Libertarian History/Philosophy

Is the Fact that More People Aren't Libertarian Proof that Libertarianism Is a Failure?

Shouldn't truth succeed in the "marketplace of ideas"? Some reasons why we shouldn't assume that will be the case.

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If libertarianism is so right, and if "markets work," why is it not obviously winning out in either the political marketplace or the marketplace of ideas? This is a question raised recently by Jerry Taylor, chief of the Niskanen Center, who concludes there must be something seriously deficient in either libertarian ideas or how most libertarians attempt to sell or actuate them.

George Mason University economist Bryan Caplan thinks that there's a lot of misunderstanding to unpack in that formulation. (Disclosure: both Taylor and Caplan are old pals of mine.)

Here's the thing, says Caplan:

Most markets work well, but the market for ideas doesn't.  Why not?  Because ideas have massive externalities.  The market for pollution works poorly because strangers bear almost all the cost of your pollution. The market for ideas, similarly, works poorly because strangers bear almost all the cost of your irrationality.  This is the heart of my argument in The Myth of the Rational Voter.

2′. Truth doesn't largely win out in a well-functioning market for ideas, because consumers primarily seek not truth, but comfort and entertainment….

Like Jerry, I reject dogmatic libertarianism.  And I'm all for better marketing of libertarian ideas.  But no matter how true libertarianism is, we shouldn't expect it to be popular.  Why not?  Because it tells people an ocean of things they deeply resent…..Treating its verdict as a test of truth is a terrible mistake.  

People can be won over to libertarian thought by the more traditional means of the existing libertarian movement. My 2007 book Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement tells the tale of how that happened to likely hundreds of thousands in America, via books and policy papers and journals of political opinion (like the one whose website you are now enjoying).

My 2012 book Ron Paul's Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired was, I thought at the time, a tale of how that slow walk to possible victory happened in a more concentrated way in the context of electoral politics. No doubt, a lot has happened in the political market since then to make it seem I overestimated (based on the best data I had at the time, the hundreds of Paul fans I was able to meet and communicate with in reality and online) the extent to which the mass of 2.1 million 2012 Paul voters were picking up the same libertarianism the Ron Paul on the stump and in his bestselling books during the campaign was selling.

That said, policy entrepreneurs as Jerry Taylor is trying to be with Niskanen Center or political entrepreneurs of any variety should certainly keep experimenting as they see fit to discover what methods or techniques might make the world a freer place, in ideas or in actuality. (My suspicion is the only one right answer is that there is no one right answer to argumentative techniques or policy change styles.)

But there might be less reason for utter hopelessness than you might guess if you insist on viewing political or idea marketplaces as efficient mechanisms for reaching truth.

NEXT: Good News! The Establishment Is Gaining on Donald Trump. Bad News! The Establishment Is Gaining

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  1. Maybe if you get likable movie personality Tom Hanks to espouse libertarianism, it would take off.

    1. Or get Beyonce to sing a song about having sex with libertarians.

    2. I keep repeating this, but a libertarian version of Jon Stewart would be really helpful.

      1. Whats Bill Maher, chopped liver?

        1. That is an insult to chopped liver.

          1. Stanhope had his shot but he pissed (smoked,snorted) it away with too many ass-pussy jokes, so we’re stuck with Maher. You don’t like it, I don’t like but that’s the way it is.

            1. Sez you. Bill Maher is not even close to libertarian.

              1. ^This. Screw that proggie. Just because he claims it doesn’t make him a libertarian.

                1. Look, he says he is a libertarian, and as a libertarian myself, I am not going to impose my definitions on anyone, so unless you can think of a more successful, self-described libertarian, televisionated, comedian we are stuck with Billy boy as our joke-telling spokesperson.

                  1. That libertarian wants to repeal the 2nd amendment so it would be legal to confiscate all guns.

                    1. If he understands that repeal is necessary to confiscate, that’s nearly a libertarian position.

      2. Greg Gutfeld qualified for a while.

        But radical Islam pretty much ended that.

        1. Radical Islam or huge checks signed by Rupert Murdoch?

        2. Islam is that elephant in the room that must be ignored by the purists.

          1. By ‘ignored’ you mean ‘not addressed in the way you want’.

            1. I mean in a way that makes any sense at all.

              1. Pants-shitting is not sensible.

        3. Nope. He was for stop and frisk. Not a libertarian. Also not a good comedian, but then again neither was John Stewart.

      3. John Stossel is the best you’re going to get. Deal with it.

        1. Penn Jilette and Raymone Teller.

        2. Can we get Kid Rock in our camp?

  2. *control+f’s moment. satisfied with the result. reads article*

  3. I’m willing to concede that maybe making SugarFree our spokesperson wasn’t the best idea after all.

    1. Considering it was him or Warty, I think you made the best choice you had at the time.

      1. Doesn’t that just describe democracy all over.

  4. Is the Fact that More People Aren’t Libertarian Proof that Libertarianism Is a Failure?

    Most people are libertarians when evaluating their own property and agency.

