Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My thoughts on all this recent BHL stuff

People are actually arguing about the value of social justice and are apparently morally apoplectic about preventing a hypothetical resident of a hypothetical island from starving to death.

So my thoughts: I just don't get libertarians sometimes. I would have thought these would be two very easy things to talk about. Apparently it makes a whole swath of libertarians suspect. I hope my brief perusal of the discussion has just given me a misleading picture, but I don't think it has.


  1. Daniel,

    How to the world views of sociopath's and libertarians differ?

    They don't.

    I have never meet a libertarian who wasn't a sociopath or suffer from other personality disorders or both.

    Take a good prominent public example, DON BOUDREAUX. Take a moment to list all his sociopath behaviors.

    Look at the comments in the discussion of social justice on the various blogs.

    Remember, sociopaths comprise 4% of the population, 1 in 25 people, giving rise to a widely diverse set of behaviors that are sociopathic.

    Do yourself a favor. Go the Amazon and buy a copy of Martha Stouts, The Sociopath Next door.

  2. Those aren't "thoughts". Those are unexplained, unanalyzed reactions, as per usual. You might as well have posted a "look of disapproval" emoticon, and that's it.

  3. So it's OK if 2 people vote to take your wallet, right? Not exactly reading the thought experiment charitably, are you? Anon #1, please explain how Don Boudreaux is a sociopath.

  4. You'd have to understand that, for example, Rothbardian branch of libertarians, views all rights as property rights - in body (self-ownership) and external resources (acquired through homesteading of previously unowned resources or trade). And thus they will be always opposed to use of coercion/aggression against anyone to provide resources (social justice blah blah) to a hypothetical resident of a hypothetical island who is starving to death. They would only approve of helping the man if it's voluntary.

    As for the Anonymous commenter above, I pity most people because they have not principles to guide them. Their world-view does not make sense in their own head - they don't know whether they should oppose war, agitate for higher taxes and foreign aid, or whether electricians must have a State licence or not. It's confusing and frustrating way to live a life. I, labelled as "sociopath", do not have that problem. Libertarian rights theory and praxeology explains so much. I love people, their individuality, but I refuse to aggress against anyone, even if it's for theirs or someone else's good.

  5. Juraj loves people... just not enough to care if they live or die.

  6. Different anonymous here.
    I think the thought experiment gets a lot more interesting if you change it a little bit. What if the 10th person who can't produce enough to subsist isn't disabled but is strong enough to take production from Able Able?

    For my part, I hardly expect that our unproductive ruffian should let himself starve. But what about the eight in middle? Should they dedicate some of their production to protect the wealth of the richest? This, IMO, is a closer analogy to the dilemma faced by the middle class.

  7. Yes, your brief perusal of the discussion is silly, uninformed, simplistic and misleading. Read the debates, engage the ideas and then say something mildly smart about them.

  8. The first anonymous commenter on here should also read a little more. Clearly he has no idea what the debates are about and resorts to ad hominems and claims of sociopathy rather than addressing the issues. I agree with the second commenter: these are not thoughts; they are uninformed, prejudiced comments that will only be taken seriously by people who want to confirm their priors and own prejudices (like Brad DeLong).

    1. Why do you say this. You realize you've added nothing substantive to this. These are thoughts. They're clearly thoughts you disagree with, but apparently you can't trouble yourself (or aren't up to the task of?) articulating what your issue is with it.

      Commenting on Bryan's post and the BHL post it would be inappropriate for me to just register such an unarticulated statement of disagreement. On my own blog I have the freedom to just note that I'm dumbfounded at what some people make a big deal about.

      When you come here and whine like this, you're the one that looks thoughtless, not me. If you want to share unelaborated thoughts, write it up on your own blog. If you're going to come here and accuse other people uninformed and prejudiced you better have an argument.

      I don't know what the deal is with you trolls lately. Articulate an actual argument - don't snipe with snide comments.

      And stop commenting anonymously, everyone.

    2. You realize Bryan just asserted his view as self-evident too, don't you. He didn't make an argument at all either. And that's fine - it's his blog. He can share unelaborated thoughts.

      I bet you didn't gift everyone with your anonymous bitching and whining in his comment thread.

  9. I actually appreciate the discussion because it illuminates the moral and ethical character (or lack thereof) of some of our beloved bloggers and economists.

    Much like with journalism, being forced to hide bias only hides it on the surface; underneath it all, the bias still exists and skews the quality of news reporting to favor their bias. These kinds of discussions expose those dark thoughts that come from inhumane ideology.

    1. I should add that it shouldn't really take much effort for Bryan Caplan or any other libertarian to note that these thought experiments are intentionally limited in scope and that while Able Abel might be able to produce a lot more than the others, the others may have skills Able does not. Heck, a one sentence response is all that's necessary: Abel can simply teach the rest how to be more productive instead of being a self-interested jerk.

      But people who are interested in pushing their inefficient ideological preferences of liberty are more comfortable with the simple, myopic pseudo-philosophical questions. It makes one question whether they always think with such blindness all the time.


All anonymous comments will be deleted. Consistent pseudonyms are fine.