Thursday, December 5, 2013

Aaron Ross Powell Defends the Posting of 'Basic Income' Article at

Aaron Ross Powell defends putting up an article on the site that calls for the violation of the libertarian basic principle of non-agression.  In a comment, he writes:, which I run, is intended to explore a range of views within the very broad spectrum of libertarianism. We have articles by classical liberals, minarchists, anarchists, and so on, often disagreeing with each other. Anything published on doesn't necessarily represent the views of Cato or any of its scholars, as is stated quite clearly on the site.
Aaron how can you ever call an article promoting aggression against others "within the very broad spectrum of libertarianism." It is a distortion of libertarianism---and in fact the opposite of libertariaism. You should be ashamed of yourself.

As for the connection to Cato, which is funded in part by the Koch brothers, in very large letters on the site front page, it states: A Cato Institute Project, with the Cato logo and a link to the main Cato page.

If they had any principles, other than corrupted beltarian principles, they would fire you. Then you would know who is in charge.


  1. "within the very broad spectrum of libertarianism."

    The best and most effective way for statist to destroy libertarianism is not to openly oppose it but rather to co-opt and subsequently redefine it. That's how they succeeded in destroying conservatism.

    1. Agreed. There's nothing broad about libertarianism: private property rights/NAP. The only "spectrum" is how far you take the logic of the NAP (anarcho-capitalists being the most logically consistent). If people would only realize/accept that"left" libertarianism/libertarian socialism/anarcho-syndicalism are oxymorons and necessitate hierarchy and coercion instead of liberty and voluntarism...

  2. What Aaron Ross Powell means by "the very broad spectrum of libertarianism" is rather clear given the context. By "spectrum" he's referring to the broad range of varying definitions that have been attached to the word "libertarianism". We see this sort of deceitfulness on the radical left, too. For example, many communists masquerade under a banner of anarchism, by which they mean a revolutionary smashing of extant governments before establishing despotic new communistic governments. So when those communists claim to be anarchists, they're referring to a tactic that they've adopted to achieve some other end which is itself not anarchism at all.

    Now, if Aaron Ross ever gets around to being an adult, he'll write something like...

    ', which I run, is intended to explore a very broad range of definitions of the word libertarianism, which means whatever I say that it does whenever I say so.'

    1. "I begin with a relatively weak proposal that even most hard-core libertarians should be even to accept."

      The statement above, which is begging the question (a favorite tactic by the Left), is a logical fallacy.

    2. Obama and the Pope Versus the Ayn Rand Corporate Front Groups

      Yesterday, President Obama appealed to fellow Americans to help him focus Congress on efforts to stem the unprecedented income inequality in our Nation. Tonight, one of the denizens of the greed-is-good corporate front groups, Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute, will attack that message in a speech at NYU.

      New York University presents an ideal forum for Brook. It’s a microcosm of the pitched battle for the soul of America. The Wall Street cartel has oozed itself into NYU’s boards, municipal bond issuance, student loans, mortgage loans, credit cards and naming rights on buildings and auditoriums. NYU now has the highest tuition in the country, crippling student debt, while it simultaneously doles out forgivable loans to elite administrators for mansions in the suburbs.

      As a determined group of over 400 faculty attempt to restore the University to its core educational mission and reduce the need for student loans, they are being maligned by the pro Wall Street university leadership much as any populist message is maligned on the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal.
      The Pope’s question can best be answered by those of us who have spent years unraveling the insidious corporate front groups posing as think tanks; brainwashing young people at an early age; and now openly pumping the Ayn Rand greed-is-good message directly into high schools and colleges through incentive based programs to distribute Rand’s books for free to students.

      Yaron Brook is Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute. Its Chair is Arline Mann, a retired Managing Director of Goldman, Sachs & Company. In 2011, Brook was paid $386,623 by the nonprofit (the most recent tax return available), but stridently opposes any increase in the Federal minimum wage.
      The earlier teacher guides for this operation, called “Stossel in the Classroom,” boldly show ABC News on the cover together with a photo of Stossel. But the guides were originally written by economic professors at George Mason University where billionaire Charles Koch holds heavy influence. (According to Kris Hundley of the St. Petersburg Times, Koch has donated $30 million to the university over the past 20 years.)

      just wondering if all you guys are bought and paid for too?

    3. @Anonymous

      They're BOTH bought and paid for. The Cato libertarians and Obama AND the universities.
      It's a staged debate between MANAGED socialism and MANAGED capitalism.
      No one will mention the managers.
      Welcome to political discourse.

      Minimum wage laws are traditionally not supported by free market economics for all sorts of economic reasons that have nothing to do with the individual greed, hypocrisy, or moral reprehensibility of the fat cats who might espouse them. Reasoning has to do with misplaced incentives.


