Libertarian History/Philosophy

Should There Be *Any* Limits to Self-Fashioning?: Al Roker as Charlie Brown Edition

The Today Show tests the limits of tolerance and pluralism. And movie tie-ins.


Most of us here at Reason take a very broad, latitudarian approach to human existence: Anything that's peaceful and all that jazz, don't you know.

Indeed, the secret of success in "the West" (however defined) may well be the way in which classical liberalism created a system by which people are basically allowed to do whatever they want as long as they are not directly impinging on other people's right to express themselves. Toleration and pluralism goes a long way to creating a world in which people with very different ideas of the Good, the True, and the Just can get along without killing one another. To the extent that libertarianism is an outgrowth of battles over religious freedom in 17th-century England, it's totally rooted in ideas about the rights of individuals to worship (or not) God as they see fit, to associate in voluntary ways, and to be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to choosing among competing conceptions of the good.

And then there's the way in which various Today Show hosts dressed up as Peanuts characters today. Whether it's confessed-sharter Al Roker dressing up as Good Ol' Charlie Brown or Matt Lauer dressing up as fussbudget extraordinaire Lucy Van Pelt, the costumes these folks donned today may well test the limits of libertarian embrace of the weird and the wonderful.

Beyond the fact that this is all part of a transparent marketing ploy for the sure-to-disappoint 3D Peanuts movie that will soon be darkening theater screens across this great land of libertah, let's end with a question for committed libertarians this night before Halloween proper: What is the outer limit of your acceptance of letting people do whatever the hell they want? At what point, if any, does terrible, terrible freedom make you throw up at least a little in your mouth?

NEXT: Grantland Is Done, Obama's Syrian War, RNC Cancels on NBC: P.M. Links

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  1. I try to be tolerant and judgmental at the same time. It depends, of course, on whether the expression is being done on my property, your property, or what is now public property.

  2. Huh huh huh ‘Charlie BROWN’ get it? Huh huh huh

    1. Classic Peanuts line:

      “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Brownest.”

  3. If you’re not following Wu-Tang Financial on Twitter, you ought to be:

    Wu-Tang Financial

    1. Wu-Tang Financial Retweeted
      Mark Dow ?@mark_dow 3h3 hours ago
      I just hope we don’t get any slutty Ben Bernanke trick-or-treaters this year.

      Leaving that here w/o comment.

    2. I love you for showing me this.

    3. Yeah, been following that feed for about a year, good stuff.

      1. One of the only twitter feeds I get (I think I have six in total). Always good laffs.

  4. What is the outer limit of your acceptance of letting people do whatever the hell they want?

    This is packed with a good bit of rhetorical gamesmanship, no?

    Outer limit: so we start with the premise that a limit exists, making it much like the man questioning a woman whether she would sleep with him for X amount of money. If there is an outer limit from the jump, the usual result is for the limit to slowly constrict more and more activity.

    My acceptance: is immaterial. My tolerance is something else; that just means my putting up with shit that I may not like. I am required to neither champion it nor want to ban it. It happens, I deal with it, and we both move on.

    Letting people do what they want: letting people as in they require my or society’s permission? Seems the usual standard is when what they want infringes on the rights of someone else. Which may well be the outer limit.

    Overkill? Or needz moar boooz.

  5. The progs are going to fuck themselves with this cultural appropriation thing.

    They are saying that behaviors or costumes have inherent “race”, and yet they’re pushing this wonderful new LGBTQLSFMT style where anyone can declare whatever identity they want and everyone is supposed to participate in re-identification no matter how uncomfortable or absurd.

    I for one like the new LGBTQLSFMT designations, because it threatens to destabilize the whole identity politics industry.

    1. I think you can go a lot simpler for that and simply ask why its ok to take a traditionally white character and make them another race or change their sexual identity. Which is what they have been clamoring for in every other context.

      1. And yet, if a white person takes a black character and makes them white, the screams of “RACISMMMZZZ!!!” would resonate across the country.

        I was thinking of cutting up an afro wig and dressing up as The Weeknd (and not putting any brown makeup on), but ultimately I didn’t have the time or money to go through all that. I probably would’ve caught massive hell for it, though.

    2. The prog are going to reintroduce segregation and cultural purges with a new name if they follow “cultural appropriation” to the bitter end.

      1. in the large cities, they have already done that. People voted with their feet and suburbia bloomed.

