Libertarianism and Equalism.

I regard myself as a libertarian and anarcho capitalist, but I see all these Libertarians who want the the government to import unlimited numbers of underclass people from Mexico to live on welfare and vote democrat.  They worry about the government intruding into people’s lives by not allowing gays to marry, and are entirely unworried about the government intruding into people’s lives to desecrate the sacrament of marriage, by forcing everyone to recognize gay marriage, despite the fact that those few gays that get married frequently do it to épater les bourgeois by having sex in public in a great big pile.

Forcing everyone to refer to homosexuals as “gay” did not result in the good feelings and good associations of the word “gay” being associated with homosexuals, but instead made “gay” into a curse word of startling potency.   The theme song of the Flintstones, and the second verse of “Deck the halls” disappeared.   Forcing people to call gays “married” following group sex on the church altar is apt to have similar effect on the word “marriage”.  If ever we revive the old fashioned marriage contract, we will likely need a new word for it.

Gay marriage follows from equalism.  If women are equal to men, then interchangeable, in which case why not interchange them?  If you reject gay marriage, logically you have to reject egalitarian marriage, reject legal equality between men and woman in matters related to sex and reproduction – indeed in any area where the obvious differences are extreme.   If women’s suffrage, then gay marriage follows.  If gay marriage is unacceptable to you, women’s suffrage should be unacceptable also.  If, on the other hand, you believe that women should have the right to vote, you really should believe in gay marriage, and try to contain your gag reflex when the bridegrooms and their best men have sex on the altar in a great big pile.  After all, if men and women are equal, then gay marriages cannot be different, even though they quite obviously are different.

And similarly, if all men are equal, on what basis can we justify not allowing all men to vote in US elections and collect US welfare?

To deduce standard libertarianism, we proceed from the obviously reasonable assumptions that microeconomics, economics in one lesson, is right, and coercion is wrong – and the “obviously reasonable” assumption that all men should be equal before the law.

Or equivalently we can deduce it from the principle that negative sum interactions should be suppressed, since if an interaction is positive sum, there is room to make a deal whereby both parties will agree to it, positive and negative sum interactions being identified by microeconomics – and the “obviously reasonable” assumption that all men should be equal before the law.

Or equivalently we can deduce it from the principle that predations and parasitism should be suppressed, with predation and parasitism being defined relative to standard microeconomics – and the “obviously reasonable” assumption that all men should be equal before the law.

But no one believes that children should be equal before the law, so libertarians wind up making a variety of vague, incoherent, and unprincipled exceptions for children.

And though everyone pretends to believe that women should be equal, no one in their guts believes that a reproductive age female should be responsible for the consequences of her actions, which has the implication that no one in their guts believes that a reproductive age female should make her own decisions for herself.  When a woman is in trouble as a result of her own decisions, no one, left or right, feels she should be responsible for the consequences of her own decisions.  They feel for her like a child, as for example the character of Fantine in Les Misérables.  In the song “I dreamed a dream”, Fantine refers to herself as a child, even though she is starting to hit the wall, implying that it was cruel to allow her to make her own decisions for herself, as indeed it was.  If Fantine pulls your heartstrings, you don’t really believe that women should be emancipated.   If you allow women to run around loose, you will feel a highly unlibertarian urge to childsafe the world to protect Fantine from herself.

And so libertarians wind up making a variety of vague, incoherent, and unprincipled exceptions for marriage, reproduction, and sex.

Further, there are many adult males who simply cannot look after themselves, who wind up living on welfare and crime, and people want laws to deal with them, laws that give police alarmingly great authority and privilege police to use alarming amounts of violence.

The intent is always that the laws will be applied selectively, that in practice they will be applied only to bums, winos, and minorities.

It is often said that guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.  Similarly, drugs do not addict people.  There are however some people, quite a lot of people, who should be permitted neither guns nor drugs.

Trayvon Martin was not forced burgle or mug by drugs.  But since he was spending a fair bit of money on drugs, and had no job, we should conclude he was burgling or mugging.  So Trayvon Martin intoxicated should have been treated very differently from someone intoxicated who had means to pay his own way.

