Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How I Outgrew Libertarianism

I was a Libertarian in college. I even volunteered for the 1980 Ed Clark/David Koch (yes, that David Koch) Libertarian party presidential campaign. As promised, the following is the story of how I outgrew Libertarianism. There were three factors:

1. Hypocrisy
I became increasingly aware that many Libertarians arguing stridently against governmental regulation had business interests which would benefit directly. And while, as a Libertarian at the time, I saw nothing inherently wrong with greed, it bothered me that they claimed their political philosophy to be idealistic and sincere. Greed may be fine, but hypocrisy is not.

Furthermore, real Libertarianism isn't socio-economic Darwinism. It's not "fuck the poor". It doesn't blithely shrug at poverty and distress. The idea is for an unfettered free market to float everyone higher, and for vigorous private philanthropy to arise to patch up any social damage (to his credit, David Koch actually is one of the nation's top philanthropists). I was prepared to do my conscientious best to help. But few of my fellow idealists seemed as committed to the "patching up" part as they were to the "greed is good" part.

"Let the most ruthless grab all the gold, and hope someone patches up the wounded later" didn't strike me as a cause I could get behind.

2. Wariness of Egghead Utopias
As I studied political philosophy in college, I came to realize that there's no lastingly viable political system. In the long run, nothing works. Nothing has ever worked. Nothing ever will work. Every system is corruptible, and in the end all but a tiny minority gets screwed. Fortunately, things inevitably churn. Discontentment peaks, corrupt, unviable systems are overturned, and a fresh new corrupt, unviable system replaces it. The ending of Animal Farm is not a tale of failure. On contrary, it's humanity's sole saving grace that the pigs in charge are periodically replaced by slightly less entrenched pigs. That's really the best we can hope for. Blame Eve for eating that apple.

But every century or so eggheads proclaim some smug new utopian plan (which always sounds great on paper) destined to create a permanent steady state of prosperity and happiness. Communism was one. Libertarianism is another. But pure intellectual concepts always lack real world pragmatism. You can announce your brilliant pure plan but I don't believe it, I don't trust it, and I know it's bullshit before you even explain it to me.

3. Meeting Real Live Poor People
The idea made sense at first: level the competitive playing field, remove restrictions, and let the best and brightest superheat a blazing economy for the betterment of all. Sort of like America, but without the sludgey inefficiency. It also made sense that those who'd fall behind would have only themselves to blame. Hey, they had an equal shot, right?

I envisioned myself in such a scenario, making decisions, expending energy, and using my resourcefulness to compete. Yeah, it'd work! And I imagined some lazy dude (currently on, like, welfare or something), opting to hang out smoking Pall Malls in front of the 7-11. Fine, to each his own. We make our choices. It seemed equitable as I thought it all through.

Here's the problem with "thinking it all through":

You may have been following my series, "Bubbles, Slogs, and Selling Out", the story of how I sold Chowhound to CNET (now CBS). Here's a flash-ahead. There were times when my boss needed to make deep decisions about the site's future. I'd watch him close his eyes and envision how things would unfold, how it would impact users, etc.. But it was ludicrous because the guy knew nothing about food and had nothing in common with Chowhound's users. His taste, his vision, his ideas were from a different planet. Yet the vein on his forehead would pulse as he'd boldly envision it all. Very smart, very savvy...and invariably very wrong.

It can be useful to try to envision scenarios, but only if you have deep knowledge of the various factors. And my caricature of poor people hanging out in front of 7-11s wasn't exactly deep knowledge! As I'd envisioned it, libertarian societies made visceral good sense - but only because I was naive from my sheltered upbringing (show me a Libertarian, and I'll show you someone with a sheltered upbringing).

After graduation, I found myself living in a terrible shared apartment in a terrible neighborhood making $15,000/year as a jazz trombonist. I survived okay because I was smart, resourceful, and had middle class parents in the suburbs where I could, say, drive out and sleep in air conditioned comfort on hot August nights. I was educated. I had lots of smart, capable friends. I was articulate, young, intelligent, and healthy. I made a good impression. If trombone didn't work out, I had a world of possibilities open to me.