    Most people are not libertarians when evaluating somebody else’s property and agency.

    1. ^ This times infinity

  5. Personal responsibility is hard.

    1. And pop culture teaches tolerance of dependency

    2. Like the 10 commandments, everyone is in favor of others being strictly accountable, but want some wiggle room. It’s 4 commandments and 6 ‘do your bests.’

    3. “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” George Bernard Shaw

    4. It is, but I think a lot of people rationalize their feelings by arguing that there is so much out of the control of some people that no amount of personal responsibility will improve their lives.

  6. Truth doesn’t largely win out in a well-functioning market for ideas, because consumers primarily seek not truth, but comfort and entertainment

    I think this is right. People don’t like changing their minds because they believe they are good people, and what they believe is a big part of what makes them good people. Progressives fucking love science because it makes them feel good about themselves. Same goes for everyone else, including libertarians. I have to admit I “get something” mentally satisfying out of being a support of libertarian policies. (of course, libertarians have the benefit of being correct.)

    I think a better test than sheer numbers of libertarians vs. conservatives or liberals or progressives (whatever), is the number of people who, once exposed to libertarian ideas, “come to the light.”

    Let’s face it, most Americans have not heard of libertarians. I would wager most libertarians are not born to parents who are libertarian, but instead come to it by reading Reason or studying economics or some other way. Most folks who believe other stuff just believe what their parents believe.

    1. I think the biggest problem with the Libertarian movement is the core of their belief… the “non-agression principle”, while I’m all for it and understand it, most people don’t have the intelligence to stick to it in difficult situations. Either we need a MUCH more intelligent electorate (never going to happen) or we need to at least continue to be the that calm voice of reason.

  7. Kind of an offside rant, but does anyone actually believe in rational voters? There are a lot of people who espouse the virtues of democracy and participation, but how many are sincere and not just trying to gin up support? This is especially true on the left which has made the will of the people the ultimate litmus test for whether something is good when they agree with it, but trash it when they don’t and look for end arounds. The market is the most democratic institution imaginable in that every individual truly gets a say and nothing is forced on anyone when it is allowed to operate freely. Yet, the end result is frequently mocked or even condemned by people who wish to control it.

    The most libertarian option available to the individual seems to be developing new methods of undermining the regulatory state. People hate markets, but the progressive attack on Uber is going to fail because people, to include Democratic voters, love it. The shrill minority online who rant about it don’t have the power to change it, and frankly would probably use it themselves.

    Uber is the most libertarian thing going on right now. They basically just tell governments to fuck off and keep operating despite bans. And somehow get away with it more often than not.

    1. does anyone actually believe in rational voters

      Of course not. Voting is not rational–at least for its stated purpose–so how can you have rational voters? It is not rational to think that your statistically insignificant effect on the outcome is anything but meaningless, yet somehow people do. Because they aren’t rational and want to “feel” that their vote matters. Somehow. Even though it doesn’t. At all.

      1. But that’s a rational response, even if it’s based on a fanciful notion of democratic participation. If I believed that casting votes for (say) Hillary would help advance the cause of women, I would be a) gravely mistaken and b) a little bit daft, but more importantly, c) rational in casting my vote for her.

        As for his question, a lot of people on the left, especially young people, sincerely believe all of that middle-school social studies bollocks about civic participation. Voting is one of those unquestionable shibboleths.

        1. Which is why we need to fight to bring government back to the local levels. When there is a town of 10,000 voting age adults, a single vote does matter as you actually KNOW the candidates.

          What we have in Washington is a cluster-fuck which I won’t even try to get into here.

      2. “It is not rational to think that your statistically insignificant effect on the outcome is anything but meaningless”

        Maybe you should tell that to the voters in the 6 Iowa donkey precincts where the outcome was decided by a coin flip.

        Believe what you like. Convince enough people with similar principles (i.e. libertarians) and you really will have an impact – working precisely against your own views.

        1. I wasn’t aware that I was talking about some boutique specialized election of a few voters for a mere primary for a single party. When I vote at work as to whether to get pizza or sandwiches for lunch, do you think that’s the same as voting for president too? I know that the idea that your vote is meaningless scares the shit out of you, because you think it means you’re powerless and have no say, but…that’s reality, chief, and guess what? You’re powerless and have no say and if you think your vote means anything, you go right ahead and stick your head back in that sand.

          You. Are. Irrational if you think your vote matters. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

          1. Iowa caucuses don’t count. What if Hildebeast wins the nom by one delegate? What else doesn’t count? How large does the voter base have to be for you to drop out?

