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Old 06.09.2012, 20:32
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

hmmm in CH you'd get about 100g (that's roughly 1/5th of a pound) of beef for $3.50. Seriously, food and nearly everything is far more expensive in CH than in US.
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Old 06.09.2012, 20:39
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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hmmm in CH you'd get about 100g (that's roughly 1/5th of a pound) of beef for $3.50. Seriously, food and nearly everything is far more expensive in CH than in US.
Fair enough, and I kind of anticipated that. What do you (or anyone reading this) suppose the reason for that happens to be? Is it inflationary pressure from so many converting their currency to CHF? Is it something more legislative (subsidies/tarrifs), or is it more logistical (it costs a lot to bring in what is needed to support the agriculture or limited agricultural land available)?
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Old 06.09.2012, 20:56
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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I do plan to make a visit out to Switzerland probably Summer 2014. As I mentioned in my first post, I do not expect it to be a perfect mirror of my ideology.
It would be best to eliminate all expectations before you go or the dissonances, however minor, will simply frustrate you.

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But as you mention, there is a lack of political power worship in Switzerland, yes?
Let's put it this way. Swiss look at foreigners very funny when they come asking "who's the president of Switzerland?", or any sort of "take me to your leader" insinuation indeed. While having low opinions of politicians, Swiss are very law-abiding, believe in the prescription of order for daily life, and have a low opinion of civil disobedience as well. The reasoning is: if the law is wrong, then you must pursue changing it instead of breaking it, since there is no barrier to doing so besides convincing a majority of voters that you are right.

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I would put it this way in regards to the US: there is a general sense of "my country, right or wrong" here in the US. It's one thing to be patriotic, support your nation, it's culture, general concepts and ideology - but it is another to blindly accept anything the government tells you as fact and believe that your nation is the supreme example of human achievement as ordained by God himself to serve as an example of freedom and liberty to all the world... That is a purely asinine belief for my fellow countrymen to hold and the facts far from support that assertion.
Middle class Swiss are extremely patriotic and want their country to be, and to be seen as, the best in the world. They will not like it if you insist that Switzerland is anything other than the best country in the world. Most Swiss are nominally religious and pay tax to a church, but in my experience they are not evangelistic towards strangers since it would be considered presumptuous and rude. While Swiss do not believe in military intervention since the Confederation was historically a defensive arrangement rather than an imperial or colonial one, and cherish neutrality thanks to the Zweiter Weltkrieg experience, you will find that they do have foreign politicians which are regarded as scum and used as whipping boys in the media, examples: Gadaffi family and Robert Mugabe.

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I was in our military here, moreso, I was in the field of intelligence analysis. I do not like the things our government has done and continues to do without oversight or knowledge of the populace - things done in our name that we citizens are blamed for when we have little control over what our government does as our representatives to the world.
The Swiss government is not without blame for overreaches in the past, however, since most government activity is at the cantonal level, the effects of bad policy are rather contained compared to the US, where despite the constitution's proscriptions, no question goes without demands for single national policies administered from Washington D.C bureaucracies. The democratic threat tends to prevent politicians from embarrassing themselves by issuing laws which the majority is in opposition to and thereby drawing a referendum.

And, while I admit it is politically incorrect to say so, Swiss are a socio-cultural tribe and people who are members of the same tribe simply do not exploit positions of power to abuse each other to the same degree that such abuse occurs when administration crosses tribal lines. The 20-25% of foreign-born residents do experience discrimination based on skin color, language, religion. But in my observation it is not systematized as in the US with its many tribes seeking collective political advantage over the others, and dysfunctional social policies which discourage integration and discourage working out differences by any means other than the zero-sum political process.

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I am more than willing to assimilate to the Swiss culture and norms provided I would not be joining a nation as destestable as the US is to my sense of justice, civil liberties, and rationality. I don't see the Swiss with an enormous military, with a need to have bases all over the world, and the need to overthrow old puppet dictators and install new puppet dictators and regimes more favorable to the Swiss government.
The evidence is obvious: Switzerland is none of these things. But Switzerland is other things that you may detest equally in terms of how they materially affect your daily life. For example, in the US an average person may only see the taxes and inflation to pay for the empire on a daily basis. In Switzerland, having to buy taxed garbage bags, pay VAT on everything ordered on the Internet or purchased in European stores, pay television tax regardless of television ownership, observe posted speed limits to avoid being mailed expensive camera tickets, attempt to comprehend Schwyzerdütsch, and deal with nutty neighbors who live in ever too-close quarters, may not be worth paying only an 11% top federal tax rate, having a nationwide transit system, and having peace and quiet in daily life.

