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July 30, 2007

Why I Hate Libertarians: The Continuing Saga

Retired Geezer sends this link to Clayton Cramer's blog, linking infuriating comments by libertarians on Volokh's site.

A pedophile in LA posts photos of children, and discusses what he'd like to do with various children. It is, apparently, legal, as he is not proven to have actually touched or made contact with a child. It has of course sparked outrage by concerned parents and stick-in-the-mud conservatives, of course, prompting libertarian douchebags to defend the guy with all their bluster:

We libertarians need to start hoisting the fascists by their own petards. A pedophile is, like Lewis Carol, a person who likes kids. If parents don't like the idea that others like their kids, they can stop having the damn kids! I think it great what the guy is doing and am considering taking photos of all kinds of kids. If the parents don't want photos, they can keep the kids indoors with their declawed cats.

In the meantime, we who are subsidizing their breeding have rights, whether the like it or not. It will be a cold day in hell that I give up the right to photograph, converse with and relate to ANY kid I meet in public.

(There's actually an arguably worse sentiment expressed at Cramer's blog, too.)

I hate libertarians for the same reason I hate Madonna. For one thing, I despise their juvenile pose of calculated outrageousness. Every kid knows that someone's poking you, it's not the actual poking that's the most objectionable. The poking itself is relatively mild. What is infuriating is the poker's demand for attention, his insistence upon your acknowledgment of his breaking of social barriers, his demand you bend in a small way to will by having to deal with his provocations when you'd much rather be left alone. This is what makes Madonna's various crucifix poses annoying to me -- not so much that she's doing it but that, by doing it, she's aggressively hijacking my attention so that I wind up talking about something simply not worth talking about, e.g., Madonna.

And so it is with libertarians. While many of the older, wiser, more mature libertarians don't have this childish need to call attention to themselves via their predictably unpredictable pronouncements and expectedly unexpected assertions, many of the younger ones do and, worse yet, a lot of the older ones continue on with this assholery well into their dotage. Stupidity is more forgivable in the youthfully stupid, guys.

Although it's true that libertarians do share some policy goals with conservatives, they do so, by and large, for bad reasons, or, to put it more neutrally, for reasons that conservatives reject. Libertarians share with Marxists an utter contempt which what are frequently called the sensibilities and habits of the bourgeoisie, and, like Marxists, view these sensibilities and habits to be a large impediment to the creation of a good society. They must be mocked and undermined at all turns if the libertarian project is ever to succeed-- all this regard for children and families and basic moral restraint is just illogical and must be subverted for the good of the world.

And like Marxists, of course, they tend to view themselves as part of an enlightened Vanguard which is destined to lead the rabble while of course not being of the rabble.

While they arrive, on some issues, at the same place, libertarians get there by a very different path, and it's little wonder they disagree so strongly with conservatives on all but a few issues. Their entire philosophy and worldview is predicated on a set of assumptions more common among leftists and actual Marxists than conservatives.

We saw a bit of this in the immigration debate: Libertarians largely believed the idea that American citizens should have some sort of competitive advantage in the workplace over non-American illegal immigrants to be largely illogical, an indefensible sentimentalist preference for Americans over non-Americans, and, of course, probably racist to boot. After all, who says Americans should have an advantage over non-Americans in the job market, apart from silly illogical ideas of patriotism and petty tribalism? A very bourgeoisie notion -- actually, perhaps a bit worse than that; a very blue-collar/white trash/redneck sort of sentiment -- and hence scornfully dismissed as nativism and jingoism.

I grow weary of the libertarians' look-at-me acting-up. Too many make jackass pronouncements which drip with calculated "outrageousness" and a dangerously high level of self-besmittenness. Many make "jokes," but the jokes are usually not funny, but merely flippant. Flip can be funny, but it certainly doesn't have to be. Attitude alone is not humor. But of course actually being funny -- the pandering desire to please others by making them laugh -- isn't really the point. They're not trying to please anyone, after all. They're just trying to annoy. If they're trying for laughs at all, they're largely looking for laughs from like-minded libertarians getting a giddy little thrill over all those stick-in-the-mud bourgeios-types who undoubtedly are outraged by their outrageousness. Or at least would be, if they'd bothered to read the remark at all.

And not to be a dick here, but this tendency is not merely political; it's a psychological tic as well. Sit down at a table with a bunch of strangers, whose exact boundaries for vulgarity and taste are unknown to everyone else, and if you hear someone down the table loudly expounding on, say, the various gauges and colors that anal plugs are now available in, chances are, you just discovered yourself a libertarian, now on stage and performing for the thousandth time his one-man Hipper Than Thou performance art to decidedly mixed reviews. Shock the straights, baby. Let your freak-flag fly. Make sure that no one in the table (or, for that matter, in the whole of the restaurant) is under any misapprehension that you buy into any of this fuddy-duddy bourgeois social conservatism.

Can this marriage be saved? I doubt it. Quite frankly it was a marriage of convenience from the get-go and having been in it for far too long I find my mind drifting to happy "accidents" that might befall my condescending, self-centered, juvenile, embarrassing spouse, so that I might yet be free to date again.

Or maybe just to play chess, left to my own thoughts, like Hal Holbrook in Creepshow. Anyone know of a mysterious and dangerous crate of some kind discovered in the sub-basement of the university library?

And Yet I'm Frequently Called a Libertarian. I can see why -- I curse, I use a lot of sexual or playground humor, and I'm moderate(ish) on social issues. I lean conservative on most of them, but they don't particularly animate me.

It sort of proves my point that all it takes to get characterized as "libertarian" is to engage in juvenile potty humor.

Then again, I'm a vulgarian not to shock or outrage readers, but to pander to them (and I use the word "pander' in its most neutral sense -- to please, to amuse). It's sort of like the difference between Norm McDonald and David Cross. Both are funny, both take delight in vulgarity, but McDonald does so out of puckish desire to amuse. Cross does that too, but he's also trying to be outrageous for the sake of outrageousness; his audience appreciates him partly because they're imagining all those stick-in-the-mud conservatives who would be greatly upset -- outraged, in fact -- if they heard his act, which of course they usually don't.

McDonald just says "cock" a lot because it makes people giggle. Which is why I do, too.


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posted by Ace at 02:30 PM

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