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March 08, 2005

Comments

Cliff

I don't want to be one of those folks who finds themselves glued into debates-on-line for hours. All the points made -- from both sides -- are well stated and certainly raise valid concerns.

As someone who typically considers himself a libertarian (with increasingly conservative sympathies), I have to acknowledge that libertarian philosophy is, indeed, idealistic and probably impossible to really implement.

My stand for the ideals of libertarianism are made out of a guarded concern for what non-libertarians seem to want.

If political realities could somehow be magically frozen and those of us in Japan or America were stuck with massive ineffective bureaucracies, considerable taxation, and stupid rules regarding personal behavior, I could live with it. Admiration for government waste and petty coercions is hardly the gulag.

The concern most libertarians have -- and I certainly can't speak for all of them -- is that statists and collectivists "don't know when to stop."

The United States has spent well over 5 trillion dollars on a largely ineffective "war on poverty," and we're still told every year that "we're not doing enough." (That's one minor example).

Today when I hear the rants of those who favor collectivist / statist schemes, I realize that they're no different than what I heard as a high school student or what I'm sure my father (and his father) heard during their lives -- "more laws, more rules, more control."

I'm a libertarian because libertarians ultimately say, "less laws, less rules, less control."

No one can "prove" that I should be a slave to a collectivist ideal and I can't "prove" that I should be left alone, none the less, I choose to be left alone.

C.G.

P.S. I do have to take issue with the word, "selfishness" as an ideal libertarians support. While it may be an accurate description of the desire to pursue one's on freely choosen objectives, the word is unfairly loaded in meaning and implies a kind of aggressive, cruel, or mean disposition and outlook. Wishing to pursue what one feels is best for one's self and for those one values is a common sense way to live. One can call such behavior "selfish," but a self-interested person can be quite decent and likeable. I've met many self-described "compassionate" people who are downright mean (not to mention phony).

Like Ayn Rand said, "You must first say, 'I' to say, 'I love you.'"

(Don't be surprised if I don't follow up or respond to any arguments made to my comments -- I'm "selfish" with my time).

tanuki

I was hoping that Cliff would respond since he's not only someone who really knows what he's talking about, but can explain his differences of opinion in a respectful and articulate manner.

He's raised excellent points, and I think we pretty much agree that bureacracies have gotten way out of hand. Thanks to Cliff's thoughtful response, I recall that I wanted to bring up the point that in many states where bureacracy reigns, it's not so much that rules are made and enforced, but that they are done so undemocratically by people who believe common folks are too dumb to know what's good for them.

Also, I believe true libertarianism is only possible when cultural/religious norms make people thoughtful (fearful?) of others so that the big brother keeping them in line is not the state, but may literally BE their big brother. Or Big Mom, Big Dad, Big Sister, Big Guy Who Lives Down The Street, etc.

Living here in Japan is a constant reminded of how nice things often can be when people are kept under a kind of tacit societal totalitarianism. I.E., there is a right way to behave and social consequences if unspoken rules are broken.

My brother-in-law, who lives in the States, told me a story about a neighbor's teen-age son who, attending a party down the street, plowed down his road-side mailbox. Not only did the neighbor not apologize or offer to pay for the box, but seemed indignant that my brother-in-law (who could produce excellent witnesses) dared to bring the matter up at all.

In Japan, the kid would have come over, bowed and apologized, the parents would have come over, bowed and apologized--plus paid for the mailbox and most likely would have offered some kind of gift for the inconvenience. It would have been embarrassing and time-consuming for both parties, but in the end, the neighbors could look each other in the face and bear no hard feelings...probably. Without such cultural norms, my brother-in-law was forced to cough up for a new mailbox plus feel that justice has not been done...and to get it done would have required bringing the law in and going through a People's Court hassle to arrive at a conclusion that would have guaranteed to leave at least one of the parties feeling cheated and angry.

I wanted to bring in game theory and the light it sheds on self-intrested action, but this is getting too long...these are indeed deep waters!

KB

Good article. I think the times when you favor Locke are the times when your thinking is going in the right direction.

