Living Libertarian

Christopher Beam

Christopher Beam has written what I believe to be a wonderful article for New York Magazine. There are (at least) two great things about this article:

  1. He develops a sophisticated taxonomy of the libertarian movement in the United States;
  2. He describes a world in which the libertarians have taken over.

Here’s the “money quote” from the second aspect of the article, Beam as Jacob Marley introducing us to a vision of Libertarian Future:

Consider the social side of Libertopia. It’s no coincidence that most libertarians discover the philosophy as teenagers. At best, libertarianism means pursuing your own self-interest, as long as you don’t hurt anyone else. At worst, as in Ayn Rand’s teachings, it’s an explicit celebration of narcissism. “Man’s first duty is to himself,” says the young architect Howard Roark in his climactic speech in The Fountainhead. “His moral obligation is to do what he wishes.” Roark utters these words after dynamiting his own project, since his vision for the structure had been altered without his permission. The message: Never compromise. If you don’t get your way, blow things up. And there’s the problem. If everyone refused to compromise his vision, there would be no cooperation. There would be no collective responsibility. The result wouldn’t be a city on a hill. It would be a port town in Somalia. In a world of scarce resources, everyone pursuing their own self-interest would yield not Atlas Shrugged but Lord of the Flies. And even if you did somehow achieve Libertopia, you’d be surrounded by assholes.

Ayn Rand

Sure, I read Rand as a teenager, and liked it, too. I worked at a library shelving books—it was my first job—and I remember when the head librarian, a Mrs. Christensen, saw me with a copy of The Fountainhead, she muttered, “Rand’s a goddamn Nazi.” Despite my esteem for Mrs. Christensen, her over-simplification and mis-characterization of Rand’s nutty philosophy only made it more appealing and probably prolonged my Rand-philia by at least a few weeks. It was when I got to Anthem that I finally gave up on it. I could see what she was selling, and it was scary even to the 16-year-old me.

(If you haven’t read The Fountainhead, I can save you some time.)

So, the discussion:

  1. Is Beam’s description of the taxonomy of Libertarianism accurate? I find his characterization of, and description of tensions within, the Tea Party especially apt.
  2. Is Beam’s vision of a Libertarian world plausible?

About Monotreme

Monotreme is an unabashedly liberal dog lover, writer, and former scientist who now teaches at a University in an almost-square state out West somewhere. http://www.logarchism.com | http://www.sevendeadlysynapses.com
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77 Responses to Living Libertarian

  1. Mr. Universe says:

    So my favourite rock band growing up was the Canadian trio ‘Rush’. Neil Peart, the drummer and lyricist, was a big Ayn Rand fan and his lyrics reflected that. I don’t think any of it rubbed off on me, however my senior yearbook quote was from the song ‘Free Will’.

    “You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice,
    If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice,
    I will choose free will”

    Does that make me Libertarian?

  2. Bart DePalma says:

    The totalitarian Soviet state so appalled Rand, that she shifted 180 degrees and advocated a near anarchist philosophy she called objectivism where self interest was the only moral commandment. What Rand misses is that humans are social animals and, if you do not want the government acting as moral arbiter (something that ALWAYS ends badly) and want to operate a workable classically liberal society, then the citizenry itself needs to live by a moral code which includes love, empathy and charity toward fellow citizens.

    That being said, Rand’s John Galt character does speak to those who produce the products/wealth that the modern socialist government wishes to loot and redistribute to itself and to those the government prefers. The producers of the world can and do go on strike, which is the basis of capital and talent flight, supply side tax theory and even things as mundane as British rock stars fleeing to Spain or the United States.

  3. filistro says:

    Libertarians have to be the most conflicted people on the planet… because they are seeking to participate in the very institution which it is their sole purpose to destroy. No matter how many rabbit holes you fall into, you can’t get more topsy-turvy than that.

    Republicans, OTOH (who are never conflicted) find libertarianism very useful as cover for the big lies they use to win elections. From the article: That’s how conservative politics is played—talk shrinkage, do growth. Even right-wing godhead Ronald Reagan expanded the federal government, bailed out Social Security, and signed off on tax hikes. Bush 43 was only the latest in a long line of Republican spenders.

    It would serve Republicans right, after all this cynical exploitation, if a truly libertarian govt ever DID take power. Imagine a world where everybody could do whatever they wanted… with their bodies, their marriages, their once-illegal substances and their money. For authoritarian Republicans it would be the ultimate panicky, hand-wringing, blood-chilling nightmare… and worst of all, there would be nobody to enforce discipline or protect the corporate overlords!

    Actually, it’s kind of a pity that it can never, ever happen.

  4. Bart DePalma says:

    Mr. U: however my senior yearbook quote was from the song ‘Free Will’.

    “You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice,
    If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice,
    I will choose free will”

    Does that make me Libertarian?

    If you believed that lyric applies to everyone and not just yourself, then you would be a libertarian.

    There is still hope for you yet.

  5. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: Libertarians have to be the most conflicted people on the planet… because they are seeking to participate in the very institution which it is their sole purpose to destroy. No matter how many rabbit holes you fall into, you can’t get more topsy-turvy than that.

    You keep confusing libertarians with anarchists. We believe in limited, not no government.

