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Comment author: Lumifer 22 August 2016 11:25:43PM 5 points [-]

I'm not talking about content at all. It seems to be that Gleb now likes the idea of basic income -- and I neither have strong opinions about basic income, nor care much about what Gleb believes.

This would have been a godawful clickbait piece-of-crap even if it argued that free markets are the best thing evah.

Comment author: passive_fist 23 August 2016 12:03:18AM -2 points [-]

Anyone can easily deny that they are biased. That takes no effort. So, again, why is it a 'godawful clickbait piece-of-crap'?

Comment author: Crux 25 July 2016 08:41:49AM *  0 points [-]

This is a predictable response from someone who's skeptical of libertarian economics. Just as it's natural to observe the order in the world and therefore assume that there must be a designer (God), it feels reasonable to the human mind to witness the structure inherent in society and thus expect that there must be in each instance a particular person who made a conscious decision to put the institution into place.

There are many facets to human society, so giving a comprehensive answer would require a book-length treatment. But to give an example, investors tend to have a large amount of power in many cases. Collectively they use their expertise in predicting future states in the economy in order to choose which companies are kept in the market and which are pushed out. Companies have internal power structures, where the final say could be an individual or a panel or individuals. Therefore, the "proximate final say" in this situation may be a certain person or group of people, where the "ultimate final say" may be based on the collective support or non-support of investors.

See here for how law and order could fit into a decentralized market system as well.

Comment author: passive_fist 26 July 2016 04:46:07AM 0 points [-]

What you're saying doesn't sound to me like a disagreement that there must be some higher authority. It just sounds like you're saying that the final authority gets decided at run-time, based on whoever happens to have the most financial power. So then the question becomes: Why do you think this is preferable to a system where authority is agreed upon beforehand by a majority of the people?

And just to make the discussion clearer, let's make it even more specific and talk about the issue of disputes over ownership of objects or property.

The comparison to religion makes no sense. Unlike biological organisms, human governments are designed. For example, in the case of the US, the structure and function of the court system is very explicitly laid out in the US constitution, and it was carefully designed in a committee via months/years of debate.

Comment author: Crux 23 July 2016 02:22:32PM *  0 points [-]

For a stable society to exist, at some level everyone has to agree upon some central authority with final say over disputes and superlative enforcement ability. Do you agree with this or not?

I'm not completely sure what you mean, but my guess is that I don't agree with you.

In each possible situation, it's useful to have an authority available who has final say over disputes. But it's not necessarily for every process in society to depend on the same authority.

Comment author: passive_fist 24 July 2016 10:36:10PM 0 points [-]

In each possible situation, it's useful to have an authority available who has final say over disputes. But it's not necessarily for every process in society to depend on the same authority.

Then who gets to decide who that authority is for every particular situation?

Comment author: TheAncientGeek 16 July 2016 09:19:34AM *  0 points [-]

Libertarian freedom is usually cashed out in terms of a strong adherence to negative rights combined with a disdain for positive rights.

Comment author: passive_fist 17 July 2016 12:58:24AM 0 points [-]

Can you be more specific?

Comment author: Lumifer 08 July 2016 01:11:07AM *  0 points [-]

because the arguments constantly shift around and are hard to pin down.

That's not an argument against libertarianism, that's an argument that people with a fairly diverse set of views call themselves libertarians. I think that happens to be true.

On a sufficiently high level of abstraction I'd probably say that the two main features of libertarianism are (1) an unusually high preference for liberty/freedom; and (2) a far-off-the-center position on the individualism vs collectivism axis. Point (1) directly leads to a strong suspicion of power structures such as the state.

assuming you had a well-defined utility function you wanted to maximize, how would you possibly go about providing a truly rational justification that libertarianism applied to a large mass of complicated human beings would result in the desired outcome?

I don't quite understand the question. If you have a "well-defined utility function", well, you just try to maximize it to the best of your ability. You seem to be thinking of a scenario where you're a god-king who gets to arrange the society (and individual values) as he sees fit. That is obviously incompatible with libertarianism at a basic level. And then you are talking about capitalism and socialism as if they were "working procedure[s] for governing people", but they are not. Economic systems are not power structures.