But in practice these laws always get turned around, because applying such laws to bums and such is more work and more dangerous, and because the ruling party needs the votes of its underclass mascots, so in practice these laws wind up being selectively applied only to employed white males, the opposite of the original intention that they be applied only to the poor and black.  We get anarcho tyranny, as illustrated in the Tony Martin burglary case.

In a rural area in England a team of burglars went forth most days, for years on end, robbing, assaulting people in their homes, committing vandalism, starting fires, day after day, year after year, committing hundreds, probably thousands, of burglaries.  Police did nothing – well not quite nothing.  The burglars went through the revolving door of the justice system numerous times without ever being removed from circulation.  Tony Martin shot one of these habitual repeat burglars, and the entire resources of the state were applied to destroy him, to dig up any dirt that could be thrown in his general direction in order to prejudice the jury.

Similarly, in California, a mestizo can drive a car without a license or third party insurance, and not get in trouble even if demonstrably incompetent to drive a car.  Libertarians are strangely unable to acknowledge or mention this striking lack of equality before the law.  Unemployed Mestizos are equal before the law to employed white males, yet somehow, strangely, employed white males are not equal to unemployed mestizos

Committed to supporting equality before the law for people that are demonstrably unequal, libertarians are strangely struck silent by the phenomenon of unidirectional equality.

The no parasitism rule assumes a world of independent adults, thus is fundamentally incompatible with the equality of all men, for a great many able bodied men, the undeserving poor, are unable or unwilling to support themselves, thus must necessarily be parasites.

If only independent adults count, thus a world in which only heads of households count.  Dependents do not count because they, like Fantine, should make decisions under the supervision of the head of household, or with his consent.  Parasites don’t count because non parasites have a common interest in eradicating them like vermin.

It thus presupposes something mighty close to patriarchy, in that without welfare, heads of households are apt to be overwhelmingly male, and that we deal with able bodied indigents, the undeserving poor, in a manner that is mighty close to chattel slavery and, chattel slavery not being very economic these days, genocide.

The first principle of libertarianism has radically reactionary implications fundamentally incompatible with the second principle, equality before the law.   If we are going to ship all bums off to the gulag, we are not treating them as equals.

But, approved libertarians, academic libertarians, libertarians organized as a political faction, are anti patriarchy and take a “utilitarian” approach to welfare. (“Utilitarian” in scare quotes because there are no real utilitarians.  It is always a rationalization for an unspeakably horrifying position.)

The no parasitism rule leads not to orthodox official progressive libertarianism, but to profoundly reactionary libertarianism.

We have a pile of intrusive and unreasonable laws that theoretically apply to everyone, that were intended to apply only to blacks and poor people.  In practice, in some upper crust areas, areas where successful progressives hang out, they are applied to blacks and poor people. In most places in California, it is the other way around.  These laws are applied only to employed white males  Libertarians seem curiously tongue tied about both forms of inequality.

If you believe that all men are equal, you cannot really believe in the non coercion rule, because some men need a great deal of coercion, you cannot really believe in the no negative sum interaction rule, for the same reason, nor the no parasitism rule, for some men are naturally parasites.

I suggest a different principle, one that England was pretty good approximation to from Charles the Second to George the fourth:  That all property owning self supporting heads of households should be equal before the law, that people unable to support themselves should have substantially less legal power and freedom, and that able bodied people unable or unwilling to support themselves, the undeserving poor, should be subject to quite severe coercion, should be kept under supervision and compelled to good behavior on pain of imminent and immediate physical punishment – the old English workhouse.

Libertarian rules are rules for interaction between people for whom violence, physical coercion, is inappropriate:  In other words, rules for gentlemen.  There are a lot of people for whom physical violence, or the imminent threat thereof, is unavoidably necessary.  So a libertarian society has to divide the world into people that are gentlemen, and people that are not.  The more people it fits into the gentleman category, the more libertarian it is, but some people, quite a lot of people, are not going to fit.

