In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

The airlines are responsible for carrying their cargo and their passengers. Why should we assume that a bureaucracy can do better?

Ron Paul, R-TX, during the Republican debate at the Reagan Library.

I say go for it. And let’s not stop there:

—auto manufacturers never resisted seatbelts, airbags or antilock brakes (or fireproof gas tanks, or break away steering wheels, or … ), so I am sure they will spontaneously adopt new safety technologies going forward.

—the food and drug companies never put rat carcasses in sausages, or cocaine in “health pills” when they were unregulated, so I am sure they can be trusted to never do anything like that again.

—the financial markets have always been made up of sophisticated, self-interested investors who would never buy an interlocking set of mutually reinforcing investment packages that they actually didn’t understand, crashing the global economy as a consequence, so I am sure they’ll not do it in the future.

—manufacturers never used to make cribs that collapsed on babies’ heads, strangling them, or clothes that were fire hazards filled with toxic chemicals, so I am sure they’ll never do it in the future. The same can be said for food products, lead painted toys, etc.

I mean really—the market is perfectly self-regulating and all government ever does is wreck things.

Then again, if pigs had wings they might be able to fly.

(via politicalprof)

fuckyeahdrugpolicy:

“How will today look 20 years from now?” (via NORML SOUTH AFRICA)

This really makes me think about the Libertarian idea that regulation and restriction of things like cigarettes is not needed because people supposedly have the common sense to avoid products at hurt them.  I also think of the scene in “the kings speech” where Colin Firth says of smoking, “My doctor says it soothes the throat”. It’s obvious that without info campaigns to counter the cig industry the hazard is not so obvious. Not that they should be made illegal, but the point is that companies don’t automatically do what is in the best interest of their customers, in fact, it’s often the opposite. From cigarettes to energy to finance. PROFIT HAS NO CONSCIENCE. But again, I am in favor of legalization and education over prohibition when it comes to anything people decide to do with their own bodies. /rant

fuckyeahdrugpolicy:

“How will today look 20 years from now?” (via NORML SOUTH AFRICA)

This really makes me think about the Libertarian idea that regulation and restriction of things like cigarettes is not needed because people supposedly have the common sense to avoid products at hurt them. I also think of the scene in “the kings speech” where Colin Firth says of smoking, “My doctor says it soothes the throat”. It’s obvious that without info campaigns to counter the cig industry the hazard is not so obvious. Not that they should be made illegal, but the point is that companies don’t automatically do what is in the best interest of their customers, in fact, it’s often the opposite. From cigarettes to energy to finance. PROFIT HAS NO CONSCIENCE. But again, I am in favor of legalization and education over prohibition when it comes to anything people decide to do with their own bodies. /rant

Creating a Libertarian island?

goodreasonnews:

baseballlibertarian:

I’d move in a heart beat. 

Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters, according to a profile of the billionaire in Details magazine.

Thiel has been a big backer of the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build sovereign nations on oil rig-like platforms to occupy waters beyond the reach of law-of-the-sea treaties. The idea is for these countries to start from scratch—free from the laws, regulations, and moral codes of any existing place. Details says the experiment would be “a kind of floating petri dish for implementing policies that libertarians, stymied by indifference at the voting booths, have been unable to advance: no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.”

“There are quite a lot of people who think it’s not possible,” Thiel said at a Seasteading Institute Conference in 2009, according to Details. (His first donation was in 2008, for $500,000.) “That’s a good thing. We don’t need to really worry about those people very much, because since they don’t think it’s possible they won’t take us very seriously. And they will not actually try to stop us until it’s too late.”

Will the sale of under age prostitutes/pornography, rocket launchers and assault rifles, and uninspected, dangerous vehicles, appliances and other products be legal? Will homes need to meet any standards and if so, isn’t that regulation of the market? Will exploitation of underage, underpaid and overworked workers be legal?

Is libertarianism just isolationism? Is the idea of creating some libertarian utopia a betrayal? Are these people turning their backs on America?

Loving GoodReasonNews’ comments. Sounds like heaven: live in a house with no building codes, next to a power plant with no environmental regulations and next door to a guy who can own any assault rifle or explosives he likes; A place where police serve the highest bidder and your 15yr old can buy vodka, a pack of ciggies and a hooker with his allowance. What could go wrong?

