31 Mar 2014


Potpourri 88 Comments

==> This debate (hosted by Russ Roberts) on climate change is at once wonderful and infuriating. Christy and Emanuel can’t even agree on Christy’s statements about the performance of the climate models. Now I know how the public feels when one economist says, “The literature says that the minimum wage has little impact on unemployment” and another economist says, “No it doesn’t.”

==> Lew Rockwell states what libertarianism is, and isn’t, in order to anchor the recent controversies.

==> At the end of this post, in a sort of throwaway line, Scott Sumner says that the economy under Obama won’t be judged that terribly in the grand scheme of things, whereas he picks FDR and Nixon as the examples of presidents who had truly awful economies on their watches. It’s kind of ironic, that when discussing monetary policy, the two worst presidents Scott picks both had fairly decisive actions on that front.

==> I can’t tell what disturbs me more in this post by Daniel Kuehn: that he lectures me on the socialist calculation debate, or his suggestion that the Firefly crew “were federalist liberals like me.”

88 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. andrew' says:

    Imagine people less successful than The Fed targeting nominal co2.

  2. Anonymous says:

    1. Mr. Kuehn misses the essence of economic calculation which is that voluntary transactions provide better and more accurate information than do involuntary transactions. An involuntary transaction occurs as the result of a violent intervention. Bob Murphy is proposing that space be explored pursuant to voluntary transactions while Kuehn thinks that the result therefrom will be “inadequate” unless violence and threats of violence are employed. Of course, if the people are too stupid or bull-headed to invest their money in the “correct” voluntary projects, when and how will they become smart enough to elect their much wiser statist overseers with the proper insight to pursue said “correct” involuntary projects?

    2. Kuehn’s insinuation that the government hiring private firms with tax and funny money dollars to do its bidding is the same as a set of voluntary transactions is nonsense.

    3. Like a statist moth attracted to the statist light, Kuehn sees Firefly, a show about warm fuzzy wise-cracking black marketeers as a show about “federalist liberals like me.” There are no words. Actually, there are words, but this a family show.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      You need to take a closer look at my comment. I agree with your point on economic calculation in most cases. You won’t find me saying anything to the contrary in the post.

      The point is that economic calculation and engineering calculation are not the same, and Bob’s post conflated the two.

      re: “Kuehn’s insinuation that the government hiring private firms with tax and funny money dollars to do its bidding is the same as a set of voluntary transactions is nonsense.”

      Again, never said that. You didn’t read or missed the point.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      re: “Like a statist moth attracted to the statist light, Kuehn sees Firefly, a show about warm fuzzy wise-cracking black marketeers as a show about “federalist liberals like me.” There are no words. Actually, there are words, but this a family show.”

      So Bob brought Firefly into it, and that’s the concern. One thing they are not is anarchist. Politics are not first and foremost on their minds, for the most part, but if we had to classify them, what are they? Well they’re fighting for a loose federation of independent planets. They seem to advocate principles well within the liberal tradition. So they seem to me to be liberal federalists. What would you call them? They are opposed to the Alliance but not the Independents so they’re clearly not an-caps.

      Now if you want an an-cap in the Firefly universe, look to the Reavers.

      • Ken B says:

        “So Bob brought Firefly into it,”

        I don’t get this. I did not see anything about Firefly in Bob’s article. Was it edited? What’s the Firefly link?

      • Bob Roddis says:

        Yes, you can tell the Reavers practiced an-cap by their meticulous respect for the bodies and possessions of others.

        Actually, the Reavers were the result of a government nanny-state program of pumping a mood altering gas throughout the ventilation system of an entire planet, resulting in almost the entire population laying down to die for lack of motivation but with a tiny percentage becoming the wild raping and flesh-eating Reavers. Who by definition therefore practiced an-cap.


        It then became the government’s top priority to suppress all information about this event by sending the “12 Years a Slave” guy on a mission of slaughter and mayhem (as an “Operative of the Parliament”) to keep the secret secret. He failed.

        Our warm and fuzzy wise cracking black marketeers saved the day and defeated both the “Operative of the Parliament” and the Reavers.

        And from this, DK concludes that the “independents” were federalist liberals like him. Hmmmm. Somehow I missed that theme.

        What I took from this is that when Marky Mark stuffed the “Operative of the Parliament” down that ice hole on Lake St. Clair in “Four Brothers”, the guy had it coming. And when they made him a slave for 12 years, he had that coming too.

