The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Libertarians

In the old fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons, there was an alignment system to plot types of players and characters in terms of their moral code. For instance, a player that was lawfully good, strictly followed a moral code, even when that code worked against their self-interest. A chaotically good character was willing to junk the rules to do what they believe was the right thing. The former would deport all illegal aliens because the law required it, but the latter would let them stay as long as they promised to behave.

That always comes to mind when I read about when a serial killer is finally caught or a libertarian is pulling some crap like this.

After her family’s shiba inu died of cancer, Dawn Sabins decided to surprise her 7-year-old son with a new puppy. In March 2015, she dropped into a San Diego-area pet store looking for an English bulldog. She walked out with a golden retriever.

That wasn’t so strange, even if $2,400 was more than she’d intended to spend. (There’s a reason pet stores put puppies in the window.) The odd part came a few weeks later, when she and her husband were going over their credit reports and saw a $5,800 charge from a company they’d never heard of.

The Sabins had bought their new dog, Tucker, with financing offered at the pet store through a company called Wags Lending, which assigned the contract to an Oceanside, California-based firm that collects on consumer debt. But when Dawn tracked down a customer service rep at that firm, Monterey Financial Services Inc., she learned she didn’t own the dog after all.

“I asked them: ‘How in the heck can I owe $5,800 when I bought the dog for $2,400?’ They told me, ‘You’re not financing the dog, you’re leasing.’ ‘You mean to tell me I’m renting a dog?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah.’ ”

Without quite realizing it, the Sabins had agreed to make 34 monthly lease payments of $165.06, after which they had the right to buy the dog for about two months’ rent. Miss a payment, and the lender could take back the dog. If Tucker ran away or chased the proverbial fire truck all the way to doggy heaven, the Sabins would be on the hook for an early repayment charge. If they saw the lease through to the end, they would have paid the equivalent of more than 70 percent in annualized interest—nearly twice what most credit card lenders charge.

Curious about the moral nullity behind this dog leasing idea, I looked up Dusty Wunderlich and found that he is not a boiler room operator living on the edge of society. He is a proud member of the new economy. He even has his own blog.The values section is the most entertaining because it is a dog’s breakfast of stuff he picked up as an undergrad, that he could use to manipulate and take advantage of people. It is a moral code, even if it leads to immoral ends, which is why the term “lawful evil” is appropriate.

That’s always the problem with libertarians. They assume that if something is allowed to be done, it should be done. Since the law allows this guy to prey on the emotionally vulnerable, in order to get them to sign off on leasing a casket for their dead granny, then there’s nothing wrong with it. Since libertarians believe the law should only enforce contracts, protect private property and provide physical protection, grifters fleecing the unwitting becomes a feature of society, rather than a defect.

That’s fine, as far as it goes, which is not very far as few people wish to live in the transactional hell-scape that is the libertarian paradise. Humans understand that what holds a society together is the collection of unwritten rules that we think of as our common morality. The law rests on the foundation of the common morality. An amoral grifter like Dusty Wunderlich may be operating within the letter of the law, but he is living outside the spirit of the law. No society will tolerate that for long and eventually the law is changed.

The Old Right has always understood this. Societies can evolve unwritten ways to deal with guys like Dusty Wunderlich. Ostracism or a Tom Doniphon are two examples. Or, they will create written ways to deal with him. The public will demand it. If the leaders fail to provide the solution, then new leaders will be found. The Right prefers organic social institutions, the unwritten rules, while the Left prefers an authoritarian custodial state, the written rules. Those are the choices and there is no third choice.

To be fair to libertarians, the old guys like Lew Rockwell and Ron Paul understood and embraced this reality. They accepted the fact that an atrophied state would leave a void to be filled by organic social institutions. The end may not be the libertarian paradise of maximum liberty. It could lead to a theocracy, like Utah or Massachusetts, but it would at least result in a set of rules in line with the dispositions and desires of the citizens. Modern libertarians reject all that and embrace a form of utopianism.

It is why the Dissident Right should treat modern libertarians like plague carrying rage zombies. Economics is down stream from culture, far down stream. The willingness of libertarians to stab the Right in the back over culture issues just so they can score some rhetorical points over economics makes them more dangerous than the Left. Every war is a culture war, even the shooting kind. It is one group aiming to prove that their gods, their ways, their culture is superior, by imposing it on others, by any means necessary.

It’s why Buckley Conservatives are a failed movement now. They embraced the transactionalism of the libertarians, over the traditionalism of the Old Right. They have spent countless hours fussing over how best to move commas around the tax code, while the Left is marching from victory to victory in the culture war. The corruption is so thorough that they can no longer muster a reason to oppose guys like Dusty Wunderlich, ravaging the economy like locusts.

173 thoughts on “The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Libertarians

  1. Neither the commenters nor the OP seem to understand Libertarianism. They do seem to understand /reference some user applications, but that’s as far as it goes–binding on the users. I would suggest getting familiar with the Libertarian International Organization.

    The article conflates small-l libertarians (there is no evidence any are involved) with large-L Libertarianism/Libertarians. This invalidates everything it says. Get your basics right. There also seem to be no L/libertarians involved, so what has this to do with Libertarians?

    A Libertarian approach is that where there is no meeting of the minds, there is no contract, which seems to be what’s going on here. Full stop.

  2. Okay, I’ll be a dissenting opinion here. I remember back in the good ‘ole days when I didn’t have to care about how other people were running their lives. It was up to YOU to take care of you. I miss those days.

    If you’re dumb enough to sign a contract and have no idea what you’re signing then that’s on YOU. Also, you’re now leasing a dog. So have fun with that.

  3. Minarchism would include the fact that grifters like Wunderlich would not have a state protecting him from angry customers out to lynch him. It’s perfectly true that in the absence of a state there needs to be organic social institutions. NAP advocates simply propose that the two main values of an NAP society would be: (1.) No one has the right to f*** with me. (2.) I don’t have the right to f*** with anyone else.

  4. while i consider myself mostly libertarian, i do understand that libertarian ideology is cultural phenomena unique to anglo american culture and therefore should be at least a little subservient to it. if anything my libertarianism has led me straight to the alt right. lookig around the globe it seems only one very certain kind of people can maintain the small government/rule of law paradigm, it is therefore unwise to invite a world full of squatters to come here and start voting in our elections.

  5. Dusty is apparently a sleazeball but how is that a vision of society which is far worse than the leftists? Predatory crap like that can be easy countered. Explain more about why Libertarians are the biggest threat.

  6. where did all these libertarian nimrods come from?! did one of them chance on this post, and then alert all his co-nimrods? my god they are a tiresome bunch. and ignorant.

  7. I’m in. Where do I subscribe? C’mon, man! As a registered Libertarian I pay elsewhere EVERY month to subscribe to sites I think erudite and enlightening and while one or two have come close none have so succinctly defined dilemma between the ideas of Libertarian beliefs and the realities of actually implementing them. Out. Damned.Standing, sir! Truly a great article!

  8. True liberal vs neo-liberal.
    True libertarian vs neo-libertarian.
    True conservative vs neo-con.

    The “trues” are all the same as each other, while the “neos” are the same as each other too.

  9. funner than the fact this this guy actually believes this garbage is the fact i actually read it to the end! then funnier still is reading the comments and finding all you fools that believe it too!

    it’s too much, you guys gotta stop, i can’t breathe.

  10. I got this Libertarian guy on Ricochet to admit that the logical outcome of what he believed was, ‘all should be free to be slaves’.
    If they want…and they better have a really good contract I suppose.

  11. I’ve lost a great deal of respect for the libertarian party. The open borders stupidity takes the cake. They are cultural leftist and can’t understand that there is a reason why the ‘turd world’ is that way. IQ and culture matter. I have yet one to show me how a low IQ mestizo or the average African has any concept of the principles of libertarianism or limited government. Always crickets.

