Archive for Anti-libertarianism

The Latest Anti-libertarian Argument

Posted in Anti-libertarianism, Argumentation, Government, Libertarianism, Philosophy, Politics with tags , , , , , , on January 27, 2014 by Xajow

Someone has finally found the true weakness of libertarianism. Libertarianism cannot possibly work because it is “strange.” [insert eye roll indicating sarcasm here] Yes, boys and girls, prepare yourselves. It is time for another post about why an anti-libertarian argument is wrong. Hey, this is my blog, and I write about what I want to write about. Continue reading

Taxation, Humane, and Other Words

Posted in Anti-libertarianism, Argumentation, Free Market, Government, Libertarianism, Morality, Philosophy, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2013 by Xajow

In looking, via the wordpress reader, through posts of various topics, I ran across a post which claims “taxes are an expression of mans humanity.” Those of you who read my posts in favor of libertarianism will have already guessed that I do not agree with that assertion. And I could leave it at that, but I think the whole concept needs some unpacking and some sarcastic, mocking ridicule a serious and reasoned rebuttal. You may be thinking you already know where this is going. Well, let us just see where this does lead. Continue reading

Another Example of How Not to Criticize Libertarianism

Posted in Anti-libertarianism, Argumentation, Libertarianism, Politics with tags , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by Xajow

Apparently some people simply cannot be bothered to do any research into libertarianism. They have a full stack of straw man arguments and bogus assumptions, and they never bother to check on whether or not anything in that stack is true. Why? I have no idea. But I am going to point out some errors in that stack anyway. Continue reading

Project August: Day 22 – Just What Is This Libertarianism Anyway?

Posted in Anti-libertarianism, Argumentation, Government, Libertarianism, Philosophy, Politics, Project August with tags , , , , , , , on August 22, 2013 by Xajow

Yes, I am going to talk about libertarianism again. Why do I talk about it when I could be making sexier posts about Dominance/submission? Talking about D/s and talking about libertarianism really stem from the same place for me. This blog is about expressing support for the liberty of the individual. D/s is part of my understanding of that, as is libertarianism. D/s and libertarianism may seem separate things in your mind, O reader, but they are intertwined in mine. Continue reading

Project August: Day 3 – Why Ignorance of Libertarianism Is Not a Virtue

Posted in Anti-libertarianism, Argumentation, D/s, Government, Libertarianism, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2013 by Xajow

Yesterday I mentioned the many attempts to smear libertarianism, and today I am going to talk about one of them. Today I am going to respond to a post over at Huffington Post’s section rather boringly, and perhaps arrogantly, titled “The Blog”. I came across it by looking through posts at the blog of another site, libertarianism.org. There, Aaron Ross Powell responds to a post by Ekow N. Yankah at “The Blog”. Yes, more politics today. But as you will see, I bring this around to D/s as well. Continue reading

Concerning Libertarianism: On the “Cynicism” of Libertarian Philosophy (Updated Version)

Posted in Anti-libertarianism, Argumentation, Concerning Libertarianism, Government, Libertarianism, Morality, Philosophy, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2013 by Xajow

You may be thinking I just posted this the other day. But that post was not as well made as it should have been. So I made some changes. This is the updated and (hopefully) improved version.

One of the popular criticisms (and by criticism in this instance I mean denigration) of libertarianism these days seems to be that libertarianism is little more than cynicism. The implied idea being that libertarianism has no ideological footing or moral standing and therefore is just something snarky kooks use to pick on the poor ol’ government that is just trying to help people. Which is, of course, a fully erroneous idea. Libertarianism is, in fact, both moral and optimistic. Continue reading

Concerning Libertarianism: On the “Cynicism” of Libertarian Philosophy

Posted in Anti-libertarianism, Argumentation, Concerning Libertarianism, Government, Libertarianism, Morality, Philosophy, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 19, 2013 by Xajow

One of the popular criticisms (and by criticism in this instance I mean denigration) of libertarianism these days seems to be that libertarianism is little more than cynicism. The implied idea in that criticism being that libertarianism has no ideological footing or moral standing and is just something snarky kooks use to pick on the poor ol’ government that is just trying to help people. Which is, of course, a fully erroneous idea. Libertarianism is, in fact, moral and optimistic. Continue reading

State Coercion, Objectivism and Compassion

Posted in Anti-libertarianism, Argumentation, Libertarianism, Morality, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by Xajow

I was looking around again, and I found a post at a blog called A Nine Pound Hammer …. or a Woman Like You, Either One of These Will Do. Which has to be the longest title I have seen for a blog. Anyway, the post basically is quoting Penn Jillette’s opinion piece, “I don’t know, so I’m an atheist libertarian.”

