Monday, September 8, 2014

I Am Still A Freedom Addict

By Victor J. Ward ran an article about a recovering Libertarian -- specifically a Ron Paul addict. (

Since my addiction continues, I thought that I would address some of the relevant points. Maybe the recovered author would like to provide me with his 12 steps to sobriety.

Article: "When I was 15, I was that kid people wanted to punch in the face. I sent emails to Wolf Blitzer and Glenn Beck asking them just how in the world they could’ve said the Libertarian Party was “fringe.” I booed when my classmate mentioned the New Deal in a presentation on “The Great Gatsby.”  When my Ron Paul 2008 sweat shirt went missing on a family vacation, I immediately implicated the CIA in the abduction."
Response: If you booed your classmate during their presentation, this means that you were a jerk. Being a libertarian doesn't mean that you insult people or refuse to listen to their points of view. In fact, most of the libertarians that I know WANT to hear what people have to say. They want to have an exchange of ideas.
If you thought that the CIA stole your shirt, you were being silly: The CIA doesn't steal shirts; the CIA assassinates people.
Article: "I am not that kid anymore. . . My views haven’t changed as much as you might expect; I maintain that centralized government power, whether in the economic or social sphere, results in corruption and abuse more often than not. But when people ask me where I stand ideologically, I cringe at the thought of responding with “freedom” or “limited government,” phrases that I once seemed destined to have tattooed on my forehead. Now, I’m more likely to stammer for a few seconds before coming up with something like, “Hey, uh, it’s pretty sunny out there today, no?”
Response: Ok, thanks for making things clear: You think the ability to get a suntan is more important than freedom.
Article: "People always told me that my staunch libertarianism would erode when I went to college and saw the world through a wider lens."
Response: Wider lens? What college did you go to? Furthermore, what about the libertarian concept of freedom from government oppression can that be eroded with a wider lens?
Article: "I didn’t believe them. . . Contrary to how the story often goes, there was no professor, classmate or piece of reading that exhorted me toward neoconservatism or Marxism. Instead, it was consorting with my fellow libertarians that drove me away."
Response: So you were a libertarian because you thought libertarianism was like or like a MeetUp or like hanging out throwing darts.
No, libertarianism is a political philosophy. I have met some libertarians that I, in all honesty, hope to never meet again. But this is true for all walks of life. It has nothing to do with truth. Again, your lack of philosophical rigor is rather embarrassing -- and I say this as someone who is an admitted lightweight in the area of philosophical reasoning.
Article: "Posts like the one claiming that public schools, the very institutions that employed many of my family members, were “replete with agents of state-orchestrated indoctrination” (good job with the SAT words there, guys) were enough to keep me from ever showing up to a College Libertarians meeting."
Response: I take this to mean that when you encounter truth, if said truth causes you any type of discomfort, you abandon said truth for the sake of emotional ease.
Article: "Still, a few crazy Facebookers weren’t going to douse my political aspirations. I made my way through a revolving door of internships on Capitol Hill and at nonprofits. It was in a congressional office that I became acutely aware of a group of people I call “Discipauls,” and learned just how troublesome they could be. I want to be clear that a mere Ron Paul supporter is often completely different from a Discipaul. Plenty of people are sympathetic to the anti-establishment former congressman, and with good reason, but few of them reach the Discipauls’ level of kookery. The Discipauls could not go a day without bringing their faxes and phone calls to the interns’ attention. Their messages of “Hey, vote for this bill because Ron Paul supports it!” or “All of the presidential candidates not named Ron Paul are guilty of treason!” were relentless."
Response: If Ron Paul had his groupies, what does that have to do with the message of liberty or libertarianism? You, sir, are just as bad as the people you call "Discipauls." You accuse them of blindly following a man and not actually listening to what the man had to say. You, however, did the exact same thing: You listened to a person ( a discipaul) and never bothered to really look at the message. 
Article: "Sometimes, on rare days when internship-related drudgery hadn’t caused me to glaze over, I would challenge and debate the Discipauls (this was explicitly not to be part of my job description – oops). There was a consistent lack of constitutional literacy and current events knowledge emanating from their end of the phone line. One lady called me, practically out of breath over the fact that Obamacare would “mandate microchip implantation for all citizens.” When I asked her where she found this information, she referred me to a YouTube video called “666 Mark of the Beast.”
Response: Lack of Constitutional literacy? C'mon, man. If you are going to make that charge, at least give an example of how someone didn't understand the Bill of Rights, or didn't understand that only Congress could declare war, or didn't know that Article 3 dealt with the judiciary. No, you gave as an example some person who was, seemingly, a little bit of a soft-head.
In my experience, libertarians are the most well-read and well-reasoned people. They are consistent in their beliefs.
Speaking of consistency, I must admit that at times past, I have been somewhat sympathetic to the argument: "Anarchy will never work."
I was disabused of this specious line of thought when I read somewhere something similar to the following: "So, the only reason that you are in favor of the government NOW is because with anarchy, you are sure that we would eventually end up with government LATER?"
Article: "Libertarians rejected the two major-party platforms that Americans are expected to conform to, and instead took the initiative to seek out a more obscure way of thinking."
No, Libertarians are not looking for a more obscure way of thinking. That statement is an obscure way of thinking for it doesn't make any sense. Who says, "I'm going to look for and find a totally different way of thinking?"
If your thinking is not grounded in truth, it's nothing but gibberish. So, even an "obscure way of thinking" must have some relationship with logic or it's not a "way of thinking."
Article: "Of course, libertarianism has not taken hold in any meaningful way, because it is not a middle-of-the-road philosophy at all. In the right hands, it could be, but its current practitioners are keeping it on the margins of political discourse. The two best descriptors that come to mind are “extreme” and “rigid.” Libertarians could build up quite a bit of goodwill with their fiscally conservative and socially liberal leanings, if they didn’t insist on leaning so damn far. Bullheaded, reductive platitudes like “taxation is theft” instantly alienate people who, say, are victims of actual theft."
Response: Yes, we libertarians are extreme. Is just a little bit of aggression ok? I wonder how my wife would feel about a little bit of adultery? I wonder how my dogs would feel about a little bit of kicking?
Regarding taxes and theft: Around five years ago, my car was broken into and a briefcase was stolen. I called the police. They took a report, but they never found my bag. I was a victim of real theft. I have had other things stolen: About $2,000 from someone whom I thought was a friend; an iPhone; my food in the community fridge. I haven't lost a lot, but I think that I can say I've been a victim of real theft.
None of these thefts, however, compare with the financial theft and rape that I suffer every year at the hands of the government. Recently, our accountant told us that the government wanted us to pay $25k more than the taxes we had already paid.
I guess I should have been glad. Last year they wanted over $55k.
When I had my bag stolen, the only emotions I felt were disappointment and anger. With taxes, I also have fear. I literally felt my heart beating faster as I opened the letter telling me how much more money the government was going to take from me.
Furthermore, when I have something stolen from me I don't have to listen to people like Elizabeth Warren saying that I need to pay my fair share. Everyone sees that theft is wrong.

