Thursday, May 18, 2006

I got into quite a row over at the Cato blog. The commenter's were quick to try to condemn my arguments, but woefully short on answering my questions:

  • What is the purpose of our government if not to protect the liberty of the citizens of the U.S.?
  • If we have no borders, then we have no country. Who protects the liberty of the territorial subjects (since we would no longer be "citizens") ? The U.N.?
  • The German's have a term, "gesellschaft", which means (roughly) more people=more crime=more laws=bigger government=less liberty. Why would libertarians choose to allow a few individuals to have a little more money if it means the loss of liberty to society as a whole?
  • There is an inverse relationship between population size and quality of life. Is quality of life important to libertarians?
  • As long as the U.S. is a Third World-despot safety valve, there is little reason for those regimes to reform and be held accountable by the people who live in those countries. Is holding one's government accountable important to libertarians?
And so on. I probably asked them a dozen more questions in the same vein and got nothing (literally) in return. I really expected a discussion, especially from Cato, but all I got was ... well, nothing. I left the site knowing that:

A) these were questions they'd rather not answer, so they didn't, and

B) these were questions they'd never been asked, and were caught unprepared.

42 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a racist and a fascist. I dare you to debate me as I will eviscerate your miserable carcass.

12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mr Bob said...

spoken like a true troll!

1:09:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Anonymous,

OK. Let's start by you answering my questions.

and btw, tell me your definition of racist and fascist. Then tell me what I have written on this site, or any other, that indicates that I am a fascist or a racist.

3:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Walter said...

I'll answer. I don't hang around the Cato blog.

What is the purpose of our government if not to protect the liberty of the citizens of the U.S.?

To protect the rights of all within its borders, and as many as reasonably possible overseas.

If we have no borders, then we have no country. Who protects the liberty of the territorial subjects (since we would no longer be "citizens") ? The U.N.?

Who's talking about erasing the border, other than a handful of radicals?

The German's have a term, "gesellschaft", which means (roughly) more people=more crime=more laws=bigger government=less liberty. Why would libertarians choose to allow a few individuals to have a little more money if it means the loss of liberty to society as a whole?

I don't know what you're talking about with the more money for a few individuals. Also, why would I take advice about liberty from the Germans? That's like going to Donald Trump for grooming tips.

There is an inverse relationship between population size and quality of life. Is quality of life important to libertarians?

Clearly not true. People voluntarily move to urban areas all the time, and they go for the quality of life there. And making decisions about how others should live is definately not libertarian.

As long as the U.S. is a Third World-despot safety valve, there is little reason for those regimes to reform and be held accountable by the people who live in those countries. Is holding one's government accountable important to libertarians?

I think the stronger argument goes the other way. Past generations of Latin Americans couldn't leave as easily as now, and their regimes are generally better now than then. Some exceptions, natch, but most horrific dictators are in the past. Competition between states is a good thing - our founding fathers were banking on it when they founded a nation of (then) fairly independent states. The Latin governments have to improve to avoid losing their best and brightest.

7:08:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

To protect the rights of all within its borders, and as many as reasonably possible overseas.

And what if a policy (or lack of enforcement of a policy) becomes injurious to the liberties spelled out in the social contract? Or even worse, run counter to the protection of liberty?

I'll not even waste time with my thoughts on our being the world's policeman. I could give myself finger cramps on that one.

Who's talking about erasing the border, other than a handful of radicals?

You need to do more research. Here's one I wrote, but many of my immigration links keep a watchful eye on the reconquista movement.

One more thing about borders, the "idea" of nation-states is considered a red-neck notion by institutional elitists. This belief was jammed down my throat at the university. I believe the the nation-state is actually more important now than at any point in history. It ain't a conspiracy, it is a philosophy.

I don't know what you're talking about with the more money for a few individuals. Also, why would I take advice about liberty from the Germans? That's like going to Donald Trump for grooming tips.

Seems to me that the whole of the libertarian argument rests on the almighty buck.

Gesellschaft is just a word used to describe a certain phenomenea. There is no similar word in the english language to describe it. It is one of those things you learn in a lower-level poli-sci class.

Clearly not true. People voluntarily move to urban areas all the time, and they go for the quality of life there. And making decisions about how others should live is definately not libertarian.

People move to urban areas for a lot of reasons. Many because of the death of the family farm. Reread the gesellschaft question.

I wouldn't favor a law to prevent citizens from moving wherever they want.

I think the stronger argument goes the other way. Past generations of Latin Americans couldn't leave as easily as now, and their regimes are generally better now than then. Some exceptions, natch, but most horrific dictators are in the past. Competition between states is a good thing - our founding fathers were banking on it when they founded a nation of (then) fairly independent states. The Latin governments have to improve to avoid losing their best and brightest.

Past generations of Latin Americans didn't leave because there was no need. The fontier of the Old West is now scattered with cities and towns that promise a better life than is available in the country in which they (illegals) hold alliegence.

Competition between the states? That was settled in 1865. The Constitution lost.

best and brightest? yeah, whatever.

6:39:00 AM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

oops, that should have been "frontier"

7:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Walter said...

Yes, the best and brightest.

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2006/05/illegal_mexican.html

A link to an actual study. You seem to have a very low opinion of immigrants. Why?

As for the reconquista movement, I speak Spanish, and I've met literally thousands of Mexican immigrants or their descendants, and every time the subject comes up they scoff. It's a lot like the few nitwits in the South who still think secession could work.

