms were specified in your employment contract. Nobody forced you to sign it. Nobody prevented you from reading it before you signed, or from showing it to your trusted legal advisor to get his opinion. Yet you want to force other people to use only contracts that you approve, under pain of state punishment if they don’t.

    62. Ginny Says:

      JewishAtheist:

      I’m curious about your assumptions:
      What rights do you believe we are born with and that the government has no right to constrain?

      You really don’t seem to distinguish between our rights to some good and the right not to be constrained from; some here seem to think we have a right not to be disapproved of.

      I can’t imagine a government capable of promising such goods as housing, jobs, etc. The more a country assumes such responsibilities the less likely are the people to actually get them.

      It is true that in your ideal world, people can choose not to start a business. And it is such costs (the government doesn’t stop you from starting a newspaper but makes it damn difficult to do so) that hurt a community – not unlike the self-censorship that goes on in a police state.

      Clearly, the greater power and reach of government doesn’t bother you. But in a world where corporations come and go, it is government programs that continue. No company – even one as massive as Exxon or General Motors – has a fraction of that reach. No company is guided by such unpredictable, unpragmatic, and influence-driven forces as the government. None can be as invasive. You seem to view the world as it is so often described in movies – with a giant, many tentacled evil corporation as our opponent. Most of us find that view laughable.

    63. Ginny Says:

      I see I wasn’t clear. No, I don’t think we have a right to not be disapproved of. That seemed to be a new right that was invented by some on the left after 9/11 (some people think we are, gasp, unpatriotic because. . . ). I am willing to be disapproved of – and I damn well intend to disapprove of others.

    64. JewishAtheist Says:

      Jonathan:

      It’s a very loose contract if a contract at all. “Consent of the governed” is not the same as majority rule and certainly does not imply that morality is determined by majority vote. (For example, the majority once tolerated chattel slavery.) Indeed, preventing tryanny by majority was one of the chief aims of the authors of the document that you quote.

      I’m not saying that government can do whatever it wishes, just that the whole concept of laws is not ridiculous.

      Consent to someone’s close presence is not consent to be punched. (Does a woman who allows a man to be near her consent to be raped?) By contrast, employment is a contract with specific terms, all of which you consent to if you sign it. If you and an employer agree to the terms, and the employer later fires you for reasons that are allowed by the contract, you have no grounds to criticize him. If you don’t like this situation read the contract before you sign it. If you don’t like it, walk away.

      What if the employer doesn’t hire Jews? I didn’t sign any contract that that’s okay. What makes his right to not hire Jews more important than the voters’ right to say that ethnicity and religion cannot be used as grounds for hiring or firing?

      You made a voluntary deal whose terms were specified in your employment contract. Nobody forced you to sign it. Nobody prevented you from reading it before you signed, or from showing it to your trusted legal advisor to get his opinion. Yet you want to force other people to use only contracts that you approve, under pain of state punishment if they don’t.

      I just want that kind of contract to be unenforceable. Why don’t the voters have the right to decide which kinds of contracts are binding?

      Ginny:

      I’m curious about your assumptions:
      What rights do you believe we are born with and that the government has no right to constrain?

      I think rights are a human creation.

      You really don’t seem to distinguish between our rights to some good and the right not to be constrained from; some here seem to think we have a right not to be disapproved of.

      The right to not be discriminated against for race or ethnicity is not the same as a right to employment. Nobody’s forcing anybody to hire you. We’re just saying that while you’re hiring, race and ethnicity are not valid reasons for discrimination. See the difference?

      I can’t imagine a government capable of promising such goods as housing, jobs, etc. The more a country assumes such responsibilities the less likely are the people to actually get them.

      Nobody’s arguing that the government should provide housing or jobs to anyone capable of getting them on their own.

      It is true that in your ideal world, people can choose not to start a business. And it is such costs (the government doesn’t stop you from starting a newspaper but makes it damn difficult to do so) that hurt a community – not unlike the self-censorship that goes on in a police state.

      I don’t believe that the “cost” of not being allowed to discriminate based on race hurts the community. I think it helps.

      Clearly, the greater power and reach of government doesn’t bother you. But in a world where corporations come and go, it is government programs that continue. No company – even one as massive as Exxon or General Motors – has a fraction of that reach. No company is guided by such unpredictable, unpragmatic, and influence-driven forces as the government. None can be as invasive. You seem to view the world as it is so often described in movies – with a giant, many tentacled evil corporation as our opponent. Most of us find that view laughable.