This principle, that property owning self supporting heads of households should be equal before the law, is workable because heads of households don’t have much conflict of interest with other heads of households, assuming that they all believe in microeconomics.  That all men are equal before the law is not workable, as is revealed by libertarian paralysis and hypocrisy at all the numerous various unprincipled exceptions to this rule.

I don’t view that part of libertarianism that proposes equality before the law as inherent, but as a blemish that has to be removed, a legacy of libertarianism’s alliance with progressivism, an alliance that progressives abandoned in the nineteenth century, but which jilted and abandoned libertarians have for one hundred and thirty years vainly and pitifully hoped to renew.

A self supporting head of household should be equal before the law to another self supporting head of household. There should be equality before the law between households, but equality before the law within households means the state thrusting itself into households as big daddy, infantilizing adults – resulting in actually existent family law, which intended to apply libertarianism at gunpoint to wives and children to protect them from sexist patriarchal oppression – but fails to protect them from statist oppression.

Much unlibertarian law is intended to deal with people that are not self supporting, but instead gets applied to everyone.  For example if someone is unemployed, homeless, has no rental deposit, and is stoned, then the fact that he is stoned under those circumstances shows he needs to be coerced and supervised by his betters.  If he is not going to be coerced, compelled, beaten if necessary, and it frequently is necessary, he winds up above the law, while the guy who works and pays his taxes winds up underneath the law.  If someone is stoned, but holds down his job and pays his rent, then it is intrusive to meddle in his recreations.  His home should be his castle so long as he pays his rent, while the man who gets high in public because he cannot make his rent needs a thumping, for if someone has no visible means of support, his invisible means of support are parasitic or predatory.  Libertarianism means you get rid of such people.  They should neither be allowed to vote redistribution, nor be allowed to do redistribution themselves.

Equality before the law is only workable if people are well separated (separate households), and if people are not too grossly unequal.   You cannot apply it to someone who cannot afford his own household, because of lack of separation, and, frequently, because of lack of competence and future orientation. Libertarians keep trying to differentiate themselves from the right by advocating further moves left, for example gay marriage

This is corrupt behavior, betraying their allies in an entirely unsuccessful effort to suck up to their enemies.  Equalism is necessarily unlibertarian, because some people are not equal, and those people wind up preying on productive people, and have to be restrained, frequently by crude and primitive means, by grossly coercive means.   It is frequently the case that nothing less than a good thrashing will stop them, and usually the case that nothing less than the imminent threat of a good thrashing will stop them.

Prohibit such crude physical violence against inferior people, the prisons get flooded.  Revolving door justice, as for the burglars that terrorized the area where Tony Martin lived, necessarily follows.  Some people are restrained by concern for their job, good name, and relationships with their fellows.  Such people should never be subject to physical violence.  Some people are not, and should be subject to frequent physical violence.  This is inequality before the law, and quite severe inequality at that.  If you apply a no violence policy for everyone, then those who fit the profile that violence will likely be necessary, wind up being above the law, while the white male with a job winds up beneath the law.   As in California,  you get one way equality.

48 Responses to “Libertarianism and Equalism.”

  1. Johnny Caustic says:

    Wow, excellent post. After half a lifetime of rejecting all the standard political positions, I think I’ve just found my political philosophy.

  2. Red says:

    Great post Jim. I’ve been wondering something, has anyone been stupid enough to put the lower classes above the law before? I can’t think any society dumb enough to allow the under class to dominate the non elite middle and upper classes. It seems incredibly unstable. Yet the left has done it all over the world repeatedly and it’s been running the train on American proper since the 1960s.

    • jim says:

      This was prefigured by the British reforming the Ashantee empire, by the Belgians freeing the Hutus, and by reconstruction.

      First they did it to black aristocrats (Tutsis and Ashantee aristocrats), then they did it to “white trash” (reconstruction), and now finally they are doing it to just about everyone who dares produce anything. Doing it to the entire non elite middle and upper classes is unprecedented, but the wind has been blowing that way for a long time.

  3. VXXC says:

    I think this is the best thing I’ve read by you, and I’m not an unqualified fan.

