Mesolibertarians

(via The Agitator)

Neither paleo nor neo, Matthew Hogan describes a Third Way for libertarians.

All written tongue-in-cheek (TIC), of course, since being middle of the road should define regular old libertarians, but I suppose with the general unfamiliarity of the public with libertarian thought (as libertarian thought, rather than as an unconscious attitude that bubbles forth unbidden), it may be necessary to claim a specific niche label, for those who wish to differentiate...

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This is a really dumb idea,

This is a really dumb idea, defining oneself by inessential differences with existing categories.

I'm an individualist, which means I recognize the primacy and sovereignty of the individual.

Two quotes: "The individual

Two quotes:

"The individual is the central, rarest, most precious capital resource of society."

Peter F. Drucker

"To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform."

Theodore H. White

This is a really dumb idea,

This is a really dumb idea, defining oneself by inessential differences with existing categories.

I think there are different 'species' of libertarian, and this is not always a bad thing. For example, I know many former conservative Christians who would not be libertarians today if not for the 'paleos'. I also know many 'radical' libertarians who got their toe in the water with Walter Williams.

What I don't like is 'purging' and 'ostracism' among libertarians. I would rather disagree civilly and argue about philosophical differences instead of 'banishing' people.

Jonathan, My point was that

Jonathan,

My point was that providing a laundry list of differences is a lousy way to categorize. Imagine defining yourself in terms of your differences from five famous people.

What is the essence of mesolibertarianism? There is none.

I agree, one shouldn't

I agree, one shouldn't define oneself solely in what one is not, which is what 'mesolibertarian' seems to be- a little bit of everything, but none of the things that seem bad or extreme of the different flavors of libertarian.

Brian Doss: I agree, one

Brian Doss: I agree, one shouldn't define oneself solely in what one is not ?

I agree.

like an Atheist -- a person who does NOT believe in ?God? (whatever that is suppose to mean???)

or like someone who believes in ?free will?, which is technically just a person claiming to NOT believe in Determinism.

John Kennedy: I'm an individualist, which means I recognize the primacy and sovereignty of the individual.

You see ? this is why I suspect that you are a Good Graviton in your heart (soul). You profess the same ultimate purpose (goal) it is only in methodology that we appear to differ.

I find myself completely fascinated with how you managed to arrive at the same conclusion via such an obviously different route?

I define my position in a

I define my position in a pretty extreme manner, but recognize that there's a need to work on any particular issue with a lot of people who don't agree with me on anything else. That's the way to promote liberty: by "salting" larger coalitions and movements with libertarian ideas, and acting within the context of ad-hoc single-issue politics. It is, of course, necessary to stand for something before you can even have a reason for cooperating with others; but such clarity shouldn't preclude cooperation in areas of agreement.

who is this guy? Serpent, I

who is this guy? Serpent, I mean. You have a serious free will bone to pick don't you, guy? Two points:
a. defining something only in reference to what it is not may be bad practice in general, but is absolutely inescapable for other things. Try defining nakedness without reference to clothes (or other artifical coverings.) Free is a similar word.

b. The fact that you can define something is not particularly important. Defining God as "a human with a whole bunch of power" isn't substantially better than difining a unicorn as "a horse with a big horn on its head." Congrats for defining things that don't exist, whereas I can't define a quark (which presumably does) but don't think it gets you any argumentative leverage.

That's true, matt, as far as

That's true, matt, as far as it goes. For political movements or descriptions of ideologies, to describe oneself solely in opposition to another ideology or belief set is to build one's foundation on sand. That is, when or if you ever defeat the other ideology, how do you describe yourself?

With nakedness, that always applies, but for say, the anti-communists, what is there now that could animate such a 'movement' now that communism is dead as a world military, revolutionary, and ideological force? There isn't anything, which is why anti-communism isn't a coherent ideology and is not a "movement".

Setting up "Mesolibertarian" as a supposed subset that is opposed to Paleolibertarians, of which I know their positions, and opposed to so-called "neolibertarians", of which I have no clue what they're supposed to believe (I guess its a Neocon that calls itself libertarian? Hawkish? what?), is to just say "I'm neither type and am thus completely inoffensive- I am all that is good about libertarians, and none that is considered bad". That's not an ideology, that's a pose. Its not even its own brand of libertarianism.

matt who is this guy?

matt who is this guy? Serpent, I mean. You have a serious free will bone to pick don't you, guy?

