Libertarianism: what is it?

MacBrave wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

If it is, then we need to start over with why that legitimizes taxes. Remember that we're on the question "why are Libertarians always going on about something ridiculous as 'taxes are theft.'"

There are different kinds of taxes, which are you referring to?

Any--was just making the point that we might be losing sight that answering "how is property owned" was being asked in the context of "so does that make taxes legitimate/illegitimate."

Robear wrote:

Taxes are taken to support government as part of the contract of citizenship. You get rights and responsibilities under the law in return for citizenship; one of them is the quite reasonable requirement to fund government, which protects those rights for you (among many other things). If you think that's unreasonable, then I think we need another thread for the discussion.

...

Sets it, recognizes it... So what?

It's a big deal--we're not just talking Libertarianism here, we're talking a lot of political philosophies where you don't get rights in exchange for citizenship. You are endowed with your rights, and governments have to respect them otherwise those governments are not legitimate. We had a conversation in another thread about natural law--that's where this stuff is coming from.

Which other political philosophies do you mean? The Rights of Man and of The Citizen? Even that is not a legal basis for rights, as the French government explicitly confers all rights by statute.

Legally, our rights come from the Bill of Rights, the set of amendments requested by the states, not from the Creator. As to where they come from before that, practically, functionally, it doesn't matter. The fact is that the State recognizes them. With that, they are supported by the laws, and force, constrained by the law.

It seems to me that the only advantage of Natural Law is to use it to lay out an argument that they can exist without government force backing them (ie, in the absence of the rule of law). Okay, that's great. But my point is, how do you then *enforce* your rights? For that discussion, it's immaterial where the rights came from. If you propose the use of Natural Law instead of the rule of law - defense of rights by the individual instead of by government - well, what's the *system* for that look like? If that's libertarianism, what are the mechanisms that replace the rule of law? Because remember, if you accept the rule of law from an illegitimate government that only *grants* rights - like ours does - then you're not depending on Natural Law, and the thesis collapses.

The other obvious element is that you want to define participatory democracy - and taxation, policing, the rule of law, etc - as "not legitimate" because the Constitution doesn't state that our rights are given to us by the Creator. But again, what's the point of that? Why argue the US government is flawed and illegitimate in this way? What's the alternative to the rule of law? Without religion or government running things, you're not going to have that, and without that, sorry, your rights are only as strong as your ability to defend them. It's also just astounding that the entire system needs to be torn down in order to implement this utopia. It's like a loophole created for the purpose of legitimizing the point under discussion - "Oh, well, because of this idea, the government is illegitimate, and you don't want to support injustice like that, do you?" I figure maybe we could instead take some of the *ideas* for increasing individual liberty and implement them in the current system, but apparently ideological purity won't allow it. The downside of that is immense, but hey, if we're individually free, we'll all be rich and able to defend ourselves against all comers...

The point of the Natural Rights argument is to devalue the government and allow people to call for it's severe weakening, or even elimination. Cui bono? When you speak against taxes, who is going to pay less (who *has* paid less in the last 30 years?) and whose services will be cut? These are worthwhile questions, because the end state is worth looking at before we leap in.

Can we take this to another thread?

Robear wrote:

But my point is, how do you then *enforce* your rights?

If that's you're point then I agree, that belongs in another thread but that's not the point I'm trying to illustrate here because the issues of what you're talking about which appear to be Night Watchman Libertarianism vs. Anarchist Libertarianism are much different than those involved in the more general Libertarian issue with the legitimacy of taxes.

I figure maybe we could instead take some of the *ideas* for increasing individual liberty and implement them in the current system, but apparently ideological purity won't allow it.

Well, we've had that conversation before. I keep coming back to what I said there, and here, here, and here in this thread: every time I try and look for those ideas, I realize there's nothing particularly 'libertarian' about them.

Taxes are taken to support government as part of the contract of citizenship.

But contracts require a written instrument, and an exchange of benefits. How can you be held to a contract you didn't sign?

Contracts require a written instrument and an exchange of benefits because the law says they do. The law that both parties are subject to only because the contract is being entered into under the aegis of a state in which that law is used.

Again: different levels, and the one that you're thinking of only works because there's already a defined authority that says "these rules must be followed within this territory". Everybody in that territory has to follow the rules. Citizens get some additional privileges for free, and their rights are sometimes more well-defended than those of non-citizens, but they also have to follow some of the rules while outside the territory if they wish to retain their citizenship. (And in return for that, the state extends its protection to the degree it can over its citizens even when they are not within its territory.)

But contracts require a written instrument, and an exchange of benefits. How can you be held to a contract you didn't sign?

There are other meanings of the word. The term "contract of citizenship" is shorthand for the web of responsibilities and rights that connect the citizen to government, not a literal signed contract. If you are a citizen, you have responsibilities and privileges. The government has the same towards you. That's often described as a contract, but it's not a written one, except insofar as the Constitution and laws of the US instantiate it.

As long as you benefit from citizenship, you incur the responsibilities of it. If you give it up, you give them up too. It's pretty simple.

Anyway, that argument reduces to "I didn't agree to become a citizen because I was an infant". So, leave and give up citizenship. Or work to change the system, but remember to pay your taxes and the like while you do it. Getting upset because your parents were American and made you American is just mental Onanism, unless you're going to *do* something about it.

Robear wrote:

Anyway, that argument reduces to "I didn't agree to become a citizen because I was an infant". So, leave and give up citizenship. Or work to change the system, but remember to pay your taxes and the like while you do it. Getting upset because your parents were American and made you American is just mental Onanism, unless you're going to *do* something about it.

This is what I've been asking in this thread repeatedly and I've yet to get a convincing argument. How is citizenship not voluntary?

If you are a citizen, you have responsibilities and privileges. The government has the same towards you.

Oh, I get it! You're a serf.

How is citizenship not voluntary?

Because you're not allowed to live anywhere without being a citizen, and if you don't like the deal you've been born into, then if you can't find someone else who will take you, you're stuck. You have to be someone's serf.

Quote:

If you are a citizen, you have responsibilities and privileges. The government has the same towards you.

Oh, I get it! You're a serf.

Um, no. Sometimes I think you just put up this stuff because someone has to go through the act of treating it seriously, right? So let me ask you, do you pay taxes? If so, why? Do you believe you're a serf? And if you do, why don't you just go somewhere better? Seriously. Why put up with it?

gregrampage wrote:
Robear wrote:

Anyway, that argument reduces to "I didn't agree to become a citizen because I was an infant". So, leave and give up citizenship. Or work to change the system, but remember to pay your taxes and the like while you do it. Getting upset because your parents were American and made you American is just mental Onanism, unless you're going to *do* something about it.

This is what I've been asking in this thread repeatedly and I've yet to get a convincing argument. How is citizenship not voluntary?

That just raises the question of "how can a country treat its citizens." It's just the same argument only now we're arguing about a word instead of the concept behind the word.

+++++

Maybe the problem is the hot-button issue of taxes and property, and instead we should go with a less controversial issue like the military draft and liberty.

What would everyone say to the idea that a government shouldn't be able to draft people to go fight foreign wars for oil or nutmeg or bananas and such? What would you say to someone that claimed because citizenship is voluntary, the government can draft you to go fight any war it decides to get into, and you've agreed to that?

Now, of course there's an issue of equating a military draft to taxes. I'm not trying to argue that right here: what I'm trying to do is illustrate the logic behind the concept using a less controversial example. It's not enough to just say "citizenship is voluntary": you've got to show how the government isn't doing wrong by making certain terms part of that 'citizen contract'. Maybe thinking about the logic of the argument using less controversial facts will help get us past what I see as a problem in communication.

So if you don't think that the draft is a valid obligation, then you go to Congress and get it changed. You don't say "the government is illegitimate because it forces you into military service". That gets us nowhere. Basing the main tenet of libertarianism on a point that also happens to render the entire government illegitimate and immoral is just as useless, and it avoids the issue of what we can *really* do to make changes that would actually benefit individuals, instead of bringing the system down around their ears.

CheezePavilion wrote:

Now, of course there's an issue of equating a military draft to taxes. I'm not trying to argue that right here: what I'm trying to do is illustrate the logic behind the concept using a less controversial example. It's not enough to just say "citizenship is voluntary": you've got to show how the government isn't doing wrong by making certain terms part of that 'citizen contract'. Maybe thinking about the logic of the argument using less controversial facts will help get us past what I see as a problem in communication.

Why do I have to show that?

I didn't say because citizenship is voluntary the government can do whatever it wants. I'm saying it's not force. I'm saying you are choosing to be in that country. I'm saying you chose to take part in that contract, it is not forced upon you because you can always leave. There's no judgement in there about any particular government's action being right or wrong. I'm simply saying you are choosing to be part of that civilization and you can't say you're not because you don't like the contract you chose.

Serious question, are we talking theoretically/generally or are we simply talking about the USA's implementation of government.

Robear wrote:

So if you don't think that the draft is a valid obligation, then you go to Congress and get it changed. You don't say "the government is illegitimate because it forces you into military service". That gets us nowhere.

Okay, but that's a different criticism from one that argues Libertarianism to be not only impractical, but also intellectually flawed. The same practical argument could be made even of the ideas being advanced here as counter-arguments to Libertarianism. Even if we all agree we became citizens voluntarily but now the government is 'in breach' of our 'citizen contracts', you could level the same criticism that we should to go Congress and get it changed.

In other words Robear, what you're arguing here isn't specific enough to Libertarianism. A person can say "the government is illegitimate" AND also go to Congress to get things changed. the Libertarians could like, for a Party, or something... ; D

gregrampage wrote:
CheezePavilion wrote:

Now, of course there's an issue of equating a military draft to taxes. I'm not trying to argue that right here: what I'm trying to do is illustrate the logic behind the concept using a less controversial example. It's not enough to just say "citizenship is voluntary": you've got to show how the government isn't doing wrong by making certain terms part of that 'citizen contract'. Maybe thinking about the logic of the argument using less controversial facts will help get us past what I see as a problem in communication.

Why do I have to show that?

Because we're talking about the term involving taxes. If you don't show that, whatever else you're saying is irrelevant.

Serious question, are we talking theoretically/generally or are we simply talking about the USA's implementation of government.

theoretically/generally, for me at least.

Malor wrote:
If you are a citizen, you have responsibilities and privileges. The government has the same towards you.

Oh, I get it! You're a serf.

How is citizenship not voluntary?

Because you're not allowed to live anywhere without being a citizen, and if you don't like the deal you've been born into, then if you can't find someone else who will take you, you're stuck. You have to be someone's serf.

That's not a case for "citizenship is not voluntary," that's a case for "there is no remaining unclaimed land." It's entirely possible to live in a country without being a citizen of that country.

In other words Robear, what you're arguing here isn't specific enough to Libertarianism. A person can say "the government is illegitimate" AND also go to Congress to get things changed.

Cheeze, you've gone so meta that you've forgotten that I'm arguing against the strong anarcho-libertarian position. That is that government should not be able to coerce anybody into anything; it's the "coercion is always evil" form of the argument about what underlies libertarianism. I'd *love* it if we were discussing bills that would increase individual freedom, and the merits of various implementations, but instead it's always "we can't live with the system at all, it's evil and you're evil for supporting it".

I'm trying to argue against extremism. I'm beginning to think this is one of your "I'm not arguing the point, I'm exploring the positions" discussions. Either put a horse in the race or stop trying to tie everyone in knots.

Robear wrote:
In other words Robear, what you're arguing here isn't specific enough to Libertarianism. A person can say "the government is illegitimate" AND also go to Congress to get things changed.

Cheeze, you've gone so meta that you've forgotten that I'm arguing against the strong anarcho-libertarian position.

Then why are you arguing with *me*?

I'm trying to argue against extremism. I'm beginning to think this is one of your "I'm not arguing the point, I'm exploring the positions" discussions.

Gee, whatever could have given you that idea. 2 3 4.

Either put a horse in the race or stop trying to tie everyone in knots.

Robear, it's a real dick move to come into a conversation where people are not arguing for the kind of extremism you're arguing against, they make it explicit they are not, and you continue to pester them and then show the gall to blame them for getting in the way of your derail of their thread.

I'm beginning to think I should just ignore you however rude that might be because it seems you want to have this one specific argument about "the strong anarcho-libertairan position" and if you can't, you'll make sure no one else can have any argument because you'll just blow up the thread until it gets locked.

C'mon man: you're better than that.

I'm saying you chose to take part in that contract, it is not forced upon you because you can always leave

But you can't always leave. Someone else has to take you as a serf before you can leave U.S. serfdom behind.

Malor wrote:
I'm saying you chose to take part in that contract, it is not forced upon you because you can always leave

But you can't always leave. Someone else has to take you as a serf before you can leave U.S. serfdom behind.

IMAGE(http://southparkstudios.mtvnimages.com/images/shows/southpark/vertical_video/season_13/sp_1307_06.jpg)

Malor wrote:

But you can't always leave. Someone else has to take you as a serf before you can leave U.S. serfdom behind.

If you are going to insist upon using such ridiculously exaggerated rhetoric, why stop at "serf?" I'm sure that there are even more inherently biased terms that could be used. How about "filthmaggotted bitchslave?"

Malor wrote:

But you can't always leave. Someone else has to take you as a filthmaggotted bitchslave before you can leave U.S. filthmaggotted bitchslavedom behind.

See how much more evocative and effective that is?

I'm using serf very deliberately, because of these two sentences:

If you are a citizen, you have responsibilities and privileges. The government has the same towards you.

This is PRECISELY the argument and 'contract' that supported feudalism. You had the responsibility to support your lord, and in exchange he had the responsibility to protect you. It was a two way obligation, so it was okay, even though it was imposed at birth, you had no choice, and couldn't opt out.

You can use that argument to justify almost anything. That's just the way we do things here, son, so you'll just have to conform.

...Except that you are twisting the definition of the word to bias the argument and you know it. Serfs were barely a step up from slaves, they were inherited and traded like property, and had next to no rights. Comparing modern citizenship to serfdom is essentially the same type of reactionary political rhetoric as comparing Bush/Obama/other politician of choice to Hitler. It is innately ridiculous and does nothing but poisons the argument.

It also ignores the upward mobility that does exist in our society. We would love to see more. But it is not like our current president descends from royalty.

And face it. Malor favors a system that would make it even tougher for children from poor homes to prosper.

I was going to post a picture of the cover from Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom" to give the conversation some context. Then I decided not to.

However, I was wondering why there was a hot chick in the image search, and it turns out there's a site that reprints political essays alongside a selection of photographs of a particular model:

http://the-classic-liberal.com/lucy-...

Why look--here's a reprint from something from the von Mises Institute about federalization, states rights, and the true Libertarian goal next to various pictures of Sofia Vergara!

I simply could not help but pass that discovery along.

Malor wrote:
I'm saying you chose to take part in that contract, it is not forced upon you because you can always leave

But you can't always leave. Someone else has to take you as a serf before you can leave U.S. serfdom behind.

No, they don't. There's no requirement that you have to find another country to live in before you can renounce your U.S. citizenship. You might have to force the issue, as apparently some consulates/embassies have their own policies that say they won't go through the renunciation process if you aren't a citizen of the country you're in, but those policies are contrary to US law, and you'll win if you fight them. It's very much a "You don't have to gohave a home, but you can't stay here" situation.

So, your choice is to to literally have nowhere to legally go, to just die, or to comply with the social contract.

That's not really a choice.

Serfs were barely a step up from slaves, they were inherited and traded like property, and had next to no rights. Comparing modern citizenship to serfdom is essentially the same type of reactionary political rhetoric

That's the logic that's being used here. We should be grateful for having been born here. Just physically being born in this country puts us under very heavy obligations to pay our masters forever, exactly like being a feudal peasant did. The only real change is that the tax burden is lower; the fundamental thinking is the same, and it remains rooted in violence.

Libertarians want this sort of thing to be voluntary. Or barring that, to at least have as few involuntary things as possible.

And face it. Malor favors a system that would make it even tougher for children from poor homes to prosper.

As long as we're talking about incendiary political rhetoric....

I think public schools are a good idea, on the whole, although our system is failing very, very badly. I'd like to see that continue, but funded by people who voluntarily choose to fund a public system, because having skilled and educated workers available benefits everyone.

Libertarianism is about true cooperation, not the coerced kind of false-smile-and-bear-it cooperation that's the root of most modern governments. Citizenship and taxation should be a voluntary agreement, not something inflicted on you because of where you were born.

My general opinion is that nobody should start out as a US citizen, though of course this would require Constitutional changes. Anyone born in this country should get a decent education up to 18. At that point, you can choose to become a citizen if you wish, and get the various benefits of citizenship, and be required to pay the normal levels of tax. I think citizenship should be something you ASK for, and which is automatically granted if you were born here and are under, say, age 25. But everyone over 25 is treated exactly the same; maybe we'll accept all applicants, maybe we won't. But if you don't want to be a citizen, you shouldn't be forced to leave the country, you just shouldn't get access to the various social programs, and you can't vote.

Citizenship, in other words, should be attractive enough that people want to embrace it, not a ball and chain around their ankles. It should be a mark of pride, of voluntary membership, not a burden you must bear because of your accident of birth.

Malor wrote:
Serfs were barely a step up from slaves, they were inherited and traded like property, and had next to no rights. Comparing modern citizenship to serfdom is essentially the same type of reactionary political rhetoric

That's the logic that's being used here. We should be grateful for having been born here. Just physically being born in this country puts us under very heavy obligations to pay our masters forever, exactly like being a feudal peasant did.

In the same way that all Americans are Russian because both live in countries, or that the flu is the same as aids because they are both illnesses. You are suffering from the common libertarian disease of not being able to recognize degrees. Just because two things share a minor superficial resemblance do not make them the same. The only real obligations we have is to pay a small fraction of our income as taxes and to not go around killing each other, otherwise we live relatively free and luxurious lives. It does not equate to a meager sustenance existence as someone else's property.

Malor wrote:

My general opinion is that nobody should start out as a US citizen, though of course this would require Constitutional changes. Anyone born in this country should get a decent education up to 18. At that point, you can choose to become a citizen if you wish, and get the various benefits of citizenship, and be required to pay the normal levels of tax. I think citizenship should be something you ASK for, and which is automatically granted if you were born here and are under, say, age 25. But everyone over 25 is treated exactly the same; maybe we'll accept all applicants, maybe we won't. But if you don't want to be a citizen, you shouldn't be forced to leave the country, you just shouldn't get access to the various social programs, and you can't vote.

Citizenship, in other words, should be attractive enough that people want to embrace it, not a ball and chain around their ankles. It should be a mark of pride, of voluntary membership, not a burden you must bear because of your accident of birth.

So... why exactly do you think it's possible for someone to live in the territory of the United States and not make use of the services the US provides. You are aware that non-citizen residents owe taxes, correct? Social programs are a tiny tiny piece of what the government provides to citizens.

Citizenship [em]is[/em] voluntary. The fact that there's nowhere useful to go where you're not required to be a citizen to stay doesn't change that. Just like not being a citizen doesn't mean you aren't benefiting from the vast majority of the government's services.

