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How Not to Be a Libertarian

I put the money quote in boldface ….

‘Anyone advocating government officials or anyone else coercively taxing some people against their will and giving that money to others [is] guilty of advocating coercion and intimidation. Such people are not libertarians based on the ZAP criteria.

Such people are also guilty of fraud if they claim to be “libertarians.”’

–Commenter Garry Reed | December 7, 2013, 9:36 pm

…in response to the posting ‘U.S. “Libertarians” Debate Basic Income,’ which links to several pieces, pro- and not-so, on the topic by various Shining and Less-Shining Lights. These include a podcast interview by somebody at Cato of our pal Zwolinski, whose allegedly libertarian heart regularly bleeds, though not for people who think charity and justice are two different things, and also a piece by somebody at Reason, who tells us how much less demeaning such a program would be. (I guess people are still, underneath it all, not proud of being unable to look after themselves — not even in the face of catastrophe.)

I thought this last article might be a satirical debunking of the idea, but no such luck.


  1. Julie near Chicago says:

    I would like to propose this idea to my Fellow Felines.

    Suppose it is decided that the Minimum Wage will be $ 10/hr. And suppose, just to make our mental lives simpler, that all these minimum-wage workers actually work full-time: Thus earning $ 20,000 per annum each (never mind any bennies).

    Now we all know how awful Minimum Wage is for the economy generally, and especially for the poor schlubs it cuts out of the labor pool, right?

    So it seems to me that what we should do is, we should give $ 20,000 to everybody who’s making $20,000/yr or less and tell them they needn’t go to work anymore, unless they can find a job where they’ll make more than that.

    So in that way, we could drop the Minimum Wage altogether since this Guaranteed Basic Income or whatever you want to call it would provide them with just as much dinero, and the other guys who weren’t working besides. So the end result would be to improve the economy (and make everybody feel better besides), no?

    I hope this is clear. :)

  2. single acts of tyranny says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how people can propose spectacularly stupid ideas, whose consequences are entirely predictable, then accuse those of us who can see reality, of being mean spirited.

  3. Julie near Chicago says:

    It’s hard to know what’s more amazing, the stupid ideas or the people who argue for them with a straight face while being considered Bright Lights as — libertarians!

  4. Well if someone can not (or. more likely, WILL not ) understand the difference between justice and charity (and thus supports terms such as “social justice”), then, yes, they are not libertarians – but it is a lot more than that.

    “Social justice” is the great threat to civilisation – not just to libertarianism, but to the basic principles of civil society – it is the reason that most of Latin America is what it is (no security of property rights – endless Populist regimes promising X,Y,Z free stuff for the mob). Matt Z. calls himself a consequentialist – but he endorses a concept “Social Justice” that has had dreadful consequences – everywhere.

    And the methods of Matt Z. are incredibly dishonest. For example, he gets John Rawls (the leading defender of the idea that all income and wealth rightly belong to the collective “the people” and should be “distributed” according to some principle of “fairness”) and pretends that F.A. Hayek (a Classical Liberal enemy of Social Justice) supported John Rawls.

    How does Matt Z. do that? He gets nice words that Hayek says (in “Law, Legislation and Liberty”) about John Rawls – but does not mention that Hayek (ON THE SAME PAGE) says he is not talking about “A Theory of Justice” (the main work of Rawls) indeed that he has never even read this work.

    There is no point talking to such a man (Matt Z.) about the government giving everyone a “basic income” (financed by whatever) or anything else.

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