## Why do we fear Laissez-faire?

• 5.8k

And that's the end of it. Just means, just transactions, just acquisition. If you want to read about different theories of distributive justice be my guest. This isn't philosophy 101.

I did acquire it through the voluntary consent of all parties involved. Employer offers me a wage, I agree to it.

Yes, everyone is well aware that the government will skim from this transaction, and expect they will take it, so it needn't be implicit or explicit in any contract. The expectation that a thief will steal an unlocked bike is not enough to make the thief's appropriation of that bike a just transaction.

Yes, the employment occurs in the state where the government gets to dictate the rules, and they have dictated they have a right to my income and use it as they see fit. But states dictate all sorts of unjust rules all the time. So the fact that it dictates that it has the right to my income and that they get to use it as they see fit doesn't make the transaction just.
• 407
Excellent points, all.

In a rational world, that so many people of such divergent views can recognize how silly an argument is would give the proponent pause — and perhaps be inclined to open his mind to new vistas.

I’d like to think an old dog can learn new tricks. I’m proven wrong again and again.
I think part of the issue is that it is nearly impossible for someone to change their point of view even when they are faced with information that shows contradictions in one's thinking. In fact it is usually only possible after they have faced the same or similar contradictions several times and only then if they are opened minded enough to question their own thinking. I helps to understand that it often takes months or years for someone to become indoctrinated with any given view so it is more or less a given that in order for someone to overcome it it would take a process that is almost as time consuming

It is one of the reasons misinformation and propaganda can be so dangerous, those in power can choose what thoughts and messages are available to the plebs who listen to the mass media. In don't know if the term is still used but supposedly a professional and skilled spin doctor often create any kind of narrative one wants the people to believe as well as dismiss information that contradicts or undermine the narrative is trying to achieve.

As far as I know, the process often begins when one is young and gradually built piecemeal as one gets older. Part of the success of such gradual brain washing requires constantly being fed information that kind of fits together (facts tend to accepted/remembered better when they already fit in with what one believes) as well means for such person to ignore that which contradicts such beliefs (which usually happens because they don't "fit in" with their already accepted world view). Obviously some people are more susceptible then other but it is a given that nearly everyone is susceptible to such methods to some degree.

In it's most basic form it is done with a kind of shotgun mentality where any given message is spread out to as many people as possible (as well as being the cheapest way possible) with the hopes they at least just stop for a minute to listen to it. It is kind of like how corporations use commercials to make you think Product A is better than Product B merely because you have at least heard of Product A in a commercial if nothing else. You would think that the average human beings today would be smart enough to notice this argumentum ad populum type fallacy and wouldn't buy it just because they have seen commercial(s) about it, but we usually don't and therefore we are susceptible to such easy manipulation. To be honest I don't really know how effective such tactics are, but I think it is safe to say they are effective enough in order to make corporations and others pay to make and air them; which is kind of a scary thought when one realizes how expensive things like the commercials played during the super bowl.

The most important thing to note is that the tactics used in commercials to make people buy any given product can more or less be used for many other things such as what political views they have, who they vote for, or even what one thinks about. It is kind of like a blacksmith forging a tool or weapon on top of the anvil, it takes many blows for him to get any piece of metal to take the shape he needs but once it gets there and it cools it almost never changed unless a incredibly powerful force that is beyond it's ability to handle.

I hope that this helps explain why it is hard to change people's view once they have been indoctrinated with beliefs/narratives that can be faulty and they are either teenagers and/or adults. With kids I don't know how easy it is to indoctrinate them since some of idea that may be presented to them may be beyond their understanding. My guess would be is there are still professional spin doctors around, I'm pretty sure they would know the ins and outs of such things better than me.
• 5.8k

I’d like to think an old dog can learn new tricks. I’m proven wrong again and again.

We’re the same age.
• 10.9k

This is a passage from the Old Testament. Samuel was a judge and the people asked him for a king. This is his response.

"He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.

12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.

14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.

15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.

16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.

17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day."

1 Samuel 11-18. :smile: It's an old problem.
• 3.3k
In case I was too subtle:

Arguing that the wealthy “purchase or influence” people in government is like arguing Sean Hannity says what he does because Murdoch bribes/influences him. Completely wrong.

If this strikes you as weird, that’s understandable. But then it’s a good idea to perhaps re-examine such a fundamental belief.

And that's the end of it. Just means, just transactions, just acquisition. If you want to read about different theories of distributive justice be my guest. This isn't philosophy 101.

I don't see how this response addresses anything I said above, which is the post you linked to.

