TCS Daily


The Coercion Herring

By Arnold Kling - May 10, 2007 12:00 AM

"What is really at stake in the argument over the moral foundations of the market, and therefore minimum wage laws, is what rights people have, how much weight they have, and what the proper aims of government are. It is at best misleading to disguise discussion about these issues as a debate about the proper understanding of the notion of coercion."
-- Liam Murphy

For libertarians, one moral trump card against government is that government action is coercive. In the private sector, individuals deal with one with one another voluntarily. When you deal with government, ultimately government holds a gun to your head.

I disagree with libertarians on this point. I believe that there are significant differences between government action and private contracts, but I believe that it is incorrect to say that a key difference is that government is backed by force and private contracts are not.

Even in a libertarian society, contracts must be enforced and disputes must be resolved. Ultimately, government will have a Golden Scepter with which to settle disputes.

Below, I will use a few examples to illustrate the point that coercion is implicit in private-sector behavior. Then, I will articulate in a different way the moral intution that government power is more dangerous to freedom than private contracting.

The Rude Smoker

Suppose that in community Libertopia, in response to customer preferences, all of the better restaurants ban smoking. In nearby community Paternafascista, there is a law that bans smoking in restaurants.

Consider a rude smoker who decides to go to one of the better restaurants and light up. In Paternafascista, if the smoker is really obstinate about smoking in the restaurant, he may be forcibly removed from the restaurant by the police.

In Libertopia, smoking is banned by policy rather than by law. Suppose that the rude smoker goes into one of the better restaurants and lights up. The owner of the restaurant comes over and points to the no-smoking policy. The smoker says, "I don't care. I have every right to smoke." The restaurant owner insists that the restaurant is his property. Furthermore, by coming to the restaurant, customers have implicitly agreed not to smoke. The smoker says that he never agreed to any such thing. The restaurant owner calls for his bouncer. The smoker calls for his bodyguard. Fearing violence, the restaurant owner calls the police, who forcibly remove the smoker from the restaurant.

In both Libertopia and Paterfascista, smokers are not able to smoke in the better restaurants. If someone insists on trying to smoke, he may end up forcibly removed by the police.

The Jim Crow Bus Company

In Libertopia, the Jim Crow Bus Company has a "whites-only" policy for the front half of the bus. If non-whites try to sit in the front half of the bus, the bus driver will make them move. If they refuse, the bus driver will call the police, who will enforce the property rights of the bus company.

In Paternafascista, there is a law that says that non-whites must sit in the back of the bus. If they refuse, the bus driver will call the police, who will enforce the law.

To non-whites boarding a Jim Crow bus, Libertopia and Paternafascista look the same. If they try to sit near the front of a bus operated by Jim Crow, ultimately they may be forcibly removed from the bus by the police.

The Minimum Wage Pledge

In Libertopia, a landlord believes strongly in the minimum wage. Before he will rent to you, he makes you sign a pledge saying that you will not accept a job below the minimum wage. If you violate that pledge, he will evict you. If you do not comply with your eviction, he will call the police.

In Paternafascista, there is a minimum wage law. If you accept a job below the minimum wage, and the government finds out about it, your employer will be punished by the government.

In either community, you will not be able to work below the minimum wage and stay in your apartment. In either community, government will be the ultimate enforcer. (I admit, though, that I had to stretch pretty hard to come up with a way to enact the minimum wage privately.)

The Real Case for Limited Government

In my view, the reason that government laws are more offensive than private agreements is that the jurisdiction of private individuals is limited. A restaurant owner may only enforce a smoking ban for his restaurant. If a competing restaurant wants to allow smoking, it can. A private bus company can only have a racist seating policy on its buses. A competing bus companies can offer open seating to all races. A minimum-wage advocating landlord can only reject tenants for his property. A competing landlord could choose to rent to tenants who accept jobs below the minimum wage.

When two business firms sign a contract, one of the stipulations of the contract may be that any dispute will be settled according to the laws and courts of a particular state. The two companies bind themselves to accepting a particular jurisdiction.

When I choose to live in a particular community, I obligate myself to obey the laws of that community. The fact that I do not like many of those laws is the price that I pay for living in that community.

The wider the jurisdiction of the community, and the greater the intrusiveness of its laws, the more costly it is for individuals to find a set of laws that suits them. I live in a county with many political policies that I find objectionable, because the cost of moving to a more politically congenial location is high.

Government policies take away more liberty than equivalent private policies. The reason is not that government policies are backed by physical force. The reason is that government has broader jurisdiction. With private policies, when I am adversely affected by a policy, I can choose an alternative service provider at relatively low cost. With government, because its jurisdiction is so extensive, the cost to me of escaping adverse policies is much higher. It is not the armed force that makes government feel more like tyranny. It is the absence of competition.

Limited government is a legitimate moral ideal. However, as a libertarian, do not be so quick to claim that government's uniqueness is its ability to achieve compliance using physical force. Non-libertarians are likely to respond to this dogma with a look of incomprehension. And they are right.

The difference between government laws and private agreements is not that only the former are ultimately backed by force. The difference is that the cost of finding an alternative government jurisdiction is typically much higher than the cost of finding another private party to a contract.

Arnold Kling is author of Learning Economics and Crisis of Abundance.


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145 Comments

Hmmm. Actually the problem is "who decides?"
The issue is neither monopoly-of-force nor range-of-jurisdiction. The issue is simply "who decides?". That is, I understand why a property owner should (morally) have control over what happens on or to his property, but why should some random politician decide on behalf of all property owners? Whare's the moral force in that?

You forgot a couple examples...
In Libertopia, movie theaters privately ban people from having their cell phones ring during a movie. At the beginning of movies, they ask patrons to turn off their phones or set them to vibrate in consideration of other patrons. When someone's cell phone rings, the other patrons get annoyed and a theater employee has to decide whether to escort the offender out.

Fortunately, in Fascistostan where I live, there is a law against having your cell phone ring in a theater. Just last week, some guy's cell phone rang during "Spiderman 3" and the cops were there to go Rodney King on him. We didn't even hear the sirens!

Also in Libertopia, it is illegal to snap a photograph at a PGA event while a golfer is mid-swing. A few weeks ago, Tiger Woods stopped a drive mid swing after a camera went off and waited for course officials to escort the offending photog over to Vijay's pairing.

But if Fascistostan, an obnoxious golf photographer would be jailed for 30 days and likely gang raped by people who violated the ban on restaurant smoking.

But seriously Arnold. I'm not convinced. It sounds like you're mostly projecting a profound dislike of smokers.

I'm Missing Something....
"But seriously Arnold. I'm not convinced."