As for the lack of need for past generation of Latin Americans to leave, are you serious? They would have if they could have. Some of those old governments were brutal.

8:57:00 AM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

I work with illegals every day. They are hard workers, to be sure, but I can assure you, the man with more than a fourth-grade education is the "best and brightest" of the crew.

Degreed professionals are not the ones strapping on a backpack and crossing the Rio Grande. If we had 3,000 lawyers and doctors illegally migrating to this country every day and driving down the wages of citizen-lawyers and citizen-doctors, the border would have been shut down years ago. Since it is people like me (blue-collar schlubs) who have to compete with the Third World in our own country, nobody (institutional elitists) gives a f**k.

I wonder, is it the "best and brightest" that make up 40 percent of CA's prison population? Illegal immigrants who have been arrested for crimes against property--not violations of our "border"--are the fastest growing segment of the prison population in the SW. Do libertarians still care about the sanctity of private property? If so, then why import mass poverty?

re: reconquista. Deny all you (and they) want. It is a practical reality. Mexican politicians are now campaigning in the US.

I have a low opinion of mass immigration. I think we have 100 million too many people in this country. I want a return to replacement-level immigration, which is about 225,000 per year.

Finally, most immigrants are not coming to escape a brutal regime, they are coming here for money. Libertarians are all too happy to accommodate, unintended consequences (crime, urban-sprawl, higher tax rates, failing schools, water rationing, pollution, wage depression etc.) be damned.

You gave it a good try Walter, but I've heard all of your "arguments" many times before and they don't jive with the reality of the situation. Libertarians are helping to pave the way for the death of 19th century liberalism in my country. Ironic huh? I believe the term is "useful idiots".

10:20:00 AM  
Blogger autodogmatic.com said...

I'll chime in and address a couple of your points.

1. With regard to the more population = less quality of life: are you saying that 20,000 years ago when the population was likely a thousandth the size it is today, the quality of life was better? An extreme example, to be sure, but you could make the same argument going back a mere 100 years or even 50 and comparing quality of life then to today. How do you reconcile these two? As for the gesellschaft idea, I can't argue with more people = more crime but only in the sense that larger populations will have more crimes in total take place. I don't think it follows that more people = more crimes per capita. If this was the case, we would have likely seen some equillibrium arise in population as it relates to crime. I don't think that has yet happened - even in dense cities like New York or Hong Kong.

2. To your last point about the U.S. being a Third-World safety valve: Why do you think East Germany built the Berlin Wall? Hint: it wasn't to keep others out. Your point here is exactly backwards. Despotic governments can only exist by retaining those they steal from. They are parasites on the production of society. Thus, the more parasitic the government, the more likely it is to kill its host organism (the people). Ease of transferability of individuals across borders necessarily stresses governments to be better stewards of their citizens. There's a real inverse relationship here, which has been illustrated over and over again throughout the course of history.

3. Per your argument about no borders = no country, I would simply ask" why do you need borders for a country? Borders imply property ownership. If I own land inside the borders of the U.S., is that land by default owned by the U.S. government? Even with imminent domain, the government can't just up and take your land for no reason. Thus, borders from a property as land standpoint with regards to a "country" are somewhat meaningless. The country of the United States protects all rights when possible (as Walter said). Because protection is not free, it is first given to taxpayers because they most obviously pay for it (I'm simplifying here, but the illustration still holds). However, if you were to explain what the U.S.A. was to someone else and you simply drew some lines on a map, that would be a fairly meaningless explanation.

4. "What is the purpose of our government if not to protect the liberty of the citizens of the U.S.?"

What about the right of U.S. citizens to engage in free trade with whoever they damn well please? What about the right to sell your home to anyone who is willing to buy it? The type of protection you're demanding isn't for all of the citizens of the U.S.; it is merely for a minority group who is fighting a battle they will never win instead of embracing change from which tehy could actually benefit. We all benefit from lower prices resultant from American businesses using the cheapest labor possible. We all benefit from having more buyers of our products. Trying to protect Americans from such cheap labor as well as additional consumers, additional entrepreneurial spirit, etc. will only result in more jobs going overseas. Guess what happens then? Everyone suffers - including the minority who wanted the protectionist measures in the first place. The U.S. government is supposed to protect a U.S. citizen's liberties: this necessarily requires protecting our choice to engage in trade with whoever we please.

Ah well, I ended up hitting all the points to some effect. I'm sure you won't be satisfied with my responses, but that's okay by me. Now, instead of throwing out my arguments with a bunch of patronizing one-liners or simply disregarding them by saying "whatever," how about taking them on with real counterpoints like you demanded from Cato. Did it ever cross your mind that no one responded to you there because they didn't deem your arguments worth the effort?

Neal

2:22:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

1. The way I hear it from people who remember life in the U.S. fifty years ago, quality of life was much better. We've passed that equilibrium.

You could be right though. Since things are so good now, we should consider allowing the five billion people who are worse off than the Mexicans to come in. I'm sure they'd jump at the chance. Boy, think about how great life would be then! Every citizen could have their own servant, gardner, and ass-wiper.

Point taken re: more people = more crime. But I'll bet the government of NYC is more intrusive than in Utica. I'll bet there are more laws in OKC than in Newkirk. Gesellschaft is simply a natural consequence of population growth.

