Libertarians Remain Hilarious

January 18, 2010

I don’t have anything against this creed in particular – indeed some of my best friends are libertarians. However, it would be a wonderful thing if they’d finally accept what they have in common with the communists who infested the UK’s intellectual seen for much of the last century, which is that they have no understanding of the way in which the world actually works.

This leads them to – again, like the reds of old – condemn the shortcomings of democracy in no uncertain terms. There’s of course nothing wrong with stating that you’re not a fan of democracy, but when you’re the leader of a party seeking election within that democracy, it would rather sit at odds with your stated goals.

Of course, dealing with all those other people (with their dratted wrong opinions) is a painful thing to do, when the rightness of your cause is so apparent. It’s also much more difficult when your opponents now have a quote that they can put on leaflets saying that you’re opposed to democracy. Which, I can guarantee, they will.

I suspect that libertarianism isn’t compatible with democracy; not in the sense that a democratic state could never implement libertarian policies, but rather that libertarians themselves as a group are incompatible with the sorts of actions one has to take to get elected. Given that one could interpret libertarianism as the entirely understandable drive to not have anyone else interfere in your life, and that getting elected requires you to take into account the interests and opinions of your electorate, this latter requirement rather implies that the libertarian seeking election is going to have to allow other peoples’ opinions to partly determine their choices – which they’re opposed to having happen.

I look forward to the day when libertarians start considering armed insurrection against a democratic state, which will be justified by the state already using violence against them by limiting their chances of influencing it. Then we really will have come full circle.

2 Responses to “Libertarians Remain Hilarious”

  1. Foregone Conclusion said

    I went to a debate/argument/drunken brawl jointly held by the LibDemSoc at my university and the Libertarian Society on bankers’ pay, with a speaker from Compass and one from the Libertarians. The Compass guy spoke first, and I thought that some of his points were good, some of them rather hackneyed and unsupported by evidence. The Libertarian speaker, on the other hand, relied mainly on rather dubious metaphors (‘when you were a child, did you have a bike… you didn’t like your sister to steal it, did you? That’s what we Libertarians believe’: ‘the free market is like a plane: no-one’s sure how it flies, but it works!’, etc, etc) and assertions about how a PERFECTLY free market would have prevented such a calamity. Since there has never been a completely free market since the beginning of human history, these claims were difficult to confirm or deny – he could blame every failure on some form of state intervention, and he did.

    What got me, though, was the attitudes of the Libertarians to the respective speakers. The guy from Compass had some bad points and some good, as I’ve said, but the Libertarians were bursting to interupt him, and did so several times (even though this went against the ground rules). With the Libertarian gentleman, on the other hand, they were nodding sagely and laughing uproariously at all of his bad jokes. It reminded me of that bit from Life of Brian where Brian addresses his followers (‘you are all individuals!’ ‘YES! WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS!’) and along with the kind of rhetoric that you’ve linked to, it makes me wonder whether Libertarians really have any concern with liberty at all.

    Needless to say, that particular gathering made me even more sceptical of Libertarianism…

  2. declineofthelogos said

    The often-repeated trope you mention there (perfectly free markets don’t exist!) is yet another reason libertarians are like the old British commies (and the current SWP). After all, perfect communism hasn’t existed either…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: