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John Stossel on Bob and Tom show

John Stossel was on the Bob and Tom Show this morning, promoting his book, Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. The high point for me was when someone (I can't remember if it was Bob or Tom) remarked, "Some people think you are a conservative, John, but that's not correct, is it? You are a libertarian, right?" Stossel affirmed that and then gave a nice capsule summary of libertarian principles. The hosts' response? "I think we are all libertarians here!"


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
Never saw John or Bob or Tom
Were you surprised that they are all libertarians, or did you already know it?

Have you read Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity? From the title, it sounds like it would be humorous. I have never watched John Stossel, so I don't know what to expect from him.

My husband controls the TV remote, so I have never seen the Bob and Tom Show, either.
Jun. 18th, 2006 10:34 am (UTC)
Re: Never saw John or Bob or Tom
I've never seen John Stossel either and I haven't read his book, but the excerpts that he talked about with Bob and Tom were really interesting and sometimes funny.

As for the Bob and Tom show, this is strictly radio. For affiliates, check out http://www.bobandtom.com/gen3/affiliates.htm

Jun. 26th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
The book actually does look funny, although his last one made me grind my teeth.

OK-- I'm going to kind of jump in the deep end here, and ask... what exactly do libertarians believe? Because it's starting to seem like all the people I know are libertarians, and most of them make fun of me for being a "bleeding heart liberal"... and yet, I tend to agree with them on many of the issues we discuss. And when I don't agree, it tends to turn into a very vicious argument. So far, though, all I've really been able to gather is that libertarians like to make fun of everyone else.

I'm starting to hesitate to put myself in any political category these days, because almost anything everyone says on the subject makes me wince. Lately, the only two people whose opinions I can stand are Jon Stewart and Bill Maher, and it might just be because they're both so damn funny. So... I probably don't want to know, but I do have to ask... what do you believe, after all?
Jun. 27th, 2006 12:18 am (UTC)
Well, the official party platform is at: http://www.lp.org/issues/platform_all.shtml . But there are many stripes of libertarians, many of whom are less than enthusiastic about the official Libertarian Party.

The core value of libertarianism is freedom. We believe that it is fine for people to do anything they want to do as long as they do not harm other people.

A closely related idea is the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP; sometimes called Zero-Aggression Principle or ZAP). NAP is the belief that it is wrong for one human being to initiate force against another human being. To join the LP, one has to swear to uphold the NAP.

The NAP deals only with the initiation of force. We libertarians believe it is sometimes necessary to use force to defend yourself against aggression. Police forces and armies serve a legitimate function, which is to protect people from aggression.

Libertarians believe in a minimum of laws. In addition to laws against violent acts (assault, rape, murder), we strongly value laws against theft and fraud because those acts impinge upon liberty. We believe in a certain amount of environmental regulation, as the pollution of air and water can threaten many lives. Libertarians are opposed to laws that criminalize victimless acts such as drug use, prostitution, and gambling.

Libertarians believe that it is wrong for the government to play Robin Hood, taking money from those who have it to give to those who do not have it. We want to be charitable in the ways we choose, not in the way someone else tells us to be charitable. We want taxes to be as low as possible, only enough to cover services that cannot be supplied more efficiently by the private sector.

Recall that libertarians come in many stripes. I differ from many libertarians in several ways. Perhaps most importantly, I do not believe in rights of any sort for anyone. In contrast, most libertarians believe they have the right to live their life any way they wish as long as they do not infringe on the rights of others. They believe that they have a right to their property and the fruits of their labor. Most believe in the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and so forth.

Instead of rights, I believe in likes. I like to live my life without interference, and I like to avoid interfering with the way others live their lives unless they are committing violence or threatening to commit violence against innocent people. I like my property and my income. But I don't believe I have a "right" to any of these things.

Libertarians are infamous for insisting that the Second Amendment gives them a right to bear arms. They see this right as necessary for protecting themselves from aggression. Aside from not believing in rights, I'm not real fond of guns, so this separates me from mainstream libertarians. I'm not against libertarians who want guns as long as they don't point them at me. If I felt I needed to own a gun to be safe, I would probably move to a safer area.

Jun. 30th, 2006 05:18 am (UTC)
Hmm... going to have to look over the link more closely when I have more energy, but I do think this clears up a lot, makes me see libertarians in a much more positive light (thank you), and also helps to define where I disagree with them (and I don't disagree so much with the stated principles as with how I've often seen them put into practice).

I suppose my main objection is that it seems to me that a libertarian society requires that its members be, in general, mature adults who are sufficiently educated and have enough sense of personal responsibility to truly uphold the tenents of libertarianism. Frankly, I don't believe we live in such a society, or that such a society will be possible any time soon unless some radical changes occur... changes that will probably have to be forced by the government, because I doubt that anyone else can/would create those changes. I think that the government does in fact need to "play Robin Hood"... because damned if I know many people who would do so willingly. Mind you, the government sucks at it, too, but I hope we could fix that by electing smarter and more ethical officials.

What amuses me most is that I thought libertarians were making fun of my "liberalism" because I am too optimistic about human nature (plus, I'm one of those fuzzy "tree-hugger" types who actually likes the idea of some natural resources still being available when I'm all grown up). But there's a streak of idealism in the libertarian creed that even I find a bit... well, naive, perhaps. I like the idea, but I'm skeptical about its practicality (which is kind of how I feel about Communism-- the basic idea really isn't bad, except that it requires people to be better people than they are-- which is why it works so well in voluntary communistic groups, and so badly in all other cases).

*shrugs* Like I say, it bears more thinking about. I think our ideal worlds are very similar, we just disagree about how we can get there.
Jun. 30th, 2006 01:16 pm (UTC)
I hope we could fix that by electing smarter and more ethical officials.

"Smart, ethical politician" sounds like an oxymoron to me. ;-)

As for the idealism of libertarians, I have no idea how many believe that if taxes were drastically cut, charitable giving would

(a) increase the overall quality of life for the truly needy who are currently supported by governmental social programs; vs.
(b) decrease the overall quality of life for the truly needy, but that's just the way it goes.

I think I might set up a poll in libertarianism to see how many idealists we have.
Jul. 2nd, 2006 04:36 am (UTC)
"Smart, ethical politician" sounds like an oxymoron to me. ;-)

Oh, quite true. That's why, when people ask for my ideal government, I say "oligarchical rule by a council of benevolent alien overlords". I know I can't hope for the Vulcans to conquer Earth any time soon, but I can dream... Meh. This is what comes of watching too much Star Trek TNG as a kid. Hey, if this isn't too much of a nerd question, do you think the Star Trek federation is libertarian? Ok, it's a nerd question...
Jul. 2nd, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
Yeah, pretty nerdy, all right. ;-)

Some aspects of the Federation have a libertarian feel. The Prime Directive, for example, is a model of non-interference. Of course the Federation does not always abide by the Prime Directive. The Charter of the Federation guarantees a number of civil liberties, but that doesn't make the government libertarian--after all, the U.S. Constitution also guarantees liberties. It has been said that the Charter was modeled after the U.N. charter. The concept of a U.N. is regarded by most libertarians as an anathema because it represents the ultimate ueber-government (pacifist ideals aside).

What I find most suspicious about the operation of the Federation is the concentration of power in the Federation Council. According to some sources, who may run for President is determined by the Council. And the Federation council wields great power through its sub councils. For example, the Judiciary Council appears to be able to overrule decisions of the Federation Supreme Court.

The Federation seems to me to represent a kind of socialism intent on ultimately assimilating as much of the universe as possible into their homogenized culture. They showed no tolerance of the dissident Maquis. Consider what Michael Eddington said:

"Why is the Federation so obsessed about the Maquis? We've never harmed you. And yet we're constantly arrested and charged with terrorism, starships chase us through the Badlands, and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we've left the Federation, and that's the one thing you can't accept. Nobody leaves paradise. Everyone should want to be in the Federation. Hell, you even want the Cardassians to join. You're only sending them replicators so that one day they can take their "rightful place" on the Federation Council. You know, in some ways you're worse than the Borg. At least they tell you about their plans for assimilation. You're more insidious. You assimilate people and they don't even know it."
Jun. 30th, 2006 02:52 pm (UTC)
Okay, people are starting to discuss and vote on the idealism of libertarians in libertarianism now.
Jul. 2nd, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
thank you! I enjoyed everyone's comments a lot, and even added one of my own...

And now, I must drag myself away from the immense fun that is livejournal and actually get some sleep. Bah.
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