      Not at all. There doesn’t have to be some giant spider-like corporation to make corporations a threat to our freedoms. Any form of power is a threat to our freedom. That’s not to say that nobody (or no corporation) should be allowed any power, just that we as a society have the right and the interest to set certain ground rules for the exercise of that power.

      When Wal*Mart moves into a community and uses its position to drive out competition via anti-competitive means (loss-leading, telling suppliers and shipping companies that they’ll use them only if they don’t work for other companies, etc.) then it is using its power to hurt society just as much as any government.

      I see I wasn’t clear. No, I don’t think we have a right to not be disapproved of. That seemed to be a new right that was invented by some on the left after 9/11 (some people think we are, gasp, unpatriotic because. . . ). I am willing to be disapproved of – and I damn well intend to disapprove of others.

      Wha…? Who invented that right? I’ve never heard of it.

    65. Jonathan Says:

      What if the employer doesn’t hire Jews? I didn’t sign any contract that that’s okay. What makes his right to not hire Jews more important than the voters’ right to say that ethnicity and religion cannot be used as grounds for hiring or firing?

      If the employer doesn’t hire Jews don’t work for him. What if the Jewish employee doesn’t want to work for anti-Semites? Should he be forced to work for them? This is what is meant by freedom of association.

      Why do you think a majority of voters has a right to interfere with other individuals’ right to enter voluntary agreements? What is the origin of this right, and how can a group of people have such a right if they happen to be 50.1% of voters and not when they happen to be 49.9% of voters?

      I just want that kind of contract to be unenforceable. Why don’t the voters have the right to decide which kinds of contracts are binding?

      In that case why do you assume that the voters will always be people whose values you share? This is the point I tried to make before. In the bad old days voters in some places elected representatives who immorally imposed racially discriminatory restrictions on private contracts. Why do you assume that that won’t happen again, or that other groups (like Jews) won’t be the victims the next time around?

    66. Shannon Love Says:

      JewishAtheist,

      Your conceptual problem is that you can’t separate actions that reduce other people’s choices from actions that increase other peoples choices. You can’t separate actions which people can take voluntarily versus ones which they take under fear of death.

      In the free-market, I can only induce you to interact with me if in your own assessment you will be better off for having done so. With government power, I can force you to interact with me even if i>in your own assessment you believe you will be worse off for doing so. In extrema, I can have you killed.

      There has never been a free-market tyranny. There has never been free-market mass murder. Throughout history, societies with the freest economies have also been the societies with the greatest degree of egalitarianism, the greatest degree of freedom of conscience, the greatest degree of economic class mobility and the greatest degree of intellectual creativity. Given this track record why shouldn’t we seek to base our society on such a proven system.

      The answer of course is that you are so confident of your own ability to engineer a perfect world that you feel morally justified in using the violent power of the state coerce people to behave as you see fit. In the end, it is hubris that creates your political views. You have no problem hurting people because you are so convinced you are right.

      You will of course automatically reject this idea but it is still true and I can prove with a simple question. What behavior that you currently engage in do believe the government should stop you from doing. What decisions to you personally currently make that you believe the real world political system could make better? Oh, do you personally need to be politically controlled?

      You won’t think of anything because of course you already do what you believe to be right. You support of political economic coercion arises purely from you wish to force other people to behave as you want them to. Nobody goes to the government to help them with their own self-restraint issues.

      Your belief in state power is ultimately a believe in your own rectitude, in your own individual right physically hurt people for disagreeing with you on matters wholly unrelated to violence. You are willing to hurt people just because you don’t agree with the tradeoffs they make, because they engage in what you personally believe to be the optimum behaviors for the entire population.

      Hubris.

      Oh come on. This is a stupid cutesy argument.

      No, it isn’t. It is very real and practical. One you understand the inherently violent nature of government you can never look at it the same way again. Government actions always hurt somebody. They always make someone do something they don’t wish to do. They always reduce the choices that the people as a whole can make.

      Every American not already under arrest (or similar) is free to leave at any time.

      But no American is free to choose not to live under the violent power of a government. At best we can only choose which violent power to subject ourselves to. If this is a choice, it something akin to picking which thug will rape you. Yes, you have a choice but only in choosing the bad over the worse. Why should people have to make such choices over non-violent interactions?

