Just when you think you’ve heard (and read) it all, something like this falls into your lap. It’s a Bloomberg News critique of Libertarianism that equates it with – of all things! – communism.
It dances on – at great length – without ever once mentioning the defining ethical principle of Libertarianism, the non-aggression principle (NAP for short). The idea that it’s never right to use force first.
The reason for not mentioning the NAP, of course, is that the article – and its ridiculous assertions – falls on its face if the NAP is acknowledged.
Consider some snippets from this epic work of evasion and slander:
“Let’s start with some definitions. By radical libertarianism, we mean the ideology that holds that individual liberty trumps all other values. ”
This is the “do anything you please” shibboleth Libertarians constantly encounter when dealing with Libertarian critics, who are invariably authoritarian collectivists of one stripe or the other. When the Libertarian points out the fallacy – that Libertarians believe individuals have every right to do as they please, provided they cause no harm to others – the authoritarian collectivist will then pretend not to have heard or understood. And give you something like this:
Which conveniently overlooks that bit about not harming others, the Libertarian Golden Rule.
The authors of the Bloomberg piece must argue something that Libertarians aren’t – setting up the proverbial straw man before knocking him down.
Ironically, these critics are always the aggressively violent ones.
“The alternative to this extremism is an evolving blend of freedom and cooperation.”
Libertarian readers are surely groaning along with me right about now. We favor voluntary cooperation. People such as the authors of Bloomberg rant always insist on cooperation – at gunpoint. Their “cooperation” is of a piece with Social Security “contributions,” Obamacare “markets” and DMV “customers.” What they cannot abide – but will never state honestly and openly – is the idea that people ought to be free to say no. To cooperate – or not. It is this freedom to choose that drives anti-Libertarians up the wall. The horrid, insufferable notion that their “plans” be contingent on the consent of those they wish to enlist.
But wait, there’s more. How about this one?
“Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish… ”
Ah, the “selfish” smear. It’s as effective as calling someone a racist. Shuts ’em right up, most of the time. But Libertarians aren’t afraid of it – nor will it shut them up. What the collectivists really mean when they use the term is – someone who would say no if he were free to do so. As in the case of taxation. It is “selfish” to object to being strong-armed into handing over one’s money for the benefit of random strangers, who are themselves not regarded as selfish for using violence (if only by proxy) to take the property of other people. It’s ok, apparently, to selflessly do others violence – but LIbertarians are bad selfish for daring to object to the violence done them and for wanting only to be left in peace and to leave others in peace.
Such is the mindset we’re dealing with.
The true colors begin to leach through the further down the piece you go:
“… eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and progressive taxation . . . “
Well, yes. Taxation, period, actually, But progressive taxation is particularly noxious. It is the idea that those who have more “owe” more. Which is like saying it’s ok to beat a healthy person more viciously than it is to beat a not-healthy person. Because the healthy person can take it better.
How about not beating anyone?
That’s the Libertarian horror. Stop it with the violence. Leave others be, if they’re not hurting you in some tangible way (not liking what others may be doing is not hurting you, incidentally).
” … programs that sustain a prosperous middle class are gutted.”
Translated: Wealth transfer and rent-seeking are boons. Which, of course, they are – to those on the receiving end. But what of those on the – uh – “giving” end?
“…we have to see that freedom isn’t simply the removal of encumbrance, or the ability to ignore inconvenient rules or limitations. ”
The only “limitation,” Clovers (I use this term as generic anti-honorific to refer to authoritarians) is the Libertarian ethical line in the sand: Don’t cause harm to others, or attempt to coerce them using violence or the threat of violence. Any “limitation” or “rule” that doesn’t comport with this standard – i.e., there’s no victim, no party harmed – is nothing more than an arbitrary construct and illegitimate on the face of it. No one – not the authors of this execrably dishonest piece especially – has the right to impose their little (and big) “limitations” and “rules” on other people. Because in order to do so, one must be willing to threaten to harm others – or actually harm them. And to claim a right to harm others – for whatever “public” or “social” good – is oxymoronic, a contradiction in terms. Good cannot be done by treating people badly. The only thing that can be done is exploiting or controlling some people for the benefit of others. This is the logic of the zero sum. I win – you lose. The balled fist, the gun pointed your way. The “or else” left unspoken behind every “request,” “plan” and “program” they trot out.
And they accuse us of being (pardon the language) “selfish” assholes!
The worst a Libertarian will ever do to you is not do anything to you. He might choose not to do business with you. Or rent to you. Or serve you. But you’d be free to seek out others to do business with. Or start a business yourself. Rent from another person – and so on. No violence would ever be done to you by a Libertarian. You’d free – and so would everyone else.
And that, friends, is the one thing anti-Libertarians dare not acknowledge. Must never address. Must evade, using all their smarmy demagoguery. For if they do acknowledge it, they’ve got no argument. No leg to stand on. Their violence is revealed, as contrasted with the non-violence of the Libertarian ideal.
Take heart from the pathetic shallowness of the “arguments” of our adversaries. They’ve got nothing – and they know it.
Throw it in the Woods?
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