"Well, Locke doesn't mention that the current Russian economy was born from a 70 year old centralized system, or that much of Russian industry remains in the hands of the state--it's oil industry, for example."

Is the inference here that the "70 year old centralized system" did nothing good during it's tenure? Taking the country from a backward third would country, on par with Brazil, to a superpower within one generation, while Brazil, under western care for 50 years grew not an inch, I would hardly consider failure. And all of this happened during a quite repressive dictatorship with which we're all familiar. Anyway, that aside, I do believe that there are many businesses in the states which are linked quite intimately to the state, were developed by the state, and wouldn't exist a day without the state. This goes for computers, internet, transistors, airline industry, all weapons industries, and on and on. None of these would exist if not for "the state". So, while the naive like to pretend that it was simply individual initiative and hard work which created these dynamic industries, free from the state, this is a false notion and it just shows how little about their own economies they are aware.

"I have to acknowledge that libertarian philosophy is, indeed, idealistic and probably impossible to really implement."CG

Isn't this the same person who continually rants and raves against "the left" for it's "utopian", "idealistic", and "probably impossible to really implement" views? Never mind.KB

" The concern most libertarians have -- and I certainly can't speak for all of them -- is that statists and collectivists "don't know when to stop."CG

And where's the proof of that? Are you talking about the Pentagon? If not, you should be.KB

"The United States has spent well over 5 trillion dollars on a largely ineffective "war on poverty," and we're still told every year that "we're not doing enough."CG

And how do you interpret this supposed statistic? That those people who are working hard are just handing money to the poor and lazy, who do nothing with it but buy 40's of malt liquor down at the corner store, and aren't out working? And if the money was given to a compassionate libertarian they could create jobs and endless wealth for eveyone. I mean, being the compassionate and caring people they've been known to be.KB

"No one can "prove" that I should be a slave to a collectivist ideal and I can't "prove" that I should be left alone, none the less, I choose to be left alone."

Notice how the term collectivist automatically infers slavery. It's not like people may actually like and want to work together. These folks are simply abberations from what's natural, namely, that we're all in this alone. Just the thought of working together is to be distrusted. Oddly enough, every freedom you enjoy, the political system in which you were raised, and the one you live in now, etc...all came about due to groups of people, collectivists if you will, and YES, that are the same, working together. Anyway, I doubt that the Amish would very much appreciate you calling their society a slave society.KB

"(Don't be surprised if I don't follow up or respond to any arguments made to my comments -- I'm "selfish" with my time)."CG

At least you're living up to your philosophy.KB

Anyway, Tanuki is corect about "There are hard questions that libertarians must answer". See here for the usual problems involving "libertarianism".KB

1) Nice long list of critique links can be found:
Critiques Of Libertarianism
http://world.std.com/~mhuben/libindex.html

2)Libertarianism Makes You Stupid(One of my favorites)
http://www.sethf.com/essays/major/libstupid.php

3)A very nice loooong list of quotes regarding the state, individual freedom, and libertarianism, ranging from Jefferson, Madison, John Jay, B. Franklin to John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, and Karl Popper. http://world.std.com/~mhuben/quotes.html

If you can identify the quotes below without searching, Tanuki will give you a Tanuki skin hat.

Quotes Test 1(Be sure to put your name and credit card number at the top of your paper)

1)"Far from advocating a "minimal state", we find it unquestionable that in an advanced society government ought to use its power of raising funds by taxation to provide a number of services which for various reasons cannot be provided or cannot be provided adequately by the market."

2)"All property, indeed, except the savage's temporary cabin, his bow, his matchcoat and other little Acquisitions absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the creature of public Convention. Hence, the public has the rights of regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the quantity and uses of it. All the property that is necessary to a man is his natural Right, which none may justly deprive him of, but all Property superfluous to such Purposes is the property of the Public who, by their Laws have created it and who may, by other Laws dispose of it."

3)"Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."

4)"I am the last person to deny that increased wealth and the increased density of population have enlarged the number of collective needs which government can and should statisfy."