    “Academic Libertarians” is of course an oxymoron like the so called Republican Party. Both are the State’s tame pets. As Moldbug pointed out the Kremlin would have paid anything for the Republicans.

  4. Eric says:

    “Similarly, in California, a mestizo can drive a car without a license or third party insurance, and not get in trouble even if demonstrably incompetent to drive a car.”

    Do you have some evidence/data for this claim?

    • jim says:

      A mestizo totaled my car. I talked to other Californians. Most of them have had similar experiences. Mestizos are a major road hazard in California, perhaps the major road hazard. If you are burglarized, chances are a black did it. If someone drives his car into yours, chances are a mestizo did it.

      If someone is illegal, he cannot get a Californian driver’s license, since this functions as a certificate of legal residence, though there is nothing stopping him from using a Mexican driver’s license. Demands that “illegals” (in practice Mestizos) be removed from the roads are deemed racist, because of the evil discrimination of not giving them Californian driver’s licenses. Governor Schwarzenegger therefore proposed a Californian driver’s license that would not constitute proof of legal residence, that anyone, including visitors and illegals, could get on passing a driving test. This also was deemed racist, and compared with the Nazi practice of issuing identity papers that stated a person’s race and ethnicity.

      The outrage about Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed driving license implicitly admits what no one can say out loud: A policy of allowing mestizos to drive without a license.

      • Eric says:

        Nothing happened to the mestizo who totaled your car?

        • jim says:

          Not to the one that totaled my car, nor to another mestizo that caused moderate damage to another car of mine.

          No one quite says this out loud, except by implication or indirection, not in plain words, but in the debate over Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposal for driver’s licenses for illegals, they came mighty close to saying it out loud in plain words.

          I don’t think Mestizos have total immunity, but, like Tony Martin’s burglars, close enough to total immunity for most practical purposes, as demonstrated by the reaction against Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed no questions asked driving license.

          • Eric says:

            I seem to recall in a recent post you claimed that the Cathedral created gestapo like police to shoot uppity underclasses who threaten the liberals in their neighborhoods like SF etc, or something of that nature, which actually made a lot of sense given the recent burning of the LAPD officer and all the shots they took at him, and the reps of the SF police force, and others I could name.

            But doesn’t that seem inconsistent with your claims re the mestizos and the cars?

          • jim says:

            I am sure a Mestizo or a black who burgled in San Francisco would get a big surprise. That is not necessarily inconsistent with him driving around in San Francisco without a license, since in San Francisco, you have to drive very slowly.

        • Z says:

          Eric, you must be kidding right? Several of my friends have been hit by undocumented Mexicans. The typical situation is hit and run. They run because they have no insurance and no drivers license, and this makes it impossible to identify the driver. You give the police their license plate number, but not only this doesn’t result in the law applied equally (after all they’re undocumented and uninsured and committed a felony, right?) the result is a curious inquiry from a law firm to your insurance company on the monetary limits of your policy.

  5. spandrell says:

    How to get from here to there Jim?

    Also what threshold of property?

    • jim says:

      How to get from here to there Jim?

      Government is a fragile artifice, a pretense, which from time to time dissolves into disorderly anarchy, anarchy in the sense of chaos, and has to be reconstructed. Usually that reconstruction involves invasion by a hegemonic power, or the threat thereof, except when the hegemonic power itself dissolves.

      Also what threshold of property?

      Enough income that the presence of drugs is not suggestive of burgling and mugging, and enough property that he does not view people lighting fires as instant slum renewal, but rather as reason to get on the rooftop with a sniper rifle.

      That is probably personal assets over a hundred thousand, though that will vary in different places and different times – enough assets to be reliably on the side of property against envy.

      • spandrell says:

        “Usually that reconstruction involves invasion by a hegemonic power, or the threat thereof, except when the hegemonic power itself dissolves.”

        Not really following you here.

        • jim says:

          For example, when the Romanian government disappeared in 1989, a new government did not immediately appear. Similarly in Georgia. Recreating a government is at best non trivial, as in Romania, at worst very difficult indeed, for example Afghanistan.

