THERE ARE NO LIBERTARIANS IN AIRPLANES

After an evening in lovely Logan Airport (the blueprints for which, I believe, were the product of a class project at a school spatially-disoriented and profoundly retarded children ages 9 through 12) it is 10:59 PM and I am shoehorned into the end result of whatever Boeing bean-counter looked at the MD-95 and decided that it could seat five across. The image of 6’4” worth of exhausted academic typing into a laptop which, like his knees, is essentially a foot from his face must be priceless.

Many institutions of higher learning have cast wary eyes upon me. The 90-second “My dissertation is about….” speech has been delivered ad nauseum. Hours were spent in a waiting room reeking of desperation and dry cleaning. A presentation of my academic output generated a positive response. And many a conversation about political science, and occasionally even politics, was had.

It never fails to amaze me how even among the most educated members of this society – people who are capable of producing game-changing insights into political phenomena – “liberal” (or, interchangeably, “leftist”) is still openly and without reservation used in polite conversation as a pejorative. I suppose this is what I get for thinking that it would be funny to attend the APSA receptions of the AEI and Institute for Humane Studies.

Amid the pie-in-sky libertarianism, free-market circle jerks, and talk of regulation as a criminal enterprise, I suddenly want to be surrounded with libertarians on this plane. I want them as brave volunteers for my experiment in the majesty of the unfettered free market at 35,000 feet. Like there are allegedly no atheists in foxholes, I intend to prove that there are no libertarians in airplanes.

It’s rare that I actually use this space to say what I think. Nearly all of the commentary is negative – here is this thing, and here is Ed making fun of it. While this will no doubt be used against me at some point in the future, here goes. I am thrilled that the government regulates the living shit out of every aspect of my present endeavor, from mandating certified training for the mechanics to capping the number of hours pilots can fly in a day to putting the aircraft through regular safety inspections to regulating the process of air traffic control to resisting calls to privatize airport security. None of this is “free market.” It is the result of government meddling.

The good libertarian relies on the free market to solve problems on its own. Take a couple of hamburger chains, for instance. The one that makes bad food will go out of business. Customers won’t eat there! Thus the market, left alone, will punish those who fail to provide what people want. How cute. Let’s leave the airline industry alone – bust the unions, abandon all regulation, let the market set whatever wage it will, let the pilots be on for 36 hours at a crack – and let the same process go to work. Markets will force airlines to keep their planes safe, otherwise no one will pay to fly with them!

In order for the market to punish the backsliders, consumers must be made aware that Airline X is unsafe. Since we don’t have regulations and inspections, how will we know? Well, look up. We will know which airlines shirk on maintenance and safety when we see their planes plunging out of the sky. Here’s where my Mises Institute friends come in.

As market acolytes, I believe that they should volunteer to be on the plane(s) that serve the purpose of communicating this essential information to all of us. In the airline industry, the market’s way of telling us who is inferior involves a lot of people dying. The system works really well – let airlines be, see who fails, and punish them with one’s wallet – for everyone except the people on the plane.

Inasmuch as I do not think that uncontrolled flight into terrain at 500 mph is a worthy sacrifice for the glories and benefits of unchained race-to-the-bottom capitalism, I am a liberal. Inasmuch as I don’t want to eat the BSE- and e.coli-laced hamburger that tells us which meat processor is shirking, I’m a liberal. Inasmuch as I don’t want to be the person working in a garment factory for 75 cents per hour when wages devolve to “what the market will bear,” I’m liberal. Inasmuch as I don't want my dad to be the guy in the coal mine that the defunded Mine Safety & Health Administration hasn't inspected in 6 years, I'm a liberal. Inasmuch as I care more about you not getting injured at work than about the effect of workplace safety on your boss's bottom line, I'm a liberal. Inasmuch as I don't want a terrorist bomb to explode underneath my seat right now because Milton Friedman says the TSA's should be auctioned off to some politically-connected mall security guard outfit, I'm a liberal.

