Tuesday, April 29, 2008

John Shirley explains why he's not a Libertarian.


magnidude said...

I still read your blog, occasionally, Mac, and I still can't stop wondering how such intelectuals like you or the author you refering aren't able to grasp even the basics of economics, therefore condemning themselves into believing in this whole modern leftist-communist mumbo-jumbo.

Shirley's argument is ridiculous! So now we face more problems than people in Jefferson's times? Have we devoluted??? It's like saying we have vaccines - they didn't, we have antybiotics - they didn't, we have electricity - they didn't, we have cars - they didn't, we have computers and internet - they didn't, we have extensive modern agriculture producing more food than we need - they didn't and concluding: we have problems - they didn't. It's utterly RIDICULOUS. Don't you see that?

Of course people in early XIX century faced thousands of problems more than us and of course our lives are easier than theirs by a magnitude! For Christ's sake, that's elementary school knowledge.

The level of this civilizational development could be easily measured by the level of taxation. In times of Jefferson it was sth like 3% in general terms and now its like 70-90% depending on the country - and we are still able to lead a life in fairly comparable way (only then me or you could probably afford a servant or two :)). There was no income tax in these times, I remind you. There were no obligatory insurances. There was no moloch-like greedy state to eat all this (while commencing this so called 'regulating' Shirley craves for) - it was libertarian economy after all.

Mac, for God's sake maybe instead of your next Strieber read an economics book. I recommend starting with Adam Smith. You'll learn why the state Shirley and you opt for won't lead us to any wealth or solving any of your more and less imaginary problems, whatsoever. The only thing it's gonna lead us to is year 1984 materialising.

And you still find yourself pondering on "great filters", do you?

Mac said...

I think you miss Shirley's point entirely. The last thing he's advocating is a draconian regime. He's simply pointing out that our capacity for environmental abuse is so great -- and so far beyond anything imaginable in Jefferson's era -- that we'd be childish to assume that corporations would suddenly start behaving themselves if left to their own devices. He's not arguing for *more* government; he's arguing for *better* government, a government relevant to the excesses of modern technology.

Do we have more good things now than we did 200 years ago? You bet! But the same technologies that allow us to live in relative comfort carry an immense environmental burden with the capacity to poison a sizeable portion of the planet.

The irony here is that Shirley's actually one of the most passionate critics of "1984"-ish "for your own good" government that I can think of.