pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
There are a lot of policy proposals, mostly but not exclusively progression, that I find troubling. I agree that the thing they are aimed at is negative, and that if their policy works as proposed it will weaken the effect, but I don't trust it. I either end up criticizing the proposals on libertarian grounds or just expressing a vague sense of unease, neither of which has the slightest effect on proponents.

Affirmative action used to fall into this category, but I now have some more articulate objections. Affirmative action is premised on the idea that the solution to black poverty is for white people to give them things. Not that the jobs are charity, but they're still given at the whim of white people, and ensure that the most rewards go to minorities who are best at assimilating into white middle class protestant culture. I would much rather have funded black entrepreneurs so they could be successful on their own terms. Or maybe just extended the protection of law so that white people didn't burn down their businesses *quite* so often. Or not used eminent domain to tear down black businesses to build housing projects, nominally aimed at helping the poor, and structured bidding so only white firms had a chance.*

Now I can move "fighting inequality" out of the inarticulate-unease/libertarian-sputtering category and into the real reasons category, thanks to Ezra Klein. He suggests that while inequality is bad, unemployment is worse, and we change priorities accordingly. I agree, but that's not impressive because I don't think inequality is bad. I also think most government efforts to increase employment are counterproductive and harmful. But Klein brings up the excellent point that there's at least one thing the government does that actively raises unemployment, and all they would have to do to lower unemployment is stop doing it.

They're not doing it for no reason, of course. They do it in the name of fighting inflation, which is generally considered to be good. But why? And have we ever measured how good low inflation is, relative to the costs of high unemployment? Unemployment makes people really fucking miserable. Moreover, inflation hurts net savers (i.e. wealthy people) and helps net debtors (i.e. poor people). And the closer we run to full employment, the less employers can get away with the soul crushing shit they pull on McJob holders (i.e. poor people). So prioritizing low inflation over high employment benefits the rich at the expense of the poor in every possible way.**

My conspiracy theory? The proposed solution to inequality is usually taxes. Taxes will always be worst for the people with the least flexibility. Flexibility increases with wealth. So in general, taxes will be worse for the rich than the truly wealthy. But there is no dodging inflation. That will hit the wealthy and there is very little they can do about it.***

Inflation also incentives people to invest in high-risk/high-reward ventures (which have a higher likelihood of creating jobs, although also a higher risk of royally fucking up the economy. Tto be fair, that risk will hit the rich harder than the wealthy) as opposed to letting it sit in bonds. It fights entrenched wealth by reducing the value of it, without the nasty side effects of an estate tax. It pushes everyone to keep creating rather than rest on accumulated wealth.

Let me note that as a net saver, I'm advocating against my own interests here. But however bad inflation may be, I think the moral thing right now is to tolerate a bit more of it in exchange for higher employment.



*Source: The Pruit-Igoe Complex

**Note: I'm assuming the alternative to low inflation is higher but *steady* inflation. Hyperinflation and unexpected spikes are still really bad for the economy as a whole.

***I'm not an accountant, I think that overseas investing might be an option, and that would have consequences for the US.
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
Feminism is a very broad term. Every time I start trying to describe how broad I freeze up, because I know I'm only familiar with the kinds you find on the internet, which is not perfectly represented, and even then I'm much more familiar with some parts than others. Mostly the parts that are relevant to me, like consent culture and paying highly educated women more money.

Feminists make fun of the term "I'm not a feminist, but...", implying that the speakers want the benefits of feminism without the social cost of admitting it. My own mother said I was spitting on the back of Susan B. Anthony when I (age 14) said I wasn't a feminist. This only makes sense if you consider feminism synonymous with equal rights and opportunities for women. That's a pretty bold claim to make. A lot of poor and non-white women have criticized feminism/The Feminist Movement for focusing exclusively on the problems of upper middle class white women (e.g. the leaky pipeline in academia) while ignoring problems affecting them (e.g. the mistreatment of pregnant women in prison). At times their goals can be actively contradictory because their situations are so different- rich white women are denied sterilization they request while poor black women are sterilized without their knowledge. When these women refuse to identify as feminists, they're not saying they're okay with the status quo, they're not failing to give Susan B. Anthony her due, they're just refusing to pretend that TFM is working for them. Which is probably why mainstream feminists get so upset about it.*

That is a really charged example, but there are lots of other ways that people can disagree about what counts as "advocating for women". I wish I was informed enough and clever enough to point out ways this is happening that no one else has thought of, but I'm a dilettante with a lot of privilege, so I can't. The ways I can think of are things other people have already pointed out: the second wave fought for the right to say no to sex, the third is fighting for the right to say yes. People are simultaneously fighting for the right to have children (and have the costs of those children subsidized by other people**) and fighting the stigma against childlessness. The second wave fought to get women into corporate jobs, parts of the third are fighting for greater respect for the work of childrearing. None of these are strictly opposed, but supporting one without hurting the other requires an inconvenient level of nuance.