      • Red says:

        I’d personally advocate owning your own house debt free. This would exclude the majority of the American populace.

        • Thales says:

          So, the rentier class, then. Certainly erring on the side of caution there…

          • jim says:

            It is easier for property owners to gang up than for the propertyless to gang up, because the property owners don’t have to work out a distribution of the loot. Seems to me you want the broadest possible gang of property owners, hence dare not define “gentleman” too narrowly.

            But you also want them to agree on microeconomics, or else they will start redistributing from each other in various ways that are less obvious than burgling and arson. The book “economics in one lesson” is in large part a list of all the clever ways the propertied use the state to rob each other without being overly obvious about it.

          • Thales says:

            Indeed, we can assume there is a certain threshold of vesting above which patriarchs will maintain civilization (we could argue about where exacity it is, but it’s safe to say it exists somewhere.)

            But how does one screen for economic understanding? Leftists are often quite rich, hypocritically so, pushing ideas that make everyone else poorer while enriching themselves? (Let us call this the “Soros Problem”) How does one weed-out Universalists?

          • jim says:

            Two solutions:

            1. The anarcho capitalist solution: Unreasonable economic beliefs lead to violence, giving people a motive to discover true, rather than self serving, economic beliefs, plus there is no officially true belief system to impose unreasonable economic beliefs.
            2. The Royalist solution: The King officially declares sound economics part of the officially true belief system, part of the officially true theology, another part of the officially true theology being that the official big sin is no longer nazism/discrimination but communism/covetousness, with Marx instead of Hitler as the official earthly incarnation of transcendental eschatological evil.

            Trouble with the royalist solution is that the Cathedral has anticipated royalism, and has made sure that all our high ranking army officers have the charisma of a squashed toad. A king needs martial charisma, the ability to inspire soldiers. It looks like anyone with this characteristic is purged out of the officer corps. Chile had, and has, the same problem. The coupists had to hunt down Pinochet and drag him to the blood stained and still smoking presidential palace, which is why Chile eventually reverted to democracy.

            The only way we are going to get royalty is via an aristocracy, which starts out, as aristocracies tend to do, from mercenaries, bandits, guards, and local militia leaders, Blackwater neofeudalism. This may be be a slow and bloody process. Feudalism is apt to resemble some mixture of anarcho capitalism, chaotic anarchy, and gangster capitalism, so this may well wind up as a path to solution one, rather than solution two.

          • K says:

            But in the Royalist/authoritarian solution you cannot prevent royalist/authority itself from decadence, which WILL happen as history had proven many times; and cannot prevent its official truth from being not true at all, which WILL be given the limitation of human intelligence and human tendency to corruption. So eventually you have an authoirtarian collapse instead of a democractic collapse, which can be just as ugly.

          • jim says:

            Royalty declines in the person of Royals. If more royals were like Prince Harry, we would still have monarchy, but it has been said of Prince Charles that he could not get laid if he showed up at a brothel with garbage truck full of money.

            However, royals, unlike democrats, don’t benefit from an official theology that is false about the things of this world.

          • K says:

            > However, royals, unlike democrats, don’t benefit from an official theology that is false about the things of this world.

            It is not objective fact, but subjective thought that dictates what the royals do. If the royals are infinitely intelligent and long term concerned and always maintain an iron grip in power, then yes they will do the right thing. But they aren’t. In practice, monarchies in history didn’t have a better track record than democracies. Both are easily corrupted.

            Another problem with royals is that social mobility will be stifled. Even if the royals rule with competence, if people of merits never get the chance to rise to the ranks of royals (and the existing royals will do everything to prevent so), they will revolt.

          • jim says:

            Monarchies in our time committed suicide by turning left, and were unable to hold onto power due to weakness of character: What would Prince Charles do with royal absolutism? But, so long as monarchs held power, the official church under their rule was OK.

  6. [...] Libertarianism and Equalism. « Jim’s Blog [...]

