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What is a “libertarian?”

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Libertarianism for me began at age 17 in 1980 with the presidential campaign of Ed Clark. The basic appeal to strictly restrict government in the name of individual freedom instantly made sense. That’s for me!

Yet not everyone knows or understands what libertarianism or the Libertarian Party stand for. You’re with the ‘libertine party?’ I got a lot of that 20 years ago, far less of it now. Still, I suspect most people have only have a vague idea of libertarian beliefs. So, let’s take a quick pass at nailing it down a bit.

Centrally, libertarianism is a political belief system based on property rights and individualism. Stated simply, libertarians believe that individuals have the right to do whatever they will with their own lives and property, so long as they respect the equal rights of others.

One basic core principle of libertarian thought is that groups don’t have rights. Any group -the Catholic church, the Boy Scouts or the US government- is no more nor less than the individuals who comprise the group. Groups get whatever legitimacy they have from the individual members, and thus have no rights to do anything any individual wouldn’t be allowed to do.

Thus, libertarians will tend to see minimal differences between IRS agents vs the guy robbing the 7-11 vs a mafia family collecting protection money. If you don’t have a right to come take my money at gunpoint because you decide you “need” it, it doesn’t become any more right because you got some buddies together and voted to rob me.

This all leads naturally toward believing in strictly limiting the powers of government. You might have to have a little bit of it for basic police purposes and national defense, but not much else. The less government we can get by with, the better.

The closest that we have come to this ideal in actual practice in human history was the US Constitution. In the practical application, there were serious shortcomings there, but these ideas of individual sovereignty were the basic ideals of the brain trust of our revolution, notably Thomas Jefferson. Thus, the modern Libertarian Party tends to strongly emphasize the US Constitution, not out of some superstitious devotion to our ancestors, but because they got it right the first time.

In those times, these beliefs in an open society with minimal government power were called “liberal” ideas. That would be nice, except that the first thing FDR stole as he inflicted socialism on the country in the 1930s was the word “liberal.” Jefferson or Washington would not recognize such an authoritarian as one of theirs. College professors sometimes now refer to these Jeffersonian belief systems as “classical liberalism.”

FDR stole the good name of liberalism, and those classical liberal ideas were on the wane in public debate for some years. My hero Barry Goldwater tried to inject some of those principles back into the mix, but was of course beaten by LBJ – and far worse, subverted from within by fellow Republicans.

One of the worst culprit Republican schmucks was Richard Nixon. It was specifically Nixon’s imposition of wage and price controls that set off three or four now ex-Republicans to get together and start a new political party. They managed to get a first presidential candidate on a few state ballots in 1972.

They named it the “Libertarian Party.” The word “libertarian” had existed for probably at least a century, but had only limited usage. Thus, the word mostly is an association of the American political party that uses it. They picked it to represent the central goal of the movement: liberty. Not the divine right of kings, nor the will of the majority, nor any kind of group rights, but individual liberties.

A good way to get a handle on what libertarians are about would be to read some of the authors that influence the movement. In my experience, probably a majority of Libertarian Party activists have been particularly heavily influenced by one or both of two major authors: Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein.

We’re very pluralistic and all, so you could find a good many libertarians who have never read either of these authors. Still, probably the best way to start to understand libertarian thinking would be to read Ayn Rand’s classic novel Atlas Shrugged (the most important book of the 20th century), or Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.

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  • Well said, Al.

    Now, can you continue to three things I have trouble explaining to people who ask about libertarianism?

    1/ Property rights — that I can do whatever I want with my property, provided I don’t invade someone else’s right.

    2/ Non-aggression — non-coercive government and foreign policy

    3/ Personal liberty — this is a side-track of property rights, but when I tell people that I believe I should be free to do whatever I want, including *not* renting my apartments to whomever I choose or my restaurant *not* serving whomever I choose, then I start getting angry responses. “You can’t do that!” is the frequent response. How do you respond to that?

  • 1. Yes, spot on.
    2. Yes
    3. Yes, you are right, you should be able to decide who or what gets access to your property.