            It’s not about power of one in most instances. But what if all the people that Epi talks to and agreed with dropped out. The effect would be significant. More often in smaller elections, like for the Mayor, but occasionally for more important ones.

            For want of a nail…

            1. The only thing I can glean from the word salad you just vomited onto the page is that you don’t understand math. Which was my entire fucking point. so thanks for making it for me.

          2. “I wasn’t aware that I was talking about some boutique specialized election of a few voters for a mere primary for a single party. ”

            You did not specify any particular election.

            “I know that the idea that your vote is meaningless scares the shit out of you, because you think it means you’re powerless”

            You know what scares me? Isn’t this precisely the kind of projection you rail against?

            Your self awareness is lacking.

            1. Weakly trying to accuse me of projection (which doesn’t even apply in this case, unless you can point to where I am somehow myself scared that *my* vote doesn’t count, even though I don’t vote because I know it’s worthless) still doesn’t distract from your complete and total lack of understanding of math.

              I mean, just look at your responses to Nicole below. Those votes were explicitly invalidated and you continue to insist that they were even more valuable. It’s amazing stuff. Do you have any more insights like this to share? Because I could use some more laughs.

              1. You wrote that I was fearful based on what? Nothing. Is that not projection? Do you claim to know my thoughts, fears?

                You are not worth arguing with.

        2. Did you just use a coin toss as an example of when your vote counts?

          This is what democrats really believe.

          1. The vote was a tie! One vote changed, or one more vote and there would not have been the need for a coin toss. Hence, each vote could have changed the outcome. Was that really so hard to understand?

            1. Oh, I understand. Your vote counted so much it literally made them use a random result.

              1. It was a tie. Same number of votes on each side. If even ONE person had voted differently the outcome would have been decided that direction. So every vote mattered.

                I’m amazed you can’t grasp that.

            2. You do understand that in that case your/whoever’s vote did not count at all, right? Right?!? Like, it was even less than statistically insignificant…it was discarded. You do understand this, right?

              1. So, by your logic, if the Blackhawks tie the Rangers 3-3, none of the goals were significant. And the shots blocked by the goalies were also irrelevant.

                1. Pretty much. Epi does not understand how numbers work.

  8. Is the Fact that More People Aren’t Libertarian Proof that Libertarianism Is a Failure?

    It takes a lot of discipline and self-restraint to be a libertarian, Brian. It is very easy to succumb to the basest of emotions which is envy. Why do you think so many want free shit or to deport 12 million people, despite the stupidity behind those two ideas? ‘Tis Envy.

    1. In some cases, sure, but I don’t think the emotion people tend to feel has that much spite in it, unless it’s being ginned up by one of the true believers. I think most people just look at inequality, see one person who seems to be suffering (relatively), another person who seems like they have more than enough to be really comfortable and happy, and conclude that it’s better to help the poor at the expense of the rich.

      Being able to try and accomplish that through a government and tradition of taxation that removes them from the force involved makes it that much easier.

    2. I don’t know seems like it takes a lot more self discipline to not smoke pot or snort blow than it does to not hang your richer neighbors from lamp posts. I mean conservatives oppose the politics of envy too and they oppose social libertenism and permissiveness as well. Seems to me libertarian is at best the second most self-restraint demanding political ideology in America.

      1. That’s a wonderful observation, Tulpy-Poo. Got any more brilliance to share? You know how we all respect your opinion. Tell us more.

      2. I don’t know seems like it takes a lot more self discipline to not smoke pot or snort blow than it does to not hang your richer neighbors from lamp posts.

        By what measure?

        I mean conservatives oppose the politics of envy too and they oppose social libertenism and permissiveness as well.

        If they oppose it as a moral conviction, then that is one thing. If they oppose it through the actions of the government, then it’s not self-restraint they’re showing, it’s envy. What difference is there between wanting your neighbor locked up for smoking pot and wanting your neighbor locked up for having “too much” money?

        1. if you were said neighbor wouldnt you feel much better knowing the reason you were in jail was justificated?

  9. I’ve always figured that most libertarians don’t know they are actually libertarians, because they have an idea of libertarians that isn’t true, and don’t realize there is more disagreement on many issues within libertarianism than there is within Rs or Ds. That’s also a huge part of why there is no Libertarian Party “establishment”.

    1. It is just a bunch of long-hairs with guns doing drugs. My word!

      1. “It is just a bunch of long-hairs with guns doing drugs. ”

        No Mexican ass sex? That’s not like the libertarians I know.

      2. Um if guns were that identifiable an element of libertarianism libertarians might be more popular. Guns is about 27th on the list. Does a single Reason writer have a gun? For whatever reason you guys decided to double down on open borders, not making porn actors wear condoms, and gay marriage.

