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Saying it like it is



I was reading the latest issue of Secular Nation, and one article in particular made me smile.

Why Atheist Libertarians Are Part of USA’s 1% Problem
By CJ Werleman

In the days running up to Thanksgiving, Walmart urged its workers to donate food to their most in-need colleagues. You know, instead of Walmart having to pay said workers a livable wage. When people ask me what libertarianism looks like, I tell them that. By people I mean atheists, because for some stupid reason, far too many of my nonbeliever brethren have hitched their wagon to the daftest of all socio-economic theories.

It doesn’t help when atheist luminaries publicly extol their libertarianism. Penn Jillette writes, “What makes me a libertarian is what makes me an atheist — I don’t know. If I don’t know, I don’t believe….I’ll wait for real evidence and then I’ll believe.”

Well, the only excuse Jillette has for his breathtaking ignorance is that he earns his living performing as a Las Vegas magician. Also, he graduated from a clown college.

Famed science author and editor of Skeptic magazine Michael Shermer says he became a libertarian after reading Ayn Rand’s tome Atlas Shrugged. Wait, what? That’s the book that continues to inspire college sophomores during the height of their masturbatory careers, typically young Republicans (nee fascists). But unless your name is Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), most people grow out of the “Screw you, I have mine” economic principles bestowed by the Russian-born philosopher by the time they’re legally old enough to order their first beer.

You can begin crying now: O WHY DOES HE DIVIDE THE ATHEIST COMMUNITY SO? BOOO HOO HOO.

Also look for good articles on electing atheists to political office by Edward Tabash, and Herb Silverman writing about his hopeful expectations for atheists in politics. Just not Tea Party politics, please.

Comments

  1. microraptor says

    I gave up on libertarianism about the same time as I gave up religion.

    Near as I could tell, they both had the same level of connection to reality.

  2. sugarfrosted says

    When I started out as an atheist I was a Libertarian. After one intro economics class and a bit of calculus I realized how little understanding they had and gave up on it.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    I gave up on conservatism around the same time as I gave up on religion, that is to say in college. However, I was not yet willing to pull a complete political 180 at that time. At the time, I still thought “socialism” as represented by liberals was just as tyrannical as the “fascism” of the Republicans. A truly consistant, freedom-loving system would allow legal abortion and gay marriage as well as operate on laissez faire capitalism without either “Big Government” or “Big God” telling us what to do.

    That was before I painfully found out that capitalism was a Ponzi scheme where no amount of “hard work” would ever get you anywhere (but a large amount of dishonesty and nepotism would). After ending up on the unemployment rolls a few times, I started to appreciate socialism and saw that our government simply wasn’t “Big” enough.

  4. fmitchell says

    Catholic education has a lot of problems, but at least it gave me enough logic and empathy to see through objectivism/libertarianism fairly quickly. Or maybe throwing off one set of self-serving medieval beliefs inoculated me against all others.

  5. says

    Huh. I never had a conservative or libertarian phase — I remember my friends in high school getting into objectivism (and Rush), and thinking right from the beginning that it was a load of stinking codswallop. I suspect my father trained me to oppose it, since we were always a blue collar, labor and union family, and actually valuing collective action tends to cut off Randism at the knees.

  6. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    And we just dispensed with Tom J. Now you bring this out?

    And I told him you didn’t like using the Banhammer, PZ!

    Sigh.

    If any of the libertarians make legal arguments like Dietwald Claus, give me a holler. I’ll leave the economic takedowns to the more knowledgeable.

  7. says

    This:

    Penn Jillette writes, “What makes me a libertarian is what makes me an atheist — I don’t know. If I don’t know, I don’t believe….I’ll wait for real evidence and then I’ll believe.”

    is nonsense.
    If evidence is the reason Penn became an atheist, then what evidence led him to become libertarian?

  8. karpad says

    I’m okay with this division of the atheist community. There’s no point in a “community” where the only shared characteristic is something we all don’t have.

    I’m pretty sure most atheists or “skeptics” are alright with dividing from the community people who are atheist because they believe the human origin story presented in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus is literally true. Those people don’t believe in god either. People who claim to have psychic powers but don’t believe in god. Bigfoot and UFOs and Uri Geller and Past Lives aren’t inherently theistic, and I’m pretty sure most are okay with separating them out.

    I’m not interested in that community. I’ll totally grant Penn Jillette that he’s atheist. I wouldn’t dare subscribe otherwise. But I’ll also say he doesn’t have anything that really makes me want to sit down and have a heavy conversation with.

  9. says

    This post made me curious about the demographics of libertarians in the US. Given some of the core ideas of libertarianism, I wonder if it attracts people with certain privileges.

    Compared to Americans overall, libertarians are composed of a much larger portion of men than women. More than two-thirds (68 percent) of libertarians are men, while 32 percent are women. They are also racially homogeneous, with nearly all (94 percent) libertarians identifying as non-Hispanic whites. They also skew significantly younger. More than 6-in-10 (62 percent) libertarians are under the age of 50, including one-quarter (25 percent) who are under the age of 30.

    http://publicreligion.org/2013/11/libertariangotw/

  10. says

    I get a lot of my political views from being in the Marines for 4 years… blind following sucks, everyone following competent people and obeying sensible rules is better than the anarchist alternative, and removing most economic stress from your life is a net positive.

    I’ve always been an atheist, so I’m not sure about how a de-convert would see it. I would imagine that replacing the catch-all Deus ex machina of “Jesus” with “Free Markets” is kind of a sad way of finding your way to atheism/skepticism… and really just putting yourself into another fool’s trap.

  11. Rey Fox says

    Learning about the Gilded Age in high school and being concerned with conservation and environmental issues inoculated me against libertarianism, even though I went through the requisite “there shouldn’t be so many rules, man” phase.

  12. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @improbable joe:

    If being less sensible looks like this shot of Franti (once on the article’s page, click pic to embiggen), then I think you should be less sensible AND be around here more often.

  13. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    I am the son of a minister, and I was quite young when I figured out that the following tautology: “The says it is inerrant; and because it says it is inerrant, it is [inerrant]” was meaningless. So when I explored libertarianism, I found a very similar tautology: “The Free Market is right because it is right.” which was also meaningless.

    It also showed that libertarianism required two things: 1) A passive or an active ignorant of political and economic history, and 2) a faith in such precepts as the tautology above which requires rejecting facts.

    All the other bullshit of libertarianism: the authoritarianism, cruelty, racism, sexism, and overall inhumanity followed naturally from the above — as do the faults of religion.

    Therefore I have treated libertarianism as religion, and a particularly obnoxious one, for the last forty years.

  14. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    Aargh! First line: :”The BIBLE says it is inerrant . .”

    Staying up too late.

  15. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    /takes great big toke, puts on big headphones

    The free market is totally like Neil Peart’s drums on “La Villa Strangiato,” dude…

  16. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    …and the trees are all kept equal
    by hatchet, axe, and saw!

    Say it, Geddy! Truth!

  17. woozy says

    Penn Jillette writes, “What makes me a libertarian is what makes me an atheist — I don’t know. If I don’t know, I don’t believe….I’ll wait for real evidence and then I’ll believe.”

    Tony! the fucking Queer Shiip: .. is nonsense.
    If evidence is the reason Penn became an atheist, then what evidence led him to become libertarian?

    I think Penn is saying it is lack of evidence that made him an atheist and lack of evidence in any economic principal the made him a libertarian.

    I, personally, think these aren’t comparable. The natural world is what external reality does. Economics is what people do. To choose a natural philosophy you look at the world and and decide what you think it *is*. To choose an economic system you luck at people at decide what you think you *should do*. An atheist may be simply a realist in an indifferent world. A libertarian is an apathetic monster in a world he chooses to make indifferent.

  18. says

    Famed science author and editor of Skeptic magazine Michael Shermer says he became a libertarian after reading Ayn Rand’s tome Atlas Shrugged. Wait, what?

    Let me second this. I am currently reading Atlas Shrugged in order to keep up with Adam Lee’s ongoing critique, and it is vastly, vastly stupider than I could have ever imagined. It is downright comical in its anti-realism and anti-humanism. How anyone could be persuaded by that book is beyond me. It certainly doesn’t make Shermer, who has his good points, look very bright.

    That said, I also had a libertarian phase during late high school/early college age, but I soon grew out of it. I’d like to think that reading Atlas Shrugged at that age would have hastened my exit, but who knows.

  19. says

    Wait, I just remembered something. In Shermer’s book, Why People Believe Weird Things, he has an entire chapter critiquing the cult of Ayn Rand as an example of weird belief. So WTF?

  20. woozy says

    Man I can’t type worth shit.

    I, personally, think these aren’t comparable. The natural world is what external reality is. Economics is what people do. To choose a natural philosophy you look at the world and and decide what you think it *is*. To choose an economic system you look at people and decide what you think they *should do*. An atheist may be simply a realist in an indifferent world. A libertarian is an apathetic who makes the world indifferent.

    There, fewere typoes.

    I mean fewer typos.

  21. anuran says

    The question is always how much common cause do you make with others on areas of shared interest?
    How much do you try to find common ground vs. how much do you hold yourself apart based on differences in other areas?