    Republicans, OTOH (who are never conflicted) find libertarianism very useful as cover for the big lies they use to win elections. From the article: That’s how conservative politics is played—talk shrinkage, do growth. Even right-wing godhead Ronald Reagan expanded the federal government, bailed out Social Security, and signed off on tax hikes. Bush 43 was only the latest in a long line of Republican spenders.

    Republicans are only half libertarian – free markets – and that faith comes and goes. That is why the Tea Party came into being.

  6. filistro says:

    @Bart…. You keep confusing libertarians with anarchists. We believe in limited, not no government.

    Yes, dear, I know. I’m perfectly familiar with your “beliefs.”

    You believe your reluctance to pay taxes makes you a “libertarian”… while your neighbors’ wish to obtain a safe abortion for their pregnant 12-year-old makes them “anarchists.”

    What’s more… your “libertarian” world, in that circumstance, would use government power to access the 12-year-old’s private medical records, then try and convict her parents for homicide.

    Give it up, Bart. I know you really like the sound of the term, but you are no more a libertarian than a giraffe is a horse. I’ve been watching you with interest for two years now, and you are a classic authoritarian through and through.

  7. shiloh says:

    I could see what she was selling

    Rand/Reagan are dead, but Bart is still shovelin’ sh*t er trying to sell his ideological nonsense.

    Reps er Bart want to conquer and rule, not govern ~ ‘nuf said!

  8. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili: You believe your reluctance to pay taxes makes you a “libertarian”… while your neighbors’ wish to obtain a safe abortion for their pregnant 12-year-old makes them “anarchists.”

    No, my opposition to the government trying to run my life when I am doing no one else any harm makes me a libertarian.

    My support for the government to enforce the homicide laws to keep your neighbors from killing their grandchild in no way conflicts with my first position.

    In my perfectly coherent world, the only legitimate law is one that keeps one person from harming another. All other law is illegitimate.

    In your incoherent world, it is legitimate for government to tell folks how to live their lives but not to tell them not to kill their grand children.

  9. shiloh says:

    Barted ~ In my perfectly coherent world, the only legitimate law is one that keeps one person from harming another.

    Your incoherent ideology aside, why weren’t you America’s #1 protester when cheney/bush illegally attacked Iraq and killed/murdered 100s of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens and tortured many other innocent victims.

    Basing your response, of course, on the fact that cheney/bush’s Iraq war was indeed, unconstitutional, as Iraq/Saddam did not threaten America in any way, shape or form.

    Oops!

    Eagerly awaiting your song and dance deflection reply …

    take care, blessings

    btw Bartles, there are very few absolutes in life, except of course death, taxes and your daily teabagger inanity at 538 …

  10. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    (Ignoring Bart until he at least acts like an adult)

    I do not believe the above to be “libertarian”. Libertarianism can be a spectrum of beliefs, not just one steady focused ideology.

    In American politics, I personally define libertarian as “social liberal and fiscal conservative”.
    Government tends to stay out of the private life of the individual: No drug possession laws, no “vice” laws, no discrimination laws, no prohibition of civil contracts between legal, consenting informed adults, etc.
    Fiscally, we pay for what we get at the time of service. Exceptions made ofr war or economic disasters, but a surcharge on taxes would be implemented immediately and maintained until debt so created is paid off.

    Pretty simple actually.

  11. Jean says:

    Bart,

    re: No, my opposition to the government trying to run my life when I am doing no one else any harm makes me a libertarian.

    You sound suspiciously like the teavangelicals with their anti-abortion stance justified because of the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in the preamble of the Declaration of Independence. They are anti-abortion because the Declaration of Independence says we are entitled to life.

    However, the teavangelicals also occasionally alternate their anti-abortion justification “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” by instead claiming an anti-abortion stance using your exact same words, “I am doing no one else any harm”.

    This is not classic libertarian; but this is the right wing evangelical and teavangelical base of the Republican party.

  12. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: In my perfectly coherent world, the only legitimate law is one that keeps one person from harming another.

    Your incoherent ideology aside, why weren’t you America’s #1 protester when cheney/bush illegally attacked Iraq and killed/murdered 100s of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens and tortured many other innocent victims.

    You mean apart from the fact that none of that ever occurred?

    1) After its defeat during the Persian Gulf War, Iraq entered into a ceasefire (not a peace treaty) with the United States and its coalition, which was later adopted by the UN. When the Iraqis repeatedly violated the terms of that ceasefire, they reentered a state of war with the United States and its coalition under all recognized international and domestic law. There was actually no legal need for the added authority of the AUMF sought and received by the Bush Administration from Congress.

    2) The Wikileaks disclosure of classified military documents from the Iraq War largely confirmed what we knew during the Dem attempts to surrender to al Qaeda – (1) the Lancet claims of several hundred thousand Iraqi dead were propaganda lies and (2) other Iraqis (mostly al Qaeda in Iraq) killed the vast majority of Iraqi civilians which did die in the conflict.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/23/world/middleeast/23casualties.html

    3) The Iraqis and not the US military was responsible for most of the prisoner abuse in Iraq. See the above link.

    As I noted several times here, the reason I left the Libertarian Party and call myself a libertarian conservative is that I disagree with libertarian isolationism and fully support the Reagan Doctrine effort to free people from tyranny. I am damn proud of the victories of our military in freeing nearly 50 million Iraqis and Afghanis from hell. One of the finest times in my life was participating in the liberation of Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War. We should have finished the job in Iraq at that time.

