On Argentina.

It is a country that historically has had an oligarchy in the background. If my memory serves me right, something like 17 families control 70% of economic activity. What we are now seeing is a new president pushing an "omnibus" bill that looks all too similar the German Enablement Act of 1933. And, with the endorsement of the IMF as "necessary reforms."

This is part of an Autocracy, Inc. playbook that also includes the promises mentioned of those profiled in this piece. Something to be aware of and call out clearly.

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I've been to Argentina a few times, going from Tierra del Fuego to Bolivia and Paraguay. It's really a European country (as is Chile, Uruguay and southern Brazil) largely settled by Italians, Germans, Basques and so on. Its culture, urbanization and standard of living are certainly not the stereotypical image of "Latin America" that so many people in the U.S. seem to have. But at that same time it also has that authoritarian history, with Peronism and a fairly recent and brutal military dictatorship. Whether this can translate into a replay of post-Weimar Germany I don't know, but clearly if things are shaky enough the potential is there.

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Javier Milei won in part by promising to dollarize.

Argentina is a country that toyed with the Nazis, had a Dirty War, and now may/may not be a BRAC member. https://www.cia.gov/readingroom/collection/argentina-declassification-project-dirty-war-1976-83#:~:text=The%20military%20junta%20that%20ousted,connections%20and%20no%20particular%20ideology.

Peron passed off his philosophy as "the third way" Not communist or capitalist. In reality he was a caudillo, and whatever he said went. When he was between gigs, he spent time in the Trujillo Dominican Republic, where Batista and other would be dictators hung. Batista brought in Meter Lansky and the Mafia to run his economy.

Whatever it will become, Argentina won't be libertarian.

"For years, Argentinians have preferred to pay for many goods and services in greenbacks, rather than with their own collapsing currency, as part of an informal “blue dollar” currency market. The value of the peso has plummeted 858% against the US dollar over the past five years as the central bank printed more of the currency to help the country’s spendthrift government avoid defaulting on its debts. That, in turn, fueled rampant price rises.

"Annual inflation topped 138% in September, its highest level in 32 years, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses.

"To dollarize its economy, Argentina would need to exchange all pesos held by its people and businesses for US dollars, and assign a dollar value to all of its assets and contracts.

"Such a move would effectively disband Argentina’s central bank, handing the reins of monetary policy — that is, the power to set interest rates and print more money — over to the US Federal Reserve. The Fed would continue to set the cost of borrowing based on the needs of the US economy, not Argentina’s."


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Libertarianism is a cult . Trumpism is a cult. Religions are cults.

Cults in competition.

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The gop's—deliberate lowercase—"All for me and me for me" Aynesque philosophy is like inspecting a hobo's shack from HOOVERVILLE and building the Empire State Bldg. based on said shack's design; office by office, floor by floor.

It's not IF it will collapse; merely WHEN.

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What a total demeaning , personality twisting cult , these Libertarian thinkers present . Gee , you’d think we’d all jump at the thought of seeing people die violently at the hands of these lunatics.

It is hard to fathom the absolute emptiness of heart that these creatures experience.

It surprises me not at all that Trump was one that was coldly fascinated by these outcomes of hate in this culture. He has cheered it on with his limitless Narcissism.

The twisted Republicans have brought this country to depths of depravity that they celebrate on a regular basis.

Not one of them ever considers shutting their ugly traitorous mouths . Let’s think Marjorie Taylor Green , who is as destructive as any and all of these MAGA perverse personalities.

I’ve often wondered how do these people get into power?

But there are plenty of debilitated personalities who find their strengths in others sufferings , who propel them forward.

Trump has certainly spread his worst wrath upon anyone in the way of executing his twisted thoughts and sinister statements of hate.

The accusations by very small members of the House against any and all proponents of truth elevate them to status in a demonic cult .

I often think of satanic possession when I hear of what they state as their own beliefs .

Tommy Tuberville rants about Biden in the last few days are a perfect example of allowing more of personality disordered people into politics .

We just now are figuring out the damages insinuated by forty years of lying libertarians.

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If everyone doing their own self-centered thing yields Utopia, why would a police force even be necessary?

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Absolutely brilliant! Thank you so much! This describes the mentality of Washington State tech billionaire/hedge fund manager/California tax dodger Brian Heywood who is spending $6 million to overturn capital gains tax, climate laws, payroll tax for long-term health care and police pursuit restrictions.

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If you look at this from the perspective of a citizen who questions how effectively Libertarians would meet their Constitutional Purpose, I believe it is reasonable to set the following expectations with not just the Libertarians, but all the candidates that I can vote for.

Specifically, if they want to earn my vote, 1) they must acknowledge that they will use best practice-based principles to fulfill their Constitutional Purpose, and 2) They will acknowledge their support for an amendment to get big money out of politics.

I plan to email a petition to all of the citizens that I might vote for and share my two expectations with them, requesting their feedback to my two expectations.

If 12 million more citizens would make the same request of all the candidates that they will see on their ballots, we could actually nullify the powers of corporate personhood and have a supermajority of competent progressives who will fulfill their Constitutional Purpose.

(Check out Citizens Institute for Public Policy for the first step to getting money out of politics and compelling our elected officials to satisfy their Constitutional Purpose.)

Would Libertarians pledge to meet the expectations I have for their decision-making? What do you think?

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Reprise: Libertarians are Republicans who want to smoke dope.

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And to be able to pay to legally get laid…

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I would add one more wish to your list, a revised Fairness Doctrine which would include social media.

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As always your writing was really interesting, Thom. What nagged at me was that I've heard Libertarian rhetoric before. A quick check through online writings, notably one entitled "The Similarities Between Marxism and Libertarianism" confirmed that. Sure the economic foundations of a state based on pure capitalism and a Communist one might be 180 degrees apart. But ultimately both philosophies imagine the government largely disappearing as people created a perfect society. And respectively this would either be by their uncontrolled working for themselves or by their uncontrolled working for all.

But human beings are social animals, not a nest of snakes or an ant colony. We live together, we try what works, and maybe we learn a few things that make life easier. But ultimately there is no single quick and permanent fix, just approximations of what is better and worse for most people, with hopefully positive trends in freedom, comfort and environmental care. That’s something which philosophers never seem to get unless they live in the real world. Marx, for example, was supported by the capitalist Engels and spent much of his life writing and thinking about what should work. In his lifetime the only real attempt to carry out some of his ideas was the Paris Commune, and that quick generated into a bloodbath. And I bet Koch and Rand expect that even in their ideal society they’d still be the ones giving the orders.

In a way it's a bit like the old TV show Dragnet: 1967. In one episode a bunch of hippies are caught stealing tools and guns. They want to go out into the woods and make an ideal society "like the pioneers." The cops are somewhat sympathetic to their bumbling efforts but one explains they'll never have a perfect society, "Because you don't have perfect people."

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A little reality, and some history, goes a long way.

Good points you make there, for sure …

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The human race must evolve before it can shrink its government. laws are meant to keep the masses acting civilized. When the masses start acting civilized on their own, we can have less government.

The only way to evolve is to stop all child abuse from conception, religion is child abuse if it cannot be proven which it can't that is where faith comes in. When the children are 27 they can decide which religion or non-religion they want. Until then, liars get punished. Truth seekers get rewarded. Rational thinkers get rewarded. Delusional thinkers get punished. In a kabutes all the child's needs could be met and there would be plenty of toys for everyone and plenty of sports and fun since the cycle of life is to play learn and teach. They will grow up to have a conscience and to care about one another and we could end racism, religious hatred, crime, mental illness, obesity, and so much more. We will still need a government, to keep the trains running on time! Somebody has to keep the billionaires in check!

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Weil writes “the economic foundations of a state based on pure capitalism and a Communist one might be 180 degrees apart. But ultimately both philosophies imagine the government largely disappearing as people created a perfect society. And respectively this would either be by their uncontrolled working for themselves or by their uncontrolled working for all.”

I’ve always had the same idea, that somehow in diagrammatic fashion those two opposite sides of the circle meet together at the backside of the curve.

The flaw in this thinking is it assumes it is possible in that perfect world for humans to be simultaneously selfish and altruistic for both their own and the common good and people only make “right” decisions for themselves and how it impacts others.

