As organizer of a few Atheists groups in the DC area, I frequently get Libertarians into the group. After finding most of them unrealistic, I did some research to try and understand why. What I found was not very pretty. How can a group, on one hand, support the Separation of Church and State and on the other have a problem with the Feds (IRS) keeping religious organizations in line with their nonprofit status? I also discovered that many don't believe in Global Warming. Like Evolution, Global Warming is based on facts....not something that you believe or don't believe. Am I missing something here....or are they having trouble with reality?

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Libertarianism seems to be predicated on the odd notions that everybody has equal access to information, resources, and political power, and that by everybody looking after themselves, the rest of the world will take care of itself. This is clearly at odds with physical reality and human nature. I suppose it's possible that my take on libertarianism is something of a straw man, but I have yet to hear a defense of libertarianism that doesn't seem to boil down to this. It's time to let go of the rugged individualist cowboy mythos and recognize that we are all in this together, like it or not.

In any case, the libertarian/religious-right/big-business coalition from hell has never made a lick of sense. The religious right is authoritarian to the bone, which is anathema to libertarian philosophy. This coalition finally appears to be breaking down, but I try not to underestimate the human propensity for working against one's own best interests and stated goals. To sum it up in a more generous spirit, people are goofy.
My libertarianism starts with the idea that we all, as individuals, have rights. These rights, not surprisingly, match my moral code pretty closely.

I take offense at the conflation of libertarians with the religious right. They are probably leaving the republicans because the republicans are pretty much just democrats now.

The big business bit is a massive straw man and completely flawed understanding of us. I, personally, hate big business as it stands. It's your world view (assumed world view) is what allows congress to pass out favors. I don't think the government should have that power to begin with. Without big government, big business couldn't exist.

I'm keeping it brief, but if you want to we can have a longer discussion here or in private or however you would prefer.
Oh, don't get me wrong, Josiah Johnson. I'm not saying that libertarianism has common cause with the religious right, except insofar as they have made strange bedfellows out of themselves in the Republican Party. (Can't quite tell if you're saying that I'm the one doing the conflating.) I think you're quite right, that one of the reasons the GOP is collapsing is that the Libertarian wing is finally giving up on the party in disgust, and rightly so, by their own stated positions. That was part of my point, and maybe part of Reality Activist's, if I may presume to speak on his behalf. Libertarianism and religious authoritarianism should be like oil and water.

Same with big business. I was trying to point out that the traditional Republican coalition never made any sense. I could never figure out what big business, the religious right, and libertarians were doing on the same side. Even big business generally doesn't want anything to do with the looniness of religionistas. If you've got the green to buy their goods, they don't really care if you're Satan-worshippers. Well, as long as nobody finds out.

As far as I can tell, the only very thin thread that tied them all together was the GOP's emphasis on low taxes, which seems insufficient to get the various coalition partners to sacrifice their principles. Well, not big business, maybe.

As for me, I think the religious right can go suck it, big business needs to be reined in (changing corporate charters to have unlimited lifespans and treating them as legal persons were huge mistakes, and we should make antitrust laws that make sense by putting a cap on the size of companies that can engage in mergers and acquisitions), and libertarianism has some good points (consensual crimes should not be crimes, period), but unfortunately isn't particularly realistic as a complete package. I just don't think the libertarian ideal (as I understand it) is sustainable ecologically or protects people from their own worst tendencies. And by that I don't mean people's tendencies to hurt themselves, but rather their tendency to hurt others through neglect.
I will say it was, in fact, me taking you out of context. Apparently repeatedly. I will respond more fully after Transformers.
Without big government, big business couldn't exist.

I'm completely cutting away from any useful point here, I know, but Standard Oil was a damn big business. It had its fingers in the government, which surely helped it stay even more in its high position of domination, but it got there and could just as well have stayed there with nothing holding up its bulk but the demand for oil, and it's internal stability.
They have a *lot* of trouble with reality.
Their argument for absolutely any political action or ideal is "It's mine and I'll do as I wish. To hell with everyone else."
Most of them favor mercantilism and the idea that rich people are better than other people.

Short version: They're Republicans that don't hate gay people and love Jesus quite so much.
Which pretty much sums up the Democratic leadership too, now that I think about it.
Now now, if you're going to call yourself rational don't resort to straw man arguments to run down political views you don't understand. Don't characterize libertarianism by people who simply happened to stand out in your personal experience, there are prominent intellectuals who formulate their best ideas, and if you can't meet these head on then you aren't really defeating libertarianism.
There is no defeating libertarianism. It doesn't need our help.
Everyone from anarchists to feudalists are libertarians, so any argument against it suddenly becomes No True Scotsman.
(Not that they'll ever admit they support corporate feudalism but that's what it amounts to. Just replace feudal lord with Wal-Mart.)
What it ends up boiling down to is anything being ok as long as it isn't the gubmint telling you to do it.

Actively opposing any public works projects on the grounds that it's the government doing it is just plain silly. A ten year old could point out the flaws in the argument "The government doesn't have to tax us to pay for roads. Private individuals will."

