Thursday, April 23, 2009

Don't You Wish It Could Really Be This Way?

Earlier on the Wonkette blog, Ken Layne posted this piece of hilarious anti-libertarianism:

I'm sure that the majority of libertarians who watch the video will be vaguely offended, or even seriously offended, and will think that Layne is just an idiot who has bought into the propaganda of mainstream politics. "Clearly he doesn't understand libertarianism; he's just a statist parrot!" Yea, yea.

But I want to take a moment to offer an alternative perspective. I'll start with a pair of observations. First, Layne is advocating on behalf of secessionism. That's not to say that he thinks it's a good idea; he seems to think that it's a really stupid idea and that only really stupid people (like we friendly libertarians) would want to do it. But he does seem to think that if a group of people really wants to leave the larger group of which it is a part, and that there doesn't seem to be a basis for resolving the disagreement at the root of that desire, then it would be appropriate for the groups to part ways in peace (though perhaps not in friendship).

Second, he seems to be on board with the idea that if a group of people wants to organize themselves according to their own views about what would be best, then they should be free to do so. Of course, he's saying that as if he thinks that he knows better, but he's not suggesting that the people in question be prevented from following their own plans.

So I guess the point I'm making here is that even though Ken Layne apparently thinks libertarians are dumb, he's actually vaguely libertarian himself. He's just vaguely libertarian while apparently wanting to live in a society run by an enormous, bloated, overreaching bureaucratic monstrosity with its hands deep in other countries' business and a penchant for getting involved in citizens' lives far beyond the point that could be reasonably seen as necessary to ensure that social interrelationships can occur in a safe and equitable environment. And he apparently doesn't understand why anyone would think that his way is a dumb way to live. So be it.

If anything, it seems to me that this sort of thing represents a problem with the way that libertarians have gone around marketing their ideas. Instead of being a philosophy of mutual respect, self-determination, and decentralization, libertarianism has been sold as what basically amounts to "a more consistent conservatism." If people like Ken Layne can go through the hassle of producing an elaborate anti-libertarian screed that is based entirely on a fundamentally libertarian argument, it means that we've screwed up somewhere along the way. That's our argument. Let's make that clear.


Anonymous said...

1) 20 states have motioned 10th amendment sovereignty. So they are not alone.
2) All that stuff is paid for by local taxes. 15% of your income goes to that. 15% goes national so they can pay for the wars and bail outs and what not. You just got 15% more of your pay check in your pocket.
3) Any state that leaves the union will see lots of businesses and rich people move their to avoid taxes their local economy will boom. Lots of jobs and money. Everyone will move their.

Danny Shahar said...

Are you trying to tell me or Layne? I'm the libertarian here!

Marilynn said...

Quite effective material, lots of thanks for the article.

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