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Bob Roddis wrote:

          Actually, the Reavers were the result of a government nanny-state program of pumping a mood altering gas throughout the ventilation system of an entire planet…

          Roddis, stop trying to argue. Clearly the Firefly crew would have supported Obama and his drone strikes, as Daniel does. I mean, those freaky guys with the blue hands spare troops’ lives.

          • Bob Roddis says:

            The Pax was surely developed by private enterprise which promoted the stuff to the government as the result of unconstrained capitalistic greed and it would have never been used but for a lack of proper regulation due to budget cuts.

          • Ken B says:

            “Roddis, stop trying to argue. ”
            How long O Lord, how long?

            • Bob Roddis says:

              Ken B: Your arguments and debating sytle have been pursuasive in convincing me to abandon the non-aggression principle.

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          They were the result of a nanny state program but they maintained nor respected any such program.

      • J Mann says:

        I thought about this more than is probably rational.

        1) If Daniel means that the BROWNSHIRTS were federalist liberals, well, maybe he’s read some EU stuff that I haven’t. I don’t know what the Brownshirts were for other than not the central government.

        2) If Daniel means that the crew of the Firefly were federalist liberals, then I think probably not. We don’t really know their theories of government. They certainly aren’t flying under a flag, and they’re not subject to regulation, plus they’re a bunch of individuals. Jayne is obviously an outlaw, everybody else could tiurn out to be anything from a tea partier to an occupy protestor.

        3) Overall, the show has a very nihilist view of government. The core worlds are wealthy but corrupt; the outer worlds are poor and usually corrupt. You can hypothesize that if the Brownshirts had won, they would have created the EU, but who knows?

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          I think you are confusing brownshirts and browncoats, J Mann.

          The browncoats were against the Alliance’s central government, and for the autonomy of the outer planets but they weren’t against – for example – the confederacy of those planets. (And presumably planetary governments on the outer planets themselves in some cases).

          I don’t like the idea of a tyrannical central government either. Does that make me a libertarian or an an-cap? Hardly.

          • J Mann says:

            D’Oh! Thanks for the humility of the “I think . . .” and of course you are right.

            Except for my jawdropping fail, I don’t think we disagree.

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          re: ” If Daniel means that the crew of the Firefly were federalist liberals, then I think probably not.”

          Their politics could be any number of things, but that’s why I stayed vague. Do they express support for a federation of independent communities? Yes. Do they espouse liberal views? Yes. I agree that we can’t say much more than that, but it seems we can say that. Some of them could very well be libertarians. Generally they strike me as more pragmatic than ideological anyway.

        • Daniel Kuehn says:

          re: “Overall, the show has a very nihilist view of government.”

          Right. There are strong liberal themes of suspicion of government and an interest in a free pursuit of personal interests.

          We don’t have to speculate on what sort of government would form. There were planetary governments and they worked in unison to achieve shared goals: http://firefly.wikia.com/wiki/Independent_Planets

          • J Mann says:

            Thanks! As I said, I don’t think we disagree, but since I like talking about Firefly:

            I question the source, but if it’s accurate, I don’t think the independent planets were a federalist organization except in the broadest possible sense – the only shared goals were a military alliance against, well, the alliance and a postal treaty of some kind.

            My point on the nihilism was that you can’t really tell if the Firefly crew supports multiple sovereign states with only voluntary treaties between them, comprehensive regulation, or relative anarchy. All we know is that two of them fought for the Browncoats and against the alliance.

            Also that we can’t know whether they would have ended up chafing under the Independent Planets if they had survived.

            • Daniel Kuehn says:

              re: “Also that we can’t know whether they would have ended up chafing under the Independent Planets if they had survived.”

              They probably would. It’s hard to imagine not chafing under government, isn’t it?

              Selecting governing institutions, like selecting pants after the holidays, is often an exercise in figuring out what chafes least.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      I posted this using a new computer without filling in the Name and Mail boxes which I thought was impossible.

  3. J Mann says:

    My takeaway from the debate was:

    – Christy and Emanuel agreed that (1) the current models are unreliable; (2) reducing economic growth will cost lives, (3) geo-engineering is likely to present more risk than benefit, (4) if warming continues on the current path, it’s managable and maybe even net beneficial for the medim-long term and (5) there is some unknown risk of catastrophic warming in the medium-long term.