My apologies if it disturbs you, but I am bound by Destiny to be who I am.

matt Two points:
a. defining something only in reference to what it is not may be bad practice in general, but is absolutely inescapable for other things. Try defining nakedness without reference to clothes (or other artifical coverings.) Free is a similar word.

I would say that ANY valid premise can be written in the form of:

X or Not(X)

In other words, for any basic concept (base meme) there exist a mutually exclusive opposite.

For example: Naked is the mutually exclusive opposite of Not Naked.

Or ?free will? is the mutually exclusive opposite of ?God?.

matt b. The fact that you can define something is not particularly important.

Never-the-less the fact that you CANNOT define ?free will? should be telling YOU something which is particularly important.

matt Defining God as "a human with a whole bunch of power" isn't substantially better than defining a unicorn as "a horse with a big horn on its head." Congrats for defining things that don't exist, whereas I can't define a quark (which presumably does) but don't think it gets you any argumentative leverage.

And yet when you claim to possess magical ?free will? powers I still have no idea what you are talking about. But I guess it would be a lot more difficult for you to defend your absurd claim if you actually bothered to explain it first. As it stands now you and the rest of the ?free will? believers can simply hide behind your mysticism.

Although I do know what a ?quark? is and I do know what a ?unicorn? is suppose to look like.

I would say that ANY valid


I would say that ANY valid premise can be written in the form of:

X or Not(X)

In other words, for any basic concept (base meme) there exist a mutually exclusive opposite.

For example: Naked is the mutually exclusive opposite of Not Naked.

Or ?free will? is the mutually exclusive opposite of ?God?.
koay, I don't know if you understood my point here. You point out (correctly) that free will cannot be defined without reference to deterministic conepts. My point was that it's not a big deal. If someone told you they were naked, you wouldn't criticize the statement as undefinable. Maybe you're right about opposites, but from the little bit I've thought about them, they're less important then youd imagine.

Never-the-less the fact that you CANNOT define ?free will? should be telling YOU something which is particularly important.
which is that it doesn't exist I suppose? My point is that I can define it as well as you can define "naked", and since I'm sure you use the word "naked" in conversation, you should switch to another anti-free will argument (and there are plenty.)

Plenty of things are undefinable- like colors, or moral concepts- but it's silly then to presume that they don't exist. Try defining yellow without pointing at it, for instance. Do you then argue that the world is colorless, and that colorless green ideas sleep furiously? Funny sentence, but contains plenty of undefinables. Of course you don't live in a colorless world- the only reason you'd consider the analogous argument (for determinism) is because it links (at least in your mind) two ideas which are already disposed to believe: god and libertarianism.

But I guess it would be a lot more difficult for you to defend your absurd claim if you actually bothered to explain it first. As it stands now you and the rest of the ?free will? believers can simply hide behind your mysticism.
I never claimed to posess them. I can't prove them. I also can't prove that "it is wrong to murder infants for fun." I am a believer in Cartesian common sense though, and that will suffice.

Brian, you may be correct to

Brian, you may be correct to a degree, but I don't agree with your fundamental point. I have a vague notion of what I'd like the future to look like, and there are plenty of tricky issues involved its application. I don't think working those out is a neccesary precondition for criticizing the present state of affairs though. Look at the history of Math, or Kuhn's theory of scientific progress. It doesn't progress via the constant suggestion of new models, it progresses by having people work out some internal contradictions within the old model. That's not an argument for the status quo, incidentally, but it's an argument that progress can be made most effectively by devoting your time to the pratical matters at hand, while developing your ideals as well.

matt: You point out

matt: You point out (correctly) that free will cannot be defined without reference to deterministic concepts. My point was that it's not a big deal.

I would say it is a big deal, here?s why:

When you say that something is the opposite of Naked (NOT naked), then it is very easy for me to envision what you are talking about; however, when you say that something is NOT Determinism I have no real idea what you are talking about. In fact, as best as I can determine when you claim that Determinism is FALSE you are actually trying to claim that A) you have indefinable magic powers, or B) that Solipsism is True and myself and everyone else you perceive are merely figments of your subconscious imagination (i.e. the entire universe is a product of your mind).