    The libertarians you speak of are more libertine than anything else. A private property can work to a point in a small community.

  12. Former ”libertarian” here. The main reason I gave up on it was the realization that capitalism (which is the ‘moral code’ of libertarians/randians) is not any such thing. Contra the left, capitalism is not ”immoral”, contra the right, it isn’t ”moral” either. It’s Amoral, it’s not about right or wrong, it’s about buy and sell. Selling heroin to kids (or renting kids to perverts) is capitalism, but it sure as hell ain’t moral.
    The ”dog leasing” story is typical of ”libertarians”, they like to talk about ”anything not involving force or fraud is OK” then use the principle of ‘buyer beware’ to redefine fraud into nonexistence. ”You signed the contract, you didn’t RTWT, it was enforced against you, too bad for you chump!” on a contract that’s long and convoluted (see any EULA, such as the one for Windows 10</a) where if you took the substantial time to read through it, you'd find several ''gotcha's'' that the company can use to ''lawfully'' screw you over.
    And that's the point, who reads most, if not all, long, convoluted contracts presented to them? Pretty much no one, they sign on the bottom line or click ''I accept'' on the faith they won't be screwed over. That's what (((those))) who devise such contracts are counting on.
    when things blow up in their face, they count on the snail’s pace and confusion of the courts to get them off the hook – which usually works.

    • Particularly when it is the EULA for your operating system, or other product or service which is not really optional.

  13. Made the mistake of financing some car repairs through that guy’s company. What a nightmare. When the reckoning comes, he and people like him will be swinging from every light pole.

  14. Libertarianism is certainly more a religious than political orientation. Most people of any persuasion accept that either they may be wrong, or what they believe may only be right for their situation or due to their own preferences. Every libertarian I’ve known (the “Reason” types, not the Barry Goldwater types) thinks that the only thing keeping anyone from being a libertarian is that they don’t know or understand the philosophy. It’s just a matter of spreading the gospel for these people, and they tailor the gospel for the audience (weed and gay marriage for one audience, religious and economic liberty for another). The idea that conservatives or liberals have considered Libertarian ideas and found them non-functional or flawed doesn’t occur to them. Like Sunni Muslims, they believe they’re right and it’s their job to eventually make everyone understand and submit to this. At least they’re not blowing themselves up, though, unlike Muslims. They’re just being obnoxious.

  15. One of the core values that allowed our society to run well for so long was individual restraint. But restraint has been largely lost to our detriment. Libertarians do not possess any restraint until it suits them which is not restraint at all.

    • So, is it just coincidental that with the growth of the state and all of its progressive underpinnings that we have witnessed such a loss of individual restraint?

      More government = more chaos.

      More government = less individual restraint.

      More government = less civility.

  16. >It’s why Buckley Conservatives are a failed movement now. They embraced the transactionalism of the libertarians, over the traditionalism of the Old Right

    The Buckley Conservatives are not a failed movement. They served their reason for existence-fracturing the remainder of the conservative opposition to the progressive agenda by creating a honeytrap controlled opposition party.

    Or maybe it’s just a coincidence that Buckley was a member of Bones, a secret society whose alumni are frequently associated with Hegelian social engineering projects spanning decades.

  17. Libertarians are neither a real movement nor a significant influence in society, and hence not worth fretting over. The world will always have bad actors that behave as egregious predators and feed upon the weak. The proper evolutionary response is for the prey to become more savvy and capable when afflicted by these types of malefactors. Perhaps Ms. Sabins could utilize her intelligence and cunning to facilitate the demise of Monterey Financial Services. In doing so, she would not only rid society of debilitating predator, but also grow stronger and improve the species.

  18. This company filed bankruptcy earlier this month, so the business model doesn’t work. While it appears comical to lease a pet the other side of the equation is why are people getting pets they cannot afford? I agree that there is egregious behavior by business, but it also occurs with customers, too. No doubt there should be a moral code to not offer a product or service unless acknowledged full disclosure and the other: live within your means. The real fear is when you have a bureaucrat dictate commerce. At first it typically has its intended outcome but quickly becomes corrupted (e.g., Enron, then Sarbanes Oxley and then Jon Corzine with no criminal indictment). I’m sure the fine was nothing but a slap in the wrist for such behavior.

  19. “It’s why Buckley Conservatives are a failed movement now. They embraced the transactionalism of the libertarians, over the traditionalism of the Old Right.”

    Who are their big heroes now? The indispensable men who will lead us into a golden future? The answer never varies: “Entrepreneurs”. Mitt Romney couldn’t seem to imagine how anyone else could be considered useful or important. And sadly, I think that they have more admiration for the crafty Mr. Wonderbread here than for any coal miner or shop clerk just living from paycheck to paycheck.

  20. My apologizes if what I say below is in some way factually incorrect, since I can’t recall the exact details and so can’t google the specifics, but I’m pretty sure of the overall substance of what I say.

    That warning given, I recall posting something on FB that pertained to one of the tainted product scandals coming out of China (I think). It involved either food or medicine that was mixed with some sort of dangerous adulteration (google shows there are a lot of such scandals), and the thing I linked to was a libertarian response (Reason seems a likely suspect, but I really don’t recall where I read the piece) that basically said that it wasn’t the business of government to interfere with commercial interactions of “free” agents via legislation. The claim was that the threat to a company from the loss of business that would follow any revelation that it was selling even tainted, not to mention lethal, goods was sufficient to keep a business from engaging in such practice. I accompanied the link with some snarky comment about how I didn’t want to be one of the fatalities to convince some Austrian winery not to lace the stuff with ethylene glycol.

    And that of course presupposes that certain people (like the CEO’s of those Chinese companies) wouldn’t actually decide that temporary gain from selling potentially or actually harmful products outweighed the theoretical costs from being found out.

    My personal safety when it comes to buying stuff at the grocery store shouldn’t be dependent on my either doing a “due diligence” google search to make sure the company on the label hasn’t been caught engaging in such malfeasance or reading the fine print on some “users agreement” to make sure that use of additives like ethylene glycol isn’t considered a potential risk I run in buying the product.

    Now, I’m the first to admit that setting up the FDA may be the first step on the Road to Serfdom, but as Horace would tell us, a bit of moderation is useful in all things. Just because you reject the authoritarian bureaucratic state in its micromanagement of the petty details of life doesn’t mean that you have to go to the opposite extreme and reject the utility of having the state criminalize any anti-social behavior, so that we’re all left in some sort of dog-eat-(or sell)-dog-world, where you constantly have to be on guard against people who don’t know (or care) what NAP is.

    • In other words, you prefer being slave.

      The state, in the last 160 years has enslaved, expatriated, maimed, and murdered at least several hundred million people.

      How about the millions of people who have been incarcerated for political dissidence?

      How about the millions of people who have been incarcerated for criticizing the state?

      How about the millions of people who have been incarcerated for possessing substances permission for which the state had not granted?

      How about the trillions and trillions of dollars that have been misallocated by the state and its cronies and creeps and thugs and central planners and regulators and bureaucrats and the losers who don the king’s uniforms after having forcibly taken the same from the productive?

      How long do you have to keep banging your head on the wall to recognize that activity is the source of your pain?

      • Come now, seriously, the state has *some* legitimate interest in its citizens’ health, doesn’t it? Does the CDC, say, count as “slavery”?
        (millions dead of bubonic plague, but not one cent for tribute!). If the state doesn’t even attempt to protect its citizens’ wellbeing, what legitimate function could it possibly have? Like any principle, this one can be abused, but there’s quite a bit of daylight between “inspection of imports” and “slavery.”

        • Why would you accord any credibility to any construct that has failed so miserably?

          Why accord any credibility to any construct that insists upon a monopoly?

          Common sense dictates it is not a good bargain.

      • “In other words, you prefer being slave.”

        Well, no, I’m pretty sure that isn’t a fair or reasonable characterization of what I said.

