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This is your brain. This is your brain on libertarianism.

[ 134 ] September 22, 2016 |

Any questions?

(Yes, he really did say the sun will burn up the planet some day, so we should focus on making lots of money now because money, also money and then of course there’s money. Great job, New Mexico.)


Comments (134)

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  1. weirdnoise says:

    What’s seven or eight orders of magnitude among friends?

    We’re all going to die some day, so why not stop breathing right now?

  2. N__B says:

    Global warming is a hoax because one day the universe will suffer heat death.

    Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.

  3. DrDick says:

    More reasons only idiots take libertarians seriously. They are all deranged idiots.

    • Most of the hard-core stoners I’ve known are not as dim as this idiot….

    • Aimai says:

      I encountered an MRA/PUA making this argument over at “We Hunted the Mammoth” and he basically wound up with the uselessness of everything because of the “heat death of the universe.” Since he was specifically speaking of his experiences dating, in what we humans call real time, it seemed pretty bizarre–I mean: yes, heat death, whatever but how that served as a comfort when he can’t get a date for friday night was beyond me. He seemed really confused.

      • Matt McIrvin says:

        I can see taking some comfort in the notion that your personal screwups don’t amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of things. Never mind the heat death of the universe; personal mortality and the tiny cosmic scale of human affairs mean there’s a limit to how badly we can fail. (For me it’s also an argument against suicide–it’s not like you’re going to live forever anyway; might as well ride this out and try to accomplish what you can.)

        But as a policy argument, “it doesn’t matter because the Sun is going to burn the Earth someday” has the problem that it’s an argument against any policy whatsoever. If you’re a libertarian this may be a feature instead of a bug.

  4. Honoré De Ballsack says:

    Seems more like Extreme Keynesianism: “In the reeeealy long run, we’re all dead.”

  5. brad says:

    Eventually his component atoms will be spread across the universe, so what’s the difference if someone turns him into lawn mulch now?

    • Ken says:

      The trope requires that the death has to ironically fit the offense, such as being baked in an oven. (Which come to think of it was used in Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe, where the deaths were based on each chef’s signature dish.)

  6. efgoldman says:

    Yes, he really did say the sun will burn up the planet some day

    My 8th grade science teacher scared the crap out of us saying the same thing, before she added “in a few billion years.”

  7. (((Hogan))) says:

    Might as well start swallowing cyanide because in twenty years I’ll probably be dead anyway, and it’s not like there’s anyone in the world I care about.

    • Warren Terra says:

      On the other hand, why bother to kill yourself, since eventually you’re going to die anyway! His logic extricates you from the bleak fate his logic damned you to.

  8. Hercules Mulligan says:

    As the legends foretold, way back in 2014:

    “hmm well I’d say I’m fiscally conservative but socially very liberal. the problems are bad but their causes…their causes are very good”

  9. M. Bouffant says:

    Why wait? Let’s beat the rush & just burn fucking everything right now!!

  10. Jordan says:

    Fucking squish. Capitalism will obviously avoid this future disaster thanks to the virtues of the market. First step Mars, second step Alpha Centauri.

    • CP says:

      Apparently, the bad guy in Independence Day – “They’re like locusts. They consume one planet, then their entire civilization moves to another” – were actually the future of the human race, come back to us through some sort of time-warp.

      • Jordan says:

        Makes sense to me, as a white dude. I just need to figure out that blood-sucking life-extension thing to make sure I live that long.

      • JMP says:

        That is the actual concept behind the Sheeda, descendants of humanity from about a billion years in the future who regularly travel to the past to plunder previous civilization’s resources, from Grant Morrison’s amazing Seven Soldiers series.

        • CP says:

          Welp, one new piece of sci-fi goes on my “to-read” list.

          A comic book I read and enjoyed as a kid came at it from the opposite point of view: the villains are also time travelers from the future trying to colonize the present day. Except the motivation in their case is to escape the post-nuclear apocalyptic wasteland that the Earth became in the 21st century. Colonizing the present is, the way they figure it, only fair: they’re visiting poetic justice on the societies that developed nuclear weapons and started the wars that doomed future generations.

