Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The insanity of modern libertarianism

Libertarians are politically inept and fundamentally insane. We resent being associated with conservatives, especially when they claim to own libertarian ideals while talking smack about libertarian amorality... because the Reagan coalition welding libertarians and conservatives together was so successful that it could concentrate sufficient political firepower to win the Cold War. We resent being tied at the hip to liberals, because it gets us associated with civil rights groups who often overshoot the mark, yet have occasionally risen far above politics to cry foul at abuses in the system we'd never even have heard about on our own. We're nuts.

For starters, what do you call people who run a third party in a representative republic with a winner-take-all system whose raw mathematics guarantees that only two parties will ever be able to vie for power? You call them insane, that's what you call them. And if you're crazy enough to be a Libertarian, you probably believe the following crazy things, too:

  • We can bring about global freedom and prosperity by announcing to the world that "we're all going home now to found Fortress America, and we hope all you totalitarian maniacs will play nice and maintain a healthy mechanism to keep the international shipping upon which all our advanced economies depend safe and happy."
  • We can convince the electorate to plunge directly into the icy-cold bracing water of personal freedom and responsibility, because running campaigns with a more moderate platform that would let people "dip their toes in the water"would be selling out.
  • We can prescribe policy based on ideology, rather than proceeding from principles pragmatically in the hope of accumulating steady small victories like those completely unelectable conservatives and liberals.
  • We can win elections if we allow people to speak for us who really think that medical marijuana is a pressing issue of justice which deserves to be considered as soon as, if not before, KELO and McCain-Feingold.
  • We can win votes by educating people on the 'net, not simply spending bazillions on marketing like everybody else, because everything except politics tends to obey economic laws...
  • We don't see any problem with letting a bunch of batshit-crazy anarchists pose as libertarians and scare people away from the philosophy entirely, because that really helps us win hearts and minds.

We're nuts. We're absolutely, completely bonkers, if we think that these are practices that will gain any traction whatsoever amongst scared "security voters" worried about another 9/11, and folks whose idea of trusting the private markets with money is hopelessly tied up with Enron. Oh, don't get me wrong: in the years since they were put to paper, many of the economic arguments stemming from, say, Hayek and Laffer, for example, have been proven beyond all reasonable doubt -- ask any Irishman what he thinks about the positive economic effects of tax reform. But we expect that people will become libertarians by nodding their heads at the obvious superiority of our arguments and going "uh huh, yup yup, I guess the market really would do a better job than government in almost every case." Because that really makes sense, being based on how people really make life-altering political choices, isn't it?

And we think the Barking Moonbats on the left, and the Myrmidons on the right don't get it?

And I'm one of these guys, no question. Sign me up for my rubber room.

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