Notes from a Libertarian Paradise

sea and cloudsImagine a place where government plays a negligible role in public life. Taxes are almost non-existent. Businesses operate free from the burden of regulation or bureaucracy. People lean on each other to establish and enforce standards of public behavior. Imagine a place with no Obamacare, no insurance mandates, no mandates of almost any kind.

Libertarians are often derided as dreamers whose vision of the world could never be made real, but that is not true. All over the planet there are places where the Libertarian dream of hyper-limited government is played out in daily life. We can learn a lot about the merits and pitfalls of Libertarianism by examining the shape of life in the world’s Libertarian strongholds.

Belize is a stunningly beautiful nation of beaches, rainforests, and coral reefs at the southern end of the Yucatan Peninsula. A former British colony, it escaped the upheavals of Cold War politics in the Third World by being altogether too small (only about 300,000 citizens today), too remote, and too poor for anyone to notice their existence.

The country is a Libertarian paradise. The government is tiny and weak. Technically Belize imposes an income tax, but no one I encountered there seemed to know anything about it. Property taxes are laughably low. A couple I met from Dallas who own a beautiful $225,000 beachfront home in Belize pay an annual property tax of $40. Apart from entry and exit fees, those are the only taxes they pay to live there.

Property owners can more or less do as they please with their patch of land. Such rules as exist are loose and inconsistently enforced. The government lacks the resources to enforce any meaningful property restrictions even if they developed the will to impose them.

Why, then haven’t you heard of this country? If anything we have learned from Ted Cruz or Rand Paul is true, Belize must be an economic dynamo where the entrepreneurial energies of a free people are set loose from the stifling constraints of government.

It is not. Economic growth has been fairly stagnant in recent years, especially in comparison to other developing countries. GDP per person is a fairly reasonable $8,000, but that fails to reflect the concentration of the country’s resources in relatively few hands. Roughly half the national income flows into the hands of the country’s top 10%. Unemployment remains in double-digits and almost half of Belizeans live in poverty by local measures.

There does appear to be a remarkable degree of small scale entrepreneurship in Belize, just as you commonly find in other grindlingly poor countries. People have no choice. There is very little formal employment and no social safety net. Survival means investing enormous energy in an effort to find tonight’s meal.

What is unique about entrepreneurship in Belize is how little their efforts can accomplish. With no infrastructure, virtually no education system, and no access to global markets for knowledge work, Belizeans are almost universally hard-working, entrepreneurial, and poor.

That $40 property tax bill does not deliver an effective public school system. Belize offers nearly-free public primary school which allows most of the country to receive an education through junior high. About 80% of students complete the 5th grade. Almost 10% of boys under 14 are officially in the workforce.

High school is tuition-funded at rates comparable to a US junior college. Very few Belizeans receive a high school education and a tiny percentage attend any college.

Tourism revenue has been increasing as travelers discover the beauty of this off-the-grid destination. Despite the promise of this new revenue source, infrastructure to develop higher earnings has been nearly impossible to develop. The tiny international airport struggles to meet demand. The country has few paved roads and most of which become impassible for lengthy periods in the rainy season. Poor environmental protections mean private businesses and landowners must constantly struggle to keep beaches and reefs clean.

All this “liberty” means that the impressive work ethic and entrepreneurial energy of Belizeans earns them a very meager return. Using a government to pool resources allows a country to develop infrastructure that moves a population up a chain of value creation.

The people in Belize are no different from Americans. However, no one in Belize is building the next Google because they are still trying to get reliable access to the Internet. There are stark limits to what private entrepreneurial activity can accomplish without the power of an effective government.

Governments can potentially interfere with property rights in ways that dampen economic growth and harm liberty. That’s a reason for care and involvement, not a justification to destroy them. Ideology is minimally useful as a guide to solving political and economic problems. Making a complex political structure work requires a willingness to engage reality and prioritize results over purity.

Fortunately, for those who insist on having their absolute personal liberty unadulterated by other interests, there are still some beautiful places that will welcome them. Coincidentally, they’re all very cheap. Drink bottled water, use lots of bug spray and plan extra time to get through the airport.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Economics, Libertarian
167 comments on “Notes from a Libertarian Paradise
  1. […] Notes from a Libertarian Paradise, February 2014 […]

  2. The world is replying to the Haitian crisis with immediate aid for shelter, medicine as well as meals.

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  4. glennkoks says:

    Our country did not create the worlds largest economy due to unbridled, unchecked capitalism. It did so on the backs of a strong middle class. A middle class that the Carnegie, Rockefeller and the J. P. Morgan’s were not so happy to see evolve.

    Banana Republic economies are not what we should be emulating. Our future in the new worldwide economy has to hinge on technology. The middle class jobs in manufacturing that fueled our growth in the 1900’s are most likely gone forever. Staying on top in the new worldwide economy starts with education.

    The recipe for future success is simple: Two scoops education mixed with a heavy dose of encouraged entrepreneurship.

    • CaptSternn says:

      “Our country did not create the worlds largest economy due to unbridled, unchecked capitalism.”

      Who claimed it did?

    • citizenbull says:

      I think you must subscribe to a slightly revisionist history of the US. The expansion of American wealth is virtually synonymous with Capitalism. The era you are talking about was made possible without most of the large bureaucracies we have today (Dept of Education, Labor, Commerce, HUD, HHS, Transportation, Energy, the FDA, OSHA, the Federal Reserve, etc., etc., etc.).

      How were Carnegie, Rockefeller and Morgan antagonistic to the middle-class? Who do you think they thought would buy their products? They helped create the middle class.

      They question you should be asking is what killed that amazing expansion of wealth, that period when the US lead the world in nearly everything. What has changed? Are we more or less capitalist than we once were? Has state mandated and controlled education actually improved education in the last 50 years? What is more encouraging to entrepreneurship than capitalism? Or are you trying to resurrect stimulus/bailouts as a legitimate policy idea?

      • glennkoks says:

        CitizenBull,

        There is nothing revisionist about the emergence of the middle class in this country. It most certainly did not come about due to fair and safe labor practices of Carnegie, Rockefeller and Co. While the middle benefitted from the likes of these early tycoons it came only after a long struggle with organized labor.

        Government agencies like OSHA and the FDA were not dreamt up overnight by those wanting more control of free enterprise. They arose out of need.

        Did pure unbridled capitalism prevent the conditions described in Upton SInclair’s “The Jungle”? Did the same capitalistic furver create a safer work environment in early steel foundries?

        Capitalism is still the best thing going but it does have limitations. We have OSHA, the FDA and SEC for a reason.

      • citizenbull says:

        I just showed how how most government programs and bureaucracies didn’t exist until long after the widespread emergence of the middle-class. Unions and organized labor are voluntary, free market, capitalist (and libertarian) associations.

        The funny thing is that I’m not really all that opposed to OSHA, the FDA, etc. but they certainly aren’t responsible for creating the middle class and the wealth in America.

        Your explanations of OSHA and FDA beg the question (Q: Why are they needed? A: Because the government only creates bureaucracies that are needed.)