(Source: moralanarchism)

goodreasonnews:

jrichner1790:

jasonfowler:

Hahah

LOL

Plus, here’s the thing. Only the right wing and the stupidest of fucking libertarian dunderheads buy into this propaganda that the government is telling citizens what lightbulbs it can use. The facts are that the government is regulating what sort of light bulbs can be manufactured in an effort to curtail pollution. They’re raising the industry standard because the technology exists to make a safer product. If in, say, 1975, the government regulated all cars be electric by 1985 we wouldn’t be in the shithole oil wars we’ve been in for the last 20 years and cruel Islamic dictators wouldn’t have us by the economic balls and Exxon and BP wouldn’t be constantly dumping oil all over our environment and running fish dinners for everyone.
But, no, lets all pretend this is an issue of ‘liberty.’ ::rolls eyes::

goodreasonnews:

jrichner1790:

jasonfowler:

Hahah

LOL

Plus, here’s the thing. Only the right wing and the stupidest of fucking libertarian dunderheads buy into this propaganda that the government is telling citizens what lightbulbs it can use. The facts are that the government is regulating what sort of light bulbs can be manufactured in an effort to curtail pollution. They’re raising the industry standard because the technology exists to make a safer product. If in, say, 1975, the government regulated all cars be electric by 1985 we wouldn’t be in the shithole oil wars we’ve been in for the last 20 years and cruel Islamic dictators wouldn’t have us by the economic balls and Exxon and BP wouldn’t be constantly dumping oil all over our environment and running fish dinners for everyone.

But, no, lets all pretend this is an issue of ‘liberty.’ ::rolls eyes::

But when we abol­ished slav­ery the mean­ing of “free­dom” became entirely unclear. Its oppo­site was gone. It’s as if the color “black” was abol­ished: how would we now under­stand the color “white?” Free­dom is much harder to define after 1865: what does it mean with­out slav­ery? I know what I prefer—the capac­ity to speak my mind, a cer­tain amount of prop­erty rights, pro­tec­tion from violence—but if you ask me to define “free­dom” it’s going to be a chal­lenge. Free­dom obvi­ously can’t mean “the right to do what­ever you want,” since that impinges on the free­dom of oth­ers, and it can’t sim­ply mean “the pos­ses­sion of prop­erty,” since prop­erty could be gained by vio­lent means. The laws which secure my rights (or if you like, my free­doms) are also constraints–they require the pay­ing of taxes and a degree of obe­di­ence to author­ity. Lots of peo­ple now equate free­dom with choice, imag­in­ing some­thing like “I’m free because the mar­ket gives me 100 dif­fer­ent choices of break­fast cereal.” This is clearly not quite what Jef­fer­son had in mind, and of course you might have 100 dif­fer­ent kinds of break­fast cereal but lit­tle or no choice about the kinds of work you might have to do to earn a liv­ing and lit­tle mean­ing­ful polit­i­cal choice. “Free­dom” is hard to define in the absence of slavery. Lib­er­tar­i­ans always refer back to the age of “clas­si­cal lib­er­al­ism,” the age of Jef­fer­son and Locke. This is not coin­ci­den­tally also the age of racial slav­ery: slav­ery gave mean­ing to free­dom, while racial slav­ery legit­i­mated a notion of nat­ural rights founded in bio­log­i­cal dif­fer­ence. Racial slav­ery wasn’t a regret­table acci­dent: it was cru­cial to the for­ma­tion of ideas about lib­erty and free­dom. It was the oppo­site that gave those ideas meaning. Because the end of actual slav­ery desta­bi­lized the notion of free­dom, mod­ern lib­er­tar­i­ans have to keep find­ing new forms of “slav­ery” to keep their world view sensible.

Rights don’t come in groups. We shouldn’t have gay rights.

Ron Paul (via apsies)

Oh, for fuck’s sake. If they gave everyone the same rights, we wouldn’t have to fucking fight for them separately, you stupid clown.

(via aatombomb)

i really hate libertarians.

(via squee-gee)

Here we have a perfect example of the libertarian delusion. ‘We don’t need gay rights.’ ‘We don’t need civil rights.’ ‘Those rights are granted by GOD and only taken away by governments!’ Right? …right? Hey, Mr. Libertarian, why don’t you take your privilege-denying white ass down to West Philadelphia. Walk through Harlem, visit Detroit. Take a look at history and see what it meant for a Black man to try to vote in the 50’s in the South. Did Brown V. Board of Ed. take away someone’s rights? Hey, maybe it did. The way you libertarian fuckers frame it, it took away the school’s right to segregate. Well, if that’s the case than no rights exist except at the expense of another’s. This whole free-market prayer you keep chanting is a fucking lie. It doesn’t exist. You’re not be practical. You’re not being logical. You’re being idealistic and, ultimately, a distraction.

