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Thanks for writing. Yes, I do know libertarians and it's not what they say it's how they act. Since I write about libertarians a lot I get called to present on libertarian talk shows and I've had in depth conversations with some leaders too.
Whenever one is critical of a movement, one tends to hear from members who tell you you don't understand the movement or that those other movement-members are fakes who don't understand the movement, the mislabelers.
Maybe so. We all live in bubbles. But still we all have our impressions. My sample is large enough that I am confident to say that libertarians tend to be closet authoritarians. They'd be the first to object, but I think they mislabel themselves.
I've read some Mises and can't say that I've read a more Marxist writer in decades. Not in what he argues for it but his method, his "scientific" absolutism and certainty that a radical shift from what has always been is not only virtuous but scientifically inevitable.
And I understand why there would be this paradoxical (hypocritical) aspect of the libertarian movement. Your core message is a paradox align for individuality, lockstep for looseness.
I make a similar paradoxical argument. In fact I often feel more libertarian than the libertarians leaders I know. I'm an anti-fundamentalist fundamentalist. But I recognize the challenge of such a paradoxical commitment in a way libertarians don't seem to.
One thing that surprised me in conversations with libertarians, two completeley unrelated to each other. I'd say "I don't buy that" and they'd say "ideas aren't for buying. Libertarianism is just true."
I was shocked. I assume the free market idea would apply as well to the market for ideas as it does for goods and services. Of course we buy ideas, though not for authoritarians who think they have the scientifically proven "truth."
With both, they said they hadn't really thought about whether there's a market for ideas.
And one last thing. I refuse to talk about libertarianism any more outside the context of its greatest source of fuel and energy. Regardless of the merits (which I find low) to the classic theory, libertarianism is to a large part fueled by Kochs, Mercer's, Trump's these days. You may want to claim total autonomy from their influence. I don't buy it. And they are exactly what I'd expect to take root as we inched toward the libertarian precipice, and right on schedule.
And sorry one more thing. Like all authoritarians, libertarians are lousy at the midrange. They know what they're fighting for. They know the ideal they want to reach but they haven't thought through the transition. There is an inevitable backlash against every radical social movement. The hippies, French Revolution, Socialism, Communism, etc. It's not like opposition just takes it lying down especially not when the consequences of the revolution turn winners into losers.
So suppose libertarians did take over, and then there's that backlash. How do you beat it back? The way the communists or French Revolution did, with governance.
I've asked several libertarians about that, and their answer was that my question was "invalid." Spoken like a true authoritarian.
But Im' glad you buy aspects of the article for what it's worth, and I agree no libertarian seems to want to suppress objections, they kind of like objections because it gives them a chance to sport their know-it-all certainty. In my experience, which is why I've come up with a new response:
Are you 100% confident that you're right? If not, what comes up for you as a doubt, if so, bye cause I won't waste our time talking to someone who is 100% confident in anything.
The work you present is a product of the work you prevent.
Trump-era takeaways for the hard art of naming and taming total jerks.
We have to stop kidding ourselves about how much we all kid ourselves.
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