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-   -   Welcome to the Jungle (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=2415)

bjkeefe 12-12-2008 05:25 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Salt (Post 99136)
Okay, BJ. You finally wrote something mildly entertaining and I congratulate you.

Thanks.

TwinSwords 12-12-2008 05:48 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by uncle ebeneezer (Post 99114)
Only 3 liberal stereotypes (hippies, lawyers, ACLU)?? Come on, you can do better than that. Next time try throwing in some of these: latte drinking, arrugula eating, affirmitive action, Vietnam protesting, academia, New York Times, media bias, socialist, San Francisco, Greenwich Village, multicultural, atheist, anti-American, activist judges etc., etc. Think of it like your own, personalized "mad libs."

Come on! You can't expect him to expend his entire intellectual arsenal in a single post!

bkjazfan 12-12-2008 07:15 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Yes, I can see some of Megan's inconsistencies and she probably can't defend her libertarian points of view as as well as the seasoned pros like Walter Block and Lew Rockwell. That said she is part of the gang here and I like her the way she is.

John

William 12-12-2008 10:05 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Is it me, or is Megan going for the Ruth Ginsburg look these days?

Dee Sharp 12-13-2008 12:50 AM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
If Bob could find an example of a centralized legal system backed by decentralized power, or perhaps just a feeling of legitimacy, it would help his argument.

I disagree with Megan that Bush would be the first target of a world court. Look to the UN Human Rights Commission: it's all Israel's fault. This points to the reason we don't have a world court: legal systems grow along with their host societies. The various governments of the world do not yet form a society that agrees on much of anything. Wolves have their ways of settling disputes, rabbits theirs. A transpecific Critter Court would be unworkable in the present state of nature.

claymisher 12-13-2008 01:50 AM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Come on.

Anyway, McArdle's had some fairly serious health issues recently (more here). Here's to her health.

claymisher 12-13-2008 02:16 AM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dee Sharp (Post 99160)
If Bob could find an example of a centralized legal system backed by decentralized power, or perhaps just a feeling of legitimacy, it would help his argument.

I disagree with Megan that Bush would be the first target of a world court. Look to the UN Human Rights Commission: it's all Israel's fault. This points to the reason we don't have a world court: legal systems grow along with their host societies. The various governments of the world do not yet form a society that agrees on much of anything. Wolves have their ways of settling disputes, rabbits theirs. A transpecific Critter Court would be unworkable in the present state of nature.

Americans (like me) have a view of legal evolution shaped by our unique history. We had a big revolution, a constitution written by men now worshipped like gods, and have pretty much left it alone for two hundred years. Most other countries have simultaneously older and newer legal traditions. Britain has a hodgepodge of ancient laws, Scottish law, atavisms like the House of Lords, and yet could neuter Lords a hundred years ago, and suddenly create the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament in the 1990s. France is on its Fifth Republic. And we're still stuck with two senators per state, just like 1789.

So we're used to a certain amount of what we think of as purity in the system, and don't have very much experience muddling through with half-baked systems that nobody can really defend but work pretty well anyway. There are 108 members of ICC, so somebody must think it's worth a try. As for enforcement, if it comes to that, it turns out that the one body everybody wants to be in (and nobody wants to be thrown out of) is the WTO, so I wouldn't be surprised if that became part of an enforcement mechanism. I think Bob's made that point before.

Oh hey, I thought of an example! Until the 20th century there really wasn't federal prosecution and law enforcement in America, but states did manage to work together to maintain order. I know, I know, Fugitive Slave Act and the Civil War, but you get the idea.

bjkeefe 12-13-2008 02:29 AM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 99162)
Come on.

Anyway, McArdle's had some fairly serious health issues recently (more here). Here's to her health.

I can second all of that.

fredsbreakfast 12-13-2008 11:11 AM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 99092)
Here's one example.

For weird political goals, I mean libertarianism. I have a lot of problems with libertarians, despite being a baseline libertarian. But since I'm a slow writer and lazy I'll give you one ... okay, what does a libertarian want? Generally speaking, to maximize individual liberty, and relatedly, a small state. The rationale for the small state is that the state pushes you around a million little ways, takes your money, and puts you in prison if you don't play along. These are serious issues, and libertarians are smart to care about them. The main libertarian critique is that small groups can work together to enrich themselves at the expense of society (economists put related issues under the heading of "public choice," "collective action," and "game theory"). For example, agricultural subsidies, state-sponsored monopolies, protectionism, etc.