  13. shiloh says:

    Bartles thanx for your revisionist history er song and dance deflection reply as per usual …

    Again, you haven’t got a clue what you are, other than a my way or the highway disingenuous winger troll who has become totally bitter/depressed since Obama’s election!

    Waaaahhhh! :::sniffle:::: Waaaahhhh!

  14. drfunguy says:

    Re. Abortion is murder?
    So that means miscarrige is manslaughter?
    You _do_ know that about 30% of fertillization events end in miscarriage, don’t you?

    Wilcox AJ, Baird DD, Weinberg CR (1999). “Time of implantation of the conceptus and loss of pregnancy.”. New England Journal of Medicine 340 (23): 1796–1799.

    Wang X, Chen C, Wang L, Chen D, Guang W, French J (2003). “Conception, early pregnancy loss, and time to clinical pregnancy: a population-based prospective study.”Fertil Steril 79 (3): 577–84.

    Tobacco and other drug use increases rates of miscarriage (and birth defects)
    (Ness R, Grisso J, Hirschinger N, Markovic N, Shaw L, Day N, Kline J (1999). “Cocaine and tobacco use and the risk of spontaneous abortion.”. N Engl J Med 340(5): 333–9 )
    so those women who use drugs while pregnant certainly merit 1st degree murder.

    But often the women are not yet aware of the pregnancy, so we need to institute mandatory urine testing at regular interval to find the evildoers and punish them, not to mention protect those zygotes!

  15. Monotreme says:

    @drfunguy:

    Reductio ad absurdum won’t work, because Bart is already as absurd as it can get.

  16. filistro says:

    @Doc… But often the women are not yet aware of the pregnancy, so we need to institute mandatory urine testing at regular interval to find the evildoers and punish them, not to mention protect those zygotes!

    Oh, absolutely. What’s more, since those parents who terminated the pregnancy of their 12-year-old daughter would be “killing their grandchild” and should be “tried for homicide” it logically follows that if they allow the pregant 12-year-old to eat unhealthy foods (it’s damn hard to get 12-year-old primiparas to eat properly) then the parents of the 12-year-old must be charged with child abuse, and the proper government sanctions must apply.

    Monitoring all those reluctantly pregnant children and women 24/7 to be sure they don’t commit child abuse will require an ENORMOUS new branch of government. I know, we can call it the “Department of Vice and Virtue” and equip its officials with whips to administer on-the-spot discipline for purposes of efficiency. Still , there will need to be thousands of them to protect all those fetuses from ingested trans fats and alcohol.

    No problem for Bart, though… Bart is clearly in favor of BIG BIG HUGELY INTRUSIVE government….

  17. filistro says:

    I must also note that once again (this is the 2,307th time, but who’s counting?) Bart’s central argument has been refuted by material in HIS OWN LINK…

    (regarding the number of Iraq casualties: emphasis mine)

    The archive does not put that argument to rest by giving a precise count. As a 2008 report to Congress on the topic makes clear, the figures serve as “guideposts,’ not hard totals. But it does seem to suggest numbers that are roughly in line with those compiled by several sources, including Iraq Body Count, an organization that tracked civilian deaths using press reports, a method the Bush administration repeatedly derided as unreliable and producing inflated numbers. In all, the five-year archive lists more than 100,000 dead from 2004 to 2009..

  18. drfunguy says:

    @Monotreme
    I know but its fun to watch him deflect in unpredictable thrashings about until he gives up and either goes and sulks or jumps to another thread where he can begin his trip all over again. The question is: how many of Bartles specious claims can be refudiated on a particular thread before he gives up and moves on to new pastures.
    I’m thinking of making book on it 😉

  19. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili: “I must also note that once again (this is the 2,307th time, but who’s counting?) Bart’s central argument has been refuted by material in HIS OWN LINK…”

    What part of my main point that the Lancet “study” finding several hundred throusand Iraqi dead was a lie has been refuted by my own link? It might profit you to read my posts before you make silly comments like that.

  20. Bart DePalma says:

    drfunguy/Fili:

    Do you even know the elements of involuntary manslaughter? I’ll let you explain to me why failing to eat properly does not = involuntary manslaughter.

    Consider this your amateur attorney Crim Law I essay question.

    Whoever can correctly answer this first wins a gold star on the forehead.

  21. filistro says:

    @Bart… What part of my main point that the Lancet “study” finding several hundred throusand Iraqi dead was a lie has been refuted by my own link?

    So Bart… what are you saying here? Your link confirms 100,000 dead. You think… what?… That’s not so bad?

    Iraq has roughly 30 million people, one-tenth of the US popualtion. 100,000 dead Iraqis corresponds to a million dead Americans.

    So let’s say China invades the US with tanks, guns and bombs to free America from the tyranny of Barack Obama’s socialist clutches. In the resulting chaos and civil war, A MILLION AMERICANS are killed. But hey, it’s not 3 million… so it’s kind of ungrateful and petty for the rest of the country to be upset about those million deaths, right?

  22. mclever says:

    Bart,

    Would it be negligent homicide instead, then?

  23. Jean says:

    Bart,

    So with your stance being “No, my opposition to the government trying to run my life when I am doing no one else any harm makes me a libertarian.”

    Are you a true libertarian who is fiscally conservative but socially liberal? It doesn’t sound as if you hold libertarian views regarding social issues. Please explain your position re abortion.

  24. filistro says:

    Bart… this summarizes the Colorado law on felony child abuse.

