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Samizdata quote of the day

There are no limits to our commitment to the euro.

Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank. The linked Guardian article in which I found the quote is titled “ECB U-turn shows it fears coronavirus could destroy eurozone project”.

38 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • CaptDMO

    I’m sorry but…when did “Euro Zone Project” become a new term to toss around?
    Brussles is Brussles, “The Euro” is an exchanged currency, and one member of the “project” has already recognized it’s….(IMHO) ultimate disingenuous folly

  • John B

    No limits… euro to be protected to the last person standing in Europe.

  • Brian Micklethwait

    Whenever people say things like this, it means there now are. In this case, there are now limits. They are merely arguing about what those limits should be.

    See also: “There is no question …” This means that there is and someone just asked it.

  • There were no limits to their commitment to free movement – until, suddenly, there were. (Nothing is true until it has been officially denied. 🙂 )

    Statements by Christine Lagarde and her ilk do not mean much but insofar as they mean anything they usually do not mean what they literally say. Last year, a similar statement made to a Brexit negotiator might well have just meant, “We will accept no terms but unconditional surrender, and are confident your political class will offer it”. This year, as the pro-eurozone Grauniad article nevertheless implies, it means, “We are worried.”

    In 1992, Soros charged the UK treasury a high price for teaching the UK’s political class that there were in fact limits to their commitment to the euro’s predecessor (the ERM). While the political attitudes he funds will go on pushing Christine to cling to her statement, one wonders if his investment decisions will match. They say past performance is the best guide to future outcomes.

  • Bloke in California

    Euro to be protected by the last person standing in Europe.

    FIFY

  • Phil B

    John B (March 19, 2020 at 1:50 pm)

    No limits… euro to be protected to the last TAX PAYER standing in Europe.

    There. Fixed it for you.

  • NickM

    Phil B,
    If only. It is gone waaaaay beyond that. It’s until they chop down Rishi Sunak’s Magic Money Tree.

  • Ferox

    There are no limits to our commitment to the euro.

    Doesn’t that have the tone of something that would have been said by some angry man with a dramatic beard in a speech to the 4th Congress of Workers Soviets in Moscow, 1925?

  • Nicholas (unlicensed joker) Gray

    I am sure the Euros would make for adequate toilet paper. Just insist on small denominations. And no coins.

  • There are no limits to our commitment to the euro.

    …because if it tanks, the EU is screwed.

    Good.

  • Tim the Coder

    Take your silver linings where you can find them.
    This should put an end to the Euro, and the whole anti-democratic Eurocluelesscrats.
    Also, Japan will win more Gold medals at the 2020 Olympics than ever before! (since no one else will show up)

  • Patrick

    May be a stupid question but here goes: If someone who has had and recovered from CV19 gave a blood transfusion to an as yet uninfected person, would the recipient of the blood then have antibodies and immunity?

  • Paul Marks

    Formally speaking ordinary banks do NOT create money – they create CREDIT Bubbles, and in the normal course of a free market the banks that create Credit Bubbles would go BANKRUPT (close their doors and not reopen them).

    For example, in my home town in Kettering in the 19th century the Gotch bank went bankrupt – it closed its doors and ceased to exist (its “bank paper” shown as not really representing physical gold – actual cash). The next generation of the Gotch family could not be bankers (because the bank no longer existed) – so one became an architect and another a painter (the world benefited from this).

    The trouble is that government backed “Central Banks” (such as the ECB) CAN and DO “create money” – in order to bail out the bankers and other Big Business types. This is called “Corporate Welfare”.

    When this lady says “there are no limits to our commitment to the Euro” what she actually means is that “there are no limits to our commitment to CORPORATE WELFARE” – not just for the bankers, but for the Big Business in general.

    Sadly the other government backed “Central Banks” have the same attitude – the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Switzerland, the Bank of England, the American Federal Reserve, and on and on.

    Normally I stress the role of the Education System (the schools and universities) in brainwashing Corporate Big Business types (and some individual rich people) into far left “Woke” “Social Justice” attitudes – but there is also a FINANCIAL motive.

