Ron Paul on Liberty

Here’s Ron Paul on Chris Matthews’ show talking about giving people greater liberty and freedom on a number of different issues. I agree with much of what he says. But here’s the part I want to focus in on: property rights. I am all for property rights. See my post "Three eminent domain cases show corporatism in action" for example. But this conversation pitted business property rights against individual liberty – and I say individual liberty wins. The conversation picks up at about the 4:20 mark:

Paul: Yeah, but I also know that the Jim Crow laws were illegal and we got rid of them under that same law and that’s all good.

Matthews: You would have voted against that law.

Paul: Yeah, but not — I wouldn’t vote against getting rid of the Jim Crow laws.

Matthews: Honestly, Congressman, you were not for the ’64 civil rights bill.

Paul: Because of the property rights element, not because it  got rid of of the Jim Crow Laws—

Matthews: Right. A guy owns a bar, says no blacks allowed, you say that’s fine.

Paul: No, Chris, you’re demagoguing it. Segregation was created by government laws. slavery was created by government laws. segregation — let me go — segregation in the military by government laws. what we want to do as libertarians is repeal the laws and honour and respect people —

This is ridiculous. Slavery wasn’t created by government laws. It was created by the desire to use cheap labour and it was common throughout the Americas for that reason. As for the US, segregation was not created by government laws. It was a legacy of slavery.

More to the point, this position on the Civil Rights Act is indefensible. If private businesses had been allowed to continue to discriminate against blacks in 1964 in the south they would have done just that. Insisting that market forces would have ended Jim Crow without the Civil Rights Act is, as Matt O’Brien told me, "offensively stupid.  We had an empirical test: i.e. history."

I see this as an extreme ideological and utopian position that takes no account of the facts on the ground.

Here’s my take:

Let me give you an example. Say I was walking down the street in Louisville, Kentucky and saw a cute little shop that sold Kettle Korn. For those of you who don’t know kettle korn, it is salted and sweetened popcorn that was brought to the U.S. by German immigrant farmers in Pennsylvania,Maryland and into the Midwest over two hundred years ago. In Germany, popcorn is sweet not salty like it is in the U.S. So, I see this store and I am thinking, "They have Kettle Korn in Kentucky? Wow, who knew. I love this stuff. Let me go get some." Here’s the problem: the owner of the store has a business policy that no black people are allowed inside. Mind you, this isn’t a government policy because government discrimination based on race or ethnicity is illegal in the United States. But, this business owner doesn’t want Blacks in his store. So when I enter, he tells me to leave because I am violating his store’s liberty to choose its own policies.

I would say the individual liberty trumps the business liberty in this case, especially since the owner is violating his own government’s business policy as well as societal norms. A corporatist would say that the business owner wins since it is his business. Again, that’s the difference…

it is not about liberty at all. It is about entrenching the interests of a select few at the expense of the rest– and that has nothing to do with liberty.

Corporatism masquerading as Liberty

Ron Paul is old enough to know better. Yet, he insists that "free markets" would eliminate discrimination, something endemic to human society. People will continue to discriminate, whether in Nigeria, where different ethnic groups kill each other, in the Balkans, where different ethnic groups also have fought each other, or even in the US in Alabama, where in 2000 40% of the electorate voted against repealing laws forbidding mixed-race marriage. Free markets aren’t going to legislate away ethnic, racial or religious animosities. 

As I have been saying, the facts don’t really matter though. People will believe what they want to. And these are the kind of arguments you have to come up with to support the notion that free markets are always good. Plus, this is the kind of ideological purity that is infectious:

a leader or pundit who seems to make coherent but more inaccurate statements is better regarded than one who makes less coherent but more accurate statements. A June article in New Science summed this regard up as “Humans prefer cockiness to expertise.”  What this means in practice is that ideologues (those who express extreme but more coherent views) are attractive because of the apparent coherence of their views – and I stress the word apparent.

Humans are built to be hypocritical

All I know is this is not my idea of liberty.

Video below.

23 Comments
  1. Anonymous says

    I agree with you that something was needed to stop discrimination but I think this can cut both ways.  Should I, as a Jew, be forced to serve a group of skinheads who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?  I think I should be able to choose not to serve them.  I do not think it is as cut and dry as you or Paul claims.

    1. Edward Harrison says

      I’m not the one who is saying it’s cut and dry. I didn’t say All-Boy schools had to admit girl. I didn’t say All Women colleges must admit men. I did say ” If private businesses had been allowed to continue to discriminate against blacks in 1964 in the south they would have done just that. Insisting that market forces would have ended Jim Crow without the Civil Rights Act is, as Matt O’Brien told me, “offensively stupid.””

      I would have voted for this law exactly because it is NOT cut and dry.

      1. Anonymous says

        I also would have voted for it, and I agree that it is offensive.  I guess I am wondering how you would interpret a situation that would be considered free speech and that is not hurting someone but is none the less reprehensible and offensive to an owner of a business.  I really have no idea how law could be formulated in such a way to be honest, which is why I brought up the point. Boys vs. Girls schools isn’t the example I was thinking of, I was picturing a skinhead going into a Jewish Deli purposefully but not doing anything that could be considered a crime or warrant a business to force the patron to leave.

      2. Matt O'Brien says

        Thanks for the mention Edward.

        To paraphrase the Social Network: if market forces were going to end Jim Crow, they would have ended Jim Crow.