Not convinced about what? I don't see the relevance of your cleverly hyperbolic examples. Are you saying that gov't policies and private policies alike DON'T both ultimately rely on force to be upheld? Seems fairly logical to me.

That's been the classic complaint about strict Lbertarianism for some time: the idea that if individuals are permitted to interact of their own volition (which they should be), their interactive choices will always be ETHICAL ones. Considering the Nature of Man which the giant lab experiment called History has revealed, some people are just downright bastards. Therefore, contracts -- whether gov't or private -- need a mechanism by which they can be obliged between parties. In the end, some kind of force is the bedrock threat which best motivates uncooperative people.

I found Mr. Kling's article quite reasonable.

coercion
Great article and particularly good comments by BoscoH. It's one of the main phoney arguments that liberals try to make against libertarians, this idea of still having to need so much force. But as some of the guys above pointed out, there are actually many occasion when people do solve these disputes without need of police or courts. Even in the MSM we often hear the mention of; "the matter was settled out of court", which means that the quareling parities made amends or agreed to somehting, or just compensated the hurting party. Some libertarians even say that most government police and courts could be done away with by means of such organizations as; Dispute Resolution Organizations. They might be going together with insurance companies, and credit agencies, black lists of know bad guys so others wouldn't serve him, etc.

coercion

Great article and particularly good comments by BoscoH. It's one of the main phoney arguments that liberals try to make against libertarians, this idea of still having to need so much force. But as some of the guys above pointed out, there are actually many occasion when people do solve these disputes without need of police or courts. Even in the MSM we often hear the mention of; "the matter was settled out of court", which means that the quareling parities made amends or agreed to somehting, or just compensated the hurting party. Some libertarians even say that most government police and courts could be done away with by means of such organizations as; Dispute Resolution Organizations. They might be going together with insurance companies, and credit agencies, black lists of know bad guys so others wouldn't serve him, etc
.

Arnold, Initiation of Force is the Difference
Your smoker lighting up after being politely informed that he may not in this restaurant is committing an act of aggression against the owner and patrons of the restaurant. A state constituted in Liberty will protect the owner and patrons from this aggressor, and at minimum, evict him.

A state forcing all to offer dining facilites, only smoking free, in response to Democratically polled opinion, is an aggressor, not constituted in Liberty.

The credit card companies are an interesting case...
...they mostly do not take people to court. They just denighn deliquents more credit and let all other potential creditors know.

What kind of limitation?
Arnold, your essay certainly argues for limited government. But I think it's a stronger argument for limited geographic jurisdiction than limited competence.

If I can move to the next town to get away from a local government that regulates everything imaginable, the cost may not be excessive. I could easily see myself doing it.

If my government has constitutional limits on its competence (where I'm using "competence" in the sense of "areas where it has authority to legislate") but it has jurisdiction over everything within a thousand miles, the cost of moving out of its jurisdiction becomes intolerable. I end up having to put an awful lot of trust in the restraint of my fellow citizens. As you have noted, the revealed preference of most citizens is for omnicompetent government, so that's not very comforting.

In down-to-earth terms: I can put up with zoning by my local city council, though I don't always like it. It would be utterly intolerable if something so intrusive were enforced at the federal level.

Some pacifist go pretty far to not accept welfare...
...,although they do use governmnet roads, becuase violence was used to collect the money.


but no force was initiated
The city passes a law banning smoking. It does not initiate force. However, it claims jurisdiction over something that it should not. It claims jurisdiction over smoking in restaurants, instead of respecting the decision of the owner.

The city initiates force only when it does so in the process of enforcing laws. Enactment of laws is not aggression. However, laws can be unreasonable, as is the case with a smoking ban.

You can use terms like "aggressor" and "initiation of force" to arouse strong emotions in other libertarians. But as a way of explaining libertarianism to someone else, I think it fails. Terms like a "aggressor" and "coercion" are neither necessary nor sufficient to explain what is wrong with a city enacting a smoking ban.

"Enactment of laws is not aggression." Really?
Really?

Isn't that an implicit threat of force? If I threaten to harm you, won't I be breaking a law? Threat of force is treated, by the state, as actual use of force. Try pointing a weapon at a cop and see what happens.

If the state prohibits me from smoking or using crack coacaine on my property, the state is using its threat of force, coercion, to control my behavior.

I have a choice, obey or go to jail at the point of a gun (coercion).

What is the point of enacting a LAW if it will not be enforced?

The quickest way to rid the books of stupid laws is to enforce every one of them.

What I find corrosive about the current state of "law enforcement" in particular regarding immigration, if the state won't enforce immigration laws, what other laws won't it enforce?

Liberals see the Ten Commandments as "Ten Suggestions".

This libertarian respects laws and does not want the law to be disrespected as is now happening.

Definitions Needed
"'Enactment of laws is not aggression.' Really?"

Yes, really.

Perhaps you'd better provide your working definition of "aggression." Otherwise you're characterizing the entire civics process as a huge act of mass aggression. Be serious.

ENFORCEMENT of laws may require threats of "aggression" (punishment), but the act of passing a law is not an aggressive act. That's an absurd parallel to draw.

Government coercion doesn't let the market play out.
What's missing from Arnold's obnoxious smoker example is that a restaurant in Fascistostan doesn't have the option of catering to them. If anything, Arnold's thesis sounds a lot like Bill Bennet's "The Law is a Good Teacher" spiel to explain why drugs should be illegal.

Look, I don't smoke (other than a rare cigar enjoyed where it would bother nobody) and I prefer not having smoke blown in my face and I even like being able to go out to eat and not have people smoking at the next table or in the dining area. I even get a little annoyed when driving with my windows open and getting a lungful of someone else's cigarette. BUT, all those bad situations are inconveniences of life that most of us can handle privately. Even obnoxious smokers. What's next? Should we ban Jehovah's Witnesses because we are annoyed when they ring our door bells? I'd miss the periodic opportunity to heap sarcastic abuse on my fellow human being without him understanding.

Reductio ad Absurdum
This is a brillant use of reduction to absurdity.

Except you forgot one fine point, what is "jurisdiction"?

Jurisdiction is simple the coverage area of legal force.

you've proven the libertarian point of view. well played sir.

With your model there really is no difference...
If the government is strong enough to deploy police to resolve your "below the legal threshold" disputes as well as to enforce its own laws then the only difference here is the willingness of the government to get into equivocal issues regarding (what is considered to be reasonable) behavior.

In the restaurant example, smoking policy was once the owner's decision. Many citizens believed that it was reasonable for them to smoke during their meals. There were "Smoking" and "Non-Smoking" sections. Ultimately, enough of the society got around to the point that all such (smoking) behavior in any restaurant seemed unreasonable. Therefore, laws were written, passed and are mostly enforced.

