Not to pick on Chuck, but his post over in the Militia discussion hit on something I've come across a few times lately, the extent of government in our lives.  From Chuck's post, mine in blue:

I would more say that I do not believe that taxes are a burden on my liberty, and are in fact the cost of living in a society where I don't do everything for myself.


But those are services and tasks which can be delegated to private organizations.  Again, how do you decide which is appropriate for private enterprise, and which is appropriate for government?

Some of it through historical reference, we've tried some things in the past, some of it is a case new to modern society.  There's a lot of trial and error going on.  Not all will work out the way anyone wants it.


I don't produce electricity, or procure running water, or manage my waste, or build the roads I utilize. I provide health care, but do not provide my own health care. I rely on armed men with legal authority to settle property disputes. I purchase food rather than grow or raise it.


Solar panels, wind turbines, and micro-hydro generators all do this, for individuals, and allow off the grid living.


A simple well or atmospheric condenser can provide running/drinking water.


Ever heard of a septic tank?

None of these options work in a city/high density area.  Personal power works in a suburb (and really only solar, maybe micro wind in the right area), but not wells or septics.


These are all things you *choose* to not do for yourself.  Liberty is the ability to make that choice.  My issue comes with a government that says that collecting rainwater in a bucket is an environmental crime.  My issue comes with regulations that state it is illegal to not have an electrical hookup to the grid.  Etc.

Spoken like someone who lives in a wet, rural area.  In the high mountain deserts of Colorado, water rights exist downstream as well as at the source.  It's actually worked into the State Constitution, and has been for over 100 years.  This includes rain water.  And for a very good reason.  If all 2 million people across the 300 square miles of the Denver Metro area decided to collect their rainwater and refuse run off, all the freeloading ranchers downstream wouldn't be able to illegally graze their cattle on public land.


Governmental regulations, even when they are for "our own good" are, by their very definition, removing that choice...and restricting liberty.

True, but so?  If pure socialism doesn't work in groups greater than ~100, neither does anarcho capitalism.  There is some collective responsibility to the detriment of individual liberty, it's probably a bad idea for society to allow demolition derbies in school parking lots.


I surrender a piece of my total liberty to not have to spend every hour of my day ensuring my and my children's survival, and do work other than procuring food and repairing my shelter - and I give a portion of the fruits of my labor so other people will do that shit so that I can play xbox and argue on the internet.

And, how large a piece of that liberty is surrendered is precisely the topic of this discussion.


Our founders suggested that government was necessary, but considered it a necessary evil and took great pains to severely restrict its authority and, consequently, its influence.  Your own willingness to embrace such influence, especially at the federal level, and the restrictions which they represent, are what many today view as "the problem."


A return to constitutionally limited government is "the cure."


Yes, I align with the libertarian wing of conservatism.

As I said above, some of the services we turn over to the government are truly for our own good.  We've tried private fire and police services before, to everyone's detriment, including those private services.  That shit did not work out well at all, even though some jurisdictions still have private ambulance, those also have issues.

There are major environmental issues with allowing everyone their own well and septics, even in wet areas.  When sewer systems are used, water reclamation requires a certain amount of clean runoff, which means you can't cap your yard.  In some wet locals, your neighbor is allowed to cap your yard in order to keep your runoff from destroying his land.

In a nation as large and diverse as ours, we do have collective assets, as well as collective responsibilities.  Our collective assets in water, air, forests, fisheries, hunting grounds etc; were damn near destroyed by unchecked capitalism.  Contrary to anything the environmentalists claim, those assets are better off today than at any time in the past.  And, contrary to anything libertarians claim, it's precisely due to government management of those assets.

Our collective responsibilities begin with; don't be a drain on society.  Too many individuals failed in that; so now we have Government mandated, collective retirement funds, unemployment funds, healthcare funds, death benefit funds (so your fatass body you refused to take care of through your life doesn't rot in the streets) etc.

If communism can't work because it removes the components of greed and laziness from the individual; then those components need mitigated in capitalist societies.  Especially one of 300million+.

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True. But consider the implications there--the US, better than many countries. Not that impressive, is it? 

It's like trying to loose weight and still eating too much food or exercising.  Doesn't work too well.

In "communist" Vietnam, I met a guy who decided to start his own business (a sports bar) in his front yard. What he needed: a few tables, a few chairs, a TV to watch sports, a few cases of beer, some snacks to sell. All he had to do was set up shop and start taking customers; no licenses required, no taxes to pay, etc. 

