Loving and hating libertarians.

William Brafford

William Brafford grew up in North Carolina, home of the world's best barbecue, indie rock, and regional soft drinks. He just barely sustains a personal blog and "tweets" every now and then under the name @williamrandolph.

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13 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    It felt like the “hate” list is composed mostly of “dude, some of them are total jerkfaces”.

    Now this is not saying that it is not the case that some of them are total jerkfaces. Lord, some of them are. I’d just like to point out one thing:

    I’d be willing to bet money that all of the libertarians you know (minus one, perhaps) are on the internet. Your life is full up of Republicans and Democrats… but precious few “others”. Your parents? Good Republican/Democrats. Grandparents? Good Democrats. Your good buddy? A good Republican/Democrat.

    But you get on the internet and start arguing politics and political philosophy, and all of the sudden these weird people pop out of the woodwork, like nothing you’ve ever encountered in real life. They’ve read these obscure books, they rattle off Supreme Court cases in any given discussion of “Rights”, and, on top of that, some of them are total jerkfaces.

    And since real life is not populated overly with them (seriously, in the last 10 years, I’ve met *TWO* whom I did not first meet on the intertubes), it’s likely that one’s interactions will not only be of internet-quality when it comes to content but, sadly, of internet quality when it comes to politeness levels.

    Which tends to result in lists like the ones in that post.Report

    • Freddie in reply to Jaybird says:

      Maybe, if you tried harder, you could come with an even more self-aggrandizing and insulting mental exercise. Libertarians read books! Head for the hills.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Freddie says:

        Wow. I must really get under your skin.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Freddie says:

        But let me try to address what I think your criticism is.

        I’ll make an analogy to classical music. While it’s very, very possible for someone who is versed in classical music to say that his favorite piece is the William Tell Overture, it’s unlikely (it strikes me as unlikely, anyway).

        Now, if someone said that he or she preferred the bel canto school of opera and you absolutely must listen to Sono Amabil and he or she cannot believe that Valentino Fioravanti has been forgotten, you’re more likely to have someone who has spent some time with classical music.

        Libertarians, god bless ’em, spend their time in the more oblique parts of theory, reading (not the focus of the phrase) obscure (please note that particular word, as it was, in fact, the focus of the phrase) books (again, not the focus of the phrase), and discussing the merits and flaws of this obscure theory vs. that obscure theory like dungeons and dragons geeks discussing Otyughs vs Neo-Otyughs.

        Or, to return to the original analogy, like classical music geeks discussing the bel canto genre of opera.Report

    • William Brafford in reply to Jaybird says:

      I’d be willing to bet money that all of the libertarians you know (minus one, perhaps) are on the internet.

      Sorry, Jaybird — you’d lose the money on this one. I knew plenty of real-life libertarians in college, both students and professors. I was really into communitarian stuff at that time (like Etzioni’s The Moral Dimension), so there were some pretty epic (and non-internet) arguments over the lunch table.

      At any rate, take the list in a spirit of light-hearted political-philosophical rivalry.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to William Brafford says:

        Dude, count yourself lucky.

        In the part of the world where I am, I am surrounded by Democrats who vote the party line, Republicans who vote the party line, and members of both parties think I must be a member of the other because I disagree with them personally.Report

  2. Joseph FM says:

    May I object to including Adam Smith as a libertarian?Report

    • William Brafford in reply to Joseph FM says:

      Sure. I wouldn’t call Adam Smith a libertarian either — but libertarians do draw inspiration from and interpret The Wealth of Nations. I.e., he’s on the reading list.Report

  3. mike farmer says:

    I don’t know about libertarians as having any common personality traits , or the make-up of the Libertarian Party, because I’m not a member, and I have no friends who are libertarian, but as far as libertarian ideas go, for me, Tibor Machan is one of the clearest and most intelligent proponents.

    The ideas expressed by people like Machan are what give contemporary libertarianism its validity and potential power. I’ve seen many internet individuals who claim to be libertarian, but from their offerings, it doesn’t seem they are well versed in the finer points which are necessary to get a full understanding of the positions.

    The reduced, cartoon version of libertarianism can appear rather simplistic and silly — the same goes for reduced versions of liberalism or conservatism.Report

  4. Well, of course someone who’s not libertarian is going to find the “hate” list to be more compelling – confirmation bias and all. Anywho, the list is pretty well in accord with my own experience. Then again, I’m a big fan of Mr. Virkkala, so I suppose that’s to be expected.Report

  5. Shane Bruce says:

    Greetings all,

    I’m quite disappointed that you left out the “Tin Hat” Libertarians. We’re the ones who are building the spaceships in the garage and read only the works of Mr. Heinlein for political guidance. I must admit that the concept of cartoon Libertarian intrigues me and I shall have to do some research on that phrase.

    Cartoon, Tin Hat or whatever, the Libertarian party is open to all. Lets not forget that the basics are pretty simple. Smaller Government, Lower Taxes, More Freedom.Report