    You have stated you believe a pregnant woman getting an abortion is “killing a child” and should be subject to homicide laws.

    IF THAT IS YOUR BELIEF…

    Why then should a pregnant woman who ingests a harmful substance like drugs or alcohol, or who fails to eat well enough provide the necessary nutrition to her fetus, not also be subject to applicable punishment under this statute?

    You can’t have it both ways, Bart. It defies logic.

  25. shiloh says:

    Bart, it might profit you if you didn’t make ad nauseam, bogus statements w/out backing them up w/evidence/facts ~ or not lol

    but, but, but not to worry as we’ll still play with er make fun of you daily, regardless as there’s a lot to said for winger troll comic relief at progressive blogs, eh.

    You get the last word …

  26. shortchain says:

    I’m coming late to the party, but I’d just like to say that, as an adolescent (albeit a hyper-precocious one, of course), I was mightily attracted to libertarianism. Sadly, the relentless progress of rationality that has plagued my entire life put an end to that.

    The basic problem was that, over the course of my development, I met and got to know a lot of people, and, if you know a lot of people, you simply can’t look with an unprejudiced eye at the people you know and imagine them cooperating in providing the infrastructure of a civil society without the structure of government to provide a foundation for this cooperation, unless you are delusional.

  27. filistro says:

    @shortchain … Sadly, the relentless progress of rationality that has plagued my entire life put an end to that.

    LOL. I can’t tell you how strongly I identified with that statement 🙂

    All people eventually see their dreams, ideals and prejudices smash into the twin brick walls of reality and human nature. The only ones who don’t are those who are completely insane.

  28. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: What part of my main point that the Lancet “study” finding several hundred throusand Iraqi dead was a lie has been refuted by my own link?

    Fili: So Bart… what are you saying here? Your link confirms 100,000 dead. You think… what?… That’s not so bad?

    No. Stopping Al Qaeda in Iraq’s mass murder and the potential it would trigger a civil war was the primary reason for my support for the Surge.

    Iraq has roughly 30 million people, one-tenth of the US popualtion. 100,000 dead Iraqis corresponds to a million dead Americans.

    Agreed. This is why the Surge was so vital.

    So let’s say China invades the US with tanks, guns and bombs to free America from the tyranny of Barack Obama’s socialist clutches. In the resulting chaos and civil war, A MILLION AMERICANS are killed. But hey, it’s not 3 million… so it’s kind of ungrateful and petty for the rest of the country to be upset about those million deaths, right?

    To complete your silly analogy, you would have to include al Qaeda invading America and murdering the million Americans in an effort to set up its own theocracy.

    Why do you folks on the left keep forgetting who the enemy was?

  29. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: “Bart… this summarizes the Colorado law on felony child abuse….Why then should a pregnant woman who ingests a harmful substance like drugs or alcohol, or who fails to eat well enough provide the necessary nutrition to her fetus, not also be subject to applicable punishment under this statute?”

    I am going to play Professor Kingsfield here and apply the Socratic method.

    Amateur 1L with the scull of mush, explain to the class why the felony child abuse statute does or does not apply to this hypo.

    I’ll ridicule you in character later after this call I need to take.

  30. filistro says:

    Bart… there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq before the US invaded.

    Why do you happy hawks on the right keep forgetting who allowed Al Qaeda into Iraq?

  31. filistro says:

    Bart… I look forward to being ridiculed by you.

    While you are framing your insult, do please remember to answer the basic question.

    It is this:

    If a person can be held liable for “killing a child” in utero… why can a person not be held liable under existing statutes for injuring* a child in utero?

    *”Injury” being, under Colorado law, an injury to a child’s life or health, or permitting a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health, or engaging in a continued pattern of conduct that results in malnourishment, lack of proper medical care, cruel punishment, mistreatment, or an accumulation of injuries that ultimately results in the death of a child or causes serious bodily injury to a child.

  32. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: Bart… there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq before the US invaded. Why do you happy hawks on the right keep forgetting who allowed Al Qaeda into Iraq?

    Actually, Saddam was working with al Qaeda and its client terror groups since the early 90s and there was a large al Qaeda client group with a base by the Iranian border which was recruiting Iraqis to fight in Afghanistan and which the SF and the Kurd Pershmerga engaged in the beginning of the war.

    I wrote a very comprehensive post on this subject at my blog complete with several links and cites so I would have a one stop source for arguments on this subject. Read and learn:

    http://citizen-pamphleteer.blogspot.com/2008/03/partners-in-business-of-terror-saddam.html

  33. shortchain says:

    filistro,

    The key to being a happy libertarian is selective perception. This is also the key to being a conservative. (We can’t say “happy conservative”, because to be a true conservative, you have to be steeped in the bile of your schadenfreude, and that’s not a happy emotion.)

    Notice the plight of the poor blastocyst or early-stage embryo, as if it had any meaningful comparison to a living, breathing, human, but ignore the plight of the woman or young girl involved. It helps to be misogynistic (as Bart seems to be), as well as myopic, individual, but that’s just icing on the cake.

    Notice all the great “freedoms” the Iraqis have, but ignore the tragedy of how, and through what massive dishonesty, those freedoms were procured. Also ignore the fact that they are transitory, as Iraq falls into the hands of Iran-backed shia militias or Sunni terrorists.

    Ignore the diplomatic insanity that built up to the first Gulf war, but pretend that the war itself was a brilliant success.