Ultimately the question is: do we want the same world we have now, except without gender based-proscriptions, or do we want a different world, and if so, which one? If feminism were strictly about equality, than success would be black women being discriminated against exactly the same as black men, and racism itself would be orthogonal. I of course think racism is bad and being racist makes you a bad person***, but it's not clear to me it should make you a bad feminist. Feminism is not a synonym for good things.

The Feminist Movement seems to be a lot of more socialist than I am, and finds severe income inequality in and of itself problematic. I believe that income inequality is often symptomatic of a problem, and extreme poverty is a problem, but do not care if some people make truly ridiculous amounts of money in a fair system. And while I think gender-based discrimination is morally wrong, I dislike a lot of anti-discrimination laws on both practical and moral grounds. I should be able to disagree about means without feminists accusing me of secretly hating women or not caring about discrimination.****

I wish Lean In had taken a little bit wider view and discussed the work system as a whole. I think the live-to-work mindset is hurting women and men both. I really wish Sandberg had talked about why she finds striving for the top so rewarding, instead of taking it as a given. As I was typing this a friend sent me a link to The Messy Link Between Slavery and Modern Management and before I finished the description I dismissed it as "that's not fair to tar trade by mutual agreement with the same brush as slavery, just because the same tool can make both better." It took me a few minutes to question "why is maximizing number of widgets the goal?". I know why it's the goal of any given company, but how did the system end up that way? I have this nagging feelings that there are systems where that wouldn't be the case, but I can't conceive of them any more than a fish can conceive of brachiation.

If I have a point, it's that I wish more people questioned more assumptions, and I wish that was decoupled from the feminist movement. I may even wish there wasn't A Feminist Movement, but that feminist was an adjective applied to other movements, like socialism and anarchism and especially libertarianism and/or free market socialism, whichever one I end up going with.

*I tried to find good blog posts to demonstrate this. The first page of results for "feminism racist" is exclusively white feminists and mainstream news, plus one by a PUA. The white bloggers linked to black bloggers: almost all of their blogs were either gone or restricted access. Part of this is that I still pine for 2007 and have failed to adapt to a post-twitter world, but part is that race and gender bloggers have a frighteningly high burnout rate.

**My belief is that once the kid is here, it's a defenseless person and society does have an obligation to give in a decent shot at life. But I'm very uncomfortable with that framed as the right of the mother to have as many children as she wants, regardless of her ability to take care of them.

*** to the extent that being bad person is a thing, which it mostly isn't, and it's even less rarely a helpful framework, but I really want to risk condoning racism and it makes for a really nice parallel sentence structure

****Something no one has said to me personally, but is often said about people with similar beliefs. People who may well be acting in bad faith, but the idea that someone could believe in gender equality but think preserving the right to free association and the commerce clause was more important than the marginal benefit from this particular law is never even considered.
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
I have finally found a convincing counterargument to my belief that cash aid is better than in-kind and restricted aid (e.g. public housing and housing vouchers). My belief was based on the following:

  1. Data showing that cash transfers are better at lifting people out of poverty than specific aid.
  2. Intuition that people are generally better at knowing what they need than the government
  3. Intuition that if they don't, they need to learn, and this is how to do it.
  4. A willingness to let mentally competent adults starve for their own bad decisions.
  5. Belief that the government claiming to best know how people should spend their money was inherently paternalistic and poisonous to a healthy citizenry even when it's government provided money.


My goal in anti-poverty intervention is not to eliminate poverty or suffering, but to make sure that an individual's suffering is mostly a result of their own, recent choices, and not bad luck, environmental factors outside their control, other humans, or shitty choices they made when they were 15. Or even mildly poor choices they made a month ago, depending on the cost to do so.

Here are two things I have thought of recently. One, decision fatigue is a thing. There is space to recognize and accommodate that without creating a cycle of dependency. Of course, our current programs often manage to be condescending and induce decision fatigue, so this is no defense of them, but the theory is there.