In short, to the extent that I care more about what happens to people – real people, here in the real world – than I care about patting myself on the back for being 100% true to pure free market principles, I’m liberal. Regarding the term’s use as an insult – when you are ready to volunteer for a flight on Market Self-Correction Airways or have your kid to eat the Mad Cow meat and die on a ventilator with blood hemorrhaging out of his eyes, then we’ll talk. Until then, politely lean forward and blow it directly out your ass. There is no insult I can take seriously from people who are so fanatically devoted to free-market idolatry that they would rather see lives lost and ruined than controvert its sacred principles. People who care more about free market ideology than human life prove themselves remarkably undeserving of either.

That, I suppose, is the simplest statement of my political philosophy.

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54 Responses to “THERE ARE NO LIBERTARIANS IN AIRPLANES”

  1. Jeremy A Says:

    Well said. Adam Smith's invisible hand is not the cure-all for all of society's ills. What often gets lost in all of this free-market worshiping, is that, like pure communism, a pure free market cannot exist.

  2. Chris Says:

    People over profits, period. Who ever thought this would be considered such a terrible thing?!? It sure is horrible to care about people rather than spitting in their eye. If the market had no regulation, slavery would still be taking place, kids would be chained to machines, and people would be eating putrid, rotten food. All for the benefit of a few greedy, unrestrained assholes. Why can't people see this and make "conservative" a bad word instead? It is much more fitting. People would rather praise the person who makes them a slave and steals the food from their table than know what time it is. I really wish people would wake up, wise up, and make the system work for "The People", not the economic aristocracy.

    Or how about this: make those who praise the free market work 80 hours a week in a sweatshop or at McDonald's or breath in coal dust in a mine instead of hiding behind a false shield of pretension and indifference. Opinions may change.

  3. Mike Says:

    Won't people Coasian bargain with any terrorists who hijack their planes, and as such find as optimal an allocation as they would have had security confiscated their box cutters?

    Glad to hear the conference went well, or as well as these things tend to go. Good news on positive talk feedback.

  4. J. Dryden Says:

    Yes, but how do you feel about Roe v. Wade, Gay Marriage, and the teaching of Evolution? What fascinates me about American Conservatism is the way in which it has managed to wed Mammon (Free Market Good!) to Baby Jesus (Social Tolerance and Secular Thought Bad!) How the hell did that happen? Shouldn't the ultimate of materialist ideologies be innate hostile to the ultimate of metaphysical ideologies? I mean, one set worships this world, the other worships the next. What must they talk about with each other when the convention season comes around? "Sure do hate that capital gains tax." "Jesus will judge us all for our fornicating ways." "Um…yeah, so how 'bout them Mets?"

    As for your beliefs, you remind me of something my lunatic/brilliant mentor used to say (taking Samuel Johnson as his personal hero): "More government is always better than less government–it's awful to live under Maoism and the gulag state, but it beats the living hell out of Sub-Saharan Africa." The sad thing is that those of us who try to find the golden mean are inevitably demonized by the right for trying to do so.

  5. matt Says:

    Congrats on finding a cute way to say free-marketers should die. You should build up your "leftist" credentials and just come out and say it.

  6. peggy Says:

    BRAVO. Seriously.

  7. Ed Says:

    If that's what you got from reading that, congrats on your underwhelming reading comprehension skills.

  8. Rob Says:

    Excellent post, Ed. I've never understood why this kind of free market worshipping has enjoyed such popularity. Given the choice between giving control to a government and giving control to big business I will choose government almost every time – at least those in government have to pretend to give a damn about the masses.

  9. Aileen Says:

    Great post. The current housing crisis is a direct result of de-regulating the mortgage industry. The interest rates that were given to those without stellar credit ratings should have been criminal. The impact of the housing crisis will be felt for years to come.

  10. Nate Says:

    Good show, Ed. Good show! :)

  11. Tim Warneka Says:

    Great post. Phenomenal. "Real people, here in the world" should always come first. I'm constantly amazed at how difficult it is for our American culture to grasp that concept.

  12. Bob San Socie Says:

    Welcome to the show Prof! Been fighting this crap for 40 years.You give me hope that at least a few of the Jesus For Fascist Market Feudalism Evangelicals will read this and die of a stroke before Ronnie Reagan returns from the dead to proclaim One Universe Under Capitalism no matter how many die in God's name.Let the followers of Uncle Milton rack up the freakuent flyer miles! Yours in this life, Bob.