          That the entire story above could just as easily be written with global warming instead of nuclear apocalypse goes without saying.

          • CassandraLeo says:

            FWIW, that pretty much – spoiler alert!…

            is the plot of season 5 of Fringe. They don’t specifically say that it’s global warming, IIRC, but they do say that Earth has become an environmental wasteland due to human activity.

            • CP says:

              “Human activity” is a nice way to put it, actually. Makes the show timeless; even if the problems of a particular era are worked through (nuclear war in the Cold War, global warming today), it’s a safe bet that we’ll often have something going on that’s a serious risk to the planet.

              I may have to watch that show. Though if I do, it’ll be for Leonard Nimoy.

              • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

                Exactly! So why bother addressing global warming? There’ll just be some other problem to replace it! #FeelTheJohnsom

              • CassandraLeo says:

                It’s worth it. It starts out a bit slow but it certainly begins to pay off by near the end of season one or so. John Noble and Anna Torv are also really good in it. (Torv got criticised for being wooden early on, but later seasons reveal that she was doing this deliberately; I won’t explain why, because that is also a spoiler.) Really, in a way, those two in particular sort of paved the way for Tatiana Maslany’s performance in Orphan Black (although the scope isn’t as impressive, since they’re not playing as many characters).

            • Humpty-Dumpty says:

              That is also the premise (time travelers from the future, environmentally-devastated earth) of the novel Millenium by John Varley, though the plot goes in a different, deeply weird direction. Since it’s John Varley.

            • Gabriel Ratchet says:

              It’s also, more or less, the motivation behind the alien invaders in John Carpenter’s They Live, which seems more like a documentary with each passing year.

            • Aimai says:

              I adored Fringe! Its impossible to watch more than a few times because the time jumping and new timelines makes it unclear who is doing what to whom. But the earth has become an environmental wasteland primarily because humans began tinkering with their own nature, in an attempt to solve problems, and creating an entire race without sufficient empathy and humanity. These guys then go on to totally destroy the world and travel back in time to take the healthier world over. (I think! Its all a bit fuzzy now.)

            • Halloween Jack says:

              see also: Avatar.

          • Woodrowfan says:

            Star Trek :All Our Yesterdays, 1969.

  11. CP says:

    Shouldn’t we be celebrating the fact that he recognizes the fact that the sun will one day swallow the earth whole at all?

    I feel like most conservatives would’ve either said “no it won’t, because God promised to Noah he wouldn’t destroy the world again” or “it doesn’t matter because the Rapture will happen long before that.”

    • Warren Terra says:

      Given that it won’t happen on any meaningful timescale, no, not really.

      We have ten thousand times longer than the human race has existed before the sun expands.

      Would you be happy if he showed a deep understanding of string theory, and then used that as a basis on which not to provide school lunches?

      • JMP says:

        It’s sad and pathetic that it’s so, but so many conservatives insist that the world is only 6,000 years old because an old book says so despite the fact that that’s been definitely proven to be completely wrong that it is notable even though that should be default, and anyone who refuses to accept that reality should be laughed out of society.

      • CP says:

        What JMP said. Basically, I’m grading on a curve.

        Would you be happy if he showed a deep understanding of string theory, and then used that as a basis on which not to provide school lunches?

        Well. No, but I’d be slightly less unhappy than if told me that school lunches shouldn’t be provided because Jesus told him in a dream that starvation is a liberal hoax. Which is about the level that most conservatives are at when it comes to the sciency things.

      • DocAmazing says:

        Silly string theory, maybe.

    • alex284 says:

      Except no, the going prediction is that the sun becomes a red giant just under 1 AU in radius, which means that the earth might just get scorched until the sun collapses to a white dwarf. There’s a chance that the earth will survive that whole process. (Of course the sun is getting hotter and all life on Earth will be destroyed well before the sun goes red giant, and white dwarfs are pretty terrible at supporting life as we know it as well.)

      Sorry, libertarians, you all should have been born on Mercury or Venus where death in the red giant is guaranteed! Which means you have to deal with climate change.