    If you don’t like the Libertarian atheists and Randite(Randian? Randy?) atheists and Republican atheists and won’t work with them on atheist issues because of it that’s one thing. But if you turn around and sneer at religious Labor activists and religious environmentalists and religious civil libertarians and religious advocates of separation Church and State and religious LGBT supporters and religious social justice workers you end up with a nice, homogeneous group that will never accomplish anything outside of the occasional self-congratulatory circle-jerk.

  22. says

    Thanks tigtog. Don’t know how that happened. I strongly recommend that anyone with even a passing interest in Randroids/Shruggalos read that series. The comments section is pretty good too.

  23. anuran says

    clarification: If you exclude some of the religious types you agree with on non-religion issues or some of the conservative sort you agree with on atheism issues you can still make coalitions that can do useful work.

    When you start excluding all or most of them you reach a point where you can’t find anyone who is ideologically pure enough. Then you become forever irrelevant

  24. says

    The mistake a lot of Randroids make when touting their FYIAJ (“fuck you, I’m alright Jack”, pronounced “Fyadge”) economic/political panacea is that they assume they’ll be among the “fittest” that survive and thrive. However, in human society just as in nature, there will always be someone who wants what you have and will be more resourceful, ruthless, desperate or just plain old luckier than you. Without state (or community, however defined) intervention, safety nets or safeguards of any kind (e.g. law enforcement, welfare, corporate regulation) there will be literally nothing stopping whoever-it-is from taking you down, leaving you no recourse but to emulate them and fight tooth and claw to get back what you lost (or just to survive). Unless, of course, you live a life of eternal vigilance surrounded by well-paid thralls (who, by your own stated value system, would be perfectly justified in usurping and destroying you purely because you weren’t vigilant enough to prevent or stop them – effectively bringing it on yourself) or a life of bare subsistence and anonymous hermitage.

    Libertarianism being adopted in the US, UK or Australia (for example) wouldn’t promote self-reliance and strength; it would promote predatory, paranoid, cannibalistic capitalism of a sort barely even dreamed of by the vandals currently in charge of the allegedly democratic West and a lawless survivalist warlord society that would put Mad Max III’s Bartertown and real-life Somalia to shame. If you think today’s 1% are corrupt, rapacious, shortsighted white-collar criminals now, just imagine how they’d behave if the pitiful vestiges of regulation currently reining them in were removed.

    I do wonder if Randroids ever realise the significance of drawing a major philosophy from a work of bad fiction – a philosophy that not only is based in rank implausibility but marked by pure impracticality and characterised by absolutist thinking and embarrassing, sophomoric arguments – and boosting it as The Truth and The Solution? Do they know they’re in exactly the same camp as Bible-thumpers, Raelians and fucking Scientologists?

  25. sugarfrosted says

    @20 Could be worse. They could base their philosophy on an awful Harry Potter fanfic. I mean I don’t think anyone could possibly be that stupid. *coughlesswrongcough*

  26. woozy says

    Wait, I just remembered something. In Shermer’s book, Why People Believe Weird Things, he has an entire chapter critiquing the cult of Ayn Rand as an example of weird belief. So WTF?

    His title of that chapter is The Unlikeliest Cult Ayn Rand, Objectivism, and the Cult of Personality
    . Apparently he has no objection to Ayn Rand or her writings but to her followers’ “cult of personality” which he finds ironic as he believes the Ayn Rand to espouse the epitome of individualism, which he claims is the exact opposite of cult. The “weird thing” according to Shermer is not Ayn Rand’s Libertarianism but Nathaniel Branden’s devout hero worship of Rand. Which he explains as follows: The objectivist Branden finds an objective truth. It is objective and perfect. Thus anyone who disagrees must disagree not because the truth is either subjective (or god forbid, faulty) but because the disbeliever’s reasoning is faulty. Faulty reason can be corrected. Ergo Ayn Rand is inerrant and, presto, cult! A blind faith devotion to promoter of individualism.

    … And from there on the entire chapter becomes a defense of Ayn Rand and her claims that her movement was not a cult and she was not a cult leader.

  27. says

    @37:

    Yep, that’s how I remember it. I recall that Shermer said that he mostly agreed with their political philosophy, but it was the self-contradictory cult of personality that he found weird.

    What I don’t quite get is why he didn’t put two and two together. Cults everywhere are based on ridiculous beliefs. That’s why they require powerful self-reinforcement to maintain themselves, sometimes to the point of complete isolation of their members.

  28. vaiyt says

    “The Free Market is right because it is right.”

    Bingo.

    We should have a free market. Why? Because it’s a free market! Having a free market is fundamental because it’s free! And a market! If we don’t have a free market, then we won’t have a free market, and that’s not in any way conductive to a free market.

  29. says

    If I were an oncologist looking at libertarianism I’d think ‘Yup, I know this stuff’
    Imagine you’re a malignant anal polyp who can think. You’d think ‘More for me is the best of all possible worlds!’
    Anal polyps can only have the illusion of thinking or they’d know that the only possible outcome for a tumour is suicide since it kills the thing that gave it life in the first place.

  30. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Most libertarians are atheists, so there will always be a substantial minority of atheists who are libertarian, however much that may offend you.

    anuran @27:

    if you turn around and sneer at religious Labor activists and religious environmentalists and religious civil libertarians and religious advocates of separation Church and State and religious LGBT supporters and religious social justice workers you end up with a nice, homogeneous group that will never accomplish anything outside of the occasional self-congratulatory circle-jerk.

    I could be wrong, but my impression is that most of the regulars here are quite happy to make common cause with the sort of religious folks you list.

  31. says

    Rex Little:

    I could be wrong, but my impression is that most of the regulars here are quite happy to make common cause with the sort of religious folks you list.

    While I might quibble a little with “quite happy”, I think your impression is correct.

  32. vaiyt says

    Why vaiyt, are you mocking the libertarian mantra?

    It’s so fucking sad! Libertarians are really the kind of ideologue that bores me the most; the ones who elevate abstract principles above the expression of those principles in actual human beings.

    Libertarians are for Freedom in a numinous, technical sense, but are adamantly against practical measures that make most people more capable of exercising their freedom. All that takes for people to be able to do X is for Gub’mint to not lay a law prohibiting X, even if most people are effectively denied X due to poverty, bad business practices or plain old discrimination.

    Most libertarians are atheists, so there will always be a substantial minority of atheists who are libertarian, however much that may offend you.

    What you’re saying to me is that there will always be a substantial minority of atheists who are empathy-stunted dumbass ideologues.

    People can, you know, develop some sense of empathy and stop believing in dumbass ideology. Just swap atheists for society at large, and libertarianism for religion, and see what happens to that argument.

  33. knowknot says

    #25 woozy

    (…)The natural world is what external reality is. Economics is what people do. To choose a natural philosophy you look at the world and and decide what you think it *is*. To choose an economic system you look at people and decide what you think they *should do*. An atheist may be simply a realist in an indifferent world. A libertarian is an apathetic who makes the world indifferent.

    This is good. I was about to write a bit on how libertarianism is to a meaningful political view as the law of the jungle (with privately owned trees) is to wedding reception etiquette, or perhaps as radical sociobiology is to having a clue about culture. In the latter sense, Penn Gillette – the thinking bot’s Ted Nugent – makes the ideal representative statement: that opting out of large-scale ethical decisions in circumstances that affect people’s actual lives is the social equivalent to not believing in the tooth fairy. (To be honest, I still kinda like Gillette. To be more honest, I probably kinda like him like I would like Nugent, if I were a sociopath.)
    |
    Coming from a small logging town, I have always had trouble understanding how anyone from similar could be a libertarian, because when you saw and heard so much of everybody, surely it must be obvious it doesn’t work that way. Things came down in families and stay in families, those who were accepted are supported until they aren’t, you luck into a particular spot, usually without a particular grand plan, you are the lawyer or the doctor because that’s what you were when you rode in, etc.
    |
    But then I realized that the libertarian vein in small towns represents, because it comes down flatly to “don’t come over here and piss on my gate,” as Chris Cornell put it. Because frontier, because Murika, because dammit.
    |
    And though I have simply never been able to read through Atlas Shrugged, I was at one time strongly affected by the Fountainhead. It was like an hot iron in my chest. I felt that all my failings were a result of not having enough Howard Roark in me. I have since realized that this had affected me not because of a desire for integrity, but because I felt small, and had dreams of the bullets of the wrongful gods bouncing of my chest.
    |
    One more thing. Shermer. He was helpful, refreshing and challenging to me when I was being torn away. But… well… look up an article he wrote titled “Why Ann Rand Won’t Go Away” and subbed “Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 and the Motor of Moral Psychology.” I have not the wit to deconstruct (I honestly don’t), but I think I sense some very, very twisted forms swimming in the dark waters thereof. But maybe I’m just seeing demons and stuff as a result of having recently mention the name “Nugent;” being itself an act akin to bleeding a hung chicken.

  34. opposablethumbs says

    Absolutely. If people are doing good (e.g. they’re pro-choice, anti-homophobic bullying, protecting the environment, pro-healthcare-for-all etc.) in spite of being infected with the religion virus, then why wouldn’t I be happy to make common cause with them? I know of a human rights lawyer who’s a catholic; I don’t know how the hell he squares the circle of cognitive dissonance wrt the abuses of the church – or if he’s in any way active in trying to bring his own church to book (he might be, but I don’t know him nearly well enough to tell) – but as a human rights lawyer he’s doing more good in the world than an atheist glibertarian. We probably all know of some religious person or other who’s a truly decent and compassionate human being even though they have that impenetrable blind spot, and conversely know of some atheists who are misogynist pos. After all, the problem with religion – apart from being factually incorrect and tending to encourage the bad mental habit of “faith” – is the actual evil done in rl because of it; it’s not like it’s a 100% reliable magic formula for making people evil despite their good nature (though of course it does tend to have that effect; we all know the Weinberg quotation “With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”.)