It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.

Mr. Jillette has more to say, and the article is worth reading.

I also found a response, of a sort, to the above quote. At a place on the web called Chaotic3quilibrium’s Weblog, I found this reply:

It resonated with me as something an Ayn Rand acolyte might say. So, here’s the response I left on my friend’s Facebook post (with edits and corrections):

Wow! Penn sounds like an Ayn Rand acolyte. I sure am glad these kinds of ideas are not mainstream, at least not today. Perhaps if enough people like Penn educate enough children who become adults and choose to take care of themselves and all those around them who are less “gifted” or explicitly disabled, then and ONLY then would what he (and Rand) is saying might work.

Contribution, either chosen, obligated or forced, has been the story of man since long and deep into is tribal ancestory. The idea that there is now enough excess capacity such that individualism is even possible to hold socially and psychologically is a testament to the previous systems’ ability to elevate homo-sapien’s survival.

Luckily, the very thing that psychologically drives Penn (and Rand) is the very thing that diminishes their ability to generate and sustain social cohesion to the point of their being politically irrelevant. There’s an equilibrium between socialism and individualism. Slide too much to either end of that spectrum and one becomes psychologically incongruent and dysfunctional. I don’t know about Penn, but Rand was clearly at the dysfunctional control-freak end of the individualism end of the spectrum.

Penn gets to say what he says only because so many people before him fought to survive so that he now floats in the excess resource capacity to say it without ever having to directly experience the full consequences of his assertions. I’m glad he’s an entertainer. It’s provides the most elegant ironic background to his “serious philosophical statement”. {smirk}

I find his “moral credit” and “joy” assertions are arrogant. He can assert those values for himself. However, who is he to claim they are universal values and then claim the “proper way to evaluate” both morally and joyfully. What a tool.

1) What Penn Jillette said does not sound like Objectivism, Ayn Rand’s philosophy. Why? Because Ayn Rand objected to altruism, and Penn Jillette clearly does not. I can only conclude that Jim O’Flaherty, Jr., the author of the Chaotic3quilibrium’s Weblog, does not actually know what an Ayn Rand acolyte sounds like. Notably, Mr. O’Flaherty does not at all explain why Mr. Jillette’s comment is supposed to sound like Objectivism.

2) If a contribution is forced, it is not a contribution. It is either extortion or taxation, depending on which entity is doing the forcing.

3) “There’s an equilibrium between socialism and individualism.” Um, no. There is not. He might as well say there is an equilibrium between slavery and freedom. I repeat, no, there is not.

4) “Slide too much to either end of that spectrum and one becomes psychologically incongruent and dysfunctional.” Psychologically incongruent? Psychologically dysfunctional? So people who disagree with Mr. O’Flaherty’s political perspective are mentally disturbed? At this point Mr. O’Flaherty is starting to sound intellectually (rather than psychologically) confused.

5) “Rand was clearly at the dysfunctional control-freak end of the individualism end of the spectrum.” One more reason Mr. Jillette does not sound like an Ayn Rand acolyte.

6) “I’m glad he’s an entertainer. It’s provides the most elegant ironic background to his ‘serious philosophical statement’. {smirk}” Yet Mr. O’Flaherty seems to have missed the “irony” of the fact that his own statement is difficult to take seriously.

7) At this point, Mr. O’Flaherty is just making stuff up.

I find his “moral credit” and “joy” assertions are arrogant. He can assert those values for himself. However, who is he to claim they are universal values and then claim the “proper way to evaluate” both morally and joyfully. What a tool.

Mr. Jillette did not claim his notions of “moral credit” and “joy” are universal values to which everyone else must agree. Mr. Jillette also did not say anything about a “proper way to evaluate.” His comments are certainly no less valid than assertions by some about the wealthy needing higher tax rates because they need to pay a “fair share.”

8) Nothing Mr. O’Flaherty said establishes why what Penn Jillette said is wrong. Mr. O’Flaherty asserts that Mr. Jillette is wrong, and the only support Mr. O’Flaherty seems able to give to his argument is a strawman, some ad hominem, some more unsupported assertions, and an arrogant smirk. Basically, Mr. O’Flaherty is saying that Penn Jillette is wrong because Mr. O’Flaherty says so.

Why do I care about what Mr. O’Flaherty said? Not because it was Mr. O’Flaherty who said it, but because he made errors I see all the time in critiques of libertarianism. “Oh, you’re just one of those Ayn Rand people.” “Oh, so you want people to live in isolation.” “You ideas won’t work because they are impractical.” “So are you okay with making murder legal too?” To these a many other similar comments, I find myself often saying, “Whoah, back up there, pal. That is not what I said.”