5)"There isn't much point arguing about the word "libertarian." It would make about as much sense to argue with an unreconstructed Stalinist about the word "democracy" -- recall that they called what they'd constructed "peoples' democracies." The weird offshoot of ultra-right individualist anarchism that is called "libertarian" here happens to amount to advocacy of perhaps the worst kind of imaginable tyranny, namely unaccountable private tyranny. If they want to call that "libertarian," fine; after all, Stalin called his system "democratic." But why bother arguing about it?"

If I don't respond it's also because I'm selfish with my time. Going to China day after tomorrow. This will be the third time and I've never had the negative encounter which CG uses on his blog to try and emphisize the horrors of the communist state. Knock on 'red'wood.KB

KB

"I was hoping that Cliff would respond since he's not only someone who really knows what he's talking about, but can explain his differences of opinion in a respectful and articulate manner."

Notice Tanuki's unspoken, but blatently inferred, jab at KB here. KB brings up points and issues consistantly of which he "really knows what he's talking about", and which are usually ignored when they can't be responded to, which is often, backs them with mounds of references, attempts to point out logical inconsistancies of the few responses he recieves, and many other things which one would think necessary when discussing a topic. But the inference is that he doesn't know what he's talking about, which is quite odd given the fact that Tanuki has rarely, if ever, pointed them out. CG does know what he's talking about though because Tanuki agrees with CG. And since when does discussing in a respectful and articulate manner matter to Tanuki? Anyway, the opening paragraph is just further proof that Tanuki isn't making his assessment based on substance, but based on those ideas which match his own. If CG says X,Y,Z, and Tanuki agrees with it, then it's respectful and articulate(itself not really of too much importance), even if patently false. On the other hand, if KB says A,B,C, which is factually correct, and this flies in the face of Tanuki's X,Y,Z, opinion, which is all it usually is, though perhaps articulate, then KB isn't respectful or articulate. Sorry, but philosophical inquiry doesn't go too far if all you're doing is sitting around in the sauna with like-minded fellows. Actually, it probably goes nowhere. No doubt this comment itself will be used as 'somehow' proof of Tanuki's inference above. And if so, he will have just proved my point.KB

tanuki

"The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion."

--Proverbs 28:1:

KB

KB the Lion here. Did someone flee? Didn't notice. I thought I'd eaten him. Oh, I see! The person not responding to the above points made by KB(Tanuki)is fleeing by using an quote which proves KB's point. Now that's the kind of logical suicide which one should not committ. KB brings up issues and points, many, in fact, and Tanuki responds by inferring that KB is the one fleeing. Another textbook case of projection.KB
Answers to the test below.

p.s. Anyway, here's one of my favorites.
"Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do."
Bertrand Russell

Test Answers
1.Hayek
2.Ben Franklin
3.Adam Smith
4.Hayek (again)
5.Chomsky(of course)

Cliff

...People actually liking or wanting to work together is problably the norm for most of humanity. People being forced to "work together" to satisfy the egos of intellectuals, politicians, and "philosopher" kings is nothing more than -- dare I say -- collectivism.

No matter how erudite and fact laden (actually, over-laden) a leftist's arguments, I always sense something rather mean in the temperment of these folks who demand that others join the contrived communes in their heads.

"Compassion" is the last thing I sense from the "ruling class" wannabees. C.G.

P.S. I'm told that Shanghai is rather different than Beijing, but it's still run by "the party" so K.B. may indeed be happy there (as long as he doesn't do any notable meditation exercises -- a distinctly "uncoorperative" act).

KB

"...People actually liking or wanting to work together is problably the norm for most of humanity. People being forced to "work together" to satisfy the egos of intellectuals, politicians, and "philosopher" kings is nothing more than -- dare I say -- collectivism."