None of those things were true of the people around me. One fateful night, I had a beer with a grimly untalented middle-aged musician. He was neither a druggie nor an alcoholic, but he was only barely functional. He walked with a limp and didn't think too clearly. I looked into his eyes, and realized, with overwhelming empathy, that this guy, who'd worked hard all his life, and who was a really good, conscientious fellow, was hanging by a frigging thread, and had lived his entire life with one foot in the abyss. No resourcefulness, no connections, no education. Crappy genes, crappy family. And none of it was his fault. He was truly doing his very best with what he had. By just plain being there, reasonably healthy and well-fed, he'd overachieved more than I ever could hope to.

The scales fell from my eyes and for the first time I saw all my unearned advantages. And I fell into a reverie, envisioning myself with a never-ending lifelong case of flu, with fever impeding my intelligence, judgement and energy. My parents and friends were gone. I was on the verge of eviction from my apartment, and had no savings or education. I'd dropped out of high school to support myself, and had nobody smart to call for help or advice. No lifelines, no backup plans, no connections. Dizzy, feverish, and disheveled, I could hardly think straight. Let's add a couple of children to the picture, as well. Ok, hotshot: what's your move? How would you make out in a society with no safety net? What would be your odds? "My God," I thought to myself, shuddering with terror, "what on Earth would I do?"

After that night, I've had no interest at all in Libertarianism.


Ken Myers said...

Thanks for sharing. I like how you think. Ken (

Will said...

Indeed, yes. Life is largely a game of chance, not skill.

Poverty not only exposes you to all sorts of confounding instability and risk, it also makes it difficult to think straight; it makes it harder to play the game.

The safety net in a properly functioning society is not just about food and shelter. It is also about emotional and intellectual support, companionship and guidance.

We look to the state to provide these, but (historically) it does a really terrible job.

It is true that Libertarianism is not the be-all and end-all.

However, the philosophical starting points that it entails are good ones, and have some distinct advantages.

The idea that the relationship between state and individual is an essentially abusive one is a good thing to keep in mind when acting in the service of the state -- it keeps one's mind tuned to the law of unintended consequences.

Another good idea is the notion that the individual is usually better placed to make decisions concerning their own lives and welfare (in terms of available contextual information, even if not in terms of intellectual capacity).

None of these ideas preclude the state taking a significant role in social welfare -- but they do guide the nature of that role and the manner of it's implementation.

As usual, it is about implementation:- The management of the details (wherein the devil lies), and not the "headline" debate of large-vs.-small government or planned-vs.-market economies.

If we step back from the partisan battleground that is party politics, it is not difficult to realize that the management of governmental and social systems is actually a distributed engineering design problem, and that we have many different tools at our disposal, ones that are both effective and perfectly compatible lying on both sides of the political divide.

We should not let our partisan blinders hide the fact that there exist significant "general" interests that we share.

A functioning society, able to care for all it's members, able to ensure that they can contribute in a productive and meaningful way, is a shared political goal, not an exclusive one.

For example, a properly functioning economy is able to create wealth for all through the participation of all:- Balanced distributions of wealth create a greater money supply than more highly skewed distributions.

We should never forget that our argument is over the means, not the ends, and that the weakness in all of our plans is over unintended consequences and self-interested abuses of the systems that we put in place.

Cooperation. Humility. An eye for unintended consequences. Rigour and systematic design. These are the things we should seek in our political leaders, not their ability to tap into our innate misanthropy, hostility and jingoism and "appeal to the base".

Sreenivasan Iyer said...

I loved this piece and it has made me relook my limited views on libertarianism. We all need to get out of our sheltered thinking mode before we endorse it.

joe f. said...

