SHOCKING, REALLY

There is nothing quite as entertaining as watching libertarian-objectivist types try to leave the wicked world behind to establish a utopian community based on their sophomoric ideology. No comedy writer could draw up a better premise than a group of self-worshiping sociopaths who reject the idea of community…forming a community. An isolated one at that, completely devoid of effective regulation. After the enterprise (invariably named after some stupid Atlas Shrugged reference) fails spectacularly, the internet gets to feast on pictures of empty lots and half-built homes in Libertarian Paradise.

The latest such tale, of "Galt's Gulch" in Chile, takes it to the next level. It was your basic real estate scam, with one Heroic Individualist / developer organizing the effort and soliciting investors. These "extremely savvy investors" – actual words – handed over their nest eggs despite the contractual arrangements involved being essentially unenforceable.

Despite their rugged self-reliance and loathing of all government, the investors certainly were quick to run back to the U.S. to start filing lawsuits in Federal court. It's funny on so many levels.

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64 Responses to “SHOCKING, REALLY”

  1. Freeportguy Says:

    That's the very definition of a Libertarian: "I can do whatever I want to whoever I want without anyone interfering, but government will protect ME from others trying to harm ME"…

  2. Glen h Says:

    Hahaha hohoho. That's all I need to say.

  3. carrstone Says:

    One of man's most loathsome characteristics is one for which English has no word – Schadenfreude.

    Maybe a little staring at your own belly button might proffer the thought that these scammed 'investors' (an economic function of some relevance but here loaded with liberal lashings of pejorative meaning) were trying to escape from the specter of the ever-encroaching Godzilla of the sharing society.

    You may call them naive, but that's where the belly-button comes in – it's not as though those that remained behind, do that much better – I mean, look at the people we've elected to represent us.

  4. wetcasements Says:

    I'll say it again: Libertarians are adorable.

  5. Sarah Says:

    One of man's most loathsome characteristics is one for which English has no word – Schadenfreude.

    And it's one in which you yourself have engaged on this very blog! Remember how you were crowing self-righteously about how "I've got mine!" early in your time here? That schadenfreude seems to flow very freely from right-wing fuckwads whenever we're talking about cutting funds and ending programs that benefit the poor and underprivileged, but logic and reason are but a Chinese buffet to the libertarian.

    No comedy writer could draw up a better premise than a group of self-worshiping sociopaths who reject the idea of community…forming a community.

    Personally, I think all of those fuckwads should have been banned from ever coming back to the United States. This is a perfect illustration of what I was saying before: libertarians can't just go and be libertarians all by themselves. They need for other people to be libertarians right along with them. The problem is convincing those other people to be libertarians too, and therein lies the rub; if someone is a libertarian, then by definition that person doesn't care if other people are better off, and caring about whether other people are better off is one of the things that holds a community together.

  6. Major Kong Says:

    Oh dear. I think I just had a Schadenfreudegasm!

  7. Major Kong Says:

    Is it wrong to hope that more Libertarians "escape from the specter of the ever-encroaching Godzilla of the sharing society" by moving to Chile?

  8. Anonymouse Says:

    What ever happened to that armed citadel they were building in that paradise-on-earth, Idaho? Remember how they were going to have armed guards walking the parapets? Also, too, public water, sewer, electric and phone lines from the ebbil gummint?

  9. RosiesDad Says:

    @Anonymouse: their website is still up but I think the fact that one of the principles of the project is a convicted extortionist was something of a deterrent to the scam, uh, I mean plan, going forward.

    http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2013/01/18/convicted-extortionist-a-key-figure-in-idaho-citadel-patriot-project/

  10. Alex SL Says:

    I have long thought that it would be beneficial to set aside some middle-sized island and hand it over to libertarians to build their utopia; alternatively, move them all to one state/province/departamento of one's country that one wouldn't miss so much and make it independent. With Randians specifically one would ideally not give them anything except the bare land and a loincloth to start with, seeing as how they pretend to be all self-made without ever having gotten a hands-up from the rest of society.

    It is fairly obvious that a truly objectivist / right-wing libertarian society in which it is everybody for themselves would collapse from hunger revolts within five years at the out-most after it turns out that merely having the 'right' ideology does not magically make reasonably paid jobs rain from the sky, but after such an experiment one would would have empirical proof.