And no one from the left that I know believes in being forced to work together. Come to think of it, I thought the right were the ones who thought the left didn't want to work at all, and needed to be forced into work(welfare mothers, etc...). Anyway, being "forced" implies some form of totalitarian dictatorship, and most on the left who I'm familiar with are anti-dictatorship, anti-authoritarian, etc.... And this is especially true for the anarchists, and has been from their earliest beginnings. They were anti-Bolshevik, anti-Stalin, anti-Lenin, etc...That being said, I can think of certain instances where force may be arguable, but the burden of proof would have to be high, and most members would have to agree. I mean, if you believe in democracy. If 6 people were working on some project, which, if not fininshed, would kill all of the members of thier group, but they needed 7 members to actually complete the project, and the seventh person, says "You can't make me work with you because I don't believe in "collectivism", I think his selfishness should be sacrificed for the group. I then think scientists should study him, not against his will of course, to see what may have led to his unnatural desire not to want to help the group, as this is an abberation. The thing that strikes me as odd is why would they even need to try and persuade someone to do something which most 'normal' human beings who I'm familiar with would just naturally do? The idea of coercion should never have to enter the picture at all. Unfortunately, it's often only in times of crisis that people click into this mode of 'Mutual Aid'. The goal should be to make this Mutual Aid state, which IS natural, be the norm. Someone may try and argue against this being the goal, as they think that NOT working together is what's natural, just as they thought that ridding the world of slavery was NOT natural since it had always existed, etc...but unless they really do want to live alone on an island, they really are going to have to come to terms that working with others is probably a good idea and should therefore 'choose' to do it willingly and without their mother, who knows better, having to tell them to.KB

"No matter how erudite and fact laden (actually, over-laden) a leftist's arguments, I always sense something rather mean in the temperment of these folks who demand that others join the contrived communes in their heads."

Wouldn't know. I don't know anyone like this. I've never known anyone from the left who thought someone should be forced into 'their communes'. As a matter of fact, it's usually the opposite. Most "leftists" I know aren't the least bit concerned about people joining their 'group'. Especially someone who doesn't want to be part of it. Many of them don't have groups at all. They may work on issues within a group, but it's hardly coersive. And that you "sense something rather mean in the temperment" is extremely odd. The left, at least the left that I'm familiar with, are the least mean or angry people I've ever met. And they view as a big part of their challenge working against the anger of those on the "right", which is hardly concealed, and can be seen all over the place. Listen to the radio stations, look at your blog. Personally, I think the left should be more angry. People talk nowadays about "what's wrong with the left", well, this wussiness to confront the hatred of the right is what's wrong. Just look at the radio stations, most all occupied by hate-filled rightwingers who do nothing but spew forth their venom day after day. And many people actually believe it. Of course they believe in aliens, too. Then, by some strange chance one does come across a leftist station like 'Pacifica', which is invisible in size compared to the hired guns from the right, though a hundred times more intelligent, what do they hear? They hear calm rational, logical, reasoned arguments, etc....Of course the left likes to pride themselves on NOT stooping to the levels of the angry screaming rightists and assumes, naively perhaps, that logic, rationality, and civility, will win out in the long run. I'm not so sure. Anyway, most all of the activists who I'm familiar with are some of the friendliest people I know, though I know friendly people on many sides. Actually, another trademark of the leftists I know is that they bend over backwards not to have to pick a side, unless it's related to the issues which shouldn't be controversial at all(evironment, etc...) Perhaps they do get frustrated at times do to the nature of their work. I mean, it gets frustrating to keep on, day after day, trying to persuade people that something as obviously depraved as war should be opposed, or that trying to save the environment is probably a good idea, etc...I think THIS is the source of their frustration. It's like trying to love a kid who keeps wanting to do destroy things and his self-destructive. While at first you may be able to be all calm, compassionate, and sypathetic, at some point it gets wearing.KB

"Compassion" is the last thing I sense from the "ruling class" wannabees. C.G."