  13. Daniel Says:

    The MD-85 is a McDonald-Douglas product, not a Boeing. So unless Boeing is involved in a nefarious plot to get you to hate on rival airplanes, you should be blaming the MD bean counter.

    Don't let a good rant get in the way of accuracy.

  14. Ed Says:

    First of all, it's McDonnell-Douglas, not "McDonald" Douglas.

    Second, McDonnell-Douglas was bought out by Boeing 12 years ago and had, even prior to the merger, been responsible for the design of the MD-80/90, which was soon re-named the Boeing 717.

    Other than that, your point about accuracy is noted.

  15. e Says:

    lol @ daniel – 0wned!

  16. jazzbumpa Says:

    The truly wonderful thing about Daniel's remarkably priggish and fundamentally incorrect comment is its gobbstoppingly off-point irrelevance.

    Based on that small data point alone, I conclude that he is a devout conservative.

  17. cicely Says:

    Yes.

  18. Chris Jensen Says:

    actually it's the airline beancounters that determine the seating configuration of the aircraft

  19. huck Says:

    Ed – What year did the government regulators begin overseeing every aspect of the airline industry? Were there airlines operating prior to that, and what was their safety like? Did people get on those planes and fly knowing that there was a very real risk of crashing?

    I have a feeling that many of those early airline passengers would side with the Libertarians of today. They took risks – big risks – and used their own judgment to decide if something was safe or not. They were wary of the "isms" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6H63CD7uQA that made big promises … but we've lost that, and we have college professors teaching our children that some "isms" are worth giving up personal freedom and responsibility.

  20. MarkD Says:

    And let's not forget the best government regulation of the industry, was when the routes and fares were set for them. for the most part the airlines have been in revolving bankruptcy since that was repealed.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    What character set do you use? Every apostrophe, quotation mark, and a half dozen other punctuations appear as gibberish. This is my second time stumbling your site, and I enjoy the content, but those characters make it difficult to read.

  22. The Rev. Dr. D^3 Says:

    Beautifully said.

    What I find endlessly fascinating is that the Free-Market-Über-Alles crowd always refuses to acknowledge the fact that, absent perfect information, their assumption that the Free Market is best suited to find the equilibrium is fundamentally flawed. Bad/incomplete information will skew the choices made by customers. This is a stated assumption made by them.

    So, are they supporting the availability of all this information? No! Information is key to business advantage (duh!), so obviously a business should be able to keep this information private. No one should be able to check that my company doesn't spend a farthing on maintenance. Besides, we're brand new! That old company couldn't do it, but we can. And liability? We can't be liable. That would stifle business. Government must make it impossible for us to be sued. Or our lawyers will. And your life? Worth only what your estate's lawyers can convince a judge, and the appellate court, and Congress that it ought to be. Unless they're willing to take less.

    And so on.

    P.S. to Anonymous: UTF-8. Just two bytes fewer than God's CharSet.

  23. jbl Says:

    Wonderful statement, and a terrific blog found thanks to a friend who posted a link to your "Delusions of Crowds" item on Facebook. I expect to be fair-use quoting parts of it in the near future (full credit of course!).

  24. unbound Says:

    @huck – actually there were a lot of accidents. It really isn't that hard to research…here is a nice summary article the outlines some of the history behind the various legislation in the U.S. Note the 2nd sentence:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_government_role_in_civil_aviation#Air_Commerce_Act

    I can actually imagine an environment where there is no regulation of the airlines, and it really isn't pretty. Just look at how the corporations behave today…Enron just a few years ago, a number of financial institutes in the past year, and the list will go on and on if you take the time to think about the various scandals the corporations get into in the name of the almighty dollar…and most of the cases were just a matter of relaxing some of the regulations; think hard about how they'd behave with no regulations. Airline unregulated will have more frequent crashes, but they will advertise that it's just an expected risk and will likely collude with each other to stay on message. Normal behavior for corporations…everyone will make more money if they stay on the message. The consumer will not get any real choice in the matter at all (lack of good information and/or lack of actual alternatives).

    Competition rarely occurs when there are only a handful of players. Look at the oil industry. Every single one of them are reporting huge profits. If competition was taking place, profits would have to be razor thin…and remember that profits are *after* the C-level executives get their massive compensation.