        1. That’s not the same thing. People were leaving behind dysfunctional cities.

          1. And forced busing implemented by the left to solve the ghetto problem which of course exacerbated the ghetto problem.

    3. What about a “B”?

  6. When they infringe on the negative rights of another.

  7. Al Roker’s character would have looked better in White Face.

    1. I thought of a wonderful conundrum of a question tonight. I am white, therefore so is my daughter. If she wants to dress as a shadow for Halloween, is she “allowed” to paint her face black to do this? Or is this “blackface” and racist, so “not allowed”?

      1. I am white, therefore so is my daughter

        Isn’t there someone else who factors into that equation?

        1. Touched a nerve? 🙂

          1. Sorry for othering the prokaryotes among us.

            1. You done stepped in it!

              Bacterial conjugation

      2. That all depends on the various penumbras and permutations in the Constitution.

  8. What is the outer limit of your acceptance of letting people do whatever the hell they want?

    Use of the word “latitudarian”.

  9. Appropriating the characteristics of another species is not okay.

    1. Special appropriation is problematic.

    1. Doesn’t he just look cute enough to eat?

    2. Probably not as much as the baby hates himself

    3. Don’t hate the player – hate the Game

      1. That kid’s face just screams “recidivism!”

    4. I find that hard to believe.

      1. Maybe he’s upset because its obviously under-cooked

        1. And under seasoned. But don’t believe me, believe the market and my vacation to Tahiti.

          1. (Hipster taps Playa on the arm and whispers)

            “This place doesn’t even serve real Mexican babies. Its totally just American babies and some Ortega taco sauce. Now….I know this great out-of-the-way Taquiera where you can get 4 babies for like $5, and OMG the baby-mole is just…don’t get me started…”

            1. Chipotle will be dead soon. Mark my words.

              1. Because of their financials or just the general blandness of their food?

                1. Both. This fad will pass in the night.

              2. You can always have Hot Pockets drowned in chimichurri sauce.

                1. Chimichurri is far too advanced for a place like Chipotle.

              3. I don’t go to Chipotle but I don’t go to McDonald’s either. For basically the same reason. Most people don’t know what good food is which is why both places survive.

              4. Plus, if you eat at Chipotle, it makes blood come out of your ass.



    Version A

    ” people are basically allowed to do whatever they want as long as they are not directly impinging on other people’s right to express themselves…. libertarianism is … totally rooted in ideas about the rights of individuals to worship (or not) God as they see fit, to associate in voluntary ways, and to be given the benefit of the doubt “

    Version B

    “wearing blackface is presumed to be deeply offensive?and rightly so, given the long history of white performers dressing up as racist caricatures. These kinds of costumes are a reminder of a legacy of racial discrimination, and disparage all black people. They are never a wise idea. Morrow should have neglected to darken his skin in order to avoid accusations of blackface.”

    This is why we need Top People From Colombia Journalism School to tell us what is OKAY and NOT OKAY because this stuff apparently gets confusing even for proponents of libertarianism.

    1. Robby only has a B.A. from Michigan.

      1. Perhaps i should have said =

        I find version A to be a excellent, simple summary of libertarian attitudes about ‘culture-politics’ = do your fucking thing, mate – just don’t get use it as an excuse to make demands on others.

        Whereas, I find version B to be completely absurd, irrelevant, and have no fucking idea how a ostensible libertarian gets in their head to morally-scold people’s “party costume” choices

        1. Again, “thick” vs. “thin” libertarianism.

          1. I had to look up what this was


            I’m not sure its exactly the right distinction.

            They characterize “thick” as a version of libertarianism that requires more of a social-justice sort of worldview… that ‘inequity’ should be fixed.

            And ‘thin ‘ is a sort of Rothbardian minimalism that says, “its the NAP and nothing else”

            I don’t think my point is strictly about either POV.

            Its the basic classical-liberal, “live and let live” attitude which i think is a necessary precondition for libertarian thought at all.

            That a robust pluralism is ultimately better than a monoculture, and that no matter how vile some social-arrangements, that free choice and confrontation of ideas produces better new ones.

            Not that “some views are wrong” and must be fixed. and that “free speech” is a good insofar as it helps the society identify the ‘wrong un’s’ and enable their destruction through force of mob pressure.

            Neither is it an entirely neutral view, where as long as the NAP is satisfied, there’s no ‘value judgement’ to be made at all.