        1. You have a point that the Staff here are all coastal urbanises.

        2. Actually guns come up here all the time. You’d know if you could read.

        3. Actually guns come up here all the time. You’d know if you could read.

    2. I agree pretty much but I’d like to add that a lot of libertarians don’t call themselves libertarians because libertarians are blamed for anything that goes wrong ? even if it was against libertarian ideas, libertarians opposed it, etc.

    3. Yeah, and the silent majority totally wants another deadly ground war.

      In case that wasn’t clear, I don’t put much stock in baseless beliefs on how people “really” feel, especially when it is in direct opposition to their stated *and* revealed preferences.

      1. There’s nothing inherently unlibertarian about that.

  10. Was listening to econ talk last week and one of Caplan’s points was made clear. The guest was talking about discussing the minimum wage with a friend andctalking about how a raise has to be paid for: less employment or less benefits or increased automation or movement or increased prices or less profit or something. It will be paid for.

    The response was ” I dont want to think about it like that.”

    1. That is a good example of why libertarians are few and far between. A libertarian argument for no minimum wage has nothing to do with the economic impact. It is purely about freedom. But if you make that point to the vast majority of people they think you are nuts. Very few people think about issues in terms of individual liberty in general. (It’s a different matter entirely when it’s their liberty in question). Why that is the case I have no idea.

      1. Indoctrination in government run schools.

        1. nobody needs any indoctrination to be selfish and myopic

  11. How can a moral position be a “failure”? It merely is what it is, no matter how many people subscribe to it or not.

    1. Same for markets. Markets dont succeed or fail, it just is what it is.

  12. If libertarianism is so right, and if “markets work,” why is it not obviously winning out in either the political marketplace or the marketplace of ideas?

    Probably because most people are trying to optimize on a different definition of “right” and what markets work towards than libertarians.

    If you don’t value liberty above other moral considerations, then libertarianism is probably going to seem shallow or myopic to you.

    If you are more offended by inequality than poverty, libertarianism is probably going to seem wrong to you.

    1. Well put.

  13. See public choice theory.

  14. Most people have never studied political philosophy. They don’t think about political. systems. They don’t really understand what the various “isms” even mean outside of the culture war. Their opinions of those “isms” are largely the result of their opinions of or identification with personalities, historical or modern, whom they associate these ideas with. They typically think on an issue by issue basis. If the majority agrees with them then majority rules, if not, then they have some other rationalization for why the law should side with them. They want everyone else to live the way they deem proper and best, but no one should tell them what they should do. They do not see any conflict between those tow opposing ideas because they are never going to think about it that deeply.

    1. Fascism is the best example of it. A lot of people equate fascism (and even Nazism!) with libertarianism and corporatism with crony capitalism and business corporations to lead to the idea that libertarian is fascism ? rule by cronyist business corporations ? reborn.

  15. It’s because that Libertarianism, and Markets in general, are not intuitive to most people. Some people are trained to think the other way, so they literally can’t comprehend things, like how raising the minimum wage actually hurts poor people.

  16. Because libertarianism doesn’t say “Up against the wall, motherfucker”.

  17. In the past year, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a libertarian any more. And there are lots of reasons. 1) NAP, and libertarianism, tells you what you and the government shouldn’t do. i.e. Don’t steal your neighbors stuff. The gov’t shouldn’t restrict speech. And a lot of the articles are about what shouldn’t be happening. HOwever, Libertarianism is completely useless at saying when I or the gov’t should act. Besides roads and enforcing contracts, when is it moral and right for the government to act. How much taxes (stealing, I admit) is necessary and proper? Is universal health care too much? Environmental law? Food Stamps? Regulations for how wide a highway is? I’ve been here for over ten years, and I have no idea (and there is no consensus in the peanut gallery) what is a permissable amount of governement intervention?

    1. 2) The islam question. There is no doubt a thing called Islam and it is on the move and it doesn’t assimilate and it represents the antithesis of libertarianism. Yet people panst shit about my pants shitting over islam. “Don’t you collectivise all those people.” What a fucking flaccid concept? So when the Huns were invading the Roman Empire, I am supposed to treat each of them individually. Dont collective this mongollian, or this one, or this one, or….. Fuck that is stupid because after a while, you don’t have to worry about the sin of collectivizing because your fucking civilization doesn’t exist anymore. I would say this is askin to #1, when is it permissible to act and use force.