    In a free market there would be no Corporate Welfare – if a bank created a big Credit Bubble it would CLOSE (and not reopen) when that bubble inevitably burst – and the “Broad Money” (the bank CREDIT) would sink back down to the actual money – the cash.

    And all the Big Business Corporations who got into VAST DEBT would also GO BUST when bad times hit – for example when a disease came out of China (due to the Communist Party dictatorship covering things up).

    So, as Big Business expects bail outs for its vast DEBT, they have Collectivist “Woke”. “Social Justice” attitudes. Both economically and socially. They are not really “capitalists” – in the classical sense, actually they are WELFARE people, but in thousand Pound suits.

    For example, Marvel Comics (owned by one of the largest Corporations on the planet) does not give a damn that people do not buy comics anymore – indeed it deliberately makes its comics as BAD AS POSSIBLE, only recently it introduced a group of “super heroes” who are ugly and obviously overweight and out of condition (few people would want to buy such comics – and that-is-good-from-the-point-of-view-of-Marvel) and there are now two new characters – “Safe Space” and “Snowflake”, no I am not making this up and they are NOT meant ironically. They are “non binary” (do not ask) and so on.

    From Bank of America to Marvel Comics the chant is the same “Death to America! Death to the West! Death to the White Male Traditional Society Straight Capitalism!” and on and on – and there is no reason why they should not think like that.

    The Big Banks and the Big Corporations (such as Disney – Marvel) are not “Capitalist” in any traditional sense – they can run up any level of debt, and they will just get more and more money from the government or from government backed entities such as the Federal Reserve.

    Therefore their doctrines “Death to America! Death to the West! Death to White Male Traditional Society Straight Capitalism!” are entirely logical – from their position.

    This is what they are “educated” to believe by the schools and universities (try getting a job at, say, J.P. Morgan without a degree from a “good”, i.e. FAR LEFT university) – and they have no financial reason not push Collectivism and the destruction of the West.

    After all – how many Big Corporations are not deeply in DEBT?

    And how many Corporations do not give money to “Social Justice” organisations controlled by Marxists? Even “right wing” “chic fil a” does that now – it stopped giving money to conservative Christian charities years ago, and now funds the Marxist “Social Justice” groups).

    Most (not all – but most) of Big Business is now in the Duke of Orleans position – in the run up to 1789. The richest man in France who financed the French Revolution and supported the murder of the King and so many other people – only, in the end, to be murdered by the very people he had subsidised for years.

    Why should I care if “Woke” “Social Jusice” big bank or big corporation executives are dragged through the streets to their brutal execution? They have funded these groups for YEARS. And they have shown nothing but hatred for people who have tried to warn them – to them we (the people who tried to warn them) are “racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes” – they have done us nothing but harm (they support censoring us, driving us from our jobs, denying us any position in this world at all).

    So I ask again – why should we care about people who have nothing but hatred for us (and have done us great harm) and are to be destroyed by the very groups they have been subsidising for years?

    When the Revolutionaries finally got around to killing their old friend and subsidiser the Duke of Orleans they were, for once, acting JUSTLY – although their justice was unintentional.

  • Paul Marks

    Short version….

    Yes the European Union, with its “without limit” banker welfare and general corporate welfare, stinks – and its “money” is based on nothing, other than force and fear.

    But that is also true of the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan…. and (as far as I know – everywhere).

  • llamas

    That’s a pretty bold use of the term ‘our’ that Ms Lagarde bandies about so freely.

    There may be ‘no limits’ to her commitment to the Euro. But I fear that she may find that there will come to be a different value for ‘our’ than the one she means, or thinks she means.

    Germany has already indicated that it’s happy to disregard other ‘European’ mechanisms when it’s a matter of their blood and soil. I could well see where the Volk ends up whispering in Ms Merkel’s ear that ‘we’re now in a situation where the Euro is nothing but a dead weight on us. Fahr zu Holle with the European idea – now it’s our ox that’s getting gored. Ditch it. By Friday’. I wonder what Ms Lagarde will say after she gets that call from the Bundesbank.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Paul Marks

    In a sane society there is no “Central Bank” handing out banker welfare and general corporate welfare.