      What is America offers the highest degree of freedom from violence? Do you think people should have to choose between obeying you and your cohorts or subjecting themselves to even more violence elsewhere?

      You are so comfortable with using violence against people that you see no problem with forcing people to choose between how badly they will be hurt and then calling that freedom.

      <i.Are you really *that* ignorant? No employers ever voluntarily discriminated based on race?? LOL.

      Are you really so ignorant that you believe that the real world political system never commits injustices in enforcing employment law. Are you really so ignorant that you believe that using the violent power of the state to coerce employment relationships possess no serious negative tradeoffs?

      Of course not. You are not arguing that the violent coercing of employment relationships by the state never goes awry just as I am not arguing that the people in the free-market never make decisions I would consider unjust. I am making the same argument you are making in regard to government. You believe that the tradeoffs of violent coercion are systematically superior to the tradeoffs of voluntary interactions. I argue for the opposite.

      I have history on my side. Whenever people have complete freedom to seek employment as they wish you get a far more people get jobs based on merit than they do in societies in which the state interferers in employment decisions. The more free-market late 1800’s north presented better opportunities for African-Americans than did the South with it’s myriad economic Jim Crow laws. Even more African-Americans would have migrated north and prospered had not racist unions blocked their employment and had the government protected them from unionist mob violence. But even as all that was going on, the free-market was integrating diverse European ethnic groups that had been violently oppressing each other for centuries.

      The systematic mechanism of the free-market punishes people who make economic decisions based on irrational criteria more surely than any political system ever well. If you refuse to hire people based on some criteria other than their ability to perform the job better than anyone else you can find, I will hire them and gain a competitive advantage. If you do not change, you will soon simply cease to be an employer and your bigotry will no longer be factor. This action of the market has demonstrated itself time and time again over the centuries.

      Now, your immediate retort to this argument will be that the free-market does not produce the exact outcome that you personally wish for or that it does not produce it quickly enough. You will claim that you can use violence to force the outcome in a timely manner without any significant tradeoffs. History is littered with arrogant people such as yourself and history shows they were always wrong.

      Riiiight. Because the free market is magic! People are perfectly rational actors, always making the correct long-term decisions!! LOL

      So, your arguing that government is magic, that people are perfectly rational actors when they engage in politics and that the political system always make the correct long-term decisions?

      Of course not, your just have to create a strawman by claiming that I am making an argument for perfection. If you actually understood anything about libertarianism you would know that our entire concept rest on the idea that perfection or even near perfection is impossible. Neither is it even possible for people to even agree on what a perfect ideal should look like.

      This is why people need to be left free in order to experiment. Looking back at history it is clear that people at different times had vastly different concepts of the ideal society. We shudder looking back at most of them. Why will our descendants be any different? What do we take for granted now that our descendants will find evil or comical?

      In the end, it is you who believe more strongly in your own perfection. I am unwilling to impose by my assessments on fair or optimum economic behavior on other people because I have little confidence I have the information necessary to make the best choice. You on the other hand, have no such doubts. You believe that right and wrong in economics is so clear cut and easy to determine that you feel perfectly comfortable having the very sloppy real world political system implement your ideas by violence.

    67. JewishAtheist Says:

      Jonathan:

      This is what is meant by freedom of association.

      ?! Freedom of association =/= freedom NOT to associate.

      Why do you think a majority of voters has a right to interfere with other individuals’ right to enter voluntary agreements? What is the origin of this right, and how can a group of people have such a right if they happen to be 50.1% of voters and not when they happen to be 49.9% of voters?

      It’s coerced or non-voluntary agreements I’m concerned with.

      In that case why do you assume that the voters will always be people whose values you share? This is the point I tried to make before. In the bad old days voters in some places elected representatives who immorally imposed racially discriminatory restrictions on private contracts. Why do you assume that that won’t happen again, or that other groups (like Jews) won’t be the victims the next time around?

      Obviously we aren’t a pure Democracy. We have a Constitution in large part to prevent the tyranny of the majority. Discrimination against Jews or other groups is unconstitutional. There is no constitutional protection for discriminating against Jews. I suppose there is a process to reverse those protections.

    68. ilya Says:

      Fred Lapides:
      I have a friend who was a vice president of one of the largest and richest corporations in America. His job? to go to any plant where workers might be considering a union and to find out what they grieved ab out and change things to keep the union out.