        Insisting otherwise is — at best — utopian libertarianism that refuses to acknowledge that messy thing the rest of us call “reality”. At worst, it’s a dog whistle to the crypto-Confederates who have latched onto the libertarian movement as an intellectualization for their bigotry. Both Pauls only discredit themselves and the rest of their message with this nonsense.

        1. Anonymous says

          ‘To paraphrase the Social Network: if market forces were going to end Jim Crow, they would have ended Jim Crow.’

          Right, because market forces are always capable of overturning laws and regulations.

          If you’re talking about the law, then what basis do you have for this statement? Were companies regularly capable of overturning these laws?

          If you’re talking about the practices, then why would they have needed the laws?

          ‘Insisting otherwise is — at best — utopian libertarianism that refuses
          to acknowledge that messy thing the rest of us call “reality”. At
          worst, it’s a dog whistle to the crypto-Confederates who have latched
          onto the libertarian movement as an intellectualization for their
          bigotry.’

          Right, because acknowledging that laws are usually enacted as a reaction to a given practice is either utopian or secretly racist.

          I find it funny that you immediately jump to either ignorance or racism for a person’s conclusions without examining the arguments first. Do you utilize this same logic with people who disagree with you in economics?

          ‘Both Edward and I only discredit ourselves and the rest of their message with this nonsense.’

          FTFY

      3. Anonymous says

        “I’m not the one who is saying it’s cut and dry. I didn’t say All-Boy
        schools had to admit girl. I didn’t say All Women colleges must admit
        men.”

        And what, pray tell, is the difference? A business is discriminating against a potential customer for reasons that have nothing to do with the business itself. What specific element changes the setting so that the ethical rules are different? Does it only matter when race discrimination is involved? Or is it only when applying said ethical principle becomes inconvenient?

        “If private businesses had been allowed to continue to discriminate
        against blacks in 1964 in the south they would have done just that.”

        Then why did they need the laws?

        “Insisting that market forces would have ended Jim Crow without the
        Civil Rights Act is, as Matt O’Brien told me, ‘offensively stupid.'”

        And insisting that society would institute laws for practices that were normally commonplace, or that the only way people can behave morally is through the force of government, is offensive on a level I have difficulty finding words for.

        I’m sorry. I love your economic analysis, but this evaluation is ethically, as well as logically, bankrupt.

    2. Anonymous says

      “Should I, as a Jew, be forced to serve a group of skinheads who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?” 

      What you are saying is, “Should I, as a _____, be forced to serve a group of ______ who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?”
      That’s just plain discrimination. Your home may be your castle, but when you open a business to the public, you are are no longer completely private. Remember, it used to be the Irish, then the Italians, and after that it was the DFH’s, and now it is the Latinos and the Muslims. Why should it be illegal to discriminate for employment and not for service?

      1. Anonymous says

         At what point do you draw the line? If I engage in trade, should I be allowed to limit my trades to my friends and acquaintances, or would that also be unwarranted discrimination? Why do I lose my property rights when I choose to engage in trade?

  2. Anonymous says

    I agree with you that something was needed to stop discrimination but I think this can cut both ways.  Should I, as a Jew, be forced to serve a group of skinheads who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?  I think I should be able to choose not to serve them.  I do not think it is as cut and dry as you or Paul claims.
    edit: No system will be perfect and I think you are much more pragmatic about all issues than anywhere else I read, which is why I frequent your site and agree with you on this, I’m just trying to add to the discussion.

    1. Edward Harrison says

      I’m not the one who is saying it’s cut and dry. I didn’t say All-Boy schools had to admit girl. I didn’t say All Women colleges must admit men. I did say ” If private businesses had been allowed to continue to discriminate against blacks in 1964 in the south they would have done just that. Insisting that market forces would have ended Jim Crow without the Civil Rights Act is, as Matt O’Brien told me, “offensively stupid.””

      I would have voted for this law exactly because it is NOT cut and dry.

      1. Anonymous says

        I also would have voted for it, and I agree that it is offensive.  I guess I am wondering how you would interpret a situation that would be considered free speech and that is not hurting someone but is none the less reprehensible and offensive to an owner of a business.  I really have no idea how law could be formulated in such a way to be honest, which is why I brought up the point. Boys vs. Girls schools isn’t the example I was thinking of, I was picturing a skinhead going into a Jewish Deli purposefully but not doing anything that could be considered a crime or warrant a business to force the patron to leave.

      2. Matt O'Brien says

        Thanks for the mention Edward.

        To paraphrase the Social Network: if market forces were going to end Jim Crow, they would have ended Jim Crow.

        Insisting otherwise is — at best — utopian libertarianism that refuses to acknowledge that messy thing the rest of us call “reality”. At worst, it’s a dog whistle to the crypto-Confederates who have latched onto the libertarian movement as an intellectualization for their bigotry. Both Pauls only discredit themselves and the rest of their message with this nonsense.

        1. Anonymous says

          ‘To paraphrase the Social Network: if market forces were going to end Jim Crow, they would have ended Jim Crow.’

          Right, because market forces are always capable of overturning laws and regulations.

          If you’re talking about the law, then what basis do you have for this statement? Were companies regularly capable of overturning these laws?

          If you’re talking about the practices, then why would they have needed the laws?

          ‘Insisting otherwise is — at best — utopian libertarianism that refuses
          to acknowledge that messy thing the rest of us call “reality”. At
          worst, it’s a dog whistle to the crypto-Confederates who have latched
          onto the libertarian movement as an intellectualization for their
          bigotry.’

          Right, because acknowledging that laws are usually enacted as a reaction to a given practice is either utopian or secretly racist.