    The only problem is that true believers will always find a way to say, no, real true libertarianism would totally work, it has never been tried, because your experiment was still too socialist. In this case, they will obviously blame it on the guy who set it all up without noticing that one of the things that governments and regulations are good for is precisely to avoid that kind of stuff happening.

  11. c u n d gulag Says:

    Alex SL,
    You mean, like "Lord of the Flies?"

  12. c u n d gulag Says:

    This is my favorite story of the year!

    You can't beat a story where greedy and self-righteous psychopaths and sociopaths get taken by a grifter!

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. carrstone Says:

    @Alex SL

    "I have long thought …". No, you haven't.

    Like so many of your like-minded friends, you leave thinking to others. Maybe you do this, not because you can't, but because it's sooo much easier to parrot your fave mantras and be flatteringly lauded by these friends as a stand-up guy. 'Spread the wealth' and 'you didn't do it alone' still have erectile power for you even when the aftermath of 'yes, we can' is as much like good governance as a wet dream is like real sex.

    See, the reason why the libertarian dream won't work is not because the ideas are silly – well, no sillier than communism or socialism. The reason is the lure of free stuff.

    And there are always people to drag these lures across our trail, mostly in the certain knowledge that they won't be able/have to deliver. But that's okay because by then they're in government employment, in Congress or the Senate, protected, as though they were royalty, by the power of the state and surrounded by a mob of curtsying wannabes, all eager to feed at the trough filled with other people's money.

    So, to me, what the libertarians seem to want is not so much run their own affairs but to escape from the selfishness and greed disguised as a social conscience and the menace posed by state power and arbitrary interference on behalf, apparently, of the 'greater good'.

    And so it goes ….

  14. carrstone Says:

    @ cund gulag

    No, not like "Lord of the Flies", more like "Animal Farm."

  15. wetcasements Says:

    "We'll always have Somalia."

  16. carrstone Says:

    @wetcasements

    Or the United States of America.

    Such short memories, we have, already.

  17. Well mostly Says:

    It's so good to be straightened out by the stone man early in the week. Saves so much time and effort. Kudos for the creative use of talking points and ideology.
    But I do wonder whether getting all that wisdom from him is just, well, "the lure of free stuff" that I don't deserve and won't appreciate. Am I somehow contributing to the reduction of his vast store of knowledge by relying on him from the truth instead of finding it out for myself? I feel just a bit guilty reading his posts. Unwarranted mercy? Destructive reliance on others? So much angst.

  18. wetcasements Says:

    Funny how so many He-Man Galtians don't seem to have day jobs, given as they are to trolling left-of-center websites all day long.

  19. Deggjr Says:

    You don't need a day job when you receive Social Security and Medicare. They earned those benefits; free stuff is when those benefits are received by the moochers.

    Socialism for me but not for thee.

  20. Tim H. Says:

    Maybe we could give them Kansas, it's empty enough they could pretend they were roughing it, but they really wouldn't be, and if they were up to dealing with Kansans, (No small thing there.) they could change the state motto from "Ad astra, per aspera" to "In infernum, per inertiam". Seriously, my money would be on the Kansans.

  21. jestbill Says:

    Can anyone verify that carrstone is a person?

    Sure sounds like a literary doppelganger/evil twin to me.
    Author/carrstone make such a good team.

  22. Xynzee Says:

    So which laws are they going to use to get their money back? Weren't said laws enacted by the overreaching arm of the gub'mint? Those courts, aren't they a function of the gub'mint too?

    Does Chile even have the same kind legal protections for those who've been defrauded? After all that's where the fraud took place, so from my laymans perspective it wouldn't appear to be triable in a US court. Anyone?

    For those who effectively lost everything where are they going to get the cash to get a lawyer? These self-reliant über beings wouldn't be asking for help would they?

    Of course this whole affair could have been avoided with stronger consumer protection laws, rather than trying to get their money back—they won't, and lawyers will take a chunk—after the fact. Welp, you've sh@ on your plate better get your spoon.

    Stonehead is especially vocal today. Do you think he's feeling a little sensitive over this? Perhaps bought a ticket to the show or wanted it to work?

  23. Xynzee Says:

    Also the services, how were those supposed to function in Galtopia? Were roads supposed magically appear and mend themselves out of the earth? Potable water just burble up out of Ayn's perfect arse? Rubbish and sewerage just disappear?