  7. K says:

    It seems everyone has a different idea of what a libertarian is. It seems your definition of libertarian has little to do with the classic definiton of one who support strict property rights and freedom of social contract (and has nothing to do equalism), and more of a version perverted by liberalism. A libertarian should have no problem with coercion and restriction to defend property and social contract. eg on immigration, if the social contract has agreed that the country is the collective of private properties and public resources/goods (which are collectively owned properties of the citizen), then it logically followed free immigration is prohibited because it drains the collective properties of the original citizen without permission. One can however invite a foreigner to live in his home because it is his own property at his discretion.

    • K says:

      Freedom to enter contract does not imply equalism. It just means people can enter economic relation as they see best fit. eg. If wealth cannot be arbitarily redistributed (as per strict property right), then women must enter into a contract with men as a submissive in order gain protection and wealth and ensure her optimal economic and reproductive success. But since US is a non-libertarian country in the first place, any purported libertarian policy within a non-libertarian framework is bound to be self contradictory.

      • jim says:

        Freedom of contract means that contracts get enforced. We are not going to enforce contracts on groups and individuals that profile as being unlikely to observe them – which means that such groups and individuals should not get freedom of contract – being free to break contracts, should mean not being free to sign them and obtain benefit from them.

        • K says:

          There is no such thing as being free to break contracts. If someone breaks a contract, the society punish him and/or oust him, and extract a reparation if possible. That is the whole idea of enforcing a contract. That is simply how any lawful society works, libertarian or not: we punish those who break the laws, or coerce people into not breaking the laws. And if one is deeded untrustworthy and likely to break contracts, then the counter party should be wise enough to not enter into a contract with him in the first place. The problem with the decadent western society is that the goverment/mob-voter unilaterally and arbitarily change and impose contracts on everyone with no option to opt-out (eg secession), and laws (ie contract terms) don’t get correctly enforced.

          • jim says:

            There is no such thing as being free to break contracts. If someone breaks a contract, the society punish him and/or oust him, and extract a reparation if possible.

            That is too hard, and often the contract breaker is too pitiful. People are notoriously reluctant to enforce contracts on women. In the West Indies they had a big problem with free blacks in that a lot of them really could not comprehend a contract. Freedom of contract really should only be for gentlemen, who have the mental ability to understand what they are signing, and the future orientation to care about the long term consequences of fulfilling it.

            The biblical position was that women could agree to contracts, but the contract was not binding unless approved by husband or father, who was responsible for enforcement. This seems reasonable, given that women tend to have disturbingly short time preference, and that men are reluctant to enforce contracts on women.

          • K says:

            I see little difference between your idea and mine. You are saying that it is better for the gentlemen to directly control/coerce the non-gentlemen to do the right thing. I am saying that everyone should be given explicit notice and agreement before being controlled/coerced to do the contracted things. Functionally my proposal seems to be a superset of your proposal. The extra steps increase the initial transaction cost, but you get the benefit of flexibility and a premise of fairness, which could increase efficiency on long term; and perhaps more importantly, to prevent the rationalization and legitimacy of a group of self-declared superiority coercing another group: you may feel that you are a gentlemen but you can be declared a evil barbarian by a group seeking to control you or feel oppressed by you, then you end up the same as mob democracy.

          • K says:

            Women may be lousy in upholding contract justice, but they are excellent gain/loss detectors. The reason that they behave irresponsibly is that they can get away with it. Once the social meme of the bad consequence of doing something irresponsible is well spread, they will learn to rely on gentlemen who can make responsible choice. The asian women are every bit as manipulative and mercenary as the westerns, but since they actually have to eat the bad consequences, they learn to be a “good woman”.

          • jim says:

            For several thousand years, it has been assumed that women are less capable of forming contracts than men. Further, men just do not feel like enforcing contracts on women.

            Contract formation requires honor, intelligence, and future orientation. Some individuals and groups are weak on some or all of these.

          • K says:

            A marriage is a contract. A job is a contract. If you are saying that women and non-gentlemen should not be given the freedom of contract at all, then you are essentially arguing for arranged marriage for women and coerced slavery. Do you mean that extreme? Or, do you mean that their right of consent should be moderated — nullified if deeded unreasonable, but nevertheless they have the freedom to negotiate and choose a contract (eg choose a mate and the marriage term)?