          I find it funny that you immediately jump to either ignorance or racism for a person’s conclusions without examining the arguments first. Do you utilize this same logic with people who disagree with you in economics?

          ‘Both Edward and I only discredit ourselves and the rest of their message with this nonsense.’

          FTFY

      3. Anonymous says

        “I’m not the one who is saying it’s cut and dry. I didn’t say All-Boy
        schools had to admit girl. I didn’t say All Women colleges must admit
        men.”

        And what, pray tell, is the difference? A business is discriminating against a potential customer for reasons that have nothing to do with the business itself. What specific element changes the setting so that the ethical rules are different? Does it only matter when race discrimination is involved? Or is it only when applying said ethical principle becomes inconvenient?

        “If private businesses had been allowed to continue to discriminate
        against blacks in 1964 in the south they would have done just that.”

        Then why did they need the laws?

        “Insisting that market forces would have ended Jim Crow without the
        Civil Rights Act is, as Matt O’Brien told me, ‘offensively stupid.'”

        And insisting that society would institute laws for practices that were normally commonplace, or that the only way people can behave morally is through the force of government, is offensive on a level I have difficulty finding words for.

        I’m sorry. I love your economic analysis, but this evaluation is ethically, as well as logically, bankrupt.

    2. Anonymous says

      “Should I, as a Jew, be forced to serve a group of skinheads who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?” 

      What you are saying is, “Should I, as a _____, be forced to serve a group of ______ who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?”
      That’s just plain discrimination. Your home may be your castle, but when you open a business to the public, you are are no longer completely private. Remember, it used to be the Irish, then the Italians, and after that it was the DFH’s, and now it is the Latinos and the Muslims. Why should it be illegal to discriminate for employment and not for service?

      1. Anonymous says

         At what point do you draw the line? If I engage in trade, should I be allowed to limit my trades to my friends and acquaintances, or would that also be unwarranted discrimination? Why do I lose my property rights when I choose to engage in trade?

  3. Anonymous says

     Libertarians of the right hold that property rights trump civil rights and human rights. Libertarians of the left hold the opposite view.

  4. Anonymous says

     Libertarians of the right hold that property rights trump civil rights and human rights. Libertarians of the left hold the opposite view.

  5. Deflationista says

    3/5’s clause is slavery right ?  is that what he was talking about?

  6. Deflationista says

    3/5’s clause is slavery right ?  is that what he was talking about?

  7. Deflationista says

    In article 1, section 2; how the numbers are counted to give the number
    of representatives to the House it counts free persons, those under
    servitute for a period of time(indentured servants),then excluding Indians, and 3/5th of all others (Slaves)

    Article 4, section 2. covers “that no person held to service or labor in
    one state, under the laws there of, escaping to another” (Slaves),
    …shall be returned released from their service, and shall be delivered
    when claimed see constitution for full wording those in Quotes are
    direct from

    The 3/5ths was the compromise that half way recognized the Slaves as men, and gave the south greater seats in congress. North position was to count them they were free and covered under the
    provisions of the constitution, or if they were Slaves then they should
    not count at all. South wanted them of course counted to have greater # of seats, but not
    to be entitled to the Freedoms afforded by the constitution; which is
    why its called the compromise, they partly counted but were not
    recognized as citizens to be entitled to the constitutions freedoms.

     http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiv#section2

  8. Deflationista says

    In article 1, section 2; how the numbers are counted to give the number
    of representatives to the House it counts free persons, those under
    servitute for a period of time(indentured servants),then excluding Indians, and 3/5th of all others (Slaves)

    Article 4, section 2. covers “that no person held to service or labor in
    one state, under the laws there of, escaping to another” (Slaves),
    …shall be returned released from their service, and shall be delivered
    when claimed see constitution for full wording those in Quotes are
    direct from

    The 3/5ths was the compromise that half way recognized the Slaves as men, and gave the south greater seats in congress. North position was to count them they were free and covered under the
    provisions of the constitution, or if they were Slaves then they should
    not count at all. South wanted them of course counted to have greater # of seats, but not
    to be entitled to the Freedoms afforded by the constitution; which is
    why its called the compromise, they partly counted but were not
    recognized as citizens to be entitled to the constitutions freedoms.

     http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articleiv#section2

  9. Edward Harrison says

     My argument on this issue is very simple: Individuals are born with inalienable rights whereas businesses are not; a business or a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of the law”. 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation

    In thinking about liberty, businesses should have rights and we should grant them as much liberty as is reasonable and warranted. But, businesses and corporations do not have inalienable rights. So, when the rights of a business and an individual come into conflict, the rights of individuals are more important.

    For example, if I want to rent a car and I am over the age of 18, it is irrelevant whether traffic statistics for 18-24 year olds are worse than for other drivers. As a business, you should have to serve me like any other customer.

    If I want to have a drink and I am over the age of 18, a legal adult, of legal voting age, and eligible for participation in national defense, as a business, you should have to serve me like any other customer.

    The property issue is not about private residences. In that case, I can permit or deny entry into my residence to whomever I choose. But when I open a business, I should not be allowed to discriminate based on race or ethnicity. If the business is open to the public, it is open to the public. And, if Klansmen, Hells Angels, Black Nationalists, Jews, ex-cons or Muslims, or WASPs enter my business establishment, I should treat them like every other customer.

    I agree 100% with tfjxh:

    “Should I, as a Jew, be forced to serve a group of skinheads who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?” What you are saying is, “Should I, as a _____, be forced to serve a group of ______ who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?”That’s just plain discrimination. Your home may be your castle, but when you open a business to the public, you are are no longer completely private. Remember, it used to be the Irish, then the Italians, and after that it was the DFH’s, and now it is the Latinos and the Muslims. Why should it be illegal to discriminate for employment and not for service?

