Civil Society

Bitten by a Radioactive Community Volunteer


From the Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages, a thrilling, action-packed feature about self-proclaimed superheroes:

By most observers' reckoning, between 150 and 200 real-life superheroes, or "Reals" as some call themselves, operate in the United States, with another 50 or so donning the cowl internationally. These crusaders range in age from 15 to 50 and patrol cities from Indianapolis to Cambridgeshire, England. They create heroic identities with names like Black Arrow, Green Scorpion, and Mr. Silent, and wear bright Superman spandex or black ninja suits. Almost all share two traits in common: a love of comic books and a desire to improve their communities.

Among the heroes: The Cleanser, who "strolls around picking up trash," and Direction Man, who "helps lost tourists find where they're going." And then there's Master Legend, who relates this tale of crimebusting gone wrong:

One evening when Master Legend was on patrol, he heard a woman scream and ran to investigate. But when he located the damsel in distress, she thought he was attacking her and called the cops. "They wanted to know if I was some kind of insane man, a 41-year-old man running around in a costume," he recounts. "Apparently, they had never heard of me."

NEXT: Foot Tapping and Hand Waving As Free Speech

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  1. “Apparently, they had never heard of me.”

    Awesome. Megalomania in a nice, neat package.

  2. It’s things like this that make me glad that I got away from that kind of crowd as a child. This and Star Wars conventions.

  3. Do any of them have powers?

  4. Reminds me of Dana Carvey’s SNL character Drunk Man. He had no real powers except a sense of invulnerability when drunk.

  5. Do any of them have powers?

    None that *you* can see.

  6. Compare and contrast: Mystery Men vs. The Specials

    Personally I give the nod to Mystery Men for the cast (especially William H. Macy and Hank Azaria although Pee Wee had his moments) but Thomas Hayden Church and Paget Brewster were good in The Specials plus I’ve always liked Judy Greer.

    Best line from Mystery Men:

    “God’s given me a gift. I shovel well. I shovel very well.”

  7. People need to realize that Heroes isn’t a documentary.

  8. I predict their next adventure will be hip hop.

  9. de stijl: I haven’t seen The Specials (love the band, though!) but I was disappointed in Mystery Men. It started out funny, then fell into the trap of taking its “action” plot seriously.

  10. Vishnu, I love this country.

    Favorite crime fighting team: The kids from C.A.P.E.R (Civilian Authority for the Protection of Everybody, Regardless)

  11. I believe the proper term is “masked adventurers.”

  12. Neither movie is great shakes, but it makes for a diverting mini-marathon.

  13. No, make that “costumed adventurers.”

  14. I’m so surprised to see not one defender of these activities. It’s a great exercise of individual expression, spontaneous order, etc. Am I all alone on this?

    However — please be advised that, while I respect their actions in concept, I don’t think I would spend any time with them on a personal level.

  15. The article, scandalously, makes no mention of London’s most famous superhero. I give you…

    Angle Grinder Man!

  16. The article, scandalously, makes no mention of London’s most famous superhero.

    What about Bicycle Repair Man?

  17. We here in Minneapolis also have Galactic Pizza, who deliver eco-friendly pizzas in a tiny electric car while wearing superhero costumes and going by handles such as Luke Pierocker and Captain Pizza.

  18. From the article:

    Master Legend, a chrome-suited 41-year-old from Winter Park, Florida, patrols the streets looking for crimes in progress, and claims his efforts have paid off. “I’ve dumped garbage cans over crackheads’ heads, I slam their heads against the wall, whatever it takes,” the Silver Slugger says with bravado. “They try to hit me first, and then it’s time for Steel Toe City.”

    Was anyone else here a little wary of this? How exactly is beating up crackheads helping the community? This guy sounds like he should join the police force instead.

  19. I’m Batman.

  20. I’m so surprised to see not one defender of these activities.

    I don’t think anyone is against the people in the article; like you they are making fun of them on a personal level.

  21. well, excpet for smacky

  22. “What, are you dense? Are you retarded or something? I’m the goddamn Batman!”

