What's the libertarian take on the BP oil spill?

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  1. Don W profile image82
    Don Wposted 13 years ago

    Would a free market have prevented this from happening?

    I'm guessing the libertarian argument would be that the failings of state regulation was a contributing factor. Those failings stemming from the fact that the regulators were in bed (figuratively and literally) with those regulated. Whereas regulation driven by commercial pressures in a free market (such as insurance companies wanting to reduce the likelihood of a major pay out) would have been more rigorous.

    But rather than an argument for an entire paradigm shift, surely that's just an argument to improve regulation. Not necessarily increase it, but ensure it is robustly and rigorously enforced. Surely that would equally have prevented, or at least reduced the risk of this disaster.

    What say you fans of laissez faire?

    1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
      Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I've written two hubs on it. Check 'em out. And... while your at it... check out my "Evan's Easy Economics" -- it'll rock your world of economics understanding. (sorry, cheap plug). Anyway, in the BP Oil spill articles, I point out that Paul Krugman is a nincumpoop.

      The true libertarian take on it is... why weren't the waterways owned by private entrepreneurs who would have taken complete and total responsibility for the preservation of the water?

      Anyway, my articles started a debate about "legislating morality", which ended up confirming for me that just about all ideas about making laws against evil are nonsense. but that's another story for anther time.

      1. Don W profile image82
        Don Wposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I did check out one of your hubs, "BP Oil Spill - A Free-Market Comparison" which is exactly what I was interested in, thanks.

        You suggest on your hub and this thread, that private ownership of waterways would in effect create robust regulation. The owner wouldn't want his source of profit ruined, so he'd ensure there was a robust safety conditions and a suitable contingency. The costliness of that contingency would incentivise companies such as BP to be more careful in it's operations. All well and good.

        But faced with the risk of damage to his property vs the opportunity of hugely increased profit, isn't the owner pre-disposed in a system of the kind you suggest to take the risk? Isn't assuming accountability of risk in the pursuit of profit exactly what entrepreneurism is about? Such an owner may be inclined (and would be entitled) to take a gamble, or at least make a calculated risk. So would private ownership of waterways necessarily lead to more effective (non state) regulation? I'm not so sure.

        Another issue is bankruptcy. The importance of bankruptcy as a negative reinforcement seems to underpin your entire argument. But how much of a negative reinforcement is it? How much accountability does bankruptcy really bring? As you know there is a difference between company bankruptcy and personal bankruptcy. It's very doubtful the CEO of BP will be personally bankrupt if the company goes under. It's also reasonably likely he'll find a senior executive role elsewhere. So how much personal accountability does bankruptcy bring? If the answer is "not much", then doesn't your argument about the effects of limited personal accountability (e.g. within the Minerals Management Service) apply?

        Lastly, the article you quoted says: "But it’s already obvious both that BP failed to take adequate precautions, and that federal regulators made no effort to ensure that such precautions were taken."

        At the risk of being overly simplistic, surely the solution then is not more or less regulation, but just better regulation. The issue is not state regulation, the issue is poor regulation. Improved regulation robustly enforced would greatly reduced the risk of this accident happening. Don't need to get rid of government for that, just need some sensible people to make some sensible decisions.

        1. Misha profile image64
          Mishaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Sensible people in a government? You are giving me fits lol

          1. Ron Montgomery profile image61
            Ron Montgomeryposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            You forgot to say, "Life is not fair. smile"

            1. Misha profile image64
              Mishaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              I am not the one to blame for this tongue

              1. Ron Montgomery profile image61
                Ron Montgomeryposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                Prove it. tongue

                1. Misha profile image64
                  Mishaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  I am really flattered by your assumption - but no, I am not the one that created this World smile

        2. Evan G Rogers profile image60
          Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          You take issue with the idea of "corporate bankruptcy" not being a big deterrent. ... but ... government is the one who created this idiotic idea that a company is some how different than a person - so this wouldn't be an issue.

          Also: yeah, sure, if profits are better than the risk involved, then it's probably a valuable venture. If there is a mistake, then people know who to sue, and the waterway owner loses a tremendous amount of money - might even go bankrupt -- that is to say, REAL bankruptcy: indebted repaying the shattered lives he was responsible for.

          as for the regulation issue: give me a break. Why are there federal regulators on this oil rig when BP is "fully" responsible for their own mistakes? Why are my tax dollars subsidizing the "make oil safe to drill" industry? -- Oil companies need to be responsible for regulating themselves, and if they fail in this task, they need to take full responsibility for the damage they do to other people's lives.