  10. Edward Harrison says

     My argument on this issue is very simple: Individuals are born with inalienable rights whereas businesses are not; a business or a corporation is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of the law”. 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation

    In thinking about liberty, businesses should have rights and we should grant them as much liberty as is reasonable and warranted. But, businesses and corporations do not have inalienable rights. So, when the rights of a business and an individual come into conflict, the rights of individuals are more important.

    For example, if I want to rent a car and I am over the age of 18, it is irrelevant whether traffic statistics for 18-24 year olds are worse than for other drivers. As a business, you should have to serve me like any other customer.

    If I want to have a drink and I am over the age of 18, a legal adult, of legal voting age, and eligible for participation in national defense, as a business, you should have to serve me like any other customer.

    The property issue is not about private residences. In that case, I can permit or deny entry into my residence to whomever I choose. But when I open a business, I should not be allowed to discriminate based on race or ethnicity. If the business is open to the public, it is open to the public. And, if Klansmen, Hells Angels, Black Nationalists, Jews, ex-cons or Muslims, or WASPs enter my business establishment, I should treat them like every other customer.

    I agree 100% with tfjxh:

    “Should I, as a Jew, be forced to serve a group of skinheads who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?” What you are saying is, “Should I, as a _____, be forced to serve a group of ______ who come into my place of business even if they do not break any laws?”That’s just plain discrimination. Your home may be your castle, but when you open a business to the public, you are are no longer completely private. Remember, it used to be the Irish, then the Italians, and after that it was the DFH’s, and now it is the Latinos and the Muslims. Why should it be illegal to discriminate for employment and not for service?

  11. Russell Sumich says

    Not sure I am happy with “Individuals are born with inalienable rights whereas businesses are not”. What about Free Speech? Justice? Due Process of the Law? Surely these should be unaleinable rights of a business. If not, are they negotiable? Only rights in certain circumstance? Under what circumstances? Who decides? I can see dangerous consequences.

    Mr. Harrison, I do not think your definition of a business is very sophisticated. In particular, it isn’t the only entity that contrasts “Individuals”. In fact, any grouping of people could be substituted into your statement, e.g. “family”, “church”, “club”, “suburb”, “city” and analysed for validity. So if a family sets up a business would it be valid to say…

    Individuals are born with inalienable rights whereas family businesses are not; a family business is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible and existing only in contemplation of the law”

    … I don’t think so.

    I am not from the US, however, I believe there was a recent SCOTUS decision that gave corporations the same free speech rights as individuals (something to do with electioneering). This may imply, constitutionally, businesses (and other legal entities) do have the same inalienable rights as individuals. While I don’t like the idea of a shop rejecting customers based on race, the same principle would make a latino, italian, greek or chinese club illegal. What next will the government do to force it’s version of morality onto businesses (and other legal entities)? Mr. Paul does have a point.

    Anyway, Mr Harrison, I like your economics but I think your social commentary is not so sophisicated.

    1. Edward Harrison says

      Russell, unfortunately you don’t know what you’re talking about. My definition of a corporation is the law of the land in the U.S. I am using a direct quote from the Dartmouth College Supreme Court case by Chief Justice Marshall. That is why there is a link on Corporations from Wikipedia. If you had bothered to read the link you would see that my definition is grounded in the law as set out in 1819 by that Supreme court decision:

      “Only a company that has been formally incorporated according to the laws of a particular state is called ‘corporation’. A corporation was defined in the Dartmouth College case of 1819, in which Chief Justice Marshall of the United States Supreme Court stated that ” A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of the law”. A corporation is a legal entity, distinct and separate from the individuals who create and operate it.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation

      Certainly one could argue that an unincorporated family business is not an artificial being whereas a corporation is but that argument is false. Businesses are constructs. They are not living, breathing organism, hence the term ‘artificial.’ The argument I have made is that because businesses are not naturally born, not individuals, they should not be guaranteed the same rights as individuals. There is nothing unsophisticated about that argument.

      There is no other developed country I know of in which corporations are treated as having the right to unlimited political donations predicated on a right to free speech. This makes politics a game of money. And it is the beginning of the end of a legitimate democratic system in the US. That’s my opinion.

      Again, people will believe what they want to believe. From the tone of your statements, it doesn’t sound like you have a very open mind on these issues.  Believe what you want to, just know that in the US “A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of the law”.

  12. Russell Sumich says

    Not sure I am happy with “Individuals are born with inalienable rights whereas businesses are not”. What about Free Speech? Justice? Due Process of the Law? Surely these should be unaleinable rights of a business. If not, are they negotiable? Only rights in certain circumstance? Under what circumstances? Who decides? I can see dangerous consequences.

    Mr. Harrison, I do not think your definition of a business is very sophisticated. In particular, it isn’t the only entity that contrasts “Individuals”. In fact, any grouping of people could be substituted into your statement, e.g. “family”, “church”, “club”, “suburb”, “city” and analysed for validity. So if a family sets up a business would it be valid to say…

    Individuals are born with inalienable rights whereas family businesses are not; a family business is “an artificial being, invisible, intangible and existing only in contemplation of the law”

    … I don’t think so.

