Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tibor Machan at The Daily Bell

TM: We need more judgmentalism when it comes to opponents of the free society and free markets, not less.

BM: Quite true, and we should label those who advocate force in relationships as the immoral beings that they are. It ain’t an ad hominem if it’s true and relevant.

TM: I am disappointed with Reason Magazine adopting the Kantian line since the magazine was founded precisely to counter this trend of thinking.

BM: Long ago, Reason Magazine was one of the principle building blocks of my education regarding freedom and liberalism. I still have the back issues somewhere in the trailer. However, not quite as long ago, the magazine took a turn for the (much) worse.

TM: Unlike government, the private sector demands morality because it doesn't administer coercive laws.

BM: It is quite funny when one considers the accepted wisdom that force should be used to ensure morality. Well, actually not so funny….

TM: Governments can help in keeping the peace and defending society, just as referees at games uphold the rules.

BM: To have government (monopoly of legalized force in a given jurisdiction) so limited is not possible in the sense we use the word “government” today. Of course, in the context of a voluntary anarchic or panarchic society, TM’s statement could be a valid concept.

TM: Those who are government activists don't proclaim it. They disguise what they're after. They have to do so in this country because traditionally American citizens have not been well disposed to government activism, even though there's quite a lot of it.

BM: That it has worked in America despite the traditional disposition against government activism is a tribute to the state funded public education system. Americans are taught that Patriotism equals worship of the state, and supporting state control over many aspects of life.

TM: The idea is that you don't want to use brute force to move people toward a society based on government activism. Instead, you want to nudge people, to move them in tiny increments so they do not find it worth their while to object, or at least not forcefully....Nudging can take place in numerous ways but a lot of it has to do with creating social norms that people will feel they have to conform to.

BM: The most important nudging is the implementation of publicly funded schooling. “Of course it is good that all children have an opportunity for education” they proclaim, when in fact it is the opportunity for proper indoctrination. “The state will educate your children.” Talk about a nudging…right over a cliff.

DB: The thrust of Austrian economics and the freedom movement generally is one that is profoundly objectivist in the Randian sense. It insists that people are perfectly equipped to make sound judgments on their own and to pursue their lives using their senses in a rational way.

BM: I am not sure it can be said that people are “perfectly equipped” for much of anything – people aren’t gods. However, as people aren’t perfectly equipped to make sound judgments on their own behalf, it is therefore certainly true that government bureaucrats and technocrats (being people, after all…well, most of them) CANNOT be better equipped to make sound judgments on behalf of complete strangers than those strangers can make for themselves.

More accurately, I believe the statement can be properly made that no one is better able to make sound judgments for his own well being than the individual himself, and if the individual is physically or mentally incapable, then left to family, close friends, and local institutions.

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