The biggest crime here is enough of these pseudo-intellectual ninnies got together and elected Ron Paul to office. And then, just to show how ‘different’ they were than the regular Republicans, they voted his fucking son into office! Where have I heard this dynasty story before?

(via goodreasonnews)

libertarian vs conservativism

accordingtosami:

I can respect someone who has a libertarian viewpoint, for the most part. I mean, I don’t agree with it, and I don’t think an anarchial economic society will work without severe detriment to our most vulnerable, and the only way we were able to have such a robust “free market” during the first formative years of our nation was because of basic government regulation, but at least they’re consistent. While I don’t believe the libertarian concept of government is the best, it is a valid theory that is consistent and can make sense. 

Mainstream conservatism, however? I want to punch these assholes in the face. Don’t sit there and talk about how *hard* your life is as a christian white male business owner. Don’t tell me how “America has always been and always will be right of center” and go on about small government when you support any government imposition into people’s private lives as long as it doesn’t affect you as a straight white christian business owner. Don’t talk about cutting government spending when you support our current military actions in the middle east, the drug war, and morality legislation. You’re a hypocritical piece of shit and I will tear you apart any time. And DON’T judge “kids these days” as ungrateful pieces of shit who haven’t had to work for anything ever, when the only reason you can bitch about the economy is because your personal liberties have never been threatened. 

Right? These assholes like to fantasize about being patriot rebels in some 2011 mix of the revolutionary war and WWII. This fantasy casts the government as red coats, liberals as nazis and America as “Reagan Land”. For the conservatives, this delusion is much more pleasant than the reality that the times are a changing. The country is getting darker, younger and more liberal. And they are left like abandoned Japanese soldiers on islands who think the war is still going on years after it ended.

Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions

Ron Paul, 1996 (via goodreasonnews)

I don’t think a lot of libertarians are racists, but I do think that a lot of racists are libertarians (republicans by extension).

So Mr. Libertarian…

You’re telling me, that a CEO who makes 500x more than his average employee is simply 500x more intelligent and hard working??

Rob Woodall Won't Give Up Government Health Care 'Because It's Free'

corruptpolitics:

Moments after preaching extreme self-reliance to one of his constituents, a Georgia Republican told a gathering in his district that he will continue to rely on government-subsidized health care “because it’s free.”

Freshman Rep. Rob Woodall, who served as chief of staff to his predecessor, made national news earlier this week for comments he made, captured on video by Patch.com, to a retired constituent who told him her company does not provide retiree benefits.

“Hear yourself, ma’am. Hear yourself,” Woodall told the woman. “You want the government to take care of you, because your employer decided not to take care of you. My question is, ‘When do I decide I’m going to take care of me?’”

The exchange continued. In video provided to HuffPost by another constituent, Woodall was asked why — if he believes in such self reliance — he doesn’t forgo his government health care plan.

“I have a question about taking care of you. You have government subsidized health care, but you are not obligated to take that if you don’t want to. Why aren’t you going out on the fee market in the state where you’re a resident and buy your own health care? Be an example,” said a constituent in the new video.

“Your question is,” Woodall responded, “my government’s willing to give me lots and lots of stuff for free and why don’t I take it?”

The woman followed up. “Why aren’t you leading by example, and go and get it in a single-subscriber plan, like you want everybody else to have, because you want to end employer-sponsored health plans and government-sponsored health plans. You said so in a letter to me, that your goal is to get rid of the employer-sponsored health care [system]. So why aren’t you leading by example and go out yourself, decline the government health plan and go to Blue Cross/Blue Shield or whoever, and get one for yourself and see how tough it is,” she said. “You don’t have any pre-existing conditions, I guess, you haven’t had any life-threatening illnesses like I had last year.”

Woodall responded that “this is why it’s good to have these conversations, because there’s some bad information out there.”

But his constituent presses him further. “Answer the question: Why haven’t you gone out and got it?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I thought I did. It’s because it’s free. It’s because it’s free,” he said. “The same reason I went out to Walgreen’s and bought ActivOn and I don’t have any arthritis pain: Because it’s free. Folks, if you give people things for free, don’t blame them for taking them.”