    Libertarian philosophy is rather summed by this: “Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law; as long as it does not hurt anyone else and as long as you are prepared to take responsability for your actions.

  • boomcrashbaby

    1/ Property rights — that I can do whatever I want with my property, provided I don’t invade someone else’s right

    Question. You own a property next door to me. You don’t mow your lawn, you do what you want with it, grass grows high, rats move in, you park a car in your front yard and dismantle it. Weeds grow up through it.

    MY property value goes down. Was there a ‘right’ of mine infringed on under the libertarian philosophy? It was your property and you did what you want. How is that handled?

    2/ Non-aggression — non-coercive government and foreign policy

    Sounds like the Democratic philosophy! So you mean most political parties are united in our strategy, except for the party currently holding all the power?

    3/ Personal liberty — this is a side-track of property rights, but when I tell people that I believe I should be free to do whatever I want, …”You can’t do that!” is the frequent response. How do you respond to that?

    This is vague. Where does the distinction between business and individual begin and end? If a mom and pop shop can discriminate, then shouldn’t Wal-Mart be able to? And what about if Wal-Mart moves into an area, kills the surrounding competition and THEN discriminates? Where are those discriminated against going to shop now?

    If a small store wants to discriminate, that’s one thing, but in a small community in rural America where most citizens share the same philosophy, what’s to stop an entire section of town or the whole town from collectively discriminating against a group in ALL their stores? Say an entire southwestern town wanted to discriminate against blacks, on the ‘business’ level, or even more likely an ENTIRE state wants to discriminate against gay people. They don’t want to feed them in restaurants, house them in apartments, teach them in private schools, or anything, on a large scale basis, etc, How would this be addressed? Saying an individual has a right to do business with who he wants is one thing, but it opens up sooooooo many doors that the libertarian philosophy doesn’t elaborate on.

  • Thanks for the additional input, Al.

    As I said in my “What the heck…” post I tried to find out what libertarianism was and found so many contradictory positions part of “small-l” libertarianism, that I decided to go public and see what came up.

    That got me some interesting additions, but your statement that Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is “the most important book of the 20th century” gives me a view from a different angle.

    I read the book about 40 years ago, so went to a couple of Randian sites to refresh my knowledge.

    It still seems the cartoon book that it did when I first read it.

    Combining the main points of Rand’s “Objectivism” with what I’ve learned from you and others, it seems to me that – human nature being human nature – it is a completely dead-end approach.

    Try to apply it, and you will end up with an anarchic/authoritarian/tribalistic mess like you have in Somalia, or in the non-Kabul parts of Afghanistan.

    It looks like another unrealistic, “fringe-right” pipe dream.

    It’s not a pretty picture.

  • JohnnyLunchBox

    Utopia is just around the corner isn’t it?

    I like the Randian (is that a word?) philosophy for what it is – at least a starting point for the discussion of the virtue of individual rights.

    Have we defined property? Are you talking about a 1/2 acre or property as in a corporation that I built?

    This all depends on the honesty of the individual to make this work. Will people self-regulate? Will I curtail my business if I see it doing harm to one person? The business is property, can ‘t I do with it what I want?

    I agree that the wealth of a nation should not be measures by the affluence of its government.

    It is a dream.

  • 3/ Personal liberty — this is a side-track of property rights, but when I tell people that I believe I should be free to do whatever I want, including *not* renting my apartments to whomever I choose or my restaurant *not* serving whomever I choose, then I start getting angry responses. “You can’t do that!” is the frequent response. How do you respond to that?

    This is the one that gets libertarians accused of being fellow travellers of white supremacists. And it’s true that racists and other bigots will be the major beneficiaries of any wholesale repeal of anti-discrimination laws.

    I don’t believe the majority of liberatians are actual racists, but I do believe many have a huge blind spot where racism is concerned.

    Many liberarians tend to come from ‘geek’ subcultures, often with poor understanding of human motivations and social dynamics. Therefore they don’t recognise the many ways their utopian ideals will fail in practice.