    – They disagreed about whether the risk in #5 is sufficiently urgent to pay significant costs in economic growth.

    – I don’t think they reached the question of how to quantify the risk in #5.

    – Emanuel supports what I would call limited responses to the global warming risks – research into alternative energies and carbon sequestration, some support for alternative energies, nuclear power, etc. I don’t think Christy responded to those suggestions specifically.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      “Geo-engineering” reminds me of the Alliance use of “the Pax” which created the Reavers and resulted in the murderous Alliance campaign to keep that mistake secret. The “Operative of the Parliament” admitted that he was a “monster” who murdered children. But it was all to create “better worlds”.

      Can’t you dumb libertarians see why government is necessary???

    • Josiah says:

      Christy and Emanuel agreed that (1) the current models are unreliable; (2) reducing economic growth will cost lives, (3) geo-engineering is likely to present more risk than benefit, (4) if warming continues on the current path, it’s managable and maybe even net beneficial for the medim-long term and (5) there is some unknown risk of catastrophic warming in the medium-long term.

      Note: Christy and Emanuel did not actually agree to all of these things.

      • J Mann says:

        It’s a fact that that was my impression, which is what I said.

        What was your impression on where they stood on those points?


  4. Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    “The whole argument is that it is a beneficial use of resources relative to alternative uses.”

    Based on what? Your own personal values scale, where the vast majority of the money spent on the end product is forcibly confiscated from people other than you? The point is simple: If space travel WAS the best use of our resources, the government wouldn’t have to steal our money in order to fund it. People would already be funding it on their own.

    “Nobody that I’m aware of has claimed that such endeavors are costless.”

    Among serious people who engage in legitimate debate about such things with a solid understanding of basic economic principles, this is probably right. But you’re in denial if you think such things aren’t stated, or at the very least, strongly implied, in casual conversations or by political pundits/propagandists. When someone says something like “Without the government we wouldn’t have landed on the moon,” that’s technically true. And it’s also technically true that this person is not specifically saying that the moon landing was costless. But by failing to even address the idea that the resources could have been spent in another way, they’re hoping you don’t consider that.

    “But how do they compare to many other budget items? ”

    Completely the wrong question. The appropriate comparison isn’t whether or not NASA is a better use of resources than the Department of Education or building a new billion dollar embassy in Baghdad. The comparison is whether or not NASA is a better use of resources than whatever people would use those resources on if they had the right to choose for themselves. And the answer is no. Otherwise, they WOULD choose for themselves.

      • Andrew' says:

        And? So far it is zero. And then there are the positive externalities that the developing world is gobbling up like crazy.

        China is not copying technology because the positive externalities are zero.

        This is why the big problem is Chinese coal power plants.

      • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

        Right. The magic word that suddenly makes violence and theft morally acceptable. The made-up concept that suggests our overlords know how to maximize our own utility better than we do for ourselves. Silly me, I must have forgotten it!

        • Andrew' says:

          It’s nothing personal.

          But it is odd how phrases like “Publc good” (as if government did those anymore) and “externality” are used like trump cards.

          All the existence of an externality implies is that the cost should be gotten right. And that is the net cost. It isn’t a trump card to institute any manner of intervention by interventionists who love any excuse.

          So, one must ask why China isn’t clamoring for carbon taxes, for example? That is because the net positive and negative externality of carbon-producing technologies are still roughly positive.

          Sure, it’s not an exact explanation, but it is a good approximation. They are already feeling the externality of pollution from their coal plants way before they feel the externality of carbon.

      • Matt Tanous says:

        Negative externalities are easily solved by a system of private property and torts. Positive externalities are easily solved by people choosing to chip in if they feel a) they benefit and b) more is needed.

        Even the “free rider” problem is solved by mutually assured contractual agreements. Crowd-funding, in effect.

        • Bogart says:

          And the entire government of the USA is one giant “free rider” problem. Of course so are all the other governments at all levels. A small fraction of people pay the bulk of the taxes. In fact the top 1% actually pays slightly more than Pareto would have guessed at 50%.

      • Bogart says:

        What is the specific economic criteria that determines if a situation is a positive externality needing force to exploit it, or a negative externality needing force to rectify it. Then by what criteria do you consider those exploited or rectified?