      What makes you think this is a bad thing? The whole purpose of a union is to get workers a better deal from the employer. If employer accomodates workers without resorting to a union, so much the better — they do not end up with a permanent, costly, and sooner or later always self-serving bureaucracy.

      He said to me: the only time a company gets a union is when they deserve one.
      Aptly put, and very true IMO. Companies which mistreat their employees deserve a union. Those which do not, don’t deserve it.

    69. JewishAtheist Says:

      Shannon Love:

      Your conceptual problem is that you can’t separate actions that reduce other people’s choices from actions that increase other peoples choices.

      Define “other people.” Allowing employers to discriminate against Jews increases employers’ choices but decreases Jews’ choices. You just happen to make the arbitrary claim that it’s fine for private citizens to decrease other private citizens’ choices but not for government. I make the claim that private citizens’ abuses of power are just as dangerous as governments’.

      In the free-market, I can only induce you to interact with me if in your own assessment you will be better off for having done so.

      Right. But you can do that by having your henchmen destroy my property until I “choose” to interact with you. Or you can do that by using your influence to make everybody else “choose” not to do business with me. Etc. There are a whole lot of ways you may coerce me.

      With government power, I can force you to interact with me even if i>in your own assessment you believe you will be worse off for doing so. In extrema, I can have you killed.

      You’re making the arbitrary claim that government is allowed to have a monopoly on violence but not on other forms of coercion. I am not.

      There has never been a free-market tyranny. There has never been free-market mass murder. Throughout history, societies with the freest economies have also been the societies with the greatest degree of egalitarianism, the greatest degree of freedom of conscience, the greatest degree of economic class mobility and the greatest degree of intellectual creativity. Given this track record why shouldn’t we seek to base our society on such a proven system.

      There is no such thing as a free market in reality. It swiftly turns into a situation where those with more guns and more relatives “corner the market” so to speak. If your ideal government magically managed to prevent people from using violent coercion, they will simply turn to other kinds of coercion. That’s the free market at work.

      The answer of course is that you are so confident of your own ability to engineer a perfect world that you feel morally justified in using the violent power of the state coerce people to behave as you see fit. In the end, it is hubris that creates your political views. You have no problem hurting people because you are so convinced you are right.

      This is not true. I’m not saying I should be dictator of America. I’m saying we should vote on it, with exceptions for tyrannies of the majority in the Constitution.

      You will of course automatically reject this idea but it is still true and I can prove with a simple question. What behavior that you currently engage in do believe the government should stop you from doing. What decisions to you personally currently make that you believe the real world political system could make better? Oh, do you personally need to be politically controlled?

      It’s very simply. If what you’re doing is harming no-one other than yourself, the government has no business interfering. If what you’re doing is harming others, the government (i.e. the people, in a democracy) may have the right to interfere.

      You won’t think of anything because of course you already do what you believe to be right. You support of political economic coercion arises purely from you wish to force other people to behave as you want them to. Nobody goes to the government to help them with their own self-restraint issues.

      Who’s talking about self-restraint? I’m talking about keeping markets fair and efficient rather than letting people “cheat” by coercion.

      Your belief in state power is ultimately a believe in your own rectitude, in your own individual right physically hurt people for disagreeing with you on matters wholly unrelated to violence. You are willing to hurt people just because you don’t agree with the tradeoffs they make, because they engage in what you personally believe to be the optimum behaviors for the entire population.

      Again, it’s not me personally, and it’s not their personal tradeoffs. It’s all of us, and it’s the tradeoffs they make where other people have to bear the costs.

      No, it isn’t. It is very real and practical. One you understand the inherently violent nature of government you can never look at it the same way again.

      Again, violence is not the only form of coercion.

      Government actions always hurt somebody. They always make someone do something they don’t wish to do. They always reduce the choices that the people as a whole can make.

      Not true. If government steps in and prevents you from dumping your waste in our water supply, it is reducing your choices, but keeping you from reducing everybody else’s.

      But no American is free to choose not to live under the violent power of a government. At best we can only choose which violent power to subject ourselves to. If this is a choice, it something akin to picking which thug will rape you. Yes, you have a choice but only in choosing the bad over the worse. Why should people have to make such choices over non-violent interactions?

      Everything always comes down to violence if you’re going to look at it this way. If there were no government, companies (and people) could just shoot employees or neighbors or whatever. It’s only the threat of government violence which gets rid of the threat of other violence.