      1. 3) And this one is completely emotional, but the smugness in here often turns me off to the point that I take weeks off. The commentariat here often is to political philosophy what Dawkins is to religion. If libertarians are so god damn smart, their philosophy so sound and righteous, why is it as useless as a flaccid penis? 4) There are degrees of libertarianism and those aren’t very well explicated. For example I have no problem holding a gun to your head and taking a few cents out of your paycheck for food stamps. To many, this is heretical. Even though I agree with 99% of everything else a fellow libertarianism might have an opinion on. F-35, Check, Cops license to kill, check. Literal interpretation of the constitution, check. Rule of law, check. Pot, check. Ass sex, check. Mexicans (whom I love), check. Foreign intervention. check. prostitution, check. But compelling you to feed your fellow citizens at gunpoint….Holy fucking shit I am an asshole.

        1. and ps. fuck the 1500 character limit. I’ve been hanging here for better than a decade. I think I am entitled. …yes fucking entitled…. to more than 1500 characters.

          1. So where are you going to go now, politically speaking?

          2. Your argument makes no sense. Libertarianism doesn’t tell the government when it should act? That’s precisely what the NAP does. When there are a violation of natural rights, the government should act. It’s really fucking simple.

            What your argument boils down to is that libertarianism is generally opposed to government action that you may like because you think the end result is good. You don’t want to follow the core principle which basically makes the vast majority of what our government currently does wrong.

            So what you support is a political ideology that that has no principles or coherency to it because it allows you to pick and choose from a wider array of options. You will conveniently reject the ones that you feel are in your interest, but support the ones that you don’t mind personally or which don’t impact you much. As in, you want to abandon any underlying philosophy when you vote. But you sure as fuck did not point out any actual contradictions or legitimate issues with the ideas which underpin llibertarianism.

          3. I’ve always appreciated Bastiat’s description of the proper scope of government. If the government derives its authority from the people, then it has the same authority as all the individuals who comprise it. It’s proper role is a wholesale defense of the natural rights of the citizens it represents.

            Similarly, it does not have rights that the individuals who comprise it don’t have.

          4. So basically you are incoherent and dumb enough to equate Muslim immigrants with the Huns, and it’s our fault.

            Goodbye.

        2. You are probably correct that you are not a “pure” libertarian. In some cases your other moral positions supersede your personal liberty position, as is probably the case for most people that consider themselves libertarians. You appear to be a lot more libertarian than not, and a ton more libertarian than most, so the answer to Florida Man’s question to you is most likely that you have nowhere else to go politically. Don’t sweat it. It seems you are looking for the “right” answer when it doesn’t exist.

          1. There are a lot more shades over in this corner of the scale.

        3. the smugness in here often turns me off

          Me too.

          to the point that I take weeks off.

          But I don’t go that far.

    2. Besides roads and enforcing contracts, when is it moral and right for the government to act. How much taxes (stealing, I admit) is necessary and proper? Is universal health care too much? Environmental law? Food Stamps? Regulations for how wide a highway is?

      Bingo. Libertarianism cannot decide why it is not anarchism or just another variety of pro government thought. It has a very poor idea of what government should do.

      1. There is disagreement within the libertarian movement, but I think plenty of individual libertarians can articulate a clear of idea of what government should do.

        1. Sure they can have an opinion but they can’t explain why that opinion necessarily flows from Libertarian principles and can’t flow from classical liberal or conservative principles.

          1. I think a lot of libertarian ideas can flow from conservative and even 20th centural American liberal principles.

            As for whether libertarian ideas about the state can flow from libertarian principles, for the anarchists, obviously not. For the minarchists, I think probably not? It seems like more of a “necessary evil” compromise. For classical liberals (that I lump in with libertarians), I think so.

        2. And I don’t even think there is *that* much disagreement within the movement. You have 3 major schools of thought: anarchy, minarchy, and classical liberalism (which I think of as a sort of pragmatic libertarianism). Outside of the dark corners of the internet and Libertarian party conventions, classical liberalism is the most prominent face by far.

          1. I agree with you. But how is Libertarianism then anything different than classical liberalism?

            1. I would say all libertarians care deeply about individual liberty and autonomy. The anarchists value it as an end to itself above all other considerations. The minarchists value it as an end to itself but still demand a certain level of real-world plausibility and/or stability. The classical liberals may value liberty as a foundational virtue but are more motivated by its success in improving people’s material and psychological well-being and are therefore willing to compromise it more than the anarchists or minarchists, though the are still loathe to do so.

          2. You can hardly call LewRockwell or Mises “dark corners” of the internet, given their popularity.

      2. Libertarianism cannot decide why it is not anarchism

        This is the conclusion I have come to after interacting here. The only moral government is a completely voluntary one. Want a safety net? Sure. Everybody chip in what they feel like each month. Want roads, tolls or private development. I believe it can be done, but I don’t think it will be done. So I use that philosophy that all coercion is wrong as a compass and so support any shrinking of the government.