  12. Joe Bob the III says:

    As if we needed another example that libertarians are just typical Republican shitheels, who like to smoke dope.

  13. tsam says:

    Some asshat on the internet was trying to tell everyone not to worry about climate change because us crafty assed humans can tech our way around it. I asked if he was willing to bet the lives of his descendants on that (with a parenthetical reference wondering what happens to people who can’t afford the tech) and he answered that he didn’t have any kids. I was bracing for the usual dumbshit routine about not wanting to bring children into such a crappy world, but had to settle for letting him know that we all appreciate his willingness to bet the lives of our descendants on his cunning plan to out-tech our environment.

    • liberalrob says:

      I was bracing for the usual dumbshit routine about not wanting to bring children into such a crappy world

      Definitely something I’ve thought about…and it’s people like that guy who’re going to create that crappy world.

    • Shakezula says:

      And talking of sci-fi books, this reminds me of a Robert Silverberg (??) novel in which

      Spoiler alert

      The plan to deal with a severely polluted planet involved radical genetic modification of human beings. (The Big Question being, would the result still be human? And if not, wasn’t this just a plan to save the human race by destroying it?)

    • bobbo1 says:

      Thing is, we do need to tech our way – not around it, but to prevent more of it. I.e. through mass adoption of alternative energy that doesn’t create carbon pollution. And people like said asshat apparently are happy to spend the money on the former but not the latter.

  14. VonnegutFeeling says:

    To paraphrase Walter Sobchak: “Libertarians! Fuck me. I mean, say what you about the tenets of American Conservatism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”

    Also, because this might help explain ze Johnson’s lackadaisical manner:

    • DAS says:

      Actually, as I’ve been saying for some time now, today’s GOP is dedicated to demonstrating that nihilism is indeed an ethos.

      • CassandraLeo says:

        I think this is unfair to actual nihilists. Actual nihilism is, for all its faults, a coherent philosophy; not one I particularly agree with, but it has a clear point of view and it’s possible to follow the reasoning behind it. There doesn’t seem to be any reasoning behind the stances of modern Republicans apart from “IGM,FY” and “Burn it all down”.

  15. postmodulator says:

    Off-topic, but I have to say it because I’m seething with rage: Rob Portman has picked up like five Union endorsements in his race for reelection to the Senate.

    God help the next person who complains to me that the Democrats aren’t reliable friends of labor.

    • efgoldman says:

      Rob Portman has picked up like five Union endorsements in his race for reelection to the Senate.

      Public safety unions, who have been acting like assholes since Sanctus Ronaldus Magnus, or actual working people unions?

      • postmodulator says:

        Teamsters, building trades. FOP too, of course.

        • jim, some guy in iowa says:

          what’s the reasoning behind the endorsements?

          • postmodulator says:

            Who cares?

            • GeoX says:

              People who want to understand why things happen the way they do?

              • postmodulator says:

                But the answer is always “People are shortsighted idiots with no grasp of cause and affect.”

                Even in this thread, people saying “Well, of course the police union,” but it’s only been a couple of years since the Ohio GOP tried to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees’ unions — and unlike other states, Ohio didn’t exempt the police. They got a bill through the Statehouse and signed by noted moderate John Kasich, but it was overturned by referendum the following year. Every left of center organization in Ohio came together to get that referendum passed. This year, I guess, comes the “payoff.”

                Oh, well. Perhaps a lifetime of misery with a GOP boot on their necks will teach them an important lesson about causality.

                • NonyNony says:

                  Oh, well. Perhaps a lifetime of misery with a GOP boot on their necks will teach them an important lesson about causality.

                  Does the boot push harder on the necks of the people with darker skin?

                  Then nope!

                • veleda_k says:

                  Oh, well. Perhaps a lifetime of misery with a GOP boot on their necks will teach them an important lesson about causality.

                  Unfortunately, I think it’s more, “I’m miserable for reasons I don’t understand, but it’s probably the fault of immigrants and welfare queens.”

          • pdxtyler says:

            Teamsters think he’s going to win and Portman worked with them on not cutting pensions.