  35. Nick Gotts says

    Most libertarians are atheists, so there will always be a substantial minority of atheists who are libertarian – Rex Little@39

    Are you giving us an example of libertarian logic here? Because it’s certainly similar in its idiocy. When libertarians number no more than their fellow-numpties the flat-earthers, every one of them could be an atheist without that constituting a substantial minority of atheists.

  36. A. Noyd says

    vaiyt (#41)

    Libertarians are really the kind of ideologue that bores me the most; the ones who elevate abstract principles above the expression of those principles in actual human beings.

    I have the same problem with theists who go on about “free will.” They share a very similar failure in understanding of what actually limits and enables freedom. For instance, young children getting murdered? That’s somehow necessary to the preservation of our god-given free will—the free will that’s necessary to proving ourselves worthy of heaven. Except, how does being murdered not remove the child’s free will?

    I wonder how much libertarian “freedom” is borrowed from theistic “free will.”

  37. knowknot says

    #32 woozy

    (…) [Shermer] believes Ayn Rand to espouse the epitome of individualism, which he claims is the exact opposite of cult.

    Woozy, you is on my wave this night. I was just trying to clear a hairball caused by this line of thought. Because if that’s individualism, it’s also my ticket to the Borg Collective.

    #27 anuran

    (stuff that was written there)

    Anuran. There is art in this. And subtlety. Similar to fine limburger cheese, in that if you manage to get it in your mouth, it’s actually nice. For about half a second… and then somehow, you’re chewing on a diaper that has previously proven its utility. And you can’t quite imagine how it did that, or who let it happen.

    36 vaiyt

    We should have a free market. Why? Because it’s a free market! Having a free market is fundamental because it’s free! And a market! If we don’t have a free market, then we won’t have a free market, and that’s not in any way conductive to a free market.

    And after some additional boiling down we have: “Markets should be free because STFU.” Which distills the “Reagan Charm” and thus the idolatry; for never has STFU seemed so distantly and unassailably genteel, unopened-bible righteous and lusciously ethyvanillin.

    #45 A. Noyd & vaiyt as quoted

    I have the same problem with theists who go on about “free will.” They share a very similar failure in understanding of what actually limits and enables freedom.

    This is at the center of a huge and potentially productive topic. These and other “stances” strike me as examples of Dunning-Kruger effect on compassion and “the examined life,” as it pertains to the slightest awareness of the complex roots of human thought and action.

  38. brucegorton says

    I followed the basic libertarian ideology right out of highschool.

    Then I got a job in auditing.

    I’m better now.

  39. Muz says

    Some link came up via some atheist youtube video I was watching to a young lass talking about stuff. She said the status of being a slave is one where you’re forced to do things. You’re forced to pay taxes so you are a slave too! Being property and paying some proportion of income or a transaction to the system that guarantees is it practically the same thing! QED.

    And the amount of “OMG! Genius! FW FW FW: So true!” comments underneath was quite sad.

    So I guess it’s not going away just yet. What’s interesting to me is in the last 20yrs or so (probably longer) the notions that arch-idealism used to use to bolster itself have been gradually stripped away by actual knowledge. The human being is a sympathetic, group driven creature (at least to a significant degree); pure abstract free will isn’t such a realistic notion and little things like giving people stuff, it turns out, doesn’t make them dependent.
    Neuroscience and others have been pure individualism and Rand-isms worst enemy.

  40. carlie says

    My experience was the opposite of the atheism/libertarian trend. When I was religious I was a liberal, but a closeted embarrassed one who couldn’t admit it to my conservative religious surrounding group. Becoming an atheist meant not only could I be a liberal, but a TOTALLY SOCIALIST PROGRESSIVE ONE HA.

  41. ludicrous says

    If you feel a touch of libertarianism coming on, there is a simple and effective antidote…..get a job that pays the minimum wage.

  42. says

    Penn Jillette writes, “What makes me a libertarian is what makes me an atheist — I don’t know. If I don’t know, I don’t believe….I’ll wait for real evidence and then I’ll believe.”

    That statement only makes sense if you think libertarianism is the default position – but why the hell would you think that?

  43. carlie says

    .I’ll wait for real evidence and then I’ll believe.

    Like…history? Just about every method of economics has actually been tried out, and we actually do know what happened. What other kind of evidence is he waiting for?

  44. Anri says

    ludicrous @ 50:

    If you feel a touch of libertarianism coming on, there is a simple and effective antidote…..get a job that pays the minimum wage.

    Won’t work. Libertarians believe that people who work minimum wage jobs not only deserve to do so, but shouldn’t be coddled with something as anti-free-market as a living wage.
    (If they themselves end up working for minimum, well, that’s due to Terribad Anti-Free-Market Forces that are preventing Brilliant People from achieving their Higher Destiny. Totally different thing y’see.)

  45. Anri says

    carlie @ 52:

    Like…history? Just about every method of economics has actually been tried out, and we actually do know what happened. What other kind of evidence is he waiting for?

    The kind of evidence in which widespread Libertarian economic policies resulted in a healthy and robust situation for most of the people in a society.
    He probably shouldn’t hold his breath, I’m thinking.

  46. says

    @Carliie in #52:

    What other kind of evidence is he waiting for?

    Evidence provided by properly unbiased researchers, of course. Like those at the Cato institute, not by those obviously biased liberal scientists who gave us gender studies and climate change research.

  47. tsig says

    Penn J.-If you stuck a pipe in his mouth and one in his ass you could play him like a bagpipe.

  48. busterggi says

    I’ve seen too many visious/stupid/insane/dishonest bastards rewarded by heirarchy to be a Libertarian – most people just can’t be trusted.

  49. Air says

    In the opening scene in the Colbert Report he sticks a new word or phrase in every week or so in the background as he descends flag in hand. A couple of weeks ago the word was ‘MEEDOM’ which surprisingly doesn’t Google up except as a family name. I think it is worthy of meme status, especially in threads such as this one.

  50. mattand says

    Regarding Penn Jillette: to be fair, he actually regards himself as anarcho-capitalist. Which from where I’m sitting is “Rich people get to make the rules, but they’ll ultimately do the right thing because the omnipotent Free Hand of the Marketplace will compel them to.”

    So, yeah, Penn is actually much, much worse than a libertarian, IMO.

    Between this and things like kicking Orac out of a party because Orac actually challenged him in an editorial; and calling a woman the “c” word because of an article she wrote (which he didn’t read); my enthusiasm for Penn and Teller has diminished greatly.

    Great magicians, but I really wonder about their humanity at times.

  51. anteprepro says

    Great magicians, but I really wonder about their humanity at times.

    Apparently Penn grew up around my part of the country. I live in an area where a handful of people went to school with him growing up. He was, is, and most likely will always be, a major asshole.

  52. says

    I can’t say I ever really was a libertarian, but there was once a time when I approached the philosophy with reasonable open-minded curiosity to see if if it had redeemable qualities, if it could be workable, if it could describe me, etc. I did the same thing with conservatism and communism at one point. As soon as I cast the bright light of inquiry on all three, they fell flat and I never went back to them again.

  53. Zeppelin says

    We’ve already *done* pure Libertarianism — it was called Feudalism, a social and economic system where the main organising principles were personal loyalty and violence, and the default state of life was armed vigilance.
    Just replace “feudal lord” with “corporate CEO”, and that’s what your modern libertarian utopia would look like.

    Bloody fucking clueless schmocks.

    Fun fact: According to Barbara Tuchman’s examination of 14th century coroners’ rolls, manslaughter was far ahead of accidents as a cause of death in feudal England, and most of the time the killer got away with it through bribes or connections. Fun times!

  54. consciousness razor says

    I wonder how much libertarian “freedom” is borrowed from theistic “free will.”

    They don’t call it “libertarian free will” just for shits and giggles, but that’s not to say they’d all agree on it or that they’re consistent/honest enough to tell you explicitly that they believe in libertarian/contra-causal free will, souls, etc. Also, I suppose it would make more sense to say their concept of free will is “borrowed” from their more general concept of freedom, not so much the other way around (although in some sense I guess they both inform each other).

  55. consciousness razor says

    Just for the sake of clarity: it isn’t called “theistic free will.” There is no such thing, as theism has nothing to do with it. You could consistently be an atheist believing in it or a theist not believing in it. But it is called “libertarian” among other things, which is what makes this somewhat confusing.

  56. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Nick Gotts @44:

    Are you giving us an example of libertarian logic here? Because it’s certainly similar in its idiocy. When libertarians number no more than their fellow-numpties the flat-earthers, every one of them could be an atheist without that constituting a substantial minority of atheists.

    I did leave out a step in the middle of the logic chain: libertarianism isn’t going to go away no matter how many Pharyngulans pout and stamp their feet. I thought that was too obvious to need stating. My bad; I’ve seen enough comment threads here that I should have known better.