    In a sane society lending is from Real Savings (the actual sacrifice of consumption) – not Credit Bubbles.

    In a sane society business enterprises make films, television shows, comics and so on that people will like – not deliberately make such things as BAD AD POSSIBLE (in order to make a “Woke” “Social Justice” point).

    In a sane society the “institutions” that care for children are MOTHERS.

    In a sane society the “governments” that provide money for bringing up children are WORKING FATHERS.

    In a sane society it is PARENTS who decide on the education of their children.

    People in a sane society are proud (not ashamed) of their culture and history.

    And in a sane society private property is secure (from both governments and private criminal gangs), economic relations are voluntary (not determined by force and fear – regulations) and money is a commodity that people choose to value before and apart from its use as money.

    “Paul, the above is a Conservative Libertarian vision – Central Office down in London would hate every word of it”.

    Yes I know that.

  • Paul Marks

    By the way – when Walter Bagehot (the third editor of the Economist magazine – whose book “The English Constitution” also helped intellectually corrupt British politics by its doctrine that “everything that it is safe to concede should be conceded” in terms of new government spending to, supposedly, benefit the new voters enfranchised under the Act of 1867) proposed bailouts for bankers he was OPPOSED by then Governor of the Bank of England.

    I can not remember the gentleman’s name.

  • neonsnake

    “Paul, the above is a Conservative Libertarian vision – Central Office down in London would hate every word of it”.

    What if I have had bad experience of (biological) parents, though?

    Your conservative vision excludes us who have actually been through the system, no?

    My vision is somewhat broader, and more inclusive. Mother (capital letters) and fathers (capital letters)…sure. Its not about that. It’s about whether you’re gonna be looked after. There’s a little bit of growing up to do there. It’s not about that.

    Stability is far more important than some kind of fictional male vs female thing.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Central Office down in London would hate every word of it”

    I’m not sure that “hate” is the right word for it. I think they would say that because ‘sanity’ is not compulsory, you can’t assume or operate on the basis that it is a sane world. You have to work with the sort of world you’ve actually got.

    They might also point out that what most people mean by ‘sanity’ is ‘conforms to my social norms’. Everyone with a model of an ideal society has some concept of the way people are supposed to behave in it. Socialists think everyone should be voluntarily altruistic and share everything. The religious think everyone should follow their religion. The rational think everyone should be rational. There is a range of acceptable behaviour needed to enable society to function peacefully. And every single attempt to create the ideal society always runs into the same problem – that some people don’t agree and won’t comply. They have different norms.

    The critical question, then, is what do they do about that fact? There is a natural human tendency, on seeing other people breaking the norms you think essential for a harmonious and civilised society, being selfish, immoral, irresponsible, sinful, irrational, ‘insane’, that society ought therefore to enforce those norms. But to a libertarian this is the one thing that a civilised society should not and must not do. That a socialist believes everyone should share the wealth equally is economically impractical, but in itself harmless. The reason it has done so much damage in the world is that they inevitably go on to say that if people won’t share, then they must be made to share.

    Thus, as you say, one set of norms for an ideal society expects traditionally-structured families to look after the kids, with no need for government intervention or involvement. OK. But people don’t behave like that. Other people don’t agree with your norm. They want central government to take over where parents fail, and they will vote out any government that fails to do so. So what do you do about them?

    Film makers and TV producers choose to make ‘woke’ productions. Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do. So what are you going to do about it? Are we to have freedom of belief, and free speech, even for beliefs we detest and consider dangerous?

    So some mothers cannot raise their kids, some fathers abandon them. Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do. So what are you going to do about it? Are we going to force them? Effectively enslave the parents for 18 years? Or abandon the kids to their fate?

    So some parents neglect their children’s educations, or teach them crazy stuff like Social Justice or violent Jihadi Islam or Revolutionary Communism or bonkers ethno-religious prejudices or crazy-cult religions like scientology that make them unfit for society. Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do. So what are you going to do about it? Force a particular choice on the parents? Abandon the kids to having their future lives ruined? What?