        I take it you didn’t get as far as my last paragraph? Or perhaps that’s what set you off. Anyway, this deranged response nicely proves my point. I guess for the capital-L libertarian, there’s no such thing as excess in the defense of lunacy.

        • Utopia is best illustrated by the faith people invest in the proposition that the state, in its infinite wisdom and benevolence, will make us all happier, healthier, and secure.

          Why would you repose any confidence, faith, and trust in a construct that has failed so miserably?

          If it is so good, let it face competition. Let it survive upon voluntary and consensual exchange.

          Of course, it can’t. It relies upon violence to survive and it compels you to pay it tribute.

          Even with all of the tribute forcibly extracted by the state’s violent parasites, it still can’t guarantee your personal safety every time you purchase something at the supermarket – whether your safety is threatened by nihilistic negroes or sociopathic Sino sellers of salmonella.

          I apologize for suggesting that you would prefer to be a slave. I don’t think that you really want that.

          But, for lunacy, look at the record of the state. Do you doubt that which I wrote regarding the state’s record?

          The NAP is not about promising utopia. Those that asseverate that libertarians believe that the NAP will usher in nirvana are the ones are doing the mischaracterizing.

          Just like Josey Wales palaver with Ten Bears:

          JW: You be Ten Bears?

          TB: I am Ten Bears.

          JW: I’m Josey Wales.

          TB: I have heard. You are the grey rider. You would not make peace with the Blue Coats. You may go in peace.

          JW: I reckon not. I got no place to go.

          TB: Then you will die.

          JW: I came here to die with you. Or to live with you. The bear lives here, the wolf, the antelope, the Comanche, and so will we. We’ll only hunt what we need to live on, same as the Comanche does. And every spring when the grass turns green and the Comanche moves north, you can rest in peace and butcher some of our cattle and jerk beef for the journey.

          TB: These things you say we will have, we already have.

          JW: That’s true, I ain’t promising you nothing extra. I’m just giving you life and you’re giving me life. And I’m saying that men can live together without butchering one another.

          TB: Its sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues. There is iron in your words of death for all Comanche to see, so there is iron in your words of life. No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men

    • A combination of NAP and a right to self defense is probably enough to keep a small city state having a rule of law, but large capitalized industrial economies, let alone multinationals, need oversight above and beyond the market consumer.
      If I were a libertarian my emphasis would be on developing the ideas for small local economies. There was once a movement to take over New Hampshire as a libertarian Haven and example. They should concentrate on something like this rather than defend Chinese entrepreneurs.

      • Doc, some of us do.

        Regarding New Hampshire, I think you are referring to the Free State Project. Sad to say, it has been hijacked by the SWJ types. To be precise, thick libertarians who think that lack of diversity, opposition to gay marriage, and racism are the most important topics upon which libertarians should focus.

        The Free State Project does not welcome libertarians like Woods and the leaders have kicked out guys like Christopher Cantwell.

  21. I love Libertarians, I really do. Thomas Hobbes wrote about 700 pages on what happens to a society based on contract and the non-aggression principle (he even said that the first law of nature is “seek peace”). I forget how it all ends, but I think Oliver Cromwell was involved somehow. I know, I know, nobody reads the so-called “classics” anymore — CisHetPat DWM and all that — but sheesh.

  22. I’m sure you’re saving it for another post, but no chance to make fun of Libertarians over their “Legalizing drugs will solve all our problems!” obsession should be passed up. When I was in college many a moon ago, I actually took them seriously for reasons that involved immaturity and chemistry and I actually subscribed to Reason magazine for a time. After a while I just started laughing out loud every time an issue showed up in the mail. Every single issue had to contain some article proclaiming the miraculous results of drug legalization. It would rescue the failing public schools. It would end the regime in North Korea. It would mean an end to male pattern baldness. No matter what the problem, the solution was obvious. Drugs! When all is said and done it is the one and only issue that really matters to them.

  23. This post is a perfect example of why I dislike Zman and despise this blog.

    Consider how you would feel about being on the receiving end of the bullshit above, anonymous slanderer.

    • is some libertarian thug making you read this blog? if i called you a dumbass and told you to fukk off, would that improve your feelings?

    • Mr. Porretto, your post is a perfect example of why I no longer visit your blog; or try to reason with you.

      Take your bullshit elsewhere.

    • No one slandered you. They slandered your suck ass ideology .Big difference,

      And FP, there are good reasons the “Libertarian” ideology is basically unknown on planet Earth and even in the US where its occasionally found (maybe the UK) it has little power and is rejected by nearly everyone.

      It doesn’t work as its a nightmarish combination of Neo Liberalism and Cultural Marxism whose only redeeming feature is they don’t impose the later at gunpoint.

      A healthy society is economically conservative and nationalist and culturally conservative which is ideologically the near exact opposite of Libertarian

  24. “It is why the Dissident Right should treat modern libertarians like plague carrying rage zombies. Economics is down stream from culture, far down stream. The willingness of libertarians to stab the Right in the back over culture issues just so they can score some rhetorical points over economics makes them more dangerous than the Left. Every war is a culture war, even the shooting kind. It is one group aiming to prove that their gods, their ways, their culture is superior, by imposing it on others, by any means necessary.”

    The key paragraph, imo. Libertarians have shown themselves time and again to be on the side of the left culturally. The commonality that facilitates this is the tendency to view everything abstractly, which then makes it possible to manipulate ideas for the sake of ephemeral goals. When Burke laid the defect of Enlightenment thinking on abstraction he nailed it.

    People make the mistake of saying that conservatism means one is against change. If you read Burke’s criticism of the French you will notice that he is criticizing them for doing some of the same things England has already done successfully and for which he does not criticize England. Some say this is hypocritical. It is not. His criticism of the French is grounded in the fact that their manipulations of their culture, politics, and economy have no traditional basis. This is the defining characteristic of radicalism. And the lack of this recognition in the modern Libertarian is where they and the left are in bed together.

  25. Sounds like Hannah. They will “sell” you a golden retriever for a total lifetime cost of about $26,000, and in the end, you still don’t own the animal.

  26. Nice hit piece on libertarians. Cite some amoral cretin conning stupid people in a puppy financing scam, call him a libertarian, and then draw some specious conclusion that libertarians are cretins who will lead to the death of western civilization.

    Here’s a first person example that does not involve specious reasoning. I’m a libertarian. I make firearms accessories and sell them online. I got a call from my payment processor trying to entice me into offering their easy financing for my customers. I told the woman that my average sale is $20, and if a potential customer needs to finance a $20 purchase, I’d rather they didn’t buy my products. I’ve since found a new credit card processor and am in the process of switching.

    There are some “libertarian left”, but most of my libertarian friends are as credit averse as I am. There is a place for credit. New business ideas sometimes need financing, and that’s fine, but our society has been hoodwinked into confusing credit for capital, on a personal level, and to a much more damaging extent, in our governments. The latter is the crisis that will end western civilization, not some creep who’s scamming stupid people into financing their puppy at loan shark rates.

    Libertarians believe in the nonaggression principle. It’s wrong to initiate force or fraud against another. That applies to individuals as well as groups, including the group known as government. Watch the eight minute YouTube video The Philosophy of Liberty for details.

    If the people were surprised to learn they were leasing a puppy, they were not willing participants in a contractual agreement. By my definition, financing a puppy for twice its overinflated selling price when some dufus doesn’t understand what they’re signing is a form of fraud, regardless of the fine print, so… not a libertarian.

    • OK, you’re “non-aggression principle” meets the Left hyper-aggression principle and the fight is over before it starts. Again, we’re in a culture war. We’ll figure out tax policy after we won.

      • Does the NAP mean you standby passively as one is attacking you or your family? I don’t interpret it that way.

        I am disappointed by this article. My feeling was that the altRight and the Libertarians had a common understanding and could be or were an effective union. Now I am told we are to fall to infighting?
        Admittedly, I don’t feel entirely at home in either camp. There is no definitive libertarian and no definitive alt-righter. It is ideas that matter and we can find good ones (and bad ones) in both “parties”.