    I am not from the US, however, I believe there was a recent SCOTUS decision that gave corporations the same free speech rights as individuals (something to do with electioneering). This may imply, constitutionally, businesses (and other legal entities) do have the same inalienable rights as individuals. While I don’t like the idea of a shop rejecting customers based on race, the same principle would make a latino, italian, greek or chinese club illegal. What next will the government do to force it’s version of morality onto businesses (and other legal entities)? Mr. Paul does have a point.

    Anyway, Mr Harrison, I like your economics but I think your social commentary is not so sophisicated.

    1. Edward Harrison says

      Russell, unfortunately you don’t know what you’re talking about. My definition of a corporation is the law of the land in the U.S. I am using a direct quote from the Dartmouth College Supreme Court case by Chief Justice Marshall. That is why there is a link on Corporations from Wikipedia. If you had bothered to read the link you would see that my definition is grounded in the law as set out in 1819 by that Supreme court decision:

      “Only a company that has been formally incorporated according to the laws of a particular state is called ‘corporation’. A corporation was defined in the Dartmouth College case of 1819, in which Chief Justice Marshall of the United States Supreme Court stated that ” A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of the law”. A corporation is a legal entity, distinct and separate from the individuals who create and operate it.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporation

      Certainly one could argue that an unincorporated family business is not an artificial being whereas a corporation is but that argument is false. Businesses are constructs. They are not living, breathing organisms, hence the term ‘artificial.’ The argument I have made is that because businesses are not naturally born, not individuals, they should not be guaranteed the same rights as individuals. There is nothing unsophisticated about that argument.

      There is no other developed country I know of in which corporations are treated as having the right to unlimited political donations predicated on a right to free speech. This makes politics a game of money. And it is the beginning of the end of a legitimate democratic system in the US. That’s my opinion.

      Again, people will believe what they want to believe. From the tone of your statements, it doesn’t sound like you have a very open mind on these issues.  Believe what you want to, just know that in the US “A corporation is an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of the law”.

  13. Edward Harrison says

     The Dartmouth College case of 1819:

    “The traditional view holds that this case is one of the most important Supreme Court rulings, strengthening the Contract Clause and limiting the power of the States to interfere with private charters, including those of commercial enterprises.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trustees_of_Dartmouth_College_v._Woodward

  14. Edward Harrison says

     The Dartmouth College case of 1819:

    “The traditional view holds that this case is one of the most important Supreme Court rulings, strengthening the Contract Clause and limiting the power of the States to interfere with private charters, including those of commercial enterprises.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trustees_of_Dartmouth_College_v._Woodward

  15. Deflationista says

    “The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United
    States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial
    segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly “separate but
    equal” status for black Americans. In reality, this led to treatment and
    accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white
    Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social
    disadvantages.

    Some examples of Jim Crow laws are the segregation of public schools,
    public places and public transportation, and the segregation of
    restrooms, restaurants and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. The
    U.S. military was also segregated. These Jim Crow Laws were separate
    from the 1800–1866 Black Codes, which also restricted the civil rights
    and civil liberties of African Americans. State-sponsored school
    segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the
    United States in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education. Generally, the
    remaining Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of
    1964[1] and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

    These government laws perpetuated racism in America.

    1. Edward Harrison says

      Yes, government perpetuated Jim Crow. However, perpetuated is not synonymous with created or caused. It is a revisionist to claim that slavery or discrimination after slavery was CAUSED by government. Antoine who understands slavery in a broad Americas wide context knows that we saw exactly the same patterns in other countries with slavery like Brazil or Peru. Making a claim that government caused slavery is ridiculous on a wider Americas wide perspective.

      1. Anonymous says

         I didn’t see Ron Paul argue anywhere that racism, discrimination, etc, was caused by government. I don’t think you’d find anyone who would argue that. However, one COULD argue that the government perpetuated the practices. That’s a different story.

        The problem is, if racism and discrimination occurred without government interference, then why were the laws in place? Why did the state need to resort to violence to keep these practices entrenched if they were already so prevalent and resistant to change that they would occur in the absence of state action?

  16. Deflationista says

    “The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United
    States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial
    segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly “separate but
    equal” status for black Americans. In reality, this led to treatment and
    accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white
    Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social
    disadvantages.

    Some examples of Jim Crow laws are the segregation of public schools,
    public places and public transportation, and the segregation of
    restrooms, restaurants and drinking fountains for whites and blacks. The
    U.S. military was also segregated. These Jim Crow Laws were separate
    from the 1800–1866 Black Codes, which also restricted the civil rights
    and civil liberties of African Americans. State-sponsored school
    segregation was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the
    United States in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education. Generally, the
    remaining Jim Crow laws were overruled by the Civil Rights Act of
    1964[1] and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”

    These government laws perpetuated racism in America.

    1. Edward Harrison says

      Yes, government perpetuated Jim Crow. However, perpetuated is not synonymous with created or caused. It is revisionist to claim that slavery or discrimination after slavery was CAUSED by government. Anyone who understands slavery on a broad Americas-wide context or has had experience in oher former slave-holding countries in the Americas knows that we saw exactly the same patterns in terms of discrimination post-slavery in other countries with slavery like Brazil or Peru. Making a claim that government caused slavery or Jim Crow is ridiculous on a wider Americas wide perspective. It certainly entrenched them.

      In my view, there is a provincialism inherent in the view Paul espouses that has no regard for historical context.

      1. Anonymous says

         I didn’t see Ron Paul argue anywhere that racism, discrimination, etc, was caused by government. I don’t think you’d find anyone who would argue that. However, one COULD argue that the government perpetuated the practices. That’s a different story.