        1. Agreed, but didn’t you throw an alligator through the drive through window of a Wendy’s recently?

          http://time.com/4214021/florid…..ru-window/

          1. I really needed a spicy chicken sandwich!

        2. I am not an anarchist because I do not think it is a tenable situation. You have to deal with the reality that people are dicks. To me the purpose of government is to keep people from violating each others persons and/or property. Individuals can only do that for themselves up to a point.

          1. I don’t think it would or could exist, but it doesn’t stop it from being moral. It’s like how Christians strive to be like Jesus, they know they can’t do it, but they still try.

          2. If people are dicks, then the people that inhabit your government are going to be dicks. Why on earth would they not pervert their “purpose” for their own ends, especially since they have monopoly power on force?

            So all your government will do is make some dicks more powerful than other dicks, combined with the false pretense that they’re supposed to protect other people, meaning some people will excuse their dickishness no matter how bad it gets. You know, like exactly how things are now?

            1. ^This.

              The only reason folks advocate the extortion and violence required to promote what they want, is because they are shielded from having to go out and engage in these acts, and the consequenses that go along with it.

              Your neighbor most likely wouldn’t rob your house because you might just defend yourself. Yet they would have no problem voting for someone like Bernie Sanders, who hides behind standing armies, to take your ahit through the threat of violence.

              1. I’m not worried about my neighbor, I’m worried about the large gangs. You are going to have a government. That is not an option to you. Google world history. There is no doubt I would rather not have a government at all. Can I create a libertarian army bigger than everyone else army? Once we start doing that, then what.

                1. And if we can create a libertarian army bigger than everyone else army, why not do it now?

            2. Which is why classic liberals want a limited government, as opposed to anarchism.
              It is a comprise. But I don’t see how anarchy wouldn’t lead to a condition where individuals would band together, either to take other peoples’ stuff, or to prevent someone from taking their stuff.
              I think anarchy leads directly to feudalism.

              1. So wait, please tell me how–right now, in non-anarchism–things aren’t in a condition where individuals band together to take people’s stuff? What the fuck do you call the police and asset forfeiture? Taxes? Eminent domain? Are you shitting me?

                It’s astounding how people can sit there with a fucking straight face and describe all these potential bad outcomes of anarchism that are happening right the fuck now with their beloved government. It’s just fucking astounding. Talk about projection, holy fucking shit.

                1. Ok, Well go ahead and create your anarchist society. No one here is stopping you. Keep us all up to date on how it’s going. Good luck. I truly mean that.

                2. Yes, but most of that is because the government has not been kept it’s proper size. I don’t know how to keep government it’s proper size, we seemed to do ok for a century or two.
                  If it is a choice between a government that is at least notionally responsible to the people, or warlords protecting their individual fiefdoms and warring on each other, I’ll take the former.

                  1. So, just like people who go “socialism/communism works, it’s just that the wrong people were in charge/it was implemented wrong!”, you go “government works, we just don’t know how to do it right/keep it its proper size!”

                    And then you say the equivalent of “cats and dogs, living together! Mass hysteria!” as if you don’t live in fiefdoms run by warlords. Hey buddy, go try and fuck with your local Chief of Police or Sheriff and see how that goes for you, or in Chicago fuck with your alderman, or so on.

                    We always live in anarchy, it’s just that most of the time the warlords have convinced you that they’re “legitimate” and you believe them. It astounds me that you do, but you do. Well, enjoy being a sucker, and the warlords will enjoy your misguided support. That’s what they counted on, after all.

                    1. Well if the government keeps printing money maybe we’ll have a chance to find out. Short of a major collapse of civilization, I don’t see it happening.

                    2. Fair enough. I was going to argue that the reason the government stayed limited for so long was because the civic culture demanded it, but then I realized that, if you can have a civic culture that demands limited government, then you can have a civic culture that prevents anarchy from descending into feudalism.
                      Let me think about that.

                    3. I don’t see it. I don’t doubt that no government is better than government. I just doubt that you can keep it. If your voluntary army is powerful enough maybe. But then we’re back to power structures and people being dicks. It seem inescapable.

                    4. Ok, I’ve thought about it. When you have a limited government, with a civic culture of limited government, then one asshole wanting to change the rules and get declared emperor, the majority will rebel, and use government power to prevent it. When you have anarchy, there is no institution to prevent a Charlemagne.

              2. I’ll support anyone who wants to reduce government. But to address your point about individuals banding together, it’s not cooperation that is the problem, it’s coercion. I believe people would willingly pay for security, roads, education, power, water, etc because they want those things. I believe the only thing standing in the way of an anarchist community is government. They are heavily invested in making sure voluntary association and self reliance is strangled.

          3. I’m not an anarchist because I believe that government is inevitable. The only question is how much civil war (or revolution) you have before someone wins and is the government.

