-59 votes

Libertarian morality: the stupid deserve to suffer

I support many libertarian ideas, for practical reasons, not moral or ethical ones. There is nothing moral, fair or right about the social outcomes of the market. They are mostly arbitrary and random, less so a sorting of smart from dumb. The game is filtered on either end for sociopaths: the dumb sociopaths are filtered to the bottom (prison) and the far sighted ones rise to the top (politicians).

It's the best we can do as humans.

Whether there is anything really right and moral, or it's just an eat and kill world governed by a cruel and indifferent nature, I leave to others to decide.


Consider Bob, circa 8,014 B.C.

Bob has an IQ of 90, and he's a fisherman in a prosperous little riverside tribe. He has a fit wife with large breasts and 7 kids. He's dumb as a rock, but he eats fresh fish, game cooked over an open fire, has a drop dead gorgeous woman as dumb as himself, and all the happiness of a full active life and a community that loves him.

Yesterday, he helped burn Phil to death, whilst tied to a tree after a robust torture session, and fun was had by all except Phil. Phil belonged to a rival tribe and was a actually a high priest! He had an IQ of 145, and his burning flesh smelled just as delicious to both sides as if he had the intelligence of a fatted sheep.


10,000 years later.(Humans invent property and written laws in the interim.)


Meet Fred. Fred is descended directly from Bob, who was genetically prolific, wearing out at least seven wives during his tenure.

Fred has an IQ of 100, works 60 hours a week. He helps manage a McDonalds. He eats shit, literally and figuratively. The food is pure garbage, the people he serves treat him like the garbage he eats, and he hasn't touched a woman in 8 months.

The car he drives to work consumes all of his disposable income, breaking down about three times a year, and he suffers from myriad nervous conditions from his lifestyle and diet. His life is a misery even worse than Phil's final minutes.

He doesn't believe in God, knows none of his neighbors well, and spends his free time playing video games and watching pornography, will never have a wife or child, and will die from a painful disease in an unsanitary nursing home before turning 65.


Kyle works at Goldman Sachs. His yearly income is 250k and he lives in a prosperous little suburb. He can work from home or take a leisurely drive to the office, where his secretary provides a variety of services, some of which even his wife won't provide to the neighbor.

He hasn't lifted any object over 60 lbs in twelve years, outside of the health club. He has an IQ of 156 and does well for himself fleecing clients of moderate wealth and lesser intelligence.


There may indeed be practical reasons for us to support the market order and libertarian principles, very compelling ones. But let's take it easy with claims of moral truth or objectiveness in our sordid little make-shifts for surviving comfortably in an increasingly crowded world.

Bob, Kyle and Fred don't deserve any more, any less than each other, and get what they get largely from chance. We accept the roll of the the dice and the wheel of fate, and try our best to get ahead according to the rules, fair or not. Beyond that, we can't say much.

The law is not morality, and the facts are not the truth. If such a thing exists, it is not discerned nor discovered by laws or systems of ethics.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

It is because humans are flawed that it is insane

to give the most flawed humans power. We incent the very worst to gain power over the rest of us by making power available.

People live fine all the time without government. Nothing in human history has killed, maimed, and enslaved more than governments. No wars were waged by free people. Wherever people act brutishly, like in the desolation of urban wastelands, it is because of government. Welfare dependency and the war on drugs. They are trapped in killing fields created wholly by the government.

All of history says exactly the opposite of you and 3$BILL's assertion.

If I am in the middle of nowhere I don't fear my fellow man unless he is wearing a badge.

god dang it...

Live in the moment and stop holding on to notions of identity. Human beings are not Democrats, Republicans or Libertarians...we are spiritual beings forming our own imaginary and conflictive ideologies.

Father - Husband - Son - Spirit - Consciousness

Your ansgtiness makes sense now. You just don't want to suffer:)

Anyway as usual just another multi page straw man.

If it has to be simplified for the stupid to possibly understand, it would be this:

Libertarian ethics doesn't say the stupid deserve to suffer. It says the innocent do not deserve to suffer because of the stupid or the evil.

Libertarian ethics also doesn't say we shouldn't help the stupid. So let me try.

The best way would be to help them not be stupid.

One way to be stupid is to not understand that if you try to justify stealing and killing from the innocent they won't like it, will ignore you when they can, justifiably mock you when they can't, and if you persist, will eventually stop you, as is their moral right.

So stop being stupid.

There is nothing moral, fair or right about the social outcomes of the market.

You mean the fascism people like you think is cute to call 'capitalism' or the 'free market'? Regardless spoken like a true economic ignoramus. If you are really such a consequentialist then you should at least open your eyes and see the actual results of fascism compared to capitalism. In point of fact the results of freedom are much more just and have a much flatter distribution of wealth than under fascism.

Wealth concentration in a free market is an ephemeral and unstable condition.

This is why they go to such efforts to program rubes like you to support fascism. There is a reason families and corporations maintain market position for decades and centuries. That reason is not because anyone can freely compete. It is because of government protection.

(FYI I never vote you down. It would be like stomping bunnies)

Why do people use the phrase strawman

so incorrectly?

Maybe you just read the title and then responded like usual?

I wasn't arguing that all libertarians have this morality. It is a small subset of irrational, self deceptive moral bores who think their holy NAP is a moral absolute, and for this group, the suffering of the stupid would be a moral ought whenever it is the consequence of a NAP conforming system. As a moral system, it's silly. But there are plenty of good reasons to be a libertarian that aren't moralistic.

So there is no straw man.

Anyway, your economic simplicity is funny, you really actually believe that a "true free market" - whatever that is, no example in history of private law complex markets - will produce a stable system without concentrations of wealth, easily converted into political power.

Just to clarify...

...in terms of silliness (not meant as an insult to anyone):

- if one believes in a theistic reality defined by Love, would it not be 'silly' to compartmentalize politics out of that reality and not draw any moral connection between that command to Love and the question of liberty vs authoritarianism? I would say a theist's politics which has no discernible connection to the central reality of his theism is kind of odd, or at least underdeveloped.

and on the other hand...

- if one believes in a nihilistic/naturalistic reality defined by ultimate absurdity and death, would it not be 'silly' to pretend that any kind of politics, whether libertarian or authoritarian, really has any meaningful difference from the other kinds? In a world without meaning, why would that difference be meaningful?

Doesn't this all get back to this? --> http://www.dailypaul.com/comment/3375950

Would depend on the

nature of the deity and of the world it made, and of the source of knowledge about this. Also, whether force is justified in the deity's opinion, and how this was come to be known. If there was an an-cap deity who had revealed himself decisively and made his an-cap moral demands know, then I would have to say you would be correct.

Had replied

...earlier, but thought I'd change it to focus more on what I was trying to discern...

As a Christian, I see this revelation of Love as greatest as having been made explicit, with everything including Liberty hanging on it as the reality. And even before the demonstration of this in the Son, we have had the light of the conscience to discern the natural law that extends from this highest reality.

I keep coming back to that second question in my mind, though:

In a world without meaning, why would there be any meaningful difference or relevance associated with what politics we have? Seems like anything goes, because nothing matters in the end. I have a hard time seeing what all the bother is about, if we are going to reject a true transcendent morality (Love). Everyone will just do whatever they are determined by nature as animals or automatons to do. It would make as much sense to criticize a tyranny as it would to criticize the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. It would make as much sense to criticize anarchy as it would to criticize the jungle. It just is what it is, no right or wrong inherent in mere rearrangements of matter and energy.

The view you

describe is the view held by most atheists and naturalists. If they advocate for causes or a morality, they do so knowing it is subjective and or ultimately determined, but do so nonetheless. They don't typically admit publicly their self admitted and presumably self-understood motives for promoting this or that moral viewpoint, perhaps because they would see that as undermining the effectiveness of their promoting the view. It is very muddled indeed.

On the other hand, most atheists and others find it hard to see why the existence of God would change the calculus here, since we as humans seem determined in our actions one way or another, with or without God. For example, humans are not tabula rasa, but born with specific determined propensities like intelligence, violence, impulse control, depression, digestion, etc.

Likewise, even if we were all carbon copies physically - equal in every way - what would explain the differences in our decisions?

Supposing we did have truly libertarian free will, all of our actions would still go back, casually, to our having been created.

We can provide a theodicy "God had morally sufficient reasons," yet he does not seem to escape ultimate responsibility for the free will choices of created beings. Hard to see how determinism is avoided on any metaphysics. If two beings are presented with identical circumstances, starting out equal in body and soul, what explains the difference in decision, one good and one is evil?

If the reality...

...was indeed a theistic determinism, through and through, then I'd again say that we were only automatons, not real persons.

Such a complex topic, free will; and I'm still working through my own conceptions of it, within a theological framework.

I'd agree that God is ultimately responsible for all of our free wills existing, and therefore is responsible for the risks associated with that, in terms of the potential for evil, for non-Love, for messing up. Part of me suspects that this process is the only way that genuine persons can actually be made, with there being a likelihood of evil occurring.

I would go further, though, and say that God has predestined that each of us will eventually grow into the participant in Love we were meant to be. I reject the notion that a God of Love would ever abandon any creature to eternal darkness or annihilation, but believe He will continue to work until all is reconciled and fulfilled, even achieving 'Road to Damascus' type interventions in His time.

I think this is what it means that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Not that it is deterministic throughout, but that He does create us, allows us to enter a particular time and space as a beginning reference point, to emerge from an ambiguous state, and then patiently helps us to learn consequences and voluntarily become what we ought to be, as mature persons.