Also, don't forget that the people who can afford not to make use of the social programs are the ones at the top of the income pyramid. You know, the ones that people have been complaining don't pay their fair share in taxes because investments aren't treated the same as other income? They already put their money in tax shelters outside the US. If they could legally reside in the US without being a citizen or paying taxes, I'm sure they'd be all for that.

Even without counting the very rich, it would be in the best interest individually for each person to choose to be a citizen only if they same a direct benefit to themselves. As long as enough other people are "doing the right thing" and they don't need any of the services restricted to citizens, they may as well not be citizens, right? Or only be citizens in the times when they do need things. That's a classic tragedy of the commons set up right there. I mean, hell, if people are stupid enough to not pay for their fire protection coverage (there's an example of an "opt-in" program right there), of course they're going to cut themselves off from more stuff that they think they don't need. And other people will look at that and say "Oh, I can do that, too", and now there's no way to pay for the programs people need, even when occasionally people realize "Oh crap, I really did need that!" And hey, why worry about having citizenship in order to vote if you don't believe voting can make a difference anyway?

It would also create a very strange situation with respect to laws. Consider companies. What would the status of a company owned and operated completely by "resident non-citizens" be? Would it owe taxes? What would happen in a conflict between a non-citizen and a citizen? Wouldn't there be a conflict where the government might be inclined to favor the citizen over the non-citizen? Especially if the non-citizen didn't have a foreign government to which they are a citizen to press the diplomatic point and force at least a reasonable amount of fairness?

If I were trying to create a government in that context, I'd probably have to forbid companies not incorporated as tax-paying, even if owned and operated by non-citizens. I'd further have to look at requiring a national sales tax for funding purpose (which would be possible, since all businesses would have to be tax-paying to be legal businesses.) That's assuming I didn't require resident non-citizens to pay taxes (like now) for the privilege of living within national boundaries and making use of those services.

So let's see: If we assume that non-citizens pay no taxes at all, and that it's totally voluntary, we get into the following situation: A good proportion of the population is freeloading on core government services (EPA, FDA, Federal Highway Administration, etc. etc. etc.) Those that aren't are those that are in desperate need and can't get by without government support. They're not paying any taxes, either. The legal system is extra complicated because of interactions between citizens and non-citizens. There's a conflict of interest in the legal system. The government doesn't have money to pay for core programs or social programs.

If we assume that taxes are taken as sales tax or that all residents are taxed, not just citizens, then things aren't much different from now. (Except for the conflict of interest in the courts, and the fact that a sales tax is horribly regressive.)

I'm not sure how any of these options are appealing. Much like most Libertarian ideas, it seems to fall down to "Well, as long as the government doesn't [em]do anything at all[/em], everything will be fine." Hence, again, the complaint that when looking at the final outcome the whole idea looks a lot like anarchism.

Malor wrote:

So, your choice is to to literally have nowhere to legally go, to just die, or to comply with the social contract.

That's not really a choice.

Serfs were barely a step up from slaves, they were inherited and traded like property, and had next to no rights. Comparing modern citizenship to serfdom is essentially the same type of reactionary political rhetoric

That's the logic that's being used here. We should be grateful for having been born here. Just physically being born in this country puts us under very heavy obligations to pay our masters forever, exactly like being a feudal peasant did. The only real change is that the tax burden is lower; the fundamental thinking is the same, and it remains rooted in violence.

Libertarians want this sort of thing to be voluntary. Or barring that, to at least have as few involuntary things as possible.

And face it. Malor favors a system that would make it even tougher for children from poor homes to prosper.

As long as we're talking about incendiary political rhetoric....

I think public schools are a good idea, on the whole, although our system is failing very, very badly. I'd like to see that continue, but funded by people who voluntarily choose to fund a public system, because having skilled and educated workers available benefits everyone.

Libertarianism is about true cooperation, not the coerced kind of false-smile-and-bear-it cooperation that's the root of most modern governments. Citizenship and taxation should be a voluntary agreement, not something inflicted on you because of where you were born.