  24. SonofOslo Says:

    I'm confused why they are taking the matter to court.

    As Libertarians, shouldn't they just go "Well, the person who thought this up and took my money is obviously the better Libertarian than I, since I was unable to keep my money. I applaud them, and will learn how I too can follow in their footsteps. I will not take them to court, as that would only be supporting a system of governmental theft and wealth redistribution."

    I could also be misunderstanding the entire crux of Randian Objectivism.

  25. Skipper Says:

    I'm reminded of the student who proudly announced in my class that she was a libertarian. She was a single mother on public assistance, attending a state college on state financial aid, and had gotten in under a state program to admit students with sub-par SAT scores. But whatever.

  26. Robert Says:

    Libertarianism cannot flail, it can only be flailed.

    The part that surprised me about this story wasn't that the marks got scammed, it was that they had the money in the first place.

  27. Major Kong Says:

    "Or the United States of America.

    Such short memories, we have, already."

    Oh, you mean the good old days of child labor and the elderly dying from hypothermia? Good times. Good times.

  28. Andrew Says:

    Most of the self-professed libertarians I have known (and I try to avoid them) do believe in a court system for the enforcement of contracts.

  29. John Danley Says:

    Atlas Unplugged.

  30. Patrick M Says:

    That Gin and Tacos has begun to receive comments from trolls is surely a sign of its success.

  31. Sarah Says:

    Author/carrstone make such a good team.

    That'd be sort of ironic considering that Dickens' most well-known character was the über-libertarian Ebenezer Scrooge–whom the right-wingers were defending in the waning days of the Clinton presidency.

  32. FMguru Says:

    Every single Libertarian project in the real-world ends the same way – with someone running away with all the money before the thing is 2% complete. It's like clockwork.

    People who are convinced that their giant space brains make them too smart to fall for scams make the most wonderful marks

    And pretty much every libertarian I've ever met, either online or IRL, lives off of someone else's money, either family (mom's basement, wife's paycheck, inherited fortune) or government (state job, NSF grant, military pension, federal contractor, social security, disability settlement).

  33. JohnR Says:

    I feel kind of bad about this; not so much about the credulous sheep who happily lined up to be shorn, but for their families and for the rest of us. They'll be looking to us to give them back the money they happily handed to an obvious crook. His gain is their loss in the short run, but our loss in the long run. Which is, of course, one of the reasons for those "oppressive laws" the foolish "Libertarians" are constantly on about. Silly, silly people.

  34. Mo Says:

    That Gin and Tacos has begun to receive comments from trolls is surely a sign of its success.

    Well, maybe, Patrick, except carrstone is a low-rent bot. Don't mistake the word salad for actual thought.

  35. mojrim Says:

    Thank you Major Kong! "Schadenfreudegasm" is my new favorite word.

  36. Csicopper Says:

    I'm certainly no Libertarian, however, I don't believe Tea Partiers have anything to do with Libertarianism.

    Libertarians are people that are crazy about themselves too but don't necessarily demand others be just like them in order to get along with the rest of the world. They do think it would be cool though.

    Teabaggers head for the hills when someone lets it slip that they are simply home-schooled far right conservatives whose methods and ideas parallel the religious right. Jesus always seems to need a lot of cash too.

    On the way to the mountain they discover that they have to sell their cheap gold and REALLY conform in order to set up camp. Doing so and moving south of the evil part of America has been tried not too long ago with horrible result. This well armed enlightened clan is too smart for that of course.

    Adolescent Robert A. Heinlein fans would eat this up.

  37. Don Says:

    "One former co-owner, Jeff Berwick… has called Johnson a sociopath and a fraud". Well, yes. A libertarian, in other words.

  38. Patrick M Says:

    Fair enough, Mo.

  39. Pere Ubu Says:

    escape from the selfishness and greed disguised as a social conscience

    Translation: "get away from the people who want to give MAH MONEY MINE MINE to the poors and the you-know-whos".

    Isn't it always funny how these Galtian geniuses only even barely succeed where there's already civilization and infrastructure for them to leech off of?

    One figures if they were true to Ma Ayn and her ideals, they'd forego everything but their own masterful brains and her wisdom (*snerk*), which would lead them in mere days (*snort*) from knapping rocks and rubbing sticks together to heavy indu- AHAHHAHAHAHAHA no I can't, I just can't go on.

