For those of you wondering why I “feed the trolls” to the extent I do, thus far I consider them not to be trolls in that I’ve gotten relatively substantive arguments, and I prefer opposition in that it provides me with opportunities for clarification.
Daisy has been exceptionally respectful thus far, and even her supporter largely refrains from much of the invective to which I’ve become accustomed. Lotus referred to topics on which I planned to touch on soon, anyway. I shall therefore respond.
First, Lotus jumps to a conclusion common to those on the left in that he assumes that as an advocate of the free-market I’m primarily “afraid of somebody taking [my] stuff.” I’ve not clue as to how much Yohami may or may not have, and there’s no way for Lotus to know this, but I’m most decidedly a member of the 99%. Yes, like virtually all Americans, I have a roof over my head, but I’m not even close to being one of the “millionaire and billionaires” the left is calling on to pay more of their “fair share.” My car is twelve years old. Were my “wealth” to be redistributed, it might do some good for a few Guatemalan peasants, but very few Americans would benefit in the slightest. If anything, Obama would be more likely to distribute wealth to me instead of away from me.
However, I am a WHAM (white heterosexual able-bodied male), and as such do not suffer from some of the disadvantages Lotus cites. True, but beside the point. Hunters are more likely than others to promote gun rights; minorities are more likely to support affirmative action. There are points both pro and con for both policies, but to reject a gun owners views on the 2nd Amendment is no more valid than rejecting a black’s views on affirmative action solely because of his race. Likewise, whether I’m living in the gutter or Donald Trump, Jr., reject or accept my points based on their merits, not on my identity. Do I know how it feels to be a poor black? No, but Herman Cain does, and I doubt Lotus would listen to him, either.
It’s very difficult for some on the left to accept this, for they “know what [we’re] actually about” before they even hear us out, but some of us are concerned with actual principle. It may be principle you don’t like, but Lotus adopts the argument from which Daisy refrained. We have evil motives and can therefore be dismissed out of hand. If I’ve adequately demonstrated I’m not part of the 1%, then I become one of their stooges, like the poor rubes in What’s the Matter with Kansas, hoodwinked into working against my own interests.
I have no interest in running a ranch. I live in an apartment so other than my fairly meager possessions, “property rights” are an abstraction. Nevertheless, stuff like this infuriates the hell out of me. I have no dog in Conway’s fight whatsoever, but I support him wholeheartedly.
Daisy concedes that she’s “very bad on the ‘have to’ thing.” So is Lotus, but he doesn’t admit it.
I readily admit that the “‘have to’ thing” is a rhetorical framing device, and an effective one at that. However, it’s far from being only a rhetorical device in that the reason for its effectiveness is its basis in reality. If I don’t want to do something, and somebody else makes me, I “have to”. If I want to do something, and you’ll shoot me if I do it, you’re using force to stop me. Lotus never refutes or denies this. Instead, “[a]ll meanings referring to acting based on moral or ethical standards or social obligation or even logical self-interest have been ruled out in advance.” Not “ruled out”, distinguished from the question at hand because it’s an altogether different question. Moral standards are perfectly relevant to what course of action I undertake, but if I choose to do something and I can’t, whatever the moral or objective merits of my decision, I’m still being coerced.
You can make the case that you have the right to make me do something for my own good, to please God, or to make me do something for somebody else, but in each of these cases, you’re arguing that you have the right to make me. There’s no way around this because it’s true.
Furthermore, you can make that case that I should have to help the poor. As long as you recognize it as such, you’ll have a (difficult) case to make. Regardless, that is in fact the case you’ll be making.
He has valid questions regarding my definitions of “rights” and “freedom” which deserve an answer and will be addressed in subsequent posts. Also, he brings up the efficacy of ostensibly free markets during other periods of time. Finally, he asks why I’m not an anarcho-libertarian advocating we have no government whatsoever. I’ve addressed this last question briefly here, but it requires expansion. After all, is it legitimate to defend the notion that the government be “required to protect the interests that libertarians endorse, but that same society and government are not allowed to define ‘interests’ in any other way”?
Yes, it is, and I’ll get into why in my next post (probably Tuesday).
Monster that I am, I intend to keep this respectful. I hope I’m not alone.