Friday, May 20, 2016

Libertarians are proud of being rational. Now all they need is to get practical.

Recently I blogged about different types of libertarian. There are many ways you can divide them up, but one of the more practical (heh!) divisions is between practical and impractical libertarians. The latter group would never call themselves "impractical," of course. They prefer "principled" and "consistent," but it comes to the same thing.

Sometimes libertarian impracticality manifests as simply a clumsiness at communicating with the outside world. It's a quirk that they maybe inherited from the Objectivists, who take a perverse pride, sometimes, in being misunderstood, often using a common word, like "selfishness," but using it in a nonstandard way, without explaining the new definition.

But more often, it's the usual downside of ideological thinking — a tendency to make one's ideology paramount, and to resist modifying it in the fact of contrary evidence, but rather to ignore or modify the evidence. Happens all the time, not just with libertarians. But since libertarians place a high value on logic, it's depressing when they don't use it themselves.

And now we get to the good old open-borders issue, yet again. Oh, I've done plenty on that subject. Just enter
open borders
in "Search this blog" over there on the top right and you'll find plenty. But to recap, just a bit. Impractical libertarians insist that it's "immoral" to restrict travel, therefore our borders must be open. They also sometimes insist that the very idea of a country is immoral, with the same conclusion. That's all plenty crazy enough all by itself, but here's a couple more examples of their ditzy justifications for inviting unlimited and unfiltered immigration.

One bozo told me that it's wrong, or crazy, or something, to judge people by the group they belong to. He says not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Blacks are this, not all whatever is whatever. Nobody thinks all of any group is any particular thing, so that's a straw man. What we do think (and damn well know) is that groups are statistically different. Not all Muslims are polygamists, but a certain percentage of them are, and a virtually zero percentage of, say, Methodists are. And among those who don't practice polygamy, a large, very large, percentage approve of polygamy, whereas its about zero again with the Methodists. But all this means nothing to bozo, because he keeps hammering away on the indisputable fact that not all Muslims are polygamists, and it's therefore immoral to consider keeping Muslims out of your country if you don't want polygamy to get a foothold. And that's just one delightful foreign practice that unchecked immigration will bless us with. I'm sure you can think of more.

All too many "libertarians" think this kind of ideology is not only permissible to libertarianism, but is actually an essential part of libertarianism.

Not only is the concept impractical, being contrary to the facts and reason and all, but it's even more impractical to think that pushing the concept is going to make libertarianism attractive to the American people at large, who damn well know it's bloody insane to admit immigrants at random. They're sick of hearing feel-good nonsense from the liberals and neocons about how much we need more Third-world peasants, criminals, fanatics, and welfare recipients here, and they're not going to be impressed when they hear if from libertarians.

I've said this before, but libertarianism is, or should be, an adherence to the principles of the Founding Fathers and the best American thinkers who have followed them. Not the hair-splitting dormitory bull-session blather that gives us transgender bathrooms, the Tsarnaev Brothers, pornography for the kiddies, and the sacrifice of the American working class to the big shots on Wall Street.

Libertarianism has a lot of good ideas. For those to prevail, we really should think of a way to get rid of the bad ones, not to march in solidarity with the liberals and neocons to foist them on the American people.

Sometimes I think Trump has thought all this through. He certainly knows that he should be thinking about what's good for the country, instead of what fits neatly into ideological paradigms. At Takimag [link], James E. Miller writes:

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Something Better

James E. Miller

There is no libertarian moment.
Contrary to popular opinion, the self-styled “liberty movement” is not ushering in a new era of freedom. Friedrich Hayek’s books aren’t flying off the shelf. Rand Paul’s sclerotic presidential campaign isn’t months away from downing Hillary Clinton. Libertarianism as a philosophy is still relegated to all-male conferences and basement-dweller Facebook pages.
You wouldn’t know that by the gleeful headlines running in certain libertarian publications, though.
Reason magazine, that libertine crack rag, just can’t let the libertarian moment go. Headline after headline is tagged with “libertarian moment,” inserting freedom where it doesn’t belong. Cam Newton’s “dab” dance? Libertarian moment. Beyoncé’s new hate whitey album? Libertarian moment. Millennials confused about our two-party system? Libertarian moment.
“A little thing called frustrated nationalism got in the way.”
It’s so bad that Nick Gillespie could step on a pile of dog shit and abstract an impending Gary Johnson administration from it.
The buzz around the “libertarian moment” emanates from an August 2014 New York Times Magazine article. At the time, libertarianism felt ascendant. Senator Paul was “the most interesting man in politics.” Social conservatism was on the wane, with the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision less than a year away. The creatively destructive sharing economy—represented most prominently by Uber and Airbnb—dominated headlines.
What happened to our great libertarian future? Why aren’t we looking forward to a reciting of The Law at the inaugural address and a shuttering of the Federal Reserve?
A little thing called frustrated nationalism got in the way.
Donald Trump lit the fuse of the 21st century’s biggest powder keg: uncontrolled migration from the Third World into the West. His nonpareil presidential campaign finally brought attention to the loss of sovereignty and cultural cohesion that Western countries are experiencing by welcoming untold numbers of foreigners.
The Republican-base voters whom libertarians hoped to convert put down Milton Friedman when thousands of undocumented minors poured through America’s southern border. They turned off John Stossel when Muslims took over whole European neighborhoods. When Islamic terrorists shot up Paris and bombed Belgium, it was “bye-bye” individualism and “hello!” collective security.
Read the rest here:

Quibcag: This one I had to assemble. Haruhi of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱 Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu) gestures towards a powder keg.


  1. Not idealism, utopian. And Libertarians seem to be coercive as any other utopians.

    For practical libertarianism, Giving everyone firearms, training, ammo, and a certain amount of range time would turn most places into what they say they seek. "I'll shoot you before you can violate the NAP" is easily practiced by everyone without all the philosophical minutiae.

    Those who don't behave will be Darwined. If you look at the most libertarian places, they are where well armed constitutionalist Christians reside - they hate government because even the police powers are seen as at best redundant, at worst tyrannical.

    If you love your children, you won't outsource their education and raising to even the most qualified stranger.

    If you love your life and liberty, you won't outsource their defense to even the most qualified stranger.

    I didn't see the link until I moved to Wyoming.

    The Libertarian Utopians want to talk a lot and complain, but then move to work in the heavily statist universities, or to places like New York or California.

    But I've not yet stated the point clearly. Both Socialists and Libertarians are Utopians in that they both both assume and require that Man's natural state is one of peaceful righteousness.

    Insurance companies? Libertarians say having to pay $50k/yr to a private company or having your place burned down by barbarians is better than paying $5k/yr in taxes. Someone has to pay and security costs money.

    And freedom of movement? Not with private roads. I'd ban the lot of them from using any road I owned as crazy and stupid people ought not be behind the wheel.

    Libertarians somehow assume a sign saying "Keep Out, Private Property" will do what a wall, moat, and electric fence has trouble accomplishing.

  2. It's a Red Pillory thing.