      What is America offers the highest degree of freedom from violence? Do you think people should have to choose between obeying you and your cohorts or subjecting themselves to even more violence elsewhere?

      You’re free to work within the system to change it.

      You believe that the tradeoffs of violent coercion are systematically superior to the tradeoffs of voluntary interactions. I argue for the opposite.

      I’m saying that without government regulations and laws there’s hardly such thing as a “voluntary” interaction.

      I have history on my side. Whenever people have complete freedom to seek employment as they wish you get a far more people get jobs based on merit than they do in societies in which the state interferers in employment decisions. The more free-market late 1800’s north presented better opportunities for African-Americans than did the South with it’s myriad economic Jim Crow laws.

      The less free-market 2000’s north provides better opportunities for African-Americans than the more free-market late 1800’s.

      The systematic mechanism of the free-market punishes people who make economic decisions based on irrational criteria more surely than any political system ever well. If you refuse to hire people based on some criteria other than their ability to perform the job better than anyone else you can find, I will hire them and gain a competitive advantage.

      Not if all the companies in town are run by WASPs and they collude to prevent non-WASPs from starting businesses.

      If you do not change, you will soon simply cease to be an employer and your bigotry will no longer be factor. This action of the market has demonstrated itself time and time again over the centuries.

      I don’t share your faith in the efficiencies of the free market.

      So, your arguing that government is magic, that people are perfectly rational actors when they engage in politics and that the political system always make the correct long-term decisions?

      No, I’m arguing that the people have the right to choose the system they want.

      Of course not, your just have to create a strawman by claiming that I am making an argument for perfection. If you actually understood anything about libertarianism you would know that our entire concept rest on the idea that perfection or even near perfection is impossible. Neither is it even possible for people to even agree on what a perfect ideal should look like.

      All I know is that libertarians and communists alike are always insisting that “if only our system were really tried!!” When in reality it never happens because it’s never feasible.

      In the end, it is you who believe more strongly in your own perfection. I am unwilling to impose by my assessments on fair or optimum economic behavior on other people because I have little confidence I have the information necessary to make the best choice.

      How do you figure? You appear to be insisting that your assessment of the free market should be imposed on the U.S.

      You on the other hand, have no such doubts. You believe that right and wrong in economics is so clear cut and easy to determine that you feel perfectly comfortable having the very sloppy real world political system implement your ideas by violence.

      The “very sloppy real world political system” has more of a right to do it, considering we at least vote for it, than whoever happens to have the most guns, money, or power and answers to nobody at all.

    70. Phil Fraering Says:

      The “very sloppy real world political system” has more of a right to do it, considering we at least vote for it, than whoever happens to have the most guns, money, or power and answers to nobody at all.

      But I didn’t vote for this system, where large chunks of the economy have been effectively nationalized or otherwise put under government control over the past six months. Noone ran on the platform of nationalizing the economy, neither Bush who got the ball rolling or Obama who vastly speeded up the process.

      And it seems to me that one of your hobbyhorses, that of workplace discrimination, is much more prevalent in economic systems where the state is a major employer or worse _the_ major employer. I rarely hear of someone being fired for being the wrong ethnicity, but I have heard a lot of accusations of people having to expouse certain views or support certain candidates in order to be hired into certain government positions.

    71. JewishAtheist Says:

      But I didn’t vote for this system, where large chunks of the economy have been effectively nationalized or otherwise put under government control over the past six months. Noone ran on the platform of nationalizing the economy, neither Bush who got the ball rolling or Obama who vastly speeded up the process.

      Well, we are a republic, after all. We don’t vote for individual laws or actions, but representatives. This obviously has its downsides.

      And it seems to me that one of your hobbyhorses, that of workplace discrimination, is much more prevalent in economic systems where the state is a major employer or worse _the_ major employer. I rarely hear of someone being fired for being the wrong ethnicity, but I have heard a lot of accusations of people having to expouse certain views or support certain candidates in order to be hired into certain government positions.

      It’s true that this happened under the Bush administration, and with the red scare under Truman and McCarthy, but over all, I’d say it’s the farthest thing from the truth. You’re much more likely to get fired for having the “wrong” political views in the private sector than in the public. There are laws against that sort of thing.

    72. Phil Fraering Says:

      It’s true that this happened under the Bush administration, and with the red scare under Truman and McCarthy, but over all, I’d say it’s the farthest thing from the truth. You’re much more likely to get fired for having the “wrong” political views in the private sector than in the public. There are laws against that sort of thing.