The flawless logic of our Republican leaders that fight against healthcare. You can’t have it, but they can, because it’s free for them. Your tax money can pay for an anti-healthcare right-wing politician fighting to keep you broke and sick, but it’s unconstitutional and evil for your money to take care of you.

To the GOP, Cognitive Dissonance has become a party platform.

SERIOUSLY, FUCK AYN RAND

goodreasonnews:

stfuconservatives:

technipol:

“I used to think Ayn Rand was the bomb but I outgrew it. You know, when I turned 12.

We all know that liberalism is for the (naive, inexperienced, foolish) young while conservatism is a natural byproduct of aging, maturing, and gaining experience with the world, right? Conventional wisdom gets it wrong yet again. The surge in popularity of objectivism and libertarianism on campus underscores how right wing ideology, not pie-in-sky liberalism, is the real fantasyland for kids who have absolutely no experience in the real world.

Yes, Ayn Rand is making a comeback among the college-aged. Objectivism is even getting some mainstream press in light of Commissar Obama frog-marching the nation toward hardcore Communism. Heroic individualists are threatening to “go galt” now that Obama has completely eliminated all incentive for anyone to work ever again, re-enacting their own version of the “producers’ strike” in Atlas Shrugged.

I’ve gotten a little more mellow in recent years, believe it or not, less keen to argue and more able to see middle ground. But there is no middle ground here, no way for us to meet halfway in intellectual compromise: If you are an Objectivist, you are retarded. This is a judgment call, and I just made it. Grow up or fuck off. Those are your two options.

First of all, let us never overlook the fact that Rand’s novels are atrocious as literature. Boring, repetitive, unconscionably long-winded, and written at approximately a 10th Grade level. Her wooden characters, the dialogue that makes you feel like you’re being lectured by your uncle, and the idiotic plot all read as if written by a 17 year-old shut-in who spends a lot of time touching himself under a life-sized poster of Hayek. Atlas Shrugged is to literature whatBattlefield: Earth is to film – it’s five times too long and leaves readers wondering if Rand ever met another human being let alone successfully interacted with one.

Second, whatever respect we could have for Rand in light of her awful writing skills is obliterated by her unbelievably sophomoric “philosophy.” It’s exactly the kind of anti-intellectual, preachy, self-aggrandizing shit that plays well with immature people who think the world revolves around them – in other words, college kids. Yet Objectivists themselves have contempt for academia, which refuses to dignify their little cult with serious study. But who could be expected to take this sort of thing seriously?

“Just this weekend,” said Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) on Wednesday in an interview with TWI, “I had a guy come up to me in my district and tell me that he was losing his interest in the business he’d run for years because the president wanted to punish him for his success.”

John, your constituent is a friggin’ idiot. He is exactly the kind of ex-fratboy MBA who thinks of himself as a linchpin of society, an “Atlas” upon whom the nation rests, but in reality could be replaced by any literate college grad or, in many cases, an unusually motivated ape. Think about this logic (or “logic”) for a second: this guy no longer wants to run his business because his taxes went up a few percent. The government wants to reduce his income by 10%, so his response is to reduce it by 100%. Sheer brilliance. Go ahead, Mr. Irreplaceable. Close your business. Go broke to “teach us a lesson” about how important you are. We’ll just have to struggle on without you. I am trying to be tactful here, but if this logic makes sense to you, I have to be emphatic:you are retarded. You’re far more likely to be in the bottom rung of society than among the “producers.”

Conventional wisdom is wrong. It’s not “Liberal at 20 or no heart, conservative at 30 or no brain.” Only the young can indulge (on mom and dad’s tuition dollar, by the way) this kind of solipsistic ME ME ME horseshit. People who mature beyond adolescence start realizing that, hey, there areother people in the world and that sitting on one’s ass lecturing them about what they shouldn’t have done is of limited use. Politics is about solving problems, not moralizing. Life is about living in society, not in one’s own head. Objectivists are right to target college kids, though, a demographic highly susceptible to new “-isms” in their first foray away from Ham Bone, Iowa or wherever. They’re also the kind of people most likely to find dichotomous, black-and-white morality appealing. Accordingly I should go easy on this new generation of Objectivists with their natural abundance of naivete, youth, and selfishness. Happily, those who mature emotionally beyond the age of 18 will soon outgrow it. But there’s a fine line between deserving sympathy and inviting a vicious intellectual beatdown, and the line is starting to blur.

In conclusion, if any of this was insufficiently clear: Man, fuck Ayn Rand.”