  40. Pere Ubu Says:

    And pretty much every libertarian I've ever met, either online or IRL, lives off of someone else's money

    No, you see, they don't WANT to take that money, but, here in the cold socialist hell of 21st Century Obamerica, they must survive among the dull masses who deny that A=A, and, until the bosses stop firing them for running off Objectivist newsletters on the office copier, they must do what they can to bring in the simoleons.

  41. Mothra Says:

    Dunno about the rest of you, but I'm putting together a proposal for a Galtopia that should bring in a considerable amount of cash. Seems a Libertarian and his/her money can be easily parted if given the right pitch….

  42. Pere Ubu Says:

    Like so many of your like-minded friends, you leave thinking to others. Maybe you do this, not because you can't, but because it's sooo much easier to parrot your fave mantras and be flatteringly lauded by these friends as a stand-up guy.

    Oh, sweet screaming Jeebus, the irony, the irony. PUH-LEEZE.

    Here we go with the "Libertarians are unrealized geniuses" bull and the "I worked out this all by my lonesome" crap. Horsehockeys, Junior.

    You undoubtedly got a hold of Heinlein or Rand or Hayek or someone of their ilk and said "Why it's just what I think!" and now you spout their lame excuses for selfishness just as enthusiastically as any Party commissar quoted Lenin. Your so-called "philosophy" is just gussied-up teenage "YOU CAN'T MAKE ME DO NOTHING!" with the thinnest of veneers of political science. You goons suck off of 10,000 years of civilization like a bloated leech, forgetting that progress through collective action is the only thing keeping you from pushing a scratch plow all day long. Your fellow travelers defend an idiot like Rand who seems to forget that her "heros" only can do what they do through being supported by not only thousands of laborers and assistants (do you think Howard Roark built all those buildings himself?) but also by thousands of years of accumulated science and culture.

    And then you ooze your carcass over here and have the GALL to tell us how we're just repeating someone else's thoughts and we're not WISE like you are and we're just "parroting mantras".

    What. A. Joke.

  43. Alex SL Says:

    JohnR,

    One step further back, the first people to feel sorry for are surely the local Chilean craftspeople who are owed all that money.

    carrstone,

    Your comments are so full of strawmen, false assumptions and invective that it is hard to know where to start. Just for false assumptions, however, whatever gives you the idea that I would be an American? The key words 'yes we can' or 'congress' don't really fire me up, you know.

    And as for free stuff, I at least and most of the people I know understand that it isn't free but that we happily pay taxes so that the government can provide services that either wouldn't exist or that would be prohibitively expensive to everybody except a small number of super-rich if it was left up to the market. In Randworld my wife could not take my daughter to a public library, we wouldn't be able to afford sending our daughter to pre-school, nobody would research evolution and ecology because it isn't immediately profitable, and just riding my bike to work (if work I would have in such a scenario) I would have to pay toll to all the people owning the roads along the way (and if one of those places wouldn't be profitable enough it wouldn't have a road, and that's that).

    No, in reality it is the populism of libertarians / conservatives (i.e. of those who are called liberals both in my native country and in the country I currently work in) that taxes can always be lowered yet their followers magically won't have to lose any services. That is what free stuff thinking looks like.

    Projection on your part perhaps?

  44. Xynzee Says:

    @Pere Ubu: From what I've gleaned from those who read these tedious works, Galtistan was built by an insanely rich dude. So it appears that Libertopia requires a triple metric f-tonne of seed money in order to get started. These people aren't going to walk into virgin forest and actually, you know, work. Nope, streets paved with gold and all that.

    I only just realised—without reading so I could be wrong—that the curtain closes as they bar the gates on Galtopia. She obviously doesn't know how deal with the messy reality of what to do when the sewer backs up, and the gold plated streets require resurfacing. Do they expect John to front the money for maintenance? Surely they wouldn't have to pay taxes? Thus we return to the fact that Libertards are very good at living off someone else's dime.

  45. Major Kong Says:

    @Andrew

    "Most of the self-professed libertarians I have known (and I try to avoid them) do believe in a court system for the enforcement of contracts."

    True enough. Libertarians claim to eschew the use of force.