As an illustration, we are typically not challenged by restaurant managers regarding carrying weapons in the fine dining rooms of America. Because this issue seldom comes up.

In certain other countries we might be "patted down" when entering almost any such establishment. Because lots of people are armed most of the time. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), these are the same countries were the police themselves are heavily armed (with assault rifles), but they are seldom called in to resolve any such matters.

In another example, the "No shirt, No shoes, No service" rule is specific to each eating and shopping establishment. Generally speaking, this is a routine cultural understanding. Such signs are only posted in places where one might (reasonably) make that mistake. For example, at the 7-11 Store.

In a country with lots of police officers available and where citizens were often armed the "No Weapons" rule would certainly be reflected as an enforcible law and the police might always be called.

Alternatively, if the (relatively benign) "No shirt, No shoes, No service" problem became disruptive to society then the legislature might well draft the appropriate law. And the police would be called whether or not a disturbance occurred.

My point is that if police officers are available then there will always be certain behaviors that fall above and some that are below the "we have a law for that" demarcation.

It is really only a matter of where the line is drawn. The idea that a libertarian government would be fundamentally any different from a coercive government, in this case, is lost in cultural shades of grey.

If the government does not provide enough "garden variety" police officers to execute enforcement tasks then even a "No firearms" policy must be controlled by private parties.

In every society the rules are a reflection of its culture. No matter who performs the enforcement services.

In a libertarian society, the rule that we should not have many rules is (itself) a rule!

I Don't Understand . . .
. . . what your post has to do with the topic at hand. As a non-smoker myself, even I don't want a Fascistostan society creating laws of the type which anti-smoking zealots have indeed created in many places (including my own town) which dictate what private establishment owners can do whith their own property. I believe in the primacy of property rights as much as any good Libertarian. That's not the point.

Kling's point is that regardless of the system under which a smoker is prevented from lighting up -- be it overarching laws in Fascistostan or free-associative property rights in Libertopia -- the threat of forcible coercian is what ultimately enforces the laws holding the system together. He states it up front: "Even in a libertarian society, contracts must be enforced and disputes must be resolved." That's the bedrock message. Without "force" or "aggession" (terms some posters have invoked), how are such contracts to be obliged? Trust? Good faith in fellow man? I have little of either when it comes to unscrupulous individuals.

If you pass laws with no intention of enforcing them
then there it would not be a threat.

"They were also no strangers to the police. Tatar and the Dukas were habitual offenders, stopped dozens of times a year for speeding, illegal passing and driving without a license. Dritan Duka pleaded guilty in 2000 to possession of drug paraphernalia and Shain Duka to possession of marijuana -- low-level charges that at the time did not trigger immigration background checks."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/09/AR2007050902695_3.html

" Who, after all, favors theft, murder or rape? With this as an entering wedge, libertarians are free to apply this axiom to all of human action, including, radically, to unions, taxes, and even government itself."

http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block26.html

This is why words have meaning. Why would I believe that any law that has been passed would have no intention of being enforced?

Postive Law
"But when the law, by means of its necessary agent, force, imposes upon men a regulation of labor, a method or a subject of education, a religious faith or creed — then the law is no longer negative; it acts positively upon people. It substitutes the will of the legislator for their own wills; the initiative of the legislator for their own initiatives. When this happens, the people no longer need to discuss, to compare, to plan ahead; the law does all this for them. Intelligence becomes a useless prop for the people; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property."

"The mission of the law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even though the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its mission is to protect persons and property."

http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html#SECTION_G16368

Passing a 'positive' law is an act of agression.

Federal enforcement...
Actually, if the federal government tried to enforce local zoning laws then such zoning laws would be routinely ignored.

Most behavior should be managed by the smallest possible social unit.

For example, my company can effectively enforce a "no drug abuse" policy at the workplace. We can ruthlessly eliminate drug dealing, drug possession and actual substance abuse on campus with summary dismissals and solid documentation.

The federal government, for its part, is completely unable to stop drug traffic and drug use in America. Fill up the prisons and build more. No impact.

Similarly, we decide whether or not to give work to undocumented workers. As long as we will give guys $12 (cash) per hour they will keep coming here and working hard for it. The Federal government cannot stop such events. If I decide that all my workers must be fully documented then I am able to enforce that rule. My rules count. The same sort of rules drafted by the Federal government do not.

When the INS tries to get tough they disgrace themselves and they embarrass us.

It is mechanically impossible for the executive branch to maintain its hierarchical control from the White House all the way down into our homes and businesses.

Because we don't seem to understand this fundamental reality of human social interaction we assume that the government should be able to enforce any law that it writes.

The more the federal government takes it upon itself to be responsible for the small details of our society the less any such rules will mean to anyone.

The more money we send to Washington to perpetuate this sort of foolishness the less we have left to actually take care of such matters ourselves.

negative words
I mean, who denies that ""The mission of the law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property,"

the words 'oppress' and 'plunder' beg the question.

Replace them with neutral words: "The mission of hte law is not to tax and regulate..." and the whole point shrivels up and disaapers.

Oppress and plunder
There seem to be quite a few politicans and voters who believe the purpose of the law is to oppress and plunder.

-"progressive" taxes

-miniminum wage

-"affirmative" action

All of these laws force unequal treatment.

Even libertarians...
Your own judgment regarding government might be that "...it claims jurisdiction over something that it should not." in this case.

Of course, this is according to you. However, it is not your job to decide what is inside such jurisdiction and what is not. It is the decision-maker working inside government who makes that call.

You might call the overall political impulse libertarian, populist or even "kinder and gentler". We all want the government to behave. Only we all have different ideas about what this means.

There certainly must be some issues over which the state claims jurisdiction...this is the nature of the sovereign. Without absolute political control of its own civilian population the government abrogates its own existence.

It is up to the government to decide how deeply to extend its own direct management into the behavior of its citizens and residents. If the very most libertarian of all libertarians came to power then he would still claim jurisdiction up to a certain point.

In that case you might think he did not go far enough. Remember that "laisse faire" policies often lead to abuse and social anarchy.

Regardless of how much "liberty" is allowed some of the people would be unhappy about it some of the time. In the end libertarians must resort to coercion as the tool of choice for governing.

rule about rules
It's different to say we should have a rule that there's not many rules, than to say; the default setting is maximum freedom. Remember the old saying; everything's against the law unless we allow it; compared to; everything is allowed, unless specifically outlawed. You get diffeent societies. Also re thing idea of yours that the fed can't enfoce stuff. What about in the phil. where one is allowed a 21 day visa, in you overstay, you must pay a heavy fine, and they have exit controls, unlike in America, but like most countries. Years ago you could just slip the guy $10 or so, and he'd let you through, now it's computerized, less corrupt etc. so it seems there is very effective border/visa control there. They had the political will to do it, and it's cash cow for them. If governments want to do almost anything they can if they have the political will.