2. The Berlin Wall has nothing to do with Mexico dumping their poor and uneducated in the U.S. If Mexicans didn't have us to flee to, they'd have to protest in Mexico.

Try as you might, it is awfully hard to steal anything from poor people. Better to have them sneak across and then steal the remittances.

My god man. Mexico encourages emigration. The Mexican government prints comic books that show how to sneak across. The Mexican consulate hands out matricular cards. The Border Patrol informs the Mexican Govt. of the locations of Minutemen so that word can go out to coyotes.

3. What country exists without borders? Unfortunate for you, I'm not so educated that I've lost all of my common sense. If there are no borders, there is no country, just an area. Again I ask, who protects rights and liberty then? The U.N.?

4. You don't have a right to free trade. Neither do you have a right to sell property to whomever you want. Check your Bill of Rights and your Constitution.

You cannot expect U.S. businesses to deal with an obscene bureaucracy and confiscatory tax rates and be competitive with the Third World. That is the reason we are now a service-sector economy. Manufacturing (wealth creating) can happen anywhere.

As well, since we have a pseudo-welfare state, Third World mass immigration will always cost more than benefit.

A recent article in the Greeley Tribune highlighted the story of an illegal with nine kids. This illegal has a second-grade education. He is a migrant farm worker. Now let's ignore the cost of subsidizing the birth of those kids (abt $15K ea) and focus on the cost of education per year: let's say at any given point he had five kids in school. At a cost of $10K per year, per kid, he'd have to pay $50K simply to educate them...for one year.

This illegal probably doesn't make that in three years. So who does the tax burden fall upon? Now multiply that by 12 years of school (assuming they graduate) per kid and your talking real money.

The fertility rate of immigrants of the top ten immigrant importing countries (except Viet Nam, including Canada) is 20% higher once here than in the country they left. I'll be paying through the nose for these parasites, just for schooling.

I'd pay an extra dollar for a head of lettuce if it means not having to educate the kids of illegals. Happily. In the First World though, we invent implements to pick our vegi's if we don't have slave labor to do it for us.

btw, I got responses from Cato. Yours is the best so far. Good try!

4:21:00 PM  
Blogger autodogmatic.com said...

"1. The way I hear it from people who remember life in the U.S. fifty years ago, quality of life was much better. We've passed that equilibrium."

This doesn't quite sway me to your argument. Fifty years ago people contracted polio and basic calculators were the size of houses. Remembering the "good ol' days" is something we all do when we grow older. This isn't proof of anything but our ability to be nostalgic for the way things used to be.

"Since things are so good now, we should consider allowing the five billion people who are worse off than the Mexicans to come in . . ."

If our economy would support (meaning free market movement of individuals as supported by voluntary free trade - i.e. no government subsidies or taxation) such transfer, I don't see this as a problem. It wouldn't, but that's beside the point. There could very well be a point in the future when there are five billion people in the territory defined as the U.S.

You conclude that you must have more laws with more people. However, something I think you're overlooking is that governments become increasingly inefficient when they must perform more "duties". In cities, governments are notoriously inefficient. What's the tried and true solution for governments whereby they fix the problems of society? Regulate more. It doesn't work, but they keep thinking that the solution to bad government is more government. My point is simply that there's no inherent need for more government: it's simply the result of our system of government.

I find the Berlin Wall as a great example of why bad governments will fail as the result of an economic natural selection.

Would you rather American businesses move their operations to Mexico or have Mexican labor come to the U.S.? You can't have your cake and eat it, too. I'd rather have the labor come to us since it enables former grunt workers to have more opportunities for upward mobility as they have new grunt workers to manage.

"3. What country exists without borders? Unfortunate for you, I'm not so educated that I've lost all of my common sense. If there are no borders, there is no country, just an area. Again I ask, who protects rights and liberty then? The U.N.?"

Do you mean "country" in the governmental sense? Cultural? Legal? Other? When Americans travel to foreign countries, to some extent, they bring their rights with them. Are U.S. embassies part of the U.S. country? Borders may be part of the equation, but they aren't the whole thing - I would call them only a small part of the equation. Do human beings have rights outside of the U.S.? Do you forfeit your rights when you go to a foreign nation? Borders don't mean much in the area of public property. How many barbed wire fences are put up around public parks? If you understand and believe in property rights as the source of freedom, then you don't have much of a problem with imaginary lines drawn on a map that separate two pieces of unowned (or public) property.

"4. You don't have a right to free trade. Neither do you have a right to sell property to whomever you want. Check your Bill of Rights and your Constitution."

Per the Fifth Amendment:

"[No person shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation"

That tells me that the government can't seize what is mine without just compensation or due process. Free trade is simply a derivative of private property, which is clearly in the Bill of Rights as noted above. I'm not sure what document you were referring to.

"As well, since we have a pseudo-welfare state, Third World mass immigration will always cost more than benefit."

Though this is certainly possible, it's not true by default that immigration will always cost more than benefit. By the way, we don't live in a psuedo-welfare state, we live in a full-fledged welfare state. First, many, many immigrants dod pay taxes through sales tax, ad valorem taxes paid through either owning or indirectly through renting, and even through wages they receive by working under false SSNs. Close to 8 million of the 12 million illegal aliens in the country today file personal income taxes. For some further reading, check out this article on reason.com.