    I do believe in competition, given the right circumstances. However, those circumstances are unlikely in today's environment of market segments dominated by a few players each. You can't actually have competition in these circumstances…and without competition, you can bet that the consumer will be left for dead.

  25. lk Says:

    I wanted to show someone this but had problems with your character encoding so pasted a version to txtb.in after setting input to utf8 and output to ASCII I think.

    Character encoding can be set in three places: 1. the HTTP header, 2. in an xml declaration, or 3. in a meta tag (and settings are observed in that order).

    Looking at your site on the W3C validator, you do have a mismatch:
    "The character encoding specified in the HTTP header (iso-8859-1) is different from the value in the element (utf-8)." The HTTP header setting is overriding your specified meta tag value (iso is being used instead of utf).

    So perhaps your server's httpd.conf is set to use iso-8859-1. Perhaps look into AddDefaultCharset in htaccess or consult with DreamHost.

  26. ianam Says:

    Congrats on finding a cute way to say free-marketers should die. You should build up your "leftist" credentials and just come out and say it.

    My thesis is that all libertarians, conservatives, and other right wingers are idiots. You are not a counterexample.

  27. kathequa Says:

    Bravo. What a wonderful explanation of a political philosophy. I have always felt that the most simplistic way of describing the difference between liberal and conservative philosophy or ideology is: we vs. me. Sad.

  28. Steve Says:

    Being someone who tries to pull all the positives of every ideology together in order to try and transcend ideological differences, I disagree to a certain extent. If there is a need deserving to be addressed by the public, then a gov't agency or private contractor is equally capable of addressing said need as well as just as capable of failing. So the free market aspect would kick in when deciding which company to hire to provide the service.

    So it could be possible to combine the two beliefs in order to come up with a solution satisfactory to all.

    Now here's the real problem with society: Money. It's created at a net negative, meaning more debt is created than money, which leads to inflation or rising prices of everything. We are guaranteed to pay more money on the same service or product than yesterday. However, if money is able to be produced at a net positive, then it could be possible to expand the money supply, thereby expanding essential public services, providing the necessary funds to maintain or improve standards in current services, expand the job market, eliminate taxes, and combine an incentive to provide a public good or service with individual incentive.

    The way to do this is by taking the ability to "create" money away from banks and giving it "the people." In this scenario, the people are able to offer contracts to private contractors to provide services everyone in the community needs, such as health care. This enables doctors to receive the compensation they think they deserve, balanced with the public's perception, while benefitting anyone who lives in the community by supplying them with health care. A net positive. Money enters the market through providing a value to the public. Since the public creates money, there's no reason to tax anyone, which is counterproductive to what you want to accomplish anyway, which is encouraging people to work.

  29. Sandee Says:

    Ed…have you forgotten that humans are flawed no matter whether you want them to run your life via government or not? So WHY hand them more and more power over your life and mine? If it is a utopia you are seeking….Hollywood aside….it'll never happen. We'd all be utterly bored to death, anyways.

  30. sick-to-my-stomach Says:

    Hey Ed…I really completely agree with your position on caring for people more than money. You make me stop and think. I tend toward the libertarian, but life experience teaches me that neither of our current political constructs works perfectly. None of them. Only the theoretical ones do.

    I choose to share the planet with you, gladly. I will try to minimize my carbon footprint and try not to knowingly support slave markets for cheap tennis shoes. (No I am NOT being facetious.)

    But I like my 1700 square-foot, two bedroom two bath house in the mountains. I like my God, and guns. The guns are to protect me and mine from those that would willingly take my liberty from me to the end of doing me ill, and also to protect me and mine from those who 'know better what is best' for me and mine, and would force me at gun point to live how they deem best for me to live.

    I am not willing to relinquish them to anyone else's ideology. I hope to have my children get the chance to find a better combination of ideals that result in a better world for all.

    But if the ethics at the core of your liberalism is toward one of good will toward mankind, as it seems to be, I have no quarrel with you. And I would always be willing to reason with you.

  31. Sandee Says:

    Probably the best answer to what liibertarianism is ( " Who Am I" ) I've seen to date. http://tinyurl.com/ybmq7mu
    It helps, though, to have some understanding of human nature to "get it."
    Current Note: At least half the population pays NO taxes. Yet they vote. Which says if you have nothing to lose…..why not vote your self interest? Where does that ALWAYS lead? The results are all around us.