            Its a view that ‘offensiveness’…short of *actual* racism… is something we should enjoy as a byproduct of a dynamic society. Halloween costumery is exactly this kind of social phenomenon. Provocativeness for its own sake. Tut-tutting it seems to me the most unlibertarian attitude imaginable

            1. Put another way =

              i think what i’m suggesting is closer to the “Thick” view… that there are other philosophical views additional to the NAP that are likely pre-requisites for even functioning in the kind of open, spontaneous society that ‘should be’ the libertarian ideal.

              Its just that my conception of what the “right” Thick view is… isn’t remotely close to what the SocJus/left-libertarians seem to believe it entails.

              1. The distinction is in the concept of force.

                Thin libertarianism posits that force is physical in nature. When you introduce feelings into it, all sorts of bad things start to happen,

                SJWs seek to protect their feelings from your force of opinion. And I’m certain that Islamists would tell you that the mere existence of heretics and apostates hurt God’s feelings and therefore they must be dealt with as well.

                Feeeeeeeeelings, nothing more than feeeeeeelings….

  11. “At what point, if any, does terrible, terrible freedom make you throw up at least a little in your mouth?”

    People who do that shit with their earlobes and lips

    that’s pretty much it. Furries I think are weird … but i think they’d understand respect my own desire to hunt them down with nerf weapons and “skin” them for my trophy room.

    next question

    1. Yeah, gross. As long as they can support themselves off the government teet though whatevs.

      1. indeed. I used to play pool with a guy who had the lobes all stretched. I told him once it was Yucks. He looked at me and went, “And?”, and I laughed and said, “and nothing bro, more power to you”. and we became good pool buddies. I never ever changed my view that his choice was icky to the max and made children cry, (and me puke a little in my mouth) but so it goes.

        There’s a reason I chose that “mouth puke” part, and not the “limits of acceptance” part.

  12. “What is the outer limit of your acceptance of letting people do whatever the hell they want?”

    I do what the hell I decide. No one ‘lets’ me do anything. This is an important distinction. In countries without protected gun rights governments ‘let’ people do things. In a country where you can defend your liberty, you have the possibility of being free.

    I say we only step in and stop people when they infringe on other’s self ownership.

    1. I say we only step in and stop people when they infringe on other’s self ownership

      Looks like it about time to step in and stop our gubmint.

      1. That is who it usually is.

        Worth noting that government is not the problem. The KKKorporations are not the problem. Whatever power edifice we erect it will be used to make people into vassals by psychopaths whose sole motive is to twist that institution to that purpose.

        Our political class is the problem. That we even have a political class is a problem.

        1. That we even have a political class is a problem.

          Very true.

    2. Reposting this from earlier today because it is so awful. I forget who originally posted it.

      This is the perfect useful idiot. She has a worshipful sycophantic opinion about someone that she considers a king who rules solely by royal decree. Of course she thinks he will only do the right things, only the things she thinks are good. She is willing to unquestioningly give total power over to him. One of the good things she thinks he should do of course is to disarm the American people so that they cannot defend themselves, their rights, their families, or their country. It is a certainty that all that will subsequently be lost to them.

      Every murderous dictator who clamped his boot on the necks of millions rose to power and was kept there by people exactly like Barbera Lasavoy.


      “I urge President Obama to ban firearm possession in America. He is the president of the United States. He can change the country. He can do it today. I believe in him.” – Barbara LeSavoy is director of Women and Gender Studies at The College at Brockport.

      1. Me, but the link was broken in the original post.

        I think it was linked to by someone else (either PJ media or Instapundit) today that i saw.

        I personally found the detail about the placemats to make the thing worthwhile

        “Still, I did not waver. I dug into our old dining room cupboards, and found our worn but resilient Obama placements. I dusted them off, and once again, my family and I ate all of our meals looking at his image. In his presidency, we still imagined a country on the edge of change.”

        The fact that she is entirely ignorant of the constitution and dreams of a Charismatic Dear-Leader to come and bring Utopia via decree is sort of besides the point. There are tons of those. But they don’t obsess about placemats,

        1. She has set up a shrine to him and performs rituals in it. This is religion to her. She is the worst kind of useful idiot. These are the kind of people who drag whole nations into hell.

          Reading her writing she is also an actual idiot.

                1. Mm. I’m old school. I’ve never been that fond of the modern Wire-Work style of kung-fu.

                  I used to watch Drive-In-Theater on WOR 11 (or was it 9?) in the 1980s on Saturdays after cartoons… where they would show a Godzilla-then-Kung-Fu movie back to back.

