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May 17, 2006


jason l

Amen Jeff. I am a libertarian; I work for Congress because I enjoy the excitement and the atmosphere but the cognitive dissonance gets to be too much sometimes.

Working on politicians is hopeless. Political expedience, not good policy, is key. It is a function of the system and cannot be changed. But what can be changed are the views of the politicians' various constituencies. As Hayek advised, we must ignore the politicians for they will follow naturally in due time; first we must target the second-hand dealers in ideas: the intellectuals, the journalists, the opinion leaders. This is how influencers are influenced.

Mike Huben

The bigger problem for libertarians is that corporate influence is the dominant driving force in today's politics. All the libertarian-like talk about "economic freedom" and "negative rights" has been extravagently subsidized by corporations at U. of Chicago, Cato, and many other places. Hayek was one of the early corporatist propagandists.

Corporations (and the very rich) want different liberties and duties than real people do. Libertarians play right into their hands, squeaking loudly about the rights corporations and the rich prefer, but much more softly about the liberties and duties most important to real folks. Which is why almost anybody can tell you the latest talking points on free markets, but hardly anybody agrees on torture, rendition, etc.


Let me see if I understand. Hayek was a "corporatist propagandist," the very rich aren't "real people," libertarians "squeak," and the lack of consensus on torture is the result of libertarians playing into the hands of corporations.

Ok, I'm convinced. I now renounce my libertarianism.

I'm sooooo worried about corporations. First they enslaved an entire race, then they exterminated 5 million Jews while interning tens of thousands Japanese, then they wiped out entire cities with atomic bombs, then they caused the deaths 50 million Russians, then they killed thousands of students in Tiananmen Square, then they sent young people off to die in Iraq, and now they're tapping our phones, stealing our drugs, and telling us what can and can't eat... oh wait, those are governments... but damn those corporations for providing goods people want while making money for their shareholders!

Mike Huben
27 Winter St.
Arlington, MA 02474
(781) 643-1534
Email: mhuben@world.std.com

I've recently made the transition from software development to teaching in secondary school. I have preliminary certification in high school math, physics, biology, and chemistry. I could also be certified to teach computer science, or engineering. Most recently, I've taught chemistry, physical science, and pre-engineering at Arlington High School.
I'm a lively, personable instructor who tries to keep the subject both interesting and relevant. My years of technical support experience have made me very astute at determining and addressing individual needs of students, whether they be academic, social, or emotional. I come from a teaching family, and feel my teaching skills will readily grow with hard work and experience.

MA Preliminary licensure #389378; in secondary math, physics, biology, and chemistry.
University of Massachussetts Boston MEdu program in Secondary Mathematics/Sciences, 18 credits completed.
B.S. Biology, September, 2003, Cornell University. (The final 6 credits were completed at Harvard Extension after 25 years hiatus.)

Boston Latin School: chemistry and biology. 2005-2006.
Arlington High School: honors physical science, chemistry, and design technology (using the Museum Of Science "Engineering The Future" curriculum) 2004-2005.
Long term substitute for 8th grade math at East Somerville Community School, 5 Jan. 2004 to 9 Mar. 2004.
Substituting at Arlington Middle and High Schools, 2003.

MTEL scores: Reading 96, Writing 85, Mathematics 95, Physics 86, Chemistry 88, Biology 81.
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Experience in corporate training for adults in complex software.
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3 recent scientific publications in Entomology.
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Long experience teaching Aikido (a Japanese martial art similar to judo) to elementary school students. 2nd degree black belt.
15 years experience in Iaido (a Japanese sword art.) 3rd degree black belt.

Excellon Corporation (Object Design Division), Burlington, MA. November, 2000 to October, 2001. Technical Support Engineer for the ObjectStore object oriented database.
OpenMarket, Burlington, MA. January, 1999 to October, 2000. Technical Support Engineer for an electronic commerce system.
IDD Information Services, Waltham, MA. August, 1996 to November, 1998. Senior Software Engineer for real-time financial systems.
FASTech Integration Inc., Lincoln, MA. 1995. Technical Support for factory automation and integration software.
CenterLine Software Inc., Cambridge, MA. October, 1989 to June, 1995; January to July, 1996. Porting and Technical Support engineer for software testing tools and C/C++ UNIX programming environments.
1988: Entomological sabbatical year in Ecuador.
Cybermation Inc., Cambridge, MA. 1984-1987. CAD/CAM System Development.
Continuous Learning Corporation, Cambridge, MA. 1982-1983. Developer of Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) curricula on Control Data PLATO network.
1981: Entomological sabbatical year in USA.
Control Data Corporation, New York, NY and Arden Hills, MN. 1978-1980. PLATO Systems Programming and Computer Assisted Instruction.

Father of a 15 year old and an 12 year old. Plant breeding, entomology, Aikido, Iaido, natural history, political philosophy. Home page: http://world.std.com/~mhuben/index.html


The real problem facing libertarian influence in politics is that libertarian politics is incongruent with predominant American democratic preferences. Those preferences are quite accustomed, and comfortable, with government playing a role in all sorts of affairs that might otherwise be left to the vicissitudes of ordinary market principles. That doesn't mean that those preferences are efficient or morally preferable. It just means that's what democratic preferences happen to be at that moment. I doubt anything as banal as "persuasion" will change that.

I would also agree with MIke Huben that corporate influence is a powerful (though not the only) force driving politicians today - but why is that a such a surprise? So much libertarian philosophy (of the utilitarian variant, anyway) is driven by fundamental view of man as a self-interested being - politician and corporate executive alike. If the power of the state is to extend as far as Huben presumably thinks it should, then it should be expected that those who find success in the marketplace will attempt to extend or insulate that success when government power is available to facilitate those ends.

The answer is in limiting the power of the state - not in broadening it and hoping for the best. No one is immune from the temtations that only government can make available.

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