        The problem is, if racism and discrimination occurred without government interference, then why were the laws in place? Why did the state need to resort to violence to keep these practices entrenched if they were already so prevalent and resistant to change that they would occur in the absence of state action?

  17. Russell Sumich says

    Mr. Harrison, thankyou for your reply. It appears I stand corrected and my criticism wasn’t meant to be as harsh as you have taken it.

    My concern is not so much corporations not having inalienable rights, but rather any entity other than individuals not having inalienable rights (be they business or otherwise). While it may appear I am hammering this single point (about who has rights) it is essentially the lychpin, and assumption, of your argument. If it isn’t correct then any subsequent conclusion MAY also be incorrect.

    So, it appears you have clarified beyond doubt that corporations are an artificial construct. However, what isn’t clear is which group(s), if any, do have inalienable rights. Couples (married, unmarried), families, church group, social club, etc. and does it depend on whether, or not, they are have commercial transactions and whether, or not, they are operating for profit.

    Futhermore, it isn’t clear to me that because an entity is an artificial construct it implies no inalienable rights. Maybe you could outline this one for me.

    Finally, wrt to free speech and polical donations you are quick to critise SCOTUS, however, you quote with authority the 1819 decision by the same high court. Your criticism is along the lines of “no other developed country…”, yet Americans appear so proud of their historical uniqueness and being leaders in the free world. Doesn’t appear you are being entirely consistent.

  18. Russell Sumich says

    Mr. Harrison, thankyou for your reply. It appears I stand corrected and my criticism wasn’t meant to be as harsh as you have taken it.

    My concern is not so much corporations not having inalienable rights, but rather any entity other than individuals not having inalienable rights (be they business or otherwise). While it may appear I am hammering this single point (about who has rights) it is essentially the lychpin, and assumption, of your argument. If it isn’t correct then any subsequent conclusion MAY also be incorrect.

    So, it appears you have clarified beyond doubt that corporations are an artificial construct. However, what isn’t clear is which group(s), if any, do have inalienable rights. Couples (married, unmarried), families, church group, social club, etc. and does it depend on whether, or not, they are have commercial transactions and whether, or not, they are operating for profit.

    Futhermore, it isn’t clear to me that because an entity is an artificial construct it implies no inalienable rights. Maybe you could outline this one for me.

    Finally, wrt to free speech and polical donations you are quick to critise SCOTUS, however, you quote with authority the 1819 decision by the same high court. Your criticism is along the lines of “no other developed country…”, yet Americans appear so proud of their historical uniqueness and being leaders in the free world. Doesn’t appear you are being entirely consistent.

  19. John Sanford Newman says

    Another great post.  
    Ron Paul is the perfect exhibit for how most Libertarians refuse to grapple with the real world. First they refuse to recognize that markets are an artifact of government: before government organized markets we had what we call feudalism where might made right and peasants handed over produce to armored thugs who thought themselves divine.  

    Then they refuse to recognize that the spectrum of human temperaments includes not just Gandhi and King, but Genghis and Croesus and that government exists to prevent the latter who are common from killing the former who if not rare at least are rare in their effect.   And that a s consequence of this unfortunate distribution of temperaments representative electoral governments are the best inhibition thus far discovered to prevent tyranny.

    Further, they refuse to grapple with the history of struggles on the part of the powerless but populous against the narcissism of the powerful. Struggles who’s successes established all of the legal basis for markets from the issue of regulated currencies to the enforcement of contracts in favor of the interests of the many and in constraint those of the powerful few, or more to the point, justly. On occasion even the powerful are right.  

    None of this exists but for the communal efforts of socially organized groups of people.  These efforts created a framework in which individuals can enjoy a constrained freedom, what Isaiah Berlin called “negative freedom”, a freedom from coercion so long as community standards are not abridged. This is a sacred space to true Liberals, and I suppose Libertarians as you define them, and ironically, but in fact, it only expands through the great efforts of large numbers of organized people. 

    You are right it is always a struggle and it is never simple and clear, and to my mind you are even more right in implying that where the end results impinge on that negative space between institutions that uncoerced individuals inhabit in freedom the result is not Liberal, it is not Libertarian, it is Corporatist which is indistinguishable from the roots of twentieth century European Fascism.  

    1. Anonymous says

      ‘Ron Paul is the perfect exhibit for how most Libertarians refuse to
      grapple with the real world. First they refuse to recognize that markets
      are an artifact of government: before government organized markets we
      had what we call feudalism where might made right and peasants handed
      over produce to armored thugs who thought themselves divine.’

      Even if that were true, what does that have to do with inalienable rights? Are you arguing that, because the government organized markets, that they owe some sort of debt of gratitude that should be paid with taxes and arbitrary power? “CAESAR DEMANDS TRIBUTE!!”

      And now, the armored thugs instead point guns at you and tell you to buy and sell from whom they choose, regardless of your personal wants or desires. Your property rights are forfeit the moment you engage in trade. This is an improvement… how?

      ‘Then they refuse to recognize that the spectrum of human temperaments
      includes not just Gandhi and King, but Genghis and Croesus and that
      government exists to prevent the latter who are common from killing the
      former who if not rare at least are rare in their effect.   And that as a
      consequence of this unfortunate distribution of temperaments
      representative electoral governments are the best inhibition thus far
      discovered to tyranny.’

      Right, because Genghis and Croesus would NEVER get into positions of government. Centralized seats of power never attract the corrupt. They’re always headed by angels of altruism who always have the best interests of the world at heart.

      And you call libertarians utopian.