Also, the US government is likely to continue treating you as chattel even in your absence and so far, the Swiss government has gone along with all such moves, whether on taxes or sharing biometric police data. There is unlikely to be an outcry from the people regarding this treatment, apart from a cry for you to depart if Americans expats' presence becomes a nuisance or threat to the Swiss.

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PS On a less serious note, I DO like Cheese and Beer very much, but I am curious why poultry products have such a higher cost in Switzerland... Are the Swiss not fond of chicken and eggs?
Swiss food production is highly protected through tariffs and subsidies and the prices are a direct result of that. Many people live near borders in order to buy food (especially meat) in Europe and transport it back, subject to periodic limits. Swiss meat, however, is usually of the highest quality (exceptions being supermarkets), with no antibiotics, hormones, or genetically-modified feed. For a truly astonishing experience, be sure to buy a sandwich at McDonalds on your visit and compare it to the same back in the US.
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Old 06.09.2012, 21:03
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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Fair enough, and I kind of anticipated that. What do you (or anyone reading this) suppose the reason for that happens to be? Is it inflationary pressure from so many converting their currency to CHF? Is it something more legislative (subsidies/tarrifs), or is it more logistical (it costs a lot to bring in what is needed to support the agriculture or limited agricultural land available)?
It's because regulations are much stricter here regarding "factory farming", hormone use and pesticides, the Swiss believe in people making a living wage so labor costs are higher, rents are higher, tariffs on imports, etc, etc. It's different here.
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Old 06.09.2012, 21:04
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

Regarding:

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6. Would the federal or cantonal government imprison you without trial or charges for saying, writing, posting, or otherwise transmitting strong criticism of that government and political leaders?
Folks shouldn't laugh at this, it is happening, but the major news isn't reporting it. It's no conspiracy, just business.


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Old 06.09.2012, 21:15
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

[QUOTE=Wisescarab;1656291]Regarding:

In regards to the PM you sent me (apparently in the forum I'm limited to only 4 messages a day, so I can't respond via PM), I might have signed up on that forum too, I tend to use the same screen name on several sites. I haven't been on there in quite some time though as I'm pretty much "politicked" out when it comes to US politics.
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Old 06.09.2012, 21:23
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

Thought it would be a good guess. Mostly I was too when I left the states. Now I just don't pay any attention to anything happening in the US. I'm focused on my Swiss life.
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Old 06.09.2012, 21:27
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

Aedile, most of us here do like our lives in Switzerland - it is a very nice country afterall. However, I worry that you are looking at it through a very filtered prism, wearing a pair of rose-colored glasses. The reality of Switzerland is quite different from the popular media image - especially the way the US media looks at it.

Hint: we have seen posters from both the US extreme right and from the US extreme left posting here, waxing on about what a utopia Switzerland must be... wanting to immigrate - for the exactly opposite reasons. The Switzerland that is portrayed in the media is really something of a myth.

Which is not to discourage you from trying to immigrate - heck, what could be more American (and less Swiss ) than the power of positive thinking, than working towards a dream. But as you begin your research, please keep your mind open to the possibility that your perceptions are not quite in line with the reality.

We've seen it over and over again here on EF - a certain kind of disaffected American looking for the promised land, hoping to find it in the Alps. If I remember correctly, none of those posters ever made it over here.

Switzerland is indeed a nice place, as I said. Just be aware that there is a dark side, and many whose philosophies are in alignment with yours find living here very difficult.

Don't form opinions of Switzerland from the English-language media - learn German, French, Italian. Read about the real Switzerland in the Swiss media.

Wishing you all the best.
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Old 06.09.2012, 21:47
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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Agreed, it is not libertarianism, but it does serve as an additional check on government overreach, which is the part about it I like. My faith in the principles of a federal government outlined in a federal constitution outweigh my faith in pure libertarianism. I am willing to cede a small measure of libertarianism for a mechanism to put the government on notice that it has gone too far and that it is responsible to the people - rather than the other way around as it is here in the US over the last several decades.