        I am more comfortable with pragmatism.

        • I am sick and tired of people rejecting what doesn’t exactly fit their preferences. It’s about time everyone on “our side” had better start supporting anything that diminishes the strength of the other side, without too much worry about the nuances of what one is willing to support. The most valuable take-away I am getting from today’s post and comments, is that being too squishy about things invites others to simply take your property, your well-being, and perhaps even your life from you. Just because you are not at war with someone, doesn’t mean they aren’t at war with you. An important wake-up call, in my book.

          • Dutch, applying your point:

            Let’s support the evisceration of all progressive constructs, i.e., the warfare / welfare state.

            This means no more social security, no more Medicare, no more Medicaid, no more FBI, no more IRS, no more CIA, no more NSA, no more TSA, no more EPA, no more FDA, no more DMV.

            It also means no more affirmative action, no more state licensing of marriage, no more state licensing of occupations, no more safe spaces, no more “hostile work environment” basis for sexual harassment lawsuits, no more Susan Brownmiller feminism.

          • Those institutions you mention are not at war with me, but there are some people, in some of those institutions, that use the powers and capabilities of those institutions to wage a sort of war with the likes of me. I can relate to the idea of “leave me alone”. But I don’t make a fetish of it, and I like to think that my take on reality can accommodate some of this stuff. Those who make a habit of using governmental powers to bend people to their will are my enemy, however. “Draining the (DC) swamp” means getting those sorts of people out of there. I’m not too hung up on the philosophy behind getting it done.

            LibertyMike, your knee jerk response kind of proves my point. If you are, underneath it all, on “my” side, you proved one point. If you are on the “other” side, you proved a different one. Either way, it is a diversion from my point that sometimes the most important thing is to follow Mencken’s musings, hoist the pirate flag, and be ready to get on with things.

          • Yes, Dutch, those institutions are at war with you.

            Do you think its the likes of me and other thin libertarians like Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell, Bob Murphy, Tom DiLorenzo, Bionic Mosquito, Eric Peters, and the late Murray Rothbard and William Norman Grigg who are against you?

            We do not want to cram anything down your throat.

            If you want to be left alone, we are with you.

            If you want to keep all of your income, we are with you.

            If you do not want to be forced to subsidize deviant behavior, we are with you.

            If you want to be able to discriminate upon the basis of race or sex, we are with you as freedom of association means the right to exclude.

            So, you tell me. How could I be against you?

        • I don’t consider myself alt-right so I won’t pretend to know how they view you guys, but my impression is they don’t count you as brothers in the struggle. I could be wrong, but that’s my impression.

          • I do consider myself alt-right (in the derbyshire & vox day sense), and while I don’t speak for others, I would concur.

            Your 2nd to last paragraph was extremely illustrative as to why. The enemy within is far more deadly and dangerous than any left-leaning enemy outside. The libertarians and the cuckservative have this unerring ability to continuously shoot right especially when it would be most advantageous to the larger right’s perspective not to do so. It’s incredibly frustrating.

            In general, I would still count the Hoppe wing as allies, but the larger libertarian movement needs to review what type of society they wish to live in and whether or not their ideological adherence will further that goal.

          • “To be conservative, then, is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss.”

          • Was it cognitive dissonance that informed your allusion to Tom Doniphon?

            The great heroes of the Westerns tended to be rugged individualists who were much more live and let live libertarians than they were champions of the state or Burkean conservatism.

            For example, Doniphon, Joe Stark, Shane, and Josey Wales.

            Do you think that Doniphone, Stark, Shane, and Wales were incapable of defending themselves?

          • The hypocrisy in the post and your statement is that I see no Libertarians discussing killing anyone on the right or even the alt right. Or describing them as “the enemy within”. So, they may not be your enemy after all.

            Are non-Derbyshire and non-vox day (whatever these are) alt-righters to be equally disdained?
            (I’d (sincerely) like a description of the most pure alt-righter in your view while your at it.)

            How in the world can we reduce our philosophical and political thoughts and discussions to such an appealing microcosm by splitting off those with different values and still maintain an effective front against progressives, communists, and the real enemy? It would be a better approach for all, including naive Libertarians, to discuss the best ideas of conservatism (regardless where they are found) rather than discarding and generalizing groups of people by how they identify themselves by nomenclature.

            That is, generally, why I enjoy Zman’s posts on a daily basis. Usually, he can cut through superficial political terms, and arrive at underlying truths. He examines good ideas and reveals bad ones. There is usually a novelty to his discussions that make it worthwhile to come here. This last post, not so much! So I decided to comment on this one (for the first time) (long time listener, first time caller) in hopes he continues with quality discussion and does not devolve into identity politics.

            When I find the political philosophy that is the perfect match for me, I’ll let you know. We will not arrive at the holy grail of political thought and form that also alluded the founders. Let’s get back to what really matters.

  27. Libertarianism and parenthood tend not to mix. They are just Whigs with the adolescence turned to maximum and their awareness of human nature switched off

  28. Even spending 100’s of dollars on a dog is ridiculous. They are available for nothing at any shelter. Sure, Wonderlich (great name by the way) is a grifting asshole but i have no sympathy for people too stupid to know what they are doing. Especially in the context of a high ticket, unnecessary purchase.

    • The fact that they walked out of a pet shop with a Golden Retriever sealed my opinion of them. Only a complete idiot would buy the worst, most overbred breed in the world – and from a shop with no idea of its parentage – at a price they would have paid from a reputable breeder – without reading a contract they signed.

      These people really are too stupid to live unsupervised.

      • Overbred? Who do you think overbred them? Why, it was “reputable breeders”! I had goldens in the 70s and even did a few shows. They were wonderful dogs, lots of variety in the breed and never a problem with temperament. That’s not true today. Breeders follow fads and breed for what wins in the ring. They’ve ruined a number of breeds.

    • This is what happens when the society is atomized. In the old days, a more mature and wise family member or close friend would have counseled this person away from buying an overpriced dog. People without wise counsellors, and inclined towards ridiculously overpriced impulse purchases, would likely put themselves in the poorhouse. A rough justice, but one that rewarded human connections and the sharing of street wisdom. We have moved far away from that.

    • The right half of the bellcurve owes nothing to the left? Our best and brightest set up a system in which they benefit to the exclusion of others but need never think of their prey?

      Some of us can read and understand a contract some cannot. Society has no interest in seeing that its members are treating each other with honesty and fairness?

      This is why libertarianism cannot and will not work. If it is dependent upon no one to protect the weak from the strong the guileless from the cunning then it is simply going to be unsustainable.

  29. There are 2 general types of libertarians. Small “l” libertarians who generally believe in very small government and protecting individual liberties. I belong to that tribe as do many of the commenters here and some people in government such as Rand Paul.

    Then there are the capital “L” Libertarians – ideological purists who get themselves wrapped around the axle on nonsense issues. They are Utopians just as silly as Marxists.

    • I also use to engage in constructing elaborate distinctions without difference as well. It still doesn’t change the base fallacies inherent in liberalism or libertarianism (also a distinction without a difference).

      What is it you would actually like to preserve/renew from western civilization? Can your ideology achieve it?

        • I want preserve myself from overreaching government. I never believed it was the job of government to preserve or replace western civilization. We ought to be capable of doing that by ourselves. But, as the discussed in yesterday’s essay, it is the goal of leftists to destroy that civilization through the institutions they control including government.

          The easiest way to separate the small “l” Goldwater / Rand Paul libertarians from the ideologues is with the subject of immigration.

          The ideologues believe in unrestrained, unrestricted open borders. Point out that importing millions of leftist South Americans (fleeing their own voting habits) and millions of Muslims would result in the opposite of all they aspire to – and they don’t care. At that point have the crazy suicidal beliefs of a suicide cult.