      Laws? You seem to have no problem believing that republican administrations violate that law but you ask me to believe that the law keeps Democratic and/or socialist organizations from doing the same thing.

      That the same law that includes the bankruptcy code currently being subverted by a series of sham sales of the country’s auto manufacturers?

    73. HelenW Says:

      Nice discussion.

      I don’t give liberals any more credit than being mindless libertines. There is certainly no liberality in leftism. So I’m having trouble accepting the idea that they have a conscious intention of using sex to sell fascism. I could be wrong. Or unconscious societal forces may just shake out that way.

      Since there is sex involved, might as well pursue the theory. I have a suggestion–upgrade to a 2-dimensional political model. The 1-dimensional left/right model will not support the level of analysis you need. See politicalcompass.com for the model, and a stunningly accurate survey. The closer to [0,0] you score, the more conservative/less ideological. It straightens out all this confusion between libertarianism, authoritarianism, and rightism.

      Taking your test, I did give up a lot for sex. But love, security, and companionship came with the deal.

    74. JewishAtheist Says:

      Phil:

      Laws? You seem to have no problem believing that republican administrations violate that law but you ask me to believe that the law keeps Democratic and/or socialist organizations from doing the same thing.

      WTF? I mentioned Truman as well as Bush.

      You’ll note that in both instances, their actions became scandalous.

    75. Phil Fraering Says:

      Truman is sufficiently in the past, and sufficiently “guilty” of actually fighting the communists, that the modern liberals don’t think of him as one of them.

      And I don’t even remember what action you’re talking about re: Bush. He kept way too many Clinton era appointees in positions of responsibility, e.g. the head of the CIA and the Dept. of Transportation.

    76. JewishAtheist Says:

      Truman is sufficiently in the past, and sufficiently “guilty” of actually fighting the communists, that the modern liberals don’t think of him as one of them.

      Either way, I never said it’s only something Republicans are capable of. I gave the only two examples of it happening that I can think of, and one was a Democrat. You can hardly accuse me of bias here.

      And I don’t even remember what action you’re talking about re: Bush. He kept way too many Clinton era appointees in positions of responsibility, e.g. the head of the CIA and the Dept. of Transportation.

      I was thinking of the Justice Department, and the way candidates were literally asked for their political views before being hired.

    77. Shannon Love Says:

      JewishAtheist,

      Allowing employers to discriminate against Jews increases employers’ choices but decreases Jews’ choices.

      No it doesn’t. A Jew has exactly as many choices they would have if the employer had never existed. The employer does not reduce the choices that the jew has independent of the employer. The jew is free to work for other employers or start their own business.

      (I would also point out as a matter of historical fact that jews reached above normal levels of income and rose to ownership of many major economic institutions in a time when anti-semitism was not only legal but common and accepted. Clearly, the free-market rewarded jews and people who voluntarily interacted with them much better than the government policies of the day. Indeed, jews were represented and “protected” by the government only after they had obtained economic power in the free market. Anti-semitism in government hampered jews much more than anti-semitism in the free-market. )

      In my view, people are not morally obligated to engage in non-violent economic transactions against their better judgment.

      For your view to be correct, we would have to presume that every single person on the planet is obliged to form whatever economic relationship that any other person on the planet wishes and on the other persons terms. From your perspective, if person A refuses to form a business partnership with person B, the person A has reduced person B’s economic choices and thereby committed an act of aggression against person B. You believe that this act of aggression on A’s part justifies B using the violent power of the state to force A into a partnership for B’s benefit.

      You just happen to make the arbitrary claim that it’s fine for private citizens to decrease other private citizens’ choices but not for government.

      Private actors cannot reduce the choices of others. If I do not hire you I can not prevent someone else from hiring you nor prevent you from starting your own business. I can’t take away your property nor compel you labor for my benefit. Government can do all those things and does so on a routine basis.

      Think of it this way, in order for the employer in your example to “reduce” the choices of the jew in your example above, the employer would first have to create the business that could employe the jew in the first place. In other words, to refuse to hire the jew, he would first have to create a job in the first place. Only by first creating the opportunity of a job can the employer then take it away. So the employer would first have to increase the jews choices in jobs before snatching it away. At worst, the jew would be exactly as well/bad off as if the employer had never created the job in the first place.