Seems like this journey is comprised of a cascade of the free will choices of others and a barrage of other external, physical circumstances setting the stage for us, even helping form part of our personality and character; but then our own wills take these circumstances and independently make genuine decisions.

Also seems like this growth is a process of leaving behind things that previously enslaved us and kept us from doing what we know we ought to do, and reaching a point where we not only know what we ought to do but are more and more likely to actually do it. The alternative evils become psychologically more and more improbable, approaching impossible. And this transformation from enslavement to an earlier immaturity, to a more certain obedience of Love, actually finds us becoming more and more free in our own decisions, rising above those circumstances that bombard us.

Anyway, I won't keep writing a book here...still thinking on all this, myself. I do hold to libertarian free will, or at least compatibilist free will, and I think that it is impossible for persons to exist without it, or for there to be any kind of moral accountability or ultimate meaning without it being the central reality.

Good comment

I don't know either, but good thoughts.


Wouldn't it be a cruel joke if all of us who ended up in the 'Liberty movement' actually had no choice in the matter all along? :)

That would be damn funny

for those determined to find it funny.

So what? That's life. Stop

So what? That's life. Stop whining about it.

Please come join my forum if you're not a trendy and agree with my points of view.

Sounds to me like the whiner

is you.

Thanks Bill, for challenging

Thanks Bill, for challenging us libertarians to justify our beliefs. Hopefully we are all humbler for it.

Apparently We're Not Humbler

Libertarianism is always awesome and never fails, right guys?

Maybe your reply got downvoted because

Bill's post does not represent "our beliefs". I am certain it doesn't represent mine. He is a master of getting people riled up. A MASTER.

I would love to weigh in, but after studying his posts and replies, I have determined his primary objective is not to educate or to explore, but to get a visceral reaction out of his audience. It is fun to watch.

He misrepresents facts, draws strange conclusions, anything to jerk someone's chain. He is very smart, and I wonder if his actual philosophy is as sardonic as his avatar on DP.

You really nailed'em again Bill. Congrads :)

Seen a lot of assertions and aspersions there

but no arguments alas. But I'm glad you appreciate me, Abs.



The problem is that...

Libertarianism is simply another ism, another association, another collective.

It would seem rational and logical that any party of the future would be void of unwavering principle to the point of labeling.

Father - Husband - Son - Spirit - Consciousness



Father - Husband - Son - Spirit - Consciousness

Its funny

The comments calling for Bill3 to shut up and to ban him sounds a lot like intimidation, which violates the non-agression principle as much as a physical assault does.

I understand that Bill3 starts controversial topics and has controversial opinions. And I'm not saying I agree with everything Bill3 says, but if you force out all those with dissenting opinions you become a choir singing to itself for itself.

Ron Paul - Intellectual hero

not in the least

and if you want to talk about it, I can very clearly articulate why.

That's not how it works..

There are several problems here:

1. Your description of the social outcomes of the marketplace. The marketplace doesn't care how smart you are. It cares about what you produce. Hence, intelligence is only part of the equation and no where near deserving of all the credit for outcomes. And since I'm pretty sure you already know that, it makes you all the more intellectually dishonest for pursuing this line of reasoning.

2. All of your corollary arguments from #1 fall off.

3. Your point about moral relativity, however is interesting. I agree with you that the law is not morality. Practicality aside, what system of morality do you know of that is more moral than the "non-aggression principal?" I'm asking you for your opinion.

reading comprehension is a Good

I didn't say intelligence deserves all the credit. My opening says clearly market outcomes are largely arbitrary, less so a sorting of smart from dumb. It does reward people who adhere to a reciprocal morality and impose self restraint and impulse control too, and it rewards all kinds of qualities which are largely accidental, luck, genetics, brains, etc. Saying it rewards the productive does not contradict me. Smart people tend to be more productive. It also rewards sociopaths, in business as well as politics, and punishes dumb sociopaths. A moral paragon it is not, unless your morality is the very thing in question. Hence my title.

At face value it may seem that libertarianism is immoral.

But that's not the case if you can see how it's been applied in the past and how it's worked out.

Take, for instance, Ron's case against government run healthcare. Created under the guise of "helping" people. Now healthcare is becoming more expensive, less available, and declining in quality. If the libertarian principles were being applied, this wouldn't exist and the free market would provide healthcare WITHOUT pulling it from the tax payer pool.

tasmlab's picture

"I support many libertarian ideas,"

"I support many libertarian ideas,"

I've never heard BILL3 "SUPPORT" something before. Refreshing! Usually it is all criticism.

I don't think it takes too much hand-wringing to see that Bob is amoral by libertarian (or any) ethical standards.

Currently consuming: Morehouse's "Better off free", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football


He contributes nothing to this site. He is a phony doubletalker.

He changed his username last week to AncapActuary and pretended to be an anarcho-capitalist, then he changed his name back.

Let's ask Nystrom to ban him.

Probably so. Haha


kind people rock