Very nice. This is why I say Ayn Rand's view of the world is perfect for (sheltered, as you say) 17-year-old boys: I'd be great if only the government and all these moochers weren't dragging me down! What you really need to remain a libertarian is not determination or intelligence, but the ability to turn a blind eye on the rest of the world and the realities of life.

Unknown said...

It's true that many popular conceptions of libertarianism are flawed in various ways, but please don't let this make you think that the core concept of non-violence is wrong.

Libertarianism is not incompatible with safety nets. With geolibertarianism, we could have a living wage with no involuntary taxation. Here is how it works: Implementing Geolibertarianism.

Emanuel Nazareth said...

Insightful post, thank you for sharing!

Γνωμοδότης said...

Great story.

You might be interest in this book, I found it quite insightful on how "real life" works for the less privileged:

Jack said...

Good post, and I have made a similar journey.
The fact is the free market is the law of the jungle.
It is great at fostering competition and spurring innovation, but not at all good at distributing rewards (money) in a way that anyone would would accept in a society. It is a power law where the rich get it all and the poor get nothing.
Already in society the poor barely scratch by, and the rich have their own yachts, planes, and palaces.
And that's WITH taxes and other constraints in place. What would it be like without?

DJ Shiva. said...

"Blame Eve for eating that apple."

Really? That's the stupidest non-explanation for the cycle of human fuckups I've ever read.

Jim Leff said...

"Blame Eve for eating that apple."

Really? That's the stupidest non-explanation for the cycle of human fuckups I've ever read.

And that's a really beautiful example of rude humorlessness. We should partner to do "The Stupid and Humorless Show"

Everyone else: welcome....and thanks for your interesting thoughts!

Jim (the blog's author)

Carl Youngblood said...

DJ Shiva, his point is that these problems are inherent in human nature, not that he is actually taken the garden narrative literally. Apparently the erudition was lost on you.

Caly said...

So someone has a crappy unfortunate life, despite the collectivist state oppression, and certainly that made you un-interested in freedom, non-aggression and rational thinking? As Sheldon Cooper would have put it: "I accept your premise, but I reject your conclusion". Only a false libertarian rejects libertarianism. You obviousl got the philosophy wrong from the start, as you took part in the statist pseudo-libertarian bullcrap called politics, to begin with.

Elliott said...

First, I think your comment about all systems eventually corrupting and going belly up is awesome. Seriously maybe the most important under-represented political fact there is.

Second, what you seem to be describing is a lot closer to Objectivism. Libertarian inspired systems really couldn't ever work without people helping each other.

Jeremy Nicoll said...

It's too bad you spent so much time explaining what you are not instead of what you are.

For whatever it's worth, I lean heavily libertarian even though most of my childhood was anything but privileged. I realize that utopias are impossible and that we'll never have a truly libertarian society. I make use of my views to fight against the unnecessary legal restrictions we put on the poor. I believe in allowing people to better themselves in ways that make others feel uncomfortable.

All too often we impose restrictions on the poor in order to convenience ourselves. I was sad that you did not address this at all. If the only thing you thought about was the freedom for people to do well in the way you thought they should, perhaps it's a good thing you no longer consider yourself to be libertarian.

Unknown said...

So, basically, an excellent argument against libertarianism is, "There but for the grace of god go I"

But here's an excellent libertarian argument for social services and progressive taxation, without the invokation of a social contract:

If the idea is to truly level the playing field, part of that is enabling access to education (both pedagogical and continuing) and health services for all - because few people are at their level best when they're sick and ignorant.

It's hardly fair to new children to have their health and education hamstrung by the success or failures of their parents, after all.

A claim can be made that this can be handled with donation - but the benefits of donations are irregular and inconsistent; it would not enable a fair, level playing field to have that be the basis of education and health services. Donation is poor poly-fill.

The government collects money from its citizenry at gunpoint, for the purpose of benefiting its citizens by handling public goods, like military and police protection. It is not a stretch of the imagination to include education and health in that.