  • The fallacy of libertarianism is that it is just feudalism given a cold-war dress. Essentially, individuals have no rights, only property has rights exercised by the owners of title to property. You either inherit property or form a syndicate to take property from others. And there is no public domain, and of course, your money has no value (that’s the cutting edge of “free”).

    While libertarians are free to go live in plywood shacks in the woods, they should forego using the public utilities and postal service.

    One of the few protections the individual has is as a member of the public and community.

    Otherwise all you have is nuts in shacks and criminal gangs.

  • Eric Olsen

    I am in full agreement that less is best regarding government, except when it isn’t

  • Oh bollocks!

    I can never seems spell “libertarian” correctly.

  • Tim, as Homer Simpson says, it’s pronounced “lie-barry” and “nuke-you-lar”. When you hear those, you know who you’re talking with.

  • Rand isn’t philosophy, kids.

    And Rand was the worst thing for philosophical libertarianism because her appropriation and misreading of warmed-over Nietzschean ideas (hence the “amorality” of modern libertarian thought) and fetishization of capitalism destroyed any foundation for libertarian thought. Rand couldn’t be more different than the traditional defenses of libertarianism (see below).

    Your nonsense about “groups not having rights” isn’t libertarian doctrine — it’s your attempt to inject right-wing social politics into your views. Most libertarian thinkers would identify state-supported racism (or any other -ism) as one of the most egregious violations of individualism and property rights in this century. I don’t see how there could even be a debate within the Libertarian Party about abortion rights, for example, or how the doctrine could support a large, bellicose defense sector that goes on wars of aggression. None of these things are supported by so-called principles of traditional libertarian thought and makes me suspect that many of the “thinkers” in the movement now are merely more eccentric rejects from the GOP. And MacDiva, I think this is another example where you’re attributing far too much influence and sinister motive to your “enemies.” While I agree with Mike Kole that Al Barger is an exceedingly poor representative of libertarian thought, I don’t believe the Libertarian Party is evil or neo-Confederate. And even if it is, I don’t see that as a threat because the fringe quality to the movement makes those sentiments largely irrelevant and, moreover, impotent.

    I have no sympathy or affiliation for the irrelevance of modern Libertarians (big-L), but I think a lot of people on the progressive left (like civil libertarians) share my foundation in libertarian thinkers who despise government coercion like Nozick, Rousseau, Mill, Locke, etc. The greatest error of libertarian thought today is that libertarians mistakenly assume that state-supported capitalism is something to be valorized without realizing the contradiction in that position as it relates to human opportunity and freedom. Not only does this eliminate the possibility of progressive or left libertarianism within your movement, it makes you an unwitting supporter of the coercive, anti-democratic forces you criticize.

    Barger: what are you criticisms of Bush? You always sit silent when you’re called out, don’t you? Just like the discussion of race, just like when you were embarrassed in your last deification of Ayn Rand.

    That is all.

  • Bob I agree with your comments on Rand. One thing that most amuses me about Randians/objectivists is that some are so wrapped up they become almost messianic. The Libertarian Party in the US, for the most part, is a joke, although in some states its not that bad.

    I love “the libertarians want chaos” meme going on here…its total bullshit…but its fun to read. Not all libertarians are anarcho-capitalist, just like not all Democrats are social democrats (ie: socialists). Just like not all libertarians are utopian dreamers either, there is a constant debate between the practical and theoretical libertarian.

    For instance: I think you will find that many libertarians are as against corporate welfare, subsidies and the like, as they are against the nannying state. If you want an example of this type of practical libertarian, I would point you to Samizdata.

  • What makes me laugh most at the self-described “libertarians” is how they can’t point at an occurrence in the wild.

    Sure, you’ve got your Ayn Rand novels, and she was mainly pissed with Stalinism that she wasn’t in charge, and unlike L. Ron Hubbard, didn’t register as a religion.

    Essentially, libertarians seem to be looking to justify why they are shitty, annoying neighbors.

  • Oh, man. I just realized Al intended to post under the name “Rusty Shackleford”, but forgot.