I’d like to think an old dog can learn new tricks. I’m proven wrong again and again.

We’re the same age.

I'm 40. I thought you were in your 60s or 70s. Regardless, it reflects even more poorly on you.
• 5.8k

I don't see how this response addresses anything I said above, which is the post you linked to.

Thanks for letting me know. I linked to the wrong post.
• 5.8k

Thanks for that. I agree with him, of course.
• 3.3k
I might be missing something in the argument but I don't see how he can claim that only the people selling political influence are committing a crime and not those that trying to buy it.

Well if we accept the belief that the wealthy essentially bribe government officials, we can talk about who bears more of the responsibility: the wealthy briber or the weak-willed official. Again, the key word there is "if." In that case, I would tend to agree with you. At the very least, they're equally to blame.

But I don't accept that belief. The wealthy don't have to bribe officials any more than Murdoch has to bribe Sean Hannity. Rather, you don't get to be a high ranking government official or a media pundit with a wide audience unless you've already internalized certain beliefs and values -- the beliefs and values of the ruling class. There are few exceptions.

This is a crucial distinction.
• 7k
I did acquire it through the voluntary consent of all parties involved. Employer offers me a wage, I agree to it.

You don't just make it so by saying it. If that's all you've got I suggest you get yourself a soapbox, you're in the wrong place.

The expectation that a thief will steal an unlocked bike is not enough to make the thief's appropriation of that bike a just transaction.

the fact that it dictates that it has the right to my income and that they get to use it as they see fit doesn't make the transaction just.

These are two objections to the claim that your taxes are thus rendered just, but that's not the claim. The claim I'm asking you to justify is that your full, untaxed wage is just. Why is it just for you to keep that money? Why is the amount you negotiated with your employer a just amount for you to keep?
• 4.4k
Think of the economy as an airplane. There's the autopilot and a manual override. Then there are self-driving cars. We need to breathe life into the economy, literally that is, for in my experience living organisms are self-regulatory (homeostasis). I recommend an equivalent of a thermostat as found in an AC.
• 3.3k
In case anyone is wondering what all this "laissez faire" talk is really cover for (or diversion from):

Corporate profitability is not translating into shared prosperity.

For this lack of shared prosperity, the allocation of corporate profits to stock buybacks bears considerable blame. From 2003 through 2012, 449 S&P 500 companies dispensed 54% of earnings, equal to $2.4 trillion, buying back their own stock, almost all through open-market repurchases. Dividends absorbed an additional 37% of earnings. Scant profits remained for investment in productive capabilities or higher incomes for hard-working, loyal employees. Large-scale open-market repurchases can give a manipulative boost to a company’s stock price. Prime beneficiaries of stock-price increases are the very executives who decide the timing and amount of buybacks to be done. In 2012 the 500 highest paid executives named on proxy statements averaged remuneration of$24.4 million, with 52% coming from stock options and another 26% from stock awards. With ample stock-based pay, top corporate executives can gain from boosts in stock prices even when for most of the population economic progress is hard to find. If the United States is to achieve economic growth with an equitable income distribution and stable employment opportunities, government rule-makers and business decision-makers must take steps to bring both executive pay and stock buybacks under control.
— William Lazonick

The neoliberal era for you. Neoliberal policies all approach laissez faire, and use the concept to justify them.

The attitude shows up in the slogans. "Free markets." "Government is the problem." Etc. This is the era we're currently living in, and the above is but one sample of what's actually going on -- and that was back in 2014. It's continued.

It always helps to take things from the abstract to the specific. So taking this one specific issue, the question (for laissez-faire proponents) becomes: is the state to blame?

In a sense, yes. These neoliberal policies are implemented through government, after all. Deregulation among them -- like the rule that the SEC instated in 1982 that allowed for this behavior to go unchecked. All justified on "free market" principles, of course.

The point is -- according to the laissez-faire perspective, wasn't the government (the state) doing the right thing back then? Isn't deregulation the right move?

I wonder if anarcho-capitalists or "conservative libertarians" even care about this. Probably not, since it's out of the realm of the abstract, where any ol' person can bullshit in circles from their armchair.

Meanwhile, it's had truly awful effects on the United States population and transferred trillions in wealth to the wealthiest people (according to RAND, around \$50 trillion).

• 5.8k

You don't just make it so by saying it. If that's all you've got I suggest you get yourself a soapbox, you're in the wrong place.

But there is no other agent in the contract. You claimed it was a lie and then claimed the government is implicitly entitled to a portion even if there is no explicit mention of it. In other words, through a feat of imagination you assert your belief into an agreement and pretended it is binding. Soapbox.