  57. woozy says

    You could consistently be an atheist believing in [free will] or a theist not believing in it.

    A bit off-topic, but wasn’t the idea of free-will created entirely as an argument that lack of free will was religious and righteous and the belief in free-will was anti-god and anti-religious?

    From a non-religion viewpoint free-will historically would be more or less moot. When you choose to do something you choose to do something. Duh! It’s only with religion, well, god has a plan and if you can do what you choose you are fucking up the plan, or alternatively, God is perfect, so this world is perfect, and we are not perfect, so whatever we choose to do isn’t perfect so we don’t have any choice.

    Okay, sorry for the off topic. But it kind of pisses me off how theists will historically paint their opponents with arbitrary assumptions and claim these are fundamental to theist/atheist divide despite religion historically being on the *utterly* opposite side. The “all religions display spirituality and believe in things so religions have more in common with each other than their differences; atheist don’t believe in anything and thus are really different from us and pitiable but we wuuuuv our misguided jews, muslims, and hindus” is another such flip-flop “who us?” lie. Religions *burned* people for minor disagreements about the mechanics of transubstantiation as unacceptable and perverse heresy. Religion *never* believed mutual spirituality united people. Ever.

    Okay, sorry. Off topic rant but really: Belief in free-will is *not* a fundamental characteristic of religion and it never has been. Quite the opposite actually.

  58. scott says

    vaiyt, #41:

    It’s so fucking sad! Libertarians are really the kind of ideologue that bores me the most; the ones who elevate abstract principles above the expression of those principles in actual human beings.

    That was me back before I got better. I literally didn’t care whether my libertarian ideas were good or would work; all I cared about was the purity of the morality. “Property is absolute! Taxation is theft! Something something non-initiation of force something something!”. Sure, I convinced myself that following the Holy Principles would make things better, but that wasn’t my goal.

    Running hard into cogent arguments about how that kind of anarchocapitalism would just fail in any sort of real world is what put me on the road to recovery. I’d spout some bullshit about “People can just sue polluters! if someone discriminates, the Invisible Hand will help their competitors”. Luckily my GF was patient enough to repair the damage with a dose of reality rather than just dumping my stupid ass. “Sue them in special magic courts that aren’t influenced by money? With judgements enforced how? And someone in my family *tried* not discriminating during Jim Crow years and it nearly cost him his business.”.

    Mostly I got a more expansive idea of what “freedom” means- it’s not just the blinkered Libertarian view – things the government doesn’t prevent you from doing – but rather the things your circumstances allow you do to. Someone working three minimum wage jobs to keep alive isn’t “free” to do much at all in any meaningful sense.

    I maintain a certain sympathy towards what many Libertarians think they want to accomplish- too bad it’s nothing like would happen if they actually got their way. (But not the guys who want the gov’t off their backs so they can be theocrats or racists or whatever. Fuck those guys.)

  59. Akira MacKenzie says

    If you’re feeling really politically masochistic and want to envision the libertarian’s ultimate wet dream, forget Rand, get a hold of one of L. Neil Smith screeds. Therein individualism and the free market leads to peaceful, high-tech utopia of sentient chimps, hover cars, and everyone over the age of 12 carrying a machine pistol on their hip.

  60. lpetrich says

    Many libertarians argue that what they consider True Capitalism has produced the greatest prosperity that humanity has ever seen, and did more for poor people than anything else. I wrote “True Capitalism”, because many libertarians have their version of the No True Scotsman fallacy. It’s that capitalists who do things that they dislike or find embarrassing are Not True Capitalists.

  61. Holms says

    “What makes me a libertarian is what makes me an atheist — I don’t know. If I don’t know, I don’t believe….I’ll wait for real evidence and then I’ll believe.”

    So. He takes the ‘absence of religion’ interpretation of atheism, applies it to the realm of socio-economic policy, and arrives at libertarianism.

    Which means he thinks that libertarianism is the absence of (or perhaps absence of faith in) a socio-economic policy.

    WHAT THE FUCK.

  62. anteprepro says

    I did leave out a step in the middle of the logic chain: libertarianism isn’t going to go away no matter how many Pharyngulans pout and stamp their feet. I thought that was too obvious to need stating. My bad; I’ve seen enough comment threads here that I should have known better.

    Libertarianism isn’t gonna go away huh? I wouldn’t be so sure. Don’t bet in either direction regarding the permanence of political positions.

    The “all religions display spirituality and believe in things so religions have more in common with each other than their differences; atheist don’t believe in anything and thus are really different from us and pitiable but we wuuuuv our misguided jews, muslims, and hindus” is another such flip-flop “who us?” lie. Religions *burned* people for minor disagreements about the mechanics of transubstantiation as unacceptable and perverse heresy. Religion *never* believed mutual spirituality united people. Ever.

    Fucking this! It is slightly off-topic, I admit, but it is also one of my biggest pet peeves.

    I literally didn’t care whether my libertarian ideas were good or would work; all I cared about was the purity of the morality.

    That often appears to be the case. Glad to have an ex-libertarian confirm that hunch.

    Mostly I got a more expansive idea of what “freedom” means- it’s not just the blinkered Libertarian view – things the government doesn’t prevent you from doing – but rather the things your circumstances allow you do to. Someone working three minimum wage jobs to keep alive isn’t “free” to do much at all in any meaningful sense.

    This is spot on.

    Of libertarians, and the strain of American thought that they spring from, I can only say:
    You obsess so much about Liberty that you forget to care about Life and The Pursuit of Happiness.

  63. methuseus says

    I looked up L. Neil Smith. Unless I’m reading synopses wrong, he sees slavery as a libertarian ideal. His books sound scary, and I think I’d vomit while reading his books. I love sci-fi, but I can imagine starting to read one of his books and liking it up til the point he makes his ideas clear. I’d probably read to the end for the resolution, but it would never come.

    As for Penn Jilette, I enjoy some of his antics in an entertainment capacity. The same way I can laugh at certain parts of Jackass. As for him as a person, I would stay far, far away. He has some good ideas, but his toxic ideas are so toxic, I’d rather have nothing to do with him.

    I never really went through a libertarian phase. As a young child, I read pretty complex books, including one about children working in a carpet factory where the smallest, quickest child had to run out and grab imperfections in the seconds before the machinery stamped down. I don’t remember the exact details, but it was clear that other children had not been quick enough and were killed in the process. Reading this at around 8 years old I had to put the book down at one point when it talked about one of the children almost dying.

  64. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Akira @68:

    Even for a libertarian, reading one of Smith’s books is painful. I don’t think “screed” is a good description, though; that word implies a tone of anger, while Smith’s is rather playful. In any case, read them if you want something to sneer at, but don’t expect to be entertained; the writing is awful.

  65. Akira MacKenzie says

    I read a good chunk of Smith back in my libertarian days, and I found him to be far more approachable than Rand. However, I found his Neo-Confederate (i.e. he insists that slavery would have eventually faded away on its own and the Lincoln was intolerable dictator) leanings to be disturbing, even then. Eventually I found that his novels are pretty much the same story just with new characters and/or settings:

    1. The main character from a strawman “statist” society ends up one of smith Anarcho-capitalsist utopias.
    2. At first the culture-shocked hero is horrified by the by “freedom” they find around them, but usually starts to come due to lectures about the moral and factual rightness of libertarianism (because “FREEEEEEEDOOOOOM!”) given by other protagonists.
    3. Meanwhile, a bunch of collectivists of one type of another is working overtly or secretly to bring down the libertarian utopia, because all statists are obviously tyrannical and evil.
    4. The hero and some of their new-found friends track down the statists and defeat them in an epic Western-style gun fight. The hero makes the utopia their new home and gets the anarcho-capitalists girl in the end.
    5. Oh yeah… GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS… Did I mention GUNS?!?!

    There, now no one has to waste their time reading any of Smith’s crap.

  66. Rey Fox says

    I should specify that I actually thought libertarians were potential allies, at least better than the mid-aught neocons, until I read one of PZ’s old gems, the one with the libertarian and the environmentalist in a car hurtling toward a cliff. I don’t think that one’s in his book? Shame. (my copy is in storage, so I don’t know for sure)

    Libertarians are really the kind of ideologue that bores me the most; the ones who elevate abstract principles above the expression of those principles in actual human beings.

    QFT. Though I wonder if there’s a certain wilfull sort of social Darwinism in there. Libertarians are people who think they’ve struggled for all they have and therefore have “won”, and therefore anyone who doesn’t “win” must obviously not be struggling enough. They seem to miss that the thing about stories of people who beat incredible odds and “win” are noteworthy stories because of their rarity. Not everyone can be a hero in this way. And I would think that everyone shouldn’t have to be a movie-worthy hero in order to achieve success in life.

  67. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ugh! Sorry, but I due to the inexcusable amount of typos, I’m morally obligated to repost my last…

    I read a good chunk of Smith back in my libertarian days, and I found him to be far more approachable than Rand. However, I found his Neo-Confederate (i.e. he insists that slavery would have eventually faded away on its own and that Lincoln was intolerable dictator) leanings to be disturbing, even then. Eventually I found that his novels are pretty much the same story just with new characters and/or settings:

    1. The main character (usually a male) from a strawman “statist” society ends up one of Smith’s Anarcho-capitalsist utopias.
    2. At first the culture-shocked hero is horrified by the “freedom” they find around them, but always starts to come around due to lectures about the moral and factual rightness of libertarianism (because “FREEEEEEEDOOOOOM!”) given by other protagonists.
    3. Meanwhile, a bunch of collectivists of one type of another is working overtly or secretly to bring down the libertarian utopia, because all statists are obviously tyrannical and evil.
    4. The hero and some of their new-found friends track down the statist villians and defeat them in an epic Western-style gun fight. The hero makes the utopia their new home and gets the anarcho-capitalists girl in the end.
    5. Oh yeah… GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS… Did I mention GUNS?!?!