  32. Kate Says:

    Sandee … I took a few minutes to read that article and thought it was a load of crap. Jeffrey Miron (and other people who hate paying taxes) think it's unfair for people who work hard to have to pay for those that don't. Let's unpack that statement. First – please don't equate riches with virtue. Probably fewer than 10% of the wealthiest people in your country have done anything to "earn" it, unless you call inheriting or performing frauds "earning" money.
    Second, taxes don't just go to pay for welfare bums and their cigarettes. They keep your roads in good shape, protect your parks, pay for your law enforcement, keep your food safe, and so on. As was said above, if you don't want to pay taxes you can go to a country where there are no taxes – but there won't be an infrastructure either. Don't underestimate the importance and value of an infrastructure.

    You can take away the tax system and pay separately (and privately) for each convenience you want. Friends of mine living in lawless countries have essentially done this, and they end up paying a thousand times more because private corporations care about the bottom line – not about a relationship with an electorate.

    And finally – what do people think will happen if the government becomes so weak that it can no longer organize society at all? Do you think that will be a positive experience? What do you think will take government's place? I can say what's not going to happen – this rosy picture of personal charity rising up to take care of all the needy. If charity were enough to help everyone who needed helping we would never have needed government. People like Jeffrey Miron or Wendy McElroy use the spectre of government to explain away their own appalling lack of empathy.

    And to your final note: Are you angry that some people don't pay taxes? Have you stopped to find out who, exactly, isn't paying? Apart from the various billionaires who have wiggled out of paying their share of taxes, many of the people who don't pay are servicemen or women, students, or people who have otherwise damn good reasons for not paying. Should they be denied any say into how their government is run? Do you think tax-paying individuals aren't motivated by self-interest as well?

    I pay a lot of taxes, and I'm happy about it. I appreciate the health care system that kept me alive, I love our school system that is giving children around me a better future (and will lead them into gainful employment that doesn't involve robbing my house) and I have absolutely no problem with my dollars going to help someone in need, whether I personally approve of that person or not. I benefit from being surrounded by an educated, healthy population and while I don't agree with everything our government does, I am happy it's there.

    One last point – sorry for going on so long! Government doesn't have to be an evil word. A government is a group of individuals working on behalf of a larger group of individuals, to carry out agreed-upon tasks, to administer jointly-held funds, and who need to adhere to a preset standard of beliefs and behaviours. If you feel alienated or angered, get involved. Demand accountability. Giving up on government is like saying "People can't get together and accomplish anything of value. Groups are bad. Banding together to achieve common goals is dangerous." Is that what you believe? If that's so, and if that's a common belief in the USA right now, then that's why your country is failing.

  33. Sandee Says:

    Kate,
    I understand why you like what you have. But I believe you've been inculcated with a bunch of myths…propagated by those who are recipients of government goodies/power. I.E. Politicians, teachers, welfare providers/receivers, police, fire, road workers, and so on. If WE are the recipients of any government hand out then of course WE'RE going to be in favor of that program. It's called vote buying/bribery.

    I see top heavy/nanny statism creating a "feeling" of entitlement and dependency across the board. This may have been started for altrusitic ideals but it soon corrupts everyone. Worst of all…it completely destroys the very group that it was intended for. Remember the road to hell is always paved with good intentions? I think that fits todays black family to a tee. What a shame. And now it's corrupting the work ethics of the hispanic. I see it up close and personal right here in San Diego, every day.

    Paying taxes and HAPPY about it? And even after feeling the bite of the current state ( out of control spending/debt ) of this country and all the destruction of wealth by bureaucrats…you STILL enjoy handing your hard earned over to complete strangers? Without even being kissed? That just blows me away! How much MORE could your dollars have helped the sick and poor if YOU had been in charge of its distribution? Why don't you believe that YOU are BETTER ABLE to decide on how to spend your earnings than some strangers? Talk about not being involved in the process. I find it odd that you have no problem completely trusting unknown and un-named individuals with your sweat equity instead of desiring to distribute it yourself, through the people/charity of your choice. You've got an entire track record of the last century to get it, that the bureaucrat doesn't CARE what we think. And YOU have NO control over him. Ever.

