Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 25th Aug 2010 22:19 UTC
Multimedia, AV A couple of days ago we talked about how the RIAA and NAB are planning on asking US Congress to mandate FM radio chips inside every cell phone. This plan was met with some ridicule, so the NAB decided to write a blog post addressing the critics. Most of the post is overshadowed by an overdose of America's favourite national pastime: WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. 9/11!
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wannabe geek
Member since:

I said:

Actually, I believe libertarians tolerate government as a necessary means to protect individual liberties. That could include the liberty of an individual to discriminate against another based on race, religion, or creed.

It does. But notice we are talking about the rights of individuals as such, not governments.

It is anarchists that believe there should be no government at all.

Many libertarians are individualist anarchists.

Nothing, and I don't think I implied there was. I was saying that a true libertarian would be opposed to, for instance, the US Civil Rights act, which (among other things) makes it illegal for private business to discriminate based on race, religion, or creed.


Many countries have private health care (like the US), and they still mandate seat belts.

Well, let's forget about Medicare, Medicaid, and the massive regulations on private healthcare insurance, and pretend there's a free market in that sector. Then, a fortiori, mandatory safetly belts are unjustified, which was my point.

You do realize that most private business fail, right? Also, I have a problem with a profit motive for transportation infrastructure on principal, but I could be wrong.

When a private business fails, it's usually bought out by a better manager. If no-opne wants to buy it, that means it has nothing of value to offer, and it should stop wasting resources anyway. It's not something for end users to worry about.

I'm a bit surprised you are particularly against the profit motive for transportation. Why not for food production, clothing and housing?

Anyway, you can't change people's motives with regulation. You only change the means they choose.

Do you have an example of a nation with a privatized highway system to serve as a model for the plausibility of this argument?

Not really. Governments do not let it happen. Private roads were quite common in the US before the nineteenth century, though.

For more discussion of plans for a private road system, you may want to have a look at Walter Block's "The privatization of roads and highways":

Also available for free in PDF:

Also, why would a libertarian abide traffic lights and speed limits to begin with? Shouldn't you have the right to go as fast as you want?

Not if the street is owned, and you are at best a co-owner under a covenant. I would expect that kind of private regulation in private cities to be the norm in a libertarian society. Coexistence rules are useful, and there's nothing wrong with them if they are freely accepted by individuals.

Why enforce immigration laws? Shouldn't anyone be able to go anywhere they want, whenever they want to go there?

You hit a point of lively debate among libertarians, but there's something they all agree on: I have no right to "immigrate" into your house. Another reason to build private cities.

The disagreement is mainly about whether empty, government-controlled land is actually unowned or collectively owned by the host country citizens.

On the other hand, they tend to agree that the economic effects of immigrant workers are possitive for both the immigrants and the host country. It's just a particular case of free trade, applied to labor.

The problem are the cultural friction effects, and immigrant with no intention to work.

And how does one privatize a city? What did you mean by that?

There are many ways to do that, but what I have in mind is to share it out among the citizens. So you have a right to your home and the right of passage to the city border, but any street could be fenced off if all its residents agree on that, as long as no other citizens are trapped inside a ring. I would like to see private neighborhoods with different regulations about noise, traffic, public order and so on. That would be the first step toward all-new private cities.

I still think it is at least as reasonable or only as absurd as the seat belt mandate. That's my whole point.

As I said, you can express why you are against it, which you did quite eloquently, and I can still agree to disagree.

Fair enough ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

FuriousGeorge Member since:


I don't disagree at all with your interpretation of libertarianism, I just disagree with its overall feasibility in practice.

If we are to privatize roads why stop there? Why not police and fire services? When you dial 9-1-1 you can input your credit card. If a certain neighborhood does not have the capital to keep their police and firefighters out of the red, then they should have none.

I'm just imagining lower quality roads filled with even more pot holes because it increases the profit margin.

Another example that comes to mind is the state of Alaska. My taxes go toward paying for their roads, their water, and their infrastructure in general.

Should the entire state of Alaska be left to fail?

Take the moon landing as another example. What is the role of government but to at least occasionally achieve great things? You may argue the importance of science, and describe the space race with the Soviets as little more than an international pissing contest, but to me it amounts to more than that.

I notice most of the people who disparage the effectiveness of government (while ironically referring to America as the greatest country in the world), are also some of the biggest supporters of the military.

The military is 100% "government-run".

Finally, what about high speed rail. We have none in this country, and I think it's a shame.

What private company will put a high speed rail up and down the eastern or western seaboard? That is beyond the scope of any non-governmental institution, and we will never have that as long as this almost irrational fear of government persists.

After all, a good democracy is "for the people and by the people" so the people get the government they elect, and, by extension, the government they deserve.

(P.S. Thanks for being able to disagree without being disagreeable. There is so much more dignity in that than lobbing flames of "troll" from the other side of the web.)

Edited 2010-08-30 05:46 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1