These are two objections to the claim that your taxes are thus rendered just, but that's not the claim. The claim I'm asking you to justify is that your full, untaxed wage is just. Why is it just for you to keep that money? Why is the amount you negotiated with your employer a just amount for you to keep?

That was the payment for services rendered. That’s the money they wanted to give me and the amount I accepted. The amount isn’t just—it might be a poor wage—but the transaction is just because it was made between two consenting parties.

Why is it not just?
• 7k
You claimed it was a lie and then claimed the government is implicitly entitled to a portion even if there is no explicit mention of it.

I claimed no such thing. You said your gross wage was agreed as yours by consent. That's a lie. You employer has full knowledge and expectation that you will give the taxable portion to the government. He never consented for you to keep that portion in return for your labour.

Why is it not just?

Because it is not all yours. Your ability to earn it comes partly from your education, partly from your health, partly from your clean air, water, refuse collection, coworkers, laws, trade deals, security, policing... The taxed portion is you paying for all that. If you take it all you are stealing those benefits which you did not pay for.

If what is 'just' is just what is, then what does the word 'just' even mean? If the 'just' amount of wealth is simply 'all the possible wealth' then there's nothing the addition of the word 'just' is even doing.
• 3.3k
Your ability to earn it comes partly from your education, partly from your health, partly from your clean air, water, refuse collection, coworkers, laws, trade deals, security, policing... The taxed portion is you paying for all that.

It’s the same thing for corporate taxes. They want to conveniently forget this part. Since the state is always evil, taxation is seen as theft.

Yet these are the same people who are fine with government subsidies, bailouts, patent protection, etc.

It’s an oddly circular, contradictory, and mostly incoherent view.
• 5.8k

I claimed no such thing. You said your gross wage was agreed as yours by consent. That's a lie. You employer has full knowledge and expectation that you will give the taxable portion to the government. He never consented for you to keep that portion in return for your labour.

Well, that’s even more absurd. It’s no business of the other party whether I pay my taxes or not, and it matters not one bit what he implicitly expects me to do with my payment. If a client expects me to spend his payment on food or rent it makes little sense to say I am violating his consent if I flush it all down the toilet.

Because it is not all yours. Your ability to earn it comes partly from your education, partly from your health, partly from your clean air, water, refuse collection, coworkers, laws, trade deals, security, policing... The taxed portion is you paying for all that. If you take it all you are stealing those benefits which you did not pay for.

It is all mine because I earned it and did not agree to pay for any of things you mention. There is no voluntary and consensual agreement between both parties, I have zero say in what I am buying, and finally I am relieved of my money through coercion. That is why I say it is an unjust transaction.

If what is 'just' is just what is, then what does the word 'just' even mean? If the 'just' amount of wealth is simply 'all the possible wealth' then there's nothing the addition of the word 'just' is even doing.

I use "just" in the common sense to describe behavior that is fair and equitable between all parties involved in any one interaction.
• 8.8k
I worked for that money and acquired it through the voluntary consent of all parties involved...

... enforced on pain of state intervention, as with every contact ever, on whom both parties rely.
• 5.8k

... enforced on pain of state intervention which you rely upon at every turn.

Sounds like projection to me.
• 8.8k
Is this what happens when you lick boots this much? Literal basic facts seem like 'projection' to you? Like, I'm sorry you don't know how contracts work, or what they are. Maybe you missed this bit in your grade school education which explains why you are so fucked up?
• 5.8k

Oh dear, are we speaking in questions again?
• 8.8k
Oh the poor baby hasn't heard of rhetorical questions either.
• 8.8k
Anyway I'm sorry that your entire world view is supported by the existence of the state that must be hard for you.
• 5.8k

Apology accepted.
• 3.3k
NOS is a statist to the bitter end.
• 7k
It’s the same thing for corporate taxes.

Absolutely, yes. If anything it's worse for corporate taxes because they not only used those services, but made a profit from them.

It’s no business of the other party whether I pay my taxes or not, and it matters not one bit what he implicitly expects me to do with my payment.

I didn't say it was his business. Your claim was that he consented. He did not. The amount was negotiated under an expectation.

If a client expects me to spend his payment on food or rent it makes little sense to say I am violating his consent if I flush it all down the toilet.

Of course it does. That's exactly what you're violating. If I give you my bike on the condition you don't sell it, and you sell it, you're violating my consent.

It is all mine because I earned it and did not agree to pay for any of things you mention. There is no voluntary and consensual agreement between both parties

When you board a train, or stay on a train past your station, you are agreeing to buy a ticket, you're using a service. Lots of agreements and contracts are made this way. Your phone, your electricity, your tab at the bar. You use the service, then pay.