    It’s no use just moaning about the insanity of society in not following the social norms that you think are right and proper; in not believing as you believe. In that sense, the world is insane. It always has been. For everyone. The critical question is what do you propose to do about it? Allowing for the fact that other people with different norms will think that your ideas are insane, will inevitably sometimes gain control, and will therefore do whatever it is you propose to you. It’s a highly subtle and very difficult problem to solve, requiring a broader cross-society perspective.

    This need for broad-minded tolerance for multiple points of view in tackling this problem, I suspect, is why Central Office down in London might be very wary of people who express their distress at society’s decadence in all-caps. No offence.

  • bobby b

    NiV, you seem to be advocating against standards of every kind, on the theory that someone somewhere holds some different standard and thus we cannot be sure we’re correct.

    Must we always simply hold that every viewpoint is as valid as every other viewpoint, simply because someone somewhere holds to it? Is there no acceptable standard? More importantly, are there no unacceptable beliefs?

  • bobby b

    “It’s no use just moaning about the insanity of society in not following the social norms that you think are right and proper; in not believing as you believe. In that sense, the world is insane. It always has been. For everyone. The critical question is what do you propose to do about it?

    If I see my neighbor beating his wife, beating gays, killing old people, I propose the following: I will stop him, by force if needed. I will impose on him my own beliefs and standards. Would you have me not do so?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “NiV, you seem to be advocating against standards of every kind, on the theory that someone somewhere holds some different standard and thus we cannot be sure we’re correct.”

    You’re right about the second part of that, but not the first. I’m saying that the problem is that someone somewhere holds some different standard and thus we cannot rightly be sure we’re correct, any more than they can, so whatever standard we set cannot consistently operate on the basis of ‘our’ standards automatically taking precedence over ‘theirs’, because the situation is symmetrical when seen from any other viewpoint in society. They think of their viewpoint as ‘ours’ and our viewpoint as ‘theirs’. But this doesn’t mean that no standards can be justified. Just that whatever rule you use must satisfy the categorical imperative: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. If you swap ‘us’ for ‘them’, the rule should look exactly the same.

    This was precisely the question JS Mill was talking about in ‘On Liberty’.

    “All that makes existence valuable to any one, depends on the enforcement of restraints upon the actions of other people. Some rules of conduct, therefore, must be imposed, by law in the first place, and by opinion on many things which are not fit subjects for the operation of law. What these rules should be, is the principal question in human affairs; but if we except a few of the most obvious cases, it is one of those which least progress has been made in resolving. No two ages, and scarcely any two countries, have decided it alike; and the decision of one age or country is a wonder to another. Yet the people of any given age and country no more suspect any difficulty in it, than if it were a subject on which mankind had always been agreed. The rules which obtain among themselves appear to them self-evident and self-justifying. This all but universal illusion is one of the examples of the magical influence of custom, which is not only, as the proverb says a second nature, but is continually mistaken for the first.”

    https://www.utilitarianism.com/ol/one.html

    I would advocate for Mill’s solution. But the reasoning behind it is not so quickly expressed, so as they say – read the whole thing. I’m constantly amazed at how relevant it still is to our debates, despite being 160 years old, and how few people seem to have read it.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “If I see my neighbor beating his wife, beating gays, killing old people, I propose the following: I will stop him, by force if needed. I will impose on him my own beliefs and standards.”

    I agree with that, but the issue is on what basis do you justify it. Do you do so because those are your standards, or do you have an absolute justification that anyone with a different standard could understand and agree with?

    Somebody else will say “If I see my neighbor expressing offensively misogynistic, homophobic, ageist beliefs, I propose the following: I will stop him, by force if needed. I will impose on him my own beliefs and standards.” Or somebody will say “If I see my neighbor making ‘woke’ movies, teaching my kids stuff I don’t want them to know, teaching their own kids to be ashamed of their culture and history, I propose the following: I will stop him, by force if needed. I will impose on him my own beliefs and standards.” Where do you draw the line? On what basis?

