Bill Maher Criticizes Libertarians, Ignores Costs

April 7, 2013

Facebook: the ceaseless source of late-night blogfodder. I caught this post from Progressive Libertarianism and I had to investigate:

Screenshot from 2013-04-06 23:56:23

Those who follow the Progressive Libertarian page long enough discover that the people behind it are very thoughtful, apparently Austrian-inspired libertarians who regularly post progressive-inspired criticisms and interrogatories of libertarianism. It is a great page to follow for libertarians who are interested in isolating their core beliefs and discovering where they stand on various issues of contention among the libertarian community. Very well done, and kudos to them.

Regarding the above comment, I was immediately skeptical of Edgardo’s claim that intellectual superiority “does not matter when it comes to life itself”. Forget about whether libertarians are actually intellectually superior to anyone. I’m not vain enough to comment on that issue, but does intelligence generally carry no substance? If a guy happens to be intellectually superior to other people, and he uses his smarts to, say, invent something that millions of people find useful—perhaps something that makes acquiring food easier for millions of people—I would say that that “matters when it comes to life itself”, wouldn’t you? Read the rest of this entry »


What Is the “Ideal” Distribution of Wealth?

March 17, 2013

I’ve seen this video at least four times on facebook. I’d say it has achieved a critical mass of re-posts to warrant some sort of comment. The topic is America’s calamitous distribution of wealth, and the fear and loathing it should allegedly strike in the hearts of poor and middle-class Americans. Here is the video:

My attempts to find an organizational source with further information for this video have failed. Politizane‘s YouTube account appears to be the video’s origin, although others have re-posted it. As of this writing, no other videos appear under that name.  Read the rest of this entry »


Strawman: Wealth is “the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise”

February 10, 2013

Government intervention can prevent the ascension to wealth, despite hard work and enterprise.

More facebook economic wisdom to impart, this time from the Being Liberal page, via the Shit Statists Say page:

Deep Thoughts, c/o Being Liberal.

Deep Thoughts, by George Monbiot.

I don’t like to stuff words in people’s mouths, but I can’t help but read this graphic in a way that in unflattering to supporters of free markets.  Read the rest of this entry »


Sam Seder, the anti-libertarian crusader, on government and the internet

February 4, 2013

As I have looked for libertarian-type videos on YouTube, it has become difficult to avoid the videos of Sam Seder, actor and comedian turned progressive radio commentator and host of The Majority Report. He’s apparently made a profession of repackaging the most hackneyed of statist canards in a hip and freshly pugnacious style. To me, it comes off as so much trolling, almost unworthy of response, but a so much of him appears in that, as a trove of source material, I can no longer resist.

So today I caught this video, in which Sam claims to pwn the Libertarians … again.” Let’s have a look at this alleged pwnage:

That’s it. He starts with a quote, ostensibly from a listener:

Libertarians are the paradigmatic born-on-third-base types. They have no appreciation that society for hundreds of years has built up the material comfort and wealth they benefit from. They’re just rationalizing their own entitlement.

Sam Seder agrees immediately and wholeheartedly, and then proceeds to rationalize his own entitlement to high-speed internet wherever he goes. Read the rest of this entry »


Minimum Wage Increases: Economic Snake Oil

January 29, 2013
Senator Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) has the cure for our economic ailments, ...

Senator Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) has the cure for our economic ailments, …

Checking out the news of the day on facebook, a friend posts this article for our consideration, courtesy of ThinkProgress:

New Jersey Governor Vetoes Minimum Wage Increase

The New Jersey Governor at issue is Republican governor Chris Christie. The tone is not celebratory. My facebook friend lamented: “Really, he might as well just go re-flood people’s homes.” Is it that bad? I’m not convinced.

The thrust of the article is that the people of New Jersey would have bathed in fountains of prosperity, if only the governor would have been willing to force employers to pay their employees more money. The bill, as it was passed, would have increased the minimum wage from its current $7.25 to $8.50. Christie vetoed the bill conditionally, saying he would sign it if the increase were lowered to $8.25 and phased in over three years. This was not good enough for Pat Garofalo, the author of the ThinkProgress piece, who reasoned:

As the New Jersey Policy Perspective noted, “the first year increase proposed by the governor of 25 cents will be erased by inflation by the time the third year kicks in its 25 cents.” Here are more benefits that Christie denied to working New Jerseyans:  Read the rest of this entry »


On my ambivalence toward unions

September 24, 2012

One of many nail “bombs”, allegedly left by Philadelphia Construction Union workers to sabotage deliveries to a non-union Post Brothers construction site.

My support for unions ends where their anti-competitive activities begin.

I often claim to champion the rights of the individual against leviathan aggregations of power. So a friend of mine was taken aback when I expressed an ambivalence, if not an aversion, to labor unions. Our first conversation on the matter ended abruptly, but we have recently revisited the issue. Here are my thoughts.

For this blog’s purpose, I won’t challenge the workers’ claimed right to keep their jobs while forming unions, even though I do consider that technically to be a violation of free association. Technically, employment at will should mean that either the manager or the worker can break off the work arrangement at any time for any reason. Technically, contracts containing anti-union “yellow dog” provisions ought to be enforced when signed by informed, consenting adults. However, I do recognize, and I’m sympathetic to, the disparity in bargaining power between workers and managers. Therefore, I’ll tolerate this minor deviation from principle and avoid balancing the fate of the great masses of working people on mere moral-philosophical technicalities. After all, the existence of unions is not what concerns me most. I’m more concerned with what unions do after they’ve formed.  Read the rest of this entry »


Economics Professor Richard Wolff blames austerity for the problems of forced food disposal; redefines ‘demand’; romanticizes thuggery

August 26, 2012

What I look like when I listen to Richard Wolff’s ‘Economic Update’.

I love UMass economics professor emeritus Richard Wolff’s podcasts because they challenge me to think in ways that I normally wouldn’t. Consider these snippets from his broadcast of August 11, temporarily available for download at WBAI.org. The first quote begins at 4:26 into the broadcast:

[First, the story from the town of Girona in the north of Spain.] They are in the news this week for having decided to padlock the bins that the city has all around supermarkets. Read the rest of this entry »