As a previous poster said, in Switzerland, the people are the highest governmental body. Here in the US, this is no longer the case (if indeed it ever was - it hasn't been the case in my 31 years). Here in the US, especially with the recent supreme court decision in re: "Obamacare", the federal government is superior to the states and the people, and anything it chooses to impose becomes the norm - no opposition allowed.

And the idea that we can just vote out the people who passed those laws is a false hope. We have changed our executive 2 times in the last decade (3 if you count just our legislature) and no major policy of one party has ever been repealed by the other party in that time frame - despite many of the legislative candidates running on exactly that position.

So I prefer the bottom up approach of the Swiss toward their government versus the top down approach that is the norm here in the US - if only from the logical position as to how can 537 people several thousand miles away presume to know exactly what I should spend my money on, what I should eat, and how I should live my life?

Healthcare is mandated in switzerland. Actually, Obamacare looks a lot like the Swiss system (except there is a real mandate unlike the false one in Obamacare and no employer involvement in healthcare system))
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Old 06.09.2012, 21:48
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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Aedile, most of us here do like our lives in Switzerland - it is a very nice country afterall. However, I worry that you are looking at it through a very filtered prism, wearing a pair of rose-colored glasses. The reality of Switzerland is quite different from the popular media image - especially the way the US media looks at it.

Hint: we have seen posters from both the US extreme right and from the US extreme left posting here, waxing on about what a utopia Switzerland must be... wanting to immigrate - for the exactly opposite reasons. The Switzerland that is portrayed in the media is really something of a myth.

Which is not to discourage you from trying to immigrate - heck, what could be more American (and less Swiss ) than the power of positive thinking, than working towards a dream. But as you begin your research, please keep your mind open to the possibility that your perceptions are not quite in line with the reality.

We've seen it over and over again here on EF - a certain kind of disaffected American looking for the promised land, hoping to find it in the Alps. If I remember correctly, none of those posters ever made it over here.

Switzerland is indeed a nice place, as I said. Just be aware that there is a dark side, and many whose philosophies are in alignment with yours find living here very difficult.

Don't form opinions of Switzerland from the English-language media - learn German, French, Italian. Read about the real Switzerland in the Swiss media.

Wishing you all the best.
Understood, and honestly I pay VERY little attention to our media here. Most of what I know of Switzerland (politically and economically) I've learned from independent research, checking out books on the subject from the library, taking comparative politics courses, speaking to those from CH or who have visited/lived in CH, etc.

So as I've mentioned before, I do not expect Switzerland to match my ideology 100%. What I DO hope matches is the following:

1. Cantons and the people have greater power than the federal government

2. People may overturn laws they feel go too far through a national referendum

3. People are more politically satisfied as there are several political parties which would more closely match your political ideology than a dichotomy, like the US, would

4. The government doesn't arbitrarily deny you your individual rights and civil liberties, there isn't an ever-encroaching growth of a police state apparatus at home and an ever-growing interventionist empire abroad.

5. Most regulations and restrictions are imposed locally (canton and commune) or upon each other through social comity (like several posters mentioned, the Swiss police their own), rather than centrally from the federal government.

So perhaps I misaimed with this post by emphasizing "libertarian" when what I really truly want is to live in a nation where the people are masters of their government, rather than the other way around.

The direct democracy of the national referendum does worry me to an extent, but I am hoping there is a sufficient check on overreach there through a recognition of fundamental human rights. For example, if gay folks in CH make up, say 4% of the population and 51% of the population and cantons vote to put them in concentration camps, I would assume something like that would not stand under some constitutional protection or another?

I have read a little about the minaret controversy, I am not sure of the ultimate outcome other than additional minarets are banned in CH. This is not a ban on mosques, as I understand it, so the freedom of Muslims to worship in CH has not been impacted beyond not being allowed to build minarets by their mosques. The muezzin (probably mispelled that) can still call the faithful to prayer as far as I know. While if I were a Muslim, I might feel such a ban is an attack on my faith, I view it as a restriction that doesn't impact the ability to practice that faith as a minaret is not absolutely necessary to express one's Muslim faith.

But being that Muslims make up something like 4% of the population of Switzerland, exchange gay for Muslim in my previous example, I would assume that the people of Switzerland would not be able to pursue a national referendum to place all Muslims in concentration camps, yes?
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Old 06.09.2012, 22:29
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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The direct democracy of the national referendum does worry me to an extent, but I am hoping there is a sufficient check on overreach there through a recognition of fundamental human rights. For example, if gay folks in CH make up, say 4% of the population and 51% of the population and cantons vote to put them in concentration camps, I would assume something like that would not stand under some constitutional protection or another?