        3. See, the argument above is that unless you are an anarchist, you must be contradicting yourself. Which is ridiculous. Minarchists do believe some level of government force is necessary, but then people act like suddenly that makes them hypocrites and nullifies the rest of their philosophy. Because if we can point out one minor contradiction, that somehow disproves everything. This despite the fact that conservatism and progressivism have ZERO intellectual consistency. They have no underlying principles by which government should operate which basically means their prescriptions end up boiling down to personal preferences.

          A minarchist opposes government action when it doesn’t protect negative rights. So, again, what John and the above post are complaining about is that libertarianism taken to its rational end points doesn’t support policies they feel OK about. This isn’t a gottcha moment.

          Libertarianism in any variety has a very limited notion of government that is far more internally consistent than any other variety. It has no trouble telling you what the government SHOULD do. It simply doesn’t allow what you want the government to do.

        4. A completely voluntary government?

          Hrm… a government where, upon reaching majority, everyone has to either explicitly accept the government as legitimate, and their role within, or be exiled forever?

          I could see it working (hell, it’s basically why Utah is so gosh darned nice) but it requires that you have a place to exile people *to*.

          Otherwise, you’re left with the problem of people taking advantage of the government without accepting it’s legitimacy or their obligations to it. And you can’t really exile people anymore.

    3. The proper function of government is to defend individual negative liberty with the retaliatory use of force.

  18. I really take issue with the idea that “markets work” given as some kind of talisman. Markets are what they are. They are more forces of nature than they are big machines that work or don’t. Do hurricanes work?

    The market, such as it is, is nothing but a set of rules that describes human behavior. No market is perfect but the less you screw with one the more efficient the result. Does that mean the market works? Sure, if efficiency and overall wealth is your only goal.

    1. Im not sure the latter sentence is even true. Markets may be more efficiwnt than the other options, or may make us wealthier, but they arent particularly efficient and dont produce wealth themselves.

      1. That is a good point Rob. I think a lot of self styled Libertarians have as little understanding of markets and how they work as some Progressives do. They are just in the other ditch and think the “market” is some kind of magic cure for all problems rather than being in the other ditch of thinking it is the root of all evil like the Progs are.

    2. In other words, my new slogan describes markets:

      Messy. Uneven. Chaotic. Glorious.

      1. An average weekend for most people here.

      2. Or in other words, freedom. “Market” is just another way of describing a condition where people are free. And freedom is most certainly messy, uneven, chaotic and glorious.

        I like that description.

      3. Or as I heard Jonathan Hoenig: refer to them the other week on the radio “Creative Destruction”.

    3. As a libertarian (free) markets “work” for me because they allow individuals to make their own decisions based on their own preferences. That’s what I care about. The fact that they are arguably best for wealth creation would be a bonus. Not sure what you mean by efficiency, but in economics that means resources go to their highest and best use, which is really the same as everyone makes their own decisions.

  19. Harry Browne was the best marketer of libertarian ideas I have ever seen. He had a great knack for not getting caught up in the minutiae of libertarian ideas, but covering the high points. He was a salesman by training, and a deep thinker to boot. He was, of course, mostly ignored by reason magazine, but a man who introduced many people to the movement.

    1. I’ll take Uncle Miltie.

    2. It’s interesting you say that. My grandpa was a huge egg farmer, CofC big wig natural Republican who read Harry Browne’s first books and became very interested in libertarianism. He proceeded to subscribe to Reason and was immediately disgusted. That was the end of that. A lot of libertarianism’s problems are like you said tied to the fact that it’s being sold by people who don’t know how to sell and really have no incentive to sell libertarianism because they aren’t graded on the growth of libertarianism, but on how well they suck up to DC elites. Libertarianism and centers of power don’t mix- so naturally all the main organs of public libertarianism are found in NYC and DC.

      1. My grandpa was a huge egg farmer, CofC big wig natural Republican who read Harry Browne’s first books and became very interested in libertarianism. He proceeded to subscribe to Reason and was immediately disgusted

        What is ‘Shit that never happened’, Alex.

        1. But what if it did happen? That’s all Tulpa is trying to ask.

        2. What is Heroic mulatto’s penis ever entering a vagina that was inflatable?

          But why are we playing jeopardy all of a sudden and why is such an easy answer a 1000 dollar one? That should be reserved for “this is the number of friends HM has.” At least there you have to pick between 1, 2, 3 and zero. Not mention the fact that they might be counting voices in HM’s head which could bring the total to high 50s.

          1. So your dad was an illiterate yokel and…that’s Reason’s fault for some reason.

      2. Libertarianism and centers of power don’t mix- so naturally all the main organs of public libertarianism are found in NYC and DC.

        While I am no fan of city life and I think the urban elites (which is not all urban residents, by any stretch) love to sneer on the outsiders whose toil makes city life possible, there are still millions of people in the cities. They are naturally going to generate more press and more attention by the concentration of capital. It is hardly surprising that a political organization would be based in DC, with offices in NYC and LA. That’s where the people are!