    As I like to point out to them:

    Suppose I'm on your land. Well no, actually I've decided that it isn't your land any more. How are you (or your court) going to get me to leave without using force? Write me a sternly worded letter?

  46. BobS Says:

    "Is it wrong to hope that more Libertarians "escape from the specter of the ever-encroaching Godzilla of the sharing society" by moving to Chile?"

    What did Chile do to piss you off?

  47. blahedo Says:

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  48. Andrew Laurence Says:

    @Major Kong:

    If both parties agree to let the court decide whose property it is, and to abide by the court's decision, then no force is necessary. Libertarians would probably go along with this, unless of course they are also hypocrites, which many people of all political stripes are.

    Most self-professed libertarians I have known, which admittedly is a small sample and may or may not be representative, also support a police force to enforce laws and court judgments.

    Even the minimalist "night watchman" government libertarians envision would still, by nature of BEING the government, retain the power to arrest suspected law breakers and use force, including deadly force, against those who resist, particularly those who resist violently. Without that power, you're simply not the government.

  49. Major Kong Says:

    Ah, so they want police to protect them from the peasants.

    All things old are new again.

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  51. pjcamp Says:

    "invariably named after some stupid Atlas Shrugged reference"

    Galtonia? South Dagney? Aynabama? Please do spill the beans; not so oblique.

  52. catbirdman Says:

    "Most self-professed libertarians I have known, which admittedly is a small sample and may or may not be representative, also support a police force to enforce laws and court judgments." Perhaps, but in my experience they don't recognize the need for public policies beyond "Get Off My Land!" When you live in a densely populated, advanced society you need reasonably complicated land use policies, and governmental agencies to implement and enforce them, or it will turn to crap. Pollution, erosion, rampant degradation of the landscape and its plants and wildlife, etc., can't be handled by the cop on the beat. Only Big Government can stand up to Big Money (at least theoretically, sometimes).

  53. Andrew Says:

    @catbird,an: You'll get no argument from me.

  54. Sarah Says:

    True enough. Libertarians claim to eschew the use of force.

    Nonsense. The libertarians whom I watch love guns. They just hate the idea of government sanctioned use of guns. Which never made sense to me, especially when we're discussing a democratically elected government which is authorized by the governed to use force. They want to replace that collective decision-making with allowing any yahoo to run around with dangerous weapons, and shoot at whomever s/he feels deserves to be shot.

  55. carrstone Says:

    @AlexSL

    An 'A' for effort but an 'F' for accuracy.

    Your entire edifice collapses when you realize that (and for the want of a better word let's call them) Libertarians don't object to paying taxes at all. I, for one, certainly realize that I benefit from living in a society which collectively pays for some services " that either wouldn't exist or that would be prohibitively expensive …" if I had to pay for them out of personal funds.

    It's not the paying of taxes that offends but the spending (for which read malinvestment) of these monies. And there's little hope that it'll ever change – in the US the president can't get his budget past the senate and the senate doesn't even try to get their stable in order financially.

    What pisses me off (can't speak for Libertarians – the word has no meaning where I live) is that the role of providing these services is obediently and unquestioningly nodded into the bailiwick of the government by idiots like Pere Ubu (vomiting elsewhere in this thread) – but is there a worse provider of services? And when it does finally de-nationalize, it can't stop interfering.

    And I don't want to go down the path of moaning about moochers. If Pere Ubu and you feel so strongly that you're right then you pay for them – as with religion I say, leave me out.

    Admittedly, Pere Ubu (and others) amuse me with their objections to my pointing out their mantra parroting when the words they use are straight off the song-sheet of the president and his Cherokee side-kick, Elizabeth Warren.

  56. carrstone Says:

    @Sarah
    Schadenfreude is the joy at the misfortune suffered by someone else – how does "I've got mine" conform to that definition, please?

    Nor is my current laughter at you with your foot in your mouth that kind of joy, it's just a spontaneous reaction as I try to hide the embarrassment I feel on your behalf.

  57. xynzee Says:

    As always Stonehead,
    Trying to sneak in to fire off a few shots at goal, AFTER you think they've turned the lights off.

  58. Sarah Says:

    As always Stonehead,
    Trying to sneak in to fire off a few shots at goal, AFTER you think they've turned the lights off.

    Because he's a mealy-mouthed little coward. As we already knew, and which he merely confirms.

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