  • [deleted]

  • Tim and Bob, the link between the neo-Confederates and the libertarians is not coincidental. It is that belief in some individuals having the right to control their property that has attracted the neo-Confederates to libertarianism. Because, of course it goes right back to what was argued during the Massive Resistance movement to maintain racial segregation. It is freedom of association all over again. Andrew Ian Dodge, (a member of the ‘scientific racism’ blog Gene Expression with administrative privileges according to its site) is another type attracted to libertarianism for that reason, at least in part. Of course, the possibility of the U.S. repealing civil rights laws is nil. Still, that chimera explains a lot of the growth in libertarianism in the South. Or, another way of looking at it, it provides a cloak for ‘the South was right’ folks. They’re not racists, they say. They’re libertarians.

    There is another aspect to the ‘property’ argument that is not made explicitly, but is implied. If the Civil War was an error,[edited], then humans can legally be property. And, since, under libertarian beliefs, no one has the right to interfere with another individual’s property. . . Suffice it to say that the country would be where it was in 1860 if one followed the guidance of these people.

    And, oh, I am not saying the Libertarian Party has overtly embraced segregation. It hasn’t. But, via the property rights argument, it is not at all difficult to get there.

  • Lol, MacDiva, another lie. I don’t have admin priveldges to that site and never have. And funny enough the link under my name does not go to my site. When have you ever known me to post anywhere without a link back to my blog? (After all one of reasons for comments is to let people know about your blog.) Try again… Look forward to your next lie…

    Keep up the good work, your dillusion about some conspiracy between neo-confederates and libertarians is most amusing.

  • Really, AID? So, now Gene Expression is telling lies on you? Under your own name? During the time you were going from blog to blog promoting their views? So its leaders, Razib (Razib Khan) and Godless Capitalist (Paul Wickre) will not be with you or your next road trip, eh?

    Even if what poor Andrew is saying were true, which it isn’t, libertarianism is attracting people from both the neo-Confederate and scientific racism communities. (They often overlap.) Show me a person advocating such views and chances are that person will say he is a libertarian. In an increasingly diverse society, in which nonwhites form a greater portion of the population every year, that is not going to go unscrutinized. Indeed, for every angry white man attracted to libertarianism, there will be thousands turned off by the bigotry they see emanating from so many people who call themselves libertarian.

  • No discussion of politics at Blogcritics would be complete without the malicious racial dishonesty of Mac Diva.

    I would almost be sympathetic to her if she wasn’t so mean and hateful, because I can see how she honestly wouldn’t be able to wrap her head around libertarian thinking. She’s so consistently totally involved in seeing and framing things as racially based that she might understandably have trouble understanding us.

    Libertarianism is based on fairly radical individualism. We are more totally oriented to discounting group memberships of any involuntary kind than about any type of social group going.

    Partly, though, some would fault us for that, for discounting the special grievances of their particular oppressed group. For example, we would tend to be opposed to using the force of law to require private individuals to associate with people they don’t want.

    Some will insist on interpreting it as “racist” that libertarians will tend to rate private property rights as a higher value than even many of the more legitimate group grievances. They’re simply wrong, though. Not coming to the same conclusions as a self-proclaimed civil rights advocate does not constitute proof of racism.

    Contrary to Diva’s claims, I’ve never met anyone in the party who would fit the description “neo-Confederate.” I have never seen a Confederate flag at a Libertarian Party event. Anyone with a chip on their shoulder with some ethnic group just wouldn’t fit in or be embraced at all. Even beyond any wrongness in their beliefs, they just wouldn’t fit in socially.

    In short, libertarians might sometimes be reasonably accused of “racial insensitivity.” However, if you think it through, this is actually exactly the opposite of racism.

    Also, by the way, disliking Lincoln and the Civil War does not mean approving of the Confederacy. Slavery was an abomination in no way compatible with any form of libertarian thinking. Even besides slavery, the Confederacy was a highly illiberal setup.

    Nonetheless, two or three or four more wrongs do not make a right. Lincoln horribly abused the US Constitution for highly questionable purposes. The burning of Atlanta was just pure terrorism.