Now, since the government does this forcibly, it is in our interest (personally) to fund research into the most effective means of education, disease prevention, etc.

Basic living has a relatively stable minimum cost per individual and per household; as such, below an income threshold, it does not make sense to levy further taxation - we would be unfairly disadvantaging those who are already disadvantaged. As such, it would make sense to levy a base tax for higher income brackets, and reduce that tax as incomes decrease.

Lyfte said...

Wow.. Several problems here.

I've never known anyone to posit that Libertarianism is a "utopia". Its simply the least worst system available.

Libertarianism can be summed up in two sentences.

"I respect your right to live your life as you see fit, with no interference from me. All I ask in return is the same consideration."

Its difficult to see how anyone could argue with such a statement.

If you're basing your economic/political system after talking with an untalented musician barely scraping by, it seems he might have done better at an occupation in which he had some talent. I love music too, but I would never make a dime as a musician. Choices... Life is about choices and living with them. Good and bad.

And I know in a lot of cases, it is NOT the person's fault. But by what right does the Federal government claim my taxes for Federal aid? Shouldn't that be handled on the state level, or better yet, the local level?

We are a political/economic philosophy that recognizes that Taxes are violence . They are, necessarily taken by force or threat of force, otherwise they would be donations. How much violence are you willing to inflict on your fellow humans to do what you think is right?

Bureaucracies are inefficient like the Sun is hot. You cannot change the nature of either. So at least let's keep them as small and local as possible.

Although you don't come right out and say it, I'm guessing that you advocate taxation in order to care for the unfortunate. Fine. I'll ask you the same question I ask everyone else and never get a coherent answer. How Much? How much is OK with you? Is there a line you'll defend as "too much"?

Sloppy said...

I'm a Libertarian who lived below the poverty line for many years. It's true, life is hard and unfair. Not everyone gets to live like a rock star. But Libertarianism is about more than removing the social "safety net". If anything, your epiphany should have lead to an increased awareness for the need for voluntary philanthropy. Instead, you looked at your fellow libertarians and asked, "Why aren't THEY doing more?" instead of asking "Why don't I do more?" That's where your thinking went wrong.

Anonymous said...

You've tripped and fallen right into Hobbes' Paradox.

How is it possible that you can find that people in a free market will somehow fall into chaos and the law of the jungle, that people are too stupid/greedy/immoral to trust to their own devices, but when these *same* stupid/greedy/immoral can be trusted with power over their fellow man? That somehow government will bring out the better angels of our being simply because it exists?

No. You're simply dodging the question. "All systems are corruptible." So that means we should never seek improvement? That we can't recognize that some systems are *better* than others? or is it simply the case that you're willing to put up with whatever status quo happens to exist rather than taking a risk to improve it?

So many societies have fallen into the trap of thinking that a central power can somehow erase all social ills. BUT GOOD INTENTIONS DON'T COUNT MORE THAN GOOD RESULTS. EVER.

It almost sounds to me like you WANT to export the blame for your situation to others. Why do you want to erect a government to take care of the poor and destitute rather than do it yourself?

Why do you think, just because you believe in YOUR unearned advantages, that you must use force to cut down others?

I mean, I found this a profound nonargument anyways, but the conclusion you've reached simply is not supported by its premises.

Sounds too much like Critical theory for my tastes.

Unknown said...

Good post, i too used to be a Libertarian, but i noticed that most libertarians have a very hostile attitude towards the poor and they really don't have much in the way of solutions to lift people out of poverty. Perhaps this isn't surprising because most libertarians seem to be white middle class/upper middle class men.

Anonymous said...

1.) Randians = libertarians. Greed is greed and ambition is greed

2.) The state is justified because it's inevitable. Libertarianism is ahistorical. Redistributive liberalism is pragmatic, pragmatism is adult, therefore liberalism is adult. Libertarianism is not pragmatic, therefore not adult. Being adult (read: paternal) is moral.

