Thursday, August 25, 2016

A libertarian Breitbart?

How did Breitbart get so influential? Can libertarians pull a similar trick (or is it necessarily compromising)? Can the libertarian movement co-opt the anti-establishment sentiment that fuels the Trump campaign? Is there a libertarian version of Breitbart -- an 'in your face' culture warrior media outlet. Maybe Reason just doesn't seem angry enough. Is the problem that libertarianism will never find an establishment patron who will encourage its growth, thinking that it can be controlled. Or is the problem that libertarianism can never have the same visceral, thoughtless motivation as the desire for a "strong leader."

open borders advocacy

I've long figured that anti-nationalism (or post-nationalism) is likely the most productive approach to moving humanity towards a brighter, freer future (both here and abroad), and of course, open borders are a key component of that.

I've come across some open-borders advocates, and am documenting them here:
open borders website
open borders facebook
open borders discussion on Freakonomics radio

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

What are some contemporary resistance movements?

Hi all -- I need to crowd-source some information. In honor of Trump's possible coronation, I want to bring attention to current resistance movements around the world. But first, I need to get a list together. Nominate whomever you'd like, but they are most interesting to me if they are civilian led, popular enough and dedicated enough to have a realistic chance of toppling an oppressive regime. I'm not too interested in  counter-culture movements that fashion themselves as resistance, or militant groups that have been pushed to the margins of their society over the course of years.

Heres' what I can think of:

Recent past:
  • Color revolutions (e.g. Ukraine). Russian liberals.
  • Arab spring
  • Umbrellas in Hong Kong
  • Turkey's civil resistance (could use the anti-PDK or pro-PDK movements, though pro-PDK resisted the establishmet of a new oppressor) 
  • Anti-Apartheid
I'm sure I'm missing something...

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Johnson's tax plan is not libertarian

A progressive rips Johnson for the regressive nature of his tax plan. He's criticizing from a progressive (Sandersnista) perspective, but the tax plan is not libertarian either.

It's disappointing that the Libertarian candidate would give so much weight to this sales tax idea (the "fair tax"). At best, it is a massive distraction from real libertarian issues. It can't even be justified as the price of winning financial support from the Koch brothers. I can only assume that Johnson, like many conservatives, has a savings fetish and thinks that "libertarianism" is synonymous with capitalism (i.e. rules that favor the owners of capital). But at the end of the day, Johnson is proposing to expend massive political capital just to play an accounting game.

Johnson is also banking on the fact that income tax enforcement is particularly intrusive, though I doubt a massive sales tax would be much better. On a more substantial level, I believe that progressive taxation (higher rates for the wealthy) is more libertarian than other tax systems that raise the same revenue. This is because a person with more money (all else being equal) faces fewer constraints from losing any given amount of money. This is true even for losing the same percentage of their income -- it is worse to take 10% from a person with a thousand dollars than to take 10% from a person with a million dollars, even though the later involves 10x as much money. With this reasoning, it's clear that reducing taxes on the poor should be the first financial priority of libertarians. Lest we are worried about being unfair to the rich, they are fully capable of advocating for themselves in government.