    I would propose an alternative abolitionist hero: John Brown. His spirit and actions were much more straight and true and pure than Lincoln.

    In conclusion, part of the cost of liberty is tolerating a lot of bad behavior. There is a certain moral discipline involved in refraining from presuming to run other people’s business just exactly when they’re wrong.

  • Not only are there neo-Confederate libertarians, they are where the growth in the movement appears to be occurring. Indeed, a specimen of the neo-Confederate arm is declaring the non-existence of it above. I’ve posted enough links to this trend that anyone willing to avail himself of information has ample opportunity to do so.

    . . .we would tend to be opposed to using the force of law to require private individuals to associate with people they don’t want.

    That is Massive Resistance, pure and simple. The effect would be to perpetuate segregation of various sorts. Repeating myself again, civil rights laws are not likely to be repealed. If anything, they will be extended to more groups, with gay people being next. The fact that libertarians (okay, some libertarians) cannot wrap their heads around the rather obvious reality that preventing people from being able to participate in commerce in a capitalist society deprives them of liberty shows just how out of touch they are.

    Nor can the Civil War be opposed and supported at the same time. Either chattel slavery was wrong and a good reason to fight a war or it wasn’t. In previous entries and comments, the commenter above has made it clear he believes ‘the South was right.’ Indeed, he has said that slavery should have been allowed to die out ‘naturally.’ His attempt to backpedal is laughable.

    As I said, many of the most trafficked libertarian sites online are of the neo-Confederate/Patriot type. Recently, I’ve been observing a libertarian who is interesting in the overt way he combines Christianity, racism, sexism, anti-Semiticism, nativisim and no telling what other evil under the term ‘libertarian.’ No shilly-shallying after deciding to run for office for him, I bet. Meet Little Geneva. This is the face of libertarianism online.

    As for being called names by Al Barger, I consider it the price to be paid for being honest.

  • Dearest Justene, I appreciate your good efforts to keep Blogcritics civil, but I publicly beg your indulgence to be as liberal as you can with leaving insults and attacks directed specifically at me alone. I’m a candidate for US Senate. I can handle the buzzing of gnats.

    Also, in the interest of transparency, here is Diva’s deleted comment #15: It is unfortunate that the nickname, ‘Weird Al,’ has
    already been taken.

    That’s not really even an insult. Heck, my friends call me worse than that.

  • MD, well the link doesn’t go to my blog. Why is that MD? The reason that post is called Admin announcement is that its about how the blogs works. It doesn’t mean that only admins can read it. Can you find a post of mine on GE? Of course, not I have never never posted there.

    So no GE expression aren’t lying…you are…again.

    Like Al, I have attended many Libertarian events, I have not once seen a “Stars & Bars”, not even at the Libertarian Convention in 2000.

    Why exactly would libertarians want to through in their lot with a bunch of authoritarian happy-clappy Neo-Confederates? It is illogical and ludicrous.

  • Shark

    I don’t care much for her ‘philosophy’, but Ayn Rand was A BABE!

    And what Booey said; excellent summary/analysis.

    re: Carruthers’: “…libertarians seem to be looking to justify why they are shitty, annoying neighbors.”

    As I was reading this thread, I was thinking, “Jeez, the only fanatical Ayn Rand fans I’ve known were *self-centered, selfish assholes.”

    *Present company excluded for lack of evidence, but I did have an aunt who was a died-in-the-wool Randyite; just for the record, she died a lonely, bitter old bitch.

    Carry on.


    “You own a property next door to me. You don’t mow your lawn, you do what you want with it, grass grows high, rats move in, you park a car in your front yard and dismantle it. Weeds grow up through it.”

    I swear to god, that’s my neighbors! Once, one of their rats came into our compound, and my young rotty pounced on it. I am here to witness that rats can scream. It was simply blood curdling. Anyway, I never called the cops or anything, because I figure they have it bad enough already. I did almost have to call animal control twice, as their lovely beagle Scout was perched precariously on an outside window ledge (no screens in windows, they have been punched through by the wild teenage boys who live there), but instead I borrowed my other neighbor’s ladder (the one whose band sounds like poorer quality Metallica, though somehow inconcievably they don’t realize this!)and I pushed old Scout back into the house. They had one junker parked in the driveway forever, and there were hornets nests in there. Some old dude drove up on a Scooter one time, and was looking in the windows of the car, and he must have riled them up, and you should have seen that old codger dance around in his helmet, t-shirt, and shorts. It was priceless, I tell you.