Wouldn't know. Don't know anyone from the left like this. Never have. If anything, the ruling class is exactly what they oppose. I'm not sure what universe you've been living in, but one of the hallmarks of the left is that it's usually anti-ruling class. And if you think that large corporations and concentrated "private" wealth isn't the ruling class, or the danger which you fear, it just goes to show how well the corporate propaganda has worked. "We're against big government! The less state the better! No one should have the right to infringe upon my freedom to become filthy rich and buy up every company I see!" All the while the very same people are getting the most support by the government, they're actions show they are for more state(Reagan may have been one of the worst about this), the concentration of power is increasing, etc... So, I'm really not sure who you're talking about when you assert notions that the left are the ones with dictatorial tendencies. Most of the labor movenment is of the left and this is exactly why. They're against the dictators who use people unfairly, etc...and would be much worse about it if left a free hand, which is only confirmed by all of history. Many on the right have been fooled into thinking that this concentration of wealth IS being against concentration of power, Orwell's war is peace. Anyhow, I think we both agree that centralized, concentrated, dictatorial power, is probably not a good situation to live in. I just think that worrying too much about some Soviet-style take over is not much more than outdated anti-communist propaganda still lingering in the air. I think the thing more folks from either side, right or left, should be worried about is the possibility of this happening right under their noses and guised as nothing more than the mysterious wisdom of the 'free market' playing it's hand. It's hardly a secret that concentration of wealth is getting worse and worse, and all the related concentration which goes with it, radio, television, etc... I just think we should be a little cautious that we don't end up unwittingly supporting policies which further consolidates the concentration, thereby, driving straight into the totalitarian tree which we though we were trying to avoid.KB

"P.S. I'm told that Shanghai is rather different than Beijing, but it's still run by "the party" so K.B. may indeed be happy there (as long as he doesn't do any notable meditation exercises -- a distinctly "uncoorperative" act)."

And if it's against 'their rules', I won't. I don't really feel that much of a need to go into someone elses house and shun their rules in the name of my independence. I also won't wear my shoes into my Japanese friend's house because it too would be an "uncooperative" act. I also wouldn't want some rightwing nut carrying his gun into my house as an uncooperative act, though he may need it if he starts up with any of his rightwing nonsense.KB

Cliff

As one of those people who kicks welfare mothers, refuses to cooperate with anyone, and brings guns into people's houses to start up my right wing nonsense, it's good to know that KB has such respect for the "rules" in China. After all, taking shoes off in Japan is an unwritten rule just like torturing and killing followers of "a dangerous religious cult" is in Communist China -- it's all about respect, and it's clear what kind of systems KB "respects" most.

It's also now clear that all the left-wing ideology the world has seen implemented is really so passive and democratic -- no coercion, well maybe only when, " 6 people were working on some project, which, if not finished, would kill all of the members of their group, but they needed 7 members to actually complete the project, and the seventh person, says "You can't make me work with you because I don't believe in 'collectivism'," aside from that, the left doesn't want to force anything on anyone -- hmmm, I'm skeptical.

KB clearly has more time for leisure net pursuits available to him, but I think such debates can ultimately be trimmed down to some basics. After all the "facts," books, web site recommendations, and abstract imagery of selfish libertarians' ruthless brutality toward poor welfare mothers, what does KB really believe -- in a nut shell.

I dare suggest that, like most "progressives," he believes in the following:

1. A stronger, bigger, and more centralized government authority (with the assumption that it will be "implementing" KB's values and philosophy).

2. He has read many books supporting his value system and knows many facts and anecdotes relating to matters of politics and is therefore a better person. It then stands to reason that the world should be operated in accordance with his beliefs. Those who have other value systems (i.e. conservatism, libertarianism, Christianity, country-bumkinism) are bad people who must be defeated and perhaps, "reeducated" (and what better way to reeducate than if you have one of them socialist mega-states at your disposal).

3. In a world of many systems and ideologies, the US's is relatively bad -- perhaps one of the worst. On the other hand, one-party dictatorships have some redeeming qualities which we should dwell on as a kind of heroic exercise in post-modern sophistication.

4. No real leftists who are known to KB are coercive and only want to make a better world through more laws and regulations to allow our natural communal spirit to flourish (nothing like a five year plan to get that compassion flowing).

Of course there are millions of books, sites, and quotes that KB will surely recommend to prove that these are mistaken appraisals of his position, but can anyone really believe that a society or world under his (or like-minded) direction would be a place of spontaneous cooperation and little or no coercion? Do others really believe that the desire for limited government and a high degree of personal choice and autonomy is the hallmark of jack-booted thugs?