        Regarding safer working conditions: Yes. Free markets ended the conditions described in “The Jungle”, partially because of expository articles such as Sinclair’s. OSHA didn’t exist until the 70’s. The working conditions between the 19th century and the 1970s was vastly improved, as we discovered safer, more efficient ways to produce things. OSHA was irrelevant, the market was improving things long before it. It’s like a homeless man stepping out in front of a parade and claiming he’s leading it.

        Here’s a study that makes the same argument: http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/regulation/1995/10/v18n4-5.pdf

      • CaptSternn says:

        So many bring up this idea of pure capitalism, unregulated capitalism, but never can give any examples or even explain what it is. It certainly isn’t anarchy, an absence of government or control or regulation. In reality, no such thing can exist and has never existed.

      • citizenbull says:

        I thought Capitalism had already been pretty well-defined, so I don’t normally feel the need to qualify it with terms like “Pure” or “Unbridled” unless I’m talking about Crony Capitalism, which is an entirely different thing.

        Just go to wikipedia, it’s defined in the very first paragraph

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

        Capitalism (and libertarianism) is NOT an absence of government; and the presence of government doesn’t somehow disqualify a system from being “purely” Capitalist. But actions taken by government can cause it to depart from a “purely” Capitalist system.

        Any departure from Capitalism will eventually lead to a misallocation of resources (i.e. bad stuff will happen). This includes things like price and wage controls, artificial stimulus, subsidized markets, arbitrary bans or limitations on products, import quotas, artificial monopolies and barriers to entry, selective taxation, etc.

        The more of those things your government implements the less Capitalist it is.

      • desperado says:

        Pure, unregulated capitalism was Wall Street leading up to the crash of ’08.

      • glennkoks says:

        What is and is not “Pure and unbridled capitalism” can be debated. Personally I prefer government agencies like OSHA, the FDA and SEC that sets a baseline of appropriate and safe conduct for the private industry to go by in their quest for profits. However what I consider “appropriate and safe” may be considered overburdening federal red tape to others.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, Desperado, that was heavily regulated cpitalism and the federal government pushing agencies to make bad loans and bad investments. you know, the breal that redlinning in the housing sector. The free market would never had done such a thing on its own.

        It’s like somebody asking to borrow money from you and you knowing that can’t or will not repay it, then the federal government forcing you to make the loan anyway.

      • desperado says:

        Pure, unregulated capitalism was Wall Street leading up to the crash of ’08.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, Desperado, that was heavily regulated capitalism and the federal government pushing agencies to make bad loans and bad investments. You know, the break that redlinning in the housing sector. The free market would never had done such a thing on its own.

        It’s like somebody asking to borrow money from you and you knowing that can’t or will not repay it, then the federal government forcing you to make the loan anyway

      • Interesting discussion. IMHO, the failures of centrally planned economies and “unbridled” capitalist, free markets are closely linked. Both situations are illustrative of a basic dictum of information theory, namely, that no one can know everything. Information is always subject to incompleteness and/or imperfection, not to mention lack of timeliness.

        Free markets are based on the notion that free and unfettered information exchange will lead to fair price/value exchanges. However, anytime the flow of information in a market is imperfect, price distortions emerge, and crashes follow. The famous Tulip Crisis of 1637 is the first recorded example of a market crash resulting from lack of information efficiency. (And no, the Dutch did not have any equivalent of the SEC at the time.)

        Similar problems afflict central planning of any sort. It’s simply not possible for any select group of people, no matter how smart, to foresee and control all events in any given market. Price distortions inevitably arise, and the planned economy crashes. This is the story of the economic collapse of the USSR, and the generally poor performance of socialist economies in general. (Even the Chi-comms have figured this out. What does that tell you about the current administration, eh?)

        In the crash of ’08 both factors were at play. Central planning in the housing market (i.e., perverse, unrealistic, federally mandated loan policies) had introduced severe price distortions, while at the same time an extremely opaque derivatives market based on mortgage securities was going absolutely nuts (viz., just like the Tulip Crisis). In hindsight, disaster was foreordained.

        So what’s the answer? Answer: there is no easy answer. Given that man is a political beast, the best we can hope for is to restrain to some extent the central planning ambitions of the megalomaniacs in both parties. Some regulation is both necessary and prudent; the goal of all market regulation should be to maximize information efficiency (transparency) in the market. To that end, regulation should be simple and direct, and easily comprehensible by anybody active in the market. (On this basis, Dodd-Frank is an utter disaster. The obscene complexity of this law can only lead to further opacity in the market, and reduced information efficiency.)

    • desperado says:

      Pure, unregulated capitalism was Wall Street leading up to the crash of ’08.

      • Mike says:

        No that was the Fed. Peter Schiff warned you before it happened but you were too busy being progressive.

    • Mike says:

      Capitalism created the middle class, not vice versa. What you’re saying just feels good.

  5. John Galt says:

    Can anyone point me to a country that operates on libertarian principles – on purpose, as opposed to simply being a third-world anarchy – that is wealthy?

    • citizenbull says:

      Hong Kong is probably the closest thing to a Libertarian government that exists *RIGHT NOW*. Monaco is pretty close, they have no income tax and the highest per capita GDP in the world, but even they are pressured by France to increase regulation. The US pre-1920s was pretty close. A lot of people think libertarians are anarchists; we’re not. We just realize that government shouldn’t require 40+% of all our productivity.

    • goplifer says:

      You could look at the place where the whole concept as we’re discussing it here originates – the American South prior to the Civil Rights Movement. But it wasn’t wealthy.

      There isn’t one. Places like Hong Kong and Singapore are outstanding commercial hubs, but they are intensely regulated by an efficient, relatively responsive government that provides health care, environmental regulations, and taxation. Both places are also pretty undemocratic.

      • citizenbull says:

        You’re partially right, but it doesn’t help your argument. Singapore is a Constitutional Democracy, much like the US. As such, it has social programs and regulations much like the US. I also never claimed Singapore was very libertarian

        Hong Kong’s government is much different than the US. Hong Kong is not intensely regulated. Their government does not provide healthcare, there are few environmental regulations. It is a relatively good model for how a libertarian government could be structured.

    • John Galt says:

      So our suggestions are a city just a little larger than Houston that is now under the control of a Communist government, a Principality wealthy primarily because it is a playground for the rump end of European royalty, the U.S. in either the robber baron or slavery eras. OK, got it.

      • citizenbull says:

        Those aren’t arguments. Hong Kong is part of China now, but their government and laws are completely separate, China doesn’t control Hong Kong.

        The “Robber Baron” era of US history is a complete farce. Everyone got wealthier, not just industrialists. It was a lie concocted by the “Big-Staters” to try and bring more land and resources under government control. But yes, the regulatory scheme and governmental organization in the late 19th and early 20th century would be preferable to today’s.

        The thing about libertarianism is that it’s a moral framework, not a type of government. Libertarianism explains what a government should do, not how it should be structured. There are many different types of governments that could enact libertarian states.

        The US was essentially a weak representative democracy, with even weaker executives, but with stronger local city and state governments. Hong Kong and Monaco are both run by small councils elected democratically. Monaco still has a monarch!

        I’m not sure what type of government is best. I can only look at the results and make objective comparisons. So far, it seems that the enemy of libertarianism is a powerful, remote government. The more power a local government has over their own state, the more likely the result will be libertarian.

        My recommendation would be to repeal most federal laws and return most powers to the states and cities.