  30. I’m surprised no one has mentioned L. Neil Smith. His science fiction libertarians make the current libertarians look like real pussies. His books like “The Probability Broach” and “The American Zone” are a real hoot and make it clear that we blew it when the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation.

  31. Diversity and mass immigration destroys the societal consensus that enabled the unwritten rules of the Old Right, as you call it, to govern society without a massive security state. Lob a healthy dose of multiculturalism on top and there’s no basis to form or defend these unwritten rules. Give where America is today, I doubt there’s any going back to the days of the Old Right.

    After all, the doctors in Detroit who performed female genital mutilation on those girls were simply practicing medicine in accordance with a centuries-old practice which is very much a part of their culture. Who are we to judge. And leasing a puppy is trivial compared to female genital mutilation, so who are we to judge?

    And Trump’s proposed tax code is a huge dud. High income earners in Blue states are likely to see their top tax rates increase if Trump eliminates the write-off for state taxes. Serves ’em right for living in a Blue state.

  32. Z-man, you appear to be conflating libertarianism with libertinism.

    The cornerstone of libertarianism is the NAP, the non-aggression principle. Put another way, you don’t get to use violence to secure my compliance with your wishes – even if you are a loser who happens to wear Caesar’s haberdashery.

    Libertarianism is not the promotion of BLM, deviancy, diversity, the LGBTQ lifestyle, hedonism, multiculturalism, compelled association, safe spaces, or sexual depravity.

    To be sure, there is an on-going conflict within the libertarian community between the “thin” libertarians and the “thick” libertarians. The thins are people like Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul, the late William Norman Grigg, Tom Woods, the Bionic Mosquito, and Prof. Tom Dilorenzo.

    The thins support unbridled free enterprise, the primacy of voluntary and consensual exchange, freedom of association, freedom of expression, and the right to be left alone. They abhor the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the income tax, the estate tax, the federal government and all of its progressive constructs. They loathe collective bargaining, licensing of occupations, and worship of the state’s privileged purveyors of violence.

    Thin libertarians, as a group, are, and have been, the best and most consistent intellectual opponents of progressivism. James Ostrowski’s book on progressivism is a good example.

    The thicks posit that libertarianism is more than just the NAP. They think that libertarianism must be about accepting diversity and multiculturalism and rejecting patriarchy and racism. Gun to the head, they think that the 1964 Civil Rights Act is greater than freedom of association.

    Many of the writers at Reason are thicks. You can also find them hanging around many of the beltway think tanks which are LINOs, such as CATO.

    Z, your citation to Tom Doniphon is curious given that he was largely a libertarian who also practiced a bit of private affirmative action (“my boy Pompey” – do you recall the scene in the saloon where he ordered the bartender to serve Woody Strode?).

  33. But Z Man, imagine the boon it would be for the poor if every one of them could sell their spare kidney in the open market. I guess you just hate freedom.

    • In case you’e not being sarcastic:
      – Abdominal surgery is inherently dangerous, just not as much as it used to be. To unnecessarily undergo it is foolish: Russian roulette with a really big revolver. I think it’s got about 30 – 50 chambers now, IIRC. These are acceptable odds for the recipient, considering the alternative: But for the donor…?
      – You might well need that organ some day in the future and there is no guarantee that a match would then be available. And if you’re motivated to sell it, it’s a pretty good bet that you wouldn’t be able to afford its replacement at that time in any truely Libertarian system. And full-replacement insurance would eat up most of the sales proceeds.

      – IOW’s its a sucker’s bet *unless* you think your friends and neighbors would happily pick up the risk/costs in the ER via Medicaid.

      So, there’s a hidden moral flaw to this and most other Libertarian proposals, namely their attractiveness to those who, if they thought about it at all, suppose there will be no costs or who vaguely hope to socialize those costs in the future while pocketing the benefits now.

  34. Another outstanding post with many levels of philosophical implication. I note that the evil patriarchy that was a feature of the old Right was also about protecting those members of society ruled by emotion as well as stupid grifters* from the abusers and the smart grifters that are always with us as well. IOW, it purportedly protected people from their own emotional immaturity, stupidity and avarice. But these sort of rules inevitably had stultifying effects on individuals and the economy. Libertarians pooh-poohed the need for protection while talking up the socio-economic gains to be made.

    A good example is payday loans. In the bad old days there were anti-usury laws to protect the poor from predation by unscrupulous lenders. But many of the poor were poor by reason of their improvidence (among other things) and so the mafia juice loan racket prospered. Libertarians argued that the poor were the better judges of the matter, and those needing emergency credit would be better off if short-term, poorly-secured** loans were available above the table at market interest rates. And they used the common ‘they’re just going to do this anyway’ argument. But they ignored the demand-promoting effects of easy availability. And, using their own line of reasoning, it can be argued that the interest rates needed to cover the many more expected defaults had to go up now that ‘collection efficiency’ was reduced from the bad old mafia juice loan days.

    So, are the poor and society better off due this victory of Libertarianism_? It’s not so clear. For sure this didn’t promote fiscal prudence among the masses.

    * That ‘You can’t cheat an honest man.’, is demonstrably true. A universal feature of every con is the mark thinking they’re putting one over on somebody else.

    ** Secured, short-term loans were then and are now available at any pawn shop.

    • pawn shops require you to have something of value and you should be able to leave it there, if you can’t afford to pay it off. I’ve used pay day loans to help pay for property taxes. Yeah, I’m sure I should somehow be able to pay for that out of my $16 an hour and my husband’s social security. Fortunately, my tax return pays the taxes on one place.

      The poor need credit at times, just like anyone else does. I don’t see the middle class paying cash for things. They can get credit at the bank. The rich have no problems getting credit. So, if someone is poor and has an emergency expense, they should do what? To be honest, the pay day loan places treat people better than the banks.

      • I agree with your point about the poor needing credit from time to time. And it’s better that they don’t get their kneecaps broken if/when they don’t/can’t pay. Like many another feature of life (like fire), payday loans can be useful servants or terrible masters. It sounds like you are able to use them wisely, but there are many others who cannot or will not.

        My intended point is that *are* social costs to Libertarian policies.

      • how does paying 30% interest (or whatever these places charge) help anybody? if your problem is a lack of liquid assets, paying high interest rates aren’t going to help.

        to answer your question, they ask family and friends for help. also maybe save for such occassions.

  35. Having spent several years identifying as a libertarian, I one day finally realized it was all based on an idealistic fantasy. Live and let live sounds great, but what about when the barbarians with big clubs come over the hill? I think about it like this: if we could somehow eradicate all government now, what would happen? Groups would coalesce, power structures would form, agreements would be made, rules formulated, and punishments meted out. The fittest would rise to the top and compete with each for power. They would use whatever means necessary to secure their position including…forming governments and laws! So why spend time fantasizing about something that doesn’t seem to be in man’s nature? Maybe someday, but for now it’s a human jungle at best.

    • The world’s first libertarian paradise would almost immediately be conquered by a neighboring power. Hence, it becomes obvious that there are benefits to recognizing at least some common interests.

  36. I have never known who those people are, as they call my elderly in-laws and “fix” their computer for $499 a crack, and then threaten to steal and destroy everything on it if they don’t get more money. I just thought they were clever predatory assholes. No, they are…Libertarians!

  37. It isn’t a form of Utopianism, it is simply Utopian. Libertarianism also falls prey to the universalism fallacy, thinking that because it’s an appropriate and adequate Anglo system it will function for everyone else, irrespective of their own native cultures.

    That 2nd to last paragraph is majestic. I’ll continue to appreciate the form and substance you provide daily.

  38. I don’t get all the ink spilled and vitriol devoted to beating libertarians about the head and shoulders. We’re what….. maybe 1% at election time and that’s in a good year? Usually less than that. Probably something close to Blackberry’s share of the smartphone market? Picking on them requires the bravery requisite in picking on one of Jerry’s kids.

