Sunday, January 25, 2009

Libertarian loser of the week.

Every now and then, another libertarian writes another stupid rebuttal to my FAQ, and the sycophants gather around and cheer because they're no smarter, and can't recognize the errors.

One such twit, "KipEsquire", wrote an addition to the latest and made all sorts of stupid errors.

I responded with corrections to his errors, and pointed out that I am a Madisonian social contract fan, as opposed to Locke or Hobbes.

Kip replied without anything more than ad hominem and berating me for not appealing to the authority of Hobbes and Locke.

I pointed that out, and explained that I didn't need to appeal to social contracts that were philosophical fantasies when Madison created an actual, practical social contract. After all, why would I appeal to flying horses and flying carpets when I could talk about airplanes?

I tried to check back, and Kip had locked me out. So I used an anonymizer, looked, and sure enough the coward had deleted my response. What a baby. I wrote another taunting him, which he'll probably delete.

It's funny how many libertarians can't defend their claims, and instead have to rely on deletion and lockouts to silence their opponents. They really are authoritarian when they feel threatened, and shut down free discussion by hiding behind their property rights.


Placebo said...

I enjoy your site immensely and refer to it often. To let you know where I'm coming from I'll just say that I am amazed at the arrogance of the fanatic Libertarians. They can bring no examples of a thriving "libertarian" society. Every society falls far short of their philosophy. Yet they talk as if they have a monopoly on understanding human nature. They can no better predict the future course of an economy than anyone else. However, they are very good at telling us after the fact what went wrong. The current economic crisis is a good example.

Mike, my question for you is why are you so nasty to those that disagree with you? I've read some of your replies and they are brutal. Your arguments and intelligence stand on their own. The inflammatory language only lessens the effectiveness of your message.

Just my two cents worth. As I said, I very much enjoy this site.

Mike Huben said...

I can give you a lot of justifications for my style of response beyond sadistic pleasure. :-)

First, most of these people are unapologetic. You may not have seen it because it is so infrequent, but when an opponent admits error, I change and treat them with great respect. When they write politely, I'm also respectful. So as far as I'm concerned, it's tit-for-tat except that I'm usually happy to thump them back harder.

Second, it keeps the pro-wrestling audience coming. Lots of us like to witness a thorough verbal demolition. It keeps the site exciting as well as informative. But as you've noticed, I always try to make good arguments in addition to the ridicule.

Third, it is exceedingly difficult to get most of these people to admit they're wrong even to themselves. It really takes something comparable to a 2x4 to the head. And every now and then, one of them writes back to me about how much they hated me for my arguments, but they couldn't deny them and eventually admitted that I was right. Those are triumphs for both of us: you'd be surprised how seldom logic actually sways anybody's beliefs.

Fourth, harsh criticism is a long-standing philosophical and academic tradition: I'm in very good company. Read some David Stove, for a recent example.

Fifth, it is important to destroy the credibility of these people in front of their readers, lest their readers believe them. I'm almost always writing for the audience (except of course in email), and I want the audience to see how foolish the libertarian is.

Now, I know there are people on my side who cringe when I write that way. But they're the choir: I don't need to preach to them. They know I'm on their side. My style might chase them from my postings, but it won't convert them to libertarianism.

Thanks for the compliment, and I love your summary of the common libertarian personality. Write something for my site!

Markus said...

"Second, it keeps the pro-wrestling audience coming. Lots of us like to witness a thorough verbal demolition. It keeps the site exciting as well as informative."

Yes, yes, and yes!

Nothing better than seeing a libertarian get smacked around.

Mike, here's something for your humor section:

Mike Huben said...

Thanks, Markus, I've added it now.

Glen said...

FWIW, a response of yours is currently present at that site; it's dated Jan 25, 2009 @9:34am and begins "Ho hum. Another twit who thinks that..."

Anonymous said...

Someone there commented thusly:

"I find your "libertarians cannot define initiation of force" quite puzzling, as I imagine most libertarians have an extremely easy definition for it. In it's simplest terms that definition is: the use or threat of violence against a person who had previously made no use or threat of violence against you."

...apparently without realizing that, as per the restaurant example, no threat of violence was made against the restaurant owner by a person ordering a meal and simply not paying. Thus the restaurant owner would, by this definition, be the one initiating force.

I love libertarians.

Jeremy said...

Well done, Mike. Keep these guys honest. Libertarians like me can only benefit from real push back - that is, if we're truly interested on honesty.

mikeyaustudent said...

I honestly dont know what you have against librarians and australians.
Librarians have always been very helpful to me.And australians have a charming accent.