Try doing that in your "capitalist" front yard and see how long it lasts. 

Whether that Vietnam story is apocryphal or not ... I'm pretty sure that's exactly what libertarians have been saying all along.  Welcome aboard.


Undeveloped/developing countries tolerate a lot of this type of thing, despite what label their parties have, or what the official mode of operation is.  Socialism requires a free market to work, and communism allows for artisan shops (it's worked into the ideology).  It's not against the grain for something like that to happen in a socialist/communist society, especially one which is developing.

Not to pick on Chuck, but his post over in the Militia discussion hit on something I've come across a few times lately, the extent of government in our lives.  From Chuck's post, mine in blue:

Thank you for being so diplomatic.  It's appreciated.


None of these options work in a city/high density area.  Personal power works in a suburb (and really only solar, maybe micro wind in the right area), but not wells or septics.

Fair point.  But, it also comes down to the fact that you made a choice to live in a high density area.  


You want government involved?  Fine.  But make it a local government...environmental impact in New York City, with the highest population density in the US (I believe) *should* be handled differently than on a 640 acre cattle ranch in Nevada.


My post dealt with federal vs state vs local intrusions, though admittedly only tangentially.


Besides, those were only quick examples, not an exhaustive list.


There is some collective responsibility to the detriment of individual liberty, 

And, how large a piece of that liberty is surrendered is precisely the topic of this discussion.

I do believe I accepted the premise of *some* degree of collectivism being desirable.  As I stated, it is a question not of whether to surrender liberty, but of how much liberty must be surrendered.


As desirable as the theory of anarcho capitalist libertarianism can be, the theory does not match the results of practical implementation.


Our founders realized that government, or some degree of collectivism if you prefer, is a necessity.  But they took great pains to keep its influence and power as minimal as possible.


Theirs was a great idea.  And, while I do concede that some degree of federal power, and state power as well, is needed...the level to which it has been taken is ridiculous such that it is now unreasonably involved in the day to day life of the individual citizen.


Notice, my next-to-the-last line in the original post.  Limited, not absent.  Why some people find this to be a radical concept is...well, in all honesty, incomprehensible to me.

A return to constitutionally limited government is "the cure."

Yeah, as I was trying to say, it wasn't so much directed at you as some of the sentiment I'm seeing and reacting to myself.  Your post was just convenient to pick up.

I think, distinctions need made between different agencies as well.  Forest Service and BLM manage vast swaths of public lands/commons.  They do it on a relatively little budget and do it fairly well.  There's a lot of commercial entities which rely on those public lands and it's rather detrimental to those agencies to just close them off without reason.  These agencies aren't in the business of massive intrusion into private lives.

Well, I'm happy to see Shane pick it up and take it off the original thread and give this discussion it's own place.

If I were to put a shorter sentence on my sentiment about libertarianism, I would lift from a post by Sam Harris;

"... I believe that the State should use such powers of coercion sparingly. Consenting adults should be able to do more or less anything they want (as long as they don’t harm others), and there is no such thing as a “victimless crime.” But I tend to break with libertarians on the following points: I believe that (1) certain important things cannot be accomplished by free markets (or cannot be best accomplished there); (2) too much wealth inequality is profoundly undesirable; and (3) Ayn Rand should be ignored."

In a nutshell.

Speaking of inequality and so forth, has anyone here picked up Piketty's Capital?

Thinking it will be a bit until the library has a copy I can actuallly get my hands on.

I'm actually rather interested in reading - what I would see - as the anti-Randian Jennifer Government that the web-game Nationstates is based off of.

Slippery slope dystopias are always a fun read.

(2) too much wealth inequality is profoundly undesirable

That's rich.

Henry Ford, as the CEO of Ford Motor Company in 1910, made 10 times his top employee. One hundred years later, the average CEO will make more in a day than his top employee will make in a year. That's 365 times.

Now would you say we are more or less libertarian than we were in 1915?

There's one small problem with keeping all government regulation local.  Often, the detrimental impact isn't local.  An example is how industry handled local pollution problems in the past...the smokestacks at the plant were simply made taller.  Net result, cleaner local area, but all the crap (soot, smoke, etc.) ended up a few  or a few hundred miles away, thus becoming a "local government" problem for folks who had no way to deal with the source of the problem.  


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