        And then how is the exploitation or rectification better than just leaving the tasks up to entrepreneurs?

      • guest says:


        Appendix B
        “Collective Goods” and “External Benefits”
        Two Arguments for Government Activity

        We come now to the problem of external benefits—the major justi­fication for government activities expounded by economists.

        There are two general lines of attack on the free market, using external benefits as the point of criticism. Taken together, these arguments against the market and for governmental intervention or enterprise cancel each other out, but each must, in all fairness, be examined separately. The first type of criticism is to attack A for not doing enough for B. The benefactor is, in effect, denounced for taking his own selfish interests exclusively into account, and thereby neglect­ing the potential indirect recipient waiting silently in the wings.[149] The second line of attack is to denounce B for accepting a benefit without paying A in return. The recipient is denounced as an ingrate and a virtual thief for accepting the free gift.

        It is amusing that while each line of attack is quite widespread, each can be rather successfully rebutted by using the essence of the other attack! Take, for example, the first—the attack on the benefactor. To denounce the benefactor and implicitly call for State punishment for insufficient good deeds is to advance a moral claim by the recipient upon the benefactor. We do not intend to argue ultimate values in this book. But it should be clearly understood that to adopt this posi­tion is to say that B is entitled peremptorily to call on A to do some­thing to benefit him, and for which B does not pay anything in return. We do not have to go all the way with the second line of attack (on the “free rider”), but we can say perhaps that it is presumptuous of the free rider to assert his right to a post of majesty and command. For what the first line of attack asserts is the moral right of B to exact gifts from A, by force if necessary.

        The second line of attack is of the opposite form—a denunciation of the recipient of the “gift.” The recipient is denounced as a “free rider,” as a man who wickedly enjoys the “unearned increment” of the productive actions of others. This, too, is a curious line of attack. It is an argument which has cogency only when directed against the first line of attack, i.e., against the free rider who wants compulsory free rides. But here we have a situation where A’s actions, taken purely because they benefit himself, also have the happy effect of benefiting someone else. Are we to be indignant because happiness is being diffused throughout society? Are we to be critical because more than one person benefits from someone’s actions? After all, the free rider did not ask for his ride. He received it, unasked, as a boon because A benefits from his own action. To adopt the second line of attack is to call in the gendarmes to apply punishment because too many people in the society are happy.

        The call for state subsidization of external economy investments amounts to a third line of attack on the free market, i.e., that B, the potential beneficiaries, be forced to subsidize the benefactors A, so that the latter will produce the former’s benefits.

        The recipients are again bearing the onus of the policy; but here they are not criticized for free riding. They are now being “saved” from a situation in which they would not have obtained certain benefits. Since they would not have paid for them, it is difficult to understand exactly what they are being saved from. The third line of attack therefore agrees with the first that the free market does not, because of human selfishness, produce enough external-­economy actions; but it joins the second line of attack in placing the cost of remedying the situation on the strangely unwilling recipients. If this subsidy takes place, it is obvious that the recipients are no longer free riders: indeed, they are simply being coerced into buying benefits for which, acting by free choice, they would not have paid.

        A standard reply is that the recipients “could not” have obtained the benefit even if they had wanted to buy it voluntarily. The first problem here is by what mysterious process the critics know that the recipients would have liked to purchase the “benefit.” Our only way of knowing the content of preference scales is to see them revealed in concrete choices. Since the choice concretely was not to buy the benefit, there is no justification for outsiders to assert that B’s preference scale was “really” different from what was revealed in his actions.

        Secondly, there is no reason why the prospective recipients could not have bought the benefit. In all cases a benefit produced can be sold on the market and earn its value product to consumers. The fact that producing the benefit would not be profitable to the in­vestor signifies that the consumers do not value it as much as they value the uses of nonspecific factors in alternative lines of production. For costs to be higher than prospective selling price means that the nonspecific factors earn more in other channels of production.

  5. Andrew' says:

    So far the negative externality of global warming over-reaction is a positive cost.