    Contrary to popular myth, early Americans successfully presided over the direction AND distribution of charity via their churches and local associations. It afforded them the comfort of KNOWING, PERSONALLY exactly who, what and the why of helping and aiding others. This is WHAT KEEPS us human. Not some faceless mymidon handing a check to another faceless person. And Constititionally government had no business infiltrating into that aspect of our society. Because of this families have been ruined, crime has gone way up, and we are less safe in ALL of our communities. But the inner cities are hurt the worst. Detroit/New Orleans are a PERFECT EXAMPLE of the consequences.

    Healthcare? Just like everything else, the less government involvement the better, everything wrong today can be traced right back to leviathan meddling/paper pushers. Healthcare should have stayed between the doctor and patient. Even before this latest debacle, government had already gotten it's tentacles into every pore of the medical establishment. So help me, I haven't seen one thing that government ( faceless paper pushers ) have done well or efficiently. None.
    As I said before…you like to trust far off, unaccountable humans with your property ( income ) and I would much rather trust those I put in with directly. BOTH ENTITIES ARE MADE UP OF HUMANS. Flawed humans. But through private charity…I get to get involved and decide and it is vastly more satisfying for the soul. Your way is the EASY WAY out. Americans are the MOST giving people on the planet and oh how much more they'd be charitable sans grasping government, too. Cut out the middle man I always say.

    Believe me…I am involved. But the one big difference I see here is that I have a stronger belief that most humans are capable of a lot more good as free individuals instead of being treated like children. I had parents and I find it insulting that there are those who think I can't figure out how to live my life better than they do. What gall.

    The Constitution was written as a check and balance on government. To prevent it from taking my God/Gaia given birth rights away. We desperately need to get back to that. It's about as close as humans will EVER get to an ideal society.

  34. Kate Says:

    Sandee – I should specify that I don't live in the USA. Instead, I live in a country where we have decided to spend some of our pooled resources on health care for all, rich and poor. Where the school system hasn't fallen into a complete shambles because of lack of funding. The citizens of my country are taxed at a rate comparable to that of the USA, but we choose to spend our funds on different things. We aren't burdened by a false mythology about our origins, and that enables us to be honest about the present needs of our citizenry. We understand that what may have worked 200 years ago for a smaller, less complex population isn't applicable today. I also donate my time and money to private charities, but I don't feel the need to pass judgment on each and every recipient of public help because I do not set myself up in judgment over my fellow citizens. The hungry should be fed, the sick should be made well, and children should be taught – whether I personally approve of them or not.
    In any case, it seems like none of my comments or others written above have had any impact for you since you don't make reference to specific points or refute anything specific. You are obviously as devoted to your world-view as I am to mine. All the best …

  35. gappy Says:

    This was a well-written and funny post, but I disagree on a couple of points. The first one is that if there is any poster-boy industry for libertarians, it's the airline industry. It was among the first industries to be deregulated, starting with Jimmy Carter. Everyone loves to hate airlines (the cramped seating room, the delays, the shoddy service), but it is well-documented that, as a result of increased competition, fees went down greatly. This is not to say that industry deregulation always works. I think it would be more appropriate to title a post "There are no libertarians in energy plants", since energy deregulation was a failure.

    The other two points I'd like to make are: i) it's not true that the only effective deterrent for airline is reputational damage. A standard solution to the problem of information collection and ex-post damage is that of certifying organizations, that are "not unlike" regulatory bodies, but owned by industry consortia? Do these work? Can they suffer from the same regulatory capture as government organizations? Why should they work? All valid questions. ii) all libertarian are not necessary opposed to some for of regulation. Using the Mises crowd as a yardstick is a little bit like judging

  36. Erik Says:

    If the majority of people are evil, won't the people the majority elect reflect the views of the majority, which is evil? This is the argument for limited government. If you are upset with corruption, cronyism, corporatism, cutting corners, the military-industrial complex, lackluster public education, the VA Hospital system, the housing crisis, political contributions, special interests, or any other public/private collaboration, look no further than our government's involvement.

