A rebuttal to “Why I fled libertarianism — and became a liberal”

On Salon the former “libertarian”  EDWIN LYNGAR (I really doubt he understands libertarianism) wrote “Why I fled libertarianism — and became a liberal” . As their is not much substance in his piece this will be short and winged.

1. “And boy, was it a circus. Many members of the group were obsessed with the gold standard, the Kennedy assassination and the Fed. Although Libertarians believe government is incompetent, many of them subscribe to the most fringe conspiracy theories imaginable. Airplanes are poisoning America with chemicals (chemtrails) or the moon landings were faked. Nothing was too far out. A great many of them really think that 9-11 was an inside job. Even while basking in the electoral mainstream, the movement was overflowing with obvious hokum…

“Bring in the clowns,” she said, and smiled before I lost her in the mass of people.
I will never forget that moment: Bring in the clowns. At the time, I considered myself a thoughtful person, yet I could hardly claim to be one if you judged me by the company I kept. The young lady knew something I had not yet learned: most of our supporters were totally fucking nuts.”

A part of the libertarian movement is made up by conspiracy theorists but, in my experience, most of the movement is not. One of our anecdotes is correct but the only way we will ever know is if polling tells us. I could not find a poll on the subject but maybe I will.

2. “After leaving my small town upbringing, I learned that libertarians are made for lots of reasons, like reading the bad fiction of Ayn Rand or perhaps the passable writing of Robert Heinlein. In my experience, most seemed to be poor, white and undereducated. They were contortionists, justifying the excesses of the capitalist elite, despite being victims if libertarian politics succeed.”

I’m going to have to go with another anecdote here but I have NEVER read an Ayn Rand book (or Robert Heinlein) and a lot of have not either. Hayek, Hazlit, Mises, Rothbard, Paul, Sowell, Williams and Freidman seem to be much more popular.

Great meme on this here

3. “If you think that selfishness and cruelty are fantastic personal traits, you might be a libertarian. In the movement no one will ever call you an asshole, but rather, say you believe in radical individualism.”

I will rebut this with a Thomas Sowell quote: “I have never understood why it is “greed” to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”

4. “They hated unemployment insurance and reduced school lunches. I used to say similar things, but in such a catastrophic recession isn’t the government supposed to help? Isn’t that the lesson of the Great Depression?”

There is research to suggest that the New Deal extended the great depression by seven years.

5. “There are a lot of libertarians in the Tea Party, but there are also a lot of repugnant, religious nuts and intolerant racists. “Birthers” found a comfy home among 9-11 conspiracy people and other crackpots. After only a few months, I had absolutely no desire to ever be linked to this group of people.”

From The Public Religion Research Institute

America finds that libertarians stand out among conservative groups for their unique religious make-up and comparatively low levels of religious commitment. A majority of libertarians identify as white mainline Protestant (27 percent), or religiously unaffiliated (27 percent), while roughly 1-in-4 (23 percent) identify as white evangelical Protestant, 11 percent identify as Catholic and only six percent say they belong to a non-Christian religion.

By contrast, more than one-third (35 percent) of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement are white evangelical Protestants, while roughly equal numbers identify as Catholic (22 percent) or white mainline Protestant (19 percent), and fewer than 1-in-10 (9 percent) are religiously unaffiliated.

Libertarians and Tea Party members also differ in the importance they place on the role of religion. Relatively few (15 percent) libertarians say religion is the most important thing in their lives, and another 38 percent say religion is one among many important things in their lives. More than 4-in-10 libertarians say either that religion is not as important as other things in their lives (19 percent) or that religion is not important in their lives (25 percent). Conversely, nearly 3-in-10 (28 percent) Tea Party members say that religion is the most important thing in their lives, and nearly half (49 percent) say religion is one among many important things in their lives. Only 11 percent of Tea Party members say religion is not important in their lives.

Not surprisingly, libertarians report much lower levels of religious attendance than members of the Tea Party. A majority (55 percent) of libertarians report that they seldom or never attend religious services, while roughly 1-in-5 say they attend services either monthly or a few times a year (22 percent), or report attending services at least once a week (22 percent). Among Tea Party members, close to half (45%) say they attend services at least once a week and less than one-third (31%) report they attend seldom or never.

6. “I began to think about real people, like my neighbors and people less lucky than me. Did I want those people to starve to death?”

Because without government welfare how could we ever possibly feed the poor. I mean voluntary charity? Impossible!

7. “I care about children, even poor ones.”

I think most libertarians do too…. They just don’t show it by supporting government.

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