  23. Kolohe,

    I’m not against the idea per se; if grown men want to play dress up and do neighborhood watch that’s fine with me. I was objecting to the statements that Master Legend made. It sounds like he is aggravating crackheads for fun. Personally, if I were high on crack and I saw some guy dressed in a neon unitard approaching me, I’d probably take a swing at him, too…

  24. Was anyone else here a little wary of this? How exactly is beating up crackheads helping the community? This guy sounds like he should join the police force instead.

    Don’t they have enough of that type already? At least this guy will get charged with a crime if he assaults someone.

  25. What about me…I am heroically spreading Christianity to people who don’t know how lost and in-need they are…not sure how this is different.

  26. I like Angle Grinder Man and I wish to subscribe to his newsletter.

  27. Personally, if I were high on crack and I saw some guy dressed in a neon unitard approaching me, I’d probably take a swing at him, too…

    I guess they don’t call you smacky for nothing then, eh?

  28. I wonder if “Grinder Girl” on the Letterman show is part of this?

  29. I too will find any excuse I can to wear underwear on the outside of my clothing.

  30. There is a blurry line between eccentric and insane, odd and whack job nuts. These folks are comfortable living on that line. I’ve got a stupid grin on my face while typing this and imagining their interactions with “normal” folk.

  31. I like Angle Grinder Man and I wish to subscribe to his newsletter.

    Angle grinder man, bah. Grinder girl, my heroine!

  32. Damn, NoStar beat me to it!

  33. J sub D,
    I was looking for a picture to link to, but you beat to that.

    Click on my name will get you to her web site,

  34. No, make that “costumed adventurers.”

    I thought those were the swingers at the local B & D dungeon.

  35. All of these tales of real-life derring-do make me feel like the little smart kid at the end of Magnolia watching the frogs fall from the sky.

    “This happens. This is something that happens.”

  36. So, if I decided I want to be King Sized Dick Man With Nimble Fingers, would women finally take me seriously?

  37. But when he located the damsel in distress, she thought he was attacking her and called the cops.

    So the question is, When they arrived did he have to show ID?

  38. Looks out at litter filled street.

    This looks like a job for Garbageman!

  39. I always wanted to be “Comfort of Strangers” Man. My role would be that I would find lost tourists, take them to a strange bar in the middle of the night and tell them a terrible story.

  40. No, I am Spartacus

  41. I’m Rick James, bitch.

  42. FOOLS! There is only one entity with powers supernatural in origin, and near total in application:


    MMMM can end discrimination, promote the common good at ALL times, effectively promote space travel, build and maintain efficient roads, provide everyone with postal service and police protection in ways both efficient and fair, make nerds more attractive, right wrongs in general, and DEFLECT METEOR SHOWERS AND HARMFUL COSMIC RADIATION!

    Free MIGHTY MYSTICAL MARKET MAN now so that he may end the scourge of COLLECTIVISM and foster ALL GOOD THINGS UNQUALIFIEDLY!

  43. See yonder EVIL POLLUTER? Have no fear, consumer! As we speak MIGHTY MYSTICAL MARKET MAN is channelling his MARKET MECHANISMS power through the mysterious FRIEDMANITE RING OF POWER to end this evil-doer’s ways. As the polluter makes a bad name for himself his sales will fall making his profits marginal at best (of course hundreds, perhaps thousands have been made ill by the pollution while waiting for this, but such are trifles!). THUS ENDS ALL TYRANTS EVIL POLLUTER!