    I'm definitely not saying total anarchy is the way to go, however I'd rather the government stay out of most things. I think your argument -that by removing regulation from air travel everyone in the sky would die- is flawed. Anecdotal evidence, and emotion don't make a good argument. Underwriters Laboratories and Better Homes and Gardens both put "seals of approval" on products for decades to give consumers confidence that products were safe. The same would be done with the airlines. I guarantee priceline.com wouldn't partner with an airline who had a terrible safety record. It would destroy their sales. They would do what is in their best interest (as a third party) to ensure to their customers that they would be safe, especially if safety was a top concern from consumers. Also, if airlines are presently struggling for business, wouldn't they want to use safety as a marketing gimmick? Honestly, one could make the argument that since currently there is no assumed safety risk -since all airlines must comply with government standards- airlines don't need to care about safety as long as they pass inspections. Perhaps if safety WERE an issue, the few airlines that were safest would be profitable and the rest would dissolve. Good try, all in all. I just hope that when you write your thesis you try to use real numbers and evidence to argue your point, rather than anecdotes, personal experiences, wikipedia, and political bias.

  37. ToLo Says:

    At our house, we call them "Repugnicans," or "Pugs" for short.

  38. Adam Says:

    I recently blogged almost this exact sentiment as I was very frustrated about the proposed CPB budget zeroing and my ex-girlfriend directed me to your blog. I also suggested that they "blow it out their ass." Can we be friends?

  39. MNunn Says:

    Valuejet crash in the Fla everglades in the 90s . Incindiary materials were transported in the cargo hold of a passenger jet in VIOLATION of REGULATIONS , not to mention common sense , but in accord with the corporate mentality of maximizing gain by
    compromising human safety , thanks to which dozens of ppl took a fiery vertical ride into the swamp !

  40. Kristy Says:

    from Sandee's comment: "Worst of all…[government-funded assistance] completely destroys the very group that it was intended for. Remember the road to hell is always paved with good intentions? I think that fits todays [sic] [B]lack family to a tee. What a shame. And now it's corrupting the work ethics of the hispanic [sic]."

    Actually, it's European-Americans who are being corrupted, and I have proof of this. Timothy McVeigh terrorized Oklahoma City in '95. In the 80s and 90s, Jeffrey Dahmer committed murders that were gruesome and violent beyond comprehension. Kenneth Lay founded Enron and went on to cheat shareholders out of $74 billion and rob his employees of their pensions.. And what do all of these criminals have in common? Yep, that's right, they're all White.

    So, from here I took the aforementioned examples and was able to form a thesis about the character of Whitey as a group. These three men are unarguable current proof that White peeps are generally terrorizing, raping, torturing, murdering, thieving felons. And I am not referring to American settlers' and citizens' enslavement and Holocaust of African and African American people from the 16th to the 18th centuries. This is now. If only the government didn't have to interfere with their extensive rescue services every time a homemade bomb injures and kills nearly a thousand people, or invade the privacy of one's home every time someone cries murder, or create new laws to enact and expand the accuracy of financial reporting when corporate executives knowingly bankrupt masses of people out of their life savings! Logically speaking, if the government would just leave us be, we could work this stuff out on our own. What a shame indeed! Ultimately, the best Race would be the the one left standing….although the enormous population of multiracial people may cause some hold-ups.

    See, you just take facts or things you heard on TV to create a simplified worldview, and then you don't risk sounding F*ING CRAZY. And you definitely don't have to worry about good intentions sending you to hell or elsewhere.

  41. Paul deHolczer Says:

    I do not think these folks are libertarian . . . .

    Families Of Plane Crash Victims Demand Action On Pilot Fatigue
    Sleep Deprivation Cited As A Factor In Continental 3407 Crash That Killed 50

    By BRIAN ROSS and DAN LIEBERMAN
    Feb. 8, 2011

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/continental-3407-families-airline-safety/story?id=12865294

  42. Graculus Says:

    Oh, that stupid "50% don't pay taxes" lie.

    It's utter bullshit. 50% don't pay FEDERAL INCOME TAXES, most because they have insufficient income. They DO PAY sales taxes, property taxes, and every other applicable tax.

    The only value of right-wing talking points is that I can safely dismiss anyone who uses them.