3.) Author was sheltered, author knew libertarians that were sheltered, therefore all libertarians are sheltered. Libertarians are only libertarian because they've never met a poor person; libertarian ideas are dispersed by the meeting a poor person and its inevitable result: infantilization. The poor are noble victims (not un-able, dis-abled) and don't have middle-class white parents in the suburbs to support them. The author was sort of poor but able as !@#$ and had white middle-class parents in the suburbs to support him. Therefore, since ability and disability stems from having white middle-class parents in the suburbs, all white middle-class parents in the suburbs should be forced to support the noble poor as they support their children.

Pragmatism, not idealism, right?

krf said...

I think a better title for this post would be "Lessons for a Young Libertarian." These are definitely valid critiques, but they also show a limited understanding of libertarian philosophy. There is no utopian end point. Everyone knows this. That is not a reason to reject the principles of any philosophy. This is where the real work begins. Squaring your principles with the realities of the world.

Also, the comments to this post show that the conflation of Ayn Rand's objectivism and libertarianism is quite common. Sad to see that so many people still love to bask in the bliss of ignorance.

John said...

Historically, the state has been bad at social welfare? Because as I remember it, there were a lot more starving elderly people before social security, and a lot more dying kids in factories before child labor laws. Perhaps you can explain it?

I define myself as a libertarian socialist. Personal liberty for the little guy, which includes not dying on a factory floor that was preventable, and having an education that will make innovators out of those with the talent. Healthcare that will keep them healthy. Regulations that will ensure fair treatment and workplace safety.

$andeep Potter said...

To everyone who is still trying to justify libertarianism, you missed the point of the article. Without a system of safety nets for those without means to be their own safety nets, those people will invariably fall behind and they will literally be starved to death by those who do have means. Government intervention is at times a little excessive, but to get rid of it entirely will actually be returning to our natural state, in which only the strongest and most capable among us are allowed to survive past childhood. Libertarianism, in its true form, would be true unadulterated Darwinism, the way it exists in animal populations. If we function the same way as all the other animals, literally leaving those deemed unfit to die, we are no better than animals. I personally, as someone who has studied science extensively, believe that we are not as different from animals as we would like to believe, but I mean it more in the context of not treating people who have debilitating genetic conditions so the disease-causing genes will die out. Not caring for those less fortunate is so much more callous as it would kill so many more people, and it is also often the fault of the more fortunate that the less fortunate have such a hard time. This is the case with certain ethnic groups all over the Western hemisphere, who were taken from a simple hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a life of slavery and subjugation, and never given the opportunity to thrive by their captors. It also holds for Africa and Asia, which were both robbed of the vast majority of their wealth by the European colonists. Those people on the whole are poor because the more fortunate made them so, and therefore it is an obligation to help them. Libertarians are not exactly selfish, but short-sighted, having lived a sheltered life and never knowing what lies beyond their gated communities.

Jafafa Hots said...

"I've never known anyone to posit that Libertarianism is a "utopia"."

Really? Libertarianism is quite commonly called a utopian system. Just not by Libertarians.
Sheltered upbringing indeed.

"Its simply the least worst system available."

Seeing as there has never been a libertarian system in power, it cannot be judged to be "the least worst." It also cannot be called "available" as, good or bad, it has never been shown to even be able to be implemented, let alone be successful.

Libertarianism is only considered by some to be "the best system available" because it is a fiction (so far at least) and the people who wrote the fiction wrote the fictional happy ending.

Unknown said...

I want to lead off with the point that I don't disagree with the core of the points you've made.

However, you avoided the core of Libertarianism in your critique and jumped well past the most important premise of any discussion about ideology. That premise being that an ideology is both a road map and a goal. You imply that Libertarianism is a self contained Hypocrisy when in fact the application of Libertarian ideals you saw around you was the hypocrisy, not the ideals themselves. In that case it is only justifiable to blame the individual doing the Hippocratic acts. You never address that this is really a failing of the person. Nor do you mention if you tried to correct them.