    I tried to read Ayn Rand once, but it was just like blah, blah, blah,… zzzzzzzzz- wot ever, dude!

    Anyway, if this libertarian thing can cure this problem for me, where do I sign up?

  • boomcrashbaby

    Nobody ever answered me, Bricklayer. My questions were dismissed as being ‘over the top’.

    But it sounds to me like the libertarian platform would be more likely to cause the same type of situation you’ve been through, rather than solve it.

  • Atlas Shrugged is about 400 pages too long. Alas Ayn Rand was a Russian novelist who just happened to have an interesting message. I far recomend some of her short non-fiction.

  • One could reasonably argue that Atlas Shrugged was somewhat too long. However, she did have a lot to say.

    Which is not to say that even I agree with every word she uttered. Saying that it’s the most important book of the century isn’t to say that it is the perfect and unquestionable word of G-d.

  • Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugs the most important book of the century? Proof that someone (or two) doesn’t read.

    Bricklayer, under libertarian doctrine those rats are you neighbors’ property and you have no right to meddle with them. Don’t go getting any bright ideas about poison-:).

  • Diva- One thing I have noticed about you and others who are keen on tearing libertarians (and others) apart is that you never do get around to saying what you treasure. What’s the fear? Or is it that you don’t really treasure anything nearly so passionately as you hate some things?

  • Any easy question, Mike. I don’t treasure Atlas Shrugs. I do treasure allowing people their humanity. Many of your fellow travelers wish to deprive all but a tiny segment of the population of their rights as human beings.

    I notice you’ve put up a thread claiming the libertarian movement is growing. That may or may not be true. But, if it is, that may be because every person for whom the Republicans are not far enough Right is calling himself a libertarian. If so, growth is testimony to the looniness of some of the electorate. That is not anything to be proud of.

  • The other thing I noticed about you, Diva, is that you dodge a challenge.

    Name a book you treasure, or a philosophy, or anything concrete.

  • No, Diva. My thread was saying that the LPIN is tasting increasing success at the ballot box, and gaining media credibility. Now that you mention it, though, I do believe that the libertarian movement is growing.

    The funny thing about being libertarian is that you constantly endure being called a far-right or far-left loony. This depends, of course, upon the critic, who describes the libertarian in tones opposite themself. I work in an office full of Republicans. They frequently refer to me as a far-left loony because of my belief that a victimless crime is an oxymoron, that homesexual union harms no one and does not threaten the institution of marriage, that the right to free speech is an absolute, that a woman owns her body and the right to reproduction is hers and hers only. Etc.

    I’m proud of my beliefs and values. I am not ashamed of them. My firm stand is that libertarian solutions are positive and will bring a better, more peaceful and prosperous world. It is right that our movement grows and attracts new adherents all the time.

    If that makes me a loony, so be it.

  • [edited] I read. I read both your blog entry and the news story it is based on. Went on to look at a couple more stories about the LP in the Star. Libertarian leaders in the article you cited say the movement is growing. They cite several elected libertarians in the state, though most of them are in the same family. (Why are the women who are libertarians almost always the wives or mothers of libertarian men?) The article also supports my point that the movement is attracting people so far to the Right they think the Republicans are liberals.

    Furthermore, if you truly hold the views expressed above, you are in direct conflict with the standard bearer of the LP, Michael Badnarik.

  • [edited]. The closest thing the article is to saying anything about actually growing is this:

    “He thinks the party is ‘starting to grow up a little bit'”. That was pointing to maturity, not necessarily expansion.

    Yes, it is true that on local issues, which tend to be almost exclusively economic, we are more conservative than the Republicans.