    • The growth of people talking about libertarianism is a direct result of the ever-increasing amount of force being arrayed against individuals and individual liberty by the “old right” and by the left in all its forms. If we are not to use force, how are we to live? Voluntarily? By leaving each other alone, a radical concept now being derided as “utopian”. If one believes that being left alone is utopian, one warmly embraces the use of force against anyone with whom disagrees.

      Nowhere does this concept arise as defending child pornography as is alleged stupidly above. Perhaps somewhere on the fringe there are those claiming the mantle of libertarian who advocate complete freedom in all things for all ages and so on, but if we are to define a movement by its fringes well then let he who is without sin cast the first stone, eh?

      It is more than a little alarming to find this post on this blog, calling for more use of force, and against those who adhere to the non-aggression principle. There seems to be a bit more pot-stirring going on lately, I suspect it is an outgrowth of massive frustration with…everything.

      “They assume that if something is allowed to be done, it should be done.”

      That is absolutely the stupidest thing I have read today and I truly can’t fathom why you would say it. I can only suspect it has something to do with religion.

      • I think you impart a meaning to such words as “force” and “individuals” than is otherwise imparted by their dictionary definition. They are not magic words no matter the totemic exhortations a libertarian seeks to impart.

        • Shall we discuss “malum in se” and “malum prohibitum”? Malum prohibitum is force, if you don’t believe it try not getting your car inspected and then telling the cop who pulls you over to piss off. The modern state widely and profusely uses malum prohibitum against individuals. But I have never before seen the phrase “totemic exhortations”, so congrats on that at least.

          • Why thank you, I guess. I just find the repetitive utterances of the libertarian keywords hearkens back to the ritualized chanting activities of our forebears often yielding similar results.

            Deus Vult, I too can Latin.

      • I think a lot of people are putting too much weight on the provocative headline, as someone who used to identify as libertarian I didn’t consider it with more than a smirk.

    • You’re dragging your own fears of inadequacy into this topic. It has nothing to do with bravery or a lack of it.

      • Oh, I have no fear to drag around. It’s just the amount of pissing and moaning and constant need to heap scorn and derision onto a statistical annomaly. Kind of like how some people bitch about an ex wife 20 year after the divorce was final and everyone else got on with their lives.

  39. You must hang out with a strange bunch of Libertarians, Z. None of those I know would ever agree with statements such as: “if something is allowed, it should be done”.

    Where they would disagree with you, would be in using the violence of the law to fight what they believed to be a non-violent ethical blunder. Instead, they would advocate measures such as boycotts, ostracism, public shaming campaigns etc…to achieve the same results without the bureaucracy, expense and violence of the law.

    Libertarians don’t have some sort of inherent moral flaw, anymore than Liberals do; or conservatives, in the eyes of your average Liberal. Libertarians are just, as studies on political/moral psychology have revealed, fundamentally different people; and too often, wrong.

    • From most of the Libertarians I have known, a better formulation would be “If a transaction is not based on force or fraud, it should be legally allowed”. And of course, if it is legally allowed, in a libertarian world, someone will do it. Incidentally, I would imagine that a lot of Libertarians would say that the dog transaction involved fraud, and is therefor wrong, but I’m not sure.

      By the way, Libertarians defending crap like this just reinforces Z’s point about grifting becoming a respectable business practice; Libertarianism started out as an idealistic philosophy championing responsible freedom and non-aggression. It ends up defending kiddie porn and some asshole repo-ing the family dog. And so it goes…

      • It’s even worse. It seems to me that in actual practice libertarianism has become nothing more than a set of notions- I won’t call it a philosophy- that is used to justify what ever the rich want to do.

        Organ selling? Of course, because the worthy rich should be able to just buy organs from someone looking to make rent. Kiddie porn? Ditto, because if poor parents consensually want to sell their children, a-ok. Dog renting? Of course, because it can enrich some inventive grifter, and anyway you should always expect every transaction to have legal fine print that can bankrupt you if you don’t read it carefully enough.

        These people are vile, as well as nuts.

  40. Without quibbling about the value to society of “libertarians” (or “conservatives” for that matter), the actions of the shop owner are in no way libertarian. The primary principle of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle, which would clearly apply to any deceptive business practice. So many people want to conflate being a libertarian with being a libertine, while nothing could be further from the truth.

    It is fair to say that the LP is often less than strictly adherent to its own principles as it should be, but is that not the way of all political parties? The same applies to their candidates and to their “celebrities” as well.

    • Yeah. The NAP. Certainly justifies shoving gay marriage down the throats of us all. Being true to principle would’ve meant abolishing marriage licenses. Where was that in the LP platform?

      • Doc, there are legions of libertarians, “thin” libertarians, like Tom Woods, the late William Norman Grigg, Bionic Mosquito, Lew Rockwell et al, who have consistently argued that the NAP is incompatible with the state licensing both marriage, including homo marriage, and professions, including medicine.

        • I know this. I especially like Tom Woods. These guys aren’t running your movement. The lunatics are. That’s how we get idiots like Gary Johnson heading your ticket.

          • why would you think someone is ‘running’ the movement. that’s not how it works. we wait for you statists to realize you’ve been fools. then the problem solves itself.

            we have all the other problems still to worry about, but the biggest one, killing the most people, stealing the most property, violating the most rights goes away.

      • NAP means that homosexuals don’t mention their perversions (woman telling me about her “wife”) and I don’t quiz them. None Of My Business, until they make it My Business. MYOB. I won’t celebrate your behavior that offends me, and if you try to make me, I’ll fight back.

        • Your last sentence fits squarely within libertarianism.

          Z-man and others somehow misapprehend that live and live and let means other people aggress and take your stuff. No, it does not.

    • This is the problem with the NAP. Defining “deceptive business practice” is not always easy. And in this case, these terms were laid out in the documents, albeit in pages and pages of small print that no one reads. It’s not a deceptive trade practice by the standards of most jurisdictions.

      The company is relying on the fact that the terms are contained in the fine print, instead of being explained verbally to the consumer. If the salesperson said, before the documents were signed, “we will be leasing the dog to you for 3 years, but if you miss a payment, your lease terminates and we take the dog back”, they obviously would not have signed. But they didn’t say that, because the law does not require them to. The terms are contained in the documents, and almost no one reads the documents. The libertarian has no problem with this because there is no coercion or fraud occurring. Yet ordinary people consider it wrong, because it doesn’t accord with how most people do business. They figure that a draconian transaction structure that is opaque to the 100-IQ common man will be explained to them, not hidden in paragraph 32 of the 8 point font legal documents. This doesn’t mean that the solution is to enact a flood of mandatory disclosure laws, but it does reinforce the point that legalism and morality can easily diverge.

      Most loan consumers don’t have a clue how compound interest works, and bankers know that, but there is nothing “deceptive” about lending to consumers who don’t know how to calculate their future liability. It’s just smarter people taking advantage of the fact that ordinary people don’t know understand finance.

      • “It’s not a deceptive trade practice by the standards of most jurisdictions.”

        Yeah, but the relevant jurisdiction in this instance is morality, which does define this as a “deceptive” practice.

      • People will accept complexity for a good reason: buying a house or a car is a major decision, and we expect there to be more ceremony involved. But buying a DOG? That, I think, is what is so outrageous about this scam. It’s not even the price of the animal, which seems inordinate, but if people have that sort of money it’s their business what they spend it on. But everyone knows that buying a dog is not a matter that should require pages and pages of documents and fine print. Con artists have intruded upon what used to be a simple matter, for their own benefit. There used to be lots and lots of things we were able to do without employing lawyers or accountants – buying a dog was no more complicated than buying a bicycle.