    There, now no one has to waste their time reading any of Smith’s crap.

  68. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    1. The main character (usually a male) from a strawman “statist” society ends up in one of Smith’s Anarcho-capitalsist utopias.

    Did he have more than one? The books I read were a series, featuring the same main character (yes, male), the same utopia, and the same bad guys (not the same individuals, but the same group of strawmen).

    Why did I read the sequels? I guess I kept hoping he’d get better; I wanted to like the books. If he did write other variations on the same theme, I’m not sorry I missed them.

  69. A. Noyd says

    consciousness razor (#64)

    Just for the sake of clarity: it isn’t called “theistic free will.” There is no such thing, as theism has nothing to do with it.

    Something very similar may be espoused by others, but I’m referring in particular to how certain theists frame free will as being given by god as an integral part to getting into heaven. (It comes up as the explanation for why an omnipotent and omniscient god can’t be held responsible for Adam and Eve eating the fruit.) Like the libertarians, they do not understand that freedom/free will for one person often comes at the cost of that of another.

  70. says

    Rex Little

    Did he have more than one?

    Yeah, he’s got another series about libertarian aliens who took a bunch of humans off Earth during the era of the Libertarian industrial society before the last ice age (which wiped out the traces, hence why we haven’t found them), and spread them through space, and in the future they come back to teach Earth the glories of libertarianism. Or something like that, it’s been a long time.

  71. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    @Hank #30

    The mistake a lot of Randroids make when touting their FYIAJ (“fuck you, I’m alright Jack”, pronounced “Fyadge”) economic/political panacea is that they assume they’ll be among the “fittest” that survive and thrive.

    Libertarianism is to Social Darwinism as Intelligent Design is to Creationism.

  72. Akira MacKenzie says

    Rex Little @ 77

    Smith had a few. Your thinking of his North American Confederacy novels. I was initially introduced to his fiction through “Pallas” which is completely unrelated to the former series, but follows the same formula: A teenage colonist living in a UN-sponsored socialist collective built upon a terraformed asteroid escapes to live amoung the asteroids remaining population of libertarian hunter-gatherers (with emphasis on hunter). In true Horatio Algir fashion he comes up from nothing to become a millionaire inventor or firearms and low-gravity personal flyers, falling in love with three women, and eventually defeating the dasatrdly Kennedy/Clinton-analogy main villain as the glorious free market conquers all.

  73. Nick Gotts says

    Libertarianism is to Social Darwinism as Intelligent Design is to Creationism. – Thumper@80

    Hmm, I think you’ve got something there!

  74. Nick Gotts says

    I did leave out a step in the middle of the logic chain: libertarianism isn’t going to go away – Rex Little@65

    How do you think you know that? It’s a relatively recent fad, widepsread only in the USA, and relies on a smug belief in the libertarian’s own rationality combined with complete imperviousness to evidence or rational argument. Admittedly that doesn’t necessarily mean it will vanish, but quite a few libertarians grow out of it. (Walton is our home-nurtured example, but you can find quite a few “confessions of an ex-libertarian” around if you look.)

  75. Nick Gotts says

    Further to #85: in fact, I see we have an ex-libertarian@23, another @67… always liable to happen to a libertarian who actually has a certain degree of both rationality and empathy, while those lacking either or both only become/stay libertarians because it’s fashionable – just as a lot of people declared their allegiance to various far-left currents when that was fashionable. Political movements are only viable (as more than insignificant groupuscules) in certain socio-economic contexts. The context for libertarianism is the reassertion of power by the corporate elite and the hegemony of neoliberal ideas over the past three decades. That may look permanent now, but we can be pretty certain it isn’t – although what follows it may be even worse: revived totalitarianism or civilizational collapse.

  76. consciousness razor says

    It’s only with religion, well, god has a plan and if you can do what you choose you are fucking up the plan, or alternatively, God is perfect, so this world is perfect, and we are not perfect, so whatever we choose to do isn’t perfect so we don’t have any choice.

    People believing in “destiny” or predestination, like Calvinists, do have that problem. However, their claim to being “the religious side” of the argument wouldn’t be any more legitimate than others making such a claim, so I disagree with you on that. You could clearly base it if off of religious concepts either way, and how internally consistent or more likely true any of the options may be is beside the point.

    There’s a somewhat related problem of divine foreknowledge. If a god is supposed to know everything, including what you’re going to do before you do it, there’s there’s no way you could’ve not done that; and if you couldn’t have done something else, then there couldn’t be a choice that you make. Likewise, a god couldn’t itself have free will while also knowing what its choices would be. Any talk of “plans,” or simply having any reason whatsoever for making a choice, goes out the window (no matter who or what you are) if choices aren’t at least compatible with determinism. (And as always, indeterminism in the world would have nothing whatsoever to do with choices, so that issue can be set aside in this context.)

    Something very similar may be espoused by others, but I’m referring in particular to how certain theists frame free will as being given by god as an integral part to getting into heaven. (It comes up as the explanation for why an omnipotent and omniscient god can’t be held responsible for Adam and Eve eating the fruit.) Like the libertarians, they do not understand that freedom/free will for one person often comes at the cost of that of another.

    Yeah, that amounts to the same thing. It has to do with their purported “solution” to the problem of evil. God logically had to create evil and suffering in the world (he’s not logically “free” to do anything else!) because being Free™ is so extremely good (even though god isn’t and he defines goodness!) that it outweighs any evil or suffering you can possibly imagine. That’s libertarian freedom for you. The point is, you can leave out the bullshit about the god or any particular creation story or afterlife, and still make the same bullshit claims about freedom. You could also just make a bare assertion to that effect (i.e., “freedom’s the best thing ever!”), as libertarians are apt to do, without the incoherent contra-causal bullshit, assuming the existence of souls, etc.

  77. unclefrogy says

    there are things I do not understand about libertarian thinking.
    If contracts are important . How are they enforced without force?
    If people can organize themselves into corporations why is it bad for workers to organize into groups whose purpose is to negotiate wages and other compensation as a condition of employment ?
    Why is it not what we have as modern democratic societies & governments not the result of the action of people over time making their agreements about property and contracts?
    Because what it sounds like to me is they do not want to recognize the agreements that we have inherited from our predecessors. Just like the kid who comes to the park to play baseball but wants to remake the fucking rules.
    Of course they want to remake the rules in such a way that they will more easily win.
    I can understand that motivation though because as generally practiced in the real world many of the rules are already slanted against any new winners. No matter what else happens the end result is going to be repeated agreements renegotiated continuously over time.
    There something to be said about The founding fathers recognizing all of this and being grounded in the reality of powerful people trying to dominate any system they could set up. They were experienced directly with that type of action and they through agreement a system by which agreements could be enforced and be continuously renewed and renegotiated.
    The other thing that bothers me about libertarians is the feeling I get that what they want is a society that is individuals pitted against each other in a hostile environment. I am just not persuaded that their vision would not lead to the individuals being isolated in a dystopian nightmare.
    uncle frogy

  78. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Tony @83:

    I wonder how theistic libertarians deal with their cognitive dissonance. After all, their lives are regulated by god.

    No dissonance, really. They reject being regulated by other humans, but God isn’t human.

    Nick:

    those lacking either or both only become/stay libertarians because it’s fashionable

    Fashionable? When was it fashionable? I must have blinked and missed it.

    Sure, people change their views over time; my own brother was a libertarian in his 20’s, but would now fit right in around here. (Maybe he’s one of the ex-libertarian posters; I don’t know what screen name he uses.) Some start out as socialists and become libertarians; you just won’t find many of those telling their stories on this blog.

  79. says

    Rex Little:

    No dissonance, really. They reject being regulated by other humans, but God isn’t human.

    Theism posits god as the ultimate authority (note the similarity to government) who has a plan for the lives of believers that they’re supposed to follow the rules he’s laid out. How does that square with the libertarian love of freedom?

  80. says

    (preview is your friend)
    Let me try that again:

    Theism posits god as the ultimate authority (note the similarity to government) who has a plan for the lives of believers and they’re supposed to follow the rules he’s laid out.

  81. jnorris says

    Mr Jillette , please, just one question: what group of libertarians built the dam that provides the electricity to air condition and light your place of work and home?

  82. grumpypathdoc says

    A couple of years ago I took the Political Compass test just to see where I would get plunked on the graph. Low and behold I was labeled a “left libertarian”. I didn’t mind being in the same quadrant as Gandhi, Noam Chomsky, Nelson Mandela and Thomas Paine, not to mention Emma Goldman and Peter Kropotkin.

    So I guess I am a “libertarian” just not the Randian type.

  83. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Freedom includes the right to choose to follow an authority; religious believers choose God as their authority and follow It. (Except when they don’t, but we don’t need to get into those details here.) Libertarian theists specifically reject the idea that God’s laws should be enforced by anyone but God. A certain Christian libertarian whom you all love to hate has said that he would choose an atheist libertarian over a Christian theocrat without hesitation.

