Gold and Bacon and Libertarians Oh My!

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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    The part of the show that got me was that the reporter was saying something to the effect of “he’s not licensed, so we have to trust that he’s washed his hands. We don’t have the government to tell us that he’s washed his hands.”

    As if a piece of paper nailed to a nearby tree with a government seal dated February 18th, 2011 would make us feel better about the state of George’s hands. Argh.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

      Right? Cause I’m always so confident at Burger King that they’ve washed their hands because the government said so. Sheesh.Report

      • Avatar rj says:

        Well, since they’ve started putting up Dept. of Health letter grades here in NYC, it seems like the B and C restaurants have been closing down and re-opening a little cleaner. So it ain’t nothing.Report

  2. Avatar greginak says:

    The NPR piece and the response feel more like debating the merits of a klingon language camp. I can get eggs untouched by the tyranny of the USDA also but that doesn’t make me john galt. On one hand many libertarians seem to relish making absolute statements and being profoundly judgmental about others, then get in a snit when others point out obvious hypocrisies or inconsistencies. On the other hand this camp thing is no different concept in from the communities and traditions all sorts of people practice between themselves. It could be a ren fest or civil war reenactors.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      For my part, I have no problem with hypocrisy (and even am in favor of it when it is funny).

      My problem is when you send cops to my house and kill my dogs because of hypocrisy. Or other things that you, personally, disapprove of.Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

      Being John Galt is, in actual fact, impossible. That’s not necessarily because libertarian ideals are unworkable or can never be approached. It’s because John Galt’s author was writing an allegory — a fable, almost.

      Is there truth in the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper? Yes, without a doubt. Can you be the Ant all the time? No. But that’s not an indictment of hard work, either.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        It’s because John Galt’s author was writing

        crude propaganda that doesn’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny.

        See, I fixed that for you.Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Ah, the joys of summertime at Camp Huckaloogie. Somewhere out at the end of a gravel road in the piney woods, featuring dodgy bathrooms and the dank microbiological stew of tinea cruris and adolescent secretions on the shower floor, lumpy mattresses and the idealism of youth. Hark, I smell the citronella candles and hear the guitars a-strummin’ e’en now.

    Kum ba ya, my Lord.

    Every mania needs an outlet. It’s entirely right and fitting we should see Libertarian experiments of this sort at a summer camp. Such experiments have about as much congruence with reality as a Renaissance Faire does with the actual Renaissance.Report

  4. Avatar RTod says:

    Having read the linked story (but not heard audio version) I’m not sure I get the objection. I can’t see anything about this piece that strikes me as an attempt to “take on” the political philosophy of libertarianism. It feels more like a puff human interest piece. In fact, it sounds a lot like an NPR piece recently about an annual camp gathering of people who used to follow the Dead. That piece didn’t seem like it was trying to make a statement about liberalism either.

    And the gold/silver bit? In a time when people on the highest rated tv news shows are encouraging us to give up cash and go to gold and silver, how is this example of people testing that out not interesting and worth writing about?

    I get people getting upset about a lot of things that the media does; this feels a little over sensitive.Report

  5. I was just about to post this on your higher education piece, but saw this post and decided to combine comments: think of high school. There was a thread a while back here where various members of the commentariat fell over themselves to express how much they hated high school. Still, I doubt you’d find one person there who wished he’d dropped out at age fifteen.Report

  6. Avatar Anderson says:

    This reminds me- anybody know how the Free State Project is coming along? It always seemed a little odd to me that people would make a decision as important as residence based primarily on ideology, but, hey, live free or die I guess.Report

  7. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    This article reminds me of the posts about “Texas Is A Welfare State” that showed up here a while back.Report

  8. Avatar Bob says:

    Shorter NPR — Wankers wank while conjuring a world that never will exist.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      It took you 3 days to come up with that?Report

      • Avatar Bob says:

        I wasn’t aware there were time constraints on commenting.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          No, not at all. (Though the brief flurry of activity on posts from 2010 that show up from time to time makes me wonder if we shouldn’t.)

          I was complaining about the lack of artistry in the finished product of an insult that had more time gestating than Jesus spent in the tomb.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Just needs to be fleshed out:

        The economy’s in the tank
        People starve while bankers bank
        Their excuses, they all stank
        Working people, they don’t rank
        All their hopes and dreams have sank
        Reading Hayek, wankers wank

        It’s alright Ma
        I’m only sayingReport

        • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

          Frankly, I don’t find this sort of conversation particularly helpful. I prefer these threads when ideas are engaged. As soon as people start writing off libertarians as hopeless Utopians or liberals as commie-dems or whatever the glib dismissal might be, the conversation inevitably goes to shit.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          See? Much better. This would inspire me to write a similar poem about centralized control.

          Oooh. I’ll get to work on it right away.Report

  9. Avatar Bob says:

    Artistry, very subjective, don’t you agree? Besides how do you know how long it was gestating?

    Why do you find my commenting pattern worth noteing? You’ve mentioned it before.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      Well, I know that you know that there are a number of folks on this board who have libertarian sympathies (if they don’t out-and-out call themselves libertarian).

      Given that knowledge, I figure that your comment was a deliberate attempt to “tweak” said folks.

      And then… I look at the comment and it’s weak. I don’t mind the attempt to tweak my foibles. My foibles need tweaking. It’s that I mind the lack of effort put into the mockery of the folks you don’t agree with in the absence of any other point you’re making.

      If you’re going to insult me, either put your back into it and make me (or someone who doesn’t have 1:1 overlap with your viewpoints) laugh *OR* have a trenchant insight that makes me say “ouch”.

      In the absence of those things, your comment does not communicate anything but “I am hoping to irritate libertarians”.

      The semiotics of your comment demonstrate a fundamental lack of not only understanding but appreciation of the folks you’re hoping to irritate… which, quite frankly, is the most irritating thing of all. And, to bring us full circle, demonstrates that your comment wasn’t intended to engage but was only posted for your own pleasure. I don’t mind masturbation, per se. I mind it in a situation where we ought to be playing together.

      Stop being so selfish and come up with a better class of insult.Report

      • Avatar Herb says:

        Jay, Seems like you’re expecting too much from the “Shorter what they said” genre of commentary. Those comments are, by definition almost, glib throwaways. They don’t contain arguments and getting insulted by them is like getting insulted by Yo Mama jokes told by your friends.

        As for the NPR story and its exploration of libertarian day camp, I think its less a dig at Libertarianism than it is at the idea that “Libertarianism = no government.” Modern libertarians, to their detriment I think, have internalized this idea that the government is always malevolent while free, unrestrained markets are always benevolent. This leads to a whole host of silly rationalizations that, while they make a certain logical sense, open up the door for “Hey, wait a minute, aren’t those USDA eggs?” comments.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Bob wasn’t mocking NPR’s lightweight treatment, though. He was using the treatment as a launching pad to poke at libertarians using a jibe that was not as good as any of the various pokes the NPR piece used.

          If I wish to see less of this behavior in the world, there aren’t that many things that I can do. I’m stuck creating negative externalities and, I hope, planting an idea that the next time Bob tells a joke in this vein that he’ll either have to put more effort into it *OR* have to tell it to a more receptive audience… and if it’s the latter, I hope that the responses of “HAW HAW!” come across as empty and hollow and he thinks “my god… I’m in an echo chamber” and drain the pleasure of the joke that way.

          I’ve only got so many tools in my belt. I hope, however, to cobble a better world with them anyway.Report