The second specifically applies to housing, and other consumables requiring extended contracts. Low, and especially high variance, income can easily lead to a poor credit rating. Poor credit makes housing harder to find, lower quality, and more expensive- and justifiably so, since tenants with low credit ratings are more likely to miss payments. You can compensate with a higher deposit, but that doesn't help the poor. A dedicated housing allowance that is paid to the landlord in a timely manner (which the current housing voucher system demonstrably does not do) credibly commits you to paying for housing. That insulates people not only from their own past poor decisions, but from the decisions of other poor people who have created the statistical association between poverty and irregular payment. Stable housing is almost fundamental in establishing a stable life and pulling out of poverty.

I am more and more seeing poverty not as a problem of too-low income, but of unpredictable income. And some sort of minimum income guarantee makes a really credible solution.
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
Commitment to free speech is measured by tolerance for speech you don't like. Otherwise, you're making a merits based argument. That is why I respect reddit's reluctance to shut down even really vile subreddits, like /r/jailbait (sexual photos of 16 and 17 year olds, culled from the girls' own social media pages) and /r/creepshots (surreptitiously taken photo of adult women in taken in public, including but not limited to upskirts). I don't like these forums existing, but as long a the law protects them, it will protect unpopular things I care about too.

Violentacrez, the founder of /r/jailbait and rescuer of /r/creepshot was recently* outed. And if those were his only crimes, that would make me really uncomfortable, because there are legitimate uses for anonymity, not everyone agrees that they are legitimate, and I want the cultural norm to support anonymity as part of supporting free speech.* But violentacrez did not limit himself to providing immoral jerkoff material: he founded a number of subreddits, including /r/chokeabitch, /r/rapebait, and /r/niggerjailbait, explicitly for the purpose of pissing people off.

This strikes me as different, and not worthy of protection. Deliberately pissing people off is a violation of a social contact. One with fewer consequences than upskirts, but specifically targeted at the same norms that support anonymity. Deliberately pissing people off is the opposite of supporting free exchange of ideas. Moreover, it punctures the argument that you need to protect this ugly speech in order to protect good speech. He can't argue "this doesn't affect anyone else" because that's the goal, and he can't argue "I'm advocating for political change that I would face persecution for" (which, yes, would protect speech by NAMBLA, although of course not actions). He just wants to piss people off.

So that's one violation of the social contract. But there's something more than that. I've played D&D games where the GM would let players decide whether or not their character was killable- some people got attached and found death disruptive, others enjoyed the risk. The one time we had PVP, it was between a killable and unkillable player, and the unkillable player temporarily flipped her kill switch because otherwise it was just unfair. This guy is trying to hurt people without taking damage in return. If he cared about the topic you could "win" by arguing with facts. If he wanted to do his thing without interference he would not deliberately attract attention. But there is no inalienable right sniping.

*relative to when I wrote this, which was months ago.

*For example, gay, kinky, or poly people may wish to be able to look for partners, or advocate for their right to do the same, without their families or jobs finding out. I think this is a legitimate use of anonymity even though it could be trivialized "just sex".
pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
My municipality has public (government funded) assistance programs to help people make the balloon payment required to rent an apartment (security deposit/first + last month's rent, etc). As assistance programs go, I'm pretty okay with this one: it's a one time investment that helps people get into long term better, more stable, cheaper living arrangements. It increases mobility and threat of exist from bad situations. I like all those things.

But why is it necessary? At least part of the reason is the insane tenants' rights laws. If it takes three months from missed payment to eviction, landlords will demand three months rent up front. A friend of my is being evicted because he missed a payment. The landlord isn't out any money yet because my friend paid last month's rent when he moved in, but he doesn't want to risk a repeat next month. If they could evict on two day's notice, the economically optimal thing would be to take a more wait and see attitude.

Except those rules didn't come about for no reason. I couldn't move on two days notice, and allowing my landlord to force me to do so would give him an extraordinary amount of power. It becomes trivial to extort people, and it's most effective against the most vulnerable, which is the opposite of how I like my extortion to go.

Full disclosure: I already dislike laws that give tenants substantial lead time before eviction, because 1. they're unfair and 2. they push us towards more professional landlords and fewer individuals renting out spaces, and thus hurt both small time capitalists and renters, to the benefit of large capitalists.

