Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career and a passion for all things libertarian to become The Libertarian Opinionizer.
Commentary From Your Libertarian Opinionizer
What is it about the net that brings out the worst in people?
Online forums like Facebook Groups and their ilk are about the most unsocial social media formats that a thinking libertarian can wander into.
It’s a perpetual Ego War of personal attacks, insults, logical fallacies and repetitiously superficial posturing with battle cries of “I’m Right, You’re Wrong” and “I Win, You Lose.” Virtually undecipherable internet slang that goes way beyond LOL requires repeated trips to Urban Dictionary just to understand the latest insult for most people but only a simple trip to a decent reference book for libertarians to explain their beliefs.
An Ego War Is Declared
It takes little to nothing to trigger an Ego War—especially between libertarians and anti-libertarians.
Recently, for example, a typical member of the Online Unintelligentsia saw a photo of a large gathering of libertarians at the annual Libertarian Porcupine Festival and belched forth: “Fortunately their contributions to the political debate are limited to drinking beer and farting.”
Let’s be uncharacteristically charitable by Unsocial Media standards and refer to this person by the initials UAL – Unenlightened Anti Libertarian.
Since his was a stock “All you people called libertarians are alike” comment, a libertarian counter-posted with the simple observation that all libertarians, like all other people, are individuals and can’t be identified by a simple “beer and farting” label.
Let’s be equally uncharacteristically modest by Unsocial Media standards and refer to this second person by the initials HLD – Heroic Libertarian Defender.
After a typical post counter-post counter-counter post and a few more ripostes, UAL finally unilaterally decreed that libertarian ideas are not new, not radical and are utopian, impractical, and dogmatic—the old, stale, corny, and hackneyed list of trite, type-casted stereotypes, clichés, banalities and worn out bromides.
He then threw down what he apparently thought was the ultimate winning gauntlet by demanding that HLD enter into “a real discussion.”
Any serious libertarian has already discussed these issues dozens—even scores—of times over the years and already knows that, on Unsocial Media forums, he or she is simply being sucked into yet another long, meaningless, unwinnable Ego War.
Conducting the Ego War
This time, our HLD—noting that anyone can accuse anyone of anything—turned the tables by demanding, “I accept your challenge. In courts of law and rational discussions the burden of proof rests with the accuser. It’s up to you to prove your accusations.”
1. Prove how libertarian ideas aren’t new.
2. Prove how libertarian ideas aren’t radical.
3. Prove how libertarian ideas are utopian.
4. Prove how libertarian ideas are impractical.
5. Prove how libertarian ideas are dogma.
After sputtering and harrumphing and attempting a few more defensive logical fallacies, the whole discussion thread turned threadbare. After several days, no justifications for the accusations were ever offered. So, HLD decided, why not do UAL's work for him?
1. Prove How Libertarian Ideas Aren’t New
But UAL can’t prove that because, of course, these ideas are new. By most accounts, Modern American libertarianism began to emerge in 1943 when Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand all published major books during that same year. At well under 100 years old, these ideas are new by any standard for emerging philosophies.
2. Prove How Libertarian Ideas Aren’t Radical
But UAL can’t prove that because most people are so welded to their governments that they find even the least radical libertarian ideas too radical to stomach. The least radical idea is to declare that government’s only legitimate function is the protection of human rights, not forcibly redistributing people’s earnings or making everyone “equal,” meaning it should only consist of law courts, domestic police and a national military. Nothing more.
To the political right government is an extension of God and they want a government that will coercively impose their values of God-Family-Country on everyone.
To the political left government is a substitute for God and they want a government that will coercively impose their values of group rights-collective thought-social justice on everyone.
In the Unsocial Media usage of emphasis (bold, all caps, multiple exclamation points) it’s easy to imagine how RADICAL!!! ideas of anarchist-libertarianism, voluntaryism, laissez-faire free markets and the Zero Aggression Project’s concept of a voluntary “Post-Statist” society based on consumer-controlled “governance” as opposed to government-corporatist-bankster controlled “governments” must seem to most Americans.
3. Prove How Libertarian Ideas Are Utopian
But UAL can’t prove that because a familiar libertarian mantra is “Utopia is not an option.” That’s because utopia is FICTION!!!
Etymology: The term utopia was coined from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South America. – Wikipedia
Further, the word comes from the Greek: οὐ ("not") and τόπος ("place") and means "no-place" Even in its typical modern usage that means an impossibly unattainable perfect world that can never work in reality libertarians still reject utopia.
Libertarianism is an ideal worth working toward because it beats the hell out of everything else ever tried by human beings so far, especially governments created or seized by psychopaths in which people are merely natural resources to be used for the benefit of the psychopaths and their toadies.
4. Prove How Libertarian Ideas Are Impractical
But UAL can’t prove that because libertarianism is based on the PRACTICAL!!! application of reason, logic, rationality and simple everyday common sense. While Modern American libertarianism is relatively new its philosophical roots are far deeper than mere superficial political wrangling. Libertarian thought reaches deep into the heart and soul of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment, often called the Age of REASON!!!. American libertarianism is the natural continuation of the great thinkers of those and later times who valued reason, science, skepticism, religious tolerance, and the natural rights of life, liberty and property. Without property rights—such as one’s own self being one’s own property—no other rights are possible.
How can UAL or anyone other than bullies and despots and tyrants and similar kinds of psychopaths find any of that “impractical?”