All of that said, the problem is not immigration, but the welfare state itself. A better solution is to get rid of public schools, welfare, and any other subsidy to poor OR wealthy OR middle class Americans. In case you didn't realize it, YOU get subsidies from the government, too. And I'm paying for them - we ALL are as long as we're paying taxes. That's the reality of the tax/subsidy government of the U.S.A. Get rid of the welfare state and you get rid of your problem. It really is that simple.

When people are poor, they are more likely to produce more kids because labor capital is so important when they have no informational capital. It's just the way it is - it's temporary in the scheme of many generations of people. I don't see it as a problem.

9:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Our little illegal friend with the nine kids probably paid taxes on what he earned, just like millions of illiterate immigrants. We'd have to garnish 100% of that fellows earnings for the next decade (or more) to get back what he stole.

You'll get no argument from me about the welfare state. But get rid it? Good one.

No. What will happen is that millions of sad souls will be granted amnesty, and then will take full advantage of taxpayer-coerced largess. You think govt. was big before? You ain't seen nothin' yet.

re: Fifth Amendment. Did you not see the part about "due process of Law". If I'm not mistaken, the Congress has every right legally to define the border and provide funding for border enforcement. The President has every right (and responsibility) to enforce those borders. You'll have a dickens of a time convincing the current SCOTUS that the government does not have those rights and responsibilities.

re: point 3. Boy you don't read very well do you? Or maybe you are an adherent to the "If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance,..." school of thought. Let me type this slower, "Who protects liberty if there is no country?" How does a government possibly gain consent of the governed in that scenario? Do you recognize the need for government at all(if not this conversation is moot, because you'd be an anarchist, which is foolish)?

Would you rather American businesses move their operations to Mexico or have Mexican labor come to the U.S.?

We've already lost most of our manufacturing (wealth-creating) to the Third World. Thus creating a service sector economy. Now we are importing the Third World to decrease our standard of living further.

Like I said Neal, you gave it your best shot. Now I'm repeating myself because you didn't read my earlier comments closer.

10:12:00 PM  
Blogger autodogmatic.com said...

Plumber,

Perhaps you should take your own advice.

Due process? Did the Bill of Rights stutter? You don't receive your rights to life, liberty and property because of due process. You have these rights by default. They can only be deprived through due process or just compensation. A simple, "Okay, I was wrong on that one issue" would have sufficed, but you turned my rebuttal into some kinda support for Congress doing whatever they want. Congress has no rights but that spelled out in the Constitution; however, they already take huge largesse as it is, so I'm not going to argue their ability to pass laws that are quasi if not fully unconstitutional.

So you dislike the welfare state but aren't an advocate for getting rid of it? Which is it? Take a moral stand and follow your beliefs to their logical conclusions. If you think the welfare state is wrong, then you are morally bound by your own belief to support its demise.

Again, you should read carefully what I wrote. Poor people aren't the only ones receiving the subsidies of government. You are, too. We all are in our own little ways. The sad thing is that our system encourages people to support new laws that will subsidize their specific group (such as child tax credit laws or subsidies for natural gas to large corporations) despite the transfer in total being a negative sum game. You can't just write off immigrants who receive welfare via public schooling or otherwise without also writing off other welfare recipients. Again, take a moral stand on the issue. See it for what it is: not a problem vis a vis immigration but a problem with the welfare state.

Did you even read either of the links about immigrants paying taxes? My hunch is no as you did not respond to either (kinda like Walter's evidence - did you ever tackle that?). As for what happens if all of these immigrants become citizens, my hunch is that the problems of our welfare state are further highlighted. As a result, the system is more likely to be reformed or eliminated (you know which I prefer). I see this as a positive outcome of increased immigration.

Dazzle them with brilliance? Perhaps I was being elliptical or maybe verbose. Who knows. The last thing I'm going to try and do is attempt to dazzle you with big words to take your mind off the matter at hand. Logic and reason prevails. That said, you have to construct actual arguments if you want to have a meaningful discussion.

Who protects liberty if there is no country? Private enterprise. We already use private enterprise in many facets of life for protection: there is no reason in the absence of government private enterprise couldn't also provide protection on a larger scale. It would be cheaper and with competition, considerably less likely to be corrupt. Am I an anarchist? Why yes, thank you. As for a fool, that's for others to decide, but frankly, as long as logic and reason are my lodestar, I don't give a damn what others think.

The world's economy is increasingly moving to service. Instead of seeing this as a threat, perhaps you should see it as an opportunity. Manufacturing is inherently limited in terms of potential: it is always replaced by either cheaper labor or cheaper machines. We still have a long way to go to replace brilliant minds with either. Our standard of living today is better than it has ever been. Your anecdotal golden years evidence doesn't hold water when you can point to longer life spans, greater possessions, better hours and jobs, better technology and on and on today over yesterday.

Instead of continually patronizing re: " ... you gave it your best shot. Now I'm repeating myself because you didn't read my earlier comments closer.", perhaps you should address all my points in kind. Isn't that what you were complaining about with the Cato folk?

11:08:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Am I an anarchist? Why yes, thank you.

No Neal, thank you. You saved me from a very long rebuttal.

11:29:00 PM  
Blogger autodogmatic.com said...

More like a cop out.

5:28:00 AM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

The debate hinges on the proper role of government. You don't believe that there is a proper role for government at all.

Before we can carry this conversation further, I must convince you that government is a necessary evil, or you must convince me that it is unnecessary.

Well I know better, and you'll eventually grow out of this phase. Until then, there is little reason to continue this debate.

Any questions you have are probably in my previous comments or elsewhere on my blog.