  44. Fuck the Mystery Men! Flaming Carrot is where it’s at.

  45. Why Reason Magazine turned on Ron Paul:

    How does the Ron Paul candidacy threaten the journalists, think tankers, and academics who live and work along the Orange Line in Washington, D.C.? The answer is straightforward analysis of economic incentives, with some common cultural patterns thrown in.
    Familiarize yourself with the main economic plank of Paul’s platform: eliminating the income tax with no replacement. If it succeeded, most of the friends, fellow partiers, sources, and sex partners of the Orange Line journalists and think tankers would be out of work. Even partial success (for example influencing other candidates into advocating deeper tax cuts to win Paul supporters, or motivating more Congressional candidates to run on an anti-tax and anti-war platform and thus creating a libertarian base in Congress) would harm economic interests in their social circles. Furthermore, there would be far fewer spoils for the lobbyists to lobby over, and fewer important articles for the journalists to write about D.C. politics, so they’d suffer personally as well as socially.
    There are also “economic preferences” in politics not reflected in money – desires for power, desires to “change the world”, etc. (These two motivations are easily interchangeable near the Orange Line). D.C. attracts people from all over the country with strong preferences along these lines. These, too, would be hurt by a growing success of anti-tax libertarianism. To the extent Ron Paul succeeded, they would be less able to shut down the madrassas and save Muslim women from the dastardly Muslim male. They’d have less control over oil. They couldn’t provide all Americans with health insurance. And (keeping in mind this is only one of many motivations) they couldn’t provide as much protection for Israel. Generally speaking, practically everybody who came D.C. did so to get the federal government to solve various problems they are passionate about. They feel very strongly about these: much more strongly on average than people who do not live near the Orange Line. Success by Ron Paul or his acolytes would start stripping away from them the power they believe they need to solve these problems.
    Remember, Paul ranks right up there with McCain, Huckabee and Romney for the 18-29 year old vote. Paul has come very close to winning a plurality of that vote in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan, ranking far ahead of Thompson and Giuliani for the young vote in all three. Paul ranks ahead of _all_ the other Republican candidates in Internet searches and search results. Contrary to myth this represents not “spam” but just the high concentration of Paul supporters on the Internet, comparable to the high concentration of Democrats in the mainstream media (MSM). Both the Internet and MSM are unrepresentative slices of American political opinion.
    But the Internet is growing at the expense of the MSM and Paul represents a large chunk of the future of Republican politics. The MSM, including its political bureaus along the Orange Line, finds the Internet threatening. Orange Line bureaucrats think of “radical” libertarians (i.e. those who would eliminate the income tax with no replacement) as maniacs out to destroy their jobs. Ron Paul brings these two fears together.
    Moving beyond economic incentives and to human cultural patterns, the Orange Line crowd are a tribe, a monoculture defending itself from an alien tribe that is hostile to them, namely libertarians who don’t like how the federal tribe makes it’s living (via skimming off their paychecks). It’s tribal warfare.
    All in all, it would be extremely surprising if the Orange Line did _not_ try to attack Paul. The only surprising thing for me has been to observe how much Orange Line “libertarians” are culturally aligned with the Orange Line rather than with anti-government libertarians.
    This analysis has been a straightforward matter of economic incentives with some common human cultural patterns thrown into the mix. This economic analysis gets obscured because, on the one hand, those not privy to the workings of D.C. can only describe it metaphorically in terms of conspiracy theories. The Orange Liners laugh them off the stage. But the economic analyses in their rough form sound a bit like the conspiracy theories, so they too are shouted down by the bullhorns of the Oranger Liners and those who parrot their authoritative opinions. They are laughed off as “conspiracy theory” before the analysis can even start to begin. Most of the MSM when it comes to political issues, and even much of the “alternative media” like Reason Magazine and the Orange Line bloggers, are part of the Orange Line culture. Using these Orange Line bullhorns to make fun of or smear independent thought and independent sources of political power is one of the main levers of federal power.