      Government does not have to increase choices before reducing them. In order to prevent jews from working, the government doesn’t first have to build a factory and start selling a product before it can refuse to employ jews. It can prevent jews from having jobs they had before the government acted. It can prevent them from starting their own businesses. This is exactly what happened with Jim Crow laws. The free-market employed newly freed slaves willingly because no individual employer, seller or consumer wanted to suffer economically just to pursue some supposed common good.

      You’re making the arbitrary claim that government is allowed to have a monopoly on violence but not on other forms of coercion. I am not.

      The only way you can non-violently “coerce” someone is by bribery. Since you can’t reduce their preexisting choices nor their preexisting standard of living, you can only “coerce” someone by first making their life better and then taking it away. In such a case, they end up in the same state as if you had never acted.

      Again, it’s not me personally, and it’s not their personal tradeoffs.

      No it is you. You personally are willing to impose with violence your personal beliefs about what tradeoffs other people should make. It’s just that as a practical matter, you need to coordinate with enough other people who share your beliefs so that you have enough physical force to overwhelm your target. Just because a lot of other people agree with you doesn’t mean that you personally have not made the decision to impose your will by force. After all, if the majority of people disagreed with you would you suddenly consider yourself wrong in either a moral or practical sense? I seriously doubt you believe that your validity of your ideas depends on their popularity.

      You can’t offload the moral responsibility for you violent coercion of others onto the shoulders of a faceless mob. You made the decision to hurt people and you need to own up to it.

      i>There is no such thing as a free market in reality. It swiftly turns into a situation where those with more guns and more relatives “corner the market” so to speak.

      Your confusing free-market with anarchy. The free in free-market means freedom from violence. People make economic decisions based on economic factors. The role of government in such a system is to create a bubble of non-violence in which people can interact. Conversely, in your system, the role of government is to employ violence to coerce people into making the economic choices that you personal believe are correct.

      f your ideal government magically managed to prevent people from using violent coercion, they will simply turn to other kinds of coercion. That’s the free market at work.

      As I explained above, giving people more choices and then taking them away or bribing people is not coercion. As I said, by your definition, my unwillingness to buy something your store sells reduces your choices (because you would choice to sell me something) so you would be justified in using violence to make me purchase something.

      I’m not saying I should be dictator of America. I’m saying we should vote on it, with exceptions for tyrannies of the majority in the Constitution.

      Why shouldn’t you be dictator? After all, do you not have a good enough understanding of the millions of economic transactions that go on everyday that you can vote for politicians who will pass laws to force people to make those transactions as you see fit? A right decision is a right decision regardless of the number of people who make that decision. We don’t vote on engineering decisions why should we vote on economic ones? If you understand what is the best economic decision for people to make to such an extent that you are willing to fine them, imprison them and even in extrema kill them, why do you need the opinions of others?

      It’s very simply. If what you’re doing is harming no-one other than yourself, the government has no business interfering.

      I didn’t ask you what choices of mine you thought needed controlling. I asked you what behavior or yours i.e. your personal choices needed controlling? What decisions do you make that you think that the real world political process would make better? If you can think of some choice you need to be coerced into, then why don’t you make that choice now?

      This is actually a thought experiment. Think of it this way. If everybody in the world thought exactly like you do and made the same exact choices that you would, would you still believe that government would be necessary?

      This thought experiment reveals the aggressive and dominating nature of your viewpoint. You want to use the power of the state to dominate other people and force them to make your choices. Your viewpoint is grounded in hubris. You think you understand how everything works and that you easily grasp the best tradeoffs for all circumstances. This is why you have no problem using violence to force people to make the right choice.

      Most political ideologies boil down to rationales of why one person has the right to dominate another by violence. You don’t create rationales for why other people need to dominate you by violence.

      If government steps in and prevents you from dumping your waste in our water supply, it is reducing your choices, but keeping you from reducing everybody else’s.

      Except, that in this particular example, the government creates the problem by removing the water supply from the free-market. If the water supply is private property, then people can’t pollute with violating another individuals property rights.

      But you missed my main point, government hurts people in order to function. It never takes an action that does not injure someone. When it works correctly it hurts people in retaliation using violence to punish those who violated the right of others. The free-market, however, functions on creating win-win situations. People make transactions because they believe they will be better off for having done so.

      I’m saying that without government regulations and laws there’s hardly such thing as a “voluntary” interaction.

