“There were pieces of my family all over the road… I picked up those pieces from the road and from the truck and wrapped them in a sheet to bury them. Do the American people want to spend their money this way, on drones that kill our women and children?”
— Miya Jan, a 28-year-old farmer who found the the burning frame of his cousin’s blue pickup truck after a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan. Inside, he said, he recognized the mangled remains of his brother, his brother’s wife and their 18-month-old son. Jan and other villagers say 14 people were killed in the attack; U.S. and Afghan officials place the toll at 11. | Afghans describe relatives’ deaths in recent U.S. drone strike
“The NSA actually does a very good job about not engaging in domestic surveillance, not reading people’s emails, not listening to the contents of their phone calls. Outside of our borders, the NSA’s more aggressive. It’s not constrained by laws.”
Is he really STILL trying to convince us of this BS? No one who has had any contact with the news in the last six months believes the NSA “does a very good job about not engaging in domestic surveillance.” No one. Everyone knows the NSA is all up in our business, all the time, everywhere, for no good reason. In fact, at this point, I think even if Edward Snowden hasn’t revealed that the NSA is doing a specific type of surveillance on us, we all pretty much assume that it’s happening anyway. (For his next revelation, my money is on “The NSA is watching you through your webcams, so definitely put a Post-It up there.”)
"It’s not constrained by laws." It’s not. Constrained. By laws. I mean, I appreciate the honesty, but damn. Isn’t Rule #1 of Being President something like “Don’t straight-up tell people you’re letting an insanely powerful and invasive government agency run rampant worldwide without any constraints of law”?
All joking aside, this is an incredibly revealing quote. And you know what? In 2001, it might have worked.
Maybe if most of us didn’t have the modern internet — constant access to a wide variety of news sources and commentary — we wouldn’t instantly dismiss the President’s blatant lie about domestic surveillance.
“If we have to get a warrant, we’re going to come back when you’re not expecting it, we’re going to park in front of your house, where all your neighbors can see, we’re gonna bust in your door with a battering ram, we’re gonna shoot and kill your dogs, who are my family, and then we’re going to ransack your house looking for these people.”
michaelangerlo said in reply to your post: glad he asked u to clear that up because it sure sounded like mocking to me. and it sure sounded like u were talking about charity and cooperation as if they were separate from entrepreneurship. Also you’re not countering anything he said here
Well, charity and entrepreneurship often coincide and work together beautifully (particularly now that social entrepreneurship is becoming more prevalent), but they are not identical. Cooperation, of course, is part of both.
That said, I was not attempting to counter any of the principles LALiberty mentioned…because we agree about economics.
Conza also shared a really good perspective on the subject, which echoes much of I was saying (in a quote from Henry Hazlitt!).
laliberty asked: Mocking libertarian deference to the entrepreneur is unnecessary since charitable action often fits the Misesian/Rothbardian definition of entrepreneurship (remember: 'profit' may be psychic, as in an increase in happiness, and not merely material, as in an increase in wealth). That some misunderstand or overstate the entrepreneur's role relative to the rest of 'society' and take "self-sufficiency" to some solitary absolute - mistakenly placing each individual in a vacuum - does not change this.
I take issue, rather, with a specific strand of thinking which sees the entrepreneur in isolation from the customers, other businesses, educational and cultural factors which play a factor in his success. Crusoe can innovate all he wants, but without people with which to interact, he won’t be much of an entrepreneur. (This, indeed, is how Rothbard thinks about society in Man, Economy, and State.)
So by all means, laud the entrepreneur. But it is inaccurate (and sounds a bit silly, given a moment’s thought) to laud him as the exclusive architect of his success. Certainly he is the most important of the architects, but he is not, in fact, Atlas.
Making this point doesn’t detract from the importance of entrepreneurship, or dismiss psychic profit, or downplay other hallowed principles of the free market. It simply highlights that, though we are individuals, we are individuals who “continuously benefit from, imitate, and build on what others have done” — and attempts to claim otherwise make strawmen out of our arguments for greater liberty in the marketplace.
This is part of a longer, private conversation, but squashed kindly agreed to let me share this portion publicly, because I think it’s an important distinction for us as libertarians to keep in mind.
To the extent that I can generalize, I would say that most well-informed, reasonable libertarians don’t see individualism and community-based problem solving as opposing sides between which they must choose — at least, I know I don’t, and I’m sure many voluntaryists would agree.
For me, and for many libertarians I know, individualism is an emphasis on the rights and worth of each person — as well as an interest in independence, responsibility, and self-reliance.
But none of that suggests a belief that we live in some sort of state of nature in which working together to solve problems somehow diminishes or persecutes the individual. After all, our ideas on the market itself are predicated on the idea that it’s good to voluntarily interact with others in society, and that we’re all made better off by doing so.
If anything, I’d suggest that the individual worth/personal responsibility aspects of individualism push me toward civil society, not away from it.
Remember when Obama (kinda) said the infamous “you didn’t build that” line? When that happened, some pro-liberty types engaged in a knee-jerk reaction by all reposting an Ayn Rand quote about the Magnificent Entrepreneur Doing Everything All by His Lonesome (he’s so good at business he doesn’t even need his customers!!!).
Of course no one succeeds alone. In society no one does anything of value in isolation. We think in a language and compute with numbers that others taught us. We all continuously benefit from, imitate, and build on what others have done. That’s what society is….
All of us depend on social cooperation, which is the very essence of the marketplace. Yet the greatest obstacle to such cooperation is government social engineering. Therefore Obama’s justification of big government in the name of social cooperation fails.
Libertarians (justifiably) complain that our opponents like to equivocate our opposition to the government doing something with opposition to that thing existing or happening at all. But with individualism and community-based solutions, I think some libertarians accidentally do the same thing to themselves: In rushing to oppose government-managed solutions to societal problems, we can sound as if we oppose having solutions to those problems period (especially if it involves more than the isolated efforts of our Magnificent Entrepreneur to make it happen).