Cop out? No. Boredom.

6:19:00 AM  
Blogger autodogmatic.com said...

The debate hinges on the proper role of government? How? Did I ever say that the government should be abolished? I know I advocated getting rid of the welfare state, but that's something quite different than advocating for the abolition of the U.S. government. I still don't know where you stand on the welfare state, which has a pretty huge bearing on the immigration issue.

Despite my ultimate conclusions about the nature of government, such beliefs have nothing to do with the argument at hand. Thus, it is a cop out (and you know it) to dismiss my argument simply because I recognize anarchy as a viable alternative. A phase? No. Logical conjectures are not phases like having a crush on a school girl. They are ideas that demand they be overthrown (if possible) by reason. The phase (the dogmatism of growing up in the U.S.) was believing that government - the right to dominate and control others through force - is necessary. I've moved on.

Again, this has little to no bearing on our discussion, and you need to understand (using reason) that you are copping out of this argument by writing me off as an anarchist. It's called an ad hominem argument, just so you know, and it's a logical fallacy.

Beyond that, you should realize through your comments that you beg others to take you on, proceed to make few real arguments, ignore refutations of the argument you do make, patronize those who would debate you and then go on to claim that they are foolish and not worth talking to because you're supposedly bored. Unfortunately, those who read these comments will be tempted to make the ad hominem argument against your points (as few and far between as they are), as a result. I'd rather you just make some decent, logical and well-reasoned points that have real supporting evidence behind them.

7:03:00 AM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

You called yourself an anarchist. As such, we have irreconcilable differences.

I think anarchy is foolish, you don't. We cannot "logically' debate the proper role of government vis-a-vis immigration policy and border security (or anything else for that matter).

Hell, you'd farm out the whole judicial system to private enterprise (as per your own words). Of all of the functions of government, holding those accountable who violate property (and hopefully deterring property violations), is the one that most requires the consent of the "governed".

I think that it would be best to agree to disagree for now...at least till the backsides of your ears dry out.

10:17:00 AM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

And for those who care, here are some additional articles about libertarianism and immigration.

11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous liberty for all said...

plumber, why bother to ask people to address your "questions"? it is obvious from your responses that you have no interest in a discussion-as you expected from cato- or listening to people who disagree with you. rather, you prefer someone who is going to tell you how brilliant you are.

it seems you think that you have been granted some sort of enlightenment that the rest of the world has missed out on. your holier-than-thou disposition started with "these were questions they'd never been asked, and were caught unprepared" (as if you divined some undiscovered ideas so great that no one knows how to respond) and continued with comments like, "nice try," "you gave it your best shot," refering to "gesellschaft" as "lower level poli-sci," "...it would be best to agree to disagree for now...at least till the backsides of your ears dry out." how much more intellectually lazy can you be? you refuse to respond to any of the validly made points with nothing more than restatements of you previous points and a sarcastic "nice try." you offer no evidence to support your claims. surely someone has posted these comic books the mexican government is passing out. certainly you have more than "discussions with people who lived 50 years ago" that demonstrate your inverse relationship between population size and quality of life (in addition to opposing immigration, do you support population controls; are people in topeka better off than those in new york city--don't worry, i don't expect a real response). how is the US a 3rd word despot safety valve? if you want people to respond to your point, try making one. show some evidence to support your claims!!!

perhaps it's because your arguements are so patently false that no evidence exists to support them. maybe you are just lazy. or is it that the rest of us have not been fortunate enough to have received the same divine enlightenment you have?

1:21:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Egads! OK Liberty,

it seems you think that you have been granted some sort of enlightenment that the rest of the world has missed out on.

No. Most people get it.

refering to "gesellschaft" as "lower level poli-sci,"

It is. I learned it in my first year.

it would be best to agree to disagree for now...at least till the backsides of your ears dry out.

You ever hear the saying, "Idealism is the final indulgence of youth?" Sometime in the future, Neal will grow out of it.

surely someone has posted these comic books the mexican government is passing out

Here.

certainly you have more than "discussions with people who lived 50 years ago" that demonstrate your inverse relationship between population size and quality of life

here
here
here
here
here

I can find a thousand more like this. This site gives a good graphic representation of where we are headed.

One more thing, the State of Colorado has now forced farmers on the Eastern plains to shut down their private irrigation wells. Why? Because of population growth along the Front Range. In the next 20 years, the population in the S. Platte river basin is expected to grow by another two million people. Just think about how great the quality of life will be then!

do you support population controls

No. But I think we have about 100 million too many people in this country. I wouldn't shed too many tears if we had a nice pandemic, even if it meant my own death.

are people in topeka better off than those in new york city

I've been to both places. I liked Topeka better.

If it'll quell you, I'll address Neal's last comments,

The debate hinges on the proper role of government? How?

Because as host of this site, I moderate this discussion. The questions I asked in my post were about the role of government.

Did I ever say that the government should be abolished?

Neal said he is an anarchist.

I still don't know where you stand on the welfare state,

He would if he took my advice and read more of my blog. Here

which has a pretty huge bearing on the immigration issue.

Yep.

it is a cop out (and you know it) to dismiss my argument simply because I recognize anarchy as a viable alternative.

Who protects liberty if there is no government? Anarchy is not a viable alternative. Why would someone call government a necessary evil?

The phase (the dogmatism of growing up in the U.S.) was believing that government - the right to dominate and control others through force - is necessary. I've moved on.