      This is true to the point that as a practical matter government must create a bubble of non-violence in which the free-market can function. However, you seem to be saying that only interactions of which you personally approve are voluntary and that therefore people are only free when the government imposes your beliefs on everyone else by violence.

      Everything always comes down to violence if you’re going to look at it this way

      So, the existence of violence in the world justifies you using violence to impose your beliefs about the best economic choices on everyone else. If the existence of violence means that all interactions are violent then why bother with non-violence at all? This is the logical absurdity that comes from defining any tradeoff as a violent attack You’ve already stated that someone not giving a job is equivalent to being punched in the nose. Does that extend to people not having sex with me. Can I claim rape if that good looking neighbor won’t bonk me? After all, aren’t they reducing my choices by refusing to let me choose to have sex with them?

      Merely refusing people’s every whim is not the same as sticking a knife through their heart. Not hiring someone on a basis that JewishAtheist personally doesn’t think justified is not the same a breaking parts of their body.

      How do you figure? You appear to be insisting that your assessment of the free market should be imposed on the U.S.

      Of course, and I suppose I am imposing my religious beliefs on everyone else by supporting freedom of religion? This is the kind of squirrly thinking you wind yourself up in by refusing to recognize your own hubris and wililness to use violence. By our standards, if you think everyone should be an jewish-atheist then I am actively oppressing you with violence when I prevent you from using violence to march everybody out church? Leaving people alone is not imposing your beliefs on them by force. End of discussion.

      Again, we see your hubris and egocentrisim. If your choices do not dominate, if you cannot coerce people to make the choices you deem proper, then everyone lives in an unjust society. You interpret it as actively harmful to people if I simply let them make their own decisions.

      The less free-market 2000’s north provides better opportunities for African-Americans than the more free-market late 1800’s.

      Well, for African-americans, the late 1800’s weren’t very free-market, The south engage in overt racial socialism and in the north the government failed to protect african-americans from extreme racial violence. Samual Grophers got the AFL rolling by explicitly excluding African-americans from the union. Most of the scabs murdered by unionist were African-American. When the government granted labor monopolies to unions, this locked African-americans out of all the good jobs. Even so, in the 1800’s African-americans migrated away from areas with more government intervention to create a just society and to the more free-market areas.

      That dynamic continues today, African-Americans migrate out of the more socialist northeeast to the freerer south. This is especially true for middle and upper class African-Americans.

      I would point to the racism of the past as examples of what happens when people like you impose their sense of greater good on the free-market. Had we been having this discussion a century or more ago, you would be castigating me for letting the free-market give good jobs to racial inferiors instead of to whites. You claim that I was reducing the choices of whites by forcing them to compete freely with negros who were little better than animals and could therefore work more cheaply.

      Not if all the companies in town are run by WASPs and they collude to prevent non-WASPs from starting businesses.

      I hate to keep interjecting facts into this debate but history show the exact opposite. It takes economic sacrifice to refuse to deal with people based on non-economic criteria. Most people simply will not sacrifice that much for long. Without government intervention or government approved private violence, the scenarios you envision are not stable for more than a few years at most. You cannot point to a counter example.

      You keep blaming the free-market for the inequities of historical government. Somehow, you’ve conflated Jim Crow laws, racist unions and government approved racial violence as the actions of the free-market. I’m not sure how you came to that conclusion. Oh, wait you have degree in the liberal-arts don’t you?

      The “very sloppy real world political system” has more of a right to do it, considering we at least vote for it, than whoever happens to have the most guns, money, or power and answers to nobody at all.

      Okay, the government enforces it’s well on people because it has the most guns. Again, you projecting the attributes of the state onto the free-market.

      Be honest, you’ve never actually studied any libertarian thought have you. You clearly see the possible worlds divided into one of violent anarchy and warlordism versus an economically totalitarian state governed by democratic despotism. There is a middle ground which minimizes violence from all sources. That is what we should be shooting for.

      Unfortunately, in such a state, you couldn’t force people to act as you want them too. I don’t think that appeals to you emotionally.

    78. Mercy Vetsel Says:

      Shannon,

      Wow! First you post a brilliant perspective that I’ve never considered or heard before so clearly and precisely that it now seems obvious, like something I should have realized long ago.

      Next, you patiently and systematically expose the flaws and false prejudices of an intelligent, but highly indoctrinated product of our modern education system.

      Brilliant and if I may say Friedmanesque!

      -Mercy