    Whether one is proud or ashamed of one’s history is belief/opinion. Whether one produces ‘woke’ films is expression. How kids should be educated should ultimately be a matter for themselves, neither the state nor their parents have any special rights to decide – but because children don’t have the judgement to make informed decisions, others make them for them on their behalf. That job usually goes to the parent, as the one most likely to have the child’s interests at heart, but some parents don’t, and some parents are no better informed about what’s best either. The same is true of the state, of course. It’s an imperfect solution, either way, because the solution dictated by theory (that the child makes an informed decision for themselves) is impossible. But it’s a more complex situation than simply saying the parents should always decide. That’s why “Central Office down in London would hate every word of it” – because they have to deal with the complexities and compromises of operating in an imperfect world.

  • bobby b

    So, do you believe there is objective Good? Objective Evil? Or is it all situational ethics?

    I’m pretty sure JSM would say there is objective Good and Evil, but that they differ for each person – which I think ends up begging the question. But then, a significant part of what he wrote went over my head in many respects, so I may have that wrong.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “So, do you believe there is objective Good? Objective Evil?”

    I think that ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are the implementation of an evolved social instinct that enables us to live together in dense social groups, reducing territorial conflicts of interest, enabling advantageous cooperative behaviour, and particular sets of rules can be objectively better or worse at doing that. At the same time, because the rules are adaptive and can change to suit the circumstances, there is a large arbitrary component to them, where it matters less what everyone’s rules are than that they are all the same. It’s like language. A language can be objectively better or worse at its task of communication enabling cooperation, but the relationship of sound-to-meaning is largely arbitrary, what matters is that everyone in the group uses the same sound for the same meaning.

    Is there an objectively ‘true’ language? Are we objectively right to say ‘dog’ and they wrong to say ‘chien’? Obviously not. But does that then mean there are no rules? You can come out with any random sequence of syllables and argue that it is equally valid? Equally ‘correct’? If it fails at its primary purpose of communicating ideas, then yes.

    Moral rules are an evolved mechanism for enabling social groups to gain collective advantage through cooperation – like trade is. And just as free trade, open competition, bigger, more open and diverse markets are measurably, *objectively* better at creating collective economic advantage, so freedom generally is (I would argue) *objectively* better at enabling other forms of cooperative advantage.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Sorry – I should have said: “If it fails at its primary purpose of communicating ideas, then yes it can be objectively invalid as language.” A failure on my part to communicate ideas! 🙂

  • bobby b

    So, if I read your construct correctly:

    – the objective Good that we seek is “living together in dense social groups, reducing territorial conflicts of interest, and enabling advantageous cooperative behavior”; and

    – rules, standards, values – all are in place to ensure a movement towards the objective Good, and are in fact adaptable situational ethics.

    So, enabling human life is, in fact, the Good? All standards, rules, values, etc., can be judged based on their utility in attaining this Good?

    This is all very Randian! (Her motto, IIRC, was “serve life.”)

  • people who express their distress at society’s decadence in all-caps. (Nullius in Verba, March 20, 2020 at 9:51 pm)

    Paul’s main comment had 949 words of which 25 were capitalised. They are (in order, ignoring duplicates): NOT CREDIT BANKRUPT CAN DO CORPORATE WELFARE FINANCIAL CLOSE VAST DEBT GO BUST BAD AS POSSIBLE FAR LEFT YEARS JUSTLY. (As chance would have it, that is a passable summary of his comment. 🙂 ) While we all, from the beginning of the web, noticed the weirdo whose caps key was more often on than off, and so knew to resist that temptation, I would not believe a central office who claimed a 1:37 ratio was even part of their cause for concern.

    Paul’s shorter comment does add MOTHERS and WORKING FATHERS to the total of capitalised words. Socialist societies have always hated the family because it is a source of resistance to their indoctrination. (I could quote many specific examples of how it does this from defector literature.) Hence a society where that is respected – that sees the alternatives as, in a sense, medicine (highly desirable to be on hand for all who need them, but not the ideal) – has a source of resistance to creeping totalitarianism that is lost when hostility to the family as a source of reactionary attitudes becomes the public domain rule. (More generally, it is a source of balance to the pressure of fashionable public-domain thinking in general, much as private property is.)