        • You haven’t shopped for a puppy at either Petco or the animal shelter lately. They have their semi-elaborate protocols that they put you through before they will let you look for an animal. They will ask you innocuous questions that give them hidden signals in your answers. You will sign a lot of papers. They will turn you down as a pet “adopter” and not tell you why. It is not entirely “the con artists who have intruded upon what used to be a simple matter”. The matter is just not simple any more, unless you buy the wee beastie from the guy standing along the road outside the swap meet.

      • what makes you think it’s so hard to buy a dog. the lady that did this needs to be separated from her money so she’ll quit wasting it. if people wanna make bad purchases let them, why would you think adding violence to the scenario helps anyone?

        a giant connected world out there with billions of people getting fleeced all the time all of them living under strong governments and you have a problem with libertarians not willing to violently kill good salesmen.

        this is how mussollini switched from communist to facist, it’s easier to justify the violence.

    • I feel obligated — looking at the replies below — to point out that I specifically noted that the LP is often not libertarian. I guess they feel they have to “go along to get along” in the political process. It is comparable to the number of LP members who identify as anarchists. I mean WTFF?

  41. $2,400 for a dog, and no one has seen fit to comment on it. Sheesh. Am I hobnobbing with plutocrats, or have I descended into abject poverty without realizing it?

    • Monkey see, monkey do. The libertarian solution would have been to dump the dog in the woods and tell the “owners” that it had run off and hope the insurance they got on it pays well.

      • Bitcoin-funded canine assassination squad.

        Modern libertarians don’t do anything without some kind of use of the dark web.

      • he says this not mentioning that the solution of the writer of this blog is to hold the seller at gunpoint and inflict all manner of violence on a whole swath of the population. i’ll take a white lie about a runaway dog over your violence and butchery.

    • The hell of it is, the pet store probably bought to dog for $50 from some puppy mill.

      • In Britain, there is a huge problem of dog theft. They use them in puppy mills and they sell them to someone else if they can’t be used as breeders. They steal dogs out of the owner’s back yard. They steal dogs with a litter of puppies. Microchipping is mandated there now, but many people forget to update the information. It is a big issue.

    • You must not be aware that “mutts” run about $200 these days and purebreed, unpapered dogs around $600. But everyone should get their dogs neutered and spayed, so only breeders can have puppies. Oh, and we should instead take in a pit bull that someone has dumped.

    • PUPPIES AND KITTENS ARE FREE. The shots and worming may add a charge, as might a local license tag. $2400 is a decent used car, in my world.

  42. I fell under the spell of Liberalism when I discovered Ron Paul back in 2007.
    But I mistakenly conflated his integrity and strong adherence to Constitutional principles as part of the ideology. Dr. Paul in practice was a small “L” libertarian, not a complete one.

    I realized in time the movement was nothing more than an idealized castle in the sky dream with no practical moral mandate to sustain it other than ZAP. It advocated a John Lennon “Imagine” world, while ignoring the brutal fact that too many people are not content to live and let live, but will always organize themselves and others to steal and kill, and would easily pick off one by one the libertarians individuals living independently like Thoreau at Golden Pond.

    I wish it wasn’t so, but whether we like it or not, there must be some moral and lawful obligations forced upon us to live by, in order to combat bad people who are really good at forming mobs to take stuff and enslave us.The Constitution is not perfect, but I think its the best compromise between protecting individual freedom with the least amount of government power (In theory, anyway).

    • This was closer to the mark than the original comment. There are two kinds of libertarian: one who think that humans are just great so there is no need for a government; and the other which believes humans are crap so they must never be put in power. I’m in the latter camp, but mainstream libertarianism is in the former. There is a middle ground which says that individuals are great at doing things for themselves, but do not respond well to being put in power. There is an extension to the latter belief; and that is that even though humans must never be put in power, some invariably find a way to obtain it. Society and its institutions need to put in safeguards against abuse of power (recognised in the constitution) and importantly, there must be severe punishment for abuse of power. This is insufficiently developed. Plenty of people in the previous administration that should be serving long prison sentences.

    • i would suggest trying to learn about libertarianism from books with smart authors, not drunk guys at bars.

      but the one coherent statement you had that doesn’t misinterpret libertarianism would be: ‘will always organize themselves and others to steal and kill, and would easily pick off one by one…’, and it’s funny cause that’s exactly for what you are voting.

      above random_observer_2011 mentioned the lack of morals behind libertarian reasoning. who needs morals when you guys just want the biggest, strongest gang. too bad some limp wristed LIBERALS regularly beat you at it.

  43. That certainly explains why a lot of Americans think Libertarians are assholes. In the UK they’re more aligned with Classical Liberals, and have a slightly better reputation.

    • no it doesn’t explain anything. the fact that you think it does leads me to believe no matter how much teh republicans will expand the government and steal your freedom you’ll keep voting for them cause they’re not democrats who admit they’ll do that.

      you’ve lost the game already, you just don’t know it.

  44. “grifters fleecing the unwitting becomes a feature of society, rather than a defect.”

    This single statement pretty much sums up the development of American and European society in the last fifty years, in politics (left and right), morals, civil rights, and sexual mores, as well as economics. A recognition of this fact is one of the major factors spurring on the development of the Alt-Right.

    It also explains the appeal of the 1950’s to so many people; this era was far, far from perfect, or really all that conservative, but society wasn’t obviously a conspiracy by elites to defraud all and sundry, and such a thing as public spirit really did still exist, in some form. As Joe Sobran put it, a lot of the outpouring of grief for figures like Joe DiMaggio and Frank Sinatra wasn’t just about them; it was a longing for their heyday, the last time in American life when things seemed “normal”.

    Great column, as usual.

    • 10 bonus upvotes if I could but give them.

      Didn’t our host recently make the point that the ruling metaphor of globalization is the city, the social and economic environment in which from time immemorial the archetype of success is the hustler? Not always in a bad way, but always scheming for a dollar here or a dollar there. Stability is not at a premium.

      Not that I condemn these- I have always lived in cities and couldn’t hack small towns or the country, but I never was a hustler.

      The positive form of the hustler is the entrepreneur. And good luck to him.

      The dark side is the grifter.

      I always wondered that my mother didn’t idolize the former term [it was the 80s] and occasionally used ‘entrepreneur’ as a sneer to look down on a neighbour who was a bit of a huckster. As I get older, I see more of where she was coming from.

      • Who brings and furnishes more value to more human beings?

        (a) the non-crony entrepreneur;

        (b) the state’s privileged purveyors of violence, such as the cop and the soldier;

        (c) the public school teacher; or

        (d) the alt – right wing agitator;

        • I would think it would depend on the individual cases. The entrepreneur might not be cut out for it or for some other reason spectacularly fail, possibly at worst resulting in some sort of net loss. Though he’d be taking the worst hit himself, that’s why it is an honourable pursuit.

          The cop and the soldier can be drains- they are kept around for those situations in which they provide maximum value.

          The teacher, well there you go. I share what I presume to be your skepticism, but then it depends on all sorts of other considerations involving their salary and benefits and the content of what they teach. They have been useful in the past, put it that way.

          Low for the agitators of any strip, but then they are just engaging in the debate of any society since the tme of the agora. They are also usually low-drain if they also have day jobs. If they make their living agitating, presumably they are purveying something someone is willing to pay for. Same goes for left wing agitators. I just prefer some of what the former sell over the wares of the latter.

          All that aside, I trust my previous post did not imply I dislike entrepreneurs. I did cast them as the good side of the hustling game. “Hustling”, in this case and unlike “huckstering” or “grifting”, being a neutral term denoting the way of life that demands constant attention to every income stream, constant reinforcement of every one of them, and so on, as opposed to structured employment for someone else on fixed terms.

          It was not mean as a negative.

  45. i don’t know that any society has, could, or should protect people as pathologically vulnerable to graft as that couple. and they get to vote!

    libertarians are in my experience, are not total losers but always have this oddness to them. hard to elaborate why I find them off putting but I do.