Option A is merely an absurd expression of mysticism.

However if Determinism actually is FALSE, then option B is certainly what is true in reality.

matt: If someone told you they were naked, you wouldn't criticize the statement as undefinable.

I agree, but that is because the concept of naked and not naked are well defined (i.e. consistent and parsimonious).

?free will? on the other hand is only consistent and parsimonious when Solipsism is true in which case the entity reading this ?post? is the only entity to exist in reality.

matt: Maybe you're right about opposites, but from the little bit I've thought about them, they're less important then you?d imagine.

I disagree. Understanding the Law of Opposites is fundamental to comprehending reality as it truly is.

matt: [the fact that you CANNOT define ?free will? should be telling YOU something ?] which is that it doesn't exist I suppose? My point is that I can define it as well as you can define "naked", and since I'm sure you use the word "naked" in conversation, you should switch to another anti-free will argument (and there are plenty.)

Okay, here is another argument for why you don?t have ?free will?.

The Laws of Physics (TLOP) control the behavior of all ?matter? (Energy).
Your physical brain (and body) are made of ?matter? and Nothing else.
Ergo, TLOP controls ALL of the thoughts, actions, emotions, memories, and feelings that take place inside your physical brain.

YOU control your CAR.
TLOP controls YOU.

And in the same way that YOU are more conscious than CAR, TLOP is more conscious than YOU.

matt: Plenty of things are undefinable- like colors, or moral concepts ?

I disagree that colors or moral concepts are undefinable.

For examples colors can be objectively defined either in terms of the wavelength of the photons present, or in terms of their additive (mathematical) properties. For example:

Blue + Green = Yellow
Blue ? Yellow = Green
Blue + Red = Purple

matt: ? but it's silly then to presume that they don't exist.

I agree they ?exist?, but the real question is in what form do they exist from a perspective in Ultimate Reality?

matt: Try defining yellow without pointing at it, for instance.

Yellow = Oscillating photons traveling at the speed of light with a wavelength of approximately 570 nanometers.

matt: Do you then argue that the world is colorless, and that colorless green ideas sleep furiously? Funny sentence, but contains plenty of undefinables. Of course you don't live in a colorless world- the only reason you'd consider the analogous argument (for determinism) is because it links (at least in your mind) two ideas which are already disposed to believe: god and libertarianism.

I?ll put it to you like this ? the color ?Red? that you see when you look at an Apple is an illusion. The reality is actually oscillating photons, traveling at the speed of light, with a wavelength of approximately 6500 angstrom.

Similarly, you perceive that you possess ?free will?, but science tells you that this perception is an illusion just like the color ?Red?. ?free will? is the illusion that you perceive; Determinism (fatalism) is the underlying reality that you fail to perceive.

matt: [?free will? powers ?] I never claimed to possess them. I can't prove them.

So you are Agnostic on the issue of ?free will?? Are you equally Agnostic on the issue of ?God??

matt: I also can't prove that "it is wrong to murder infants for fun."

Another reason to add to the list of ?Why you should be a Determinist?.

matt: I am a believer in Cartesian common sense though, and that will suffice.

I am a firm believer in common sense.

What is the difference/distinction between Cartesian common sense and the regular vanilla variety of common sense (i.e. logic)?

Since when did common sense

Since when did common sense become synonomous with logic? Common sense leads us to believe that induction is logical; it isn't. Common sense leads us to believe that the fundamental axioms of mathematics are logical; they aren't. And so on.

In fact, as best as I can

In fact, as best as I can determine when you claim that Determinism is FALSE you are actually trying to claim that A) you have indefinable magic powers, or B) that Solipsism is True and myself and everyone else you perceive are merely figments of your subconscious imagination (i.e. the entire universe is a product of your mind).
I have no idea, first off, why solipsism is the only thing compatible with free will. It may be the only thing compatible with pure freedom, but surely you wouldn't suppose that's what I must mean. When I say "you're free" to respond, I obviously don't mean that you're "free" to fly about the room and do anything that you could imagine doing.

More importantly, you have just ignored my analogy, by saying "I understand one but not the other." Nice. Let's try this then: you're a fatalist right? And you believe god created universe in some liebnizian way apparently? Then whatever power you grant to god as the "first cause/choice maker/unmoved mover/cause of himself" try granting a limited form of that to humans. The fact that you believe in a god should be enough to convince you of these mystical powers you're always railing against right? If not, try my analogy again.

?free will? on the other hand is only consistent and parsimonious when Solipsism is true in which case the entity reading this ?post? is the only entity to exist in reality.
no way. Naked could also be taken to mean the abscence of skin too, or of muscle, bone whatever. You're the one trying to reduce things here. "Naked" means "without clothes" not "without any covering whatsoever." Do you understand what I'm saying? Free Will means "without certain bounds" not "without all bounds."

The Laws of Physics (TLOP) control the behavior of all ?matter? (Energy).
Your physical brain (and body) are made of ?matter? and Nothing else.
Ergo, TLOP controls ALL of the thoughts, actions, emotions, memories, and feelings that take place inside your physical brain.

TLOP don't "control" a damn thing. Think about what you're writing here. They describe a process, a constant conjunction to which we ascribe causality. That's fine. The laws don't cause anything though, and while asking "what gravity does/ what are gravity's predictable effects" is fruitful (just as I claimed that deterministically approaching the social sciences is a better idea) asking what gravity is only produces metaphyisical mumbo jumbo (even from Stephen Hawking.)

And in the same way that YOU are more conscious than CAR, TLOP is more conscious than YOU.
hmmm... That's not neccesarily true. Why should we assume that TLOP is conscious?

For examples colors can be objectively defined either in terms of the wavelength of the photons present, or in terms of their additive (mathematical) properties.
I said colors, not "the cause of colors" which are clearly certain wavelengths. That means nothing. If I asked you to describe the taste of Lasagna, I doubt you'd give me an answer using complex sugars. Why not? Because such an answer would either be:
a. meaningless in terms of describing the actual experience of "taste." or
b. dependant on other lasagna/complex sugar related experiences I've had.

That is unsatisfactory. G.E. Moore has already produced a nice demonstration of the indescribability of "yellow."

I agree they ?exist?, but the real question is in what form do they exist from a perspective in Ultimate Reality?
Look, I'm not familiar with Scientology or whatever, so you're going to have to start defining things like "ultimate reality."

Yellow = Oscillating photons traveling at the speed of light with a wavelength of approximately 570 nanometers.
that is not yellow at all. See above.

Similarly, you perceive that you possess ?free will?, but science tells you that this perception is an illusion just like the color ?Red?. ?free will? is the illusion that you perceive; Determinism (fatalism) is the underlying reality that you fail to perceive.
well there's the rub, serpent. This makes an excellent analogy for our discussion of free will: do you act as if colors don't exist? Do you argue with anaybody who uses the concept of color? Hell, maybe I should run more "red" lights, since they don't even exist.

So you are Agnostic on the issue of ?free will?? Are you equally Agnostic on the issue of ?God??
pretty much yeah. I wouldn't say equally agnostic on the subject of god, though. No offense but I think God is not "clearly and distinctly" knowable, in any form. It also requires positing the existance of a being unlike any other, and such positing is already nicely explained by other factors, often psychological.

Another reason to add to the list of ?Why you should be a Determinist?.
because I can't prove moral concepts? Does that mean that you can? Please, tell me o wise one.

What is the difference/distinction between Cartesian common sense and the regular vanilla variety of common sense (i.e. logic)?
Well not a whole lot, Cartesian common sense uses a "clear and distinct" criterion, as well as an "nonfalsifiable/provable" in the world criteria.

Micha:

Common sense leads us to believe that induction is logical; it isn't.
hmm... then a fortiori deduction isn't logical right?

Common sense leads us to believe that the fundamental axioms of mathematics are logical; they aren't. And so on.
sort of depends on your criteria. Common sense might lead us to believe all sorts of crazy stuff- but it's also useful for really murky concepts that we all understand but can't really define like "justice." The important thing is that common sense is a tool only to be used in the abscence of evidence. So cogito ergo sum relies on Descartes common sense criteria: clarity and distinctness.