    Selective perception is the key to happiness, or at least the key to not being utterly depressed.

  34. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: If a person can be held liable for “killing a child” in utero… why can a person not be held liable under existing statutes for injuring* a child in utero?

    Kingsfield: Answer your own question. Here is the complete quote of the relevant portion of the statute. Make your case to the class. [If I wanted to be particularly sadistic, I would have you argue both sides of the case, which attorneys routinely need to do]

    A person commits child abuse if such person causes an injury to a child’s life or health, or permits a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health, or engages in a continued pattern of conduct that results in malnourishment, lack of proper medical care, cruel punishment, mistreatment, or an accumulation of injuries that ultimately results in the death of a child or serious bodily injury to a child.

    Hint: Eliminate the elements of the offense which obviously do not apply.

  35. filistro says:

    Bart, I have read your blog post before. It is total and complete garbage. There was a small, ragtag Al Qaeda training camp in the northern no-fly zone (which prevented Saddam from squashing it, as he would certainly have done otherwise.) Al Qaeda knew that as long as Saddam was alive they had no chance of gaining any kind of foothold in Iraq.

    It always disappoints me that when you fail in argument, you resort to outright lies. If your position can’t stand on its own merits based on truth, what is the point in continuing to present it?

  36. filistro says:

    Bart, please stop with the silly mockery, word clouds and deflections, and just ANSWER THE QUESTION.

    I will repeat it.

    If a fetus is a “child” and the act of aborting it is “murder”, and statutes against homicide should apply to that act…. then why is the act of harming a fetus not equally punishable under statutes against child abuse?

    Once you have answered, we will move on to the next part of the discussion. (I suspect you know what is coming, and that is why you are refusing to answer. )

  37. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: Bart, I have read your blog post before. It is total and complete garbage. There was a small, ragtag Al Qaeda training camp in the northern no-fly zone (which prevented Saddam from squashing it, as he would certainly have done otherwise.) Al Qaeda knew that as long as Saddam was alive they had no chance of gaining any kind of foothold in Iraq.

    You obviously could not have both read the post and the links and still honestly believe what you just posted.

    All al Qaeda groups are small and ragtag. The one in Iraq was working on chemical weapons.

    Also, there was nothing in the no fly zone mandate which prevented Saddam from sending in a Republican Guard regiment and cleaning out the al Qaeda camp. Indeed, he could have made big production out of the operation and headed off the US invasion. In fact, Saddam’s intelligence service had a liaison officer assigned to the camp.

    I can only lead you to the water of fact, I can’t make you drink.

  38. filistro says:

    @Bart… I can only lead you to the water of fact, I can’t make you drink.

    It appears you can’t make ANYBODY “drink the water,” Bart.

    Must be that funny yellow color, eh? 😉

  39. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:

    You can ask me to answer your question as often as you like. I am not letting you off the hook. This is your hypothesis and your case. Make it.

    You do this by stating the facts, applying the statutory language to the facts and then arguing why a crime was committed.

  40. filistro says:

    Let the record show that Bart refuses to answer this question:

    If a fetus is a “child” and the act of aborting it is “murder”, and statutes against homicide should apply to that act…. then why is the act of harming a fetus not equally punishable under statutes against child abuse?

    This is because there is no way to answer this question that does not expose Bart as a complete and utter fraud.

  41. Eusebio Dunkle says:

    I think libertarianism is fine in theory and something a responsible society might achieve. I’m prepared to participate in that utopia. But through my eyes the practical application at least in the US is a gambit by its advocates to break free of regulations that (poorly, IMO) prevent them from leverageing their capital and assets against those without. e.g. For 30-50yr, the wealthy have gained wealth while everyone else (~60-70%) has added an additional income earner and mountains of debt to maintain a fixed quality of life. In addition to dismantling government, libertarians have successfully made government less accountable via propaganda, misinformation, and secrecy. In fact, the most unsettling feature of these ideas is they have been somehow sewn into what it means to be American. Nothing demonstrated this more clearly to me than drastically cutting taxes while waging two wars! An important aspect of my little pet theory is that most of these actions follow unconsciously from the rigid uncompromising libertarian mind, although evil plotting certainly exists. This to me is libertarianism in practice, relax regulations and accountability, allow the rich the “liberty” to use their capital as they please to extract wealth from the economy, often in grossly inefficient, inequitable, and evil ways.

  42. dcpetterson says:

    Clearly, Bart has no answer to the question. He is unable to support his position. Which is unsurprising, because it is an absurd position.

    Bart, Filistro made her case, which is that your position is untenable and ridiculous. You are unable to give support, either to your fantasy that al Qaeda was in Iraq before we invaded, or that your ideas about abortion have any semblance of sanity and coherency.

    You’re not fooling anyone, you know. You’re unwilling to address direct questions. Typical right wing arrogance.

  43. filistro says:

    Eusebio… you are so right. The people in America’s conservative movement who seek to co-opt the libertarian model really just want all of its freedoms with none of its intellectual rigor and discipline.

    They interpret libertarianism as “the freedom to do whatever I want, and the freedom to make YOU do whatever I want, too.”

  44. filistro says:

    Now that I have neatly trapped Bart in a corner, I will even help him by outlining the only two possible answers to my question.

    1.) the fetus is not a “child” and does not actually have the rights of a child, so statutes against murder and child abuse would not apply.

    By admitting this, Bart admits that his whole stance on abortion is based on a lie.

