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View Diary: What Conservatives Mean When They Say "Libertarian" (279 comments)

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  •  Taking Hornberger out of context. (0+ / 0-)

    By quoting two paragraphs from a wide ranging debate, Devilstower implies that Hornberger approves of many heinous aspects of 1880 society.  This is unfair and a bad distortion of Hornberger's actual views.

    I know Jacob and can tell you he does not hold the believes Devilstower tries to attribute to him.

    Jacob's comment about a "Golden Society" was a response to David Boaz (whom I also know, BTW)saying there has never been a "Golden Age of Libertarianism".  David's point was that freedom has been increasing in America and we've been making progress towards a future Libertarian Golden Age.  Jacob's point is that we've have lost ground in many areas.

    Devilstower has badly mis-characterized the debate in this piece.  You can follow the link and see for yourself.

    Results count for more than intentions do.

    by VA Classical Liberal on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 07:40:37 AM PDT

    •  I'm sorry but Hornberger's statement on (3+ / 0-)

      the 1880's is bunk - i.e., when he states:

      Here was a society in which people were free to keep everything they earned, because there was no income tax. They were also free to decide what to do with their own money—spend it, save it, invest it, donate it, or whatever.

      He misses the fact of company towns containing company stores - for the basic necessities of life many workers living in these towns could not make these decisions:

      Most miners also lived in "company towns" in which the company was the only provider of homes, schools, doctors, clergy, law enforcement, and stores offering a full range of goods that could be paid for in company currency (known as scrip). To discourage union-building activity, company law enforcement focused on restricting the speech and assembly of the miners. Also, under pressure to maintain profitability, the mining companies reduced their spending on the towns and on their amenities while increasing prices at the company stores, worsening infrastructure and raising costs of living for the miners and their families. Colorado's legislature passed laws to improve the condition of the mines and towns and outlawing the use of scrip, but these laws were rarely enforced.


      When he says this:

      People were generally free to engage in occupations and professions without a license or permit.

      He leaves out one of the great tenents of nineteenth century history: if you didn't own servants there was a good chance you probably were a servant. He declines to mention the fact that there were very few professions women and African Americans could pursue. There are vast swaths of historical neglect in this statement.

      O, and this:

      Few systems of public schooling.

      is just plain wrong - from the push for land grant universities to common schools, the nineteenth century saw an upswing in terms of public education - and the 1880's are not exempt from that ;-)


      A monetary system based on gold and silver coins rather than paper money

      ...conveniently leaves out the specie crisis immediately after the Civil War that helped created the conditions for 1869's Black Friday.

      I could go on but you get the point - this is generalized, romanticized mush and without citing historical resources it's no surprise he's getting called out on it.

      "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

      by grannyhelen on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 08:07:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you read Boaz article and Jacob's response? (0+ / 0-)

        Jacob doesn't think the 1880s were flawless.

        David original article debunked the myth of a golden age.  In it, he calls out Jacob on several points.  In his response Jacob uses the phrase Golden Age, paralleling David's original use.

        Devilstower's mistake was in taking the words "Golden Age" out of the context of the Boaz/Hornberger debate and using them to imply that Jacob loves industrial accidents and debt slavery.  Regardless of any errors Jacob made in his article, DT's stretch is still wrong.

        Results count for more than intentions do.

        by VA Classical Liberal on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 08:22:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I did, and at least Boaz is attempting to put (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TracieLynn, OhioNatureMom

          some actual, factual history in his analysis.

          There's a difference between "not flawless" and - to quote Hornberger - "pretty darn golden".

          It wasn't. Not on a liberty level, not on a personal freedom level, and not on a "libertarian" level.

          It's a view of history that Hornberger cites zero historical references to back up, and one where he leaves out the facts of history that dispute his fantasy of what it was - like, you know, government giving land grants to railroad companies and thereby picking the "winners" of his 1880's "libertarian" paradise.

          The fact is, there was huge govt involvement in the nineteenth century, and either Hornberger doesn't know it or doesn't want to acknowledge it.

          "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

          by grannyhelen on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 08:33:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I followed the link... (6+ / 0-)

      and I think Devilstower's commentary is valid.  He's pointing out the absolute naivete in Hornberger's worldview.  Also from the link:  

      The question is: How do we restore the lost liberties, especially economic liberty, that characterized their society while retaining and building upon the positive strides that have been made since then, such as in the area of civil rights, so that all aspects of liberty are enjoyed by everyone?

      Uh huh - "especially economic liberty".  Sorry, Hornberger, we've seen this movie before.  Many times.  Unregulated economic activity leads to many of the horrors that Devilstower cites.

      If Hornberger wants to espouse a particular methodology, he needs to be responsible and honest about the real world consequences of that methodology as it plays out.  Those consequences are both utterly logical to predict and utterly backed up by history.  I believe your implicit statement that Hornberger's a good man, not an asshole, who sincerely doesn't want the type of consequences that Devilstower and I are talking about.  But he's being naive at best in thinking that those consequences won't happen in the libertarian world he envisions, and honestly, good intentions don't count for much when considering the severity of the consequences.  His beliefs about economic liberty would lead to untold deaths and suffering, and if he were honest, he'd either take ownership for that or rethink his worldview.  He can't have the society he envisions without the myriad problems that Devilstower cites.

      But that's a problem with economic libertarians in general.  They push their utopian ideals without using much common sense.  It might serve him well to think on why it is that people chose to move forward from the era he dubs the golden society.

      •  Hornberger's worldview and economic liberty (0+ / 0-)

        What DT writes about is not Jacob's worldview and many of the things he criticizes were caused by a lack liberty (of which economic liberty is just one facet).  The ills he describes are not the logical outcome of libertarianism.

        For example:

        Once you were in, you could love the freedom from Jim Crow laws, and the liberty that came with being denied to right to vote

        How can DT honestly say that a dedicated and passionate libertarian (and Jacob is both, in spades) would approve of Jim Crow laws?  Jim Crow is anathema to libertarians.

        I wrote my first two dKos diaries because of a conference Jacob organized.  Rec-list regular Jesselyn Radack spoke there, along with Jonathan Turley and Glenn Greenwald.

        Sorry this is short, but I've got to run.

        I'll check back later this afternoon.

        Results count for more than intentions do.

        by VA Classical Liberal on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 08:54:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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