    Here is an anatomy of the spread of the smear campaign against Ron Paul just prior to and on the crucial “king-making” New Hampshire primary day, January 8th (all times are EDT; the polls closed at 8 pm EDT):
    January 7th, 7:33 pm – Matt Welch (Reason Magazine) discusses the plan to smear Ron Paul on New Hampshire primary day. In a later edit, Welch strikes out the actual TNR/Reason plan (to post the piece at midnight, the exact time the New Hampshire polls opened, and not post the actual newsletters until the afternoon of the primary) and substitutes “tommorrow afternoon”. But he failed to strike out Reason’s part in the plan: “More to come from here after the gong strikes midnight.”
    January 8th, 12:01 AM – Jamie Kirchick’s anti-Paul hit piece, many weeks in preparation at the request of his boss Marty Peretz at The New Republic, and featuring featuring many out-of-context quotes from Paul’s old newsletter (which have long been public knowledge and which Paul long ago denied writing) and descriptions of Paul and his associates as “bigoted”, “racist”, “homophobic”, and “anti-Semitic”, etc. is posted at The New Republic.

    featuring featuring many out-of-context quotes from Paul’s old newsletter (which have long been public knowledge and which Paul long ago denied writing) and descriptions of Paul and his associates as “bigoted”, “racist”, “homophobic”, and “anti-Semitic”, etc. is posted at The New Republic.
    11:03 AM – Daniel Koffler (Pajamas Media, formerly at Reason)
    “A damning New Republic expose on Ron Paul shows the “libertarian” Republican candidate to be a racist, a homophobe and an anti-Semite. Will his diehard supporters continue to defend a man who called Martin Luther King a gay pedophile? Daniel Koffler, a former Paul sympathizer, has a compendium of the Texas congressman’s creepiest hits, pulled straight from his decades-old newsletter.”
    3:30 pm – Andrew Sullivan (The Atlantic, formerly editor of The New Republic) – “They are a repellent series of tracts, full of truly appalling bigotry.”
    3:46 pm – David Wiegel (Reason) Wiegel praises Kirchick’s piece as “explosive” and after a brief converstation with a harried Paul, grossly mischaracterizes Ron Paul’s position as “Paul’s position is basically that he wrote the newsletters he stands by and someone else wrote the stuff he has disowned.”
    3:48 pm – Nick Gillespie (Reason) “I’ve got to say that The New Republic article detailing tons of racist and homophobic comments from Paul newsletters is really stunning. As former reason intern Dan Koffler documents here, there is no shortage of truly odious material that is simply jaw-dropping.”
    4:43 pm – David Bernstein (Volokh Conspiracy/George Mason University) “’s disturbing in and of itself that the kind of people who write such things would want to associate themselves with Paul’s name, and the kind of people who enjoy reading such things would subscribe to these newsletters because they admire Paul.” Here’s David’s web page at GMU.
    (before 5 pm) – Arnold Kling (Econglog/George Mason University) – Repeats the worst quotes out of context and without explanation.
    5:17 pm – Dale Carpenter (Volokh Conspiracy/University of Minnesota) – “A damning indictment of Ron Paul.”
    Oddly enough, all these people with the exception of the tardiest, Dale Carpenter, live or work near the Orange Line subway (Metro) west of the capitol building in Washington, D.C. On the Orange Line, with occasional short side trips on some other lines, you can get to The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, Reason Magazine, George Mason University, The Federal Triangle, Cato Institute, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle (Red Line), and a number of other homes and work sites of beltway media, politicians, bureaucrats, and “libertarians.” I don’t know how many of these people actually ride the D.C. Metro, but for fun and convenience let’s call this group of smear artists the “Orange Line Mafia”. This group of media pundits and bloggers has developed a large following among actual libertarians because they are an integral part of D.C. social circles and darlings of the mainstream media, who often “link” to the blogs of these “libertarians” from their various media formats. Libertarians who watch or read MSM thus often first discover “libertarianism” on the net in the writings of The Atlantic, Reason, Cato, Volokh Conspiracy, and other Orange Line Mafia outlets, and think that they are representative of people who actually value liberty.