By remaining in the country, you're agreeing to the terms under which your use of that country is offered. You had 18 years to decide. If you don't agree to those terms, stop using the service.

You can't claim you didn't know what the terms were, they're quite publicly available.

You can't claim you didn't agree to those terms. You did, by continuing to use the service, just like a train ride, a bar tab, a phone call.

It's theft to use a service and not pay for it.

I use "just" in the common sense to describe behavior that is fair and equitable between all parties involved in any one interaction.

Yet you've given nothing in support of the assertion that you gross pay is either fair or equitable. The only argument you've offered so far is the entirely tautologous one that your gross pay is your gross pay.
• 5.8k
I didn't say it was his business. Your claim was that he consented. He did not. The amount was negotiated under an expectation.

It could be possible you and your employer agree to net pay where you live, which might explain my confusion—but then your agreed-upon wage would be subject to shifts in taxation, going down should your taxes go up and vice versa, thereby violating the wage you both agreed upon. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Of course it does. That's exactly what you're violating. If I give you my bike on the condition you don't sell it, and you sell it, you're violating my consent.

One minute it's an "implicit understanding", the next its a "condition". I won't assume bad faith but I don't think I can keep arguing on such shifting sands.

When you board a train, or stay on a train past your station, you are agreeing to buy a ticket, you're using a service.

By remaining in the country, you're agreeing to the terms under which your use of that country is offered. You had 18 years to decide. If you don't agree to those terms, stop using the service. It's theft to use a service and not pay for it.

I have not agreed to any terms, figuratively or literally, implicitly or explicitly. I’ve never shook anyone's hand or bowed or signed anything. "Remaining" isn't a gesture of agreement in any language. But it’s no surprise you’d keep using the language of agreement and contract even if I have never agreed to any of the above. It’s intuitive, even if in your case it doesn’t reflect reality.

Yet you've given nothing in support of the assertion that you gross pay is either fair or equitable. The only argument you've offered so far is the entirely tautologous one that your gross pay is your gross pay.

It is fair and equitable because it was willingly given to me in trade for something of equal value. I deserve payment because that is what we agreed to, and the employer deserves my work for the same reason.
• 1.8k
:)

• 7k
It could be possible you and your employer agree to net pay where you live, which might explain my confusion—but then your agreed-upon wage would be subject to shifts in taxation, going down should your taxes go up and vice versa, thereby violating the wage you both agreed upon. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Are you saying that taxation is a secret where you live?

I have not agreed to any terms, figuratively or literally, implicitly or explicitly. I’ve never shook anyone's hand or bowed or signed anything. "Remaining" isn't a gesture of agreement in any language.

I literally gave you the example in the fucking quote you're replying to, if would be hard to get more disingenuous. If you board a train you agree to pay the price of whatever journey you took. If you have a bar tab you agree to pay the cost of however many drinks you accumulate by the time the tab is due.

At no point in either arrangement did you shake anyone's hand or bow or sign anything. Remaining on a train definitely constitutes an agreement to pay for the excess journey.

I deserve payment because that is what we agreed to

You've not linked agreeing with deserving. If a prison guard agrees to help a prisoner escape, do they thereby deserve to escape?
• 8.8k
I quite liked the real life example of a bunch of NOSs who tried to live like libertarians only for things to go completely haywire, and that was before the bears arrived as started mauling people:

By pretty much any measure you can look at to gauge a town’s success, Grafton got worse. Recycling rates went down. Neighbor complaints went up. The town’s legal costs went up because they were constantly defending themselves from lawsuits from Free Towners. The number of sex offenders living in the town went up. The number of recorded crimes went up. The town had never had a murder in living memory, and it had its first two, a double homicide, over a roommate dispute.

So there were all sorts of negative consequences that started to crop up. And meanwhile, the town that would ordinarily want to address these things, say with a robust police force, instead found that it was hamstrung. So the town only had one full-time police officer, a single police chief, and he had to stand up at town meeting and tell people that he couldn’t put his cruiser on the road for a period of weeks because he didn’t have money to repair it and make it a safe vehicle. Basically, Grafton became a Wild West, frontier-type town.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/21534416/free-state-project-new-hampshire-libertarians-matthew-hongoltz-hetling

Although I imagine for libertarians the number of sex offenders going up is not a negative.
• 2.1k
Knee-slapper.
• 2.1k
Literal basic facts seem like 'projection' to you?

:fire:

Every day a new transparent dodge.
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