It's fairly easy for a handful of companies to work together to advance their interests. It's really, really hard for the multitudes to coordinate their actions. What libertarians what is for everybody to stop using the state to advance their interests. In a way they want everyone to surrender. But in practice that means the multitudes concede and powerful cliques rule the day. In practice most libertarians mainly complain about welfare and consumer protection and environmental protection. You don't often hear libertarians fighting against corporate power. So in practice libertarianism resembles old-fashioned aristocratic conservatism: more power for them that's got. The deal they're offering is: everybody give up politics, and then we'll just let money decide the rules. No thanks.

Okay, one more: government=bad is quite the shortcut. The messy truth is you have to evaluate every government program on its merits and faults. It's boring, but there's really no substitute. Generalized scorn isn't a path to enlightenment.

You were doing pretty good there for a while, but you got off track around the "at the expense of society" part, and the "multitudes coordinating" part. I don't agree (I don't think) about multitudes not coordinating so well.

The greatest restriction to that coordination probably is, in fact, big central coercive authority. Megan's dad's collective bargaining is an example of the multitudes -- them's that's not got? -- doing well for themselves without the (above scorn?) federal government.

Libertarians are not interested generally, as you say, in "everyone giving up politics". Most libertarians would surly eliminate much of the modern state -- especially much of the federal government's business of selling transfer payments (including all those benefiting "corporate power") for votes. Government - and it's coercive authority - is corrupt and ugly and inefficient, and should be reduced.

The result of reducing government regulation and taxation and interference will in fact increase the efficiencies of the efforts among the multitudes to coordinate. While I personally do sometimes feel general scorn for those uninterested in learning what is to account for the great wealth created in the US, I wonder if Megan's base motive in her work is really statist scorn.

As for libertarianism being weird -- it seems to me to be an interest in going back to a lower level of governance. Libertarians of all stripes would agree with that. Conservatives and Republicans would all agree with that. Most of the Western World is beginning to agree with that. It may have seemed weird at the beginning of the last century --- but now?

Salt 12-13-2008 01:09 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Twinswords,
Very clever. Actually, you left out Hollywood. Yes, they are cliches, but that doesn't mean they're not true. Here's another conservative cliche for you, most liberals I've met in academia or Manhattan, or wherever, have been spoon-fed their doctrine since childhood and all the way through their education. Their point of view has never mutated or evolved at all (leaving aside David Mamet). If they are in the "intelligentsia", they interact almost exclusively with other liberals, and the most amazing part is that they still view themselves as avant garde and ultra-tolerant. The only way liberals have changed their cherished stereotypes of conservatives in the last election cycle is that they went backwards from three to two. Formerly it was Christian, white, male, but now it's just Christian and white. With Sowell, Malkin and others getting more prominence, liberals will have to narrow their stereotypes once again. Can't wait.

uncle ebeneezer 12-13-2008 03:03 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

most liberals I've met in academia or Manhattan, or wherever, have been spoon-fed their doctrine since childhood and all the way through their education
And how does this differ from conservatives? I agree that most human beings, follow their parent's ideology, and sadly most people never change their mind, aside from very small measures on an issue or two. But I see no difference between liberals and conservatives on this aspect. The formative years of our thought processing are pretty tough to get away from, regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are coming from. That is why FoxNews or DailyKos, are way more popular than Bloggingheads. Most people don't want to challenge their own premises. That's why I love this site so much. Though everybody clearly has their positions and people rarely flip in any major way, most people here (even Brendan) are here to try and see the other side of things and at least hash them out respectfully. If at the end of the day we all go back to our original "corners", that doesn't matter. The fact that we had the discussion is the key.

Salt 12-13-2008 04:05 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quoting uncle ebeneezer: "If at the end of the day we all go back to our original "corners", that doesn't matter. The fact that we had the discussion is the key."