    If a person cared about liberty, why would they be eager to mindlessly repeat smears about the most popular libertarian candidate in decades on the very day of the most crucial “king-making” primary in the United States? Yet that is exactly what a number of popular “libertarian” bloggers did that day. The Ron Paul Newsletters are voluminous and even a small fraction of them could not possibly be read in the very few hours that passed between the posting of the actual newsletters (the afternoon of the 8th) and the smear campaigners’ posts (also the afternoon of the 8th). All of these “hit and run” blog posts, except Kirchick’s original, must then be based on Kirchik’s piece rather than on actual reading and analysis of the newsletters. Clearly the purpose of these posts was not to initiate a thoughtful discussion of the newsletters, it was to spin libertarian voters on the most crucial election day short of the November general elections.

    Beltway libertarians use Congressman’s old newsletters as excuse for dumping on him. Some perspective.

    by Phil Manger
    I guess we should have expected it.
    The Beltway libertarians, those polished public intellectuals at Cato and Reason, have been falling all over themselves the past few days in an effort to distance themselves from Ron Paul following the “outing” of his old newsletters last week by The New Republic. Not that they were ever that close to begin with. The Cato gang never liked Dr. Paul, and the folks at Reason only warmed up to him after his campaign began to catch fire on the internet. Now, their blogs are full of I-told-you-sos, denunciations, and warnings of dire consequences for libertarianism.
    Typical of these was David Boaz, Cato’s executive vice-president, who told the world that “…over the past few months a lot of people have been asking why writers at the Cato Institute seemed to display a lack of interest in or enthusiasm for the Paul campaign. Well, now you know.” Even Radley Balko, a Reason editor and former Cato policy analyst whose research on police misconduct made him one of the few shining lights among the Beltway libertarians in recent years, has joined the lynch mob. You can find links to dozens of other similar comments here.
    Interestingly, all of them say they don’t believe Dr. Paul is really a racist, and most of them say they believe him when he says he didn’t write the articles in question. In fact, their real target seems to be something they call paleolibertarianism, a branch of libertarianism that has its center of gravity at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. And the man they really seem to loathe is the institute’s president, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. Ron Paul is merely collateral damage.
    I should point out at this point that I really have no firsthand knowledge of any of the details of the mutual animosity that exists between the Beltway libertarians and the paleos. I only know that it exists and that it runs deep. I was a libertarian activist from the mid-’60s until the early ’80s. I then decided to get a life and, except for an occasional blog post or attendance at a meeting, I was pretty much out of it for the next quarter century. It was my son who urged me to support Ron Paul in his run for President. (I didn’t deliberately raise him to be a libertarian. Do you suppose it’s genetic?) I did a lot of Googling of Ron Paul’s name, and…well, here I am.
    So, what about those newsletters? According to The New Republic article, the newsletters reveal “decades worth of obsession with conspiracies, sympathy for the right-wing militia movement, and deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays”. Actually, that’s a gross overstatement. It’s more like a careless phrase or choice of words here and there – sometimes very careless, and sometimes even mean.
    What the newsletters remind me of is the “gold bug” marketing in the early ’70s. The “gold bugs” – those who believed that the dollar was destined to continue to lose value – were a mixed bag: conspiracists, libertarians, John Birchers, survivalists (of both the Left and the Right), racialists, and some who just wanted to turn a quick profit. Following the dollar’s devaluation in 1971 a number of businesses and newsletters appeared on the market to capitalize on the uncertainty of the times. They sold their wares, whether precious metals or newsletter subscriptions, by instilling fear and serving up red meat to the gold bugs. I remember attending one precious metals “seminar” in 1974. A black couple was sitting near me. When the speaker got to the part about riots in the cities and a breakdown of civil authority, I could see that the couple were extremely uncomfortable. They left before the end of the presentation.
    For whatever reason, Ron Paul has a very bankable name in that market. The International Harry Schultz Letter, the granddaddy of all the gold bug newsletters, prominently features a plug from Dr. Paul on its webpage. So it would make sense that a newsletter bearing Paul’s name, aimed at gold bugs or their like, would be profitable.
    So, did Ron Paul write that awful stuff posted on TNR’s website? I’m a former writer and editor and also a former college professor who got to be pretty good at sniffing out plagiarism in student papers, and I have to say I very much doubt it. It isn’t at all like Ron Paul’s style of writing (you can go to the Mises Institute website, where there is an extensive archive of Dr. Paul’s writings, if you don’t believe me), and there’s nothing in his voting record over 10 terms in Congress to suggest those are his views. I don’t find it at all implausible that someone would use his name to sell subscriptions to a newsletter written and edited by others.
    But I agree with Alex Wallenwein and Bill Westmiller that we need to know who did write that objectionable material so that we can move on. Otherwise, this stuff will come up again and again.
    However, I am not so naive as to think that this will mollify the Beltway libertarians. In their writings on this controversy, I’ve detected a barely suppressed undercurrent of glee, as if they’re trying to keep from shouting “Aha! Gotcha now!” They say they are concerned about what all this is doing to the reputation of libertarianism – although, it seems to me they’re more concerned about what it’s doing to their own standing in Georgetown – but I think they doth protest too much.
    If the Beltway libertarians are really concerned about the reputation of libertarianism, let them take a look at what they’re saying about Ron Paul over on the Left. Although they like his antiwar, pro-freedom message, a lot of the bloggers over there don’t care for the fact that he’s a libertarian. You see, they equate libertarianism with the Cato Institute. And to them, Cato is just another D. C. think tank laboring in the service of the corporate elites.
    Topic: Political Correctness
    Playing the racism card

