[ExI] Call To Libertarians

Darren Greer darren.greer3 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 24 11:21:22 UTC 2011

On Wed, Feb 23, 2011 at 1:16 PM, Damien Sullivan
<phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu>wrote:

 You might get better responses if you gave the context.  Are you arguing
> with fairly informed and fully dedicated socialists?

Dedicated, yes. Informed? Not particularly.  Although there is a fair amount
of context and back-ground I'll try and give you some of it. It may help to
cool this discussion down a bit too, because the original question was quite
innocent and I got way more than I bargained for in the responses here. I am
used to Exi being a fairly balanced place to go when looking for an
intellectual assessment of a topic. The other discussion had degenerated
into rhetoric and even name-calling and I thought I might find some reasoned
arguments here to help bring it back on track. Unfortunately, the same thing
has happened here, which is in itself an education of sorts. I'm as guilty
as the next guy, getting embroiled in this one the way I did not get in the
other. Perhaps it is because I'm more invested here.

> >Are you trying to convince people to
> change their mind on policy<

Absolutely not.  But I despise mis-statements, or at least statements that
have no evidence other than "my Auntie Jane says so." Canada has for some
time been laboring under an ultra conservative right wing government that
slid into the barest minority after a financial scandal with the ruling
party eight years ago. They have managed to hold on to that minority through
various sleaze-ball politics, and the fact that the other party hasn't been
able to recover from the blows it took and the third is admittedly too
socialist for most tastes. Thinking people watch this government and know
that they are trouble. Recently regarding Egypt we stood in true solidarity
with Saudi Arabia, Israel and Libya in refusing to criticize Mubarek's
treatment of protesters. Canada lost its seat on the U.N security council
last year because of our foreign policy, which now makes U.S. foreign policy
look balanced. We have alienated China by invoking human rights abuse
claims, when anyone can see that it was done to keep that country away from
our oil reserves, which are some of the largest in the world. The business
community has now realized that government policy is hurting trade ( I have
yet to look into the specifics of that) because of its eagerness to get
reelected. It has consolidated enough power in the federal government and
prime minister's office to become a dictatorship tomorrow, if it wants.
There is now  media blackout on inner party workings. It has silenced
critics in the bureaucracy by gutting it (and Canada relies on a strong
bureaucracy to ensure continuity when new political parties take control of
the house and senate.) Now it is trying to make sweeping changes to the CRTC
so that media outlets do not actually have to report the truth. They have
couched this in political jargon, but it is being done to facilitate the
entry of a new 24 hour news station similar to Fox news that is about to go
on the air and that the prime minister's former aide was directed --openly
and without fear of reprisal-- by the government to create.

I do not exaggerate these issues. It is very serious. Canada's infamous
politeness is being used against it. Or was our politeness just apathy in

> or convince them that libertarians aren't

> all selfish or insane?<

 Aye, there's the rub, as Hamlet said. This party wears many masks. And one
of the masks it wears is libertarian. It attempted to appeal to libertarians
in the country by scrapping the long form census and citing privacy issues.
I don't know if any libertarians were dumb enough to buy that, but a lot of
smart social democrats were ( dumb people do dumb things. Smart people do
really dumb things.) I pointed out to this group, mostly writers and poets,
that I could not see how a libertarian, from what little I knew about them,
could support this government. When I tried to articulate why, that privacy
was less haloed now that they had instituted new CRTC regulations and were
reading our mail, and that they had increased the national debt and
centralized government and concentrated power even more, I was attacked as
being libertarian. Which is kind of funny, given Samantha and I's discussion
about health care. There seemed to be no distinction between libertarian and
ultra-conservative. To them, they were one and the same.

I suspected this wasn't true. I did some of my own research on-line and came
back with some evidence. Not pretty. So I went to you guys thinking I could
find a way to explain what libertarianism was, from those who held those
views rather than from documents on-line. Also the discussion sparked an
interest in me about  why some transhumanists championed it. Was it for
personal reasons, or was there a link between the advancement of technology
and libertarian politics?  I got some of what I needed, though I've
abandoned the other discussion as hopeless. And I have to say, while I have
been interested in this thread, and even got my blood pumping a few times,
I'm gonna go back to Watson. :)

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