      • glennkoks says:

        “My recommendation would be to repeal most federal laws and return most powers to the states and cities”

        The most likely scenario from doing this would be a race to the bottom. The answer certainly is not “regulation” its effective regulation. Federal laws exist to keep a fair and safe baseline for the states.

      • citizenbull says:

        “The most likely scenario from doing this would be a race to the bottom.”

        What objective data lead you to this conclusion? My point isn’t that regulation wouldn’t exist, but that it would be controlled by the actual people it affects. History has shown that large, remote governments typically become more tyrannical and less libertarian over time.

  6. geoff1968 says:

    So where does a moderate go to find like minded individuals? Apparently not the GOP. Seems the party’s gone on a fascist jag these days. The rhetoric doesn’t have much appeal. I dunno. Obama’s not that bad. He’s probably closer to a traditional Republican than the types that frequent the meetings these days. I don’t think the Southern strategy worked because of the GOP’s liberal stances on Civil Rights.

    Then again even Machiavelli advised to keep taxes relatively low to encourage economic activity…

    • CaptSternn says:

      How is that Northern Strategy working out fir you? All white people are evil racists, communism is great, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

    • geoff1968 says:

      Last time I looked in the mirror I was a white man, an Anglo-Saxon Protestant. You guys buy into that Ayn Rand nonsense. The only thing worse than Godless materialistic communism is Godless materialistic capitalism. They’re both worthless, of course, so the degree of worthlessness is a matter I would gladly debate.

  7. CaptSternn says:

    So, a recap of this entry and today’s dicussion. Belize is a Libertarian Paradise because, well, it is poor and weak.

    Turns out Belize is a former British Colony, has little land mass, virtually no natural resources, is still part of the United Kingdom, has a Parliamentary form of government, people are subjects to the soveriegn British Crown with limited privileges, not citizens with full rights, must often ask permision from the Queen of England to hold elections and is often exploited by immigrants and tourists. Well, most of that also applies to Canada, except for land mass, population, natural resources and being exploited by immigrants and tourists. Hardly fits in with the libertarian leaning ideas of people here today, the tea party movement.

    I wonder, Lifer, did you mean it was a Libertarian Paradise for you because you could exploit the people and the nation? Be lord and master over the poor people groveling at your feet, begging for scraps, willing to do your bidding for crumbs from your table? To have a set of second class … subjects? Because that also does not fit in with libertarian leaning ideals, the tea party movement.

    So really, how and why did you come up with the idea that Belize is a Libertarian Paradise?

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Well this makes it easy. I just have to repost the same response to every one of cappy’s repeated fantasies:

      And how does get translated into “under the British Monarchy”?

      From the Belize Consulate page:

      “The Government of Belize is operated on the principles of Parliamentary Democracy based on the Westminster System. The country is a sovereign, democratic state.”

      http://www.embassyofbelize.org/belize-profile/government.html

      I don’t see “under British rule” anywhere. And look up the meaning of “sovereign, democratic state”.

      But I’m sure you will perform your usual convoluted contortions of logic and facts to proclaim you were “right”.

  8. Reblogged this on Who Plans Whom? and commented:
    A ‘Libertarian Paradise’ ranks 115 on Heritage Institute’s Index of Economic Freedom? While I think the Heritage index overstates the degree of freedom, it’s still an indication of a country’s relative ranking.

    • goplifer says:

      So clearly freedom and the absence of government are not tied to one another.

      • I think you’re spot-on.

        From a libertarian (at least a non-anarchist) point of view, the size of a government isn’t the fundamental issue; it’s what the government is (or isn’t) doing. Is it defending people from direct or indirect physical force or not?

  9. citizenbull says:

    You should read or listen to some Milton Friedman. He frequently noted that although capitalism was a necessary requisite for wealth and prosperity it wasn’t the only requirement. Along with capitalism, a country also needs access to capital and largely free trade. Like you said, it’s in a remote area and not a lot of people live there, and presumably they don’t have any particularly valuable resources to attract people there. Admittedly, I know very little of Belize, but it seems to fail some of the other requirements for wealth that Friedman observed. Spending millions on infrastructure there wouldn’t lead to wealth anymore than building bridges and broadband internet in remote areas of Alaska would.

    • goplifer says:

      ***it’s in a remote area and not a lot of people live there, and presumably they don’t have any particularly valuable resources to attract people there.***

      Are we talking about Belize or Singapore? Or Dubai? Or Taiwan? Or the Caymans?

      • citizenbull says:

        Most of the places you listed — dubai, singapore, caymans, hell why not include hong Kong — are essentially large city-states with HUGE amounts of capital, mostly provided from people in nearby countries trying to escape burdensome regulation and taxes. Taiwann has millions of people and lots of resources, so their prosperity makes sense.

      • flypusher says:

        “..dubai, singapore, caymans,..are essentially large city-states with HUGE amounts of capital, mostly provided from people in nearby countries trying to escape burdensome regulation and taxes.”

        So what’s the lot of the little guy in those places?

      • citizenbull says:

        Singapore and Hong Kong have a higher per capita GDP than the U.S. Cayman Islands and Taiwan are in the top 20-25. They’re not 3rd world countries. Hong Kong is probably the closest thing to a Libertarian government that exists, but even they cave a bit to pressure from China.

  10. Steve C. says:

    Quoth John Scalzi:

    “I really don’t know what you do about the ‘taxes is theft’ crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires.” (John Scalzi)

  11. Mark says:

    “Sounds like a distinction without a difference.”

    If you believe that having and not having good enforcement of contracts is a “distinction without a difference”, you’re not only uncapable of writing intelligently about libertarianism, you’re basically an idiot.

    • way2gosassy says:

      And those who do not incapable from uncapable ( not a word by the way ) should not be throwing stones at those who do.

    • rightonrush says:

      Mark, If libertarianism is so all that why aren’t here more of your type?

      • Mark says:

        rightonrush, your question is off topic. My claim is that you have to be an idiot to believe that having or not having good enforcement of contracts is a distinction without a difference. Libertarians believe the government SHOULD protect property rights and enforce contracts, and without the latter, there is no libertarianism. So calling all these places which don’t have good enforcement of contracts “libertarian” shows the author should read more about a subject before writing about it and outing himself as a moron.

      • DanMan says:

        Mark, this is how the rucas posse rolls. Chris tosses a piece of political deletria and the hyenas swarm.

      • Anse says:

        There aren’t more libertarians because they all find religion as soon as the economy tanks. You don’t really think the CEO at AIG isn’t a libertarian, do you? I’m sure he loathes an overreaching government in all its forms. Didn’t stop him from begging for a bailout. That’s how it works.

        Libertarians are generally cranks who appeal in small ways to most people, but who cannot be tolerated in the whole.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Anse, we were and are against bailouts.

  12. rightonrush says:

    Libertarian paradise emerging in post-earthquake Haiti
    “Lynch mobs turn on looters amid Haiti aid crisis – Times Online: “Six days after the Port-au-Prince earthquake large areas of the city remain untouched by the global aid effort as bottlenecks continue to clog the airport and looting threatens to descend into wholesale violence.”
    ———-
    I would be interested in hearing the libertarian perspective on why, when Haiti’s government collapsed along with the government buildings, people didn’t immediately begin ordering their affairs with voluntary and efficient contracts. Instead, with no government and a long delay before external aid appears, Haiti is offering a good look at Thomas Hobbes’ vision of life in a state of nature: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

    This is also a good lesson for the survivalist wingnuts who can’t wait for the the US to collapse so they can grab their bugout bag and a .223 and machete-hack their way through the marauding gangs to a patch of open land where they will set up a homestead and live off venison and home grown mung beans. Good luck with that.”

    http://privatopia.blogspot.com/2010/01/libertarian-paradise-emerging-in-post.html

    • CaptSternn says:

      *yawn* How many times must it be said, libertarian views want nothing to do with anarchy or some sort of zomie apocalypse. Nor do we want to return to a monarch and become subjects of the crown. We also have no desire for the U.S. to collapse. Even if it did, we would still have state and local governments.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        *Yawn* How many times must it be said, unfettered libertarian views LEAD to anarchy or some sort of zombie apocalypse.

        Howzat Haiti state and local governments filling in the disaster relief role in Haiti cappy?

      • Crogged says:

        It’s the correlation our resident libertarians are avoiding or explaining by resorting to ‘millennia of Neolithic cultural patterns’ (man, what a great nineteenth century phrase) or because Belize and Iowa aren’t the same place! What benefit are the citizens of Belize receiving from following a style of government which is relentlessly credited for increasing economic growth in the US? They are less regulated, lower taxed and I hear they have some great beaches.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Unfettered libertarian views? You mean like supporting the U.S. Constitution and what it stands for? Of course, such a limited government would probably seem the same to socialists and communists that feel the need to be up in everybody else’s business.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Crogged, following a style of government which is relentlessly credited for increasing economic growth in the US? Their style of government is a monarchy. British rule, British style.

      • rightonrush says:

        You actually think that if the Fed. Gov. collapse that the state and local govs would be okay? You are beyond ridiculous and a waste of time.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Most would be, RoR. We have military might and natural resouces. The Union is for commerce and mutual defence. The European Union was formed as an attempt to compete with the U.S..

      • DanMan says:

        Yet every weekend, every holiday and every heavy snow day the federal g’ment closes. During sequestration, to try to make their point many agencies trimmed down to their essential staff. Dems claimed a $24 billion hit to the economy. And yet nobody can tell any difference when that level of g’ment is reduced. Odd that isn’t it?

      • rightonrush says:

        Who is gonna pay those troops Sternn, the glorious Tea Party? Like I said, this is getting beyond ridiculous. I’m beginning to think that so called Libertarians live in an alternate universe.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The same people that pay the troops now, RoR. Those of us that pay taxes. Who did you think paid them?

      • rightonrush says:

        To Whom/What are you you gonna pay taxes too Sternn? There is no Fed. Gov., Texas doesn’t have a state tax so I’m assuming again you are mooching off the Blue States.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Texas doesn’t have a state tax? Um, yes, it does, the state sales tax. It would need to be raised, but the money wouldn’t be leaving the state the way it does now.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Cappy – The military belongs to the federal government along with its troops. Will the states simply divide up the equipment 50 ways? I do not think so. Plus the soldiers come from all 50 states and territories. The military would cease to exist and the states would battle for the remnants and that leads to anarchy.

      • Turtles Run says:

        ” It would need to be raised, but the money wouldn’t be leaving the state the way it does now.”

        Yes, because the freeloaders in the tea party have proven themselves responsible when it comes to economic matters. You are delusional.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Turtles, states have National Guard units and a lot of eqipment. If the federal government were to disolve, there would be no federal government. States would take possession of equipment in their borders. Would some states go to war with each other? Maybe, but doubtful. And that still isn’t anarchy. It would be 50 constitutional republicans. Of course if that were to happen, they would probably write and ratify a constitution and form a Union for commerce and mutual defence. It is possible that not all 50 would form a single Union, but not likely.

        See where that is going yet?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Silly Turtles. We aren’t the free loaders. And we are far more fiscally responsible than democrats, leftists and the establishment GOP types. Again, Texas is a great example of a limited government, fiscally responsible state.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Silly Cappy

        Texas is just lucky to be blessed with lots of oil & gas. Unless you are going to argue that it was the fiscally conservatives of the tea party that made the dinosaurs die here. Then Texas would be another welfare red state along.

        Come to think of it, looking at the make up of the tea party it is obvious that it is the party of old fossils.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Turtles, California is also rich in oil and natural gas. How is that working out for them these days?

      • John Galt says:

        “Yet every weekend, every holiday and every heavy snow day the federal g’ment closes…And yet nobody can tell any difference when that level of g’ment is reduced. Odd that isn’t it?”

        First of all, this is nonsense. The federal government does not close on holidays – ATC, TSA, the military, FBI, customs, all these things all operate 27/7. You can’t get a passport renewed on Sunday, but I can’t buy a bottle of Scotch on Sunday, either. The shutdown did nothing but inconvenience the parts of the government that actually work well and are not the driving force behind the deficit, such as when the NIH was forced to reschedule – at significant expense – the grant review panel on which I was supposed to sit in October. Pointless waste of time.

    • rightonrush says:

      Mark, If libertarianism is so all that why aren’t here more of your type?

    • John Galt says:

      Texas actually does send out a bit more in taxes than it recoups in government spending ($0.91/dollar). There does seem to be a correlation between politics and the states that receive far more than they pay in taxes. Hint: it ain’t the Democratic ones.
      http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/02/is-your-state-a-net-giver-or-taker-of-federal-taxes/

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Thanks JG, good info. I believe we have had this discussion elsewhere before. The data from your link was from 2010. In our other discussion, Texas was a taker from 2011 data because of the drought and hypocritical secessionist Rick (“we don’ need no stinkin’ Feds!”) Perry declared every county but two in the whole state a disaster area. Harris County a disaster area? Really? Because your manicured lawn is yellow and crunchy?

  13. bubbabobcat says:

    I haven’t been to Belize (Ambergris Caye on island of San Pedro specifically) since I went there in the 90’s for really cheap SCUBA diving. What stood out for me was what Chris described; the abject poverty and hand to mouth existence of the locals there, even for an “affluent” touristy locale. It was a great place for me and of course everything was very inexpensive. My companions would enjoy haggling for a “good deal” on souvenirs and claim it was the culture and they expected it. I couldn’t do that knowing the few dollars I could save really meant nothing considering what I paid for the entire vacation, and those few dollars could ease their meager existence for another day or two. And the poor stray dogs and cats roaming everywhere. Unneutered of course. I would wake up at the crack of dawn every morning (which was at 4:30 AM in July surprisingly) and wander the island by myself and feed every stray I could find.

    But I didn’t quite understand why the poverty was prevalent. And why there were so many Americans and Europeans living there and buying property. Now I do. And apparently it hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years.

    • goplifer says:

      There are about two miles of paved roads on Ambergris Caye now, entirely in San Pedro. The rest of the island has dirt roads which become very difficult to use in the rainy season.

      The island is changing but infrastructure is not keeping up. It’s getting crowded especially around san Pedro. Very strange to see traffic jams of golf carts on dirt roads.

      If you want quiet Caye Caulker is still pretty sleepy.

  14. kabuzz61 says:

    Chris, Chris, Chris. So much potential if you would just use it towards good. Using your bandwidth to cherry pick information to fit a piece you have in mind all for the ability to slam Cruz and Paul. I think it is official now, you have become obsessed.

    After a week of exploiting the poor in Costa Rico I wouldn’t think you would go that route.

    Also, the Belizeans must hate there lifestyle because everywhere I go in Houston I bump into a Belizean’s that is just trying to start a better life. Tsk!

    • desperado says:

      Costa Rico? Is that anywhere near Puerto Rica?

      • lomamonster says:

        “everywhere I go in Houston I bump into a Belizean’s that is just trying to start a better life. Tsk!”
        ————————————–
        Those are Nigerians, and you must go past the corner store sometime, eh?

  15. Eric Tait says:

    As someone who is actually investing in Belize (on Ambergris Caye not the mainland) much of what the author says is true about the mainland, but not so Ambergris. The country actually has 4G internet access (though not at speeds you will be watching netflix) and many of the public infrastructure projects are funded by private investors. Also opening a business is relatively easy and the workforce is very willing to work (at least in the Tourism industry where we are focused). The government is very accommodating of private investment as long as you are employing Belizeans and not trying to take jobs away from them. If you really want to know some of the amazing economic drivers of the country please feel free to contact me.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      When I visited Ambergris in the 90’s I don’t remember many paved roads (if any) in the main town of San Pedro on the island.

  16. Crogged says:

    Here is how the communists who founded Texas thought of education and apparently, they forgot about ‘competition’.

    “SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE OF SYSTEM OF PUBLIC FREE SCHOOLS. A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”

  17. Anse says:

    What frustrates me about libertarians is that they are so fixated on “The Government” is that they seem to misapprehend the fact that any organization of people and resources initiated in a focused effort of some kind then becomes, for all intent and purpose, the government. We can effectively remove the influence of elected government power, but in its place we will have a confluence of corporate overseers who will fill the vacuum left by the absence of the elected government. What libertarians want in the United States would effectively become an oligarchy–which, I think many of us would agree, we basically have now, though if the libertarian vision were to come true, we would have more overtly. A just system means having a partnership between elected government and economic forces in which every citizen has a say, even while enterprise is given some degree of free rein. The absence of government is not the definition of freedom.

    • CaptSternn says:

      This is where the left falls down and fails to understand libertarian views. People with libertarian leanings are not anti-government, not anarchists. There are different levels of government with different powers and responsibilities. You claim that is anarchy, crogged claims up above that it is communism. No matter how many times it is explained, the left absolutely refuses to accept the reality. We just want the federal government to abide by the U.S. Constitution, stop trying to micromanage our lives and stop the destruction of our liberty and rights.

      • DanMan says:

        that’s just racist talk! race, racity racist talk with a bunch of misogyny wrapped in the hateful rhetoric of homophobic…eh…er. Nevermind.

        Fighting human nature is all liberals do anymore. Good post Capt.

      • Crogged says:

        I said Sam Houston was communist before communists were cool, and before Karl Marx was published in 1867.

        The author’s point is simple, there are places in the world with very limited government, enjoy and rejoice at their exceptionalnessnosity. Maybe bemoan the lack of Republican primary advertising, without which, God would be defenseless.

      • Anse says:

        Oh no, I understand libertarianism. I just don’t think libertarians understand that the utopian nature of their views–that there is a distinct wall between economy and government–are hopelessly naive. When you take government completely out of the economy, you just leave open the window for the oligarchs to use the government for their own ends. One of the common soundbites among libertarians is this notion of “tyranny of the majority”, an open hostility to democratic government which more than implies the idea that there are some people that just need to be disenfranchised. And when you do that, and you reduce the access of the average citizen to have a say in their government, you aren’t making them more free. You’re just handing the reins over to those who claim legitimacy merely because of the size of their tax bill…at which point, you set the stage for the effective disenfranchisement of most of society, since a vast majority of us are well down the ladder in terms of personal affluence.

        Libertarianism is just a way to help rich people control the country under the guise of liberty. But it can’t work, and it will never work, and it SHOULD never work as long as we have democratic government (and I include, under the umbrella of “democracy,” our republican democracy). When we begin to assign more rights based on one’s level of income–a natural result of pure libertarianism–then we cease to be a free country.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Who said anything about getting government completely away from the economy? At the federal level, congress has the power to regulate commrece between the nations, among the several states and with the Indian Tribes. States have the power to regulate intrastate commerce. So again, you are confusing libertarian ideas with anarchy, leading to feudalism. That goes directly against libertarian ideas.

        Yes, our system is supposed to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority, the ultimate minority being the individual.

      • DanMan says:

        “When you take government completely out of the economy, you just leave open the window for the oligarchs to use the government for their own ends.”

        Like I said, burning strawmen is all they have now. Well except for the lies, which aren’t having the intended results anymore.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Capt, they don’t get it and won’t. Just like Anarchist’s don’t want any government, liberals want total government control. Complete opposites. They haven’t a clue about being a libertarian.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Nah, we just want total control of the wingnuts only. Get the lefty manifesto straight before you rant buzzy.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        “We just want the federal government to abide by the U.S. Constitution, stop trying to micromanage our lives and stop the destruction of our liberty and rights.”

        As you mandate a woman must undergo a vaginal probe rape before a SCOTUS determined legal abortion.

        Thank you for that belly laugh cappy.

      • CaptSternn says:

        I would have abortion outlawed except to save the mother’s life. But as it is still legal, it is also still voluntary. Shameful the way some people view their fellow human beings and work hard to deny them basic human rights. Treated as nothing more than property. Thought we were supposed to have risen above that back in the middle 1800s.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        So in other words cappy, you “just want the federal government to abide by the U.S. Constitution [as YOU see it only], stop trying to micromanage our lives [except when your beliefs demand the government micromanage our lives] and stop the destruction of our liberty and rights [except for those rights you disagree with and don’t like].”

        Gotcha.

      • CaptSternn says:

        As it is written. I never advocate for the federal government to manage our lives and I do not seek the destruction of our liberty and rights, unless you think not allowing you to own slaves as the destruction of your liberty and rights and micromanaging you.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Well than cappy, come out out and say it instead of dodging to a side issue. I didn’t say anything about owning slaves. Do you support government intrusion in mandating inserting a sonogram wand into a woman’s vagina before a SCOTUS determined legal abortion and managing our lives or not?

      • CaptSternn says:

        I believe having the federal government give someone the “right” to kill an innocent human being for convenience, to deny innocent human beings their basic human rights, is an attocity. But it is still a volutary procedure.

      • Texan5142 says:

        Nice tap dance Cap, your feet must be getting tired.

    • Anse says:

      The health of the economy demands involvement of the government on a profound level. Free enterprise is a wonderful thing but if given free rein it does result in far more losers than winners. Redistribution of resources is inevitable and necessary. On a very basic level, the government makes civilization happen. Libertarians may claim that they are not anti-government but they inevitably blame government for almost every social and economic ill. Libertarians are like creationists attempting to dismantle evolution, only their target is government, and the basis of their argument is as much a fantasy as is creationists’.

      As long as we have one man/one vote, we will never have libertarian capitalism. Thank goodness.

      • CaptSternn says:

        What is this “libertarian capitalism” you speak of?

        If the governments of different levels would simply do what they are designed to do and not have the federal government trash the constitution, the nation would be far better off. But there are those that simply cannot stand the idea of people being free, accepting responsibility for themselves and their families. They must have control over everybody, no stray thoughts allowed, no unapproved behavior or ideas. That is what the left wants. To be controlled, to be cared for, to be given what they have not earned and to control others.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Cappy please note Dan’s comment below to you regarding burning strawmen.

      • DanMan says:

        He didn’t bubba, when Obama tries to gain control of 1/6 of the economy by passing a law with lies and bribes that puts medical care under government control Capt Sternn describes exactly what is happening very well.

      • Anse says:

        Our Constitution is not a libertarian document, and if you’re really a libertarian, your views would apply to the states as much as they do the federal government. But that’s where most American libertarians are exposed for frauds, because while they can find numerous things in Washington to attack, there is almost no intrusion into the lives of citizens that they can’t defend at the state level.

        Libertarianism fails because democracy wins. And that’s a good thing. The only thing worse than a “tyranny of the majority” is a “tyranny of the minority.”

      • CaptSternn says:

        What makes you think libertarian views don’t apply to states as well? I like the limited, small government approach of Texas, and it is working. Not perfect, but a far sight better than the federal government trashing the federal constitution.

      • CaptSternn says:

        FYI, I am not a Libertarian. There are things with the party platform I don;t agree with. I am a libertarian leaning conservative as are most of the people in the tea party movement.

        The U.S. Constitution created a powerful but very limited central government. The founding fathers understood that governments don’t grant rights, our rights exist and government exists and operates only by our permission. People with strong libertarian leanings are classic liberals, or Jefferson liberals, very much in line with the beliefs of the founding fathers. They did not apply it as broadly in their time as they should have, so the nation has been amending the constitution to correct the issues. Though sometimes we make things worse instead of better. The 16th, 17th and 18th amendments are examples of that. At least we have managed to repeal one of them.

  18. DanMan says:

    Burning strawmen light the path of the left.

  19. CaptSternn says:

    You are trying to compare Belize to the States? Seriously? Does Belize have our constitution? How about our natural resources? How about our land mass? Ok, lets just settle for the land mass and natural resources of Texas. Got that much? Not only do those basic facts bring your entry down, but you are still having great difficulty in understanding libertarian ideas.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Hmmm, think I know why Belize is so poor. It is actually a monarchy under British rule. The people are not citizens so much as subjects with limited rights. I think what we have here is Lifer visiting a poor South American country under British rule and assuming that since it is poor, that must be a Libertarian Paradise. That must be what people here with libertarian leanings must want for the nation, to go back to being ruled by Britain and lose most of our rights. Um, no, not even close, Lifer.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Um, no Belize is in Central America and not South America. Not even close cappy.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Indeed it is in Central America. My mistake. But the rest still stands, which is why you are unable to address it.

      • goplifer says:

        Belize has the same relationship to the British crown as other third world hell holes like Australia and Canada. It has been independent for decades.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Did you know that Canada still has to ask the queen for permition to hold elections? Belize is still a monarch that answers to British rule. Hardly anything similar to what people with libertarian views would want anything to do with. So, how is that right to keep and bear arms working out in Belize?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Cappy, Chris already corrected your other factual and logical reasoning error. And that it is a “Libertarian Paradise” because of all the other issues and policies (or lack thereof) that are, um libertarian? And not just because it is poor? And the point is it remains poor (as opposed to Australia and Canada as Chris noted) because of the fallacies of “libertarianism” in practice.

        There, happy now cappy?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Only Belize doesn’t follow any libertarian views or ideas. It is just an impoverished nation under British rule with no real natural resources.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And the requisite final act of the Cappy Chronicles and Revue. Cappy adheres with Super Glue to his own deluded “facts” and sticks his fingers in his ears as he continues to babble nonsensically.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes Belize and Canada are both “Constitutional monarchies” in name. But if that is what you cling to claim they are both “under British rule”, then you continue to be what you have always been. Intellectually dishonest to be the “expert” who is always “right”.

        Cappy, if you continue to insist British Queen has any real say on any of the governmental policies or decisions in either Belize or Canada, then please refer to my above post.

      • DanMan says:

        No Capt, you must believe they are pitchfork wielding anti-government tea partiers to fit his narrative. It has to be as bubba describes it to work in his mind. They are miserable because they don’t know how wonderful the great collective can be.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, they still follow the British for of government and amswer to the British Crown. That is about as far from libertarian views one can get just short of absolute communism.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Well this makes it easy. I just have to repost this to every one of cappy’s fantasies:

        And the requisite final act of the Cappy Chronicles and Revue. Cappy adheres with Super Glue to his own deluded “facts” and sticks his fingers in his ears as he continues to babble nonsensically.

  20. “The people in Belize are no different from Americans.”

    Ah, the favorite canard of the left. True, we are all of the same spiritual worth in the eye of our Creator. But on God’s green Earth that and five bucks will buy you a cup of something at Starbucks.

    The cultural heritage of America and Belize couldn’t be more different. America’s culture is rooted in thousands of years of Western culture, the same culture that gave rise to democracy, the rule of law, the industrial revolution, etc., etc. The inhabitants of Belize, on the other hand, inherit the culture of a neolithic civilization which lacked even the wheel, and is noted chiefly for its savagery and lack of sustainability. Why would anyone expect Belize to be a paragon of modernity?

    Your argument is risible, Chris. Perhaps you might want to examine post-war Hong Kong, instead. Such a comparison would be more apt, and along with Hong Kong’s remarkable economic success there are plenty of warts there for you to gloat over.

    • goplifer says:

      OMG.

      Belize was a British colony for two centuries before winning its independence. It had an early slave heritage which it abandoned, outlawing slavery in the 19th Century. It has an English common law property rights system. The main language is English. They use dollars as their currency.

      If it weren’t for all the “savagery” it would pretty closely fit the profile of another country I have a deep affection for.

    • Tuttabella says:

      Thor, Western culture is equally capable of savagery — slavery is a shameful example in our own history, the Holocaust in Germany.

      • No doubt of that, Tutta. However, our savagery is heavily mechanized, whereas the best the Mayans could do was the macuahuitl. The macuahuitl was fine for general interpersonal social work, but bespeaks a general lack of industrial organization typical of neolithic cultures. Again, if we used capacity and methods of savagery as a proxy for overall level of societal organization, there is no comparison. That was my point, actually. And two centuries of colonial rule do not make up for several millennia of neolithic cultural patterns.

      • Crogged says:

        So politics are from genetic predispositions occurring over thousands of years, particularly if you aren’t Caucasian.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Elegant savagery is still savagery.

      • Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

        TT…I’m kinda eager to walk through the evolution of our species through the millennia that has caused some folks to so readily adapt to a free-market, democratic-republic way of life compared to the evolution of folks who did not evolve those necessary adaptations.

      • Houston, it’s not a matter of evolution. In this case its a matter of nurture over nature, with culture serving collectively as nurture for a given population. I know it’s kind of hard for the left to grok this, given the left’s penchant for concocting social utopias from whole cloth, but culture does have a profound impact on how a given population conducts its affairs, and culture is something that develops over *very* long time frames.