I again want to say that I am not at odds with your core points. Egghead Utopias are just that. Ideas, not reality.

I propose however that the corruptibility of a system and how that corruption effects people is directly related to the size of that system. In a truly Libertarian structure, each individual is their own system of power. Thus if one system wants to avoid the corruption of another, they simply disassociate from it.

As for the poor. There is no excuse for poverty. No excuse for addiction. No excuse for abuse or murder. That has nothing at all to do with ideology. We are not just intellectual beings. We are emotional and animal too. We are still bound by motivations for dominance, security, and fertility that have nothing to do with ideology. That doesn't mean an animal like me can't be Libertarian.

Jim Leff said...

You are saying precisely what the previous wave of true-believing egg-headed theorists always said re: Russia, China, N Korea, and Cuba: Hey, don't blame the theory; THAT ain't Communism!

All these theories come from the same ilk of naive, hubristic pointy-headed theorists. All lack real-world viability. And when they get (usually catastrophically) put in place, they - like with all things human - look sloppy and dismayingly unlike the nice clean theory.

Nothing done with people is ever done cleanly. It's always hairy/fuzzy/degraded. That's one reason you don't want theorists hacking real world systems; they're ill-equipped for wading in that muck.

Libertarianism hasn't even been put in place, and already many the theorists are out of the gates disavowing the ideological contamination..

Unknown said...

Darius said...

Thanks for sharing Jeff. I'm saddened by the vitriol in the comments. I liked the content, and the delivery as well.

Tina M. said...

I am shocked by the level of misunderstanding in both this article and the comments here. Let me break this down for those who may be confused and spreading their errors.
Libertarianism is NOT a plan or course of action to be implemented by some self anointed "expert" or group of elites. Rather it is synonymous with FREEDOM and LIBERTY. The "true believers" of libertarianism are indeed true believers in a FREE HUMANITY! It is the elitist who are the “egg headed theorists” that have NO faith in the peons to sort out their own affairs; who invariably seek nothing but POWER over others; who get excited over conducting vast social experiments. "No real world viability" So Jeff here thinks freedom and liberty are not viable... Well Jeff that's because the sadists in power have no incentive to WILLINGLY RELINQUISH IT! For clarity on this point refer to this funny article:
Now to the crux of the matter.
99.99% of all Humanity throughout all of time have known nothing but grinding physical poverty. Sorry no middle class. What changed all this was the liberalizing of resources and talents brought about by the industrial revolution. Now, despite what your Government issued textbook says, those factory workers SCRAMBLED for those jobs because it was there ticket OUT of the grinding poverty of subsistence living ...THEY BECAME THE MIDDLE CLASS!. As a matter of fact those factories were producing the very means for them to attain that better life. They produced and saved up to 50% of their income (in real silver and gold). Now all these changes did not happen in a political or economic vacuum. The idea that ruled the day was CLASSICAL LIBERALISM.
Before moving on I want you all to appreciate what happened in the 1800s. NEVER IN HUMAN HISTORY and likely never again will we see that explosion of wealth and distribution across so vast a population. Think of the many millions of immigrants that came to America with nothing during this economic explosion. Literally MILLIONS were lifted out of poverty in only ONE generation. Government had NOTHING to do with it rather this is what FREE Humanity looks like unleashed!
The Classical Liberals believed in maximum individual liberty supported by personal responsibility and equality under the law. They believed in VERY limited government, The gold standard, No income tax, No central banking, No Foreign wars, No prohibitions of any sort save those that hurt others, No bailouts or subsidies to cronies...etc. Sound Familiar? Yep they were Libertarians. Yet they called themselves liberal Democrats. They understood that progress only happened within a totally free economy and society. I won't get into how the democrats of old came to be co-opted by the so called "progressives" to become the state worshiping lot we see today. Isn't it ironic though, that the very first "progressive" president gave us the prosperity crushing IRS income tax and central bank in the same year. This was a fatal blow to America. 2013 is the 100 year anniversary of that grand social experiment. One arm directly expropriates a third of your livelihood while the other siphons off the remainder through debt and inflation. How's that workin out for ya?