Precisely. I couldn't agree more. BUT . . . what you have in the mainstream culture (academia, Hollywood, majority of broadcast news, majority of journalists) is a clear intolerance of any opposition whatsoever. Would I want to live in a world where any side (including conservatives) had a monopoly on power? No. However, there is no such left-right balance in popular culture today. Examples? My kid's high school homeroom teacher told his class 9/11 was a Bush inside job. Anything that comes out of the mouths of Clooney, Penn, Sarandon, Damon, Madonna, etc. NY Times running Abu Ghraib pics above the fold on the front page for four months (adios NYT morons). Bill Ayers in a university teaching job. These examples are prefidious, but I'll admit so are the Wall Street bailouts and Detroit bailouts. On the whole, it is lamentable to me, but it's not a disaster because these cultural and political trends will precipitate into opportunities that can be monetized and risks that can be avoided. If liberals want to take the other side of the cultural and political arguments, I hope they will have the courage to back it up and invest capital (opinions don't count) in the USA. By the way, that reminds me of two more lawyer scandals just from this week: Dreier and Madoff. Just two more lawyers charading as investors.

claymisher 12-13-2008 05:18 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by fredsbreakfast (Post 99175)
You were doing pretty good there for a while, but you got off track around the "at the expense of society" part, and the "multitudes coordinating" part. I don't agree (I don't think) about multitudes not coordinating so well.

The greatest restriction to that coordination probably is, in fact, big central coercive authority. Megan's dad's collective bargaining is an example of the multitudes -- them's that's not got? -- doing well for themselves without the (above scorn?) federal government.

Libertarians are not interested generally, as you say, in "everyone giving up politics". Most libertarians would surly eliminate much of the modern state -- especially much of the federal government's business of selling transfer payments (including all those benefiting "corporate power") for votes. Government - and it's coercive authority - is corrupt and ugly and inefficient, and should be reduced.

The result of reducing government regulation and taxation and interference will in fact increase the efficiencies of the efforts among the multitudes to coordinate. While I personally do sometimes feel general scorn for those uninterested in learning what is to account for the great wealth created in the US, I wonder if Megan's base motive in her work is really statist scorn.

As for libertarianism being weird -- it seems to me to be an interest in going back to a lower level of governance. Libertarians of all stripes would agree with that. Conservatives and Republicans would all agree with that. Most of the Western World is beginning to agree with that. It may have seemed weird at the beginning of the last century --- but now?

In a previous episode McArdle made it pretty clear her motive was hating hippies. But questioning motives is not cool, so we'll let that go.

As for weird, you wouldn't know it from BHtv, but there aren't many libertarians in America.

I'm going to take another stab at the point I was trying to make ... okay, let's say you have three big oil companies. It's easy to coordinate the actions of three big oil companies. They can easily pool resources to lobby Congress and get billions in subsidies. So let's say they spend $100 million on lobbying and make $10 billion on the deal. That's a Hell of a profit. Since there's only three of them the free rider problem isn't a problem. And each of them doesn't have to ante up much cash anyway. And since it helps to keep the abstraction level low here, the managers of those companies capture some of that $10 billion. Not all of it is going to be returned to the shareholders. That $10 billion cost is spread over the rest of America: $10b/300m people = $33/person. It's hard to organize 300 million people on an issue that costs them $33. This is what I meant by the multitudes coordinating. It's hard for 300 million people to even be aware of the issue (People have lives!). It's not that much money to each of them. And it's easy to free ride on the other 299,999,999 people.

(Now you don't have to be a libertarian to hate this stuff. Us liberals call it "corporate welfare." Economists use terms like "rent-seeking" and "the logic of collective action." We all want it to go away. Libertarians don't own the rights to common sense.)

I deliberately picked the worst example of a government project. Now let's slide over to the other end of the continuum of the best example of government projects. Just to keep the quibbling factor low, pick your favorites (Unless you're a full-blown anarchist there's got to be at least one!). Chances are the benefits are diffuse. If you start shrinking the size of the state, if you start cutting this and that, the last things to be cut are going to be the things that the rich and few can defend. This is what I meant by surrendering in politics.

This is my problem with the libertarian mission. I don't want to shrink all projects. I want to be smart about it. I want to get rid of the bad projects and keep the good projects.

If you think of American history as not starting in 1776, but as a continuation of English history (and I do!), you have a long period of a minimal state (the libertarian good old days), but all the land was owned by a handful of families (again, easy to coordinate. See enclosures and clearances), and everybody else was pretty close to slavery. You didn't pay taxes, you paid rent. Then, through technology, riots, politics, and whatnot, the masses were able to claw some power away from the few. And in only the last hundred years or so we're in a position where everyone can vote, and through politics we've achieved a fairer society: universal education, consumer protection, and even health care. Now libertarians want everyone to give up politics and let money rule again?

bjkeefe 12-13-2008 05:41 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
clay:

Your thoughts on the key problem of libertarian ideology are extremely well-articulated. Thanks for taking the time and making the effort.

claymisher 12-13-2008 06:03 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Naw, I'm just stealing from Matt Yglesias :P