    It all depends on whose ox is being gored.

    by Phil Manger
    Try, for just a minute, to imagine the following scenario. The New Republic, or some other stronghold of neocondom, has just discovered the website of the church Ron Paul has been attending for the last 20 years. At the very top of the site’s home page is the following statement:
    We are a congregation which is Unashamedly White and Unapologetically Christian…Our roots in the White religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are a European people, and remain “true to our native land”, the mother continent, the cradle of civilization…We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a White worship service and ministries which address the White Community.
    It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to guess what would follow. The story would be on all the evening newscasts, the neocon and Beltway libertarian talking heads would be all over the cable news channels expressing their disgust, and even the paleolibertarians would jump ship. No explanation he could offer would be acceptable. Ron Paul’s campaign would be dead.
    But if you just change “White” to “Black” and “European” to “African” you’ll have the exact words that appear at the top of the home page of the website of the Trinity United Church of Christ, the Chicago church that Barack Obama has been attending faithfully for the past 20 years. Yet, so far the media – with the exception of a few conservative columnists – have given Obama a pass on his connection with this church.
    The terms “racism” and “racist” are thrown around so much these days that they have effectively lost all meaning. Well, not all meaning. In fact it’s very simple if you just remember that racism is what lies at the root of one’s opponents’ thoughts and actions, while one’s own thoughts and actions arise from only the purest of motives.
    The charge of “racism” is most often made by the Left against the Right. However, increasingly – and distressingly – conservatives are hurling the “racist” epithet at their opponents on the Left. There are so many examples of this, it is not necessary to provide links to them. Just Google “Alberto Gonzales” and “racist” to find some examples. Or go look up what some neocons have said about Ron Paul.
    When Wolf Blitzer was questioning him about his old newsletters on CNN last week, Dr. Paul said “Libertarians are incapable of being racists, because racism is a collectivist idea”. I don’t know that I agree with the first part of that statement, but Dr. Paul should be forgiven because he was being ambushed with a question and had only a few minutes to answer it. (A much better exposition of his views on racism can be found on his campaign website.)
    I think a libertarian can be a racist because I think anybody can be a racist. I don’t mean a hooded, cross-burning, night-riding racist; just someone for whom race is a factor, however minor, in his or her personal decision calculus. Most people naturally prefer the company of people who are like themselves in most ways. They might not require the exclusive company of others like themselves, but they also don’t want to associate exclusively with people who are very different.
    Thomas Schelling, a Nobel laureate in economics, once proposed a game. Get a roll of pennies, a roll of dimes and a large sheet of paper divided into one-inch squares. Distribute the coins one per square on the sheet of paper, leaving about a third of the spaces empty. Adopt a rule: assume each coin wants at least some proportion – say, a third – of its neighbors to be of the same kind. Now find a coin for which the rule is not satisfied – i.e. less than a third of its neighbors are of the same kind – and move it to a square where it is. Repeat this step until all coins are on squares that satisfy the rule. When you get to this point, you’ll find that the pennies have tended to cluster with other pennies, while the dimes are clustered with other dimes.
    Under the rule adopted, these coins are very open minded – each is willing to live where up to two-thirds of its neighbors are of another “race”. Nevertheless, the end result of this “invisible hand” process is that most end up living where all of their neighbors are the same.
    The point of the game is to demonstrate how a pattern of racial segregation can result from the individual decisions of people whom hardly anyone would accuse of being racist. Which is one of the reasons the charge of “racism” is one that is almost impossible to defend against.