    This idea is absolutely standard anti-totalitarian theory and I’m unsurprised Paul added it to his main message. If we truly lived in a time of broadening social norms, instead of hate speech laws and cancel culture, then advising those who present it to beware any temptation to let it become a comparable danger to free speech itself might be more timely. At present, such a warning does sometimes come across as a misreading of the western world we currently inhabit.

    So instead, my advice to Paul is just to avoid letting the block-capital ratio creep higher. I use handwritten html italics and bold tags, not (save the rarest of cases) block capitals, precisely because the extra work – and the near-certainty that one will be an error making me spend the 5-minutes-correction time fixing it 🙂 – is a guard against that.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “the objective Good that we seek is “living together in dense social groups, reducing territorial conflicts of interest, and enabling advantageous cooperative behavior””

    That’s ‘good’ as our genes define it, who designed the system. And as defined by the universe, that decided which behaviours would prosper and which ones wouldn’t. But the system, being adaptive, is not particularly rigid and can exhibit unintended behaviours. We can override the intentions of our genes sometimes.

    In one sense, ‘good’ and ‘evil’ only make sense in the context of a particular social value system, like syllables only have meaning in the context of a particular language. In another, different value systems can be weighed against one another for their evolutionary fitness, which is the teleological reason value systems exist, and which therefore tends to be a common basis to all value systems, but which at the end of the day is just evolutionary fitness. It depends how you choose to look at it.

    “So, enabling human life is, in fact, the Good? All standards, rules, values, etc., can be judged based on their utility in attaining this Good?”

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    Enabling human life (and liberty and happiness) is a particularly successful form of ‘good’. Societies define it as they do. But those societies that define it that way tend to prosper more. That’s how the universe is built.

    I assume you used the word “utility” deliberately? Yes, JS Mill was one of the philosophical founders of Utilitarianism.

    “This is all very Randian! (Her motto, IIRC, was “serve life.”)”

    Well spotted! Rand was definitely a follower of Utilitarianism! Although as in all things, she put her own unique slant on it.

    “I would not believe a central office who claimed a 1:37 ratio was even part of their cause for concern.”

    I would. They might not admit it publicly, being polite, but I would think it was a big part of their cause for concern. It’s evidence of a particular personality type, where people get very fixed and definite beliefs far outside the mainstream, often involving grand themes of civilisation or the world ending, or hidden conspiracies of power brokers and influencers controlling or taking over society, try to tell other people about it, and then when other people dismiss those beliefs, get ever more INSISTENT and EMPHATIC about it. It’s one of the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia – the brain’s mechanism for recognising things in the world around them as significant goes into overdrive, and ordinary happenings are seen as SIGNS and PORTENTS of great world-shifting events. I recognise it because I’ve got a touch of it myself. It’s just a personality type – one of a wide range that humans exhibit – and nothing to worry about.

    But it can make communication with other people difficult, when neither side understands where the other is coming from, or why they act as they do. Mutual misunderstandings are common.

    I was just trying to offer an alternative explanation of why Central Office might do what they do. It’s not necessarily that they hate it or oppose it – it’s that they might think the world is more complicated to deal with than black-and-white conservative principles would insist on.

    “Socialist societies have always hated the family because it is a source of resistance to their indoctrination.”

    Certainly. But is that because the Patriarchy (rule by fathers) opposes Totalitarianism per se, or merely because it is a different rival species of Totalitarianism? Do parents oppose the state teaching their kids certain things because they think their kids should be free to choose for themselves what they learn, or because it is a usurpation of the parent’s authority to forbid or enforce what they learn?

    Socialist societies don’t like religions, for the same reasons. (See Islam in China.) Socialist societies don’t even like other sects of Socialism. They’re rivals for power, but not necessarily opponents of Authoritarianism/Totalitarianism.

    I’m not saying families always are – many families are very liberal with their children, and teach them liberal values. But it’s not universal, and should not be assumed.

  • neonsnake

    Socialist societies have always hated the family because it is a source of resistance to their indoctrination.

    A libertarian says that the family (atomised father/mother/2.4 children) is just one option. A libertarian says that maybe it takes a village. Maybe it takes a coupla blokes, or a coupla women. Maybe it takes 3 people. Or more. Or maybe not – maybe it truly is a mother/father and their children.