          1. Don W profile image82
            Don Wposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            Every libertarian theory makes the following assertion: a fair society is based on liberty. That’s an assumption. It’s not rooted in objective reality. Implementing libertarianism requires a society willing to have no government, or a government willing to vote itself out of existence. The likelihood of either is not great, so the chances of libertarianism being rooted in reality is slim (though not impossible).

            But that's not the main problem with libertarianism. The libertarian "seek[s] a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives". So what about the common good? For the libertarian liberty is in the common good, because "respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world" (quotes from Libertarian Party Platform 2010)

            Strip this argument down and it looks like this:

            a fair society is based on liberty
            liberty is in the common good because it is a "precondition" of a fair society

            See what happened? The conclusion is essentially a repeat of the main premise expressed in a slightly different way. The entire argument rests on that repetition of the assumption. This constitutes a logical fallacy called petitio principii, commonly known as circular logic, or begging the question. It leaves the libertarian floundering in a quagmire of circular logic, which in turn leaves libertarianism bankrupt as a political ideology (if you’ll excuse the pun).

            In my humble opinion until the libertarian thinker overcomes the fundamental weakness in his argument caused by its very nature, there is no alternative but to consider libertarianism an interesting example of a logical fallacy.

            I think I've gone off topic a bit as this thread is about BP and libertarianism not libertarianism per se. But very interesting subject. Good to see the angle a laissez faire fan takes on the BP saga also. Thanks for putting that view across.

            1. leeberttea profile image55
              leebertteaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              I'm afraid you have made an assumption that is incorrect. Libertarians believe in a maximization of individual liberty but that has nothing to do with a fair society. Maximum liberty is based upon natural law and is what governs all of nature.

              I agree this is not perfectly achievable in an organized society where we seek to protect the weak from the strong, but that is the only "common good" and that isn't rooted in libertarianism at all.

              Being that the "common good" is a subjective idea that differs based upon one's own perspective, you have chosen to inject your own ideas of common good into the libertarian philosophy there be distorting it. One can argue that the killing and eating of the weak to preserve the strong is for the "common good" as easily as one can claim we should all share equally in wealth, resources and government. Libertarianism is no more a logical fallacy then communism, neither is achievable in it's pure form but given the choice of which is more the preferred system to guide society, I have to say it is more morally appropriate then any other and a goal we should all strive for.

              1. Don W profile image82
                Don Wposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                You're mistaking an examination of general form, for a semantic argument. The issue is not semantic. To see what I mean simply strip the semantics from the argument, e.g.

                X is based on Y
                therefore X is in the common good because it is a "precondition" of Y

                The argument remains a logical fallacy even without semantics. The fault lies in its general form, not the specific terms used. The issue is that libertarianism constitutes this form of argument.

                You seem to have misread me. I haven't suggested otherwise. In fact I'm using the libertarian idea of what is in the common good, stated in libertarian terms. Unfortunately the language in the Libertarian platform document I quoted is more fluffy than your own characterisation. I agree, for the libertarian, a dog-eat-dog world (as you essentially describe it) is in the common good. And the way to achieve that, for the libertarian, is greater liberty. That's exactly the libertarian position, and indeed the argument you have just made.

                The point is that the reasoning behind this argument is fundamentally flawed because it's based on the circular logic I've described. Again, the exact terms and the language aren't that important. It's the reasoning that's faulty. The form of the argument, not the contents.

                The "natural laws" or more accurately, "natural rights" argument is another example of how libertarianism uses assumption as a conclusion. It goes like this: assume natural rights, assert libertarian principles uphold those rights, then conclude that libertarianism is good because it upholds natural rights. See the loop? That's circular logic.

                Why is this the case with libertarianism? Because the libertarian can only assume. He assumes natural rights, assumes the shape of a libertarian world, assumes what would happen with no government and assumes the outcome would be desirable. In short, the world of the libertarian is essentially imaginary. It is not rooted in objective reality. In epistemologically terms libertarianism is no more than a hope. 

                I'v got nothing against imagination, hope, or assumptions, but I take issue with engaging in group decision making (politics) on the basis of no more than a logical fallacy, which itself is based on assumptions not rooted in objective reality.

                To be useful I think politics needs some grounding in reality, and political argument be able to pass the most basic logical evaluation. In my view libertarianism fails on both counts. But of course, that's just my view.

                1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
                  Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  i COULDN'T help but notice that you added the word "therefore"

                  I don't recall that being stated anywhere on the libertarian forum that you were quoting.

                  that little "therefore" -- only two syllables -- made your argument work. But without it... nope.

                  1. Don W profile image82
                    Don Wposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                    Asserting that something is "because" of something creates a logical consequence, i.e. an inference. So the "therefore" is implied and does not need to be explicitly stated. I stated it explicitly for the purposes of highlighting the point. Removing it won't make the argument any more valid.

            2. Evan G Rogers profile image60
              Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              I can't believe the hoops everyone jumps through to show that libertarianism is "such nonsense":

              Quote Don W: "Every libertarian theory makes the following assertion: a fair society is based on liberty. That’s an assumption. It’s not rooted in objective reality. "

              OK.. since when is being forced to give half of my money to some bozos who will decide how to spend it for me "rooted in objective reality", and not "an assumption".

              Let's talk about the other option and how it pertains to "objective reality"

              Statism (state-ism: the theory that we need a state) makes the assumption that we're all better off letting other people make decisions about our money for us... That's one hell of an assumption, and i vehemently disagree with it.

              Democracy takes an even weirder twist: You're too stupid to know how to spend your own money, so you vote in people to decide how to spend your money for you... but... apparently... you're smart enough to know who to vote in to spend your money for you. This clearly makes no sense... i believe you called it "circular reasoning"... Yet everyone agrees to it.

              You then go on to ... disprove?... libertarian ideals simply based on the statement: "The entire argument rests on that repetition of the assumption."

              ... ok... so if i say "apples are pulled down by gravity to the earth" and "gravity is the force that pulls apples down to the earth"... i didn't disprove anything just by repeating it.

              Then you go on to say "It leaves the libertarian floundering in a quagmire of circular logic, which in turn leaves libertarianism bankrupt as a political ideology"

              So first, you say that the ideas are repetitive, but then you say that they're circular logic. ... How can two statements be repetitive, but also be circular logic?

              "we need liberty and individual rights because it's a precondition for a free society" and "a precondition for a free society is individual rights, and liberty"!   ... these two statements aren't circular in any way. Neither are the two you wrote:

              "a fair society is based on liberty;
              liberty is in the common good because it is a "precondition" of a fair society"

              these are in no way contradictory, nor circular. They are the same sentence written twice, in a different manner.

              I truly and in every way fail to see your arguments. Repetition does NOT prove a theory wrong. Statism (state - ism) makes horrendous contradictions in logic and is merely the same theory the mafia uses.

              You're putting libertarianism through hoops you would never put statism through. Please apply your logic BOTH ways, and you'll end up with some strange conclusions (like... libertarianism makes a lot of sense!)

              1. Don W profile image82
                Don Wposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                I've only mentioned the issue with libertarianism as I see it. Whatever issues state-ism has are irrelevant to that. So if you wish to point out the issues with state-ism, okay. But be aware that doesn't in any way address the fact that the libertarian argument is fundamentally flawed. Suggesting otherwise represents another logical fallacy: the straw man argument, which is essentially misrepresenting an argument, then proceeding to refute the misrepresentation.

                It's not about "disproving" anything. Logic doesn't prove or disprove the premises of an argument. It simply evaluates the reasoning of an argument. In this case the reasoning of the libertarian argument is circular. Your example doesn't show this because it's not the same form. You haven't drawn a conclusion based on repetition of the proposition. You've used the AND operator, to simply add a repetition of the proposition. No conclusion is actually drawn. To make it the same form, simply remove the AND operator and add a logical consequence (inference) like this:

                apples are pulled down by gravity to the earth,
                because gravity is the force that pulls apples down to the earth.

                Can you see? It's not the repetition that's the issue, it's the inference that's based on that repetition, i.e. the drawing of a conclusion from it.

                The libertarian argument assumes liberty (unimpeded by state) is the basis of a free and prosperous society. That's it's proposition. It then asserts  (and this is the part you missed out) that liberty is therefore in the common good. In other words it asserts that such liberty is in the common good because liberty is the basis of a free and prosperous society. See the inference? See the circle? See how the conclusion is inferred from a repetition of the proposition? That's circular logic. In fact it's the logical equivalent of saying "I'm right because I'm right". For comparison here's an argument that doesn't employ circular reasoning, is logically valid and is logically sound.

                Circular reasoning is a logical fallacy.
                The libertarian argument employs circular reasoning.
                Therefore the libertarian argument is a logical fallacy.

                It's not circular because the conclusion is inferred from the premises, but does not rely on a repetition of the proposition. It's valid because the conclusion necessarily follows on from the premises, and it's sound because all the premises are true.

                1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
                  Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  once again, you're adding the word "because" or "therefore" when it isn't there to begin with.

      2. Jeff Berndt profile image74
        Jeff Berndtposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I second that! Evan's hubs on economics are well-written and thought-provoking. I don't always agree (and often disagree!) with his conclusions, but they are logical ones--he's not just spouting Objectivist dogma.

        Go read them. Really.

        1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
          Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          Thanks Jeff

          I've read Jeff's hubs as well - they are good. He's asked for opinions and I've taken his statements in heart when writing.

    2. waynet profile image68
      waynetposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      The librarian would just read a lot of books and may not be bothered about the Oil Spill.... big_smile

  2. Cagsil profile image71
    Cagsilposted 13 years ago

    I am more annoyed by the lack of attention on the whole. hmm

    As you say, the libertarians would place blame on regulations or lack of regulations, when it avoids addressing the problem that is actually causing the problem.

    The other side avoids the underlying problem as well, but loves to throw blame on something other than the truth.

    So, that makes both sides liars. smile No one to trust. smile

    1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
      Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      libertarians would NOT place the blame on a lack of regulations. We would ask why the government is involved in drilling oil in the first place! It's a private industry that should be handled privately. BP, and the owners of the land (in this case water - yes, I'm advocating the ownership of waterways. Gnarly!), should have 100%, unconditional, absolutely no help from government whatsoever, responsibility for what happened.

      IF we actually had a libertarian government, though, offshore drilling wouldn't be happening, and this whole mess wouldn't even have happened. The free-market can sort this stuff out, but unfortunately we abandoned it a long time ago for a Corporatocracy.

      1. Doug Hughes profile image60
        Doug Hughesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        "IF we actually had a libertarian government, though, offshore drilling wouldn't be happening, "

        That's right - and if we had a libertarian govenment it would only rain at night and never on a picnic. The principles of libertarianism are not founded in any reality.  The oil spilll just 'wouldnt even have happened' .
        The free market can 'sort this stuff out' - don't ask how.

        Libertarians are weal-meaning, and most are competent enough to be trusted with motor vehicles and power tools. But they should not be allowed near poltical power.

        1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
          Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          You mock my sound logic.

          We wouldn't have offshore drilling because it wouldn't be cost-efficient! The reason why we're not drilling on land is because environmentalists, et. al., have used government to force the oil drillers off shore.

          Don't try to make me sound like the socialists who ACTUALLY did say things like that. Some claimed that "under socialism, fully cooked chickens will fly in to the mouths of the hungry" and many other ridiculous statements.

          But, if you think about what libertarianism is - Minarchy: the idea of the very very very very least amount of government - you'll begin to see that ANY sentence you find in a newspaper that says "government" wouldn't normally exist. You wouldn't see "Obama today..." or "Government passed a new piece of legislation...". You wouldn't have horribly inefficient and complete- waste- of- money-jobs created by government that come at the expense of free-market jobs that are actually needed and wanted. (Every time you hear a government official claim that they created X jobs, remember always that those people working are doing work that wasn't in demand by the market, and their labor could have been put to better uses.)

          Quote: "Libertarians are weal-meaning, and most are competent enough to be trusted with motor vehicles and power tools. But they should not be allowed near poltical power."

          Well, since you're being a jerk, i'll be a jerk. Good job on misspelling "well-meaning", that took skill.

          But to comment on your idea, and not rely on jerk-ery, why the heck do you think that any other person has done well with government? look around you! Just about everything that government touches falls apart in misery.

          you wanna hear how the free market would work this out? Here's ONE PERSON with NO BUSINESS EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER listing 6 VALID government interventions that had a direct impact on WHY this happened. Imagine who many problems would be solved if the entire economy was working these issues out, instead of just 400 bozos in washington.

          1- no, this oil-spill wouldn't have happened because the government forced drilling off shore
          2- this oil-spill might not have happened because the government is subsidizing oil-drilling
          3-This oil spill might not have happened (we'll never know) because the government fully subsidized the transportation network system - if it weren't for the governmentally created roads, perhaps driving this much and using this much oil wouldn't be cost efficient.
          4-This oil spill might not have happened if people were allowed to own the waterways: who would want an oil company drilling for oil on your property if they had no means of cleaning up a leak? For whatever reason, I can own land, but... not land that has water on top.
          5- This Oil spill wouldn't have happened because of a hidden subsidy to the oil companies: the federal government is helping clean up and using your tax dollars to do it. This sounds an awful lot like a bonus to me! Imagine if BP actually had to have a complete plan of action for the worst case scenario and had to have all the equipment to clean it up and fix it, and had to have the wherewithall to actually clean it up: Oil prices would be higher. If "cleaning up oil spills" is part of your business, then you need to be able to clean it up without someone else's help!
          6- this probably wouldn't have happened without the fact that oil tycoons are a horrendously powerful influence on the people whose decisions affect 310 million people every day. If 400+ people can write "oil companies will get $1 billion of tax payer money" on a sheet of paper, and the other 310 million people have to abide by it... then... who do you THINK the oil companies are going to bribe? -- get rid of this authority (which doesn't actually exist: read your constitution), and issues like this oil spill might not happen.

          So, just because you don't understand how "the free market can 'sort this stuff out'", doesn't mean that it can't.

          1. kerryg profile image84
            kerrygposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            In that case, can you explain how libertarianism would require any cleanup at all? Logically, the oil company would just buy up the land or water they wanted to drill on, so all they'd have to do is contain the spill, not actually clean it up.

            If it got on someone else's property (whether accidentally or "accidentally"), they'd have a choice between cleaning it up and buying the neighboring property off, si? I can't see any way that could possibly go bad at all. tongue

            1. Misha profile image64
              Mishaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              It won't because there would have been no off-shore drilling, therefore no spill. Evan explained why - no roads and no environmentalist legislation. smile

              1. kerryg profile image84
                kerrygposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                Spills can happen on land too: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greensp … reach.html

                As for no roads, I happen to agree with Evan that given what we now know about the social and environmental effects of our oil addiction, subsidizing oil companies and automobile-dependent development was a mistake, and continuing to do so instead of switching to more sustainable forms of energy and development is even more of a mistake. But good luck convincing the American people of that! Environmentalists have been trying for decades.

                Actually, I'm a little surprised you agree with him, given your fondness for cars.

                1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
                  Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  Ok, so "why wouldn't an oil company go around buying up all the waterways"

                  1- most of them wouldn't be very profitable to the company; the money could be better spent elsewhere.

                  2- the cost of fishing and and other waterway-related-activities would go up, and thus, perhaps, oil-drilling wouldn't be worth it as much.

                  3- As Misha points out that I pointed out - it probably wouldn't be profitable in the first place to go out onto the sea.

                  "Why would they bother cleaning up at all? they could just buy the land"

                  1- much of the wealth of oil is subsidized by government. So ... oil companies might not actually be able to buy land anywhere they want to.

                  2- people wouldn't really want to sell their land to an oil company.

                  3- people have a need to take responsibility for their actions, and a system of private courts would surely demand restitution for the damages.

                  4- ... if they buy the land, who really cares? at least the people will get a lot of money and will be able to spend their labor elsewhere. Is that really so god-awful? When Katrina hit, a lot of people moved but weren't given any restitution even though the entire calamity wasn't actually the hurricane, but rather the crappy engineering of the Army Corps of Engineering and the response of FEMA....

                  5- if an oil company just bought up the land, and then started drilling on it, and then a leak happened....

                  ... it's their problem. Who cares. Sure I love animals and plants, but I'm sure that even an EVIL SADICIOUS VILE oil company will have incentives to care about the environment: "Buy BP oil, we don't rape the land and murder Bambi" could easily become the catchphrases of oil companies if the public demands it.

                  1. kerryg profile image84
                    kerrygposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                    The public doesn't demand it. The public doesn't give a s*** as long as they have $2 gas and the spill doesn't happen in their own backyards. Just look at the stuff going on in Nigeria and Ecuador. Nigeria has oil flares that have been burning non-stop for decades; Ecuador has people living in the middle of the "Rainforest Chernobyl." How many Americans have even the dimmest awareness of these decades-old, ongoing crises?

                    http://ecohustler.co.uk/2010/06/16/the- … iner-ever/

                    In libertarian fantasyland it might be okay to foist the social and environmental costs of our own greed off on others as long as it fulfills the market demand for cheap oil, but in the real world, it's wrong!

          2. Doug Hughes profile image60
            Doug Hughesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            1) The govenment did not 'force' offshore drilling - it allowed offshore drilling.   Strike 1.

            2) No one is more opposed to the governement subdsidizing Big Oil than I am. The GOP gave that gift and the Democrats are trying to undo it. However there's not a connection between the oil subsidy and the oil spill. Strike 2.

            3)Governement created roads cause this spill. I take back what I said about libertarians being qualified to operate motor vehicles.  The suggestion that we should NOT have the network of public roads illustrates why libertarians are a hazard. Strike 3.

            4) Rich people whouldbe able to ownthe waterways. That may be more ridiculous than #3. (I can't give you more strikes.)

            I'm tired or the foolishness. I trust everyone can see - there is no 'sound' to your logic.  It deserves to be mocked.

            1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
              Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              1) you're telling me, that without government, offshore drilling would be profitable to the alternative, safer method of drilling on land? gimme a break

              strike 1

              2) There are plenty of connections to subsidies and the oil spill - if oil wasn't subsidized in anyway, the profit system of the industry wouldn't have been skewed in weird ways, and perhaps things wouldn't have happened the way they did. After all - THE ENTIRE ROADWAY SYSTEM was a subsidy to the oil industry... perhaps without the road system subsidy, cars wouldn't have taken off as much as they did, and *gasp* public (but really private) transportation would have taken off -- you liberals like that, right? why are you arguing against me?

              just because you can't SEE the subsidies, or you choose to not make a connection, doesn't mean that the subsidies aren't there.

              Strike 2

              3) You fail to make an argument against mine. Way to suck. I fail to see why so many "uber important, we need them so much" things are private, but roads HAVE-TO-BE, THERE-ARE-NO-ALTERNATIVES-THAT-CAN-MAKE-SENSE public.

              Strike 3

              4) "ZOMG?!!?!?! people can own land!!?!?!! that's nuts!!! you liberals have really lost your minds!!!"

              ... this is your argument against owning waterways (just replace "land" with "waterways" and "liberals" with , i guess, "libertarians", if you really must use the label.) Please polish it up a bit and I'll take it more seriously.

            2. Evan G Rogers profile image60
              Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              oh, and one last statement before i go.

              I've done the entire "argue with someone who doesn't actually argue against your ideas, but instead argues against the person"... it's quite frustrating.

              So I'll just do what i did then to finally get him to address my arguments:

              "Jo momma so fat, when she sits around the house, she sits AROUND the house!!!  OOOooooohh!!! BURNED!!!!!!"


              Oh!! wait!! no!! I just got a better idea: Let's mutually make fun of each other's theory so that we can at least have fun!!

              OK, here's my first shot.

              "Statism makes the statement that you're smart enough to vote people into office, but you're too dumb to know how to spend your own money. But then you also are smart enough to know who is going to be best at spending your money... so that makes no sense"

              ... wait... mine just came out True, and not a joke...

              ok, here's number two:

              "Statism is for people who actually need Palin telling them that she can see Russia from her backyard, and that this somehow qualifies her to negotiate peace treaties in the Middle East!"

              ... darn it... did it again, I made a very accurate statement that was supposed to be a joke... but.. it was simply accurate.

              ok, here's my third shot:

              "Hey everyone!! Let's grant a select group of people monopoly rights over... ... everything!! And then expect them NOT to use it! Yeah!! good idea!!!"

              ... wait, did it again!

              ok one more try, last one i promise...

              "Hey, let's make it so that everyone involuntarily joins a club. We'll kill them if they don't agree (or at least throw them in jail). And then, b/c they've had the wonderful and magnificent PRIVILEGE to join our club (involuntarily), we'll force them to pay us all money (again, if they fail to pay, we'll kill them, or throw them in jail)!!!! And then, we'll say that we have the sole ability to spend their money for them!!! YEAH!!! Let's do that!!!"

              ... dang it! I keep just making true statements that point out the horrendous idiocies of thinking that we need a State! I really have to work on my joke-making abilities!


              Please put your ideas about the state through the same meat-grinder you put libertarian ideas through, and you'll find some strange results

  3. Misha profile image64
    Mishaposted 13 years ago

    LOL Off-road driving is fun, too tongue

    As for spills - yes, definitely, yet they are much easier to shut on shore than off-shore, and therefore the damage is contained and easily repaired - well, easily and contained comparing to underwater. smile

    1. kerryg profile image84
      kerrygposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Oh lord, don't even get me started! We've had to call the police twice already this year to get some f****** idiot teenagers and their even more idiotic father to stop tearing up our property and the neighboring farm field with their ATVs. I think the penalty for ATV ownership should be death. The previous owner used to run out there with his gun to chase them off, and got their machines confiscated at least once, so they're obviously irredeemable. You could call it natural selection. tongue

      1. Misha profile image64
        Mishaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        LOL I promise never even to come close to your property tongue

  4. ilmdamaily profile image68
    ilmdamailyposted 13 years ago

    I'm sympathetic to the whole "less government is good government" argument, but there's a problem I can't resolve:

    How do we reconcile increased private ownership & rights with the accompanying increase in the necessity of the enforcement of those rights?

    That is, claims of ownership are nested within a discourse of "rights". Rights require enforcement. More rights = more enforcement. More enforcement = the requirement for ever-largening government.

    We tend to assume that by reducing "government" and increasing private ownership, that we will cure the ills of the world. But i'm not convinced that this is the case. I think it's been born out in most modern democracies too - certainly in Britain and Australia. The more we lean towards free-market ideals, the larger and more intrusive our governments seem to become. 

    I understand and like the principle, but in every modern democracy where this has happened, it seems to have only worsened the amount of administration and beauracracy(sp?) in place.

    1. kerryg profile image84
      kerrygposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      That's one of the points I was hinting at above.

      I don't see how this libertarian paradise is going to prevent people/companies from deliberately contaminating a piece of neighboring land to force the owner to sell cheaply so they can get access to the reserves under the neighboring property.

      It's not like that kind of behavior has any precedent in human history, after all.

      Granted, corrupt government officials have often turned a blind eye to this sort of behavior and sometimes even been party to it, but I still think the possibility of justice is better than no justice at all.

    2. Evan G Rogers profile image60
      Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Let me help really quickly (i gotta get going, so this is going to be a sort of half-arsed argument)

      why is the government considered the only enforcer of rights? this needn't be so. Surely private property rights are a very valuable thing to enforce and to keep steady: any company, any citizen, and every entity on a market would willingly pay money to enforce their rights ( sort of a "property rights insurance", if you would). As soon as you realize that property rights are valuable, and understand that it could easily be dealt with in as some sort of an insurance type market, you'll start to see that courts could be provided through a private system (imagine it - courts that run efficiently because they are contracted. They'd be rated, and compared, and eventually crappy courts would be weeded out). And likely, these courts would have the right (granted through contracts that were signed BEFORE any agreements between parties) to enforce the contracts. There would likely also be private police forces.

      Before you argue that "zomg everything would be corrupt", please realize...


      ... it already is.

  5. Ron Montgomery profile image61
    Ron Montgomeryposted 13 years ago

    Hi, my name is Ron and I'm a libertarian

    [Room responds' "Hi Ron" ]

    Speaking from the perspective of a recovering libertarian (3,068 days pragmatic and sensible smile) I can tell you that those still living under the influence of Ayn Rand and Harry Brown will put themselves through tremendous contortions of logic to make the entire episode (like any problem faced by modern society) squarely in the lap of... (cue sinister villain music) GOVERNMENT. 

    Corporate executives rape and pillage their way to obscene wealth at the expense of the "small people" because governments force them to.

    A legislative body elected by the general populace cannot possibly act in the interests of the electorate, only corporate executives are qualified to rule.  Once we get those pesky "socialized" cops out of the way, the mighty corporate police force will ensure domestic tranquility.  (Will the McDonald's cops have badges that look like golden arches?)

    The uneducated masses who believe the people should decide how our country is run  -through their elected representatives-  are naive, but will eventually come to know the blessings of libertarian society after the great catastrophe that surely awaits us as a result of the tyranny of... (cue sinister villain music)  GOVERNMENT.  If you want to know how this works, just read "Atlas Shrugged".

    The gulf oil spill, seemingly an isolated incident, is actually an early event in the coming appocolypse of government-caused environmental plagues. 

    Coming soon:

    Government-caused Global Warming - Don't you realize this would not be possible in a libertarian economy?  Market forces would stabilize the Earth's temperature, and if that didn't work an incentive would be created for an innovative entrepeneur to develop and produce space umbrellas to block out the sun when necessary.  Everybody wins! smile

    Government-caused species extinction - Government has a vested interest in wiping out any species that cannnot be subjugated.  Those libertarian-like polar bears, frolicking in the free-market-provided arctic wonderland are just too steeped in personal liberties to be allowed to prosper.


    Please join us in the lobby for some government surplus milk and cookies, smile

    1. Evan G Rogers profile image60
      Evan G Rogersposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Wow, you really... twist the logic of libertarianism, don't ya?

      here's a quick run down of an ACTUALLY libertarian take on the subject:


  6. leeberttea profile image55
    leebertteaposted 13 years ago

    No, government isn't evil, not when it actually represents the will of the people, but we all know this government does not. They system is corrupt and it corrupts those of good intentions that enter into it.

    It is government that crafted the regulations that it later waived. It was government that created the Jones Act that cause the government to deny help from the Dutch and other countries that offered to help in the clean up efforts. it was government that forced BP and others to drill in deeper waters, and it was government that was slow to act in response to the clean up preventing LA from dredging sand to create a barrier of the oil slick.

    BP is guilty of lax safety measures that led to this catastrophe and they are responsible for cleaning it up. But it wasn't BP that capped liability, it was the government!

    We the people need cheap energy to survive, and to thrive. It is BP and others that are willing to supply that to us at a reasonable cost for a fair profit but it is government that should require that it be done in a way that doesn't hurt us economically or damage our environment. BP and our government has failed, but it is mainly our government that is the worst offender because it has allowed it's own interests to trump that of the people it was supposedly elected to represent.

    1. profile image0
      EmpressFelicityposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Is this the act you mean?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_M … ct_of_1920
      "Section 27, also known as the Jones Act, deals with cabotage  (i.e., coastal shipping) and requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. The purpose of the law is to support the U.S. merchant marine industry, but agricultural interests generally oppose it because, they contend, it raises the cost of shipping their goods, making them less competitive with foreign sources."

      According to the US government's own statement (http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2010/06/15 … es-act.htm, the Act hasn't prevented foreign ships from helping with the cleanup.  But then again, I suppose they would say that.

  7. profile image56
    C.J. Wrightposted 13 years ago

    For the most part, without government regulation the need for off shore drilling would be greatly diminished. Further not all off shore drilling is equal. In other words location, location, location. The very danger with this well was created by government regulations. i.e. the depth and location. High pressure wells at those depth's are extremely dangerous. They create logistical and engineering nightmares....

  8. Doug Hughes profile image60
    Doug Hughesposted 13 years ago

    Libertarian thinking is based on the premise of greater individal freedom and small (or no) government.  This theory is as attractive and useless as communism because, like communism, liberatinaism ignores human nature.

    Look at the current scenario. The only thing that caused BP to part with 20 billion to compensate the victims - which they will do in the US and don't do in other parts of the world - is a strong central government with the power to lay penalties on one of the most powerful multinationals on earth. BP was afraid of the federal government.

    Flip this to a hypothetical libertarian government. Would they have the power to require BP drill not one but two relief wells? Require they spend hundreds of millions getting all available equipment to the Gulf? Ban deepwarer drilling in the Gulf until we know what caused this disaster? Would a libertarain government be able to lay a bill on BP for 100 million to compensate the US government for expenses incurred from the spill so the taxpayer isn't stuck with the bill?

    HUGE global financial entites like BP have no patriotic allegiance. They operate all over the world and they are in it for the profit. Period. If you castrate government to ensure personal liberty (a dubious premise) you guarantee that these big companies will operate with impunity. The eco-disasters Big Oil left in other parts of the world with NO atttempt to clean up illustrate what a boon a weak government is to the multinationals who know a strong federal government can take them down if they go too far.


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