        As Burke put it, “Society is, indeed, a contract… It is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science, a partnership in all art, a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”

      • objv says:

        Tutta:For an interesting take on culture clash you need only to look to Mark Ndesandjo , Obama’s half-brother. Ndesandjo has been doing interviews to promote a new book that is coming out later this year. He wanted to correct factual errors Obama had made when writing “Dreams from my Father” and set the record straight.

        Mark Ndesandjo grew up in Kenya with the extremely abusive Barack Obama Sr. While Obama Jr. was trying to find his African roots, his half-brother found himself intrigued with his Jewish-American mother’s heritage and western culture. He went to the states for college (bachelor’s and master’s degree in physics and also an MBA) In addition, he is a classical pianist.

        From an AP interview:

        The book recounts Ndesandjo’s first encounter with Obama, who was visiting Kenya in 1988. They did not hit it off.

        “Barack thought I was too white and I thought he was too black,” Ndesandjo said. “He was an American searching for his African roots, I was a Kenyan, I’m an American but I was living in Kenya, searching for my white roots.”

        The 500-page book includes an appendix listing a number of alleged factual errors in Obama’s 1995 memoir, “Dreams from my Father,” such as quotes incorrectly attributed to Ndesandjo’s mother.

        “It’s a correction. A lot of the stuff that Barack wrote is wrong in that book and I can understand that because to me for him the book was a tool for fashioning an identity and he was using composites,” Ndesandjo said.

        http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-interview-obamas-brother-writes-about-abuse

      • Hmm. Seems like many here are having trouble distinguishing culture from genetics. For those so afflicted, I might recommend Jared Diamond’s, “Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies.” While not without its flaws, it remains a very interesting essay into the effects of geography on cultural and technological development over the course of human civilization.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Tthor, I’m guessing it has to do with word choice and word association. Your use of the word SAVAGERY struck a nerve and conjured up images of people supposedly savage and animalistic on the evolutionary scale, whereas you probably just meant LOOSELY ORGANIZED in the societal sense. I took savagery to mean CRUELTY, as in the cases of slavery and the Holocaust, which is why I said even Western culture is capable of cruelty, no matter how elegantly executed (pun intended). Still, you do suggest that Western CULTURE is superior, which is nonetheless a way of saying that Western PEOPLE are superior. Fine line there.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Your choice of the word SAVAGE to describe a loosely organized and not technologically advanced society strikes me as extreme and seems geared toward the people themselves and not just the culture or the society.

      • objv says:

        Tuttabella, I looked up tthor’s book, and the author doesn’t suggest that Europeans are genetically superior – except for a resistance to small pox.

        Factors other than genes led to the rise of western civilization. From the wiki synopisis:

        “Diamond argues that Eurasian civilization is not so much a product of ingenuity, but of opportunity and necessity. That is, civilization is not created out of superior intelligence, but is the result of a chain of developments, each made possible by certain preconditions.”

        If you remember from history classes, the Romans and Greeks considered all Northern Europeans and Scandinavians to be barbarians. That would include the people I’m descended from. In fact, my Prussian ancestors weren’t conquered (and forcibly converted to Christianity) until the the 13th century. I guess that would make me only a few hundred years removed from being a “savage.”

    • Crogged says:

      You can get to cannibalism from here………

    • Tuttabella says:

      OV, you know I have the utmost respect for tthor. it’s probably not a good idea on my part to use all caps for some words. I’m not yelling or being confrontational. It’s just my way of bringing attention to certain words, and I find it easier to capitalize than to put quotations marks around them.

      Speaking of savages, it’s ironic how over on the Steve Stockman thread, people are saying tea party patriots walk on their knuckles !

      • objv says:

        Tuttabella: I have the utmost respect for tthor AND you! One of the qualities I like most about you is that you are not afraid to question the basis for a comment. I’m glad that you felt free to ask for clarification on some of my past remarks on affirmative action. You always frame your questions in a way not to cause offense and I appreciate that.

        Speaking of Neanderthals … I’m relieved none of my fellow commentators saw me eating a piece of chicken with my fingers a little while ago. My husband was home for lunch and I could tell he did not think me particularly dainty (or sexy) while gnawing on the chicken leg. Maybe, Neanderthal is not out of the question either.

        But, honestly, I am always amazed to the degree which some feel entitled to demean others by unfair characterizations because of political differences. As you can tell, I am particularly irked by some who think they are experts on what it’s like to be a woman or a member of a minority when they are neither. To borrow a line from the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey: I fear they are on the primrose path toward delusion.

      • Ladies, as I hope you are both aware, my respect for each of you is unbounded. I must admit I used the term, “savagery,” specifically to get a rise from the usual suspects. (My amusements are both simple and puerile.) That said, the comment is not without some basis in fact. Back in the day when I thought I might spend my days as an archeologist, we thought the Mayans to be a peaceful bunch. We now know better. They were at least as bloody-handed as the Aztecs, and the Aztecs horrified Cortez and his bloody-handed bunch. If memory serves, Aztec Jaguar and Eagle knights achieved that status by capturing (not killing) at least four enemy combatants in battle. The purpose of the “capture, not kill” policy was to feed the engine of human sacrifice. I suppose we could argue whether the banal evil of the Holocaust is more evil than religiously motivated human sacrifice, but in the end evil is as evil does.

        I am not a cultural relativist; any objective analysis of western culture must conclude that it produces superior outcomes in comparison to other cultures. That’s not to say members of western society are somehow innately superior to the rest of humanity. Rather, they are just lucky. As Diamond so cogently illustrates, the development of western civilization is largely a happy accident of geography.

  21. flypusher says:

    I wonder if some libertarians are looking back at the old pioneer days with some very thick rose colored glasses. Certainly that was the ultimate freedom, go west, claim land, and do anything you wanted with it. But as free as it was, it was very hard and very uncertain and even the successful ones would have died very young by today’s standards. In my 21st Century urban existence I don’t have that much freedom. I have to abide by so many pesky rules concerning what I can do with my property. In return I’m not living hand to mouth, I have that wonderful luxury of working at something I enjoy (as opposed to doing something I ‘d hate to keep myself fed), and this current existence is far more comfortable. So I’m waiting for the accusations that I’ve sold out and the next thing we know I’ll be welcoming the Socialist overlords with parades and rose petals thrown in their paths.

  22. desperado says:

    “There are stark limits to what private entrepreneurial activity can accomplish without the power of an effective government.”

    Would that members of a certain political party who don hats decorated with tea bags take heed of this.

  23. Mark says:

    What an incredibly uninformed article. Expropriation by the state of telephone companies isn’t libertarianism, that’s statism. The government has price controls on many products, which, again, is the opposite of what libertarians advocate. Opening a business is very slow due to the regulatory framework. Had the author simply googled Belize and clicked a few links, the result wouldn’t have been such a pathetic, misinformed, and unenlightening article.

    • flypusher says:

      Spoiler alert, the author just returned from Belize.

      • Mark says:

        “Spoiler alert, the author just returned from Belize.”

        The author apparently forgot to open his eyes while he was there. Libertarianism has nothing to do with expropriations, price controls, and onerous regulations to open businesses. Even if these laws aren’t enforced, just having the laws create a legal risk which deter local and foreign investment.