    I talked in the blog entry about strategy. The article says this, quoting my friend and Hamilton County vice chairman Rob Place:

    “The suburbs are so Republican, he says, that Libertarians can sell themselves as the only alternative for conservatives”.


    “Hamilton County ranked the highest, with more than 77 percent voting Republican.”


    “Democrats are pretty much missing-in-action here”.

    Now, as a matter of strategy there are two pies to cut into- the 77% Republican and the 15% Democrat. (8% is our base.) When making broad appeals, do you try to grab the disaffected among the 77% or the 15%?

    Guess what? We go for the disaffected among the 77%. When Rob Place ran for office, he lost- with 43% of the vote. The strategy is working.

    It’s true that I do not share all of the views of Michael Badnarik. So what? Is that some sort of fatal flaw? Show me even one person who fully supports every policy held by either John Kerry or George Bush, and I will bow to you.

    For the record, I strongly supported Gary Nolan, who was defeated in the convention by Badnarik. Just like a Dean backer got behind Kerry, I got behind Badnarik, to support my party, and because his views are closer to mine than are Kerry’s or Bush’s.

  • From the current Ministry of Consequences dossier no. Z99-2

    As with all other established political gangs (ref. Bloods, Crips, Shriners) in the NorthAm confab, the “Libertarians” are consciously, or sub-consciously carrying out both a virtual version of three-card monte and an ideological Ponzi scheme. Most of their adherents are engaging in willing disbelief similar to victims of short-sheeting and wedgies.

    It is the opinion of the regional bureau, that, for the time being, they are mostly harmless and ineffective.

  • I clicked on the link to that Robert Heinlen book above and it turns out, no surprise, that he’s a science fiction writer, of all things. Way to disprove the lonely white male D & D thing there.

    Here’s an example of his writing from the first page of reviews:
    ‘example form page 48:
    “My Pleasure. Move to couch and I’ll rid of table and dishes,- no can’t help; I’m host.” I cleared table, sent up dishes, saving coffee and vodka, racked chairs, turned to speak.’

    Even the promotional blurb about his book features a review from that great Western thinker Tom Clancy.

    These are your political theorists? No wonder you consider Rand great literature.

    Politics isn’t science fiction, life isn’t a video game, social progress isn’t an abstract fantasy. How is it possible for so many people with so little understanding of human life and human society to have opinions on so many things?

    For the adults in this conversation:
    Mike — keep up the organizing, but don’t let the right-ward slant of your local district shade or influence your beliefs on social issues or civil liberties.

    Shark: Ayn Rand a babe? You’re kidding, right?

    That is all.

  • JR

    How is it possible for so many people with so little understanding of human life and human society to have opinions on so many things?

    Because so much of the Universe has nothing to do with human life or human society. Duh!

  • Callum

    Clearly no critic of Libertarianism know what force and fraud is. It is government using force to take something that is not rightfully theirs. Taxes are the best example. And as for those rats, they’re nobody’s property unless somebody rightfully claims it theirs, and I don’t think anybody would be interested in doing such a thing to a wild rat.

  • What is a “libertarian?”

    A drain on American society.

  • Oh, for the love of Pete…

  • Dearest Anthony, please illuminate us with your experience and insight. In what ways specifically are libertarians a “drain on society”?

  • Callum

    He does not know what “a drain on American society” is. A drain on American society is an attack on freedom and our-by and large, libertarian-constitution. He simply does not know what he is talking about.

  • Yes Callum, that would be my likely conclusion as well. I like to try to be receptive of criticism, though. Just thought I’d give young Master Anthony the opportunity to explain what he meant, on the off chance that he actually had some significant thought behind him.

  • nugget

    good thread.

    Bob A Booey: You’re on target with your assessment of Rand’s distorted logic. Would you recommend some good philo reading?

  • Callum

    Ayn Rand is in a love-hate situation with the majority of Americans. I wouldn’t call Atlas Shrugged the most important book of the 20th Century though, I think one of George Orwell’s books would be better for the title.

  • nugget

    pahh. Brave New World = hands down most important book of the 20th century.

    Whatever most important means.