                  I still prefer the old-school style with the ridiculous sound effects, editing, ‘same 3 voices’ doing every character, and the nonsensical shifts in attitude/plot.

                  1. I hear what you’re saying. I am second to none for my love for the Five Deadly Venoms era of Shaw Bros. However, you cannot deny that the final fight between Jet Li and Donnie Yen in Once Upon a Time in China II wasn’t one of the most amazingly choreographed scenes in kung-fu movie history.

                  2. in the 1980s on Saturdays after cartoons… where they would show a Godzilla-then-Kung-Fu movie back to back.

                    Yeah, that was awesome. You don’t find that on TV anymore.

      2. During his 2008 presidential campaign, my two daughters, partner, and I ate every meal in our house on Obama placemats. We bought these at our local supermarket, plastic-coated, plate-sized paper rectangles with an image of his face framed by colors of the flag. While politically minded, I am not overly patriotic, so this mealtime ritual of American allegiance was odd for me.

        I would have starved to death first.

      3. The saddest thing is that this woman holds a paid position in higher education.

      4. She looks exactly like I thought she would

  13. Yes, we must have rulez and regulashunz, about everything, just because and for the childins.

    /accepted by braindead luddites everywhere, like the assclown Hihnfected.

    1. You kind of wantonly misunderstood him. Your sloppiness is a weakness.

  14. Enjoy guys. Refugee tries to get on bus for free in Sweden.

  15. OT: After my commute home today, I was lugging a few groceries and the weekend beer to the house when I overheard a couple of my older neighbors … well most people in this hood are older than me and by far the majority of them are Prius driving yuppie douchebags who you probably couldn’t suffer being around for 5 seconds, were on the sidewalk chatting. What I heard was agreement between the 2 of them that they could not stand Hillary and actually couldn’t even stand to vote Democrat one more time… at this point I’m paying attention to such a shocking revelation as I’m one of the few residents here who does not have an Obama/Biden bumper sticker on their car. Then one of them says ‘But I’m just so disappointed by Jeb Bush’. In a moment in time that seemed to stand still I envisioned several scenes occurring, like walking over and smacking their heads together and screaming ‘You dumbshit fucksticks! Just keep voting Democrat if you think Jeb is the alternative! Why the fuck do you think you’re disappointed!’.

    These people are just fucking insufferable. This is actually where a few hundred thousand years of human evolution lead to? We truly have not evolved, monkeys cannot be this fucking comically stupid.


    2. Which is why you vote Trump. END IT ALL LET’S GET WEIRD.

  16. Man, could this writer be any more of a buzz kill??? Lighten up, dude.

  17. I am outraged, OUTRAGED that Al Roker couldn’t just be happy dressing as Franklin.

    O U T R A G E D !

  18. Call or wake me when someone dresses up as Pig Pen.

    1. That would be Bernie Sanders, no?

      1. Yes. Yes I guess it would!

    2. Ummm… Google “Meredith Vieira Pigpen”

      I don’t want to look myself…

  19. Why does Roker have Arabic writing on his head?

    1. Fuck. This is going to be one of those times where a squiggle bears a 3% likeness, if you squint, to the Arabic for “Allah” or “Muhammad”, and we’ll have to put up with at least 2 weeks of self-righteous shrill ululations from froth-mouthed Pakistani mobs.

      1. I like that the video is credited to “Hajj Stampede Productions”

    2. What is on his head is Arabic for “homosexual.” Al Roker will suck your dick. Fact.

      1. So he’ll only work at ground level from now on?

  20. Libertarians are libertarians precisely because they don’t get worked up over what people decide to do with their liberty.

    Simply put, we don’t gross out easily (SugarFree’s efforts notwithstanding).

    1. This is close to the point i was trying to make above about how “cultural hypersensitivity” seems to be incompatible with any kind (thick or thin) of libertarianism.

  21. Happy Halloween from the Reason DC office

    1): I appreciate ENB’s share of the costumes
    2): I have no idea what anyone is (other than Soave, as I hope that he is not the sporting a neckerchief every day sort of guy, but who knows with the cosmostarian types) but I applaud the knee show-offsists.

    1. So that’s what they do with our subscription and ad money?!?!?!?

      1. They get unsuspecting readers drunk on straight whiskey so they’ll buy the staffers dinner.

        1. You need to build up an immunity.

          1. Each time is less fun than the last.

            Nurse! My button doesn’t seem to work!

    2. You’re late to the party, bro

      1. In my defense, I was out most of the afternoon, and it was new to HM, who is one of the five best commenters on this site.

        1. I’m not sure what your end game is, but I’m on to you.

          Also, thanks for making me your favorite commenter. I don’t feel like I deserve it, but on the other hand, I do.

          1. thanks for making me your favorite commenter.

            If you look down and you see a bare toe, you are most assuredly not in the top five.

            1. I’ve had it up to here with your camel toe obsession. And no, it’s not bare.

              1. He meant bear toe, as in “inner labia as pronounced as the outer” and TIWTANFL.

  22. this night before Halloween proper

    You mean mischief night, Nicholas? Some Jersey kid you are…

    1. “Damage night” in Cinti; dog poop in paper bags, TP cars, maybe even soap windows, that sort of stuff. Stalin would have loved us; EVIL we were!

      1. Is it a sign of civilization that our vandalism had an undercurrent of respect for property? No permanent damage that I can remember.

        Some kids recently let air out of my car tires while I was playing tennis. But only enough that it was noticeable; not so much that I couldn’t drive safely to the nearby gas station. I was an odd sort of thankful.

  23. What people do with their freedom is frequently stupid.

    However, it usually doesn’t make me throw up in my mouth, or go whining to politicians about it.

    That’s what separates the men from the bitches.

    1. Even those who have fashioned their appearance in a way I find obnoxious don’t require me to look at them.

  24. At what point, if any, does terrible, terrible freedom make you throw up at least a little in your mouth?

    Whenever I see that Bo and PB are still posting regularly.

  25. “Two Girls One Cup”

  26. Eh. I think whatever success the West has had was their not being conquered by any foreign power from another sphere. Thanks to Charles Martel and before him, Odo for stopping the Islamic conquest of Europe and then the Spanish for pushing it back.

    A policy that Merkel seems to be reversing.

    1. A policy that Merkel seems to be reversing.

      Until the East Germans lose their patience. They’re not quite as tolerant as the West Germans.

  27. If there’s anything to be offended about, it’s the CGifying of Peanuts.

  28. theres a big difference between turning off the TV and demanding people conform towards anyones notion of what they feel is “acceptable”, regardless of any endorsement deal. So to answer the question, anyone can wear whatever they want becuase you have the right to freely express yourself, and I have the right to ignore you.

  29. This seems a rather odd interpretation of libertarianism. In effect, it assumes that libertarians can’t have moral or aesthetic preferences or beliefs beyond the NAP. But, I’d argue that that’s a cheap libertarianism. It’s easy to be okay with drug legalization if you have no problem with drug use. It’s easy to be okay with gay marriage if you’re okay with homosexuality. The real test of a libertarian is how do they react when it’s something they don’t like. It’s the libertarian who deplores drug use and homosexuality who shows commitment to libertarian principles when they support legalization or same sex marriage. In the same vain, it’s the libertarian who “embraces the weird and the wonderful” who shows commitment to principle when they support the rights of rednecks and “yokels”.

  30. Thread’s dead, so I might as well add this – testicular politicians are a Culture, not a Costume

  31. Yeah, I am coming to this really late. But I have to ask: I have seen the arguments that libertarianism means letting people behave as they like (so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others) and so therefore saying something like, “maybe blackface is not not a good idea” is contrary to libertarian ideas. But I don’t see it. It seems sort of like saying, libertarianism means letting people do what they want so that means you can’t have your own opinions about what other people do. That hardly seems libertarian to me.

    Anyway… “At what point, if any, does terrible, terrible freedom make you throw up at least a little in your mouth?” The terrible, terrible freedom of people to fawn over folks like Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump and still be included in the category of “mainstream”. Or maybe the freedom of the Hallmark channel to exist? Not sure which is worse.

  32. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,


  33. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,


  34. Generally speaking?

    Comment sections.

  35. The question is a good one,,, but using a harmless marketing ploy to demostrate it is WEAK!

    So should we allow nudity in public?
    Would a person covered in feces be allowed in a resturant? or even on who stinks?
    Does self expression include act of art like pearcing yourself on the sidewalk or public sex?

    I think I get where he was going but Using Chuck and Lucy to demonstrate it were like I said, weak…

  36. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

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