    • goplifer says:

      Or perhaps gone there and seen how it works on the ground…

      The “state” telephone company was a private monopoly for several decades owned by the same guy who also owned the “state” bank and most of the countries’ other major industries and operated tax free – just the kind of thing you would expect to see in a libertarian paradise. That single company still owns the main bank and much of the rest of the country’s industry.

      Starting a business is pretty much a matter of just starting to do business. Whatever “official” requirements exist are fairly meaningless on the ground since the government is too weak and disorganized to keep up. Price controls…really? Who is going to enforce them? Keep Googling, then buy a ticket.

      The country nationalized the archaic telephone monopoly in 2009 and now they have some marginal Internet access. They are trying to build an education, health care, and communications infrastructure. They are racing to end their libertarian economic heritage before the place implodes. Not sure their going to win.

      • Mark says:

        Libertarianism isn’t about having a bunch of laws that interfere in the economy and then not enforcing them. Those legal risks deter business and are common in places with oppressive governments.

      • Mark says:

        “Price controls…really? Who is going to enforce them?”

        If they aren’t enforcing the price control laws, then they probably have trouble enforcing contracts as well. And enforcement of contracts is an essential part of libertarianism, one of the few things the government should do.

      • goplifer says:

        Sounds like you’re trying to draw a distinction between places which are accidentally Libertarian, like Haiti, Somalia, Belize and dozens of others, and places that are intentionally Libertarian (there aren’t any). Sounds like a distinction without a difference.

        Or you’re just doing the usual Libertarian rhetorical move of claiming that “that’s not ‘real’ Libertarianism” whenever something libertarian is demonstrably janky. That always worked for the Communists too, since nothing in reality could ever be “true” Communism. Yet another way Libertarians and Communists are ironically similar.

      • desperado says:

        “Yet another way Libertarians and Communists are ironically similar.”

        I can see Stern’s BP going up from here.

      • DanMan says:

        ‘yo Despo, how about that UAW vote in Tennessee? bet they didn’t see that coming.

      • desperado says:

        I don’t know who “they” are, but I wasn’t shocked. After 30 years of Republican brainwashing and 30 years of fools in right to work (for less) states voting against their own self-interests, the only thing surprising to me was that the vote was that close.

      • desperado says:

        Anybody who based their vote on anything that came out of Bob Corker’s lying piehole deserves what they get. As does anybody who votes for Bob Corker in general.

      • DanMan says:

        Anybody who based their vote on anything that came out of Obama’s lying piehole deserves what they get. As does anybody who votes for Obama in general. Period.

        In this particular case those of us who knew better than to vote for a guy that listed community organizer as his best preparation for being president have to tolerate the same destruction you leftwads are feeling.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And Dan the richard regales us with his definitive “scintillating” and “insightful” political “analysis” yet again.

      • DanMan says:

        every day in every way lightweight

      • desperado says:

        Poor Danny, stuck in a time warp where it’s still 2008. The “community organizer” thing didn’t work then and it still doesn’t. It just comes across as sour grapes from the hard core haters. Obama has been president now for a little over 5 years. Let’s take a look at the “destruction” he has brought the country, shall we?

        Unemployment is down.
        The stock market is up. Way up.
        The American automobile industry has been saved.
        We are on the way to universal health care.
        We are out of Iraq.
        We’ll be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.
        Qaddafi is no longer around.
        Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes. Literally.
        Syria is destroying its chemical weapons.
        There is the framework for a nuclear weapons deal with Iran.

        Yeah, I see what you mean. How can the country survive another 3 years of this kind of destruction?

      • desperado says:

        I’ll add one more. The President’s HARP program allowed me to refi my house and save $200 a month.

      • DanMan says:

        Unemployment rate is down because they drop able bodied working people off the roes once their UI has run out. Actual unemployment is closer to triple what is reported.
        The stock market is up. Way up. Because they have been pumping $85 billion/month into it. That’s why I’m tossing everything I can at it in hopes I can keep some.
        The American automobile industry has been saved by giving it to Italy and the UAW.
        We are on the way to universal health care. Which I consider a disaster.
        We are out of Iraq because we gave it away to those we defeated.
        We’ll be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year. See above.
        Qaddafi is no longer around. Yeah, Obama had him killed after he gave up his nuclear program.
        Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes. Literally. Valerie finally gave him permission to act. He was a coward the other four times we had him cornered.
        Syria is destroying its chemical weapons. Sure it is. Bless your heart.
        There is the framework for a nuclear weapons deal with Iran. Oh really?
        I’ll add one more. The President’s HARP program allowed me to refi my house and save $200 a month. Sucks to be you. Glad you got something though.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        So Dan, do you and Cap stick your fingers in each other’s ears just for variety?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, you really aren’t making any sense at all. An impoverished, tiny third-world nation under the British monarchy isn’t a “libertarain paradise” by any stretch of the imagination. It isn’t libertarian in any form or shape, much less practice.

      • DanMan says:

        just let your imagination take you where you want to go bubba, you’re on your own

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Well this makes it easy. I just have to repost this to every one of cappy’s fantasies:

        Cappy, if you continue to insist British Queen has any real say on any of the governmental policies or decisions in either Belize or Canada, then please refer to my following repost:

        And the requisite final act of the Cappy Chronicles and Revue. Cappy adheres with Super Glue to his own deluded “facts” and sticks his fingers in his ears as he continues to babble nonsensically.

        Danny, why don’t each of stick one finger each in your own ear and each other’s.

        Ah, the permutation possibilities….

      • CaptSternn says:

        Bubba, you take thick-headedness to a new level, one rarely achieved by anybody that doesn’t cover their ears, close their eyes, stamp their feet and shout, “I can’t hear you.”

        Let us see if we can get through just a little bit. Start with something easy. What form of government does Belize have? Skip the British Crown for now and just tell us what form of local government it has. Something tells me you will not be able to do so, even if you look it up and find out, because it doesn’t fit into any claims of Lifer or anyone else here from the left. And if you can’t or won’t, you will be rendered irrelevant and you can just settle for trolling Dan.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And I forgot to mention lack of mirrors as another requisite of the right.

        Cap says I’m “thick headed” as he insists that Belize is “under the British monarchy”.

      • CaptSternn says:

        *crickets*

        Go back to trolling Dan. You can’t even come up with enough knwledge to say what form of local government Belize has.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes Cap I’m the one trolling when you claim Belize is “under the British monarchy”.

        Local, state, or otherwise, Belize does not depend on the UK or Queen Elizabeth on what governmental decisions to make. But you will stick your fingers in your ears and clamp down your steel trap “logic” on a ceremonial position as “proof”. Have at it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Parliamentary, Bubba.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        And how does get translated into “under the British Monarchy”?

        From the Belize Consulate page:

        “The Government of Belize is operated on the principles of Parliamentary Democracy based on the Westminster System. The country is a sovereign, democratic state.”

        http://www.embassyofbelize.org/belize-profile/government.html

        I don’t see “under British rule” anywhere. And look up the meaning of “sovereign, democratic state”.

        But I’m sure you will perform your usual convoluted contortions of logic and facts to proclaim you were “right”.

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