Unfortunately, too many people violate private property rights. Who holds those people accountable? Oh yeah, private sector rent-a-cops, judges, lawyers, and jails. Or maybe Neal thinks that without government, we'll all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Or maybe he thinks that only government is coercive.

If you want, I'll answer the points of the post before; and jam you with so many links it'll take you a week to read them. I live and breath this issue because it is an immediate threat to U.S. sovereignty and the liberties of the citizens of this country.

I can still say "U.S., sovereignty, citizen, and country" can't I? Or are those just outdated concepts forced on us by a tyrannical government?

5:27:00 PM  
Blogger autodogmatic.com said...

I could post a bunch of links that have no bearing on this discussion, as well, but I'd just as soon not waste my time. Your "here, here, here, here, etc..." were all links talking about population growth but none were proof of your thesis that population growth is incompatible with quality of life. I don't need links to disprove your thesis. All I need to do is relate quality of life today to quality of life 100 years ago. As for the nitty gritty a la Topeka vs. NYC, your opinion of Topeka being better does not prove the case. Eight million (or more) people believe differently. India is less than 1/4 the size of the United States while having around 4x as many people. You might argue that India is reaching a limit on population given where their technology is. However, this is clearly not the case for the United States of America.

I can't argue with arguments you don't make re: it's my site and I'll run it how I want to.

My anarchist beliefs aren't necessary to talk about immigration. If they were, I would concede that we are at an impasse. However, no point you made requires anarchist beliefs for it's proper rebuttal.

Per your welfare state link: 1) I'm not going to waste time trying to figure out what you do or do not believe. I did click on the link you provided. However, I'm still uncertain what your beliefs are on this subject as your responses to certain assertions I've made have muddled where you stand on the matter. For example, you said,

"You'll get no argument from me about the welfare state. But get rid it? Good one."

Good one? If you disagree with the welfare state, why would you then defend it? You're contradicting yourself.

People also once said that the world was flat. A necessary evil? Wouldn't a necessary evil be necessarily good? Surely you've got a better argument than some silly platitude.

"You ever hear the saying, 'Idealism is the final indulgence of youth?' Sometime in the future, Neal will grow out of it."

Grow out of it? What an arrogant, pompous and patronizing thing to say. I'm not insulting you by saying you'll grow out of your beliefs, am I? If I had only read the Catallarchy thread you originally commented in earlier this month. I wouldn't have even bothered here.

Final indulgence of youth? I am who I am not because I've found some punkish hardcore ideas that I thought would be cool to adopt. I got to where I am as a result of a long chain of logical conclusions. The only way to get me out of that chain is to prove such conclusions are wrong. Instead of continuing to give me platitudes, other nonsense about growing out of it, calling me a "fool" or whatever else you can come up with, how about a real argument that you formulate?

Yes, I think private enterprise could provide protection for us. Coercion can be done by anyone - not just the government. Accordingly, so can protection be provided by others outside the government. Why do you fight to protect a monopoly on force?

You note how you once were a libertarian. What happened? Was it a logical conclusion or did you just give up on the principles you held to be true? My guess would be the latter.

7:58:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Good one? If you disagree with the welfare state, why would you then defend it? You're contradicting yourself.

I mock the idea that you or anybody else is going to "get rid" of the bureaucracy. Governments collapse when they are ready, or by force. Since we have a welfare state that will exist no matter how much you protest, why not try to limit its size by limiting the size of the population (the term for this is "gemeinschaft")? Securing our "borders" is a hell of a lot more doable than "getting rid of the welfare state".

People also once said that the world was flat. A necessary evil? Wouldn't a necessary evil be necessarily good? Surely you've got a better argument than some silly platitude.

Government is necessary because some men are evil. Government is evil because it can only coerce compliance.

"Silly platitude"? That's a hell of a lot more offensive than me making light of your immaturity. On the other hand, you make my point (about you) better than even I can. Give a fellow enough rope...

I am who I am not because I've found some punkish hardcore ideas that I thought would be cool to adopt. I got to where I am as a result of a long chain of logical conclusions.

So your "logical conclusions" led you to adopt "some punkish hardcore ideas"?

"I think private enterprise could provide protection for us. Coercion can be done by anyone - not just the government. Accordingly, so can protection be provided by others outside the government. Why do you fight to protect a monopoly on force?"

So what entity make laws? Are there laws? Who make the decision on which security firm gets hired to provide law and order? How do they get paid? Are there limits on their power? What are those limits? Who holds the security firm accountable if those limits--should they exist--are broken? Who hires judges? Can they judge the law, or do they just apply it? Are there judges at all? Would your private law enforcement have the consent of the public (i guess I can't say "governed" anymore now can I)? If so, how? By voting? If not, why not?

You note how you once were a libertarian. What happened? Was it a logical conclusion or did you just give up on the principles you held to be true? My guess would be the latter.

There is a difference between libertarian and anarchist. What happened? I grew up.

1:12:00 AM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

One more thing, You might argue that India is reaching a limit on population

Why would I do that? A high population size doesn't have anything but positive effects. I mean, just think about all of that cheap labor. I wish every Indian could live in the United States as to enrich the quality of my life beyond my wildest dreams.

Oops, I did it again, but so did you. We should have said "the territory currently called India" and "the territory currently called the United States". I'll try to get that right from now on so as to not offend your finer sensibilities.

1:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Walter said...