    A person accused of being a racist can usually clear his or her name with the accuser only by agreeing with the accuser. Last week on The Huffington Post Earl Ofari Hutchinson demanded that Ron Paul issue “a clear and direct public statement…that says I fully support all civil rights laws, will work hard against racial and gender profiling, and will push government economic support initiatives to boost minorities and the poor” as the price for being absolved of the charge of racism.
    In other words, the only way the libertarian Dr. Paul can prove he’s not a racist is to abandon libertarianism and adopt Hutchinson’s statist policy prescriptions. That’s like telling a Christian televangelist whose assistant had swindled viewers that repentance and restitution are not enough – he has to renounce Christianity if he wants to be forgiven.
    The significant point about libertarians and racism is not that a libertarian can’t be a racist; it’s that, in a true libertarian society, racism is irrelevant. A libertarian government would not have the authority to enact legislation that favors one racial or ethnic group at the expense of another because it would not have the authority to enact legislation that favors anybody at the expense of another.
    Nor would the government have the authority to enact legislation to correct the results of “invisible hand” processes like Schelling’s game. In fact, the mere attempt to do so would be not only racist, but futile as well.
    An example of the futility and racism inherent in using the police power of the state to correct racial discrimination – intended or otherwise – resulting from individual decisions are laws prohibiting racial discrimination in employment. Since the hiring decision is multidimensional, a racist manager could claim any number of reasons for rejecting an applicant of the “wrong” race. Hence the need for affirmative action if the law is to achieve its desired effect. But, since affirmative action requires basing the hiring decision on race, it is itself racist (and most probably in violation of the law it is meant to enforce).
    One of the silliest things a politician or pundit can say is that she/he opposes affirmative action, but supports laws prohibiting racial discrimination in employment. You can’t have one without the other. If you don’t believe it, consider this: age discrimination is against the law, too, yet it’s rampant in the workforce. Just ask any computer programmer over 40. The difference is, there’s no affirmative action based on age. Ron Paul is probably the only Presidential candidate in either party who understands this.
    There are, of course, people whose attitudes about race go far beyond just feeling more comfortable around people who are like themselves. But is that necessarily something to get alarmed about? As long as they’re not harming or threatening anyone else, why should we care? If they choose to act out their hatred by harming people of another race, then the government can act. Otherwise the government is trying to read minds.
    Racism and racist are words that, through overuse, have lost their sting. They are what you say when you have nothing else to say. Probably the best thing for all of us would be to banish them from the language. Certainly, they add nothing constructive to political discourse.

  46. What? Does our the long-time opponent of GOOD and RIGHT, the dread DEVIOUS DISCRIMINATOR engage in discriminatory hiring or selling of services?

    Witness as the MAGICAL MYSTICAL MARKET MAN uses this SMITHIAN INVISIBLE HAND to end such nefarious no-gooding! In discriminating against the less powerful DEVIOUS DISCRIMINATOR’S harmful discrimination is REFLECTED back at him! Watch as he loses a worker who would have increased his productivity by .05%! Applaud as his profits spiral by .03% in turning down the dollar of the victimized minority! Hear the growing rustling of OTHER ENTREPENUERS being generated by the FRIEDMANITE RING OF POWER to come via SELF INTEREST to provide quality goods and efficient services to our hapless victim of discrimination, all the while making IN-ROADS on DEVIOUS DISCRIMINATOR’S market power (of course, in the relevant market such discrimination may be rewarded by the majority populaces agreement with it, but still think of the JUSTICE which has been worked here). WHAM! POW! Another SOCIAL EVIL dispatched by non-agression!