        • CP says:

          The cop unions, I get.

          The Teamsters and the building trades – what is it that makes them so consistently a bunch of assholes? It’s not just the Republican endorsements – over the last half century and beyond, when people talk about corruption and organized crime ties in the unions, it always seems to be those two that are at the forefront.

          • efgoldman says:

            The Teamsters and the building trades – what is it that makes them so consistently a bunch of assholes?

            I don’t think the Teamsters ever got over Bobby Kennedy investigating Dave Beck and Jimmy Hoffa.
            As for the building trades, the Eastern locals, particularly NYC, never got over being forced to integrate women and minorities.

          • Linnaeus says:

            It should be noted that Strickland has the endorsement of 41 unions (including some individual locals) plus the state AFL-CIO. Among those endorsing him are several building trades unions:

            Laborers’ International Union of North America
            Bricklayers and Allied Craft Workers
            International Association of Ironworkers
            International Association of Heat Frost Insulation and Asbestos Workers
            United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners

            • postmodulator says:

              Yes, Strickland is still ahead. Still though. Strickland cultivated labor assiduously throughout his political career, and Portman has a findable anti-union voting history. What’s it take?

          • Kalil says:

            My own personal union rep (MEBA) just got out of prison – he got caught engaging in tax evasion to the tune of 400k, after the State of Florida looked askance at his vehicle registration – snowmobiles aren’t exactly popular there.

            It’s disappointing, but corruption of union officials very much remains a thing.

        • Phil Perspective says:

          FOP sucks. I don’t know what is going on with Teamster locals. The building trades aren’t FOP but they can be pretty racist too, sadly. Still, I wonder what the Teamsters and the building trades are thinking.

  16. liberalrob says:

    On a lighter note, Belichick just won with his 3rd-string QB thus proving that QB is the most overrated and overpaid position in football. :)

    • efgoldman says:

      Belichick just won with his 3rd-string QB

      Terrible thing to say about a supposedly good football team, but it looked like Houston came in afraid and intimidated. They played the whole game with their heads lodged as far up their asses as possible.

    • CrunchyFrog says:

      Well, sarcasm aside, that may not be that QB is the most overrated, but honestly the results these first 3 games and in 2008 does make for an interesting discussion regarding how much of Brady’s success has been due to being on a Belichick team – rather than the common trope that Belichick’s success will decline once Brady retires.

      Until now the common analysis was that when Brady was injured in 2008 the team’s regular season performance dropped by 5 wins from 16-0 to 11-5, so he was worth 5 games. But realistically there is no way the 2008 Pats were going to repeat a 16-0 season, just by regression to the mean. We never got to see how those Matt Cassel-led Pats would have done in the playoffs because they got the very short end of the tiebreaker stick and are one of 2 11-5 teams to miss the playoffs (and the only one since the playoffs were expanded to 6 teams per conference).

      But, now with some historical perspective. Matt Cassel. 11-5. Holy crap. Even with every dice roll going Kansas City’s way and then some – with Weis as OC (the position he should have stayed at but for the Peter principle) and a highly talented defense and with a weak division – they only managed 10-6.

      By contrast, Peyton Manning misses a year and his team goes from 10-6 and only a year away from the Super Bowl to 2-14. (I know you could do a counter-example from last year – but that wasn’t *Peyton Manning* – that was a shadow of a ghost of Peyton and was nothing like Peyton from the rest of his career.)

      I know the meme amongst Brady supporters is that Manning needed everything to be perfect for him to perform well while Brady somehow made success in all conditions. But maybe the correct meme is that Brady did well in all conditions because he played for the greatest coach of all time who created the conditions to make his QB be successful.

      Now imagine Manning was drafted by a Belichick team.

    • Lurking Canadian says:

      Obviously quarterbacks are fungible.

    • Joe_JP says:

      Well it’s a mixture of things — Brady gets hurt in first game, back-up wins 11 games for them but his success is not translated when he gets to a different team. And, that sort of dominance deserves credit to the opposition. Plus, it’s those extra games that matter, those late comebacks etc.

