Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bizarre Attack on the"Libertarian Moment"

Jim Newell at Salon has an article on "libertarianism." The title reveals much:
Libertarians’ true identity revealed: Rich conservatives OK with gay people, basically
He then provides this gem in the article:
 You’d expect, then, that those who know what “libertarianism” is and call themselves “libertarians” would be broadly in favor of the whole ideological package: “social liberalism,” for lack of a better term, anti-police state, anti-interventionist, and hella anti-economic regulation and so forth — small government, all around.

That’s not necessarily the case among those 11 percent, Pew finds. The 11 percent are, indeed, more likely than the public overall to say “government aid to the poor does more harm than good by making people too dependent on government assistance,” and “somewhat more likely than the public overall to say government regulation of business does more harm than good.” They’re also more likely than the public overall to support legalizing marijuana.

But on cops and foreign policy? Self-identified libertarians-who-generally-know-what-libertarianism-is are a little more supportive than the public overall of letting police do whatever the hell they want and bombing everyone all the time (although the foreign policy question is spectacularly vague).
In the the article,though, he also tells us who he is really talking about:
Who would be the foot soldiers in this Libertarian Moment that’s not really arriving? The usual, well-funded thinkers that have given the “movement” a disproportionately large voice within debates in Washington, D.C., for decades — Reason magazine, the Cato Institute — along with a few MTV VJs from the ’90s. Also: Rand Paul! 
In other words, what he is talking about are libwaps and beltarians. And, of course, Rand, who is the supreme leader of "the muddy the notion of what libertarian principle is" team.

The only accurate point made in the article is not about libertarianism, but about libwaps, beltariains and team Rand and that in their search for followers and power, they will continue to dilute the message:
[A]ny political movement is going to need more than just a few magazines and think tanks and a scion whose political future depends on the extent to which he’s willing to water down his libertarianism.
Bottom line: Those self-described "libertarians" who dilute the message of libertarianism beyond the non-aggression principle are falling right into the hands of advocates of the state. Such "libertarians" must be challenged by pure libertarians at every turn so that the general public can understand what libertarianism really is and recognize when false positions are attributed to the movement.

The only view that PL has on gays is that as long as they are not violating the non-aggression principle, they are fine to do whatever the hell they want, but this doesn't mean that a libertarian has to be "OK" with the gay life style (SEE: About My Racist Friends, My Homophobic Friends and My Own Prejudices) and there is no PL who is in favor of "bombing everyone all the time." PLs are about trade and "live and let live," not the expansion of the Empire, or for that matter, the Empire or the state at all.



  1. The comments at the end of the Jim Newell article at Salon are interesting. Almost without exception, misrepresentation of libertarianism seems to be the substance of the Salon commenters. They appear to think that libertarians = republicans.

    1. That's the problem with Cato, Reason, and Rand- they give the impression that you can bomb people and be a libertarian. They do have followers, surprisingly.

    2. Which then makes it easy for liberals to make these arguments.

  2. Typical straw man argument, it's not worth the effort to argue with them about it, his mind was made up before he wrote the article and the target audience is like minded.

  3. As an aside, the "rich" canard is especially interesting because it confuses causality. Do people prefer freedom and personal responsibility because they have money? Or did they accumulate money because they preferred freedom and personal responsibility?

    For most people, respect for the NAP simply pays better over time than opportunistic aggression. When I was a newlywed filing for bankruptcy, nobody could accuse me of being libertarian because I had money. Now of course that would be their one and only explanation, even though my living the NAP remains a matter of moral principle.