  84. ChasCPeterson says

    Libertarianism is to Social Darwinism as Intelligent Design is to Creationism.

    yeah, that’s not bad.

  85. says

    Rex Little:

    Freedom includes the right to choose to follow an authority; religious believers choose God as their authority and follow It. (Except when they don’t, but we don’t need to get into those details here.)

    Given that many people are indoctrinated into religion from childhood, I’m not seeing much freedom to choose…

  86. ChasCPeterson says

    Robert Anton Wilson, well known for being a (civil) libertarian, summing up why he didn’t vote for the 1980 Libertarian Party candidate: “I am not that kind of Libertarian, really; I don’t hate poor people.”

  87. Al Dente says

    unclefrogy @88

    If contracts are important . How are they enforced without force?

    Force is initiated by the ebil gummint and/or the ebil stateists. Retaliation is the proper response to force. Someone breaking a contract has initiated force and it’s only proper retaliation to enforce the contract. That is not hyperbole. Libertarians never initiate force but they do think it appropriate to retaliate, sometimes forcefully, to someone else’s initiation of force, even if that “force” is actually peaceful (e.g. fraud is rarely violent).

    If people can organize themselves into corporations why is it bad for workers to organize into groups whose purpose is to negotiate wages and other compensation as a condition of employment?

    Corporations are an amalgamation of property owners and, as all libertarians know, property über alles. Unions are an attempt by the lumpen proletariat to deprive the property owners of their property.

  88. says

    Ayn Rand hated rock music in general, and probably would have hated Rush even during their strongest connection with her ideas. After all they’re a collective who have credited most of their music equally to each member, instead of one of them being a self-made genius who dictates every move the band makes, the other two following his dictates with not a hint of disagreement or desire for their own input. The fact they also wrote a song like “A Passage to Bangkok,” about the joys of weed, during that period likely wouldn’t have helped.

  89. vaiyt says

    One thing I thought about the anarcho-capitalist utopia: if you aren’t the boss of me and can’t tell me what to do, what keeps me from banding together with like-minded people and turning our property into a commune?

  90. caesar says

    Libertarians take their anti-government stance too far, but I think they play an important role in these debates over the size of government, as a counter to people who call for increasing the extent to which government asserts itself in our lives, particularly in regards to the economy. There’s a place for government intervention, but it’s good to have people around who challenge that intervention, and remind us that government action isn’t always a net positive.

  91. vaiyt says

    Someone breaking a contract has initiated force and it’s only proper retaliation to enforce the contract.

    Economic power is only force when it’s used against other businessmen. For the peons, only strictly physical violence counts.

  92. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Caesar:

    i don’t think that they serve such debates **frequently enough** to be said to have an important role. While nothing in the libertarian philosophy says that they need to prioritize ending North Carolina’s NEDR inspections of coal ash ponds over ending NSA infringement of the 4th amendment and general privacy rights, **in practice** libertarianism and libertarians don’t serve to bring these issues to the fore of public discussion any more than would already be true through the efforts of, say, the ACLU.

    In other words, you assert that there role is “important” and I’m waiting for the data to prove it.

  93. says

    caesar:

    There’s a place for government intervention, but it’s good to have people around who challenge that intervention, and remind us that government action isn’t always a net positive.

    Heavens to betsy, I’m so glad to have libertarians around to remind us of that fact. Without them, I’d never have known this about government action.

  94. vaiyt says

    @caesar
    Balancing out stupidity from one side with stupidity from the other only makes the debate twice as stupid.

    people who call for increasing the extent to which government asserts itself in our lives, particularly in regards to the economy.

    Care to show us who are those people and which views they espouse?

  95. anteprepro says

    Oh joy. Look who’s back.

    Libertarians take their anti-government stance too far, but I think they play an important role in these debates over the size of government,

    Yeah, because there is definitely no other anti-government voice in politics. Nope.

    as a counter to people who call for increasing the extent to which government asserts itself in our lives, particularly in regards to the economy.

    Yes, because the one area where the government has too much unwarranted influence is the economy. Mmmhmmm. Big Gubmint sure is bad only because it gets in the way of the free market. What was that? Something about civil rights? Something about bombs in foreign countries? Something about surveillance? Something about a broken justice system and racial bias? Something about The War on Drugs? No, I can’t quite make out what you are saying, but I think it was something about the Holy Invisible Hand. In which case, good point, I think we all agree here.

    it’s good to have people around who challenge that intervention, and remind us that government action isn’t always a net positive.

    Yes, it is always good to have blockheaded ideologues with warped priorities around in order to remind us of shit we already know, but myopically limiting to only one area that they obsessively whine about to the exclusion of all others, and doing so in a way that completely lacks nuance or appreciation of the positive aspects of the things they oppose.

    I mean, how would we ever realize that government action isn’t all sunshine and unicorns if there weren’t people around insisting that any kind of government action, at all, comes straight out of Satan’s sphincter? That just couldn’t happen! They are such a necessary aspect of our politics. Indispensable.

  96. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Tony:

    Given that many people are indoctrinated into religion from childhood, I’m not seeing much freedom to choose…

    If by “indoctrinated” you mean bullied and cowed to the extent they’re afraid to even consider alternatives, I’d be surprised if any such people are theistic libertarians. (That is who we were discussing.) Such indoctrination would almost certainly incline toward an authoritarian view.

    If you mean they were brought up with religion, went to church with their families, said grace at mealtimes, attended parochial or other religious schools, etc. . . . plenty of such people abandon their religion as adults, or even teenagers. It works the other way too. My brothers and I were raised atheist, but the youngest one (not the same brother I mentioned above) became a fundy Christian at 16, and hasn’t wavered from that in the 40-plus years since. And on the blog of that Christian libertarian with the social-disease initials, I see as many ex-atheist stories as I see ex-libertarian stories here.

  97. anteprepro says

    If you mean they were brought up with religion, went to church with their families, said grace at mealtimes, attended parochial or other religious schools, etc. . . . plenty of such people abandon their religion as adults, or even teenagers. It works the other way too. My brothers and I were raised atheist, but the youngest one (not the same brother I mentioned above) became a fundy Christian at 16, and hasn’t wavered from that in the 40-plus years since. And on the blog of that Christian libertarian with the social-disease initials, I see as many ex-atheist stories as I see ex-libertarian stories here.

    Statistics. These people exist. They are the exceptions to the general, not the rule. It isn’t impossible to escape indoctrination. It is just unlikely, since the trend is heavily tilted towards staying in the same neighborhood of beliefs as those you grew up with. Sad but true. People can change. Some people do change. Most don’t.

  98. says

    @101 In those debates, the strain of thought in the US we call “libertarianism” thinks the proposition being debated is “Should government be burned to the ground?” Did you hear the shit fit they threw, and are continuing to throw, now that the GOP leaders are working with Dems/Pres on compromises on the budget? The 2012 GOP POTUS primaries candidates, several of them, were listing departments they would delete. The comical memory lapses about which ones to burn down was telling, sort of a Freudian slip that it doesn’t matter as long as you stick to the dogma that government is useless. Personally, I think it’s to the detriment of the country that the GOP has been highjacked by ideologues, that move the criticism of those currently in power from rational to irrational.

    ——-

    Personally, I think liberals should reclaim liberty from the libertarians.

    Liberal = Liberty + Reality
    Libertarian = Liberty – Reality

    We don’t live in some goddamn ideological gulch, we live in the real world.

  99. jste says

    Regarding free will and theism, mentioned up thread, this is getting somewhat off topic, but it was fairly central to my religious education, and a large part of why I’m an atheist. We were taught that humans alone have Free Will. Its what makes us different from animals. If we didn’t have free will, Adam and Eve could not have defied God. Etc etc.

    Which eventually led me to ask our instructor questions like “Well, how could Lucifer rebel if he doesn’t have free will?” and “If God knows everything, past present AND future, then he already knows what I’ll decide to do. Where’s my free will?” and “So I have to choose between believing in God or burning in hell for all eternity? Is that even really a choice?” and no one could ever give me satisfactory answers, which set me on the path to be here, learning from everyone here.

  100. Snoof says

    One thing I thought about the anarcho-capitalist utopia: if you aren’t the boss of me and can’t tell me what to do, what keeps me from banding together with like-minded people and turning our property into a commune?

    Nothing. As has been pointed out previously, anarcho-capitalism is unstable. It contains nothing in it which prevents the development of societies, communes and (gasp!) states, aside from every single individual in the society mutually agreeing to avoid it.

    One might argue that all it would require is a sufficiently large number of well-armed individuals who agree to come together to prevent the establishment of a state, but that seems like something of an own goal.

  101. jedibear says

    It’s really hard to come out of a good introductory macro course as a libertarian.

    Libertarianism, in the main, is just ignorance (willful or otherwise) or naivete– it’s what liberals were before the Great Depression showed us that classical economics only works in certain specific circumstances.

    My favorite commentary on Ayn Rand remains John Rogers’ 2009 quip: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

  102. Amphiox says

    One might argue that all it would require is a sufficiently large number of well-armed individuals who agree to come together to prevent the establishment of a state, but that seems like something of an own goal.

    Yeah. A sufficiently large number of well-armed individuals agreeing to come together to use their arms to enforce anything IS a state….