If you overstay...
Yes they used to write 21 days on the stamp...now they write the actual date (you must beat) in that spot. If you overstay the fee on the way out is about US$50. If I need to be there longer than three weeks, then this is a silly small amount to pay. I never tried to give anyone any money to avoid this.

They never make my wife pay anything, however. Maybe they are racists?

Grade: F (poorly reasoned and unsupported thesis)
Let me get this straight, Arnold asserts that the libertarian (and it isn’t just libertarians that might make this claim) notion that government is coercive is incorrect by establishing a comparison with a fictional society, where he provides the rules of order and implicitly claims that this is the only or most likely alternative? The question of whether or not government is coercive is addressed by identifying the elements of coercion and making a rational claim that those elements do or do not exist, based upon empirical observation-not making a hypothetical comparison with a non-existent personal fiction.

But even if we accept this construction, with its examples, the comparison fails.

The police are a governmental agency. Hopefully, in most situations, the populace defers to the constabulary because of respect for the service provided to society at large, but ultimately, the police carry offensive and lethal weaponry and restraints-in short, in a disagreement, you either agree to obey or your resistance will be met with force. If you respond in kind, you will simply be countered with ever escalating force. That’s coercive. Used in a dispassionate, restrained and orderly fashion, it’s a necessary franchise we collectively grant to those people who protect us from chaos, but the source of government’s ability to control those who disagree is coercion.

Properly constrained, police can only respond to your complaint if there is a statute or body of case law that is significantly violated. Certainly, one could seek the employment of police power to assert rights of exclusion. However, if the police are operating properly, they enforce LAWS, not the specious claims of dimbulbs.

It would actually require tolerance for the disingenuous wordplay of an ACLU lawyer to make the case that a black butt in a bus seat is a terrible imposition to a conveyance that takes any other strange butt for money and is therefore proper cause for police to respond to a complaint.

In the hypothetical cases case cited, Arnold makes the massive assumption that Chief Clancy will redirect his officers to intervene. Are the police in the business of responding to whimsy and caprice? This only worked where there were Jim Crow LAWS. You might have not liked having that melanin-rich fellow on your bus, but without LAWS, you took his money and went home at night to spewing the n-word, that’s it.

Smoking is a different matter. If I light a match in a public building, it’s a freakin’ fire hazard as is the cigarette I light! I might be a pyromaniac and love to watch the dancing flames, in which case I’ll be removed as nut-job. If I treat strangers to a squirt of Chanel No. 5, I am arrested for assault. Yet smokers feel entitled to light up everywhere and treat us to eau du tobacco. Somehow, running around with a lit cigarette is a noble use for fire, because as we all know there’s never been a dropped or discarded cigarette that caused a structure fire. I’m not a smoke nazi, on the contrary, I have no problem with smoking as long you don’t threaten my property or soil my clothes, skin, eyes or hair with your noxious and irritating exhalant, which is a gaseous assault on my person, whether or not its degrading of my health. In the past, smokers respected the wishes of breathers, but somehow in the bizarre mutation of rights-forcing other to accept your smoke is an indication of personal liberty. Hogwash.

The problem with this issue is that the law should HAVE ALWAYS banned indoor smoking, but instead it took morally indignant activists singling out smoking, rather than just banning open flames indoors and enforcing existing rights to be secure in our persons from gaseous irritants.

I’m sorry but this essay fails. I have no contract with the IRS and I get not only to pay what they say, I get to pay a different amount every year and an amount different than my neighbor simply because the government attaches a different value to my economic or non-economic activities year to year and among different citizens-such as owning a house or being 65. I could remit the same as my neighbor but I’d get a deficiency notice. So much for equal standing under the LAW, eh?

One individual took the novel approach of petitioning for the redress of his grievances by expressing that his payment was coerced in the memo field of his payment check. The IRS took the novel approach of considering the expression as superfluous, the check as part of the return and charging the fellow with filing a “frivolous” return. Appaently, the same folks who find "expression" in *****, couldn't find a need to defend free speech in this case.

Coercive agents of the government brought FORCE on the fellow, as if this was a proper use of enforcement effort. It did send a message-screw with us, even a bit and we’ll get you.

I’m not a libertarian, but I am sympathetic to the argument about coercion. Maybe this explains the professor’s previously expressed cognitive dissonance in voting for candidates with the jackass as their party symbol, in spite of their aggressive use of force against the citizenry. Government isn’t coercive-yeah maybe for a guy whose on its teat, but for those of us shouldering the burden of the thought-exercises of the idle professorate-it looks mighty like coercion.


re: grade F
You say you can't make a comparison between something real(state coercion) and a 'fictional society'(where they could be less). But surely people make such camparisons between cruel reality, and some ideal that they think could be accomplished, right? In various fields this is quite normal; the wine maker strives for some yet unrealized perfect vintage; the perfumer some scent that will please the gods; the architech that strives for a perfect blending of form and function and never quite gets there but strives for his ideal; the sculpture that instead of chiseling all a girls celulite and saggy boobs, tries to make her some greek godess. So if libertarians want more freedom as the default setting, it seems like a worth goal. Here's an example; some countries that think of themselves as quite free, will consider you a dangerous criminal if you drink a beer on the beach with your family on Sunday(some of the US and Canada); they'll use the full force of the law and their armed thugs to stop you and punish you. But some countries that are consider quite represive politically(Singapore, Thailand)you can not only have a beer at your picnic, but also walk down the main street drinking. So there is a dissconnect, and libertarians usually like to go for the side of more freedom, and think it's an unknow ideal worth struggling for, and defending on this forum against all the statists and collectivists that haunt these pages.

More negative words
Can you please just deal with substance instead of assigning labels like "plunder" and "oppress." To tax is not to "plunder." To regulate is not to "oppress." You don't like a specific tax? Make your case instead of begging the question with namecalling.

Truth hurts?

On the teat
"So says a study by economist Gary Shilling. Shilling, a Springfield, N.J., consultant and forecaster, says the portion of Americans feeding substantially at the public trough stands at 52.6 percent. In 2000, it was 49.4. It seems unbelievable that in 1950, only 28.3 percent of Americans lived off the taxpayers. Shilling projects 60 percent by 2040."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/05/the_public_trough_is_bigger_th.html

Aim High
How likely will anyone achieve perfection?

One will get closer to perfection by aiming for it than by aiming for mediocrity.

You chewing, boy?!
"But some countries that are consider quite represive politically(Singapore, Thailand)you can not only have a beer at your picnic, but also walk down the main street drinking."