Socialist Intellectuals gotta love 'em. Now, do what he says, now! (First put that gun down and stop beating that homeless woman).

...I'm not convinced.

KB

I'm back from communist China and I had a great time! Every day was great!My only complaints would probably be the endless line of girls wanting to drag me into hostess clubs and then onto uhhh....lessons in uhh....communist fornication. Anyway, made a great new friend and will probably be going back. Back to the ramble. It appears that CG has never read anything I've ever written regarding politics as is demonstrated below.KB

"As one of those people who kicks welfare mothers, refuses to cooperate with anyone, and brings guns into people's houses to start up my right wing nonsense, it's good to know that KB has such respect for the "rules" in China."

Thanks! If you don't have respect for their rules then I respectfully suggest you stay the hell out.KB

"After all, taking shoes off in Japan is an unwritten rule just like torturing and killing followers of "a dangerous religious cult" is in Communist China"

Was this supposed to mean something? It matters not one bit if the rule is an unwritten rule or if it is a government inforced rule. If you're not supposed to do it, you don't. If you're in your own country and you decide to challenge the rule then I have no problem with it. Fortunately, there have been enough brave "leftists" who have challenged the status quo and changed things for the better. I'll give you a list of them if you like. Most freedoms and opportunities you have were created by them.KB

"-- it's all about respect, and it's clear what kind of systems KB "respects" most."

It is? There's nothing in what you've mentioned below which indicates that you have the foggiest idea of "what kind of system KB respects most." Assuming that anyone not from the extreme right is a totalitarian communist are we? Yeah, well, that's to be expected when the world is only black and white.KB

"It's also now clear that all the left-wing ideology the world has seen implemented is really so passive and democratic"

It is? Wouldn't know. Soviet Union sure as hell wasn't democratic. I'm really not sure who you're referring to. Many countries in Europe are quite democratic and function quite well. Are you anti-democratic? I mean, I know that there are extreme libertarians who are anti-democratic, like that Hoppes('Down with Democracy')character, but I didn't know that you had gone that far. Have you?KB

"-- no coercion, well maybe only when, " 6 people were working on some project, which, if not finished, would kill all of the members of their group, but they needed 7 members to actually complete the project, and the seventh person, says "You can't make me work with you because I don't believe in 'collectivism'," aside from that, the left doesn't want to force anything on anyone -- hmmm, I'm skeptical."

What's there to be skeptical about? If you were the 7th person, and you didn't want to help, I'd probably grab you by the neck and tell you that you were going to anyway. "Fuck your independence!" There. That was easy. Now, don't you feel better that you helped save everyone in the village?KB

"KB clearly has more time for leisure net pursuits available to him,"

On holiday. Is this to be held against me?KB

"but I think such debates can ultimately be trimmed down to some basics."

Good idea. Let's just make sure the basics have some basis in reality. Let's see.KB

"After all the "facts," books, web site recommendations, and abstract imagery of selfish libertarians' ruthless brutality toward poor welfare mothers, what does KB really believe -- in a nut shell."

Well, why don't you ask? Let me guess. You're going to tell us, he said as he put on his Stalinist fur hat.KB

"I dare suggest that, like most "progressives," he believes in the following:"

Notice the "like most progressives" phrase. Rarely has he shown that he has any concept at all of what "progressives" stand for. I guess channeling is cheaper than it used to be.KB

"1. A stronger, bigger, and more centralized government authority (with the assumption that it will be "implementing" KB's values and philosophy)."

PING!!! Have I ever written anything which even remotely resembled the idea that having a bigger government is good? If so, please show me where. As a matter of fact, if I recall correctly, just a feww comments up I said exactly the opposite of this. Is it channeling or are you dancing with the snake again?KB

"2. He has read many books supporting his value system and knows many facts and anecdotes relating to matters of politics and is therefore a better person."