      Libertarians only argue that force should be removed from the market. How this is accomplished is immaterial. It is the goal to have a market where involuntary actions are kept to a minimum. It is the recognition that people like Genghis and Croesus exist, and will be attracted to positions of power. How funny that, for the peaceful ones, you selected two private individuals, whereas your examples of evil were two kings.

      ‘Further, they refuse to grapple with the history of struggles on the
      part of the powerless but populous against the narcissism of the
      powerful. Struggles who’s successes established all of the legal basis
      for markets from the issue of regulated currencies to the enforcement of
      contracts in favor of the interests of the many and in constraint those
      of the powerful few, or more to the point, justly. On occasion even the
      powerful are right.’

      Do you have a point, or are you squatting over the keyboard at this venture?

      ‘None of this exists but for the communal efforts of socially
      organized groups of people.  These efforts created a framework in which
      individuals can enjoy a constrained freedom, what Isaiah Berlin called
      “negative freedom”, a freedom from coercion so long as community
      standards are not abridged. This is a sacred space to true Liberals, and
      I suppose Libertarians as you define them, and ironically, but in fact,
      it only expands through the great efforts of large numbers of organized
      people.’

      Again, none of this is counter to libertarianism or contradicts the philosophy. The only change you might have to make is change ‘community standards’ with ‘inalienable rights’ or ‘non-aggression principle’. The presence of a community doesn’t necessitate the use of force to maintain the community, nor does it require that one ‘pay tribute’ to such a community as you seem to imply. “CAESAR DEMANDS TRIBUTE!”

      “You are right it is always a struggle and it is never simple and clear…’

      Yeah, cognitive dissonance will do that to you.

      ‘It’s not a contradiction! You’re just taking it out of context!’

      “…and to my mind you are even more right in implying that where the end
      results impinge on that negative space between institutions that
      uncoerced individuals inhabit in freedom the result is not Liberal, it
      is not Libertarian, it is Corporatist which is indistinguishable from
      the roots of twentieth century European Fascism.”

      Applying the law is coercion. Unless you argue that they have a right to engage in a transaction with me against my will, then you are using coercion against me. It renders the right to engage in free transaction meaningless. At that point, there’s little difference between Curve’s denying membership to men, the African-American student club denying membership to a  Caucasian student, or Boeing expanding its production lines in order to avoid work stoppages due to union strikes. It all become subject to whatever morality is held by those in power. I suppose that’s a convenient excuse for some, but one would be hard-pressed to call that a protection of individual rights.

  20. John Sanford Newman says

    Another great post.  
    Ron Paul is the perfect exhibit for how most Libertarians refuse to grapple with the real world. First they refuse to recognize that markets are an artifact of government: before government organized markets we had what we call feudalism where might made right and peasants handed over produce to armored thugs who thought themselves divine.  

    Then they refuse to recognize that the spectrum of human temperaments includes not just Gandhi and King, but Genghis and Croesus and that government exists to prevent the latter who are common from killing the former who if not rare at least are rare in their effect.   And that as a consequence of this unfortunate distribution of temperaments representative electoral governments are the best inhibition thus far discovered to tyranny.

    Further, they refuse to grapple with the history of struggles on the part of the powerless but populous against the narcissism of the powerful. Struggles who’s successes established all of the legal basis for markets from the issue of regulated currencies to the enforcement of contracts in favor of the interests of the many and in constraint those of the powerful few, or more to the point, justly. On occasion even the powerful are right.  

    None of this exists but for the communal efforts of socially organized groups of people.  These efforts created a framework in which individuals can enjoy a constrained freedom, what Isaiah Berlin called “negative freedom”, a freedom from coercion so long as community standards are not abridged. This is a sacred space to true Liberals, and I suppose Libertarians as you define them, and ironically, but in fact, it only expands through the great efforts of large numbers of organized people. 

    You are right it is always a struggle and it is never simple and clear, and to my mind you are even more right in implying that where the end results impinge on that negative space between institutions that uncoerced individuals inhabit in freedom the result is not Liberal, it is not Libertarian, it is Corporatist which is indistinguishable from the roots of twentieth century European Fascism.

    1. Anonymous says

      ‘Ron Paul is the perfect exhibit for how most Libertarians refuse to
      grapple with the real world. First they refuse to recognize that markets
      are an artifact of government: before government organized markets we
      had what we call feudalism where might made right and peasants handed
      over produce to armored thugs who thought themselves divine.’

      Even if that were true, what does that have to do with inalienable rights? Are you arguing that, because the government organized markets, that they owe some sort of debt of gratitude that should be paid with taxes and arbitrary power? “CAESAR DEMANDS TRIBUTE!!”

      And now, the armored thugs instead point guns at you and tell you to buy and sell from whom they choose, regardless of your personal wants or desires. Your property rights are forfeit the moment you engage in trade. This is an improvement… how?

      ‘Then they refuse to recognize that the spectrum of human temperaments
      includes not just Gandhi and King, but Genghis and Croesus and that
      government exists to prevent the latter who are common from killing the
      former who if not rare at least are rare in their effect.   And that as a
      consequence of this unfortunate distribution of temperaments
      representative electoral governments are the best inhibition thus far
      discovered to tyranny.’

      Right, because Genghis and Croesus would NEVER get into positions of government. Centralized seats of power never attract the corrupt. They’re always headed by angels of altruism who always have the best interests of the world at heart.

      And you call libertarians utopian.