    A conservative says no, it takes a mother, a father and no more and no less! An atomised family!

    And thereby reduces liberty for anyone who disagrees, and is prepared to enforce that.

  • bobby b

    A conservative libertarian says that history has shown us that the most likely successful route involves the male-female two-parent structure, but that intelligent caring people can make anything work.

  • bobby b’s point (March 21, 2020 at 8:21 pm), may be made clearer by an analogy.

    Although John Christie (US citizen) designed its basics, it was the Soviet Union who developed and deployed the T-34 tank – by no small margin the best all-round tank in WWII. It was also the Soviet Union who put the first man in space and the US only started to catch up with help of Wernher von Braun, that well known benefactor of

    The widows and orphans of old London town
    Who owe their state pensions to Wernher von Braun.
    “When the rockets go up, who cares where they come down?
    That’s not my department”, says Wernher von Braun.

    So that is a socialist society outperforming a capitalist one in two rather important matters, with the capitalist one catching up via the help of a national socialist.

    One may believe that the free market performs best, on average, and socialism not, while knowing that that is a statistical belief – there will be exceptions – and without feeling the need to ban all communes lest an exception emerge from one.

    In other (happily much less extreme) situations one may believe likewise.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “A conservative libertarian says that history has shown us…”

    History has shown us many examples of successful authoritarian kings and emperors. History is not necessarily a good teacher.

    But the question isn’t what’s the best way, it’s whether it needs to be compulsory and authoritarian. People have been justifying authoritarian leadership for centuries, saying that mankind would be no more than an uncivilised rabble without the firm hand of an authoritarian leader. The Old Testament is full of stories of how society degenerates into sin and wicked immorality without the firm hand of authoritarian religion. You need a bit of Fire and Brimstone to keep ’em all in line! A few plagues! History is written by the victors, and tradition is just how the victors made us live.

    There is an argument to be made, of course, that copying the victorious is a recipe for success, but that only really works if they’re still open to competition. It’s not a good argument for forbidding competition. If it’s so good, so strong, it ought to be able to see off the competition, even if it’s allowed to compete. So let everyone organise their families as they will, and if the male-breadwinner-female-childraiser model still works best, then great. It’ll be obvious. But Mill’s Harm Principle applies just as much to children within a family as to families within a state. And so if a conservative libertarian starts coming out with justifications to retain an authoritarian family structure because history/tradition has demonstrated that authoritarians have been successful, I have to question at least one of their credentials.

  • the question isn’t what’s the best way, it’s whether it needs to be compulsory and authoritarian (Nullius in Verba, March 21, 2020 at 9:26 pm)

    And you are spending time in a libertarian blog telling libertarians this (and failing to register their attempts to explain the absurdity of that) why?

    History is a good teacher – because even the most extreme totalitarian state cannot wholly suppress its ability to compare and contrast, to select and reject, to show many examples of what usually works and fewer of what can sometimes work. As, if and when the happy day comes that cancel culture is cancelled, that future history may show haw far the brave new world needed its brave new cancel culture or not. We’ll see. (Meanwhile, I’m about ready to bow out on this.)

  • Nullius in Verba

    “And you are spending time in a libertarian blog telling libertarians this (and failing to register their attempts to explain the absurdity of that) why?”

    Good question. When all I’m doing is repeating arguments and citing principles from J S Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ and suchlike, why is anyone arguing with me about it?

    This is what I find odd. I say things that I think libertarians would respond “Yes, of course” to, but instead I get disagreement, or what looks like it. I don’t mind. But so long as anyone is arguing, I don’t find it absurd to say it.

  • neonsnake

    A conservative libertarian says that history has shown us that the most likely successful route involves the male-female two-parent structure, but that intelligent caring people can make anything work.

    A non-conservative libertarian (by which I mean me) agrees, with both halves of that sentence.

    “They believe in the family, only they insist that free competition and experiment shall always be allowed in order that it may be determined what form of family best secures this object.”

    (The object being “to assure the reproduction of individuals and to prepare them, by guidance through childhood, to become reasonable beings”)

  • Plamus

    Baghdad Bob nods in approval.

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