I disagree. For years, libertarians were ignored, like that kid at the high school dance standing in the corner by himself. Now, we’re being bullied which means we’re seen as a threat. These kinds of pieces are great. As Oscar Wilde once said:
“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”
This is a very good point. The fact that there have been so many anti-libertarian hit pieces means, if nothing else, that libertarians represent a threat to both conservatives and liberals (though I would say the potential liberal/libertarian alliance is more of a promise than a threat, but still…). The Koch brothers have become avatars much more for the enemies of libertarians than for libertarianism itself. So maybe the publicity is, all in all, a good thing. With Ron Paul and Gary Johnson running for the GOP ticket, at the very least we have a new mix of ideas being represented. That’s bound to draw ire.
E.C. Gach also draws out one of the better (and yet most disappointing) quotations from the Metcalf piece:
Calling yourself a libertarian is another way of saying you believe power should be held continuously answerable to the individual’s capacity for creativity and free choice. By that standard, Thomas Jefferson, John Ruskin, George Orwell, Isaiah Berlin, Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, and even John Maynard Keynes are libertarians. (Orwell: “The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.” Keynes: “But above all, individualism … is the best safeguard of personal liberty in the sense that, compared with any other system, it greatly widens the field for the exercise of personal choice.”) Every thinking person is to some degree a libertarian, and it is this part of all of us that is bullied or manipulated when liberty is invoked to silence our doubts about the free market. The ploy is to take libertarianism as Orwell meant it and confuse it with libertarianism as Hayek meant it; to take a faith in the individual as an irreducible unit of moral worth, and turn it into a weapon in favor of predation.
See how nicely he was swimming along there until that last line?
Ah well. It was a shabby piece with a few redeeming passages. Christopher’s point stands for sure.
Also, this song is fantastic: