Libertarian History/Philosophy

Libertarians: Oh They're Weird and They're Wonderful and Oh, They're So Spaced Out!


Twitter is clearly the greatest pure communication tool since cave painting and smoke signals.

So with that as a backdrop, here's a tweet from blogger Matt Yglesias, in twittersation with Reihan Salam:

I know they see it the other way, but I see myself as a liberal and "libertarianism" is a weird perversion of the idea.

Yglesias' Twitter feed here and Salam's is here. They are discussing reactions to Chris Beam's recent New York Mag article about libertarianism on the rise, decline, down-low, etc. Matt Welch and Radley Balko weighed in here and here.

Seeing that tweet put one of the great songs about weirdness, wonderfulness, and mag-a-ziii-yeenes (!) in my head, which I now share with you, o ye brave weird perverts of liberalism:

Final question: When is craigslist, now a major Lifetime Movie!,  gonna open up the long-awaited electric boots and mohair suits section?

NEXT: The Grand Jury Farce

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  1. Since the original use of the appellation “liberal” described people far closer to today’s libertarians than to today’s leftists, I’m afraid we don’t just think that. We can prove it.

    Which means that calling a leftist a pervert is a supportable statement.

    1. Perhaps Yglesias doesn’t believe in history?

      It’s all I can think of.

  2. Yglesias doesn’t know his etymological history. “Liberal” originally meant something like libertarian, but was perverted into today’s meaning by the Progressive movement.

    1. Liberal still means something closer to libertarian outside of the U.S.

      1. Part of the proof I mentioned above. It’s actually quite overwhelmingly clear that the current American usage of liberal is, in fact, a perversion of the earlier concept. . .as well as the one that still holds overseas.

        Really, why do we bother saying “classical liberal” if the term didn’t mean people who think like us in the past?

      2. Indeed. In fact, in the newspapers and magazines Europe – where Marxism is not a scarlet letter – the term “neoliberal” is used as the scary byword for free market types.

  3. This video is maximally enjoyable when imagining the dancers as brain-eating zombies.

    1. Could someone please tell the squirrels to make HnR more iPad friendly?

      1. Tim i think has pretty good access to reason’s web server.

        My guess is that because of his knee jerk hatred of all things apple he has rigged it so the ipad fails here.

        Other evidence to support my theory is that on my imac at home the donate link overlaps the reason hit and run logo above….i use firefox on my PC at work and at home on my imac so it is not the browser.

      2. Maybe you shouldn’t be using Safari.

        1. I tried to read Hit & Run on my new Kindle. It was surprisingly okay, accepting the black and white e-ink business. What does it use for a browser platform, I wonder?

          1. It uses WebKit, same as Safari. But Safari is known for sucking.

            1. It uses WebKit, same as Safari. But Safari is known for sucking.

              I was looking at my joke blog stats the other day and noticed someone used Safari on linux to view my site. I thought it was a spoof so i googled it.

              Sure enough there are poeple out there who use linux and actually prefer safari.

              Weirdest fucking thing ever.

              1. You’re lying. That can’t be true.


                  What is really odd about it is that it isn’t an easy thing to set up at all.

                  A quick read and it seems the easiest way to do it is to use wine.
                  You actually have to work at it to get it running.

                  Perhaps the appeal to some linux fans is masochism.

            2. Safari is known for sucking.

              Compared to what? It’s the fastest HTML rendering engine around, and they’ve implemented more of the HTML 5 additions than anyone else so far.


              1. I take it all back. I tried to use the Kindle to read Hit & Run tonight. Slow and painful. Not as bad as my BB would be, but unacceptable for the 21st century.

                Maybe I should use it to read some books or something instead.

    2. Zombies?!
      Feets don’t fail me now!

      1. Wow, a Mantan Moreland reference! High marks!

    3. The guy doing the robot in the first third of the video is a good example of this.

      oh, and RACIST!

  4. Semi-related Elton John news to warm the hearts of the yes-homo, pro-science, or general free to be you & me strains of libertarians: he and his hubby had a baby via surrogate on Christmas Day.

    1. I think this is one case I believe the mother was a virgin

      1. Was that also intended to be a reference to “Levon” or is that just a coincidence?

        1. Levon wears his war wound like a crown
          He calls his child Jesus
          `Cause he likes the name
          And he sends him to the finest school in town
          Levon, Levon likes his money
          He makes a lot they say
          Spends his days counting
          In a garage by the motorway
          He was born a pauper to a pawn on a Christmas day
          When the New York Times said God is dead

          So did he
          Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John

    2. Dagny, does the term “whim worshiping subjectivist?” have a familiar ring? Just wondering whether you generally feel free to adopt Ayn Rand’s character names while leaving the actual philosophy part on the floor? Perhaps you are just being ironic.

      Yes, I’m saying that Ayn Rand would have considered the notion that a man could have another man for a “husband,” or that they could “have a baby,” as whim worshiping subjectivism. And you are adopting the Ayn Rand brand when you use the name Dagny T.

      1. Rand was an irrational homophobe.

        1. That’s not to say that Objectivism is involved in her condemnation. Rand was pretty irrational when it came to sexual matters and wanted to extrapolate her personal proclivities into her philosophy and onto the entire population. Unfortunately, her love of male dominance and BDSM-light is not shared by all and is certainly not the only kind of sexual association justified by her philosophy.

      2. Draco,

        Are you an objectivist?

        1. I am comfortable guessing that I’ve forgotten more about Objectivism than most people on this forum have ever known. Of course, one can be an expert on Hinduism without being a practicing Hindu.

          1. > Of course, one can be an expert on Hinduism
            > without being a practicing Hindu.

            Just like most people here at Hit & Run — or any other right-of-center forum — are experts on liberalism.

            1. HandR is not right of center by any reasonable definition of “right”.

              Today’s Left (sic) much more closely fits the bill, in fact.

      3. wondering whether you generally feel free to adopt Ayn Rand’s character names while leaving the actual philosophy part on the floor?

        Are you threatening me?

      4. There’s a whole lot of Rand the person you have to leave on the cutting room floor if you’re going to “adopt” her into a productive human mind.

        Like, basically, the whole thing except her unsparing observation of cause and effect, which is indisputable.

    3. Awesome. The kid’s last name is Furnish-John.

    4. That poor poor poor child.

      Not that having two dads will fuck him.

      I am worried about how having a musician as a father will ruin the rugrat.

      1. Not that having two dads will fuck him.

        hmmm…forget one word and i get into real trouble. Sad face =(

        “Not that having two dads will fuck him up.”

      2. Well, since Elton is in the “make piles of money from the back catalog” stage of his career, rather than the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” stage, the kid should be fine.


  5. I would prefer it if Yglecias worked via cave painting and smoke signals. His experiments with the english language are too fucking stupid. At least there’d be some aesthetic value if he worked in a more abstract medium.

    Would the term “progressive-statist hack” feel more comfortable on your lapel pin, Matt? because no matter how ‘liberal’ you feel… thats’ all you are.

  6. If you subscribe to Yglesias’ twitter feed, Nick, you are a true masochist. I’m impressed. Anyone else you’re torturing yourself with?

    1. Does Obama have a twit feed?

  7. I think I’ll defer to Yglesias in the matter of “weird perversions”.

  8. Did Yglesias ever write or say or do anything that was worth mentioning as anything other than a target of ridicule and contempt?

    1. His support of haircuts was pretty nice.

      Of course by virtue of it being about haircuts the piece is not a true counter factual.

  9. Classical liberalism is for individual liberty and limiting the power of the state over individuals.

    Modern left-liberalism is most staunchly opposed to individualism and liberty while in favor of greatly increasing the power of the state over individuals.

    They are diametrically opposed philosophies.

    In the America tradition, clasical liberalism is reactionary.

    1. > Classical liberalism is for individual liberty
      > and limiting the power of the state over individuals.

      So what do you call a philosophy that is for individual liberty and limiting all collective power — not the State’s — over individuals?

  10. I know they see it the other way, but I see myself as a liberal and “libertarianism” is a weird perversion of the idea.

    Actually I do not see it the other way.

    I see Yglesias as a democratic socialist who has one or two liberal sensibilities. He wants to “legalize” haircuts and probably is pretty good about not wanting the government to torture poeple.

    His is not a weird perversion of liberalism. His is socialism that he labels incorrectly.

    1. That’s always been my attitude. Liberal worked (and works everywhere else) as a perfectly fine label for us.

      1. That’s always been my attitude.

        In all honesty I probably stole that attitude from you in 2005 or so.

        Thanks for that by the way.

        1. You’re welcome! I guess I have advocated the retaking of that term in the past. I offered to trade something to joe for it, but I can’t remember what it was.

            1. Interesting idea, but no. It was some sort of label libertarians had that leftists might want. I think.

            2. blowjobs?

              Sure……no homo.

              1. Blowjobs fall under the Interstate Commerce Act, therefore you will need to buy BJ insurance and because many of the posters can’t afford them, we will need to institute Public Blowjob Care. Hmm, I wonder how many libertarians will object to this part of the HC plan?

                1. We refuse to hear this sticky issue

                2. Public blowjobs won’t be any better than public housing. Don’t ruin a good thing, Timmay.

                  1. The blowjob Charity Fairy? already has her hands and mouth full; how else will the poor receive BJC?

  11. Twitter is clearly the greatest pure communication tool since cave painting and smoke signals.

    I can interpret cave paintings and smoke signals of people long dead better then I can interpret your average twitter roll.

    debates on 4chan make more sense.

    1. Twitter is clearly the greatest pure communication tool since cave painting and smoke signals…

      …and the subway flasher.

      1. and whispered,
        in the sounds of silence

  12. It turned out most Americans actually supported the body scanners.

    Chris Beam is not very good at reading polls.

  13. Mathew Yglesias is the one retarded kid that it never gets old or makes you feel guilty to pick on. Part of me feels like I should feel sorry for him. His such a fat little pathetic troll. But I just can’t do it. Laughing at him just never gets old.

    1. How are these people determined to be experts again?

      1. I am starting to believe in the old German concept of zeitgeist. It is just the spirit of the times for idiot douchebags to be considered experts.

        1. You often give me a good chuckle John (with you, not at you!) People give you all kinds of crap on this board, but I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year, and say that I hope to read more of your thoughts here next year.

          1. Seconded.

            1. Oh, and when the clock strikes twelve on New Years Eve, think of me while you’re kissing the wife.

              1. “think of me while you’re kissing the wife”. LOL, I guess it could be worse; John’s wife could be thinking of the Gobbler

        2. I think we may be moving into (or already well in) another period where citations to authority, regardless of whether they make any demonstrable sense, are the dominant substitute for rational thinking. Kind of a neo-scholasticism.

          This may be a result, in part, of the complexity and specialization of many areas of learning. Though some of that comes from attempts by specialists to distance themselves from laymen.

  14. I know they see it the other way, but I see myself as a liberal and “libertarianism” is a weird perversion of the idea.

    The only thing that burns more than the irony is the ignorance. Fuck Yglesias.

  15. Did you see this mish mash of total shit that doesn’t even make any sense?…..bertarians

    The basic massage is that the states had tyrannical powers that the federal government didn’t curtail under the articles of confederation, so the articles were the real libertarian document. ??

    Then the basic message becomes something like: libertarianism has never worked and will never work because it’s not tyrannical enough.

    1. Well, that explains a few things.

  16. Here’s my question to Yglesias. If ‘libertarianism’ the perversion, why is it that whenever there’s a choice between a civil libertarian capitalist and a socialist authoritarian, the ‘liberal’ will alwasy come down on the side of the authoritarian socialist?

    1. Ask him on his blog.

    2. And further, why do so many leftists call themselves “libertarians”?


    So libertarians are the perverted.


    1. One of the nice things about having a well-established foundation for our government–the Constitution, common law, that sort of thing–is that it gives or political system legitimacy. This is a good thing in that it encourages people to fight for change within the system.

      Pooh-poohing the Constitution opens the door to people doing much more to challenge our government than they generally do today. If leftist jerks (on this issue, the right seems to at least pay the proper lip service) think throwing the whole system out will give them what they want, guess again. It’s more likely to result in chaos, and I doubt a socialist utopia would be the end result.

      Fucking idiots.

      1. I like how nicely this video fits into your and the other Joshua’s narrative up top that to the left history does not actually matter in this debate.

        libertarianism is a perversion of liberalism not because it has changed from its historical meaning but because the history of liberalism is unknowable, and therefor we (the left) get to randomly pick which one we like and which one we think is a perversion.

        This also might explain why they don’t like being called socialists. Das Kapital was written so so long ago how can anyone hope to understand it, let alone to draw parallels from it.

        1. We’re the children of the Enlightenment, they’re the children of Romanticism/Post-Modernism. And yes, that’s an insult.

      2. William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

        Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

        William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

        Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

  18. Matt Yglesias is a fascist shithead.


    1. While I normally believe that people who use hyperbole should be executed, I think there is some truth to your statement — judging by American history, progressivism is the larval form of fascism. Problem is that for a while, there has been sort of a smear of liberal, socialist, and progressive thought. The modern re-emergence of the word progressive suggests that enough time has passed since true fascist movements that people are comfortable moving us down that path again.

  19. Uh, within 20 years of the Declaration of Independence, most of the Founding Fathers were involved in enforcing taxes on alcohol via bloodshed, passing the Alien and Sedition Acts, and/or slavery.

    The Constitution is a libertarian document to the same extent that The Book of Genesis is a Christian document…ie, not at all as far as the writers were concerned.

    1. They were also opposing the A&S Acts (KY and VA resolutions, for example) and opposing slavery (the Yankee ones at least).

      The way people act doesnt change the document itself.

  20. Liberaltarianism…as 2006 as “End the Wars” and closing Gitmo.

    Blame Bush?

  21. I’m a libertarian, and I don’t see modern liberalism as being a weird perversion of classical liberalism/libertarianism. Rather, its the result of an audacious scam that managed to sell ultra-right-wing political positions as being “leftist.”

    Current-day liberals are so far right that they see Plato’s Republic as being a neato-keen cutting edge idea. They’re so far right that they’re to the right of Hobbes, the ur-source of the fuehrerprinzip.

    Modern liberals are classical fascists.

    1. The terms “left” and “right” need to be scrapped

  22. Count me as one of those perverts who believe that their lives belong to themselves and not Yglesias and his gang. But wouldn’t a real pervert LIKE coercion? “Tax me–tax me hard!” Just wondering.

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