    “Senator Harry Reid (Majority Leader of the 2007/2008 U.S. Senate) told the 2007 Clean Energy Summit that he will do everything he can to stop construction of proposed new IGCC coal-fired electric power plants in Nevada. Reid wants Nevada utility companies to invest in solar energy, wind energy and geothermal energy instead of coal technologies. Reid stated that global warming is a reality, and just one proposed coal-fired plant would contribute to it by burning seven million tons of coal a year. The long-term healthcare costs would be far too high, he claimed (no source attributed). “I’m going to do everything I can to stop these plants.”, he said. “There is no clean coal technology. There is cleaner coal technology, but there is no clean coal technology.”[19”

  6. Ken B says:

    his suggestion that the Firefly crew “were federalist liberals like me.”

    Yeah, that characterization seems a stretch. Federalist probably, for the reason Daniel cites, but I’m not sure how you get “liberals like me” vs “anarchists like Bob” vs “small govt guys like Ken B”. I don’t recall Mal grousing that the Federation isn’t spending enough on space exploration or lacks minimum wage laws.

  7. Major_Freedom says:


    Some of what we believe may be hard for people to accept when they first hear it. But in the long run, they are more likely to be persuaded by a consistent and principled libertarian than by one who is obviously trying to curry favor with them.

    Great point.

  8. Wonks Anonymous says:

    It wasn’t obvious to me that the “Independents” were even part of any federation. I thought they were just planets/moons didn’t want to be part of the Alliance. The most obvious political parallel I’d heard people make though was the Confederacy, since the show is a sci-fi western and the Independents are the losing side like outlaw Josey Wales. Given the rather lawless nature of the fringe they hang around, and their embrace of that setup and the freedom it brings, they could be considered anarchists. But I suppose most examples of actual “anarchy in action”, whether in Somalia or in “The Enterprise of Law”, are not the creations of ideological anarchists.

  9. Bob Murphy says:

    I will say one more thing about this: I wasn’t stumping for Rothbardian defense agencies. No, the post was talking about the commercial development of space by entrepreneurs, rather than government planners. I am astounded that anyone would claim the crew from Firefly are bad poster children for this vision.

  10. Bob Roddis says:

    Regarding what Lew Rockwell wrote …. last week Tom Woods said:

    Stephan Kinsella and I reviewed the building blocks of libertarianism on my podcast the other day. This is necessary once in a while — even, or perhaps especially, for libertarians themselves.


    I think this is necessary every time we engage an opponent. I repeat this over and over because I believe it is THE major source of our problems in getting our point across: None of our opponents ever seem to comprehend the NAP, and thus, they cannot understand violent intervention vs. non-intervention and thus they cannot understand prices resulting from voluntary vs. non-voluntary transactions.

    For example, when the NYT defames Walter Block on slavery, I really do not think that the NYT or their readers really understand the NAP at all or its importance to libertarians (even though this ignorance may very well be purposeful in an odd sort of way). The NAP is really nothing more than the existing law regarding the sanctity of person and property that already exists and is understood by all in the USA applied without the usual exceptions. That this proposal creates such a bizarre and hostile response is, well, bizarre.

    Note also the inevitable nasty obfuscation and name-calling this approach induces in Ken B, DK and LK, for example.

    Finally, did Ken B really miss Bob Murphy’s DK drone reference in his joke about the guys with the blue hands?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      I am astounded that you know more Firefly trivia than I do, Roddis. I guess I pictured you watching Matlock reruns.

    • Daniel Kuehn says:

      I am not 100% with Block in general, but I am completely with him when it comes to the misrepresentation of him on slavery recently.

      That sort of seems to undermine some of the points you’re making here, doesn’t it?

      • Bob Roddis says:


      • Bob Roddis says:


        I’ve asked you to identify the alleged prior “market failure” that requires the Keynesian “cure”. By “market failure” I mean an example where a working and enforced system of the protections of person and property resulted in the problems which require a Keynesian “cure”. Your paper on 1920 was factually correct in identifying the problems as having been caused by the government’s funding of WWI, which was not a market failure. The justification for the entire New Deal interventionist overthrow of the US Constitution is based upon the completely false claim that the free market failed. It is important that these issues be clarified and I think you have been avoiding the issue.


        • Keshav Srinivasan says:

          “By “market failure” I mean an example where a working and enforced system of the protections of person and property resulted in the problems which require a Keynesian “cure”.” Can you give me an example of what you would consider “a working and enforced system of the protections of person and property”?

          • Bob Roddis says:

            Listen to Stephan Kinsella’s explanation of basic terms and concepts:


            • Keshav Srinivasan says:

              I’m asking for a historical example, not an explanation of what it means to protect property rights.