Oh wait -- everyone except for Paul Krugman and Keynesians. I am sure that Krugman supported the theft of my iPhone because after I had my phone stolen, I bought another one. This helped the economy. And of course, the person that stole my iPhone may have sold it. This helped his personal economy. So, a crime against me actually benefitted society. 
A little bit of a tangent: Why does Krugman only trot out his broken window fallacy when there is a natural disaster? As I show above, the fallacy can be applied to every criminal act, so, in Krugman's world, every criminal act should be a net positive for the economy.
Article: "Knee-jerk anti-government sentiment is not a viable political philosophy." 
Response: No, it's not. What about a well thought out anti-government sentiment?
Article: "It doesn’t work in theory, and is a disaster in practice, but it’s what libertarians have allowed their movement to become." 
Response: Ok, I'll bite: Why doesn't it work in theory and where has it failed in practice?
Article: "Here I was surrounded by the type of people who wore suits to work daily, thrilled to one-up the business-casual dress code. My co-workers awoke in the mornings thinking about liberty, went to their offices and worked on liberty, took lunch breaks to talk about liberty, and then left work and volunteered at soup kitchens in the evenings. I’m just kidding about that last one; they went home and made Facebook posts about liberty, of course!"
Response: I know a libertarian who paid for a meal for a person who had a sprained finger. Just kidding: The libertarian paid for a months worth of groceries for a person with stage three cancer.
I am not sure what this guy was smoking, but there is nothing better in the political realm than taking a hit from the pipe of freedom.
Victor J. Ward  first came across libertarianism by reading Murray Rothbard's Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy and Walter Block's Defending the Undefendable. He holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and an MBA from Santa Clara University.


  1. This was the funniest article that I have read relating to politics in a long time.

    "If you booed your classmate during their presentation, this means that you were a jerk. Being a libertarian doesn't mean that you insult people or refuse to listen to their points of view." Also, why you got punched in the face.

  2. I think that guys' mistake was going to DC. Seems to change everybody. I dont know how many times Ive said this but Lew Rockwell was brilliant in establishing the Mises Institute outside the beltway area. AND, WAY OUTSIDE AT THAT! Just one more point of encouragement, for every recovering libertarian there are thousands of recovering Rebublicans and Democrats and your writings are helping to grow those numbers. Keep up the great work.