Talking Walkaway with Reason Magazine

Originally published at:

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I do like the usage “both the heterodox right and the heterodox left”. A lot.

I believe I belong on the heterodox right, and generally reject the party lines and the failed approaches of both orthodoxies.

Many here on bb think of themselves as the heterodox left, but when asked to recognize the failed approaches of the orthodox left as such, don’t seem to be able to take that step.

edit - Cory talks about the “heterodox left” when he’s over having a a cuppa at the Reason Tea Room, but back here, the leftism normally on show is so orthodox it practically has icons and censers.

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Authoritarian states are terrible. Unfortunately for your “argument”, that’s not an economic system but a governing system. Capitalism has been shown to be abject failure and its experiment has been running for several millennia now. Can we try something else now, or will that mean people who aren’t as valued in a capitalist society will get “unfair” benefits such as not living in starvation or not being forced to work so many hours they commit suicide to end their suffering?

I’m not sure what economic system is demonstrably not a failure by the markers you describe. (Edit: Show me a society in which no one has ever suffered from starvation.) There are as many different flavors of “capitalism” as there are of “socialism”, some of each are better, some of each are worse.

Fair enough, and what in my opinion have been shown to fail consistently are centralized, technocratic solutions which attempt to plan the economy, and manage to that plan, on the macro and micro scale. Get away from authoritarian implementation and I am open to a wide range of ideas.

Reason magazine? Isn’t that the place that tries to make free market libertarian Ayn Rand pay no attention to the man behind the curtain bullshit seem cool?


As a recovering libertarian and former Reason subscriber, I can say that while they’re pretty blind to social justice issues, they’re usually ok when it comes to 1st and 4th amendment stuff, with some decent ties to pro-science skepticism.

If you look at it long enough though, there’s a lot of unacknowledged privilege there too. (“enough” being proportional to your personal viewpoints in the anarcho/minarcho direction)


I think there is a good argument to be made that capitalism fails fairly consistently too - capitalist societies just define those failures as being natural parts of the system and not failures.

It’s one of those irregular verbs. ‘Your system is a catastrophic failure, our system just has inevitable cycles of boom and bust which are a healthy part of the economic cycle’.

Not that I disagree with you about centralised technocratic solutions being bad.


Pretty much. As I recall, it was funded by the Kochs at one time and may be still. They’re good on anything that might adversely affect a cis white male (e.g. police militarisation or the war on drugs) but otherwise it exists to peddle “free” market fundamentalism as a necessary complement to the freedom to indulge in sex, drugs and rock-n-roll.

Still, @doctorow does what he can in the interview, especially cementing the danger to Reason’s audience from the current regime by pointing out what happens at the border: that Constitutional grey zone is the first place that privileged people like Cory, myself, and Reason’s audience will get a taste of the fear and dread that people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, and a lot of women deal with on a daily basis.

What Libertarians never seem to grasp (or won’t admit) is that large corporations, especially when left to their own devices as they would prefer, can just as prone to centralised and technocratic and authoritarian solutions as the state is.


Reason Magazine comments are just amazing. They’re like a comment section from 10 years ago that got lost under the sofa, finally rediscovered after years of hearing angry old men hissing about “tards” and “aspies” and wondering where it was coming from.


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Where I differ from doctrinaire libertarians is that I’m not opposed to governmental solutions, provided that:

(1) anything involving a civil/criminal penalty needs to be specified in the law as written and voted on. No more “the Secretary will determine” which is later followed by three thousand pages in the Federal Register. This helps cut down on the regulatory capture risk.

(2) anything involving spending my tax money needs to have an explicit cap of some sort. “Total expenses for program X will not exceed $Y billion in year 1, which may increase by (previous years CP! plus one percent) in each succeeding year. No money will be disbursed once that level has been reached, absent Congressional action specifically authorizing the excess for that year only.”

I am sure there are a few people on this board who think that these two principles would lead to Mad Max/Somalia insanity, with bodies heaped in the streets. Good for them.

Humans fail. Because they are humans.

Then it’s especially ironic that Reason just posted this piece about big corporations being just as dangerous as big governments.

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Commerce, enterprise and markets are—to me—the very opposite of corporatism and even of “capitalism”, if by that word you mean capital-intensive organisations with monopolistic ambitions.

This kind of ontological nonsense drives me up a tree. What is capitalism, anything other than how it functions in reality?


I don’t see that as ontological nonsense. I see that as a recognition that the way a philosophical framework manifests itself depends on external factors. Capitalism has manifested itself in different ways over the years with varying effects depending on the the systems in which it is practiced. Mercantilism has both fundamental differences and similarities to corporatism even though they would both arguably fall under the rubric of capitalism. As such it would only be responsible to try to discern the ways the overarching philosophy goes wrong and theorize about remedies.

There’s always a finger to point, ever in a new direction.

The argument is classic is-ought. Whatever the philosophical framework of free-market capitalism might be and how a purer form ought to manifest itself say nothing in respect to how the economy functions as is. The remedy for the problem is not a return to the beginning of the problem and expecting different results from the same equations. It’s not like a test where you got a little dyslexic with your numbers.


That doesn’t work well with welfare, unless you are OK with the body count.


All it takes is a supplemental appropriation enacted into law, as I noted.

Careful there.

“What is socialism, anything other than how it functions in reality?”

may put the likes of Venezuela on the table.

Then it will happen more and more, unless you permanently keep inflation to below 1%. I can’t imagine your fellow libertarian-capitalists being happy with that kind of market manipulation.

Even if you ignore that, there is the small matter of getting the excess voted through.