My general opinion is that nobody should start out as a US citizen, though of course this would require Constitutional changes. Anyone born in this country should get a decent education up to 18. At that point, you can choose to become a citizen if you wish, and get the various benefits of citizenship, and be required to pay the normal levels of tax. I think citizenship should be something you ASK for, and which is automatically granted if you were born here and are under, say, age 25. But everyone over 25 is treated exactly the same; maybe we'll accept all applicants, maybe we won't. But if you don't want to be a citizen, you shouldn't be forced to leave the country, you just shouldn't get access to the various social programs, and you can't vote.

Citizenship, in other words, should be attractive enough that people want to embrace it, not a ball and chain around their ankles. It should be a mark of pride, of voluntary membership, not a burden you must bear because of your accident of birth.

So, what happens to those who don't want in on the deal, other than they can't get food stamps? Because they are still benefiting from the labor and taxes of the citizens, as I read it, if they are allowed to stay. Your plan looks to force people to pay for the education of other peoples' children, and grant them all kinds of handouts from the people who want the benefits of a society that doesn't amount to the strong eating the weak, without ever having an expectation that they contribute positively to the system. You really want to make the citizens into a class of serfs for these moochers to steal from?

Robear, it's a real dick move to come into a conversation where people are not arguing for the kind of extremism you're arguing against, they make it explicit they are not, and you continue to pester them and then show the gall to blame them for getting in the way of your derail of their thread.

In the first half dozen posts, people were already discussing the anarchist elements of libertarianism directly. I actually avoided that for a while. But when you started making assumptions that took that position directly, I pointed it out. Only about two posts earlier, DSGamer had listed his own ideas of Libertarianism. So was it unreasonable of me to assume that you were *defending* a position, and to argue with it?

You walked into this argument perfectly willing to debate whether defense forces were coercive or not. Now you don't like the discussion. Sorry. But this issue *does* strike to the heart of the topic, I *have* contributed other elements to the discussion, and you *were* unwilling to be pinned down, preferring to noodle around the topic in a way that seemed to me to be avoiding the issue.

You are the one who told me that my argument was inapplicable because it could be made about other political philosophies. I mean, what am I to make of that? That's wave-hands-and-dismiss stuff.

I'm beginning to think I should just ignore you however rude that might be because it seems you want to have this one specific argument about "the strong anarcho-libertairan position" and if you can't, you'll make sure no one else can have any argument because you'll just blow up the thread until it gets locked.

C'mon man: you're better than that.

Maybe you missed the other stuff I contributed, about studies on group cooperation and the need for enforcement of rules, not just voluntary adherence. But I'm not in any of these discussions to "blow up a thread and get it locked". I'm interested in the discussion, but it would be really cool to get down from the high level wafting around to some interesting ideas on implementation, or even a definition of the thing. I'm sorry if that's frustrating, but *you're* the one who drove the direction of the discussion, not me. And I didn't start out with that point; I contributed others (which you mostly just blew by, I guess); I engaged with other points without even mentioning anarchism; and yes, I got frustrated when you decided to do anything but allow yourself to be pinned down into an actual proposal.

Sorry you're frustrated, but I *am* trying to keep the big question in mind here. It's just there are so many different angles you're coming from that you never seem to respond to one before hopping to another. We're not really much closer to defining libertarianism in any useful way because the discussion has centered on things like "how is property defined" and "are rights in-born, or acquired", without any of that being given an answer. Well, I'm really interested in *all* that stuff, but every time I push for an answer, as opposed to more definitions and considerations and added elements, you get frustrated. I'm frustrated too. Heck, you tried to rule out a discussion of non-coercion at the top of page three, but do you realize that that's what several of our more vocal posters *base* their definition on? I mean, that's guaranteed not to get us to a resolution, if we can't explore that.

But, well, your thread. I'll bow out if you are worried about locks. But I don't think you're being entirely fair in your characterization of my discussions in the thread.