Monday, February 26, 2007

How To Explain Things to Libertarians

How To Explain Things to Libertarians

What it feels like to realize that you're talking to a libertarian. A great parody of the quiz. And more than 500 heartfelt reponses in agreement in one day.

Added to several indexes in Critiques Of Libertarianism.

Thanks to Michael Greinecker! Please, do contribute more suggestions everybody.


Jeremy said...

I agree with just about everything Pandagon is saying. It might surprise him (and you) to hear that there are libertarians who are making these same critiques of our right-leaning brethren (or in some case, cryptofascist posers).

One thing I do take exception with is his framing of the need for regulation in the meatpacking industry. As Kevin Carson explains, Upton Sinclair's real agenda was the cartelization of the industry to prevent competition. The big meatpackers already had federal regulation (to help preserve their export market, not for Americans' health) and that was hurting them in domestic competition with smaller meatpackers who did not export.

Unknown said...


Can you still see that post? When I try, all I get is a blank dark page. I've tried with both firefox and explorer.

Mike Huben said...

Yes, I can still see it.

Mike said...

I'll second Jeremy. There is a lot of good critique in there, but the term "Libertarian" is not really defined very well. Is that a member of the Libertarian Party? Or another kind? There are a lot of us that like Prodhon, Spencer, Tucker and Goldman as well as Rothbard, Hoppe and Chomsky. I guess we would be the so-called 'libertarian socialists' the article seems not to have much problem with.

I think those whom the article rails against are those that Kevin Carson calls "Vulgar Libertarians" - we criticize them too.

Just sayng.

James M. Jensen II said...

It would appear that that post has been taken down. However, while trying to search for it, I ran across this.

Which is almost as good.

Xerographica said...

Here's the newest link for the article...How To Explain Things to Libertarians.

While I'm at's the...

...actual libertarian history

...actual ideological relationships

...actual blindspot: the free-rider problem

Mike Huben said...

Thanks, X, for the new URL. It's updated now.

Your history is not bad for its length, but doesn't emphasize the actual most prominent libertarians today: the Koch brothers, who have orchestrated the libertarian movement for almost 4 decades now.

The term "classical liberalism" is Koch-funded newspeak. For a while it merely meant Misean liberals, but then a whole revisionist history was fantasized to pretend to give historical validation to the current movement.

The ideological relationships are nice speculation, but not very compelling to me.

The Caltech solution to the free rider problem is VERY interesting. Thanks for bringing that to my notice. Misean "revealed preference" twaddle was bad to start with, but this could eventually end it.

Xerographica said...

Mike, the history was focused on prominent thinkers rather than prominent funders.

If the history was fantasy then it would be very clear that David Boaz is saying something fundamentally different than Adam Smith. The truth is that all the prominent libertarians from 1776 to present said that at a minimum the government should provide national defense, courts and police. There's some variation.

Adam Smith and Dick Armey both included infrastructure...but that certainly wouldn't make them liberals. The question is...where is the line drawn between liberals and libertarians? That's where my diagrams come into play.

The ideological relationships aren't speculation. Well, at least once you organize ideologies by tenets rather than labels (scroll down to see my comment on the problems with labels). The tenets approach puts us on the same page and facilitates communication.

Of course, then it requires more work to try and explode heads.

The Caltech solution looks at the problem backwards. You don't ask value questions first and then take money. People would have a very strong incentive to lie. First you take the money and then you ask the value questions. Once their money is taken then people have no incentive to lie about their values.

It can also be helpful to consider how we would each answer the question of whether specific government organizations were made redundant by the private sector... Justification for Government.