Tina M. said...

It is no coincidence that in the century where the ideals of Peace, Freedom, And Liberty reigned supreme we also saw the biggest economic boom in human history before or since. In the 20th century the pendulum of ideas swung very far towards Statism. The Keynesians came to dominate economic theory at every level. We have gone from being the largest creditors in the world to become the largest debtors in human history. From the largest savers and producers to the largest debt financed consumers fueling a gaping trade deficit. It has taken a while for these rotten ideas to take full effect but look how far we have come. Historically one middle class income earner could support his Wife and several kids, buy a house and go on vacation every year, healthcare was no problem, he could send his kids off to college; and all of this without a penny of debt or assistance. As a supermarket manager my grandfather supported his wife and 7 kids like this. Also, my mother immigrated here with very little, worked in a factory (now closed) saved her money and paid for a house in full and debt free. In that society there is less need of a safety net as people are allowed to keep the fruits of their labor. Anyone who can work… Will. Those few that do slip between the cracks are supported locally by family, churches and community outreach (usually in that order too)

That America is now a distant dream. The United States has squandered her inheritance. And all that the Public Ed. trained obedient masses can do is clamor for ever greater restrictions and handouts as their standard of living continue to erode essence the masses demand more servitude. For the first time in history poverty rates were dropping steadily up until the government institutionalized it in the 60’s. Poverty rates have remained FLAT ever since. A free society does not live at the mercy of its rulers. The emergence of the libertarians in the early 70s was in response to the quickly changing trends of ideas and the dangerous course America had embarked on. That tiny core group, who’s future seemed uncertain, has now come to reignite a huge and global movement of awareness among the young and passionate. We now stand at a dangerous cross roads and now more than ever this nation needs to re embrace her unique heritage of ideas that made her great.
Before long we will endure the greatest economic event in history when the US Bond bubble Implodes. 2008 was just a precursor to the great underlying imbalances. Those responsible will continue to ignore the free market austrians and libertarians who predicted it (let alone seek their sober advice) and use the same old tired excuses (blame the non-existent free market) to snuff out the last of our liberties. Ideas help shape society so when this happens are you going to cower with the confused masses, cajoled towards more authoritarianism, or are you going to stand with the libertarians who are passionate about the tried and true ideals of Liberty and a FREE society?

“It does not take a majority to prevail...but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men” Samuel Adams

May God grant us peace and prosperity.
And may we praise Him for it!

Lennon Patton said...

You should submit this to Medium! This is the kind of high quality short read they publish

Anonymous said...

1. That's not hypocrisy. Seriously, pick up the dictionary. Maybe "conflict on interest", but anti-libertarians are at least as bad. Most aren't very productive, they work for the government, etc.

2. Utopia? Again, pick up the dictionary. Libertarians are "optimistic," it's the other ideologies that are obsessed with "constructing a new world order"

3. Your pity for the poor is actually contempt, and you reflect on what you haven't earned just long enough to realize that you wouldn't be able to earn it back if you lost it, and therefore require a state guarantee that you will always have unearned security. You didn't "grow up" you became corrupt

TCB said...

The great Robert Anton Wilson put it like this: "I am not that kind of Libertarian, really; I don't hate poor people."

Red Mercer said...

On the other hand, I've been homeless and slept out on docks and had Rescue Mission breakfasts with another homeless guy who was pretty much a full-on Rothbardian. You can't reason yourself out of a position you didn't reason yourself into; doubly so if you think you DID.

Anonymous said...

You're assuming there would be no safety net if we stopped taking money from people through threats of violence.

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