          • jim says:

            At present the marriage contract is binding on men, and non binding on women, which is working out extremely badly. We are failing to reproduce, culturally and physically. So yes, arranged marriages for women, since I don’t expect the proposed MRA solution of treating women like men to work any better than the current solution, probably worse, since the current disaster at least admits what it denies, admits that women are not like men.

            As for jobs, some jobs, especially low level jobs, are short term, and do not require much trust, are not very much of a contract, so the great majority of people can qualify for those jobs, for example flipping burgers. For those that cannot even flip burgers, because of a tendency to not show up on time, steal from coworkers and employer and threaten the customers, and so on and so forth, for the undeserving poor, yes, I support slavery for vagrancy type crimes, because I oppose welfare for the undeserving poor. The problem with slavery is that in the modern economy, demand for slaves is likely to be substantially smaller than the supply of people who cannot support themselves without coercive supervision, so we may need to go with some solution that is in large part even worse, but whatever the solution, I want those people out of circulation and under supervision – coerced.

          • Thales says:

            Historically, America had arranged marriages, but the girl could veto the choice of suitor — impractical for the proles these days, most knowing more about TV personalities than their own neighbors, but a milder form remains in the rentier class (where obviously more is at stake.)

          • K says:

            Arranged marriage alone doesn’t prevent a woman from breaking the contract or the law being nonbinding to women. The contract would still need to be strictly enforced to control the woman’s behavior. So this part is in agreement with classical libertarian principle.

            The divergence is that you don’t believe women can make good decision at all and her father should just impose his will on her and make her do it and protect her from bad consequences. For the libertarian, it would say let her choose, but make her take the consequence; after a while the cultural meme would evolve to a state such that women would learn what is profitable and what’s not (women are not stupid, and indeed very adept, in this task). For the hardcore feminists who cannot learn, just let natural selection do its work and filter them out of the stock.

            I can go on about the pros and cons of each idea but this discussion is getting too long for me. I’d just say that both approaches have slim chance of realization.

          • jim says:

            Arranged marriage alone doesn’t prevent a woman from breaking the contract or the law being nonbinding to women.

            Arranged marriage is a side effect of a system that restricts a woman’s sexual choices to the advantage of productive prosocial males, to the advantage of males likely to look after their children, and to the disadvantage of what used to be called cads. A system that restricts women’s sexual choices after she is married, must also restrict them before she is married (or else she is never going to get married)

            For the libertarian, it would say let her choose, but make her take the consequence.

            But no one, left or right, is willing to go with that solution. See the character Fantine in Les Miserables. A libertarian proposing that solution is like a libertarian proposing “We need a free world wide market in labor, so as a step towards that glorious ideal, let us import one hundred million underclass from latin America to live on welfare and vote democrat.”

          • K says:

            > But no one, left or right, is willing to go with that solution.

            That’s why libertarians are called libertarians not the left or right. I don’t think arranged marriage and slavery have any better chance with left or right at large.

            It should be noted women pedestaling is a perculiar cultural meme of European cultures and exacerbated by the left movement in recent centuries. In other cultures traditionally there were little restraint in dishing out punishment to women.

          • jim says:
            But no one, left or right, is willing to go with that solution.

            That’s why libertarians are called libertarians not the left or right. I don’t think arranged marriage and slavery have any better chance with left or right at large.

            I don’t think libertarians are willing to go with that solution. Try reducing it to concretes, to real humans. Woman’s right to choose plus man’s right to choose, freedom of contract with enforcement of contract. What happens to Fantine in such a system? If we are going to have equality and freedom, women don’t get any child support except the child is produced within the marriage contract and the woman is acting in accordance with the marriage contract. OK, suppose, like Fantine, she does not, which in practice she frequently will not. What then?

            If there are any libertarians that support that solution, they are mighty quiet about it.