Bad example, Dietmar. You may be able to drink beer in the street but you try jaywalking - first offenders face a fine of S$500 (US$285) and three months of jail. Repeat offenders can be fined for up to $2000 fine or six months in jail. And remember to flush that toilet or you could find yourself in hot water. And chewing gum? When that notorious law was passed in 1992 the penalty for smuggling gum into the country was a year in jail, and a 10,000 Singapore dollar ($5,500-) fine. It's since been modified so that you can chew gum if it's for 'medicinal purposes'. If that's your idea of freedom and an anti-statist utopia then I don't need to tell you what you can do with that sort of liberty.
In the arena of public debate, the Internal Security Act clamps down on freedom of assembly. Under the Constitution only five or more people gathered in a public place with common intent constitute an illegal assembly. Defamation suits are regularly used to silence the ruling party's critics. In a recent annual survey, Reporters Without Borders ranked Singapore 146th out of 168 countries, one spot below countries like Somalia and Sudan. You're not seriously contending that Singapore is free are you, Dietmar?
On reflection, the freedom to drink beer in public would appear to be the exception rather then the rule.

In agreement
As the old situationists used to say, 'Be realistic, demand the impossible!'

Volunteer or conscript?
Two points.

1. If the law to be enforced is a law which defends the liberty of others, force may be required and is sanctioned. And the force may be the state or...not.

2. The other, which has been stated elsewhere, is did you volunteer to live under this law or were you forced? The Constitution was an exercise in negative law. Restricting the power of the federal government to specific acts to protect the life and property of those who consented to be governed. All other powers were left to the individual states. If one state chose to ban smoking or sanction homosexual marriage, you could vote with your feet. Since the Supreme Court has decided it knows best how people should live, there are damn few place left to move to.
So the only choice remaining, which has been avoided for so long, is to confront the issue.

Not in this country
our government is empowered by our consent.the government does not "claim" jurisdiction. it follows the jurisdiction outlined in the Constitution. At least Federally speaking. It is not up to the government "to decide" how deeply to extend it's behaviors.and to what end do you make the wild notion that "laisse faire" policies lead to abuse? and though people make not like a state of freedom they certainly aren't coerced by it just because they'd like more government intervention into the lives of others.

Lies misrepresent
The basis (and indeed, the whole of the argument you're making) amounts to all regulation is "oppression" and all taxation is "plunder." This is a declaration of intellectual bankruptcy, and I'm glad to see such a frank admission that your argument cupbord is bare. But why not call anyone who disagrees a socialist - that's your other stand-by.

Not just my argument
Bastiat stated it much better than I, over a century ago.

And so far he has been proven to be correct.

Socialists
"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain."—from The Law, by Bastiat

American Capitalism
The current economic crisis involves a series of “falling dominoes.” Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Russia, and by the time you read this perhaps Brazil, and more, are undergoing severe recessions. The toppling economies are big news because rather than only the poor suffering this time those of ample means are suffering too. Indeed, if the value of stocks declined while other prices and wages went unchanged and economic activity proceeded unabated, only those owning stocks would lose, and the share of total wealth in elite hands would decline. If your house doesn’t change in value and your wage doesn’t fall and your job doesn’t disappear, but Bill Gate’s stock drops, you improve relative to him. That kind of revaluation would be redistributive and we could legitimately celebrate it. Regrettably, however, the current crises go beyond just revaluing stocks to also afflict the poor with devastating unemployment, horrible wage reductions, unexpected foreclosures, life threatening food and goods shortages, and even increased starvation and disease. For growing numbers, these are the worst of times.

After World War Two, following the lead of the U.S. and Britain, the Bretton Woods system was established for international economic coordination. It utilized new institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF and had two basic principles. (1) Liberalize trade of goods, making it easy to transact. (2) Manage capital flow, making it hard for capital investment to leap from country to country without attention to consequences. It was understood that capitalist economies running full steam ahead with no oversight of their machinations, would yield horrible by-products not only for the poor, but for the rich as well. Bretton Woods limited short-run plunges for profit to preserve long-run profit possibilities.

There were two important observations behind all this. First, investors being able to move their monies where and when they please would lead to fluctuations in the relative value of currencies and other dislocations undermining trade and investment—in worst case scenarios inducing recession or even depression. Second, the free flow of capital would undermine democracy and the welfare state. Capital controls, ala Bretton Woods, not only guard against dislocation and crisis, but also allow governments to carry out monetary and tax policies, unemployment benefits, and social programs, and maintain public goods, all without fear of capital flight, which would, if allowed, limit such behavior. To foreshadow, it isn’t hard to guess the punch-line of our story. When capitalists got firmly in the saddle after beating back post World War II advocates of social democracy, in their zeal to eliminate the social protections afforded by Bretton Woods, they also eliminated its economic guards against financial crises.

The Bretton Woods system operated as intended for about a quarter century engendering the golden age of capitalism through the 1950s and 1960s. Then capitalists began to thirst anew for untrammeled profitability. On their behalf, Nixon unilaterally abrogated Bretton Woods in the early 1970s. By the 1980s capital controls were mostly gone in rich countries with the smaller economies like South Korea dropping them in turn. Now the IMF no longer regulates capital flows, but instead systematically forces countries to eliminate restrictions on international investment as a condition of bailouts.

And what has been the result? In rich countries, growth of productivity has slowed. Incomes have stagnated or declined for the great majority, conditions at work have deteriorated. social services have been gutted, infrastructure has decayed, and the welfare state has been eroded. At the top of the heap, in the U.S., the top one per cent of households own about half the stock and other assets that have increased in value, and the top 10 per cent own most of the rest. They are the ones enjoying the elimination of Bretton Woods. The next 10 per cent, the 80th to the 90th percentile has seen their net worth decline in the 1990s. And it gets worse as you go down, with few families maintaining their living standards of 1973--when the new economy really began to take hold, and many falling behind. In poor countries, the same has occurred, but worse.

Why would anyone favor such outcomes in place of the economic growth and social stability of Bretton Woods? Growth isn’t what capitalists seek. Capitalists seek profits. And throughout the post Bretton Woods period profits have soared, particularly in the 1990s. Indeed, the current jitters on Wall Street have nothing to do with the plight of the poor, which is simply not part of Wall Street’s agenda, but only involve fears that there may be an end to their post-Bretton Woods stupendous growth in profits. In short, the 25 years post-Bretton Woods have been a disaster for humanity, but a joyous fairy tale for the rich.