This is a thing I've been thinking about a lot since I read Debt. It makes the point that medieval European peasants tended to be heavily involved on both sides of the free market. A household was extended credit by the miller, but they were themselves extending credit to the cobbler. It kept the system from spiralling into wage slavery* or debt peonage, while still giving useful signals about what things were and weren't wanted. It bears a striking resemblance to the ghetto economics described by Sudhir Venkatesh in Off the Books. I'm hoping that things like lyft and airbnb will move more of us back to that, but as they grow they're running into tax and regulatory obstacles.

And we have those regulations on hotels, and taxis, and restaurants for reasons too. Food poisoning, bed bugs, and kidnappings are real things that I think the government should work against. Regulatory capture makes it worse, but that's a distraction from the fact that every safety regulation disproportionately discourages new and small entrepreneurs.

Third, initially unrelated thing: I've been thinking a lot about parenting lately, and how we tend to emphasize protecting children from dangerous things, or teaching them to protect themselves. Avoiding dangerous situations costs them a lot, both in good things they miss out on, and bad things they would have learned from. If I have kids**, I want to emphasize resilience and recovery from trauma, not avoidance out of fear.

This is relevant because the government's current tact is a lot more like wrapping your kid in bubble wrap, and a lot less like teaching them to stand up and brush themselves off. Speculatively, what if we lessened food safety restrictions but provided free treatment for food poisoning? What if anyone could run a cab but everyone had a panic button that could summon the police immediately? I already think the government should spend infinite money in the War on Bed Bugs because fuck bed bugs it's a public safety issue. New reputation mechanisms are arising that could substitute for the closeness of a medieval village.

Once again I have no closing paragraph, just a bunch of thoughts.


*A phrase I still find ludicrous and diminishing to the horror of genuine slavery, but am now beginning to see what it's getting at.

**A thing I have been feeling more positive about since the hypochlorhydria was treated.
pktechgirlbackup: (Default)
When libertarians talk about drug policy, they tend to talk about the damage done to people who did nothing wrong. The wrong house raids are especially for this, because everyone can imagine themselves sitting at home not using drugs, but you can also get a lot of mileage out of pretty, well-employed white people who smoke pot, or poor POC suffering for family members' crimes. We use these because it's easier to see the damage done by the drug war without the compounding variables. But that doesn't make it right to use those weapons against mediocre human beings. Petty thieves, deadbeat dads, people who hurt people all deserve to be punished for their specific crimes. It is still morally wrong and damaging to society to execute a no-knock warrants, use flash grenades, and kill pets in search of their drugs.

Similarly, I think when abortion access advocates say "but rape victims", what they mean is "here is the case with the fewest compounding variables. Surely, after stripping out the variable of sex, you can see that forcing someone to undergo a pregnancy and then either raise a child or leave them to be raised by someone else is wrong. And once we've established that, you can see that sex really has nothing to do with it." But what anti-abortion advocates hear is "we're conceding that not carrying a pregnancy is a privilege to be earned through good behavior. Let's debate what you have to do to earn it."

This is what I think about when I read articles like this and this. Pregnancy and childbirth are not just uncomfortable and painful, they are not just risky in some abstract sense of the word. The carry with them the serious chance of permanent damage to a woman's body. And not just "ha ha, women care about being fat" consequences either.* Painful sex for the rest of her life is the least of consequences mentioned in that NYT blog post (read the comments). This is why I was most disturbed not by Todd Akin's ignorance of basic biology, but by the sentence

“But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
because it completely ignored the existence of the woman who wanted the abortion. She just wasn't there.

*Although, I think it is 1. legitimate to wrestle with a fundamental change in your body and the lack of control it implies, 2. naive to think that women who become less conventionally hot don't suffer for it, and 3. misogynistic to shame women for noticing that.
pktechgirlbackup: (Default)
Publicly traded corporations are legally obligated to be sociopathic: doing something moral at the cost of profits is a violation of shareholder rights. This isn't as terrible an idea as it sounds. The actual point of the law is to prevent executives or large share holders from ripping off small shareholders by funneling money from the large corporation to their personal holdings (by, e.g., giving to a charity but earmarking the money to buy products produced by a family member). I support that idea. Letting individuals with little money and no connections invest with minimal friction is important to class mobility. But it did have this rather nasty side effect.

