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Do libertarians not care about danger?

tacomancer

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One thing I have noticed, but does not compute for me is that Libertarians don't seem to care much about dangerous situations (the statement sounds absurd, but that is the impression I get). The reason I say that is because whenever the problematic side effects of capitalism are listed, the usual response is that "well I will be free", which, for me at least, completely misses the point.

For me, I can't see how this sort of freedom is much use if circumstances force me to starve, not have adequate medical care, or shelter. How can someone enjoy or take advantage of their freedom if their circumstances are ****? This is where the danger part comes in. I agree that freedom is a good thing, but I would like for everyone to have a reasonable chance to exercise it and not only those who are fortunate.

I guess this question is for anyone who doesn't like social spending, not just libertarians.
 
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Psychoclown

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Its only extremist libertarians who are opposed to all social spending. Moderates are not opposed to a basic safety net. As you and I have discussed before, a basic safety net provides more than just charitable assistance to the poor. It provides stability. When people aren't worried about how they are going to find their next meal or if they're going to freeze to death outside, they are far less likely to turn to violent means - and violent means can mean anything from crime to a bloody revolution. A basic safety net provides stability and order. Which, if libertarians stop and think about it, is something they value a great deal. The reason libertarians accept the premise of government is that government preserves and enforces the rights of the individual. Another way of saying that is government provides law and order where there would otherwise be chaos. One needs a stable, ordered enviroment in order to have one's rights respected and guaranteed.

The issue moderate libertarians have with social spending is when we move beyond a basic safety net towards things that have little to no stablizing affect, programs that allow or encourage people to become dependent on the state (i.e. other people) rather than encouraging them to be self reliant. Things like expanding social security from its original role as a form of insurance for people who lived into advanced old age to a national pension plan. Or a welfare system that fosters such dependence that we see families with multiple generations relying on welfare.

It's one thing to provide a basic safety net that keeps the bottom from completely falling out for the unfortunate. It's another thing to give uncoditional handouts to able bodied individuals without expecting them to contribute anything in return.
 

tacomancer

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I wasn't trying to paint everyone with the same brush. I guess I am like Redress and in some ways I want to understand people like this better.
 

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One thing I admire about the libertarian ideal, is that while they espouse their desire for freedom, they recognize that it comes with a degree of responsibility for ones self. I typically see the more socialist policies of expanded government programs creating an illusion of freedom. People would believe their lives are more free, as they would be freed from worry and responsibility in their lives. But in reality they would have freedoms dictated to them by the state. For example, when it comes to medical care, a more socialist policy is to increase the taxes on people and provide universal healthcare. While this may free people of the worry of finding healthcare, it limits their freedom to choose healthcare. Whereas a more libertarian ideal would be to deregulate the healthcare industry so that more competitive choices become available but in order to make your budget, you may skip on small and insignificant medical care if you cannot afford it.
 

Harry Guerrilla

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One thing I have noticed, but does not compute for me is that Libertarians don't seem to care much about dangerous situations (the statement sounds absurd, but that is the impression I get). The reason I say that is because whenever the problematic side effects of capitalism are listed, the usual response is that "well I will be free", which, for me at least, completely misses the point.

For me, I can't see how this sort of freedom is much use if circumstances force me to starve, not have adequate medical care, or shelter. How can someone enjoy or take advantage of their freedom if their circumstances are ****? This is where the danger part comes in. I agree that freedom is a good thing, but I would like for everyone to have a reasonable chance to exercise it and not only those who are fortunate.

I guess this question is for anyone who doesn't like social spending, not just libertarians.
The vast majority of people would not have a problem finding the absolute basics.

In my opinion, as it is now, our social welfare system is quite generous.
It provides for more than the basics or allows the provision (through non discretionary personal spending) of more than the basics.

The last sentence, you wrote, kinda irks me.
Luck is a made up concept, to me.
Most people are where they are, because of the choices they made.
 

tacomancer

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The choices we make certainly have an affect on our lives, but in the end we must make choices within the constraints we find our lives in. This is what I consider fortune or misfortune.
 

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As a libertarian, I don't support no help to those in need, but the help should be minimal, degrading, and hard, tied to community service, etc. When I see folks who are on public assistance with big screen tv's and iphones, It gets a little irksome that the government is in debt, looking to spend more.


As a libertarian, I accept this is a hard tough world to live in, and the last thing I would want to do, it make it tougher for someone else because I am not pulling my own weight for me and mine.
 

Tucker Case

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As a libertarian, I don't support no help to those in need, but the help should be minimal, degrading, and hard, tied to community service, etc. When I see folks who are on public assistance with big screen tv's and iphones, It gets a little irksome that the government is in debt, looking to spend more.