The reason for the fairy tale for the rich is frankly explained by the all-powerful Allan Greenspan. He fingers significant wage restraint and greater worker insecurity. That is, eliminating Bretton Woods and thereby allowing capital flight to undercut social support systems zapped labor big time. The Clinton administration attributes high profits to salutary changes in labor market institutions, which is a delicate way of saying the same thing. The business press points out that workers are too intimidated to seek some share in the good times. Business Week recently reported that 60 percent of workers are very concerned about job security and 30 percent somewhat concerned. When 90 percent of the work force is insecure, that's a fairy tale economy for the rich.

So the bottom line is that we have accelerating untrammeled profit-seeking for the few with derivative reduction of the well being of the many, and, alongside that, increasing destabilization, finally threatening even the rich. Digging economies out of recessions certainly benefits the poor. Nonetheless, for radicals to spend their time telling elites how to return to saner profit-seeking has a potential downside. It can turn radicals into doctors of capitalism—not educating and acting to raise anti-capitalist sentiment and commitment, but giving the impression that while a “sick capitalism” is horrible, a “healthy capitalism” is fine. Radicals shouldn’t ignore the current crisis or entirely forego thinking about policies to correct the travail it imposes. Instead while we act to ameliorate immediate suffering, we should also act in ways that lead beyond capitalist ideology and institutions. If we propose an end to the IMF and World Bank, we should also indicate what equitable international economic exchange ought to look like and what kinds of institutions can safeguard it. A movement to end the IMF and World Bank has to lead to a movement for better institutions in their place. When we decry the dislocations of crisis, we need to explain what structural changes will attain true justice (not just less extreme injustice): how workplaces must be reorganized, how remuneration should be determined, how allocation should transpire. We need to oppose sick capitalism in a way that opposes healthy capitalism too, and we need to favor immediate reforms not as ends in themselves, but in a way that fosters ever more changes and ultimately a whole new economic system.

Does Capitalism Make You Sick? 1
Does capitalism make you sick?

Gene studies are sexy and well funded, but they can buttress racial thinking and distract the public from the socioeconomic roots of disease.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Jacqueline Stevens
"Of course I worry about breast cancer," my friend Mimi recently confessed. "Statistics show that Jews inherit it, and also, my mother had lunch with three of her [Jewish] friends, and they all had breast cancer. It's a genetic disease. If it's not that I don't know what other factors it would be."

I sighed, not knowing exactly where to start. Ever since I began researching the ever-broadening field of genetics and disease, I'd found myself in conversations like this one. It wasn't just that Mimi, a well-educated, discerning New Yorker, was misguided, but that the whole foundation upon which she understood her medical profile was faulty.

For her, the medical findings she'd read about Jewish cancer genes had taken on the tint of destiny. This was the final twist in a history of defining race that has come full circle. For the last century reputable scientists have increasingly insisted that race and ethnicity are nothing more than folk categories with no biological basis. That was in stark contrast to the argument we think of as coming from evil eugenicists and David Duke henchmen. Now, however, the latest findings issuing from the field of genetics suggest a different story. They seem to say that racial categories have firm genetic foundations and therefore important health implications for all of us.

How else to explain the discoveries of a Jewish gene for breast cancer, black genes for hypertension and asthma and a mutant white gene that immunizes against AIDS? Knowing the genetic predispositions of our race or ethnicity, these findings suggest, could save our lives.

Suddenly racial categories are our friends.

But alas, Mimi, along with much of the public, has been badly misinformed. The truth is that her risk as a Jewish woman isn't so different from her risk as anywoman. Betty Friedan, /directory/topics/barbara_bush/index.html">Barbara Bush and Angela Davis all have about the same one-in-eight chance of contracting breast cancer. Although all cancer is the result of genetic damage, inherited genetic mutations account for less than 10 percent of breast cancer. Genetic damage caused by the environment -- including everything both within and without the womb -- accounts for the rest. If any group should be anxious about the vicissitudes of group membership, it's black women in the U.S., who, despite their slightly lower risk of contracting breast cancer, are 25 percent more likely to die from this disease than white women.

But is this race or poverty in disguise? Death rates for breast cancer among white women are down, due largely to early detection, but numbers for black women under the age of 50 are increasing.

So why all the hype about a Jewish breast cancer gene? Looking for genetic causes of disease evokes the adage about searching for a quarter under a lamppost, far from where one dropped the coin, because the light there is better. Scientists examined genetics and Jews and found something to say about genetics and Jews. While studies vary, certain genetic alterations appear in about 1.7 percent to 2 percent of Ashkenazi Jews and in about .7 percent of non-Jews. Hence the media announces with great fanfare that Jews are more than twice as likely to have a specific genetic pattern associated with breast cancer. But the disparity is a statistical ruse for researchers who want more funding and for a public fascinated by race and genes.

While it's true that 1.7 is more than twice as much as .7, what's far more relevant to health and policy concerns is that Jews are only 1 percent more likely than anyone else to have these mutations. As champagne corks pop and glasses clink over the latest and greatest genetic discovery, little new has been discovered about what causes breast cancer or how to prevent it.

Much of the recent attention to disease risk and genes comes from the brouhaha surrounding the Human Genome Project.

"The promise of the genome project sounds a lot like the promise of the cure for cancer which has been around since the turn of the century," says Barbara Brenner, executive director of San Francisco's Breast Cancer Action. "But we're still going to funerals. The research is not right. Because nobody is born with breast cancer. Even among women who have an inherited predisposition, where their risk is very high, 50 percent never get breast cancer. Something has to happen to make our genes go haywire, to trigger the process that leads to breast cancer. But we're not spending a lot of time doing research on this."

Like the excitement over the Jewish gene, the study of black/white differences in hypertension has also lent credibility to old-fashioned attitudes about race and genes. When studies appeared showing that blacks are three times more likely than whites to die from heart disease, genetic reductionists jumped on the data as evidence of significant genetic differences. Yet subsequent studies revealed that blacks in West Africa have lower blood pressure than their U.S. counterparts.

Rather than consider this new evidence, proponents of the black gene for high blood pressure speculated on the selection effects of the slave passage. Absent an iota of physical evidence, they hypothesized an African water retention gene that enabled some Africans to survive the dehydration of forced transport, while the ones who resembled their low blood pressure descendants in West Africa died, leading to a predisposition to hypertension among blacks in the U.S. (The theory is that increased water retention increases pressure on one's heart and arteries, but this hasn't been proven).

A long-term investigation compared the hypertension rates of people who settled in Chicago with those who remained in a village in Africa. Results showed that those who move to the U.S. quickly acquire blood pressure rates similar to those of other African-Americans. Yet this old conjecture about genetic differences continues to be repeated in reputable journals and by leading geneticists.

