Friday, September 13, 2013

Dumpster Diving and Libertarianism

The Left-of-center website, Demos, has a somewhat dishonest attack on libertarianism by a Mr. Matt Bruenig. Bruenig is happy to announce that a libertarian from the Cato Institute has agreed to discuss the nature of libertarianism with him. He then pulls one of the more dishonest stunts that one can pull in a debate or discussion—he set up an extreme, minority position as if it is the mainstream and then demanded his opponent justify it.

This is similar to conflating left progressives with the Communist Party USA. It was a shameful stunt when pulled by McCarthyites, Birchers and others on the extreme Right and it is just as shameful when pulled by left progressives, such as Mr. Bruenig.

Bruenig demands that his Cato discussant defend the antics of Han-Hermann Hoppe, who is absurdly described as “a very prominent libertarian academic.” In truth, Mr. Hoppe is hardly “prominent,” though he and his small band of followers would rush to agree with Bruenig—which makes Bruenig the one keeping odd company.

Bruenig notes Hoppe’s affiliation with the paleolibertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute—formed by a former staffer from the Conservative Book Club, well after Mises died. Now, if you were to take the budgets of the various libertarian-oriented think tanks and combine them together, you would probably find that this organization represents less than 1% of libertarian funding of ideas in any one year.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ten Commandments for Libertarians

It was once said: “I have met the enemy and he is us.”

Truer words were never said.

I think the libertarian vision is a noble one. It respects people. It sees each individual as an end in themselves and not the means to the ends of others.

With any such set of ideas there is the message and there is the messenger. Rationally it behooves us to keep the two separate. In reality though people often judge the message by the messenger.

And the libertarian movement worldwide has some really decent, hardworking, caring individuals at it’s helm. It also has some kooks, nuts, weirdos, cultists and certifiable lunatics out there as well. In other words it’s pretty much like the rest of the world.

Libertarianism is a set of ideas for sure. It is also a collection of people. Ideas don’t exist outside of people. Ideas require on people for their existence. Ideas only reside in the mind. They may correspond with things we see in reality but they themselves are a mental construct. To separate the message from the messenger becomes very difficult.

This movement we have chosen is filled with unique individuals. All of whom pretty much assert that they want to see libertarian ideas spread around the world and adopted. They mostly claim to be inspired by high ideals. Yet often they commit some deadly sins when it comes to promoting the fundamentals of liberty.