      Libertarians only argue that force should be removed from the market. How this is accomplished is immaterial. It is the goal to have a market where involuntary actions are kept to a minimum. It is the recognition that people like Genghis and Croesus exist, and will be attracted to positions of power. How funny that, for the peaceful ones, you selected two private individuals, whereas your examples of evil were two kings.

      ‘Further, they refuse to grapple with the history of struggles on the
      part of the powerless but populous against the narcissism of the
      powerful. Struggles who’s successes established all of the legal basis
      for markets from the issue of regulated currencies to the enforcement of
      contracts in favor of the interests of the many and in constraint those
      of the powerful few, or more to the point, justly. On occasion even the
      powerful are right.’

      Do you have a point, or are you squatting over the keyboard at this venture?

      ‘None of this exists but for the communal efforts of socially
      organized groups of people.  These efforts created a framework in which
      individuals can enjoy a constrained freedom, what Isaiah Berlin called
      “negative freedom”, a freedom from coercion so long as community
      standards are not abridged. This is a sacred space to true Liberals, and
      I suppose Libertarians as you define them, and ironically, but in fact,
      it only expands through the great efforts of large numbers of organized
      people.’

      Again, none of this is counter to libertarianism or contradicts the philosophy. The only change you might have to make is change ‘community standards’ with ‘inalienable rights’ or ‘non-aggression principle’. The presence of a community doesn’t necessitate the use of force to maintain the community, nor does it require that one ‘pay tribute’ to such a community as you seem to imply. “CAESAR DEMANDS TRIBUTE!”

      “You are right it is always a struggle and it is never simple and clear…’

      Yeah, cognitive dissonance will do that to you.

      ‘It’s not a contradiction! You’re just taking it out of context!’

      “…and to my mind you are even more right in implying that where the end
      results impinge on that negative space between institutions that
      uncoerced individuals inhabit in freedom the result is not Liberal, it
      is not Libertarian, it is Corporatist which is indistinguishable from
      the roots of twentieth century European Fascism.”

      Applying the law is coercion. Unless you argue that they have a right to engage in a transaction with me against my will, then you are using coercion against me. It renders the right to engage in free transaction meaningless. At that point, there’s little difference between Curve’s denying membership to men, the African-American student club denying membership to a  Caucasian student, or Boeing expanding its production lines in order to avoid work stoppages due to union strikes. It all become subject to whatever morality is held by those in power. I suppose that’s a convenient excuse for some, but one would be hard-pressed to call that a protection of individual rights.

  21. Edward Harrison says

    How do we make moral and ethical decisions? It would be nice if our choices were grounded in nothing but the facts, in the details of the issue at hand. Alas, that’s not the way it works. Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, has famously argued that our moral judgments are like aesthetic judgments. “When you see a painting, you usually know instantly and automatically whether you like it,” Haidt writes. “If someone asks you to explain your judgment, you confabulate…Moral arguments are much the same: Two people feel strongly about an issue, their feelings come first, and their reasons are invented on the fly, to throw at each other.” In other words, when it comes to making ethical decisions, our rationality isn’t a scientist, dispassionately chasing after the facts. Instead, it’s a lawyer. This inner attorney gathers bits of evidence, post hoc justifications, and pithy rhetoric in order to make our automatic reaction seem reasonable. But this reasonableness is just a façade, an elaborate self-delusion.

    -The Messy Reality Of Judicial Decisions, Jonah Lehrer

    https://pro.creditwritedowns.com/2011/04/more-on-our-innate-hypocrisy-and-confabulatory-power.html

  22. Edward Harrison says

    How do we make moral and ethical decisions? It would be nice if our choices were grounded in nothing but the facts, in the details of the issue at hand. Alas, that’s not the way it works. Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist at the University of Virginia, has famously argued that our moral judgments are like aesthetic judgments. “When you see a painting, you usually know instantly and automatically whether you like it,” Haidt writes. “If someone asks you to explain your judgment, you confabulate…Moral arguments are much the same: Two people feel strongly about an issue, their feelings come first, and their reasons are invented on the fly, to throw at each other.” In other words, when it comes to making ethical decisions, our rationality isn’t a scientist, dispassionately chasing after the facts. Instead, it’s a lawyer. This inner attorney gathers bits of evidence, post hoc justifications, and pithy rhetoric in order to make our automatic reaction seem reasonable. But this reasonableness is just a façade, an elaborate self-delusion.

    -The Messy Reality Of Judicial Decisions, Jonah Lehrer

    https://pro.creditwritedowns.com/2011/04/more-on-our-innate-hypocrisy-and-confabulatory-power.html

  23. Edward Harrison says

     See my last post “How Political Bias Alters Economic Understanding”

    https://pro.creditwritedowns.com/2011/05/how-political-bias-alters-economic-understanding.html

    That is definitely the largest factor here in the comments here. I reckon there is little possibility of being convinced by the other’s arguments as a result. This is the biggest and perhaps the fatal sign of MMT and Austrian Economics’ incompatibility.

  24. Edward Harrison says

    See my last post “How Political Bias Alters Economic Understanding”

    https://pro.creditwritedowns.com/2011/05/how-political-bias-alters-economic-understanding.html

    I am fairly certain that philosophical predisposition and confirmation bias are the largest factor influencing comments here. I reckon there is little possibility of being convinced by the other’s arguments as a result. This is the biggest and perhaps the fatal sign of MMT and Austrian Economics’ incompatibility. Ideologically, there is a large divide.

    It will be interesting to see how the nexus of big government conservatives and libertarians ends up. I see libertarians feeling cheated for aligning themselves with neocons who are all about coercion. Time will tell.

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