If you've ever wondered which person in a group is the libertarian, just look for the one screaming himself blue about how gold would rain from the sky in a free market. When pressed on how much it would suck to have no government intervention at all in business, they hide. (Free markets according to libertarians are basically the seller doing whatever they damn well please...supposedly market forces would magically even it out.)

I pointed those two things out since those are what most libertarians seem to have in common. Both are equally silly ideas.
In general I like libertarian social policies better than any other group's, I just don't like their economic ones.
Excluding the violation of other's rights, nobody should tell you what to do with your life. I just extend this to government as well as the crack-heads next door. Wal-Mart doesn't tell you what to do with guns, the gubmint does. And feudalism did it with threat of violence as well. I don't believe in coercion through force, and I don't think a group of individuals should have more rights than a single individual (especially if they just have those extra rights because they have the guns.)

Do you like driving? Do you pay for things you like? Maybe you just have a habit of not buying things you like.

"When pressed on how much it would suck to have no government intervention at all in business, they hide."

So tell me, good sir, why it would suck with no government intervention in business?

Seriously, you're going to have to have more than just assertions. Let's go baby.

Next, you're completely fucking up how buyer/seller works. You are trading value for value, both people are selling something. If one doesn't think he's getting value for his trade, he needs to change his price or shop elsewhere. You are just acting like the fact that one person has money and the other a product changes the equation.

And the cosmotarian side, socially, is alright. The anti-immigrant libertarians can die. Fucking dinosaurs. I just apply the same social ideas to economics because I don't buy that social and economic freedom are different.
Because in Free-Market-World if a company made a product that killed people they'd be fully able to lie about it. Sue them? There are no lawsuits! That'd be the gubmint controling business!

If you buy a car and it explodes killing all your children and horribly maiming you, the free market says "Tough shit. Don't buy another car from those people."
Contracts? Nonsense. Who'd enforce them?

The "Free market" assumes equal status between the buyer and seller. It's possible a free market might've worked at one point in history. It won't work now and it won't work anytime in the near future because at this point too much wealth is concentrated into one place. What you'd end up with if a truly free market were implimented right now would be feudalism. You'd be owned by whoever you worked for at whatever they felt like paying you.

All libertarian ideas would work beautifully in a utopian society. If people weren't people it'd be great. That's the downfall of libertarian ideas. People suck.

I was libertarian at one point as well. I went back to being an independant because the economic models aren't feasible.
I've also noticed a strong anti-immigration movement among libertarians...I'm not sure how. I mean it's kinda in direct opposition to libertarian principles. I even once met a racist/anti-gay libertarian. I haven't the foggiest idea how the hell he worked that out.
Libertarians as a rule tend to be less racist/anti-gay than any other major party, simply because "To each his bloody own." doesn't leave much room for bigotry.
It's nice that you made up your own libertarianism for this debate. Lawsuits are generally how libertarians propose to get a lot of things done. Contracts are a huge huge deal, killing people tends to violate contracts.

Contracts are easy, and I'm not sure who told you they can't be enforced. They lied. While some will argue that free markets can handle law enforcement, most libertarians won't. I, for example, consider myself a minarchist. It's not the government that's the problem, it's the reach of the government that's the problem.

The only thing that's allowed vast accumulation of wealth on the current scale is the government. Secondly, there are a lot of things you're missing there. Without government tariffs a lot of big companies would die straight out of the gates, and would give room for a lot of smaller organizations to move in.

All blah blah whatever you are would work perfectly in a utopian society. FFS

And the anti-immigration bit is probably that a lot of libertarians are republicans sick of the party and there are lots of old people. The dinosaurs will die, and I'm glad other people are noticing it too. It's surprising how many people call themselves libertarians because of notions not relating to basic freedoms, but a single issue. On the upside, I've been seeing younger people get involved more often.

For the record, I'm not talking about complete anarchy here. I'm talking about a minimal government that asserts individual rights. I honestly don't think large companies can continue the way they are without the government assistance they've been getting. But we face this problem everywhere. Rent seeking is rampant and congress is answering by giving them the money they want. If we don't restrict them, we will never contain it.
Yeah, that was one of the things that originally drew me to the party was the abolishment of corporate welfare. Absolutely no other party seems to be in favor of derailing the gravy train.

I've met very few libertarians that were actually minimalists/minarchists. Most of the ones I've met (at libertarian meetings) were either flat out free market anarchists or corporate feudalists. All of which consider themselves the "real" libertarians. I'm sure at least part of that is the extremes of any group are the ones most likely to be active in promoting it.
So ask any three libertarians if law enforcement should be privatized, and you'll get three entirely different answers.

And yeah, I think there was some kind of great exodus of the republican party where a lot of the people that weren't crazy abandoned ship and headed for the libertarian party. Which is likely part of the problem.
That seems to be roughly the time the party stopped being so much about individual freedom and more about economic freedom.


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