    2.) the fetus IS a child, and thus is entitled to all the protections every child has in our sytem of law, including protection against harm and abuse.

    By admitting this Bart puts the lie to his small government, libertarian claims, because the level of societal intervention required to protect every child in utero from any kind of harm inflicted by its biological host (and punish every such harm) would consume every resource society has at hand.

    So which is it, Bart? Lie #1, or Lie #2?

  45. dcpetterson says:

    Eusebio Dunkle, insightful observations. Thank you for sharing them.

  46. dcpetterson says:

    @filistro

    I will even help him by outlining the only two possible answers to my question.

    There actually is a third possibility:

    3. I deny the science proving a connection between what the mother drinks or smokes, and any effects on the health of the fetus.

    This answer is typical of the reality-avoidance of Creationists who deny global warming, believe in death panels, think Obama is a “socialist,” insist that Hussein was a friend of al Qaeda and possessed WMD’s, and actualy think tinkle-down economics makes sense.

    It’s a fantasy-world syndrome. I’m sure the sky is red in Bart’s world.

  47. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: Now that I have neatly trapped Bart in a corner, I will even help him by outlining the only two possible answers to my question.

    1.) the fetus is not a “child” and does not actually have the rights of a child, so statutes against murder and child abuse would not apply.

    By admitting this, Bart admits that his whole stance on abortion is based on a lie.

    2.) the fetus IS a child, and thus is entitled to all the protections every child has in our sytem of law, including protection against harm and abuse.

    By admitting this Bart puts the lie to his small government, libertarian claims, because the level of societal intervention required to protect every child in utero from any kind of harm inflicted by its biological host (and punish every such harm) would consume every resource society has at hand.

    This was not your original hypo about felony child abuse, but I will confirm that every person is entitled to full protection of the law.

    Once again, this position fits easily within the libertarian proposition that the only legitimate law is one that prohibits one person from harming another.

    Finally, it hardly takes a totalitarian state to enforce child abuse statutes. Doctors and other medical professionals do this all the time.

  48. filistro says:

    LOL dc.. it would be entertaining if he tried to float that theory, wouldn’t it? (as somebody who has actually worked with poor little kids suffering from the tragedy of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I could quickly disabuse him of any such notion.)

    But alas… it seems Bart has disappeared 😉

  49. dcpetterson says:

    So, Bart, do you or do you not support the idea of charging a pregnant woman who drinks with child abuse? And then putting her on a forced diet?

  50. filistro says:

    Ah.. Bart is back.

    So Bart… if we saw a woman in a restaurant filling her infant’s bottle with Baileys and feeding it to him, we would be obliged to report her. Right? You can’t let somebody do that to a baby.

    Knowing that alcohol passes almost instantly through the placental barrier… do you believe in a world where a pregnant woman drinking in a bar should be reported to authorities and subject to child abuse laws?

    Please just answer yes or no. It’s a simple question.

  51. filistro says:

    dc.. oops, we did it again! 🙂

  52. Bart DePalma says:

    dcpetterson says: So, Bart, do you or do you not support the idea of charging a pregnant woman who drinks with child abuse? And then putting her on a forced diet?

    No. Crimes need a mens rea or criminal intent. In this case, the government should have to prove intent or at minimum actual knowledge that the act would harm the child. I do not believe in criminalizing negligence.

  53. dcpetterson says:

    So, unless a woman intends harm to what she views as a person abortion is not “murder,” because there was no “criminal intent.”

    Bart wants to prosecute people for what’s in their minds, not for the actions they perform.

  54. Bart DePalma says:

    filistro says: So Bart… if we saw a woman in a restaurant filling her infant’s bottle with Baileys and feeding it to him, we would be obliged to report her. Right? You can’t let somebody do that to a baby.

    Knowing that alcohol passes almost instantly through the placental barrier… do you believe in a world where a pregnant woman drinking in a bar should be reported to authorities and subject to child abuse laws?

    Please just answer yes or no. It’s a simple question.

    This is not a simple question at all.

    Your first situation is a violation of the law of providing alcohol to a minor. The criminal act is supplying the alcohol – a direct act. A prosecutor need only prove that the woman knew she was providing alcohol to her child.

    Your second situation involves the mother consuming alcohol for herself and a prosecutor would have to prove the woman’s knowledge of how alcohol may indirectly affect her child. This is not at all easy to prove. Many women have only the vaguest idea how they physiologically interact with their unborn child.

    If a state legislature really wants to prevent the consumption of alcohol and or non-prescribed drugs during pregnancy to protect the child, then it should enact a law stating this specifically. The felony child abuse law you cited is a poor vehicle to accomplish this.

  55. dcpetterson says:

    … and if a parent beats a child within an inch of her life — just to teach her discipline — that’s not child abuse, because the parent intended to teach, not to do harm. There was no mens rea.

  56. filistro says:

    dc.. So, unless a woman intends harm to what she views as a person abortion is not “murder,” because there was no “criminal intent.”

    (Emphasis mine)

    What a terrific point. That’s pretty much the whole argument in nutshell.

    I’m going out to lunch and leaving Bart in your capable hands. Try not to hurt him too much.

    (I look on Bart as, in Shakespeare’s words, “a poor thing, but mine own.” 😉 )

  57. shiloh says:

    Barted ~ Why do you folks on the left keep forgetting who the enemy was?