5. Prove How Libertarian Ideas Are Dogma
But UAL can’t prove that because libertarianism by actual definition is not dogma. Just a few examples:
dog·ma ˈdôɡmə noun a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. – Oxford Dictionary
Really? Authority? UAL thinks libertarians are authoritarian? On a sliding scale of Most Authoritarian to Least Authoritarian, libertarians would be slipping off the farthest end of the Least Authoritarian scale—right into the Anti-Authoritarian bucket.
dogma noun dog·ma \ ˈdȯg-mə, ˈdäg- \ a point of view or tenet put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds. – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Really? Without adequate grounds? Read 1 through 5 above. Read uncountable descriptions and definitions and articles and whole books on libertarianism. Read The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. If your head is stuck in the little superficial box of political libertarianism, you need to pull it out of there so your brain can expand into the wider universe of the philosophy of libertarianism. Anyone who can’t find “adequate grounds” just isn’t trying.
dogma dog·ma noun Dogma is defined as principles or rules that cannot be questioned, or articles of faith in different religions. – Your Dictionary
Really? Cannot be questioned? Has no one heard two libertarians talking to one another? Questioning everything each other says? Remember that one of those Renaissance-Reformation-Enlightenment values was SKEPTICISM!!! Libertarians are notorious for questioning each other and all forms of authoritarianism.
dogma (dɔgmə ) Word forms: dogmas variable noun If you refer to a belief or a system of beliefs as a dogma, you disapprove of it because people are expected to accept that it is true, without questioning it. – Collins Dictionary
Really? “Expected to accept that it is true?” Again attempting to be as charitable as possible, this definition is the Mein Kampf political technique known as the “Big Lie.” Give something you don’t like a negative name and call it that over and over – libertarianism is a “dogma” – and you get what UAL is really up to. He’s biased against something he doesn’t even understand and wants everyone else to accept his bias, and score points with his fellow-travelers as well.
Libertarianism is a philosophy, not a dogma. People like UAL really should at a minimum check into Wikidiff.com with its search form of
What's the difference between__________and__________?
What he would find is:
It is true, however, that different people can be dogmatic or philosophical about anything. People can follow any philosophy dogmatically, and people can be philosophical about any dogma. The reality is that in the Ego Wars of the Unsocial Media, “dogma” is rarely an objective definition of anything; it is nearly always intended as a personal insult.
Calling a Truce in the Ego War
Beyond all that, if a person were to type “libertarian” into MS Word’s thesaurus, the result one gets are synonyms like tolerant, permissive, open-minded, broadminded, democratic, and liberal (the last clearly meaning “classical liberal,” not “collectivist liberal”) along with the antonym “oppressive.”
And entering “liberal” and scrolling down to “open-minded (adj.)” one will find many of the same synonyms plus freethinking, noninterventionist, and laissez-faire along with the antonym “narrow-minded.”
The only conclusion from this is that those who hate or fear libertarianism are (channeling an old English idiom) still intellectually tied firmly to Mama’s apron strings.
Massively more can be written in defense of libertarianism as well as against it. What a person will ultimately come to accept will be determined by the individual’s fundamental worldview, frame of reference, way of thinking, state of mind, belief system.
An individualist by nature will seek out and learn about the libertarian commitment to life, liberty and property, to individual freedom and personal responsibility; an authoritarian by nature will cling to a world of rulebooks and regulations and statutes, to collectivist obedience and social surrender.
Debating ideas on the Unsocial Media will never accomplish much of anything. Almost no one will ever admit to having their minds changed (their stunted egos won’t allow any such admission) and if someone really is convinced by your argument chances are you’ll never know it.
So, why as a libertarian would you even enter this land of bear traps and pitfalls?
Maybe you just have too much time on your hands.
Maybe you think it’s fun to bang on the side of the boxes where most people’s minds are kept just to see what kind of reaction you get.
Or maybe you’re a writer, an essayist, a reporter, a blogger, a citizen journalist or an HLD opinionizer and these Uncivil Media sites are good places to go for article ideas.
Your Libertarian Opinionizer’s Pick
References and Links
Three Women who Inspired the Modern Libertarian Movement
By most accounts modern American libertarianism began when Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand published major books during the same year, 1943.
Post-Statism and “consumer-controlled governance”
The Zero Aggression Project advocates a society based on the libertarian non-aggression principle that replaces The State with free, voluntary, mutual exchange.
The Encyclopedia of Libertariansm
A review of “the one-volume reference work that college students or intellectually adventurous adults could use as a handy guide to libertarian ideas and personalities.”
Libertarian Jerks? We’ll Be Nicer if You'll Be Smarter
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Nell Rose from England on February 25, 2018:
Interesting stuff. I used to 'fight back at em' lol! but never ever again! there was a guy on facebook the other day picking a fight. I got great delight in saying something along the lines of, 'well, obviously you are a troll with an iq of 10. so goodbye troll! LOLOLO! then I waited....I could see him start to answer back and then I blocked him! lol! Oh the power!
MamaLiberty on February 16, 2018:
I understand, Garry. :) But after more than 50 years as an activist, I finally boiled it down to the essential.
The desire/lust to control the lives and property of others is the root of all evil.
That, for me, has to be the beginning of any dialog. If people can't see the root of the evil, they are not apt to understand the role of the peripherals - or the rational answer to the problems.
Garry Reed (author) from Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas on February 16, 2018:
Hi Mama, guess I'm just a glutton for punishment or I still enjoy screwing around with these screwballs. The other plus is that I've gotten two good article ideas from these sources and am working on a potential third. You do need a strong stomach though!
MamaLiberty on February 15, 2018:
I must confess to engaging in a little of this very early in the days of email and message boards... but it got old and pointless very quickly. I don't do "facebook" or twitter. I am a member of three freedom fora, and we discuss rather than argue, and nobody there is a statist (or at least they don't stay long).
My take on the whole thing is that it is pointless to mud wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, but only the pig enjoys it.
Don't argue about it. Live the ideal of the individual sovereign to the best of your ability. That's the only thing that really counts.