29 January 2011

It is Sooooo Hard to be a Libertarian

Published in The New Yorker 4/19/2010 © David Sipress.

Libertarians are a funny bunch. Sometimes they are useful for their fanaticism, sometimes they are politically dangerous in their fanaticism, sometimes they are simply hypocrites. I've noted these tendencies here before.

Libertarians are not the only hypocrites, of course. But they seem adept at acting upon that particular vice. The classic example is Robert Nozick invoking the rent control laws in Cambridge to prevent a landlord from raising his rent. The story is more complicated - as in many law suits there is no "good guy" - but it is delicious.

Now there is this reminder of how Ayn Rand*, libertarian propagandist par excellence, having denied research establishing a tobacco-cancer link smoked like a fiend (actually like a non-autonomous addict, but that is another matter!) and turned to social security and medicare when she, predictably enough, got cancer late in life. The blatant moochery of it all! I'll bet she patronized the U.S. Postal Service too.

In any case, I came across the cartoon I've lifted here a while ago and have been waiting for the appropriate point to incorporate it into a post. This seems like a good time. I'm sure this is the local volunteer fire department anyway.
* I do recognize the difference between Nozick who was a formidable thinker and Rand who was an intellectual charlatan. Unfortunately, they share the libertarian propensity to hypocrisy.

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Blogger Cyranos DeMet said...

*chuckle - snort* The only people who do a better job of slandering Ayn Rand than her foes (the parasites of the politically liberal) are those who claim loudest to be her fans (the hypocrites of the dishonorably conservative).

I actually hold greater contempt for the conservatives who slander her philosophy than I do the liberals. It is to be expected the liberals will contest her philosophy, after all, she did attempt to build a value system based on competence as measured against objective reality rather than subjective opinion, an environment where the liberals are at a distinct disadvantage. An understandable and forgivable enmity. But the treason of the conservatives is not forgivable, theirs is the sin of disregarding the politically inconvenient elements of personal honor and integrity which are integral to Ayn's philosophy, what might be called the true core of her philosophy, that only a man of personal honor and integrity may claim freedom by right rather than might.

The liberals never understood that kind of honor to begin with, theirs are sins of weakness and ignorance, but at one time the conservatives did understand that kind of honor, they lived it, built a nation with it. To betray it as they have (do you hear me, George W. Bush? Karl Rove? dirty Dick Cheney?) will never be forgiven by those of us who do understand what she meant, and who will contest the conservative warlocks in their works of deception until the oath-breakers have been utterly destroyed as a force within democracy.

29 January, 2011 17:57  

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