    “We” didn’t ie cheney/bush ~ and since you’re so fond of polls, cheney/bush job approval Oct. 2008 (((25% !!!))) as again, just how does one go from a job approval high of 90% Sept 2001 to a low of 25%. hmm, a lot of dirty water er (lies/misinformation/unconstitutional acts) under the bridge, eh.

    Alas, cheney/bush got off easy as Nixon, a Republican, was forced to resign in disgrace! for his dastardly deeds.

    And no fili, Bart is still here, until he once again gets buried w/rationality/facts like the previous thread where the reality of him being a miserable human being kicked in 😉 and he left.

    Bart has a very high er low threshhold lol

    Last thing I remember, I was
    Running for the door
    I had to find the passage back
    To the place I was before
    ’relax,’ said the night man,
    We are programmed to receive.
    You can checkout any time you like,
    But you can never leave!
    ~~~~~

    Bart, Jesus still loves you …

  58. dcpetterson says:

    Bart:

    If a state legislature really wants to prevent the consumption of alcohol and or non-prescribed drugs during pregnancy to protect the child, then it should enact a law stating this specifically. The felony child abuse law you cited is a poor vehicle to accomplish this.

    Similarly, if a state legislature really wants to prevent abortions or redefine them as “murder,” then it should enact a law stating this specifically. The existing laws regarding “murder” are poor vehicles to accomplish this.

    Which also means, it isn’t “murder” unless we change the law. Your position is indefensible in legal terms.

  59. shortchain says:

    What I wonder is how Bart can be so certain that “Many women have only the vaguest idea how they physiologically interact with their unborn child.” Because I’d say it’s a pretty rare woman who is unaware that what they consume may affect a suckling infant. Now, whether they care may be arguable, especially in the case of a person with with an addiction, but that’s a different issue.

  60. shortchain says:

    I forgot to say that, in my experience, it’s a very rare woman nowadays who is unaware that drugs and alcohol affect the fetus.

  61. mclever says:

    Given the need to determine the mother’s knowledge of how her behavior affects her fetus, doesn’t that mean the police should investigate each miscarriage? First, we must determine if she was engaging in any particularly risky behaviors that might have prompted the miscarriage, right? If not, then it can be ruled an accidental death. But if she was engaging in behaviors that are known risk factors for miscarriage or birth defects, then state prosecutors must hold hearings to interview the mother, her friends, her parents, her doctor, and anyone else who might know her state of mind to determine if the mother understood that smoking (or drinking or whatever she might have been doing) could damage her baby, right? And, assuming that she was doing whatever it was with full knowledge that it might be harmful to her fetus, then by golly, we’d better prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law!!

    Let’s see… 30% of all pregnancies times the number of children born each year… We’d quadruple the size of the judicial system overnight!

  62. dcpetterson says:

    @shortchain

    I forgot to say that, in my experience, it’s a very rare woman nowadays who is unaware that drugs and alcohol affect the fetus.

    Bart was referring to low-educated people of limited intelligence. You know, immigrants and minorities.

  63. shiloh says:

    Bart was referring to low-educated people of limited intelligence. You know, immigrants and minorities.

    This is why he wants a education means test to determine if one is eligible to vote. Of course those southern yahoo geniuses who reside in MS, AL, LA, AR, SC, OK etc. wouldn’t be affected because of their high standards of public education …

  64. shortchain says:

    Actually, I think Bart was referring not so much to the ethnicity of the people in question, but to their gender. As I said above, perhaps it’s just me, but I get more than a faint whiff of misogyny in Bart’s comments about issues like abortion.

  65. dcpetterson says:

    shortchain, you’re probably right as well. For some odd reason, women are often thought of as a “minority.”

  66. filistro says:

    mclever.. your whole post was so BRILLIANT that I am reproducing it in its entirety, just in case anybody missed it:

    Given the need to determine the mother’s knowledge of how her behavior affects her fetus, doesn’t that mean the police should investigate each miscarriage? First, we must determine if she was engaging in any particularly risky behaviors that might have prompted the miscarriage, right? If not, then it can be ruled an accidental death. But if she was engaging in behaviors that are known risk factors for miscarriage or birth defects, then state prosecutors must hold hearings to interview the mother, her friends, her parents, her doctor, and anyone else who might know her state of mind to determine if the mother understood that smoking (or drinking or whatever she might have been doing) could damage her baby, right? And, assuming that she was doing whatever it was with full knowledge that it might be harmful to her fetus, then by golly, we’d better prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law!!

    Let’s see… 30% of all pregnancies times the number of children born each year… We’d quadruple the size of the judicial system overnight!

    Nail. Head. BANG!!!

    I think Bart (if he wishes to maintain the slightest vestige of credibility in this forum) has no choice now but to either:

    a.) admit that abortion is NOT the “‘murder of a child” and a crime to which “homicide laws should apply,” and apologize for having ever said such a STUPID thing

    or

    b.) admit that he is about as far from “libertarian” or in favor of “small government” as any person can possibly be, and apologize for having repeatedly labeled himself “libertarian” in discussions at this site

    I see no other option for him. He’s been beaten, whipped, outmatched, annihilated, crushed and humiliated. A truly beautiful smackdown. Just awesome.

  67. dcpetterson says:

    @filistro and mclever

    Absolutely. That argument is unassailable. If abortion is murder, then every miscarriage must be investigated as a possible homicide.