            At this point the libertarian cries “Oh no, what about the children, what about Cossette, who never consented to any of these bad doings?”. The libertarian will tell us that we have to make an exception to libertarianism for the sake of Cosette. At which point the reactionary replies, “Well, if you are going to make an exception so that in order to financially support poor suffering Cossette, we have to financially support her poor suffering mother Fantine, how about an exception restricting female behavior that is likely to deprive their children of parenting by their natural fathers – how about we restrain Fantine from getting into this problem in the first place, rather than subsidizing it after it happens?”

          • K says:

            In your example, an out-of-wedlock birth is not breaking any contract so we are not talking about contract enforcement but social security management. The same question can be asked about married couples who pop out kids that they cannot support themselves. In China, the government request a “social support fee” for out-of-quota births, essentially a prepayment of the social expense for the child. Failing to pay the fee risks a forced abortion. It works very effectively. People rarely breed irresponsibly. When a child is conceived out-of-wedlock and abortion is undesired, the couple usually arrange marriage immediately, unless one of them decides that they will support the child alone. Note that china rarely practice arranged marriage now. Social welfare is very limited in China, and a healthy person claiming welfare is considered shameful.

            But China, like all other traditional cultures, is undergoing ideological assimilation of the left.

          • jim says:

            In your example, an out-of-wedlock birth is not breaking any contract so we are not talking about contract enforcement but social security management.

            Assuming that the biological father is not being ordered to pay child support.

            Failing to pay the fee risks a forced abortion

            Forced abortions, and forced sterilizations, solve the problem, but such a solution is neither libertarian nor progressive. The old reactionary solution was forced adoption combined with punitive restraints that made it difficult for the misbehaving woman to conceive more children. A modern reactionary solution would be forced adoption for women unlikely to provide their child with a father, combined with sterilization for unrepentant misbehaving women.

          • K says:

            > but such a solution is neither libertarian nor progressive.

            It is compatible with libertarian, because irresponsibly adding a person into the society creates negative externality, violating the social contract on public property, therefore subject to punishment.

            As I said, nowaday everyone has a different idea of what a libertarian is. Many self proclaimed libertarians are really a special version of liberals who want unlimited freedom without responsibility / contract constraints, but do not put on the facade of universal equalism and empathy. The academic definition of libertarian is quite different — it is about using social contracts to _limit_ freedom.

          • jim says:

            because irresponsibly adding a person into the society creates negative externality,

            One can always find no end of reasons why anything one disapproves of creates negative externalities, but this rationale seems thinner than most. More children produce benefits, for example spread the national debt over more people.

            To punitively prevent immoral reproduction, one has to argue that children conceived immorally, fatherless children, are likely to produce special negative externalities – that bastards tend to be criminals, and women who spawn bastards are usually rewarding adult criminals, or at least adult cads. If one starts paying attention to this sort of externality, then the entire eighteenth century program of controls on women and punishment of female misconduct follows, and equality of the sexes flies out the window.

          • K says:

            > this rationale seems thinner than most. More children produce benefits, for example spread the national debt over more people.

            This reasoning (and the corresponding pro-immigration argument) is very dangerous and usually leads to Malthusian trap and dysgenics. Libertarians should focus on property right. You just cannot add a person to the society without providing your own support and freely take a share of public resource, without a consented citizenship social contract, as much as you cannot come to use my home without my consent claiming that you can help me doing housework in future. It is foreign concept which will unlikely to find acceptance in mainstream western society, but it is theoretically consistent and workable, as in China.

          • K says:

            By negative externalities, I don’t mean the child will grow up to be a criminal or something, but that by not providing support to your child, you are forcing society to pay for it, therefore violating the social property. I think that the chinese policy of social support fee is a fairly good way of controling population.

  8. [...] Libertarianism and Equalism. « Jim’s Blog [...]

  9. TD says:

    Jim, you’ve written an important post here, and I’d really like to share it with some other folks. Any chance you could clean up the punctuation formatting when you have a few minutes? I don’t know if it was garbled like that when you initially posted it, or if it somehow eroded after the fact, but either way, all those odd symbols are impeding the communication of your ideas.

    Thanks very much.

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