7/2/15

Rabbit holes and sundry

7/2/15
I haven't gotten around to reading or even skimming the recent SCOTUS opinions, other than a few excerpts on various blogs.

I'll just say that I'm mostly content with gay marriage being available to anyone in the country. This argument has been so thoroughly debated since the early aughts, and now with the finality of that decision, I don't see it being an issue much longer.

But I'm a cynical contrarian, and I feel the rebel urge to go against the seemingly and increasingly popular majority opinion in favor of it. And my libertarian tendencies repel me away from the tired and conventional arguments. It's like there's some little-explored nuance that I've yet to discover, and it's calling my name. I'll always be for equal rights and opportunity, but the way most of the coverage has been is like "YES, we stuck it to THE MAN! Take that, anachronistic evil old white puritan who still somehow controls all the levers of society! A long-awaited win for the little guy!"

There's just something grating and disingenuous about that, and I don't think it would be particularly useful to explore why. Maybe I'm misperceiving it all?

...

I haven't been the voracious consumer of blogs, politics, and current events as I once was not long ago. But now and then I stumble onto a few things and follow them down rabbit holes to other things which I cannot help but drop everything and completely absorb.

Such as this excellent short sci-fi story from the seemingly sage polymath Scott Alexander at Slate Star Codex:  ... And I Show You How Deep the Rabbit Hole Goes. Just a very fun, well-written adventure story for all personalities.

And three blog posts about libertarians, anarchism, and utilitarianism:
Caution: nerdfight zone ahead

The Incredible Vanishing Minarchist
  • This and the comments following it kind of surprised me. I simply assumed most libertarians were not anarchists, and perhaps not even "true" Minarchists. I'm sure not an anarchist. While I think that anarcho-capatalism is an unachievable utopian ideal, I think minarchism is, while slightly less utopian and ideal, still unachievable for the indefinite future. So, while I can nod my head and agree with the principles behind AnCap and Minarchism, in practice I'll support just about anything that has a realistic chance of pushing us in that direction. I guess that makes me a lINO (small 'L' libertarian-in-name-only.) I don't care what anyone says, but big 'L' Libertarians I'll always consider to mean members of the Libertarian Party.

5 Reasons Why I’m Not An Anarchist
  • A generally okay argument that I mostly agree with, but feel the author is being way too disingenuous regarding what it means to follow the non-aggression principle. To me, following the NAP is like being a lawful citizen. You're not a total pacifist, but you never initiate violence, or threats thereof. You will, however, be willing to defend yourself, significant others, personal property, and perhaps even innocent people to the death from those things. Preemptive attacks are just taking things to another level. Reasonable persons would agree, that most of the time, preemption is going too far. However...

    There are the super scary, but totally obvious, yet still loaded with liability, exceptions where preemption feels and is compulsory. It's like there's a de facto threat, whether or not explicit, and is therefore consistent with the NAP.

Not So Hard to Argue
  • A short post which I thought was interesting. Utilitarians in favor of redistribution often leave out a few important factors in their calculations.

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