I have read a little about the minaret controversy, I am not sure of the ultimate outcome other than additional minarets are banned in CH. This is not a ban on mosques, as I understand it, so the freedom of Muslims to worship in CH has not been impacted beyond not being allowed to build minarets by their mosques. The muezzin (probably mispelled that) can still call the faithful to prayer as far as I know. While if I were a Muslim, I might feel such a ban is an attack on my faith, I view it as a restriction that doesn't impact the ability to practice that faith as a minaret is not absolutely necessary to express one's Muslim faith.

But being that Muslims make up something like 4% of the population of Switzerland, exchange gay for Muslim in my previous example, I would assume that the people of Switzerland would not be able to pursue a national referendum to place all Muslims in concentration camps, yes?
There are different interpretations to the minaret referendum. As you can guess, the Muslims are not at all happy and so see it as an attack on their religious freedom. But as you say, mosques are not banned, and with power comes responsibility so I don't think outrageous ideas stand much chance of being adopted. If a law was proposed to march all Muslims to concentration camps it would stand no chance of being accepted in my opinion. Gays are actually quite well accepted by much of the population and many of the debates going on in the US would be unthinkable here.
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Old 06.09.2012, 22:35
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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I've taken this into account, I will transfer with my company to Ireland, establish my residency there, renouce my U.S. citizenship post haste, and then from Ireland, move to Switzerland...
While I can appreciate your point of view as generally expressed in this thread, unless I've missed something, the above comments lead me to offer the following:
  1. Regardless of the fact that they're not legally entitled to do so, some (but not all) US state department employees refuse to execute rununciations where the renouncing citizen has no citizenship other than US. (Their rationale, I think, is that they refuse be responsible for creating a stateless person.) I didn't see where you have (or have the means to gain) an additional citizenship, hence the caveat.
  2. Unless you had a valid basis for seeking entry for asylum purposes, I'm not sure you would find it at all easy to enter Switzerland without some form of citizenship. In the job arena alone, positions are supposed to go first to Swiss, second to EU/Schengen citizens, and then to those outside that circle — which, by definition, doesn't include the stateless.
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Old 06.09.2012, 22:42
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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There are different interpretations to the minaret referendum. As you can guess, the Muslims are not at all happy and so see it as an attack on their religious freedom. But as you say, mosques are not banned, and with power comes responsibility so I don't think outrageous ideas stand much chance of being adopted. If a law was proposed to march all Muslims to concentration camps it would stand no chance of being accepted in my opinion. Gays are actually quite well accepted by much of the population and many of the debates going on in the US would be unthinkable here.
That's good to hear, and that is one issue that irks me to no end with our political right here in the US, this whole imposition of biblical viewpoints through legislation is very disturbing to me. I know the SVP is fairly right wing/populist from what I've read, but even they seem to be a little to the left of our Republicans here.

Anyway, I read up a little bit on the Swiss Constitution and the protection of rights over the last few hours and it seems that there is in fact a constitutional protection in place to prevent something like mass internment of potentially unpopular minorities. So it's one thing to say that the Swiss are unlikely to pursue such a goal (that could all change in a heartbeat if we are to learn lessons from history - even in a country as politically/socially stable as Switzerland), but I wanted to be sure there were constitutional protections against something like that ever taking place, and it appears that there is a constitutional recognition of fundamental human rights - So my fears of that direct democracy mechanism are assuaged.

So on balance, from what I can take away from the responses thus far, the biggest thing for me to worry about from Switzerland are high prices, high consumption-related taxes, and mild xenophobia. If this is the worst Switzerland has to throw at me, I am confident I would be able to cope.
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Old 06.09.2012, 22:44
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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Milk is 1.10-1.40 a litre.

You should go straight to the horse's mouth
Were you brought up on a farm?
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Old 06.09.2012, 22:47
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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Fair enough, and I kind of anticipated that. What do you (or anyone reading this) suppose the reason for that happens to be? Is it inflationary pressure from so many converting their currency to CHF? Is it something more legislative (subsidies/tarrifs), or is it more logistical (it costs a lot to bring in what is needed to support the agriculture or limited agricultural land available)?
*big sigh* Once again, people, the cost of producing something, and the price at which is sells bear NO relation to each other.