No or little government, no regulations, who decides what’s “right thinking”? Sounds utopian. Totally ignores several million years of Homo sapiens innate genes.

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Another problem with countries who have a small rich elite, squeezed middle class, and growing impoverished class is that this sets a nation up for lots of violence. Let us look at where Columbia is on the World Peace Scale 2023. (see pages 8 and 9)


It is number 140. The USA is 9 places above it at 131. Where is Argentina? It is at 54. A lot better off than the USA, so why would they want to follow that path? Uganda is at 124, and South Sudan is at 160. It is in the red zone. The USA is still in the peach zone. That is one color less severe than the red zone, the very worst. Which way we go depends on who we elect in the next election. I personally would like to be moving towards the green zone. Serious gun control would help towards that.

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All this is based on untruths being told and retold countless times. Lies cannot be allowed to go without even greater response with truthful ideas and concepts being repeated daily taking up the oxygen of the room.

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I pledge allegiance to me, one nation (me), under god (that's me again), indivisible, with liberty and justice for me.---No Government/No Problem Libertarian Pledge

I watched Greenspan "splain" to folks that corporations would do the right thing, because it would be in their interest. Well, it would if making money wasn't their ONLY interest. I think Ralph Nadar pretty much proved him wrong. So very many people end-up dead or destitute when you let the market sort it out.

Commenters hit on the idea that Ayn Rand was a case of arrested development. True that, but it was the arrested development of a psychopath. I think you could argue there is nothing there to develop. That's sad for her, because 12 year olds can be some of the kindest, most empathetic people.

The Constitution, the Pledge, and the sacrifices must not mean a thing to Libertarians. We The People formed a GOVERNMENT, and then we bled and keep bleeding to secure our rights within our own construct. We're still the people and we're still the government.

Let's see who is in the bathtub by the end of 2024. Thanks for the history, Thom.

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Looking into some of Rand’s ideas, I looked up her thoughts on Hickman. And, in reading about them, it seems clear she did not consider his final aspect — the violent murderer of a child — as heroic or in any way exemplary, actually. She did not approve of THAT.

But she felt he was the VICTIM of a society that did not recognize his exceptionalism, a society that demanded mediocrity of him and those like him, and that DROVE him to the behaviors for which he was demonized and ultimately executed. “It wasn’t his fault.”

She had sympathy for the poor exceptional boy who had been driven to commit horrors, and she wanted to write about another such excellent human being who would be hounded by “mediocre” society demanding we all be “mediocre.” She had that book THE LITTLE STREET in mind, and fashioned her hero on the aspects she though Hickman exhibited beyond his murderous obsession.

Her entire life was a reaction to events when she was a child — the rise of communism and the loss of her family’s privilege — and she was fixated in childhood, never growing past it. I can understand her resentment, actually. I have issues with that adamant and rigid social structure, too. But I can put Russian “communism” into context and see past it to ways to better structure a society without throwing decency under the bus. Rand saw only her family’s privilege and not the inequality and privations visited on so many in her culture at the time. She was just pissed to lose privilege.

But Rand’s influence is a damned shame — unfortunately, she was able to construct exquisite rationalizations for the primacy of her base desires, and her arguments were couched in stories. Stores are often capable of convincing weak thinkers — those who are incapable or unwilling to engage logically — of ideas couched in and “justified by” those stories.

As a storyteller myself, I know full well that I can tell a tale with very carefully chosen events that lead where I WANT them to lead. They are made up. They get the reader to travel with me on the path I WANT them on … it may have little relation to any real event, but I am writing it, and what happens is what I say happens. Even if, in the end, I’ve lead people to approve monsters {I don’t tend to write like that, but I say it is possible, for certain — until one deconstructs the story and can see where the events I manufacture are inauthentic and don’t really justify anything …}.

Readers engaged in the tale, though, living in the guise of my characters, will travel the logic I present to them. Because it’s a STORY!

[TONS of popular streaming shows lionize killers — they’re STORIES…}

Rand wrote stories to “prove” whatever she wanted people to believe, and her followers thought the stories were morality tales.

Sigh. The stories that show ME what life is like on this planet are not the fictions I love and read — they are HISTORY. And carefully told, complete history, at that. Not cherry picked and re-cast history.

Rand is reported to have complained to her first husband that she expected critics to label her stories “adolescent.”

I have read a bit of her stories. They are SO abysmally rooted in adolescence!!!

Very little of history evident anywhere …


< https://aynrand.no/en/did-ayn-rand-admire-killer-william-hickman>

{I think people should back up what they say.]

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And Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum, aka Alice O'Connor aka Ayn Rand was collecting Social Security and Medicare when she died

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For sure. It was all about her, in the end …

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Mr. OBrien. Well said, thank you. I read your reference an appreciated that too. I read ATLAS SHRUGGED and THE FOUNTAIN HEAD many years ago as an undergrad. What struck me then about her tales was the unbelievable characters. Even as a young, inexperienced boy I understood there are no such people in the real world. She was engaging in biological reductionism. She believed human social behavior was determined by the individual's biological structure. She believed some humans are born innately superior and they should be given free rein to behave as they wish. Pure bunkum, of course. No human is born innately superior. Back then as now I have always believed: " We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal..." Ayn Rand's false and dangerous belief is what is at the base of fascism and racism. I also found her novels to be difficult to read because they were so objectionable. Her characters were extremely unpleasant, slimy and objectionable. Ironically, it was these very character traits that Rand intended us to admire; and unfortunately many simple-minded, dangerous sociopaths do admire them.

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Well said, Sir! Your experience with reading Rand in your youth parallels my own.

{I, however, and a 77-year-old grandma. I do want people to know grandmas can think, and I’m starting a blog, but I AM a grandma.}

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Thom, Thank you for your excellent use of Ayn Rand and her novel “The Fountainhead” as an example for Libertarianism, complete with a Howard Roark psychological profile and book references and quotes.

I had an undergrad architecture professor assign “The Fountainhead” as required reading. How dare some building contractor or government entity suggest or try to alter Roark’s selfish masterpiece of design. Better to blow up and destroy than let it be altered for the common good.

It’s a long and at times difficult book; I cannot believe tRump read the whole thing through. Maybe Cliff Notes or daddy paid someone to read it for Donny when he was at Penn and then give Donny his notes.

I can see tRump idolizing “…’Howard Roark, the protagonist who designs skyscrapers and rages against the establishment.”’

tRump, successful developer of tall buildings in his dreams, raging against the establishment in reality.

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Excellent job Mr. Hartman. A bit oversimplified, I think; but excellent and informative nevertheless. There is beauty in simplicity. It is the core of what we call, elegance. You always achieve it in your writing. Thank you.

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Honestly Thom, with Nancy Pelosi calling for the FBI to investigate those protesting against the genocide in Gaza as agents of Putin (oh, I forgot, you don't think it's a genocide and you think anyone who thinks critically about Ukraine is an agent of Putin) and Biden claiming he's going to "shut down" the southern border this is the best you can come up with? You're going to need something more than Bobby Kennedy Jr to distract from a political party who can't cope with being exposed for the racists and imperialist oligarchs that they are.

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At it again, Putin's Puppet?

Let's talk about genocidal inentions, that is after all how the ICJ determines genocide, and HAMAS and Islam have genocidal intentions towards the Jews. I have and can quote proof.

On the other hand you are very quiet about Putin' and Russia's genocidal intentions towards Ukraine.

You, Boris, are an opportunistic hypocrite.

Did you celebrate Putin's birthday on Oct 7th, HAMAS certainly did.

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Carolyn, we can believe whatever we want to believe but if it is not true it is worthless. Most of the stuff the right chooses to believe is worthless. The main reason they get angry with the left is because the left thinks the scientific truth, not the delusional made up truth.

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Carolyn take a deep look into my eyes and tell me if you see someone who gives a shit.

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That's it?

What a lightweight. The mouse thinks it plays with the cat.

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Barry — And the Republican Party is … ?

And the party that will win in November, 2024 is …?

And the result of that will be … ?

[Your blanket pronouncement about the Democrats is based on SOME aspects? Or ALL? On things we can demand be CHANGED? Or things that we have to accept, because a party is a fait accompli, and we never change anything … ? We just throw it over and start again, and THAT always works out, doesn’t it … ?]

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A true libertarian can’t belong to a party.

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