Someone finally fixed this with a Benefit Corporation. B Corporations specify their altruistic mission in their articles of incorporation, and are required to report their progress using established third party standards in their annual reports. I'm freaking out a little bit at the ambiguity implied by "established third party standards", but I'm not sure there was a better solution. And there's even a non-profit dedicated to certifying with companies that meet (their vision of) acceptable levels of accountability and performance. We gave people more freedom and private organizations popped up to help people use it wisely. It's a libertarian wet dream.
pktechgirlbackup: (Default)
I really, really want to play Anno 2070. It's a combination city builder/real time strategy set in Waterworld, and I love all of those things. The reviews are terrific. Unfortunately, it ships with horrible DRM. Not that they advertise that on the box, but it's published by Ubisoft, which is one of the worst publishers for restrictive, dangerous DRM, which I know because I spend about as much time studying the business of video games as I do actually playing them. But, there is hope! An earlier game in the series, Anno 1404/Dawn of Discovery, got even better reviews, and is old enough that it Ubisoft could have taken the malware out of it. 30 minutes of investigation later, I still can't tell if that's true.

It is almost certainly true that the physical disks now ship without DRM, but the physical disks only go up to Windows Vista, and I use 7. Amazon offers the game for download, but it is impossible to determine what DRM it has. Based on the comments, it definitely ships with a less restrictive form than it used to, but there is maybe still some? And it might still create vulnerabilities in my computer? I have no idea. I go to Ubisoft's website to investigate, where I find that Anno 1404 is too old for them to list it in their catalogue, but they do have a Deep Ocean expansion pack for Anno 2070. I'm a sucker for anything set in the deep ocean (fuck you, I loved Deep Blue Sea), so this just made me angrier.

So half an hour later I still don't know if I can safely install a game. I only got that far because I was waiting for my code to compile and I think this is kind of fun. If I had to do this for every game I bought, I'd buy substantially fewer games, which I assume game developers and publishers are against. You might expect me to make an anti-DRM argument from this, but everyone has already heard that. What I want to talk about is what this says about government intervention.

I was discussing libertarianism with a friend recently, and said that whatever the current ideal level of regulation (either through mandatory labeling, or outright banning or mandating certain things) was, the derivative was negative, because the internet made it easier to get the relevant information. She countered with "decision fatigue", and I had to concede the point. Not just because of the risk people will make the wrong decision while tired, but because of the heuristics they'll use instead. Faced with that many decisions, people will default to white lists (which is in fact what I do with Ubi games- I'll only buy them when they're on GOG.com, which is always and forever DRM free). Any new product/company/idea now has to prove that it's worth the investigation costs, which reduces innovation and privileges big companies over smaller ones. I like innovation and most of my policy positions depend on low-friction markets, so this is pretty bad for me. And there you have the libertarian argument for things like food safety regulations and building codes: the trust gained from them is a public good whose worth outweighs the cost.

Now, I think our current set of regulations has gone past the point where they are helpful. Keeping rat shit out of my food is great, I will determine if my beef stew is beefy enough, thank you. And this leaves me with concerns about regulatory agencies, such as "what happens when they solve the rat shit problem? Will they congratulate themselves and sign up for job training services, or will they start making up rules about insufficiently beefy beef stew? And despite being the motivating example, I don't think Congress understands video games enough to usefully regulate them. But clearly regulation has its uses.
pktechgirlbackup: (Default)
I found a very good book on stretching. I started using it on Sunday- and really, "using" is an exaggeration, I've only done a handful of the stretches two or three reps per day, and read the introductory chapter where he explains some of his philosophy and how he discovered it- and by today I was noticeably more relaxed. At least, I think that's what this is. I don't know if I've ever had a muscle be relaxed without the aid of exhaustion, alcohol, or endorphins. I will be talking more about this book, but I'd like to maybe finish it and apply in consistently first, so it will wait. Today's news is that I started taking magnesium again. I've used magnesium before and it helped my flexibility and flexibility-related health problems tremendously. I've been meaning to start taking it again for weeks or possibly even months. I have some sitting on my desk at work. And yet, I never got around to taking it until the problem was already being solved.

There's a well known study in which a group of pink collar workers were given identical information about the health benefits of exercise. The treatment was then given additional information about how and why their jobs (hotel cleaners) counted as exercise. Both groups were tracked on various health and weight related measurements at the start of the study and again 30 days later. Despite neither group receiving any differences in intervention, nor reporting any changes in routine, the treatment group was noticeably improved. Not hugely, and any one number could be dismissed as statistically but not medically significant, except there was no statistically significant change in the control group, and every single measurement improved in the treatment group. Weight, BF%, waist to hip ratio, systolic and dystolic blood pressure. I think using weight to track health is iffy, which is why it's good that the most significant improvements were in systolic blood pressure. A 10 point drop over 30 days is not trivial.