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2008/11/...arian-project/

bjkeefe 12-13-2008 06:56 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 99218)
Naw, I'm just stealing from Matt Yglesias :P

http://www.cato-unbound.org/2008/11/...arian-project/

Heh. Thanks for the link -- it was a good read -- but give yourself some credit. You did more than regurgitate.

uncle ebeneezer 12-13-2008 07:00 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Clay, you might enjoy this thread:

http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showth...7651#post97651

fredsbreakfast 12-14-2008 11:36 AM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Megan's just rebelling against her own beautiful inner hippie. Do you remember the earthy-crunchiness she revealed when she returned from Vietnam? I wasn't sure if I was watching Julia Butterfly Hill, or Megan Buttermilk McArdle. Questioning motives is okay -- I just happen to like most every libertarian I've met, and have also an affinity for many things hippie (most especially in realms of aesthetics and music).

When it comes to public policy, and political economy, I get defensive when libertarians are attacked -- I believe libertarianism is the opposite of your contemporary left-liberal Democrat philosophy. Well - to the extent there actually even is a coherent leftist philosophy - I believe it is clearly (and sometimes not so clearly) simply more statism ... that the answer is in another government action.

Sorry -- I didn't realize earlier what you meant by people working together. You were referring to people getting attention of - from? - government. Your idea about shrinking the size of the state 'till nothing's left but protecting interests of the few remaining rich is interesting. I haven't thought of it quite like that before.

I guess I'd say no -- that may not actually happen because the first priorities of government having by then been givin' up (national defense, rule of law, court system, protection of basic rights and private property, protection of freedom to associate and freedom pursue our private interests, and freedom to practice our religions) we'd already have revolted. I believe what would actually happen is as you reduce government down to say 25 or 30% of our lives, from the roughly 46 or 47% where its at now, you'd get much less special interest goodies for those you and I agree are undeserving - legally and morally. You're too afraid of the rich: they don't really have power over you -- only government does!

They will be crowded out before we --- that's guaranteed by the Second Amendment. If government only has enough of my money for the basics -- there's nothing left over for the big ideas and boondoggles and bailouts and transfer payments and handouts -- none of 'em. Then I'm happy -- I'm free.

Unit 12-14-2008 10:25 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by claymisher (Post 99211)
In a previous episode McArdle made it pretty clear her motive was hating hippies. But questioning motives is not cool, so we'll let that go.

As for weird, you wouldn't know it from BHtv, but there aren't many libertarians in America.

I'm going to take another stab at the point I was trying to make ... okay, let's say you have three big oil companies. It's easy to coordinate the actions of three big oil companies. They can easily pool resources to lobby Congress and get billions in subsidies. So let's say they spend $100 million on lobbying and make $10 billion on the deal. That's a Hell of a profit. Since there's only three of them the free rider problem isn't a problem. And each of them doesn't have to ante up much cash anyway. And since it helps to keep the abstraction level low here, the managers of those companies capture some of that $10 billion. Not all of it is going to be returned to the shareholders. That $10 billion cost is spread over the rest of America: $10b/300m people = $33/person. It's hard to organize 300 million people on an issue that costs them $33. This is what I meant by the multitudes coordinating. It's hard for 300 million people to even be aware of the issue (People have lives!). It's not that much money to each of them. And it's easy to free ride on the other 299,999,999 people.

(Now you don't have to be a libertarian to hate this stuff. Us liberals call it "corporate welfare." Economists use terms like "rent-seeking" and "the logic of collective action." We all want it to go away. Libertarians don't own the rights to common sense.)

I deliberately picked the worst example of a government project. Now let's slide over to the other end of the continuum of the best example of government projects. Just to keep the quibbling factor low, pick your favorites (Unless you're a full-blown anarchist there's got to be at least one!). Chances are the benefits are diffuse. If you start shrinking the size of the state, if you start cutting this and that, the last things to be cut are going to be the things that the rich and few can defend. This is what I meant by surrendering in politics.

This is my problem with the libertarian mission. I don't want to shrink all projects. I want to be smart about it. I want to get rid of the bad projects and keep the good projects.

If you think of American history as not starting in 1776, but as a continuation of English history (and I do!), you have a long period of a minimal state (the libertarian good old days), but all the land was owned by a handful of families (again, easy to coordinate. See enclosures and clearances), and everybody else was pretty close to slavery. You didn't pay taxes, you paid rent. Then, through technology, riots, politics, and whatnot, the masses were able to claw some power away from the few. And in only the last hundred years or so we're in a position where everyone can vote, and through politics we've achieved a fairer society: universal education, consumer protection, and even health care. Now libertarians want everyone to give up politics and let money rule again?