Plumber, quoting vdare.com, the racialist site? Maybe they've cleaned up their act a bit, but I remember some pretty vile stuff there a couple years ago.

At best, using them as a reference is in poor taste.

6:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Walter said...

Oh, jeez, I see you've given them a permanent link on the sidebar.

6:18:00 AM  
Blogger autodogmatic.com said...

I mock the idea that you or anybody else is going to "get rid" of the bureaucracy.

Yes, we're all aware of your particular style of arguing. Perhaps it's called mock and conquer?

Since we have a welfare state that will exist no matter how much you protest, why not try to limit its size by limiting the size of the population (the term for this is "gemeinschaft")? Securing our "borders" is a hell of a lot more doable than "getting rid of the welfare state".

Your solution to bad government is more government? That's more doable than simply getting rid of the welfare programs? Why? You'd rather allow the government to control even more of what both Americans and non-Americans do than simply have the government abolish the programs you disagree with. Your tolerance of our current welfare state is a breeding ground for further acts of welfare. Again, you believe the solution to bad government is more government. This makes little sense.

Government is necessary because some men are evil. Government is evil because it can only coerce compliance.

We may actually agree on something here. Government's defining property is its ability to coerce. However, a government, as such, is merely a gang of enforcers that has convinced its constituents that it is necessary. How do you make sense of a world that functions almost entirely (in the current state) without any help of the government? What prevents private enterprise from filling in the remaining gaps? How do you prevent the government (your necessary evil) from selecting for the evil men you refer to? It obviously does. How would you fix this problem? Who governs the government? A free market solves both of these problems. Hired force that steps out of line loses its customer base to another agency of force. Competition governs these agencies. These systems fall apart when you have monopolies of government.

Did I offend you with my statement of the obvious? To use your own words elsewhere, "If you are not careful, I'll write you off as an idiot." Are you so dogmatic about "common sense" that you would defer to it over reason, science or evidence to the contrary? You made another comment on Catallarchy that you also made here:

Unfortunately for you I am not so educated that I have lost all of my common sense.

If education results in the refutation of certain commonly held (but incorrect) beliefs, then it is unfortunate - but only for you - that you continue to hold these incorrect beliefs. Your statement said differently is that you're an ignoramus (in the strict sense of the term), that such is a good thing, and that your state is my problem. Perhaps the last point is true.

So your "logical conclusions" led you to adopt "some punkish hardcore ideas"?

Touche. My point was simply that the characterization of anarchy that you seem to hold is that it's a belief for fools, youth, etc ... It's unfortunate (in my view) that anarchy has been painted in such a ridiculous light, but not all too surprising given how dangerous it is to existing authorities and how contrary it is to common thought. Hell, atheism is more accepted than anarchy (but probably not by any leaps and bounds).

Per your questions regarding private enterprise, I would certainly fail in conveying their answers to you well. If you are interested, I would recommend you read The Machinery of Freedom by David D. Friedman. It's as good a place to start as any.

Some of your questions I have answered here: namely, the biggest control over security firms would be competition and the ability of their stakeholders to change to another security firm. Laws would be as determined by given populations within certain regions (this is not all to different than what we have now where we have federal, state and local laws - all often in direct contradiction with each other). Disagreements would be solved through arbitration (like they are now). The private law would certainly have the consent of those who pay for their services. Competition is the ultimate source of good in the free market. However, we have to allow for competition to exist, which means getting rid of rule through force.

There is a difference between libertarian and anarchist; however, they share much in common - namely the authority of the individual over his property (at least insomuch as you are an anarcho-capitalist, which I am).

What happened? I grew up.


Yes, you grew up into a patronizing individual who believes things for reasons untold since you can't (or won't) quantify why you moved from being a libertarian to whatever you are (You don't seem like a libertarian to me). If growing up means giving up or shutting off my mind, I hope I never grow up.

Per your last comment on countries vs. territories or whatever. It's all lines on a map to me: useful generalizations. Not surprisingly, you missed my point (or refused to answer it), which was simply that the United States (as defined on a map) is clearly nowhere near max capacity. Perhaps the best argument against your country thesis is that prior to 1921, there was no restriction on immigration. Was there a U.S. then? If so, then how did we have a country without controls over the border?

Responding to you is simply egging you on for more patronizing remarks. So I'm going to stop. I'll be happy just knowing that I've been one more person to respond to your so-believed bulletproof arguments - a splinter in your mind, perhaps, that (maybe) you'll be reminded of next time you try and tout how no one responds to your arguments (kinda like how no one responded to you at Catallarchy).

7:50:00 AM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Plumber, quoting vdare.com, the racialist site? Maybe they've cleaned up their act a bit, but I remember some pretty vile stuff there a couple years ago.

At best, using them as a reference is in poor taste.


Brimlow is an angry man, to be sure. Most legal immigrants are right now. One of my best friends is a legal immigrant from Kenya. He cusses up a blue streak (in Swahili) at the very mention of amnesty or illegal immigration.

Say what you want about vdare, Brimlow does get some good interviews, and he is respected by many as an expert on immigration.

Yes, we're all aware of your particular style of arguing. Perhaps it's called mock and conquer?

I was simply clearing up your misconception that I was a "supporter" of the welfare state.
Maybe you can think of a time when government voluntarily got smaller. I cannot.

Your solution to bad government is more government?

Protecting our borders (sovereignty) is a proper function of government. Establishing a welfare state is not.