  43. Ben Fenton Says:

    Fantastic. Though these guys are, in my humble opinion, not really libertarians in any classical sense, but they are minarchists. I have a post on similar subject matter: http://wp.me/p1PrBH-6o It's called Bank of America and Co: Disinformation and Deception is More Proof That The "Free Market" Lies. I hope you stop by and enjoy it!
    –Ben

  44. Jeff B. Says:

    If the majority of people are evil, and the majority votes for limited government, does that make limited government evil by its own argument?

    But, yeah, you essentially just exposed the heart of libertarianism: "If people are evil, I don't have to help them." But that's the road to evil itself, because no one's perfect. Exactly how evil must people be in order to be justifiably denied help? Do only perfect people deserve help? How about the nearly-perfect? Do they deserve help? Could helping people be good, even if they don't deserve it? Libertarians doesn't even consider those questions–they just want their rock'n'roll (which is fine—I want mine too), but unfortunately the right got their hooks into them first. A little knowledge, etc.

  45. TSA Victim Says:

    "…because Milton Friedman says the TSA's should be auctioned off to some politically-connected mall security guard outfit, I'm a liberal."

    In my experience, mall cops are nicer (and way smarter) than the average TSA worker. People work for the TSA because they can't get jobs as mall cops…

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  47. Will Says:

    @Sandee "Current Note: At least half the population pays NO taxes. Yet they vote. Which says if you have nothing to lose

  48. Will Says:

    @Sandee "Current Note: At least half the population pays NO taxes. Yet they vote. Which says if you have nothing to lose..why not vote your self interest? Where does that ALWAYS lead? The results are all around us."

    Actually Sandee, the current sorry state of our society is due to people being constantly tricked into voting AGAINST their own self-interests. Just look at how many dirt poor people are advocating AGAINST raising taxes on billionaires by 3%, while supporting people like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who want raise the taxes on the poor in order to give more tax breaks to themselves. If people ACTUALLY voted for their self interests, 99% of them would vote liberal and the upper 1% would vote conservative. Providing the greatest possible benefit to the greatest number of people is literally the central tenet of liberal politics.

  49. Aoife Says:

    This was brilliant. I am currently engaged in a discussion/debate with a guy who comes from the opposite end of the political spectrum. We are both trying (albeit no one has explicitly stated this) to decide if we can REALLY live with each other's beliefs/opinions/cherished tenets long enough to have an actual relationship as opposed to just some good hate/drunken sex. So I've been doing a lot of thinking about my stances and why I believe the things I do and why I vote the way I do (good news — most of it has held up since I first formed these opinions). But your statement is just brilliant and eloquent and I hope you don't mind that I am going to borrow heavily (I'll totally give you credit) when talking to this guy.

  50. Sean Says:

    BRAVO, Sir! Bravo!!

  51. bitbutter Says:

    "As market acolytes, I believe that they should volunteer to be on the plane(s) that serve the purpose of communicating this essential information to all of us. In the airline industry, the market’s way of telling us who is inferior involves a lot of people dying."

    No human sacrifice would be necessary to derive this information. Private certification firms would be busy disseminating it.

    Also you're assuming, without justification as far as I can see, that on net private airlines would have a higher rate of fatalaties-per-dollar-saved than heavily state-regulated enterprise.

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  54. OrwellianDoublespeaker Says:

    I've never understood why so many people–even intelligent and articulate ones–confuse libertarians with anarchists…maybe it's because lots of anarchists call themselves libertarians (sounds better, right?) in the same way that many socialists and communists prefer to be called progressives, liberals or Democrats.

    Anyway, I've wondered in recent years what would happen if there was a Libertarian portal at the airport. Pass through it and you'd avoid the unconstitutional TSA searches that assume everyone is a terrorist. Libertarian Air would be subject only to regulations that passed a review by, say, the Cato Institute. Ticket prices would float to that magical point where deregulated supply meets natural, unsubsidized demand.

    Jumbo-sized passengers, people with crying children and others who are tolerated but generally recognized as publicly obnoxious would be welcome, but presumably market pricing would prevail. BMI-based fatty seating would carry a premium as would insulated quiet rooms to shield other passengers from shrieking toddlers. Hey, you're free to fly but not to impose yourself on unwilling bystanders.

    Oh, and all of the stewards and stewardesses would be hotties rather than the aging fleet of crotchety grandmothers flying the friendly skies today. Because I believe that's what the market demands.

    ;-)