  103. jedibear says

    I should note that *honest* Libertarians are, in my experience, rare. Most professed Libertarians seem to be entirely committed to economic conservatism (you know, the part that’s just demonstrably wrong and not in any sense a matter of opinion) and while they may be inclined toward social liberalism, they’ll cheerfully vote for a Republican theocrat if they think their taxes will go down.

  104. Amphiox says

    There’s a place for government intervention, but it’s good to have people around who challenge that intervention, and remind us that government action isn’t always a net positive.

    Those people already exist.

    They are called liberals.

    The root of liberal is liberty.

  105. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Interesting. Most liberals see libertarians the way jedibear does, that they just want lower taxes and less economic regulation. Most conservatives see libertarians as just wanting to legalize drugs.

  106. jedibear says

    The debate over the size of government is improper, in that it’s trying to answer the wrong question. Form needs to follow function, and so in order to decide how big a government should be, you need to figure out what they’re for. Once you have that worked out, size is a technical matter and should not be the subject of politics.

    Libertarians are no use in these conversations because they’re utterly clueless as to what exactly it is that governments do.

  107. says

    Rex Little#118
    No, liberals notice the drugs thing too; there’s a good reason why Libertarians are often characterized as ‘Republicans who want to smoke weed’. Liberals in the main don’t object to legalizing drugs, though, or at least decriminalization, and thus don’t point to it as a glaring flaw in libertarian ideology.

  108. says

    Rex Little:

    Most liberals see libertarians the way jedibear does, that they just want lower taxes and less economic regulation. Most conservatives see libertarians as just wanting to legalize drugs.

    As you didn’t add a disclaimer (jedibear did) I wonder if you have a citation for that. I know there’s more to libertarian beliefs that simply lower taxes and less regulation. Aside from ending wars and legalizing certain drugs, I’ve found no libertarian beliefs that don’t make me want to vomit.

  109. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Libertarians are no use in these conversations because they’re utterly clueless as to what exactly it is that governments do.

    Correct. Government unemployment benefits keep money moving though the economy when there are 200K jobs for 3.6 +2.6M unemployed. There aren’t enough jobs for everybody unemployed to take one. But liberturds are too stupid and too divorced from reality to notice….

  110. says

    jedibear:

    Libertarians are no use in these conversations because they’re utterly clueless as to what exactly it is that governments do.

    Ain’t that the truth.
    They seem to think public services work by magic.

  111. jedibear says

    Rex, I know a lot of self-professed Libertarians. They watch Fox News, vote Republican, and post racist memes alternately insulting the President and “the 47%” (which is a bit like taking shots at Sasquatch) on Facebook.

    So yeah, some of them turned out to vote for I-502 (that doesn’t mean they’re philosophically serious honest Libertarians, by the way, mostly it means they’re potheads.) Pretty much all of them voted for Romney, and had an unpleasant little Facebook meltdown when he lost. They had a similar meltdown when the Supremes upheld most of Obamacare.

  112. Amphiox says

    Ignorant libertarians who think liberals are only for government intervention forget that liberals have always been opposed to many forms of government intervention. It is liberals who oppose government interfering with a woman’s right to choose an abortion, for example.

    The heart of the liberal philosophy is just as much government intervention as necessary, but no more.

    If it appears liberals in the US are mostly for increased government intervention, it is only because things are already skewed towards too little regulation in the US.

  113. says

    Amphiox:

    It is liberals who oppose government interfering with a woman’s right to choose an abortion, for example.

    (adding to this)
    It is liberals who oppose government intervention in the consensual sexual activities of citizens behind closed doors (conservatives want the government to criminalize oral and anal sex).

  114. anteprepro says

    It is liberals who oppose government intervention in the consensual sexual activities of citizens behind closed doors (conservatives want the government to criminalize oral and anal sex).

    (and adding further)

    And it is libertarians who pretend they are in the middle ground and want this as well, but spend way more time whining about their naive utopian economic ideas than about the actual fucking restrictions of liberties that they will begrudgingly support lest they wind up not voting Republican and thus enabling *shudder* welfare. Their priorities are very telling.

  115. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    jedibear @119:

    The debate over the size of government is improper, in that it’s trying to answer the wrong question. Form needs to follow function, and so in order to decide how big a government should be, you need to figure out what they’re for. Once you have that worked out, size is a technical matter and should not be the subject of politics.

    I don’t think anyone will disagree with that, least of all libertarians. “Smaller government”, to a libertarian, is merely shorthand for a long list of things the government shouldn’t do. It’s the items on that list that are the bone–hell, the whole skeleton–of contention between libertarians and everyone else.

  116. anteprepro says

    “Smaller government”, to a libertarian, is merely shorthand for a long list of things the government shouldn’t do.

    Those things including, but not limited to, “Anything”.

  117. markd555 says

    The big question I want answered is:
    Has Libertarianism been popularized in a concerted effort by corporations in the past few years?
    Also, how can people be such damn suckers?

  118. Nick Gotts says

    Rex Little@89,

    Those lacking either or both only become/stay libertarians because it’s fashionable

    Fashionable? When was it fashionable? I must have blinked and missed it.

    Blinked? You must have had your eyes closed for the past 20 years. And I notice you don’t supply any actual grounds for your assertion that “libertarianism isn’t going to go away”.

    @94

    Libertarian theists specifically reject the idea that God’s laws should be enforced by anyone but God.

    Ron Paul is quite happy for the states to deny women the right to an abortion. (Cue: No True Libertarian would…)

    A certain Christian libertarian whom you all love to hate has said that he would choose an atheist libertarian over a Christian theocrat without hesitation.

    Why so coy? Name and link, please.

  119. birgerjohansson says

    Scott @ 67: “I literally didn’t care whether my libertarian ideas were good or would work; all I cared about was the purity of the morality”

    This reminds me about a line in Alien: “I admire its purity. A perfect survivor without the pretence of morality”.

  120. ck says

    One thing I’ve never understood about libertarian theology: If we are to always own our labour the fruits produced by it, then how is it that parents are not to own their children, and be able to sell them off into slavery? It takes a large amount of resources to raise a child, and to have the state say that you do not own the result should be seen as an intrusion. And if you accept that, how is that not a slippery slope into outright ‘statism’ where a central government dictates to you every detail on how to live?

  121. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Nick:

    You must have had your eyes closed for the past 20 years.

    We obviously have different opinions as to what “fashionable” means.

    I notice you don’t supply any actual grounds for your assertion that “libertarianism isn’t going to go away”.

    Just my opinion; I can’t predict the future. But it’s been around a lot longer than the thirty-year context you cited @86. The Libertarian Party first ran candidates in 1972, Rand’s first major book was published in 1943, and libertarian opinion goes back a lot further than either of those.

    Ron Paul is quite happy for the states to deny women the right to an abortion. (Cue: No True Libertarian would…)

    Actually there’s a significant minority of libertarians who oppose abortion for reasons having nothing to do with God. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarians_for_Life. (Trying to embed the link produced a very strange result in the preview; don’t know what I’m doing wrong.) I disagree with them, but still consider them True Libertarians.

    Why so coy? Name and link, please.

    I assumed that everyone would know who I meant; PZ has devoted enough posts to slamming him. It’s Vox Day. His primary blog is voxday.blogspot.com. Feminists can also go to alphagameplan.blogspot.com to be infuriated.

  122. anteprepro says

    Just my opinion; I can’t predict the future

    Then why use that “Just my opinion” as a central point in your complaining about our complaining about libertarians? I mean…really?

    Actually there’s a significant minority of libertarians who oppose abortion for reasons having nothing to do with God.

    Ugh. Your initial point was that Libertarian theists just want God to sort shit out, because FREEDOM. The counterpoint was Ron Paul and abortion, who wants The Evil State to ban abortion on God’s behalf. Your counter to that is to point out libertarians who also want to ban abortion but not because of Jeebus. Ummm….WHAT?

    I assumed that everyone would know who I meant; PZ has devoted enough posts to slamming him. It’s Vox Day. His primary blog is voxday.blogspot.com. Feminists can also go to alphagameplan.blogspot.com to be infuriated.

    Sounding dangerously trollish there, Rexy.

  123. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    anteprepro:

    why use that “Just my opinion” as a central point in your complaining about our complaining about libertarians?

    I wasn’t complaining about anything, just expressing an opinion about how effective that particular complaint of yours will be. Actually I’m amused by most of the complaints here, else I wouldn’t keep coming back. (Cue chorus of “We wish you wouldn’t, Rex.” I haven’t seen SallyStrange on this thread, so Tony will have to lead the choir.)

    The counterpoint was Ron Paul and abortion, who wants The Evil State to ban abortion on God’s behalf.

    Do you have any evidence for the “on God’s behalf” part of that statement? It’s quite possible to consider abortion to be murder without invoking, or even believing in, God. I found a website where Paul was quoted extensively on his positions, and nowhere in the abortion section does he mention God. From that site:
    “[T]he Constitution says nothing about abortion, murder, manslaughter, or any other acts of violence. Criminal and civil laws were deliberately left to the states. I consider it a state-level responsibility to restrain violence against any human being.”

    And if you can show that Paul bases his abortion views on religion, that’s one exception on one issue. In general, my statement stands.