              • Bob Roddis says:

                Start with WWI. Is that a problem caused by rigorous enforcement of the NAP or failure to enforce the NAP?

                Are DK’s Reavers a problem caused by rigorous enforcement of the NAP or failure to enforce the NAP?

                Is slavery a problem caused by rigorous enforcement of the NAP or failure to enforce the NAP?

              • Bob Roddis says:

                Any crime free American community where person and possessions are protected approximates a historical example of the NAP in action.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                OK, but can you give me a historical example of a large-scale economy which you would say “approximated” the NAP? The reason I ask I’d imagine that any putative example Daniel might give of Keynesianism being required would be of a large-scale economy.

              • Bob Roddis says:

                I’m not the person claiming there is a problem with the NAP and/or that the problem is so severe that it requires violent intervention to solve it. There are and were lots and lots and lots of American communities that enforced the NAP, Where’s the problem that requires the Keynesian “cure”? I do not know what else to say.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                I think Daniel would say that the kinds of problems that require a Keynesian cure only occur in large-scale economies, so if you believe that no large-scale economies meet your criteria of approximating the NAP, then he can’t possibly meet your challenge, can he?

          • Bob Roddis says:

            Also, read the entire Stockman speech (see link above).

      • joe says:

        His statements were not misrepresented. Block’s been saying the same thing for years.

        • andrew' says:

          They were misrepresented. Because he has been saying the same thing for years.

  11. Bogart says:

    What good comes out of NASA is not relevant. How much NASA costs is really not relevant either. The only relevant issue is that NASA gets funding using force. What is worse is that the same folks that work with NASA are the same ones making things that kill people.

    And over my working life I figure that NASA has cost me about $2800. SO I WANT THE MONEY!!!!!

    Don’t tell me that some good has come my way from this. ONLY I KNOW WHAT IS GOOD FOR ME!!!!!

    If this Pro-Space folks want money then they can ask the public for donations.

    • joe says:

      NASA is not funded using force. All govt spending is put up for approval by the voters every two years. You’re problem is with Democracy, not NASA funding. You do not like govt run by “we the people.”

      • Keshav Srinivasan says:

        It’s true that taxation is enacted by voting, but isn’t it still the case that when the majority votes to enact a tax that a minority does not want to pay, then the minority is being forced to pay it? Now you may believe that the use of force is legitimate in this case, but do you agree that it exists?

      • Bob Roddis says:

        I get it. Like when the voters in the southern states in the 1890s voted to enact Jim Crow laws making it illegal for blacks and whites to play pool together?

        Like when 58% of the voters in Michigan voted to ban gay marriage in 2004?

        Like when the Indiana voters in the 1850s voted to ban the immigration of any black people into the state, free or slave?

      • Bob Roddis says:

        Didn’t we just study the civil war last week? Does your brain leak?


      • Bob Roddis says:

        On May 13, 1861, the Ohio General Assembly became the first to ratify the [Corwin] amendment. Next was the Maryland General Assembly on January 10, 1862.


        The Miracle of Democracy.

      • Bob Roddis says:

        Like when the upper southern states first voted to not secede and then voted to secede?

        The Virginia convention, which had remained in session after rejecting immediate secession on April 4, passed a secession ordinance on April 17. Its decision was overwhelmingly ratified on May 23 in a popular referendum. Three other states quickly followed. A reconvened Arkansas convention voted to go out on May 6. The Tennessee legislature, in a move later ratified in a popular referendum, also approved secession on May 6. A hastily called North Carolina convention, elected on May 13, took the Tarheel State out on May 20.


      • guest says:

        You’re problem is with Democracy …

        America’s Founders had a problem with Democracy, too; Which is why they set up a Republic, instead (Still a violation of individual rights, but the point is that they hated Democracy):

        The Federalist No. 10

        From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

        A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking. Let us examine the points in which it varies from pure democracy, and we shall comprehend both the nature of the cure and the efficacy which it must derive from the Union.

        The two great points of difference between a democracy and a republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended.

        The effect of the first difference is, on the one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations.

      • andrew' says:

        Voting is barely a market to the point it isn’t a market at all. It certainly isn’t a perfect market. And of course majority rule by force is rule by force. That is simple subtraction. 50% + 1 vote of voters is not 100% of the population.

