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Tuesday, November 07, 2006


. . . read this.


Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

Do I take the red pill or the blue pill?? I can never keep that straight.

7:59 AM, November 08, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

By the way, I mostly enjoyed the article.

I agree with the premise, but sometimes the rhetoric gets in the way. For example, "a choice between the immorality of the welfare state..." - while I have severe economic issues with the welfare state and socialist policies created by Roosevelt, I struggle with the moniker of "immorality."

I think that approach detracts from his premise which is solid.

10:06 AM, November 08, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

He's right about the immorality, but it's hard to sell I agree.

As I understood his point, he's basically saying that any time and under any circumstances where a third party (the government) takes money by force (by law) from one group (taxpayers) and gives it to another group (government beneficiairies), an immoral event has occurred.

6:29 PM, November 08, 2006  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

Garrett, please have Flamingo forward both pills to me.

Thank you.

2:49 PM, November 09, 2006  
Anonymous TheBoss said...

I am trying to understand Libertarianism. How else does a government exist without taxes? The premise of our representative government is to represent the people. It cannot do that without some funding ... where do Libertarians propose they get that? Does Libertarianism propose a pure democracy where the majority rules? That creates chaos. Do Liberartarians believe in legalizing drugs? Do they recognize borders ... and believe in a sovereign state where the people rule themselves? Would there be no North America, Canada, or Mexico? Then how we would control and protect ourselves from terrorists coming into our land? Or do Libertarians even believe that terrorism exists? If so, how would terrorism be dealt with in a free-flowing society, which is what Libertarianism seems to propose?

Libertarianism seems like an outmoded way of thinking. It was a great idea in simpler times when the country was being founded and developed. But in today's time and the global issues we face, are you willing to face terrorism on your own soil without a government-funded military to protect us? Not to mention the intelligence needed to fight that battle?

And by the way ... just wondering. Did you vote in this week's election?

8:44 PM, November 09, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Boss man, thanks for stopping back by. And thanks for your curiosity. I'm excited for you that you are asking the questions you are asking. I hope and trust you will investigate the data yourself to learn the answers.

I'd strongly encourage you to read the archives of articles published by Lew Rockwell and Gary North at (links directly to their archives are on my blog in my "recommended links" page or whatever I called it).

But even more than that, I'd encourage you to do some reading about Austrian economics. The principal people whose ideas I'm focused on learning about are Ludwig Mises and Murray Rothbard.

And in fact I guess if you were only going to read one single thing about libertarianism, get a copy of Murray Rothbard's "For a New Liberty - The Libertarian Manifesto." A new edition of it is for sale from

Now, my thoughts on your questions are, first and foremost, libertarians are not anarchists. So in the libertarian model I think is appropriate, there is a central/federal government. But it isn't very actively involved in the daily lives of the people it benefits. And there would very definitely be a sovereign United States of America. Note that the concepts of a "unified" North America and really the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and other global type organizations are already significantly eroding the sovereignity of the United States. Americans are subject to actions and ideas of the United Nations, the WTO, and those others sorts of organizations even though we are not "represented" in those organizations through elected officials. It's an interesting situation, to be polite about it.

And yes, the central/federal government I think is appropriate would absolutely defend Americans from attacks, etc. Obviously there is big room for debate over whether the U.S. military attacking folks in foreign countries protects Americans by engaging "the terrorists" over there. I personally disagree with that line of argument; I believe attacking "the terrorists" overseas and overthrowing governments and destroying cities through large-scale bombing campaigns increases the likelihood terrorists will attack Americans, either abroad or in the United States. But that's a subject for debate and there's almost certainly no way to know for sure what the answer is.

Which brings me back to the clarity this libertarian idea affords. Where there are gray areas, where it is difficult to know for sure what the right answer is, I think there is great benefit in following the wise procedures articulated by the insightful and wise founders of our nation. Congress, and only Congress, is authorized to declare war by Americans against folks or countries. And they're only supposed to do that after fulsome, candid, unbiased discussion and careful reflection over whether it's the right thing to do. Congress didn't declare war on Iraq. And I am skeptical of the degree to which fulsome, candid unbiased discussion occurred. And if I'm right, that's a great tragedy and a great error and a great wrong. Anyway, my point is when things are uncertain, I'm a believer in logic and following procedures and thinking things through. And that's why I'm attracted to the libertarian idea. It's so much more logical and truth-like than any of the other ideologies or ways of looking at the political world than anything else I've studied.

Check it out!

11:24 AM, November 10, 2006  
Anonymous theboss said...

I consider myself a moderate conservative, and there seem to be some ideas that are common to both ways of thinking. I also believe a centralized gov't should play a much smaller role in our daily lives. I do not believe in legislating morality, ie the recently smoking ban in public and private buildings, but it seems like there should be some regulations regarding drug use. I have been to Amsterdam where the drugs are listed on the restuarant menu's. I don't believe exposing that to our children is appropriate. I appreciate your response and I will check out your suggested reading materials.

5:24 PM, November 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a sweet shit your pants story dude. I almost want to post it.... Thanks for sharing bro...

11:43 AM, November 12, 2006  
Anonymous Curious said...

I've been reviewing this informative commentary concerning libertarianism, etc. (which is also pretty new to me, to be honest). And this weekend I approached the subject with some long-time, trusted (ok, pretty conservative) friends, who I was somewhat dismayed at learning they view libertarianism as some form of communism. Can you share any enlightening responsiveness to their viewpoints, considering you seem to have researched libertarianism to a great extent? I tend to find your logic relatively reasonable, and your thoughts would be appreciated.

7:13 PM, November 12, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Curious - thanks for dropping by and thanks for your question. I'm sure a fan of asking questions. What better way to learn is there?

As to your specific comment, I'm fascinated that your conservative friends equate libertarianism with communism. That is really interesting to me. I say that because I think the libertarianism I have studied -- the ideology discussed and analyzed at and in Murray Rothbard's books and so forth -- is really at the opposite extreme from communism. That's really something.

Let me see if I can explain what I mean a little bit ...

As I understand it, libertarianism is based on freedom of the individual from control or influence or interference by government. People are free to run their businesses and conduct their personal lives as they want without the government being involved. The humans themselves control their own fate, make their own decisions, live their own lives.

Under communism, on the other hand, in the Karl Marx/Vladimir Lenin sense, there is no "individual" as such. There is only the group, there is only the community. And everyone is required -- by the government -- to serve everyone else. From each according to their means, to each according to their needs. There is no freedom of the individual under communism. There is no freedom at all. There is only what the government thinks, there is only what the government wants, there is only what the government requires. Under communism, the government "plans" everything, the government tells everyone how much corn to grow, how many tractors to build, how many children to have.

Libertarianism is about freedom from government; communism is only government (and no freedom).

Does that make sense? Does that help?

There are plenty of arguments people can make in an attempt to refute the honesty and integrity of the libertarianism of Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell.

But to argue that libertarianism is communism is definitely not informed, not appropriate, and not accurate.

Mr/Ms Curious, if you are looking for a political ideology you can trust, if you are having trouble accepting the "statism" of pretty much everyone in our current government (republicans and democrats), if you think there is something that is just not right about the answers currently being offered for society's ills, I definitely encourage you to do some thinking and reading about libertarianism. has everything you could possibly need. Now to be sure, some of the stuff on there is over the top. Some of the stuff on there is radical and alarming and stunning and difficult to take. And some of it is probably wrong.

So I'd encourage you to focus first on the people I read: Gary North, Lew Rockwell, and Ron Paul for sort of how the libertarianism I believe works.

As I said above, I was looking for something too, and I'm glad I found it. It's great to have learned the truth, finally!!

Yes, I was being a little glib there. On purpose.


8:22 PM, November 12, 2006  
Anonymous theboss said...

Hey bostic,
What is a "sweet shit your pants story" mean? I haven't heard that phrase before, so I don't know if that is a compliment or a jab.

5:00 PM, November 13, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Bostick had a post where he was talking literally and specifically about people doing doo-doo in the dungarees. I shared a story from my past. Bostick liked it. It is a damn funny story. Though not as funny as another story a friend of mine told me today that I wish he would share with Bostick.

5:36 PM, November 13, 2006  
Anonymous Curious said...

Yes, Garrett, what you have described does make sense. I am short on time now (as my friends may have been "short" sighted), but thanks so much for taking the time to share your insights and knowledge on the topic. I will take you up on some of your suggested reading and am sure I'll have some more questions to pose along the way.

8:10 PM, November 13, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

Garrett, you aren't pretending to be Boss and Curious are you? I would hate to think that you were putting up softball questions and then answering them...that would be immoral.

I consider myself a Libertarian and found the "communist" comment amusing also. I can't think of any position further from communism. Not even the NeoCons of today are as far from communism as is Libertarianism.

I have to say, that you did a phenomenal job of laying this all out.

9:58 PM, November 13, 2006  
Anonymous Curious said...

While I can't speak for TheBoss, I can tell you that my inquiries are real questions, seeking viewpoints and enlightenment from someone who obviously has a lot of info on the topic. As for presuming this was all "laid out" -- some friend you must be!!

6:49 AM, November 14, 2006  
Anonymous theboss said...

flamingo1: this is theboss, a totally separate identity and a conservative. I believe garrett to be a self-professed libertarian. Please don't insult me again!

garrett: why don't you share that story with bostick (and everyone else) your friend told you that you thought was so funny?

9:34 PM, November 14, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

theboss - I don't tell the story nearly as well as my pal. Hopefully he'll break it out for Bostick and we can all enjoy it together. It is absolutely killer as stories go.

Absolutely killer.

4:20 PM, November 15, 2006  

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