That's more doable than simply getting rid of the welfare programs? Why?

Because the welfare bureaucracy is too powerful. 70 years of a Leftist SCOTUS has ensured their place in government. That may change with a constructionist SCOTUS, but I won't hold my breath.

If education results in the refutation of certain commonly held (but incorrect) beliefs, then it is unfortunate - but only for you - that you continue to hold these incorrect beliefs. Your statement said differently is that you're an ignoramus (in the strict sense of the term), that such is a good thing, and that your state is my problem. Perhaps the last point is true.

You asked me what the definition of a country is. That question may keep you up at night, I don't have that problem.

Per your questions regarding private enterprise, I would certainly fail in conveying their answers to you well. If you are interested, I would recommend you read The Machinery of Freedom by David D. Friedman. It's as good a place to start as any.

If it is available at my local library, I'll check it out this weekend. I'll even post on it. Who knows? It may convince me. You guys certainly haven't.

There is a difference between libertarian and anarchist; however, they share much in common - namely the authority of the individual over his property (at least insomuch as you are an anarcho-capitalist, which I am).

What are their differences?

(You don't seem like a libertarian to me).

see previous question.

If growing up means giving up or shutting off my mind, I hope I never grow up.

It means accepting reality.

Per your last comment on countries vs. territories or whatever. It's all lines on a map to me: useful generalizations.

I know. Another irreconcilable difference.

the United States (as defined on a map) is clearly nowhere near max capacity.

I don't even want to approach max capicity, much less achieve it.

Perhaps the best argument against your country thesis is that prior to 1921, there was no restriction on immigration.

If that's the best, then you lose this argument. Comparing the territory currently know as the U.S. to what existed 90 years ago isn't reasonable. Besides, there is a reason that restrictions were placed. Here is an interesting link.

Responding to you is simply egging you on for more patronizing remarks. So I'm going to stop. I'll be happy just knowing that I've been one more person to respond to your so-believed bulletproof arguments - a splinter in your mind, perhaps, that (maybe) you'll be reminded of next time you try and tout how no one responds to your arguments (kinda like how no one responded to you at Catallarchy).

You didn't have to come here. In fact, I suggested that you leave after the realization that we had irreconcilable differences. I believe that the first priority of government is to protect the liberties of citizens and to repel threats to those liberties. Mass immigration is a threat to those liberties because of gesellschaft.

You deny the need of govt. altogether. Country, citizenship, and sovereignty are mere notions to you.

Mass immigration doesn't exist to you because there is no such thing as an immigrant. I'm sure the American Indians felt the same way.

If you had read more of my blog, you'd know that I patronize and ridicule any belief that is wrong.

Good luck to you.

9:29:00 AM  
Blogger Mike's America said...

YIKES!

Plumber: I wondered where you had been lately. Now I see you have your hands full.

Too bad I am so late coming to this discussion. I can't tell you how much I enjoy sharpening my rhetorical skills on the lesser lights that seem to have taken up residence in our moonbat roundup.

Let me know if you get one that is a particularly hard case.

7:41:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Yikes is right. This debate was so mind-numbing that I have fallen behind on posting to my site. I'll be up and running at full speed soon.

I knew that once Neal said that he is an anarchist that the debate was over. He'd of saved us both a lot of time had he accepted this impasse.

I must say however that as wrong as his views are, I'd rather argue the irreconcilable with him than discuss immigration policy with Ted Kennedy.

10:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Walter said...

Moonbat roundup? After four years of blogging, and being blogrolled by many conservatives that's the first time I've achieved that label.

Anyway, I'm not an anarchist, but still think Neal's views on immigration are morally sound. You cannot dismiss them just by bringing up his core philosophy - to do so is a non-sequitur.

7:52:00 AM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Neal's views on immigration are morally sound.

To Neal, there is no such thing as an immigrant because there are no countries to immigrate from, and to.

If he is true to his ideology, your statement, "Neal's views on immigration are morally sound", would be dismissed by him as well.

Neal didn't answer any of my questions. He questioned the conclusions which led to my questions. My conclusions were made with the assumption that there are countries and governments. It is therefore impossible for a reasonable discussion to continue.

Besides, my questions were for libertarians, not anarchists. Maybe you could explain the differences between a libertarian and an anarchist. I'd honestly like those answers as well, because if there is no difference, then I'll not be a libertarian.

8:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Walter said...

Libertarian is a looser and more inclusive category than anarchist. Some anarchists consider themselves libertarians, but most libertarians, to my experience, are not anarchists.

If he is true to his ideology, your statement, "Neal's views on immigration are morally sound", would be dismissed by him as well.

I don't know why that would be.

10:04:00 AM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Because there is no such thing as an immigrant. To the anarchist, it is just an individual moving from one place to another, not a citizen of one country moving and becoming a citizen of another country. Country, citizenship, government and borders are all anathemas to the anarchist.

There is no way for my questions to be answered unless we start with certain assumptions. Namely, that we have borders and a government entrusted to defend them. If that cannot be assumed, then the questions are moot.

So I pressed Neal about who protects liberty sans government, who makes laws, are there laws, etc.. In order to have those questions answered (maybe), I have to read the book he recommended.

As per our other question, let me ask it this way, "What differentiates a libertarian from an anarchist?

6:28:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

Boy. It's been a week or so and no answer as to whether I can call myself a libertarian.

I never considered it that tough of a question.

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