I've read many books supporting many value systems(you're projecting again), and I know many facts and anecdotes relating to matters, but this has nothing to do with being a better person. I don't see a connection at all. If you do, please explain.KB

"It then stands to reason that the world should be operated in accordance with his beliefs."

I've said the world should be operated in accordance with my beliefs? Where have I even inferred this? Oh, you mean like my saying that I think war is bad, or that saving the environment is good, or....Well, I think we all probably have our ideas of how we believe the world could be made better. Don't you have any ideas for improvement?KB

"Those who have other value systems (i.e. conservatism, libertarianism, Christianity, country-bumkinism) are bad people who must be defeated"

This is the opposite of what I believe, and is pretty much the opposite of what every one I know from the left believes. I'm not sure who you're talking about.KB

"and perhaps, "reeducated" (and what better way to reeducate than if you have one of them socialist mega-states at your disposal)."

Call it what you will. You know, there were many folks from the right who were against public education for the exact reasons that you're inferring. If we had followed their lead you probably would have ended up a character in 'Deliverance'.KB

"3. In a world of many systems and ideologies, the US's is relatively bad"

Have never said this, never inferred this, never thought this. So, once again, I really have to wonder where CG is getting his information. Please be a good scholar and copy and paste ALL of those things which would lead you to make such absurd assertions. I'll be waiting, again, as usual.KB

"-- perhaps one of the worst."

Wrong. Perhaps one of the best.KB

"On the other hand, one-party dictatorships have some redeeming qualities which we should dwell on as a kind of heroic exercise in post-modern sophistication."

Don't know what you're talking about. Have never said anything which would indicate such a position.KB

"4. No real leftists who are known to KB are coercive"

Yes. Pretty much.KB

"and only want to make a better world through more laws and regulations"

Wrong again. Who wants more laws and regulations? Personally, I'd like it if we had as few as possible. And as soon as those who would otherwise destroy everything in the name of profit decide to grow up and become responsible, for a change, we can get rid of many of the laws. Let's take the environment. Any rational, sane, person knows that the environment is perhaps the most important issue for humans to consider. Do you really think if we left it up to corporations to regulate themselves that they would do it? HA! This has never happened. It's quite easy to see who really cares about the environment and who doesn't care at all. All one has to do is to look at those who fight against anything having to do with protecting the environment and those who try to save it. It's really not that difficult. And since you're into the basics, I suggest you start looking.KB

"toallow our natural communal spirit to flourish (nothing like a five year plan to get that compassion flowing)."

Nothing wrong with plans at all if they work. Some plans do, some plans don't. This happens in every country. Perhaps the communal spirit of working together in trying to accomplish something is just something you don't understand.KB

"Of course there are millions of books, sites, and quotes that KB will surely recommend to prove that these are mistaken appraisals of his position"

And they are completely mistaken appraisals of my positions. These are nothing more than the same old tired anti-democratic arguments which have been used for hundreds of years. At least you have some awareness that your appraisals are perhapsincorrect.KB

"but can anyone really believe that a society or world under his (or like-minded) direction would be a place of spontaneous cooperation and little or no coercion?"

Well, you haven't shown that you have the slightest idea of what "his or like-minded" people believe. As a matter of fact, you've been virtually wrong across the board. I'm anti-coercion.KB

"Do others really believe that the desire for limited government and a high degree of personal choice and autonomy is the hallmark of jack-booted thugs?"

I sure don't and have never said anything which would indicate otherwise. Perhaps you're responding to another KB?KB

"Socialist Intellectuals gotta love 'em."

Who do you consider "socialist intellectuals"?KB

"Now, do what he says, now! (First put that gun down and stop beating that homeless woman)."

I don't give orders. Don't know too many people who like to give them with the exception of totalitarian, power-hungry, insecure, bosses. But, it probably is a good idea to stop beating the homeless woman.KB

"..I'm not convinced."

Why would you be? I wouldn't be convinced of all the absurd assertions you put forth either. Fortunately, I don't know too many people who have such ideas other than a few on the right who are still fighting the Soviets and listening for Satanic messages on their albums when played backwards.KB

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