The price of chicken is not higher here because the chickens wear nicer shoes, its because people will pay it. Economics 101 I'm afraid

In relation to your other quote on pg 1 (not sure not to add a multiquote thing in an edit, I'm afraid) - your "proof" is a list of articles from the web. I don't deny that such articles exist or many people believe them to be true. But I don't think that me NOT believing them makes me ignorant
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Old 06.09.2012, 22:50
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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While I can appreciate your point of view as generally expressed in this thread, unless I've missed something, the above comments lead me to offer the following:
  1. Regardless of the fact that they're not legally entitled to do so, some (but not all) US state department employees refuse to execute rununciations where the renouncing citizen has no citizenship other than US. (Their rationale, I think, is that they refuse be responsible for creating a stateless person.) I didn't see where you have (or have the means to gain) an additional citizenship, hence the caveat.
  2. Unless you had a valid basis for seeking entry for asylum purposes, I'm not sure you would find it at all easy to enter Switzerland without some form of citizenship. In the job arena alone, positions are supposed to go first to Swiss, second to EU/Schengen citizens, and then to those outside that circle — which, by definition, doesn't include the stateless.
Well yes, I've done a little research on being stateless, and it would be more a matter of principle and a political statement to renounce my citizenship. The consul might be loathe to creating a stateless individual, but there is nothing in the current law preventing me from renoucing my citizenship without an additional one lined up.

That said, in practical terms, it might be better to move to Ireland, establish residency there, and then renouce my citizenship. I would have to do more research on being a EU resident and getting a job in Switzerland versus being a EU citizen and getting a job in Switzerland, pros and cons, etc. This is, of course, assuming I don't have enough saved up by then to enter as an investor/entrepreneur, which I might. But again, more research is needed.

This is why I have my time horizon set 5 years out, I know this isn't something I could do within the next year or two, it will take many more years of legal research and planning to set all this up. Perhaps by that time the US might actually return to its constitutional limitations at the federal level and the people will reassert their control over their government... Mind you I'm not holding my breath on that.

Panem et Circenses seems to be the modern national motto of the US rather than E Pluribus Unum.
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Old 06.09.2012, 22:59
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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*big sigh* Once again, people, the cost of producing something, and the price at which is sells bear NO relation to each other.

The price of chicken is not higher here because the chickens wear nicer shoes, its because people will pay it. Economics 101 I'm afraid

In relation to your other quote on pg 1 (not sure not to add a multiquote thing in an edit, I'm afraid) - your "proof" is a list of articles from the web. I don't deny that such articles exist or many people believe them to be true. But I don't think that me NOT believing them makes me ignorant
Certainly, it makes you no more ignorant than those who, despite proof to the alternative, believe that the world was created in 6 days several thousand years ago, believe the earth is flat, and believe the sun circles the earth.

You are certainly free to deny facts to your hearts content, and that makes you no more ignorant than a young Earth creationist, a flat-earther, or a terra-centric believer.

I shall not toss pearls before swine, have a good day.
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Old 06.09.2012, 23:02
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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Certainly, it makes you no more ignorant than those who, despite proof to the alternative, believe that the world was created in 6 days several thousand years ago, believe the earth is flat, and believe the sun circles the earth.

You are certainly free to deny facts to your hearts content, and that makes you no more ignorant than a young Earth creationist, a flat-earther, or a terra-centric believer.

I shall not toss pearls before swine, have a good day.
So you define yourself as a libertarian, but not insofar as allowing people to take a different position to yourself without being mildly insulting?
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Old 06.09.2012, 23:06
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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So you define yourself as a libertarian, but not insofar as allowing people to take a different position to yourself without being mildly insulting?
Not at all, you are certainly free to an alternative viewpoint and the denial of facts presented, that is your right. I have nothing against young earth creationists, flat earthers, or terra-centric believers either.
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Old 06.09.2012, 23:14
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Re: Questions from a libertarian that would like to move to Switzerland

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The price of chicken is not higher here because the chickens wear nicer shoes, its because people will pay it. Economics 101 I'm afraid
There is certainly SOME relation. It costs more to produce said chicken. So surely they are not going to sell it for a lose. Chicken imported from other countries is less expensive, I imagine because it costs less to produce/acquire. No?
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