The problem with those comments, including the objections of Mr. O’Flaherty, is that the people making those comments are objecting to their own preconceived assumptions about libertariansm, rather than the ideas actually expressed by someone else. Which eliminates any intellectual and/or substantive content the speaker thinks his objection contains. Anyone can set up strawmen and knock them down again. Which is about all Mr. O’Flaherty managed to do. Notice that at no point in Mr. O’Flaherty’s comments does Mr. O’Flaherty even bother to address the issues of coercion on the part of the state. He only makes fun of Mr. Jillette for raising an objection. Mr. O’Flaherty never addresses whether government coercion for social programs is or is not moral or compassionate. Mr. O’Flaherty’s comments simply do not add up to a substantive critique of what Mr. Jillette said.

This is not to say that people only do this to libertarians. People do this sort of thing all the time to others whose ideas they do not like. They do it to Democrats and Republicans and Christians and atheists and people who question authority and on and on and on. I’m not even saying I never do it. I probably have, though I try (usually) to not. The point is, it takes more than saying someone is wrong to prove that he or she is. When you make the kind of comments Mr. O’Flaherty made, you are not proving someone else wrong. More than likely, you’re only indicating how much you are not paying attention.

Anti-libertarian Nonsense from Sally Kohn

Posted in Anti-libertarianism, Libertarianism, Philosophy with tags , on September 4, 2011 by Xajow

The silliness and ignorance some folks seem to proudly display when they rush to demonize libertarians and libertarianism never really ceases to surprise me. I suppose it should, but I can’t help being surprised by people who write about libertarianism from a place ignorance and fear. There are many sources of correct information about libertarianism. There are plenty of libertarians out there whom one could contact and to whom one could talk. Yet, over and over ignorant anti-libertarian arguments are made, often recycling the same old fear based ideas, almost as if the authors of such arguments are all part of a cult, cut off from the outside world.

The source of my surprise this week is Sally Kohn. I went to Wikipedia to find out who she is. Her page there (as of September 4, 2011) says that she is, among other things, the “founder and chief education officer of the Movement Vision Lab.” It then says, “The Movement Vision Lab is a grassroots think tank working to spread progressive ideas.” So I looked up the Movement Vision Lab online. It has a website: movementvision.org/. I have to say, if the website is any indication, the Movement Vision Lab appears to be a platform for promoting Sally Kohn. In any case, if you go to her “About Sally” page (notably, there is no “About Movement Vision Lab” page), the very first sentence there, “Sally Kohn makes the world safe for radical ideas,” is laughable in light of her attack on libertarianism. So is Sally Kohn’s anti-libertarian writing basically stirring the pot to get some attention? Possibly.

The Kohn opinion piece in question is posted at the Reuters blog under the headline “Do libertarians like Peter Thiel really want to live in America?” Right off the bat, she makes fun of the idea of the Seasteading Institute. The idea of building structures in the ocean to create mini-nation states does seem a little out on the fringe, so I don’t blame her for  poking fun at it. However, she then begins to talk as if somehow these structures are already being built by super-wealthy folks whose only goal is to escape America. They have actually not begun building yet. They’re still figuring out how to do it. And she makes it sound like people who want move somewhere else are inherently bad. Which is funny, because America was started by people who moved from moved here from somewhere else. I wonder if Kohn has spent any time questioning the loyalty and character of people like Johnny Depp who live outside the country much of the time.

Anyway, Kohn then gets to the part that frightens her the most. She quotes from a Details magazine article that explains, “Friedman wants to establish new sovereign nations built on oil-rig-type platforms anchored in international waters—free from the regulation, laws, and moral suasion of any landlocked country.” This apparently gives Sally Kohn the heebie-jeebies. And she does not take long to jump from there to asserting that libertarians are okay with murder.

Don’t like the idea of tax dollars paying for public schools or highway construction or Medicare — or don’t like the idea of taxes at all?  The brave new floating world offers just the solution.  And if the self-appointed creators wish it, there would be no restrictions on guns or automatic weapons.  Or, for that matter, no prohibition against murder.  Pesky “moral suasion”!

Notice that she gives no evidence that these Seasteading folks would actually endorse murder. She just asserts it. Why would she make such an asinine assertion? Well, in a reply to libertarians who shockingly did not like her fear mongering, she reveals why she jumps to that assertion.

What’s more, the Libertarian Party celebrates the notion of an “armed citizenry”, abhors any restrictions on even the most dangerous of weapons, and opposes any prosecution of those engaged in “self-defense”, which is defined as including any property, etc., and not just defending one’s or another’s life.  For many people — myself included — these notions are tantamount to vigilanteism, endorsing a Wild West mentality in which might is right.