        • andrew' says:

          democracy has a problem with democracy.

          Joe doesn’t know there is an entire literature on voting.

          And that usually assumes the representatives aren’t flat out lying to the “voting market” (fraud) which they have been shown to be dozens of times on major issues recently.

  12. joe says:

    Climate science debate hosted by the Koch Bros. How amusing.

    • guest says:

      … hosted by the Koch Bros. How amusing.

      The Kochtopus vs. Murray N. Rothbard

    • andrew' says:

      Russ Roberts takes all-comers?

      Please improve your non-sequiturs and ad homominem fallacies.

      • andrew' says:

        Russ Roberts would ecstatically host the Murphy-Krugman debate series.

        This is what makes comments of this type so awful, Joe ad-hominem backed up by utter ignorance.

  13. Gamble says:

    I just finished reading the LRC article Bob linked to. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/03/lew-rockwell/what-libertarianism-is-and-isnt/

    Read the entire article before you make an opinion, the second half clarifies the first half. The included quote from Rothbard is the jewel.
    “Libertarianism does not offer a way of life; it offers liberty, so that each person is free to adopt and act upon his own values and moral principles. Libertarians agree with Lord Acton that “liberty is the highest political end” – not necessarily the highest end on everyone’s personal scale of values.”

    The above quote reminds me of what I think every time I read lKeynes telling us what policy is more economically viable/valuable. I always ask myself, what about freedom? Your model does not place value on freedom, which to me and many others is priceless. There is no chalk board, policy, equation nor theory that has any value of it place zero value on freedom.

    Liberty is freedom. Nothing more.

    I like that Lew points out we cannot overlook or condemn the less fortunate or weak. IT is all to easy to pick on welfare people as lazy or single out some other group. When you really dig in, you will find a ant liberty policy or lack of property rights or state aggression or something other than laziness preceded these peoples current state. Heck the constant reduction of purchasing power and complexity of the financial system is enough to make most people poor. We are all in this together, stop the infighting. Focus on the root….

  14. Cody S says:

    Not that anyone is on this topic anymore, but there is almost zero case for the Firefly crew being anything but anarchists.

    Characterizing them as Browncoats is a false premise: the Browncoats lost the war. There are no more Browncoats. Whedon has said that the show’s inspiration is experiences of life directly after the American Civil War in the south, written in the space cowboy format. There was no confederacy after the Civil War: that was the point of the war. Similarly, the Browncoat rebellion is over, and therefore there exists no federation or confederation for the Browncoats (who no longer exist) to adhere to the rule of.

    There are specific moments in which Mal and his crew actually say things which point directly to anarchy: Mal is always telling touchy people that he isn’t after anything but his own business, and that he will leave them to theirs.

    Mal does not carry around a constitution, or a book of laws: he has a personal code. He fights his enemies in the light of day, and to their face. He does not steal a hungry man’s dinner. And he does not kill people who are not threatening him or his crew. Why the code? because that is what anarchists have instead of laws: they operate under personal codes designed to make life livable without a need for government. (See: Bob)

    In the end, the fact that Mal and crew keep butting heads with the Alliance and fighting them is precisely because the Alliance refuse to leave River Tam, and by extension Mal, her captain, alone.

    Beyond that, the reason that the Alliance won’t leave River alone ends up being that they tried to engineer a perfect society, but ended up creating a monster race of spacefaring rapist-cannibal-pirates instead.

    When he learns this, Mal makes a speech about how governments always end up reaching precisely this point: the point where the people are not perfect enough for the ends of the government, and the government starts slaughtering them wholesale. He specifically says it never works.

    It’s perfectly clear Mal is an anarchist.

    Now, tell me how Jayne is a federalist.

    • J Mann says:

      Don’t you remember in “Out of Gas,” whem Mal complains that it there were only a sufficiently developed regulatory state, it could have stopped him from buying that defective whatsit?

      Or the time he complained that if there were only publicly funded health care, he would kick Simon off his ship tomorrow and use the money to hire additional employees? (Or something like that – IIRC, Mal was always thereatening to kick Simon off the ship, for some kind of liberal federalist reason.)

      • J Mann says:

        p.s.: I should say that I find Daniel refreshingly open to dialogue and very interesting, so I hope this is taken as lighthearted fun, not personal criticism.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Beautiful Cody S. Makes me want to go watch reruns.

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