As a libertarian, I accept this is a hard tough world to live in, and the last thing I would want to do, it make it tougher for someone else because I am not pulling my own weight for me and mine.
Do you have the same position for people who are truly incapable of making it on thier own (the infirm, the handicapped, the elderly etc) or is the hard and degrading form of help only for able-bodied sorts?

I aks becuase making someone do something hard and degrading when they truly have no choice in their impairments just seems wrong to me. These people weren't explicitly included or excluded in your post, but they are currently recipients of public "help".
 

ReverendHellh0und

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Do you have the same position for people who are truly incapable of making it on thier own (the infirm, the handicapped, the elderly etc) or is the hard and degrading form of help only for able-bodied sorts?

I aks becuase making someone do something hard and degrading when they truly have no choice in their impairments just seems wrong to me. These people weren't explicitly included or excluded in your post, but they are currently recipients of public "help".


Of course not. I fully support first a private community donation system first, and government assistance to fill the void for the truly needy. I spend a good amount of money and more importantly time doing what I can to help those truly in need. I think as a libertarian, we should be the society we want, even if it's not the society we have.
 

Tucker Case

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Of course not. I fully support first a private community donation system first, and government assistance to fill the void for the truly needy. I spend a good amount of money and more importantly time doing what I can to help those truly in need. I think as a libertarian, we should be the society we want, even if it's not the society we have.
Thanks, I wanted clarification becuase it wasn't mentioned explicitly and I've encountered people who don't make an exception for those like I mentioned.
 

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The choices we make certainly have an affect on our lives, but in the end we must make choices within the constraints we find our lives in. This is what I consider fortune or misfortune.
I'm just saying that, to me, using fortunate implies that someone did not earn their situation in life, that luck had a larger hand to play.
While I do agree that chance favors some people, it doesn't mean that they will automatically makes the right choices in the direction of success.

We can see this with broke lottery winners, sure chance favored them, but they made all the wrong choices.
It didn't matter how fortunate they were.
 

Middleground

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As a libertarian, I don't support no help to those in need, but the help should be minimal, degrading, and hard, tied to community service, etc. When I see folks who are on public assistance with big screen tv's and iphones, It gets a little irksome that the government is in debt, looking to spend more.


As a libertarian, I accept this is a hard tough world to live in, and the last thing I would want to do, it make it tougher for someone else because I am not pulling my own weight for me and mine.
Wow, American welfare recipients make a hell of a lot more than Canadian ones! I have know quite a few, and have never witness any that had an array of electronics in their homes. I had a tenant on welfare who had $25 left over for the month after paying the rent. The welfare guy across the street from me bought a old 27 big-assed TV from me for $10 a few years back, and last I checked, he still uses it. What I do see is perhaps an overuse of vices, such as smoking and drinking. What I don't see--at least here in Canada--is welfare recipients stocking up at Best Buy because simply, in most cases, their cheques barely cover their basic necessities.
 
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ReverendHellh0und

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Wow, American welfare recipients make a hell of a lot more than Canadian ones! I have know quite a few, and have never witness any that had an array of electronics in their homes. I had a tenant on welfare who had $25 left over for the month after paying the rent. The welfare guy across the street from me bought a old 27 big-assed TV from me for $10 a few years back, and last I checked, he still uses it. What I do see is perhaps an overuse of vices, such as smoking and drinking. What I don't see--at least here in Canada--is welfare recipients stocking up at Best Buy because simply, in most cases, their cheques barely cover their basic necessities.



I do inner city work for several charities, it is commonplace here in the US. Sadly.
 

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I do inner city work for several charities, it is commonplace here in the US. Sadly.
Well it could be that they had those things before they got into their situation, and didn't buy them with the welfare money.
 

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Well it could be that they had those things before they got into their situation, and didn't buy them with the welfare money.


i grew up in Newark, NJ, and the lower east side of Manhattan long before it was trendy. I've seen exactly what it was I state.
 

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i grew up in Newark, NJ, and the lower east side of Manhattan long before it was trendy. I've seen exactly what it was I state.
I'm not saying it can't happen. I'm just saying both situations can happen. I know when we went on food stamps I had alot of stuff you think someone on food stamps shouldn't have. Luckily we are off those now.
 

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I'm not saying it can't happen. I'm just saying both situations can happen. I know when we went on food stamps I had alot of stuff you think someone on food stamps shouldn't have. Luckily we are off those now.
Indeed, a situation like that can occur. However its also situations like that I think that bug some people and highlight the points. Are you truly "needy" and requiring of government assistance from Tax Payers when you do still have means to gain money? You bought your 32" plasma for example, and its done you well, but now you're at a place where you're in need of food. Yet rather than sell your TV and use that money for necessities you're able to keep it and get government assistance, meanwhile someone employed and paying taxes that help go to that assistance is saving and scraping up what money they can after necessities are paid for to attempt and buy a TV similar to that.