Got that? Basically what this reasoning amounts to is that because the idea of citizens having weapons to defend their life and property scares Kohn and her friends, she therefore believes libertarians are okay with murder. She is reacting not on an intellectual level, but an emotional one. Unfortunately for Kohn, this reaction becomes a springboard for her to vent more of her irrational fears about libertarianism.

Until 2006, the Libertarian Party Platform explicitly supported the right of political entities, private groups and even individuals to secede from the federal government. Fearing this seemed too extremist, Libertarians replaced that platform plank with a clause about the right of people to abolish the government anytime it destroys individual liberty — a very narrow and ominous reinterpretation of the Declaration of Independence.

Narrow and ominous? Really? Let’s take a look at the relevant passage from the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The right of people to abolish government when it is destructive to individual liberty is stated right there. There is no reinterpretation needed to see it there in the plain language of the document itself. This would only be ominous to people who want to use the government tread over the individual rights of others.

But wait, it gets better. And by better, I mean funnier. And by funnier, I mean more pathetic.

Fringe movements, of course, rarely cast themselves as obviously fringe.  Racist, anti-civil rights forces cloaked themselves in the benign language of “state’s rights”.  Anti-gay religious entities adopted the glossy, positive imagery of “family values”.  Similarly, though many Libertarians embrace a pseudo-patriotic apple pie nostalgia, behind this façade is a very un-American, sinister vision.

Sure, most libertarians may not want to do away entirely with the idea of government or, for that matter, government-protected rights and civil liberties.  But many do — and ironically vie for political power in a nation they ultimately want to destroy.  Even the right-wing pundit Ann Coulter mocked the paradox of Libertarian candidates: “Get rid of government — but first, make me president!” Libertarians sowed the seeds of anti-government discontent, which is on the rise, and now want to harvest that discontent for a very radical, anti-America agenda.  The image of libertarians living off-shore in their lawless private nation-states is just a postcard of the future they hope to build on land.

Yeah, Kohn actually quotes Ann Coulter, as if Coulter knew what she was talking about. Kohn’s fear of libertarians is only surpassed by Coulter’s. Ann Coulter regularly lies about libertarians and libertarianism, and does so in the column that Kohn quotes. For example, she claims Ron Paul does not want to get rid of Social Security. Coulter says, “Paul can’t even scratch Social Security and Medicare off that list by taking the libertarian position that there should be no Social Security or Medicare.” But when asked if he wanted to eliminate Social Security, Ron Paul said, “Yes, but not overnight.” Quoting Coulter on anything is like quoting the playground bully. It’s not actually going to help your argument or make you look more enlightened.

But pay attention to Kohn’s fear mongering. Lurking out there, Kohn wants you to believe,  is some secretive anti-government movement that is trying to take over government and force everyone to live in a lawless anarchy. Yes, there are libertarians who want to end government. But no, they are not out there trying to take over the country. The libertarians who run for office do not want to abolish government. Let me put this another way. If an obese person wants to go on a diet and start working out in order to lose a couple hundred pounds, that person should not be accused of wanting to commit suicide. Of course he wouldn’t be, you say. Libertarians who want to get into public office to help shrink the size of government are not trying to abolish the government. Claiming they do is like claiming the obese person losing weight wants to commit suicide. Just because you can conflate making a thing smaller with eliminating it does not mean you are correct if you do so.

And notice that Kohn wants to link libertarianism to racism and anti-gay mentalities. How silly is that? Somehow in her mind promoting individual liberty is equivalent to support for Jim Crow laws and anti-homosexuality laws. This is why I call Kohn’s anti-libertarian rant nonsense. Her whole argument is based on exactly this kind of absurd ‘up is down’ thinking. The foundation of her objection to libertarianism is nothing more than knee-jerk fear. And upon that foundation she uses ignorance and absurdity to construct an argument that is as irrationally prejudiced as the racism and anti-gay attitudes she mentions. She warns of “sinister” libertarians the way people used to warn about the ‘yellow peril.’ She suggests first that libertarians are okay with murder and all sorts of anti-American things, and then suggests that we are to fear what libertarians will supposedly do if we allow them to take over and destroy all that we hold dear.

Apparently, by “makes the world safe for radical ideas” what Sally Kohn really means is she attacks radical ideas. Few ideas are more radical than the idea of building platforms on the ocean where people can voluntarily form their own societies. As best I can tell, Kohn is someone who believes in big government and using government to control society. That is not radical. That is little more than the same ol’ authoritarian schlock that has gotten us into this mess. Don’t get me wrong. I know Kohn means well. But having good intentions is not the same as being correct. And Kohn is just plain wrong.