"As for all other components of racial health differentials, genetic explanations have been invoked to explain the black predilection to hypertension," says Dr. Richard Cooper of the Loyola University Medical School in Chicago. "No direct evidence of any sort exists to support the genetic hypothesis."

But if a gene doesn't explain the difference, then what does?

Does Capitalism Make You Sick? 1
Does capitalism make you sick?

Gene studies are sexy and well funded, but they can buttress racial thinking and distract the public from the socioeconomic roots of disease.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Jacqueline Stevens
"Of course I worry about breast cancer," my friend Mimi recently confessed. "Statistics show that Jews inherit it, and also, my mother had lunch with three of her [Jewish] friends, and they all had breast cancer. It's a genetic disease. If it's not that I don't know what other factors it would be."

I sighed, not knowing exactly where to start. Ever since I began researching the ever-broadening field of genetics and disease, I'd found myself in conversations like this one. It wasn't just that Mimi, a well-educated, discerning New Yorker, was misguided, but that the whole foundation upon which she understood her medical profile was faulty.

For her, the medical findings she'd read about Jewish cancer genes had taken on the tint of destiny. This was the final twist in a history of defining race that has come full circle. For the last century reputable scientists have increasingly insisted that race and ethnicity are nothing more than folk categories with no biological basis. That was in stark contrast to the argument we think of as coming from evil eugenicists and David Duke henchmen. Now, however, the latest findings issuing from the field of genetics suggest a different story. They seem to say that racial categories have firm genetic foundations and therefore important health implications for all of us.

How else to explain the discoveries of a Jewish gene for breast cancer, black genes for hypertension and asthma and a mutant white gene that immunizes against AIDS? Knowing the genetic predispositions of our race or ethnicity, these findings suggest, could save our lives.

Suddenly racial categories are our friends.

But alas, Mimi, along with much of the public, has been badly misinformed. The truth is that her risk as a Jewish woman isn't so different from her risk as anywoman. Betty Friedan, /directory/topics/barbara_bush/index.html">Barbara Bush and Angela Davis all have about the same one-in-eight chance of contracting breast cancer. Although all cancer is the result of genetic damage, inherited genetic mutations account for less than 10 percent of breast cancer. Genetic damage caused by the environment -- including everything both within and without the womb -- accounts for the rest. If any group should be anxious about the vicissitudes of group membership, it's black women in the U.S., who, despite their slightly lower risk of contracting breast cancer, are 25 percent more likely to die from this disease than white women.

But is this race or poverty in disguise? Death rates for breast cancer among white women are down, due largely to early detection, but numbers for black women under the age of 50 are increasing.

So why all the hype about a Jewish breast cancer gene? Looking for genetic causes of disease evokes the adage about searching for a quarter under a lamppost, far from where one dropped the coin, because the light there is better. Scientists examined genetics and Jews and found something to say about genetics and Jews. While studies vary, certain genetic alterations appear in about 1.7 percent to 2 percent of Ashkenazi Jews and in about .7 percent of non-Jews. Hence the media announces with great fanfare that Jews are more than twice as likely to have a specific genetic pattern associated with breast cancer. But the disparity is a statistical ruse for researchers who want more funding and for a public fascinated by race and genes.

While it's true that 1.7 is more than twice as much as .7, what's far more relevant to health and policy concerns is that Jews are only 1 percent more likely than anyone else to have these mutations. As champagne corks pop and glasses clink over the latest and greatest genetic discovery, little new has been discovered about what causes breast cancer or how to prevent it.

Much of the recent attention to disease risk and genes comes from the brouhaha surrounding the Human Genome Project.

"The promise of the genome project sounds a lot like the promise of the cure for cancer which has been around since the turn of the century," says Barbara Brenner, executive director of San Francisco's Breast Cancer Action. "But we're still going to funerals. The research is not right. Because nobody is born with breast cancer. Even among women who have an inherited predisposition, where their risk is very high, 50 percent never get breast cancer. Something has to happen to make our genes go haywire, to trigger the process that leads to breast cancer. But we're not spending a lot of time doing research on this."

Does Capitalism Make You Sick? 2
One of the greatest correlates with high blood pressure is stress, an affliction that one might imagine bears down disproportionately on African-Americans. Living with poverty, increased incarceration, broken families in neighborhoods with environmental hazards and a society that scrutinizes your actions can put a person on edge. Knowing you might be stopped by the checkout clerk or by the police can make you nervous. In a large-scale study comparing white and black populations, Harvard University's Nancy Krieger and Stephen Sidney attributed the different rates of certain diseases, such as high blood pressure, largely to racism. When David Williams, a sociology professor at the University of Michigan, measured the blood pressure of blacks and whites entering stores in the Detroit area, blacks' blood pressure went up while that of whites did not.

Do such studies offer definitive proof that racial differences in disease are based on nurture rather than nature? Of course not. But with diseases that are known to be largely affected by lifestyle, it seems strange to be searching for a genetic cause without first exploring the social realities that might make people more prone to certain diseases.

"For my patients a lot of the issues around health are around access to money," says Dr. Hillary Kunins, chief resident at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, whose patients come almost exclusively from disadvantaged black neighborhoods. "They're poor and mostly they don't have jobs and the jobs they do have suck and it's depressing and it's hard to make a good life." She notes that stress-related illnesses such as anxiety and depression, which are so prevalent in her patients, "are also the ones about which people like to talk about genetics. But all this is so much about social structure that I feel powerless."

Now, you might argue that such conflicting viewpoints call for more investigation of race and genes, not less, especially if this research could help treat disease. Don't genes affect our health in ways that deserve medical experimentation? Or, as Dr. Simeon Taylor, a National Institutes of Health administrator and diabetes researcher, said to me: "If you were the patient, wouldn't you want to know everything you could about the genes that are making you sick, including the racial component to this?"

The answer is not obvious. The relative rarity of diseases caused by single mutations and the paucity of treatments for mutations raise significant if subtle questions about the very use of racial or ethnic categories in medical research. When environmental factors are known agents of diseases, genetic studies buttressing racial thinking may pose a medical danger. The disparity between the number of blacks at risk for sickle cell anemia in comparison to those at risk from racism suggests that the government might want to rethink its medical research priorities. The only genes that came close to eliminating all the Jews in Europe were the ones Hitler imagined.

If I were a patient I might want the hospital to abandon assistance to other patients and devote all its resources to me; to use drugs the FDA deems unsafe or if widely used would pose immune threats to others; or to rob others to pay for my expenses. Yet our society prohibits these actions, recognizing that individual desires do not always yield the most prudent results for either oneself or the public. When health risks are overwhelmingly due to environmental causes -- be it an adjacent Superfund site or a crime-ridden neighborhood -- then inquiry into genetic group differences may have the potential to harm more people than it helps.