The authors call this the placebo effect. This bugs me because it implies telling the maids they were exercising was a lie, when it was in fact true, and truer than the traditional definition exercise, which is formed around people who have money and sit all day. On the other hand, it's perfectly in line with my definition of the placebo effect, which is basically "human brains are powerful and respond to expectations in ways we don't fully understand". This study was only a month long. It would be very interesting to know if the effects were cumulative over time; even if peace of mind is only good for one 10 point drop in BP, that may allow you to exercise a little bit more, which will build muscle that protects your joints, which lets you work a few more years in less pain...

If it's true that emphasizing the good that people are already doing leads to measurably better indicators, what does shaming them do? It's entirely possible that the ,anti-fat PSAs are ineffective not just because shame never motivates anyone for more than 10 minutes, but because they induce stress that hurts people's health. They may, literally, be killing people. Children. If the fact that these were giving ammo to the already well stocked childhood emotional torture brigade was not enough, the evidence indicates that these campaigns are failing at the only thing they're supposed to achieve. And they're doing it with government money. This has to stop.
pktechgirlbackup: (Default)
Everything I know about the new potential prophylactic HIV cocktail I learned from this Savage Love Podcast. I'm very willing to believe that Dan Savage (or his doctor co-host) did not deliver a full and accurate reporting of the research. But my thoughts on the topic are so general I'm prepared to plunge in without learning more.

The reported efficacy is 40-60%, with perfect use. Let's pretend everyone uses it perfectly: that's still not high enough to produce herd immunity. Herd immunity is when you've manipulated the environment (through preventatives or treatment or simply sufficient numbers of the susceptible people) such that the average infected person infects fewer than one person. The disease can't propagate at that point. From a public health standard, it's herd immunity or nothing: anything else is nice for the individual but irrelevant.

But everyone won't use it perfectly. People don't take drugs perfectly even when they're immediately helpful. A preventative drug with nasty like effects (which this is) is going to have severe compliance problems.

Some people are arguing we shouldn't release the drug because it will give people a false sense of security and decrease condom use. I don't care. Adults get to make their own choices even when they're stupid. What concerns me is that intermittent use of preventatives against an entity that can evolve is the perfect way to evolve resistance. You couldn't design a better way to create drug-resistant AIDS if you wanted to.

I think the FDA has no business telling people what drugs they can or cannot take and does a lot of harm in trying. But that's for things affecting individuals. Antibiotics and antivirals are public goods, and degrading their efficacy for a small chance at dodging HIV is exactly the sort of thing government should prevent.
pktechgirlbackup: (Default)
My feelings on the Civil Rights Act: Not to trivialize it, but it some ways it's a lot like the anti-smoking legislation. I think it's anti-libertarian, which doesn't just mean it's violating some abstract principle but that it ratchets up the amount of control we're ceeding to the government in worrisome ways. But I also recognize that I've always lived in a world where the traditions these laws were aimed at had already had their back broken. Creating and then repealing them would probably have a very different path than if they'd never existed.

I frequently call Ta-Nehisi Coates brilliant, but this post exploring the psychological need that both Ron Paul and Louis Farrakhan filled is especially so. I'm not even going to touch the main subject matter, because I can't improve on it. But one thing I noticed in the comments was the belief that letting black people suffer at the hands of the unequal treatment they were given in southern states is antiliberty. Which of course it is, the question is whether it is sufficiently antiliberty to justify a violation of federalism, which may not be antiliberty at the time, but encourages a creep of federal power that could just as easily be applied to something bad.*

But they have a legitimate point- what's the use of being protected from the federal government if the state government's official policy is against you? This feels glib, but is it possible we could fix the problem by helping people move to different states? It's not ideal, of course, but since so much of libertarianism is premised on letting people vote with their feet, making sure they have feet seems worthwhile. Plus, I already like it as an anti-poverty measure.


*Such as, as I'm always quick to point out, the Fugitive Slave Act. I fully admit that many-if-not-most people claiming libertarianism are doing so for this one specific case, and will switch back when it benefits them, like the pro-lifers and Terri Schiavo. But some of us are legitimately thinking "if we make abortion a federal issue, what happens when the anti-choicers get five guys on the Supreme Court? Or create a really good PR campaign against a particular act?" It's not always the noble federal government versus the yokel state governments.

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