  47. Ladies and gentlement, let’s all welcome “Obnoxiously Long Comment Man”

  48. Joe Allen,

    You sir are the Muhammad Atta of threadjackers.

  49. Matt J

    Considering the length of his post, I’d say he was the Fidel Castro of threadjackers.

  50. Must be compensating for something.

  51. Here is how the JACKING JOE ALLEN will be dealt with! As we speak, MAGICAL MYSTICAL MARKET MAN is using his HAYEKIAN CLOAK OF SPONTANEOUS ORDER and people, throu no central command, are realizing Joe Allen us a spamming, threadjacking jackass and vowing to ignore him, his site and his dumbass posts.

  52. MNG,

    Pretty simple: it’s reason’s blog. the can ban him if they wish.

  53. Mr. Silent

    I’d vote him for President!

  54. Joe Allen: It’s one thing to post your silly conspiracy theories about Reason’s purported plot against Ron Paul in the threads about Ron Paul (as you already have, again and again and again). But please don’t gum up these other conversations. Thanks.

  55. MNG,

    Flamebait works a lot better if you don’t include random caps, which intarnets for “Don’t pay attention to me because I’m crazy.” Not that people should pay attention to you, but just FYI.

  56. I must say MNG, you pretty good in this thread.

  57. Joe Allen: It’s one thing to post your silly conspiracy theories about Reason’s purported plot against Ron Paul in the threads about Ron Paul (as you already have, again and again and again). But please don’t gum up these other conversations. Thanks.

    Help us, Lengthy-Spam Deletion Man! Help us!


    Beware the Hooded Binturong!!!

  59. Come on, am I really the only one who thought of Watchmen?

  60. Stevo Darkly:

    Help us, Lengthy-Spam Deletion Man! Help us!

    You’re really Greg Proops aren’t you?

  61. I’m just on Cloud 9 today…I’ve made comics related posts in three different threads.

    Windy: I didn’t in reference to this thread but I was recently thumbing through it again.

  62. The Hooded Binturong?! Where?!

  63. Why do some people think the comments section is their personal forum for posting whole articles?

    Get your own freakin’ website.

  64. Well, I have a superhero alter-ego persona, only a mis-understood one. People think my persona does evil, rather than making the world better for mankind. I need to hide behind my mask.



  66. My superpower is turning beer into urine.

    Man, that joke is older than dirt but it still cracks me up. I have no idea what the costume or pseudonym would be, though.

  67. Here are some real superheroes:

    See, especially, Invisible Suit (link opens vid).

  68. I have no idea what the costume or pseudonym would be, though.

    Frat Boy?

  69. * lurks in shadows, makes evil plans *

  70. My superpower is turning beer into urine.

    My superpower is turning coffee into theorems.

    Also an old joke but only funny to a small subset of the population.

  71. and Direction Man, who “helps lost tourists find where they’re going.”

    He’s just trying to meet women…men never ask for directions.

  72. Here’s a list of real people with incredible (and for the most part useless) powers:

    And lest we forget:
    “It’s Really Deep Man! He’s really deep, man.”

  73. What I want to know is why haven’t these costumed vigilantes registered with the government.

  74. What? no one mentions Gatsoman? He’s my favourite.

  75. Heard of Captain Tolerance, Andy Breckman’s not-so-secret identity? He says he’ll spit on the intolerant, and run away.

  76. So, they are the individualist version of Guardian Angles or Scouts.

  77. Y’know, MMMM sounds like a rip-off of The Invisible Hand!

    Also, The Flaming Carrot was a member of The Mysterymen, though he wasn’t in the movie.


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