This is akin to something I've said before. Being truly "in poverty" to me is meaning you're ONLY striving for the necessities in life and even then you can't make due. If you're going out to happy hour every wednesday and spending $30 on drinks...if you're a new xbox game, even if its used, every month...if you're buying booze or smokes weekly...etc then you're not really "in poverty" to me because you're spending your money on non-necessities.

I'm not one of those people that think people on welfare, even a minority of them, are living like kings with all top end appliances and money flowing while on the government dollar. What I do think though is there are many who make horrendous financial decisions with regards to prioritizing and they are able to continually do so because they are essentially playing with house money. Why bypass using some of your little bit of cash to buy a 12 pack of Bud Light and a carton of smokes when you don't have to spend that on food because you've got food stamps. Why save up money to buy a nice outfit for interviews when that's going to just take time in finding a job and then actually having to work for that job, none of which is fun, when you can spend that money on a splurge purpose that can make day to day life more interesting since you know you can get by on what little assistance you get.

I think a lot of people are happy to scrape by at a level where they feel "comfortable", and if their ideal of "comfortable" is low it doesn't take much to get there. If you provide them enough social net where they feel that they can at least get by, and do so without much work and with less stress and more comfort then if they worked at the bottom of the barrel and tried to claw their way up, many people are going to just push and be fine with the spot they're in.

Essentially, if you remove rock bottom and make it cushiony then some people may end up hitting that cushion and go "You know, compared to the IMMEDIETE alternative its not that bad".

Now, with all that said...we have the system in place now and I don't have problems with people who use it. I'd have no problem with you keeping your TV and going on food stamps, the systems there, you've paid into taxes as has your family, no problem with it. My issue would be attempting to label yourself as "in poverty" because of it. And my issue is people who abuse those systems rather than use them for their purpose which is to help transition you into a situation where you no longer need them.

I went through that myself. When I first moved into the northern virginia area I was working for 26k a year for the federal government, with 15k worth of student loans due (not counting interest), and needing a two bedroom apartment for myself and my, at the time, 8 hours a week at minimum wage working student girlfriend. I ended up getting into a government subsidized apartment that saved me about $300 a month (Was paying $1050 a month). During that time I wouldn't consider myself in poverty or even "poor". I had a computer, my gf had one as well. Had a TV, a WII, nice phone, plenty of work clothes. But for that first 6 months or so until she graduated and got a full time job we cut back massively. We bought generic food instead of name brand. If we went out to the bar with friends we'd have at most one drink each that we'd nurse and then do water. We found cheap ways to do dates and spend evenings together such as air popped popcorn that her dad gave us and a $1 redbox movie. We scrimped by, with a little under $200 a month to use for expenses after the bills got paid.

But I managed to use the chances available by moving to that area to get a better job that lead to advancement. She managed to get a good job as well. We improved our situation and eventually moved out of those apartments because it was no longer necessary income wise to live there even though we technically could've stayed and continued to have the incredibly good rent for the area.

This to me is a contrast to two of my roommates for one year of college. Because they were 18 they were technically no longer a dependent. Neither worked, but both had parents that gave them money whenever was needed for college. They spent the excess amounts of their college loans to buy things like an anaconda and a big TV for their room. They applied and went onto foodstamps. They did this so they could then spend the money they got from their parents on things like a custom beer pong table, booze, and things to start brewing "absynthe" (I use that loosely). They had no need to be on food stamps, even if they wanted to do half of the luxury type things they did they'd have been fine. They did it simply to screw the system and have more cash to waste on frivilous things simply because "they could".

I'm not saying my situation is necessarily uncommon, I'm not saying theirs is extremely common. I do believe however that it feels often that the latter is more common than the former. Or, more to the point, that the latter is more impactful because its the ones that lingers on for much, much longer.

Just my few takes on it. Interesting discussion :)
 

tacomancer

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I'm just saying that, to me, using fortunate implies that someone did not earn their situation in life, that luck had a larger hand to play.
While I do agree that chance favors some people, it doesn't mean that they will automatically makes the right choices in the direction of success.

We can see this with broke lottery winners, sure chance favored them, but they made all the wrong choices.
It didn't matter how fortunate they were.
Often people do not earn their situation in life. If their situation is a result of circumstances outside their control, than they definitely did not earn it. As a liberal, my primary concern is those situations outside one's control. If a person does something stupid and screws their live up, that is on them. For a lottery winner, the money they had was in control, so them being broke is their fault.
 
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