    (The link to the Paul website is http://www.ontheissues.org/tx/Ron_Paul_Abortion.htm. Still can’t seem to embed a link properly. Even in this paragraph the link shows up out of position when I Preview.)

    Your counter to that is to point out libertarians who also want to ban abortion but not because of Jeebus.

    Actually that was my counter to your “No True Libertarian” crack. But it does relate to Paul; on the evidence I have, he seems to be one of those who wants to ban abortion but not because of Jeebus.

    Sounding dangerously trollish there, Rexy.

    How so? I was asked for a name and link, and gave those; I didn’t do so until asked.

    Or do you mean that I’m encouraging people here to troll Vox’ sites? That honestly hadn’t occurred to me at the time, but I would find that amusing. (I find many things amusing; probably that libertarian empathy deficit in me.)

  124. vaiyt says

    Using Vox fucking Day as a counter-example to negative criticism just opens you to different criticism.

  125. says

    I assumed that everyone would know who I meant; PZ has devoted enough posts to slamming him. It’s Vox Day.

    You described him as “a certain Christian libertarian.” Have Vox Day’s political or religious views ever even been discussed on Pharyngula? Not to my recollection, except inasmuch as raging white supremacist misogyny is a political position.

  126. says

    Has Libertarianism been popularized in a concerted effort by corporations in the past few years?
    Also, how can people be such damn suckers?

    Answers

    1) Yes
    2) And how

  127. says

    Rex:

    Actually I’m amused by most of the complaints here, else I wouldn’t keep coming back. (Cue chorus of “We wish you wouldn’t, Rex.” I haven’t seen SallyStrange on this thread, so Tony will have to lead the choir.)

    Congrats then. We’re both here.
    Funny thing is, I’ve read a few comments by you in the time since our last argument–ones that didn’t make me facepalm or want to start up the chorus. Now you’ve gone and ruined that.

  128. says

    Actually I’m amused by most of the complaints here, else I wouldn’t keep coming back

    Good to see there are still the same type of people with no real lives to speak of around here.

    I swear I go away for weeks and come back and all but the names seem to change

  129. anteprepro says

    Do you have any evidence for the “on God’s behalf” part of that statement?

    For fuck’s sake, that was my paraphrase of someone else’s point! I don’t give a shit how much Jesus Ron Paul is explicitly cramming into his anti-choice rambles.

    Actually that was my counter to your “No True Libertarian” crack.

    1. Wasn’t me.
    2. Still doesn’t make sense (the “‘No True Libertarian’ crack” was a mockery of the tendency to claim that Ron Paul isn’t a Real libertarian, whenever it is convenient to make libertarianism look good)

    How so?

    The phrase “PZ has slammed him enough times” seems defensive of Voxy.
    The phrase “Feminists can also go to X to be infuriated” seems to be vaguely dismissive of feminists getting infuriated (i.e. I read it as implying that feminists seek things out to be infuriated about, which is actually a common anti-feminist meme).

  130. says

    anteprepro sez:

    The phrase “PZ has slammed him enough times” seems defensive of Voxy.
    The phrase “Feminists can also go to X to be infuriated” seems to be vaguely dismissive of feminists getting infuriated (i.e. I read it as implying that feminists seek things out to be infuriated about, which is actually a common anti-feminist meme)

    I got those same wiffs.

  131. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    You described him as “a certain Christian libertarian.” Have Vox Day’s political or religious views ever even been discussed on Pharyngula? Not to my recollection, except inasmuch as raging white supremacist misogyny is a political position.

    Seriously? You all didn’t know he’s a Christian and a libertarian? I might as well complete the picture for you: he’s a creationist as well. Between all that and what you already knew, you should be able to fry the motherboard on his computer with the combined power of your hate.

    OK, I did make a false assumption; my bad. But my reference to “social-disease initials” @109 should have given it away; I know that connection has been made in comment threads here.

    Indigo: if I had no real life, I’d have posted this at least half an hour sooner. :)

  132. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    The phrase “PZ has slammed him enough times” seems defensive of Voxy.

    Wasn’t intended that way. “Enough times” meant “enough so the reference should be familiar”. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that PZ’s attacks were unfair or unwarranted, as I don’t think they were either one.

    The phrase “Feminists can also go to X to be infuriated” seems to be vaguely dismissive of feminists getting infuriated (i.e. I read it as implying that feminists seek things out to be infuriated about)

    Also not intended. I was referring to the fact that, while Vox Popoli features racism, misogyny, creationism and homophoby (or whatever the right word is), Alpha Game is pretty much all misogyny.

  133. chigau (違う) says

    Wasn’t intended that way.

    Also not intended.

    You seem to be having tremendous difficulty communicating.

  134. says

    Rex:

    Wasn’t intended that way.

    Also not intended

    Clarity and precision can be very good friends.

    and this:

    homophoby (or whatever the right word is)

    It’s HOMOPHOBIA.
    I’m bothered by the fact that you can’t get that word right and your parenthetical reads as flippant to me. “I’m not sure what the right word is and I can’t be bothered to look it up.”

  135. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Homophobia, as I understand the term, is the feeling of antipathy toward homosexuals. I was trying to come up with a separate word meaning the expression of that feeling. Maybe there’s no such separate word, and the same term should be used for both.

    As Chigau said, I seem to be having tremendous difficulty communicating. Someone should follow his comment up with the appropriate Tom Lehrer quote.

  136. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Rex Little:

    the word is “heterosexism”. An equivalent phrase is “anti-queer oppression” or “anti-lgbt oppression” (though more commonly “queer oppression” or “lgbt oppression”).

    Homophobia, yes, can be understood both as the feeling and the expression of the feeling, but I am with you in that because of its focus on the fears and insecurities of folks, for real clarity we should be using heterosexism when we’re talking about actual oppression.

  137. says

    Oh looky, this isn’t the first time Rex Little has offered up Vox Day as… I don’t know, a cool libertarian, or something like that. Dude, who gives a fuck if he’s a libertarian. He’s a raging white supremacist misogynist. If you’re trying to burnish the image of libertarianism, directing people to Vox Day’s writings is not the way to go.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/12/28/maybe-this-will-finally-drive-the-libertarians-out-of-atheism/comment-page-1/#comment-731411

  138. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    If you’re trying to burnish the image of libertarianism, directing people to Vox Day’s writings is not the way to go.

    Good thing I wasn’t trying to do that, then. (Burnish the image of libertarianism? Here? There isn’t enough time, or lipstick, in the world for that pig.)

    I’m curious: what did I say, exactly, that made it seem like I was trying to present Vox as “cool”, or anything similar? I’m used to people here putting words in my mouth that don’t belong, but you don’t have a history of doing that. If I’m using the wrong words to convey my meanings, I’d like to find out what they are.

  139. says

    SallyStrange:
    I don’t think Rex was trying to direct people to Vox’s writing. Back @ 83, I made the comment:

    I wonder how theistic libertarians deal with their cognitive dissonance. After all, their lives are regulated by god

    Rex responded @89:

    No dissonance, really. They reject being regulated by other humans, but God isn’t human.

    Followed by me @90:

    Theism posits god as the ultimate authority (note the similarity to government) who has a plan for the lives of believers that they’re supposed to follow the rules he’s laid out. How does that square with the libertarian love of freedom?

    Which led to Rex hinting at Vox @94:

    Freedom includes the right to choose to follow an authority; religious believers choose God as their authority and follow It. (Except when they don’t, but we don’t need to get into those details here.) Libertarian theists specifically reject the idea that God’s laws should be enforced by anyone but God. A certain Christian libertarian whom you all love to hate has said that he would choose an atheist libertarian over a Christian theocrat without hesitation

    While he’s not attempting to direct people to VD, it’s not all that clear to me why Rex brings him up. Libertarian theists do exist and it seems like a contradiction for Libertarians to oppose regulation from the government, but have no issue with regulation from god. Special pleading perhaps?
    I also just realized I shifted my line of questioning from discussing regulations to freedom. Unintentional that was. My bad.

  140. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    it’s not all that clear to me why Rex brings him up.

    To me, it seemed relevant to what we were discussing. If it didn’t seem so to you, well, to-MAY-to, to-MAH-to. It was a side issue anyway.

  141. says

    WHY did Vox Day seem relevant? That is also not clear to me.

    If you can’t explain that, I will be sure to keep in mind that it would be a mistake to attribute any sort of organized purpose to the things you choose to type and share.

  142. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    WHY did Vox Day seem relevant?

    I cited him to support the statement “Libertarian theists specifically reject the idea that God’s laws should be enforced by anyone but God.” He’s the only libertarian theist who has a blog (or any other writing) I’m familiar with. (And I didn’t cite him by name until I was asked to. In retrospect, I wish I’d turned down that request.)

    In the comment you linked to @151, it was a direct response to someone’s “Show me a libertarian who. . .” comment which I blockquoted.

    Since I answered your question, could you answer mine @152? I respect you as someone who does not willfully or ignorantly misread things, so I’d like to get to the bottom of the miscommunication. Anteprepro @143 cited statements I made which were (understandably, once they were pointed out) taken in ways I didn’t intend. I’d appreciate it if you could do the same.

  143. says

    What cured me of Randism was reading Anthem and figuring that if she had to start from that dystopic a society to get her system to work, it calls into question how well it actually works in reality.

    I was never a libertarian, beyond thinking pot and prostitution should be legal.