Comment author: passive_fist 16 July 2016 01:22:43AM 0 points [-]

I don't know what "an unusually high preference for liberty/freedom" means. Every single political philosophy claims that it is pro-freedom. Even totalitarian regimes claim to be pro-freedom. Without reference to specific policy positions, claiming to be 'pro-freedom' seems meaningless to me.

So that reduces your definition of libertarianism to 'far-off-the-center position on the individualism vs collectivism axis'.

For a stable society to exist, at some level everyone has to agree upon some central authority with final say over disputes and superlative enforcement ability. Do you agree with this or not?

Comment author: Lumifer 07 July 2016 02:17:31PM 1 point [-]

Interesting. So you truly believe that libertarianism has no possible rational justification, so much nope you can't even steelman it?

Comment author: passive_fist 07 July 2016 10:05:08PM 0 points [-]

I've tried before to steelman it and failed because the arguments constantly shift around and are hard to pin down. Tailoring arguments to every single person's interpretation gets tiring after a while. But if you can provide an explanation or link to what you believe then I'd read and try to steelman it to see if I understand your position correctly.

Here, though, I'm arguing on a more meta level - even assuming that it comprised a coherent set of beliefs, and assuming you had a well-defined utility function you wanted to maximize, how would you possibly go about providing a truly rational justification that libertarianism applied to a large mass of complicated human beings would result in the desired outcome? This also applies to capitalism, socialism, communism, etc. Essentially anything other than pure utilitarianism, but even utilitarianism requires a lot of fleshing out before you get to anything resembling a working procedure for governing people.

Comment author: Crux 27 June 2016 04:56:13AM -1 points [-]

Libertarianism is an irrational, politically extremist position?

Comment author: passive_fist 07 July 2016 12:55:42PM -1 points [-]

What surprises me is that you would even ask that question... what rational justification is there for libertarianism?

Comment author: Crux 26 June 2016 10:02:44AM *  2 points [-]

What irrational, politically extremist positions have you recently seen a lot of on LW?

Comment author: passive_fist 27 June 2016 01:04:43AM 0 points [-]

Neoreaction, libertarianism, and related ideologies.

Comment author: gjm 24 June 2016 10:25:19AM -2 points [-]

Out of curiosity: Which individuals and which views? (If you fear retaliation, feel free to answer by PM rather than here.)

Comment author: passive_fist 24 June 2016 11:02:12AM 1 point [-]

I don't see why I should fear retaliation as I've already left this site, for all intents and purposes.

The only issue is that I don't want to give the impression of having left over some petty argument and being bitter over it. The reality is the opposite. The reality is that there were never any heated disagreements. It was just me observing a very clear irrational, politically extremist bias in many people's comments, especially the ones most frequently in the 'top 30 contributors' panel (which shows that their beliefs in general match up with the overall beliefs in this community). In a few cases this bias went even to the extent of denying basic accepted science. In the end I realized that instead of trying to debate on LW rationally, it would be a better use of my time to go elsewhere.

Comment author: Vaniver 24 June 2016 12:13:27AM 0 points [-]

It's a lesson in how quickly good intentions (rational discussion and questioning authority) can lead to the evaporative cooling effect and the adoption of extreme sociological/political views while pretending that this is not taking place.

Which time period do you have in mind, here? Because "quickly" seems inaccurate. LW is old, and the decline has taken a long time.

If anything, the interesting thing with LW's decline is how slow it was, and how much attention the site continues to receive despite the lack of content. There was no major crisis that split things apart; it just got more and more stale, mostly as people graduated to more impressive and important things without replacements growing up here in the same way.

Comment author: passive_fist 24 June 2016 02:04:54AM *  0 points [-]

I somewhat agree. Sometimes communities dissolve through a publicized schism. Other times they just decay without any visible drama. It's not realistic to expect every single person who gets fed up and leaves to post a detailed criticism of the site and why they are leaving. A lot of people would rather just leave quietly and not waste their time with that kind of thing.

Still, it seems like the decline definitely accelerated over the past couple of years.

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