  17. Nobdy says:

    OT but I think important:

    A Facebook/Virtual Reality hundred millionaire has been funding anti-Hillary pro-Trump “memes” and propaganda.

    His name is Palmer Luckey (we are living in a satire) and he cites fighting the ‘elite’ as part of his reason for supporting Trump.

    I guess this is just more proof that concentrating wealth in a few hands is a bad idea, but I think the fact that the next generation of Sheldon Adelsons will operate completely outside the political system funding shadowy groups of propagandists is just as terrifying as Russia or other foreign powers using hackers and trolls to influence the election.

    At least the Koch brothers left a paper trail and formed an organization that could be resisted. This is scary, dystopian, stuff.

  18. MilitantlyAardvark says:

    We shouldn’t spend money on food, clothing or housing because one day the sun will “grow and encompass the earth”

    In sum, Gary Johnson is your nihilism wrapped in self-pitying white male menopause candidate. At least, until the boiled ham topped with string cheese decides to retrieve the title by saying something even more egregiously stupid and malevolent.

  19. ForkyMcSpoon says:

    This is an excellent point.

    Why worry about how many jobs liberal government regulations will kill? Those jobs will eventually be destroyed when the sun vaporizes the earth regardless of how much regulation we have.

    I guess we might as well resign ourselves to building a fair, equitable, environmentally sustainable society that promotes human health and flourishing and accept the horrific consequences to the business world, because all businesses are going to be incinerated anyway.

    • Gareth says:

      Preventing the sun vapourising the earth sounds like a legitimate function of government to me. Better set up the dedicated tax now.

      • so-in-so says:

        No, see, the problem is some rugged individualist/entrepreneur might have to pay another dollar in taxes. Compared to that tragedy, what is the future immolation of the earth?

      • rea says:

        Preventing the sun vapourising the earth sounds like a legitimate function of government to me.

        Libertarians,of course, disagree:

        I don’t speak for all libertarians, but I think there’s a good case to be made that taxing people to protect the Earth from an asteroid, while within Congress’s powers, is an illegitimate function of government from a moral perspective. I think it’s O.K. to violate people’s rights (e.g. through taxation) if the result is that you protect people’s rights to some greater extent (e.g. through police, courts, the military). But it’s not obvious to me that the Earth being hit by an asteroid (or, say, someone being hit by lightning or a falling tree) violates anyone’s rights; if that’s so, then I’m not sure I can justify preventing it through taxation.

  20. Cheerful says:

    I am struck by his follow on, that preventing climate change will cost “trillions” and that the consequences of climate change will be minor in comparison. This is not a person who’s given the matter any actual thought – what does he think, that with climate change we may spend another billion on air conditioning?

  21. lizzie says:

    A few minutes later, an aide directed him to a room in the convention center that was named for Harriet Tubman. “Who’s Harriet Tubman?” Johnson asked.

    • King Goat says:

      The more libertarians I come across on the internet and in person the more I’m impressed with how many of these people who have chosen the name *libert*arian to describe themselves don’t seem to give two shits about historical figures, such as Tubman, Turner, Louverture, Spartacus, etc., who stood up from slavery to fight against it and for liberty and instead immerse themselves in historical slaveowners like Cato, Jefferson, Henry, etc. Telling, that.

      • CrunchyFrog says:

        Libertarianism is more a pose than an philosophy. There is the “independent thinker” pose – I mean, everyone wants to say they don’t follow the herd, they stand out on their own. There is the “I hate government” pose, which is a status symbol that is mostly unique to the US (“rugged individualist” and all that). And in the past half century as the GOP became the party of white racism and thus also of fundamentalist wackos it’s the “I’m a conservative but *not* a religious nutcase” pose. It’s possible for a libertarian to take on all of these poses, as they are interlinked.

        Gary Johnson’s comment about global warming and the sun taking over the early is definitely of the latter variety – conservative but not religious. Neither he nor the religious conservatives give a rat’s ass about the environment or future generations – they’re all in it for whatever they can grab for themselves now. But while the religious nutcases will use religion to justify it – as in James Watt’s infamous “I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns” – the libertarians have to substitute something from science or pseudo science to trumpet their independent thinking. Hence the comment about the Sun going nova or whatever. Don’t worry about timeframes as this isn’t about logic, it’s a pose. Fuck future generations I want mine now – that’s what it’s about.

        Sure, you can get into an argument with a libertarian about actual government policies and if you’re good you’ll get him (almost always a him – interesting, that) to storm off within 10 minutes as he realizes that his anti-government philosophy doesn’t withstand any scrutiny because it’s so logically inconsistent. “So we need national defense. How do you pay for it? What if your troops need medical care?” and so on. “Do your private roads include city streets?” After a while it’s like shooting proverbial fish in the barrel. But there really isn’t any point. You won’t change his mind because he’s not trying to come up with a logical system of government or to solve society’s challenges. He’s trying to justify a hyper-selfish philosophy to give him what he wants and screw everyone else.

    • Matt McIrvin says:

      What the fuck? Did he go to elementary school?

      • Matt McIrvin says:

        …looking it up, I find that his father was a public school teacher, and he still doesn’t know who Harriet Tubman was.

        • so-in-so says:

          She (Tubman) helped deprive people of their lawful property, so why would a Libertarian consider her a hero? Don't most of them consider Lincoln a monster for using the power of the state to deprive people of property? And the Civil Rights Act an abridgment of (white) peoples rights of association and to run their businesses as they chose?

          • Bitter Scribe says:

            What’s scary is that your last sarcastically rhetorical question would not, to a “libertarian,” be sarcastic or rhetorical at all.

            • Matt McIrvin says:

              I have heard that some libertarians have proposed that slavery needs to be legalized under some circumstances for people to be truly free. The reasoning is basically that freedom means owning your own body, and you don’t truly own your own body unless you can sell it, which means you need to have the ability to sell yourself into slavery, which isn’t possible unless there is a legal form of slavery.

  22. kayden says:

    Statements like Johnson’s is why Libertarians should never hold public office. Let them smoke dope to their hearts content since that’s all they seem to care about. I keep hearing that Johnson is sucking away support from Clinton more than from Trump which is very disappointing.

    • NonyNony says:

      I think people misread polls quite a bit. When they say “sucking support from Clinton” what they mean is that the poll respondent ranked Clinton higher than Trump but lower than Johnson in some manner.

      It could very well be that the respondent’s preferences are Johnson, Harambe, Stein, Staying home on election day and getting baked, Clinton, Getting hit by a bus, Contracting Ebloa, Getting an incurable STD, Trump. This would not show up in most of the polling being done (except for a few of the ones done by PPP, where they ask the important questions).

  23. Harkov311 says:

    I remember thinking Gary Johnson was an idiot back when he was governor of New Mexico. He’s apparently still an idiot.

  24. Rob in CT says:

    Sigh. Nice selective acceptance of science there, Gary.

    Long before the sun goes red giant it’ll be pumping out too much heat for life on earth to handle (peaking at ~130% of current output, IIRC). Long before that we’d be due to for any number of cataclysmic events (major impact event, supervolcano eruption) that would put a serious hurt on (at a minimum) civilization, if not the species.

    But whatever, maaaaaaan.

  25. Joe_JP says:

    There is some emphasis on Jill Stein, but some of the poll data I saw shows Gary Johnson is the guy currently getting the margin of victory Clinton needs in a few states.

  26. Mellano says:

    Cugel Johnson said, “when the sun goes out, all deeds, significant or not, will be forgotten together.”

  27. […] Guns and Money mocks the cosmic perspective of Gary […]

  28. Bitter Scribe says:

    This must be the atheistic version of James Watt, Reagan’s secretary of the interior (and what a fuck-you joke that was), saying it wasn’t necessary to take care of the environment because the Lord was going to return soon anyway.

  29. 4jkb4ia says:

    I think that we have learned from previous statements that the people who will be most affected by climate change are too far away for Gary Johnson to have any interest in their lives.

    I would have great interest in Gary Johnson attempting to fisk any of Hank Paulson’s statements about climate change.

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