20 Apr 2021


Potpourri, private law 4 Comments

==> If you want to hear me talk even more about the Texas blackouts, I was recently on Bill Peacock’s podcast.

==> Jeff Deist has interesting thoughts on how Rothbardians should think about Big Tech. I especially liked his analogy of how the legal treatment of horse thieves has understandably evolved, and what implications that might have for “deplatforming” someone.

==> I don’t know much about Russia, but in this PBS piece, I can clearly tell the former US official is full of crap.

4 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. guest says:

    “I especially liked his analogy of how the legal treatment of horse thieves has understandably evolved, and what implications that might have for “deplatforming” someone.”

    Guys, this has always been the Left’s argument for central planning – “the rich have too much power”, etc, when, in fact, without government interventions, all “the rich” would have is many willing sellers. No one forces people to sell their goods to rich people, the rich acquire the goods by consent – which is pretty much the meaning of “rich”.

    Laws about horse theiving wasn’t about theiving or horses in the first place, but about doing something to someone you understood was putting thier lives in imminent danger. Our ancestral backwards hillbillies didn’t just decide to kill people for the theft of horses.

    So, when laws against horse theiving became more lax with the use of cars, absolutely nothing had “evolved”.

    Deist says: “But we ought to argue for the underlying principle of evolving, discovered law …” But laws that evolve aren’t laws at all – our understanding of them simply become refined or corrected.

    Anyway, my point is that adopting the socialist’s view of unfairness due to what we, apparently, now believe is an unfair distribution of megaphones to reach as much people as the left is an exercise in hypocrisy – we tell people that the size of a firm, in and of itself, doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t.

    Same is true for media. If no one wanted to use their private property (you can use Google’s servers on *their* terms) to advance liberty, and only wanted to advance socialism, that is their right as owners of property.

    The problems facing libertarians on the Internet are caused entirely by the government (when did we decide it was OK to stop looking for the government’s role in so-called “market failures”?).

    The internet’s data is communicated via *public utility* lines – Hello! Privatize the public utilities and people will find ways around one (or all) utilities’ cencorship attempts.

    It was *lefty*-type thinking that resulted in so-called public ownership of airwaves. It was lefty-type thinking that got us the Fairness Doctrine on radio waves. It was lefty-type thinking that any would-be consumer has a right to shop on your property, whether you wanted them to or not.

    Deist, quoting Clarence Thomas, said:

    “Ordinarily, the astronomical profit margins of these platforms … would induce new entrants into the market. That these companies have no comparable competitors highlights that the industries may have substantial barriers to entry.”

    Exactly right, except the barrier to entry is the government, and there’s no need for libertarians to “evolve” their understanding of laws. They just need to consistently apply just laws.

    It’s true that there are a lot of otherwise free-market activities going on on the Internet, but just to highlight how centrally planned the Internet is – at least the structure (so as to enable turnkey reprisals for political dissent) – check out this video:

    The Seven People Who Can Turn Off the Internet

    • guest says:

      Had they ever been anti- Federal Reserve before their interview of Bob Murphy?

      That would be something if Bob turned them on to Austrian Economics.

  2. Jan Masek says:

    On the Big Tech censorship issue I guess I agree with Jeff that it should be lical courts deciding every individual case rather than one law for all. Although I didn’t completely understand what, if anything, he was saying beyond that. Does he think local courts would compel Twitter to keep Trump on?
    I liked better Judge Napolitano’s today piece on the same over at LRC. The 1st amendment only bans the government from interfering with free speech, not private actors. As we know monopolies don’t exist except government monopolies and I get that Twitter etc have a bit of a government granted monopoly in various ways but that’s an argument against those monopolies, not in favour of accepting it as a given and forcing them to allow everyone on their platforms.
    So: Twitter have every right to only keep woke crazies and the correct response is competition. Such as locals.com which I love.
    AOL, Altavista, MySpace, IBM, Nokia, Blackberry were also monopolies until they weren’t.

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