[via ginandtacos]

I deeply disagree with the way “retarded” is used here, but other than that, spot on.

Very well said. Here’s two more cents. Libertarians are free-market radicals who worship at the alter of the all-mighty dollar. They are convinced market forces will always fill any gap, right any wrong and, if left truly free, provide people with every option they desire. A free-market, for instance, should lead to the healthiest possible food products being the most successful as it is the case that, in a libertarian fantasy world, people won’t stand for products that kill them (I actually got this lecture from a libertarian who was smoking while telling me). Following that logic, if the head of, say, Verizon ‘went Galt’ and walked out, not only would that action be betraying the free market interests that Rand and other amphetamine junkies (yes, she was a miserable drug addict) push, but it would open the market to a competitor who wouldn’t give a shit about some rich boy’s little tantrum. The opportunity for, say, Comcast, would be so great that Verizon would literally be committing suicide by proving some point about America not respecting their fucking ‘genius.’ Any libertarian ought to know this. Using their own logic I just explained a glaring contradiction in their Bible.

What now, bitches?

goodreasonnews:

greenstate:

libertarianlover:

Genius.

coming from someone whose blog’s ‘about me’ section is this:
Work hard. Take responsibility for my actions and words spoken. Be compassionate. Risk more. Live out loud. Conquer fear. Aspiring gun enthusiast. Easier typed than done. Let the attempts of a 20 something college chick begin. Love God, family, friends, libertarians and my home state: TEXAS.
well, at least i know my gag reflex is still intact. being away from tumblr, i forgot what that felt like. but participating today has made me so aware of my natural instincts. 

See, that’s fine for the libertarian, but not everyone is a libertarian. Governments are set up to compromise people’s ideologies. Many Americans, for example, believe in social safety nets for the least privileged. But I don’t really have a lot to give, in fact, I’m on the receiving end of some of that. So, I look to my nation’s wealthy. And you know what I see? I see people who have not only created the nation’s unemployment woes buy sending jobs overseas and refusing to voluntarily cooperate with the goal of making this country great; I see people who would do anything to increase their companies profit margin even one percent, just to please their investors. Big corporations in America are obsessed with beating the previous year so they can boast about it on reports to their investors and if it takes cutting 900 jobs to do it, than they do it. If it means watching an entire U.S. city like Camden or Detroit turn into gangland while they ship jobs overseas to a country where human rights and worker’s rights are unheard of, often supporting cruel and oppressive regimes.
These money-worshipping fuckers would never volunteer a dime and you damn well know it, unless you’re isolated in your own little ideological libertarian bubble.

How about: I’m not racist, I just believe in voluntary integration. That’s what I hear when someone is like: “I’m not selfish, I just believe in voluntary participation in supporting the nation.”

goodreasonnews:

greenstate:

libertarianlover:

Genius.

coming from someone whose blog’s ‘about me’ section is this:

Work hard. Take responsibility for my actions and words spoken. Be compassionate. Risk more. Live out loud. Conquer fear. Aspiring gun enthusiast. Easier typed than done. Let the attempts of a 20 something college chick begin. Love God, family, friends, libertarians and my home state: TEXAS.

well, at least i know my gag reflex is still intact. being away from tumblr, i forgot what that felt like. but participating today has made me so aware of my natural instincts. 

See, that’s fine for the libertarian, but not everyone is a libertarian. Governments are set up to compromise people’s ideologies. Many Americans, for example, believe in social safety nets for the least privileged. But I don’t really have a lot to give, in fact, I’m on the receiving end of some of that. So, I look to my nation’s wealthy. And you know what I see? I see people who have not only created the nation’s unemployment woes buy sending jobs overseas and refusing to voluntarily cooperate with the goal of making this country great; I see people who would do anything to increase their companies profit margin even one percent, just to please their investors. Big corporations in America are obsessed with beating the previous year so they can boast about it on reports to their investors and if it takes cutting 900 jobs to do it, than they do it. If it means watching an entire U.S. city like Camden or Detroit turn into gangland while they ship jobs overseas to a country where human rights and worker’s rights are unheard of, often supporting cruel and oppressive regimes.

These money-worshipping fuckers would never volunteer a dime and you damn well know it, unless you’re isolated in your own little ideological libertarian bubble.

How about: I’m not racist, I just believe in voluntary integration. That’s what I hear when someone is like: “I’m not selfish, I just believe in voluntary participation in supporting the nation.”