      Lila Rajiva

      (Full Disclosure: No connection to Koch, Cato, LRC, Independent Institute, Agora Inc. or any other libertarian fat car or Rothschild-related foundation. My blog costs me $5/mth, entirely paid for by my savings)

    4. Ignore the forest...Look at these trees!

    5. @Lila Rajiva

      Good to hear from you again. I corresponded with you once years ago. Your statement below is a gem:

      "They're BOTH bought and paid for. The Cato libertarians and Obama AND the universities. It's a staged debate between MANAGED socialism and MANAGED capitalism. No one will mention the managers. Welcome to political discourse."

      I'm reading Walter Karp's "The Politics of War," as he describes the great political party shifts of 1896 and thereabouts. NOTHING in politics is as it seems. It is all just label-shifting between "managed socialism" and "managed capitalism" as you say. Back then there was a big battle against monopolies and the trusts, but BOTH the "free enterprisers" and the "regulators" were arguing for a MANAGED kind of system where the oligarchy would win EITHER WAY. The key word is MANAGED. We are all being played.

    6. Hi Alan,

      Of course I remember you very well.
      We are constantly being played.

      Constant vigilance toward possible subversion is a mandatory requirement for understanding what is going on.

      Not a pleasant character trait for one's friends and family, but necessary.
      Witness the Bitcoin mania among so-called lucid thinkers.

      Really. You object to fiat money, bubbles, fraud, government monitoring, and intelligence agency secrecy and then you jump on Bitcoins.

      Taken in the proper spirit, it is really quite entertaining.


      Lila Rajiva

  3. Yes, paying poor people a set dollar amount and ending all of the government programs/agencies/bureaucracy, etc. responsible for welfare would be preferable to the current system. .... How is that "libertarian" simply because it's true? One punch to the face is certainly preferable to five, but recognizing that fact is not in any way advocating for a punch in the face, nor does it become "moral" because it's the lesser evil of the two choices. There is simply nothing "libertarian" about government-mandated income redistribution. I would vote for the former over the latter if I only had two choices. But only because I only have two choices. The concept, however, violates the basic principles of what it means to be libertarian. Then again, Zwolinski has advocated scrapping the NAP anyway...

  4. You are begging the question by claiming Matt's article promotes aggression. You need to actually DEFEND that claim since Matt would obviously deny it. Presumably you are brought to libertarianism by concepts such as self-ownership, which unfortunately are defended by fallacious arguments and do not hold up. Matt is brought to libertarianism for other normative considerations. Please make arguments in the future rather than just begging the question.

  5. Can you please defend the claim that Matt's article supports aggression rather than just asserting it, since he would obviously disagree. Presumably you are taken by principles such as the NAP and self-ownership which are unfortunately fallacious and rest on faulty argumentation. Matt is moved to libertarianism for other normative considerations. You have to acknowledge this.

    1. PhilosophyLines,

      First you say, "You need to actually DEFEND that claim". And then you say, "Presumably you are taken by principles such as the NAP and self-ownership which are unfortunately fallacious and rest on faulty argumentation." Why don't you hold yourself to the same standards?

      If a basic income could be guaranteed without first collecting it by force from productive people, then indeed it would be libertarian. But the fact is, unfortunately, that a basic income cannot be guaranteed without forcible seizure from the taxpayers. You're welcome to argue against the non-aggression principle, but you are just semantically wrong if you claim that a violation of the non-aggression principle can be libertarian. That's precisely what libertarianism is.

    2. PhilosophyLives, there is no sense arguing with the brainwashed.

    3. "Presumably you are taken by principles such as the NAP and self-ownership which are unfortunately fallacious and rest on faulty argumentation."

      I'm interested in the above quote. Would you mind posting some links to such argumentation or if you can make it briefly yourself, doing so?

      It's fascinating to me that a "libertarian" organization would describe the NAP and self ownership as faulty in some way, shape or form.

      Really, if there are people out there calling themselves "libertarian", what exactly is the basis of their belief if not the NAP and property rights?

    4. Actually, if Matt is claiming that this massive income redistribution scheme is compatible with libertarianism, the burden is on him to explain the basic concepts of "libertarianism," explain his proposition (i.e. Basic Income check to all the poor), then apply the concepts of libertarianism to his scheme and show their compatibility. He has not done that. This article was intellectually lazy, in my opinion. He makes very basic utilitarian arguments for the Basic Income, but at no point does he explain how the Basic Income in any way comports with even the most expansive understanding of basic libertarian concepts. So how does one simply arrive at the conclusion that this is in any way consistent with libertarianism? Presumably, Matt should have shown how the Basic Income is compatible with NAP. If he doesn't believe in NAP, or in some modified form of NAP, then the burden was on him to explain his view of what makes one "libertarian" and then, again, explain how the Basic Income is compatible with that view.

    5. NAP is faulty? So if I punched you in the gut just because, you'd have no problem with that?

      Self-ownership is based on fallacious and faulty organization? How so? What's the alternative? Someone else owns me? So I don't own my own body, yet someone else, who also doesn't own their body either, owns mine?

      PhilosophyLines, don't come into an argument and piss out claims without any evidence or reasoning to back them. It makes you look like a pathetic, hit-and-run troll.