I find it more plausible to think that freed-markets (in which I include the abolition of slavery) and competition have brought about wealth and technology to such an unprecedented level that we have been able to indulge in our impulses for collective hubris. As a result government has been increasing steadily, whether Reps or Dems were in power, and we've ask it to "solve" more and more real and imagined problems. It's oppressive, inefficient, corrupt, but we can afford it, and we couldn't get rid of this form of oceanic group therapy.

Dee Sharp 12-15-2008 12:37 AM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Until the 20th century there really wasn't federal prosecution and law enforcement in America, but states did manage to work together to maintain order. I know, I know, Fugitive Slave Act and the Civil War, but you get the idea.
I don't know enough of the relevant history, but I think law enforcement was almost entirely a state matter back then. Extradition worked when two states had similar views of a given offense.

Quote:

There are 108 members of ICC, so somebody must think it's worth a try.
Mao's government signed the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, because the noble words didn't bind his actions. How many countries would stay in the ICC if the court tried to enforce a judgement that conflicted with their culture? Take an easy case. Suppose the ICC wanted Idi Amin? I can't believe the Saudis would have given him up, just as the Taliban weren't about to give up Osama to anyone.

avatar299 12-15-2008 02:35 AM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

In a previous episode McArdle made it pretty clear her motive was hating hippies. But questioning motives is not cool, so we'll let that go.

As for weird, you wouldn't know it from BHtv, but there aren't many libertarians in America.

I'm going to take another stab at the point I was trying to make ... okay, let's say you have three big oil companies. It's easy to coordinate the actions of three big oil companies. They can easily pool resources to lobby Congress and get billions in subsidies. So let's say they spend $100 million on lobbying and make $10 billion on the deal. That's a Hell of a profit. Since there's only three of them the free rider problem isn't a problem. And each of them doesn't have to ante up much cash anyway. And since it helps to keep the abstraction level low here, the managers of those companies capture some of that $10 billion. Not all of it is going to be returned to the shareholders. That $10 billion cost is spread over the rest of America: $10b/300m people = $33/person. It's hard to organize 300 million people on an issue that costs them $33. This is what I meant by the multitudes coordinating. It's hard for 300 million people to even be aware of the issue (People have lives!). It's not that much money to each of them. And it's easy to free ride on the other 299,999,999 people.

(Now you don't have to be a libertarian to hate this stuff. Us liberals call it "corporate welfare." Economists use terms like "rent-seeking" and "the logic of collective action." We all want it to go away. Libertarians don't own the rights to common sense.)

I deliberately picked the worst example of a government project. Now let's slide over to the other end of the continuum of the best example of government projects. Just to keep the quibbling factor low, pick your favorites (Unless you're a full-blown anarchist there's got to be at least one!). Chances are the benefits are diffuse. If you start shrinking the size of the state, if you start cutting this and that, the last things to be cut are going to be the things that the rich and few can defend. This is what I meant by surrendering in politics.

This is my problem with the libertarian mission. I don't want to shrink all projects. I want to be smart about it. I want to get rid of the bad projects and keep the good projects.

If you think of American history as not starting in 1776, but as a continuation of English history (and I do!), you have a long period of a minimal state (the libertarian good old days), but all the land was owned by a handful of families (again, easy to coordinate. See enclosures and clearances), and everybody else was pretty close to slavery. You didn't pay taxes, you paid rent. Then, through technology, riots, politics, and whatnot, the masses were able to claw some power away from the few. And in only the last hundred years or so we're in a position where everyone can vote, and through politics we've achieved a fairer society: universal education, consumer protection, and even health care. Now libertarians want everyone to give up politics and let money rule again?
Every argument against libertarians always end up as "Why do you trust anarchists?" It's so stupid. There is no reason to suspect that a libertarian would kill public schools or poison the public water supply

If there was any history of government getting rid of bad programs, maybe you would have a point but history shows that cutting those programs are almost impossible. Hell the bad ideas of 30 years ago are crawling back(Energy Czar, automobile czar, etc etc)

claymisher 12-15-2008 02:08 PM

Re: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by avatar299 (Post 99281)
If there was any history of government getting rid of bad programs, maybe you would have a point but history shows that cutting those programs are almost impossible.

Well then, I admire libertarians for their dedication to a lost cause!


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