    I suspect Bart has just lost interest in this thread. Hold on to that quote, and hit him with it on the next one in which he participates.

  68. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Abortion is NOT “murder” as “murder” is a legal concept requiring:
    a) a statute defining a specific crime and the penalty for committing such,
    b) mens rea,
    c) commission of the act statutorily defined as “murder”.

    As there are no laws or statutes currently “on the books” in either federal or state jurisdictions that meet those legal definitions and limitations concerning abortion as approved by the SCOTUS inRoe v Wade, et seq., “c” above cannot occur.

    As an attorney and officer of the court, Mr. DePalma lives on WORDS. He knows. or should know, the definitions of words used in the legal system. His, or anyone else’s use of the word “murder” attached to abortion is incorrect, and at best, mendacious, and used incorrectly for the specific purpose to be inflammatory.

    Mr. DePalma COULD use the term “killing of an unborn child” and be correct in HIS sense of usage. But, as an attorney, his use of the word “murder”, proves him to be a liar and inflammatory.

  69. shiloh says:

    mclever.. your whole post was so BRILLIANT that I am reproducing it in its entirety

    Agree and fili, feel free to reproduce any of my posts 😉 or not.

    >

    but, but, but sayin’ Bart has been beaten, whipped, outmatched, annihilated, crushed and humiliated. you’re just being redundant! 😀

    Did I mention there’s a lot of redundancy at 538 …

  70. dcpetterson says:

    @Max
    But, as an attorney, his use of the word “murder”, proves him to be a liar and inflammatory.

    But without those things, he’d have no personality at all.

  71. Bart DePalma says:

    shortchain says: What I wonder is how Bart can be so certain that “Many women have only the vaguest idea how they physiologically interact with their unborn child.” Because I’d say it’s a pretty rare woman who is unaware that what they consume may affect a suckling infant.

    You folks are utterly disconnected with anyone outside of your upper middle class existences.

    When we deployed to the Persian Gulf War from Germany, we left behind wives who had not graduated from high school, did not know how to write a check for groceries, could not drive and, yes, had to turn to the Red Cross to learn how to properly take care of their infants because their family support networks were 2000 miles away. These women had no concept of how what they consumed affected their infants. They smoked, drank, took pills and toked through out their pregnancies.

    When I came home and worked as a prosecutor, I constantly made adjustments to prosecution decisions and plea bargains because many of my defendants were simply ignorant of what their acts entailed and were not otherwise bad people.

    Time to wake up people.

  72. shortchain says:

    Bart,

    You constantly make this error: you imagine that your experience is not merely typical, but definitive. I don’t know where you get the idea that we are from “upper middle class” backgrounds. Probably from the same place your other understandings come from, out of your ass.

    Except in locations which have incredibly poor public educations, or extremely conservative politics, young girls are taught the basics of human biology. But of course, you are opposed to that, aren’t you? So your statements are more in the line of wishful thinking, rather than based on fact.

  73. dcpetterson says:

    Bart, since you’re still on this thread:

    You believe abortion is murder, because you believe the fetus is a human being. So, you are convinced we should investigate all miscarriages as possible murders, right? Or at the very least, an inquest must happen to determine cause of death for the fetus, and a death certificate must be issued — right?

  74. shiloh says:

    Barted ~ When we deployed to the Persian Gulf War from Germany

    What’s this “we” shit ?!? ie is your wife so uneducated she doesn’t know how to write a check!

    When I came home ~ I constantly

    Indeed Bartles as “I” is a much better fit! so try to avoid using we as it just makes one look more ridiculous, if possible. And feel free to stop makin’ shit up at any time, absurd anecdotal nonsense notwithstanding!

    btw, I’m not upper middle class as deflecting generalities just make you look more pathetic …

    When one is in a hole, stop digging …

  75. dcpetterson says:

    Monotreme, the article you linked is truly brilliant and informative. I understand Libertarianism a lot better for having read it. And I see where someone like Bart gets his talking points. Libertarianism is good for giving people things to say — and then giving them cover for saying things that clearly won’t work in the Real World ™.

    I suspect many of the people who claim to espouse Libertarian views haven’t actually thought them through. Libertarianism would perhaps work in an eighteenth-century world, in which one lived on one’s own far, or ran a smithy, or brewed ale for the local community. It can’t work in a world that requires its citizens to have computer skills, or allows them to travel more than a few miles from the place they were born (for this spreads diseases that a true Libertarian world can’t handle — there would be no Centers for Disease Control).

    Libertarianism is an attractive philosophy for people who don’t want to accept they have a responsibility for any collective larger than their own home. It’s attractive for the selfish and the greedy. In a world that allows (or even requires) interaction and cooperation on a city-wide level, or nationwide, or even (gods forbid) worldwide, it fails miserably.

    There really are problems we face, problems we ourselves have created, that can’t be solved by individuals working alone — or by corporations working for profit. Libertarianism includes no model for cooperative ventures on the scale we need. Libertarianism requires the existence of these problems be simply denied. In the end, Libertarianism is a denial of reality, a fantasy world inconsistent not only with the Earth as it is, but even with itself.

  76. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    I note that, after a significant passage of time, Mr. DePalma, Esq., defense attorney, has NO DEFENSE against my syllogism concluding him to be a liar and inflammatory in the use of the word “murder” conjoined with abortion.

    Weighed, measured and found wanting.

    Again.

  77. Pingback: The Fountainhead « Ritu’s Weblog

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