    • It probably has something to do with the fact that they haven’t outgrown their strange Randite obsession with being “philosophical” and based purely upon “reason.”

      • I find the libertarians, rationalists/LessWrongers, and a few other subcultures offputting for something like that reason [heh].

        I can’t escape from a paradigm in which reason [or logic] are tools for achieving desired goals efficiently, advancing preferred axioms, or perhaps even assessing whether the goals or axioms can be advanced at all or how far.

        I can’t quite think of any other way in which Reason can be taken as a primary value. It’s always embedded in some set of values or beliefs which are pre- or extra-rational, whether derived from instinct, choice, custom or authority.

        And yet in their fora there is limited consideration of any of that.

        • you obviously know nothing of their ‘fora’. just another straw man for you guys to fight.

          if you read any of thier books, even the ones the writer mentioned you’d know better.

        • The best answer is probably I.F. Stone’s “The Trial of Socrates”. Socrates was a lifelong critic of democracy. He felt that democracy was simply the sheep trying to herd themselves, and that a perfect government would be led by “philosopher kings”, who would impose their wisdom on the populace. For many years Socrates was tolerated as a sort of ivory tower radical, annoying but harmless. But the political climate soured after a dictatorial junta seized power and the democratic counter-revolution was much less tolerant of his views. Brought to trial accused of advocating the overthrow of democracy he engaged in a fit of self-righteous martyrdom, deliberately baiting the judges at his trial and managing to get the death sentence when ordinarily he would have gotten off with exile.

          In short, Stone portrays Socrates as the prototype of the liberal/radical crank: forever denigrating the very society that made it possible for him to promote his views, and promoting an antidemocratic ideology.

    • Failure to read the “User Agreement” is now epidemic. South Park even did an episode on it. Assholes like United and the guy in Oceanside deserve the pillory or worse and are a plague on our society, hardly libertarians.
      Anyone here who really reads all the small print, every time? Anyone? Buehler?

      • you are mistaking EULA’s (which southpark covered) with loan documents. if you sign a loan document without reading it, you deserve what you get.

        • Don’t finance anything. You pay cash and get a receipt. No problem if the product is as-represented.

        • I work with contracts on a daily basis and unless I am able to sequester myself in a quiet room all by myself, I have trouble comprehending that gibberish. Even if you read it comma it’s not likely you will understand it unless you devote enough concentration as if you were studying a textbook for school.

    • “libertarians are in my experience, are not total losers but always have this oddness to them. hard to elaborate why I find them off putting but I do.” I met a few at a Republican Caucus when Ron Paul was running for Presidemperor some years ago. The vibe was definitely Scientologist (at this level).

      • this has not meaning and is just name calling. all critiques to this point of whatever you guys think libertarianism is so far are all lies, ad hominem attacks, and strawman arguements. this is the intellectual base on which your opinions lay.

    • Then we should quit beating around the bush and just kill them. You think it’s better to allow them to be made slaves, for their entire lives, by guys like Darth Dusty?

      • You have corrected yourself; but I think you had it right the first time. Law is not the opposite of evil, and law can be evil itself.

    • There’s actually plenty of custom behind that- the premodern world knew too much about chaos to avoid conflating good with order and evil with chaos altogether.

      Concur with Leiff, though. It doesn’t really hold.

      I find the D&D framework oddly useful, which is one of the few things I can say in substantive praise of that world.

      If anyone here remembers 90s sci-fi series Babylon 5, there is this. The overarching cosmological and strategic framework of the series involved the conflict between two ancient and superior races that were understood to go to war with one another on long cycles, devastating to everyone else. Each understood itself to represent an archetype and was so understood by newer races.

      It was a significant moment of revelation for some major human characters when they realized that the principles being disputed, and the self-identifications of the two combatants were not Good and Evil, but Order and Chaos. This altered everyone’s understanding, expectations and options quite a bit and actually raised the general terror level considerably. The forces formerly thought of as Good but in fact representing Order were enormous and terrifying when not assumed to be Good.

      • Nicely put. The older heathen world view view makes understanding others much simpler in many ways

        The older D&D framework is very useful shorthand for that . Chaos , Law and Neutrality

        Also without the Good/Evil matrix baggage its much easier to understand that different views on Law can fight.

        Islam is Lawful , its about order and a disciplined society but they are incompatible with our Law and any contract with them leads to conflict and Chaos. Best to prevent such contact.

        Neutrality is how most people live , by instinct and custom and on the whole so long as they have some order can figure things out. Push too hard, you get trouble,

        Its actually a pretty stable social model all things considered.

        Now the Libertarians are Chaos since they accept neither custom nor much in the way or law. The proper response to Chaos is extermination of the idea from the civil order

        If you prefer the newer Gygaxian system Libertarians are Lawful Neutral Evil , Lawful because they will generally keep to a contract and in modern terms Neutral Evil is the selfish greed head alignment

  46. Deeply, deeply satisfying material.

    It’s funny- I never thought of the Buckley right the last 25 years as having gone libertarian in any serious way, but that does provide a framework. Take away the Cold War and anticommunism and the remaining pillars of free market and traditionalism no longer could be held together. So they junked the latter over time.

    Looked at in retrospect, they really haven’t done much of anything but muck around with taxes and surrender on cultural issues.

    • I began to notice this when I saw articles justifying people selling their organs in mags like The American, and The New Criterion. Insane.

    • I am thoroughly confused these days. I don’t know what a conservative, a libertarian, a liberal, or anything else is these days. I used to consider myself conservative-libertarian, but I’m not sure what I am anymore. All I know is that if you have to have the worldview of people like Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Krystol to be considered conservative, then I am not one.

      • i’m guessing you’re confused because you’re reading this guy and others like him. He’s clueless. He also thinks that the answer to people signing dumb contracts is add some state sanctioned violence to the situation. other people have noticed that after centuries of this failing we’re willing to admit not only does it not work, but it’s immoral too.

        • Dude, can you even read? He called the “state sanctioned violence” leftism. Go read the post. Seriously.

        • Interesting strawman. Paint a con man in the colors of an anarcho-capitalist, then label him a libertarian. Then drag out the tar and feathers.

          Is this con man a libertarian? Is he even an anarchist? Would his con work if cash was the usual medium of transactions? No, of course not. No one gets fooled into signing a lease thinking they’re making a purchase, then dutifully brings in their cash, or writes their checks, every month. What con man would play a game such as this, knowing that every payment would come only on the pronouncement of a judge? Only a cashless society, where the con man is already in possession of the funds and the victim is suing to get them back, could this work. You think this “libertarian” isn’t bribing every politician who ever introduced a bill to make the cashless society a reality?

          This is on the level of progressives claiming that the owners of the nation’s biggest polluters are all libertarians, or an-caps, or members of whatever conservative group they wish to demonize for opposing the EPA. But as anyone with a lick of sense and at least one foot in the real world knows, the biggest polluters can’t do without the EPA. If they weren’t in compliance with EPA regulations, they might get sued. Only the EPA can protect them from liability for the damage they do, so they will support and defend the EPA even unto death.

          Do I really see this zman decrying the lack of unity among conservatives, and moaning about how the Dreaded Left divides and conquers us? Oh, my! Except why would the Dreaded Left need to bother, if conservatives are perfectly willing to conflate libertarians with anarchists, misconstrue them both, and demonize the most sensible of the two? And not even demonize them on their own merits, but by comparing them to con men who are obviously dependent upon such government priorities as the cashless society, and breaking up families (opposites attract, and people who do, and people who don’t, read contracts are clearly opposites, so making everyone single is clearly an advantage to a con like this)? Is it not patently obvious that these con men would bribe any number of politicians to enact any number of senseless laws in aid of their ends?

          Yes, by all means, let the conservatives come gunning for the libertarians. No doubt the progressives and the totalitarians alike will delight in seeing these conservatives locked in mortal combat. And they’ll absolutely love sending in their stormtroopers to kill off the survivors!


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