In other words, if racism stems from views about innate differences and medical research now is emphasizing innate differences, then this work may well harden the very attitudes that result in the residential, occupational and wealth segregation so strongly associated with disease-rate differences.

Environmental justice groups make just this point in the case of asthma.

Since 1980 the number of people with asthma in the United States has increased 75 percent. This magnitude of change is impossible to attribute to changes in genes. Yet the NIH is funding research into the genetic causes of asthma. Meanwhile, in the Bayview/Hunter's Point area of southern San Francisco, you don't need a microscope to spot the 325 toxic waste sites, two PG&E power plants and two Superfund sites, not to mention the nearby congested freeway. Nor do you need complicated regressions to figure out that a 15 percent rate of asthma among the area's youth -- more than double the rate of the rest of the Bay Area -- is not because their genes double their risk. "We're calling it an epidemic," said Dana Lanza, director of literacy for Environmental Justice, an organization that advocates on behalf of residents there. Lanza adds that in addition to astronomical rates of hospitalizations, "The community says there have been asthma-related deaths."

Does Capitalism Make You Sick? 3
"The most interesting thing is that PG&E says the asthma is because there's so much secondhand smoke in black communities," says Lanza, and Bayview/Hunter's Point is 90 percent black. Yet according to Susana Toure of San Francisco's Tobacco Free Project, 23 percent of whites and 23 percent of blacks smoke in San Francisco (compared with 13 percent of Latinos and 12 percent of Asians or Pacific Islanders).

The Bay Area is not alone in the concentration of disease in black neighborhoods. Thirteen percent of children in the Bronx have asthma, which is more than double the rate in adjacent Manhattan. In East Harlem the rate of hospitalization for asthma is five times the rate for the rest of Manhattan. When I asked Peggy Hunter of the West Harlem Environmental Action group what she thought about addressing the asthma disparity by genetic research, she said, "Genetic damage is caused by environmental exposures. There's no genetic inheritance in isolation." And yet one can scroll through hundreds of medical studies that attempt to discern small genetic differences between blacks and whites, for everything from cancer to high blood pressure to, yes, asthma.

In 1997 the NIH announced: "Asthma Genes Linked to Regions Unique to Different Racial and Ethnic Groups." The press release noted differences in the rates of asthma susceptibility and hospitalization among different racial and ethnic groups, but it never mentioned environmental factors or the high rates of asthma in industrialized as opposed to nonindustrialized regions. Instead, Dr. Claude Lenfant, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said the study "provides a possible explanation for the substantial differences in disease prevalence and severity that we have observed among different racial and ethnic groups in the U.S."

And yet the tiny genetic differences scientists may have discovered -- and attempts to replicate studies of these sorts largely fail -- pale in magnitude alongside three national surveys showing asthma to be roughly twice as high for individuals in households below the poverty level as for those above it. Perhaps the NIH will begin a new study of the asthma genes linked to regions unique to different socioeconomic groups.

So why is the government more interested in funding research on genes than on environmental toxins?

"The people at the highest levels of setting health research policy in this country made their careers on molecular biology," says Breast Cancer Action's Brenner. "It's complicated because if we're talking about environmental exposure -- air, soil, water, food or the body's environment -- we're exposed to lots of things at the same time and over time. But we have not spent the kind of energy we've spent on molecular biology to evaluate the consequences of multiple exposures."

Brenner contends that such research could have effects far beyond the world of medical research. "It's going to be very difficult to do this because the most important questions that will be asked and answered will lead us to asking very serious questions about capitalism. If the way we've structured our economy is making us sick and we can prove that, then the public pressure for fundamental change will be very powerful. And there are a lot of people who don't want to see that happen."

- - - - - - - - - - - -

About the writer
Jackie Stevens is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the New School University and a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Yale University from 1997-1999. Her book "Reproducing the State" was published by Princeton University Press in 1999.

It's not an argument: it's a mendacious, question begging label
The beginning and end is a simple redefinitiion of terms. That's not an argument, it's a joke.

"socialists" without names: moving from question begging to the straw man
This is the classic straw man argument: say a group says X without quotes or specifics. I mean what :socialists' are we talking about here? What names? What statements?

>We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all.

Socialists?? This is a cartoon. It's

"capitalism would be destroyed by its successes"
"Capitalism would spawn, he believed, a large intellectual class that made its living by attacking the very bourgeois system of private property and freedom so necessary for the intellectual class's existence. And unlike Marx, Schumpeter did not relish the destruction of capitalism. He wrote: "If a doctor predicts that his patient will die presently, this does not mean that he desires it."

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Schumpeter.html

Arnold, are you drifting into the "intellectual class"?

Socialism: legal plunder
"Now, legal plunder can be committed in an infinite number of ways. Thus we have an infinite number of plans for organizing it: tariffs, protection, benefits, subsidies, encouragements, progressive taxation, public schools, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed profits, minimum wages, a right to relief, a right to the tools of labor, free credit, and so on, and so on. All these plans as a whole—with their common aim of legal plunder—constitute socialism.
L.68

Now, since under this definition socialism is a body of doctrine, what attack can be made against it other than a war of doctrine? If you find this socialistic doctrine to be false, absurd, and evil, then refute it. And the more false, the more absurd, and the more evil it is, the easier it will be to refute. Above all, if you wish to be strong, begin by rooting out every particle of socialism that may have crept into your legislation. This will be no light task. "

http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss2a.html

Rule about Rules
That's what you get when you have a government ensuring the populace remains reliant upon the government. When the gov. makes laws helping the poor live well without having to work for it, our society becomes lazy - both mentally, and physically. It's why welfare needs to be wiped out, gun control wiped out, and the Dept. of Faith Based Initiatives junked. Being taxed by President Moron and his fascist led administration so superstition could thrive is criminal. Being taxed so lazy baby-factories can buy new cars and eat McDonalds everyday is criminal as well. America needs a revolution, so we could once again believe that our Constitution and the rights given by it are safe and able to be practiced.

I'd call you a plagarist, but....
socialists don't respect private property, including intellectual property so I'll go to the meat.
without citing a source for the article it's really just an op/ed by an uneducated Keynesian economist. Try reading about actual free market capitalism instead of government regulated markets like the article describes.

Jurisdiction
i've still not heard back from Arnold what his definition of Jurisdiction is. If it isn't the realm of legal force, I'm waiting for an alternative.
You can't counter the libertarian stance of government's monopoly on force with an argument that merely rewords the idea.

It's the old joke about how many legs a dog has if you call it's tail a leg
Making up negative names for institutions is not an argument; it's noise. If there's an argument againt tariffs, make it. Calling it plunder isn't an argument, it's a conclusion.

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