        In some sense, both the “yokels” and the “cosmos” are out of touch with how the other lives. The constant cultural posturing on side or the other grows tiresome.

  20. We are just now crawling out from a severe economic downturn created or at the very least exacerbated by government policies, and certainly prolonged by government policies. Distrust of Congress and Fedgov in general is at all time highs. We’ve seen the House change hands twice in a four year span and the senate change hands twice in a six year span – one term. We’ve got two massively expensive and failed nation building efforts in Asia, and a national debt that has doubled in the last 8 years. Record numbers of people are refusing to identify as either Republican or Democrat.

    And yet, in spite of the dissatisfaction, are people ready to chart a new course and put government back in its box? Nope – they want wannabe toughman/strongman Trump, Mrs. MoreOfTheSameButWithAVagina Clinton or Mr. FreeShitCommunismWarmedOver Sanders for President. The one candidate promoting shrinking government got zero traction. It’s pretty clear that if/when the country suffers an economic collapse, it won’t usher in Libertopia. It will usher in fascism. People like to talk about freedom and they certainly enjoy its benefits but they aren’t very interested in pursuing it.

    1. Hide the sharp knives.

    2. We might be in the beginnings of another economic downturn?

  21. Even a lot of libertarian sci-fi authors concede that it’s not for everyone. Maybe most people.

    F. Paul Wilson’s Enemy of the State, for instance, has a libertarian overthrow a galactic empire largely through monetary policy. Despite trying to educate people, they simply want another emperor. Eventually the thing breaks up into two groups, statists and non-statists who do their best to ignore each other.

    (Though perhaps somewhat unliberatian-ish, they both join together when confronted by an alien empire)

    H. Beam Pipers Lone Star Planet is as close to a libertarian utopia as it gets, but even it admits that it would drive many people crazy. And that while in many cases assassinating politicians is justified, it’s not always. And again, that planet is forced to join with the rest of the human race to fight off an alien menace.

    Still, I think one of the better ways to proceed is to promise free stuff, but do it in a manner that keeps government as small as possible. For instance, give people a guaranteed income. But completely abolish all welfare

    Healthcare is trickier. I’m not sure there is a libertarian solution to it. Not one that would be acceptable to most people.

    1. “(Though perhaps somewhat unliberatian-ish, they both join together when confronted by an alien empire)”

      The purity police would not be happy.

  22. On the left, libertarianism is not popular because it is a systematization of the classical liberalism that the left escaped from over a century ago. It became clear that classical liberalism tends to generate a more effective economic elite rather than doing away with it altogether, and the left has many arguments as to why there should not be an economic elite in the first place. As fanciful as this is, it means that the left is intrinsically tied and opposed to libertarianism/classical liberalism in a way that breeds hostility and in a manner that allows them to claim to have gotten the “good” parts of classical liberalism while jettisoning the bad.

    On the right, libertarianism is not popular because it is highly ideological at the cost of local and accrued social knowledge. Conservatism and libertarianism have different emphases; libertarianism is an attempt to graft a moral political system onto a tabula rasa, and conservatism seeks to preserve accrued deviations which it perceives as having more value and ease of enforcement than an abstract political system.

    At a less intellectual level, both groups have an emotional reason to not support libertarianism: egalitarianism for the left, community for the right. Until libertarians find a way to appeal to one or both of those existing impulses, or to offer something more appealing, it will never be a mass movement.

    1. I agree with most of that, but here’s the thing: libertarianism isn’t anti-egalitarian or anti-community. It simply says that you can’t force people to be egalitarian, you have to do it yourself. And you can’t force one community to stay away from another, so live side by side.

      Maybe it just comes down to taste and tolerance. I don’t want to see poor people suffer, but I’m just not that put off by some other people being rich. I love a supportive community, but I just don’t feel threatened by living next to outsiders.

      1. I’m a classical liberal — you hardly need to convince me. Libertarianism itself has simply not made the case that it is better on either of those issues than the two dominant ideologies.

        Personally, I think the dominant ideologies have proven to be utter failures and that this point needs to be emphasized more often — historically, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you prefer egalitarianism since the left can’t give it to you, and it doesn’t seem to matter if community is what you value since conservatives can’t preserve it. In the abstract, libertarianism has higher hurdles to clear than it does in real-life application. Even most of the uber-individualist things radical libertarians (think Nikki) would like to see would never in a million years happen under an anarchist, miniarchist, or classically liberal regime.

        1. I suspect that mankind is not quite ready for libertarianism, but may be getting close.
          Classic economic theories all rely on scarcity of supply. I am not quite a transhumanist, but the theory has merit. Future nano technology may make scarcity a thing of the past. At which point there is no need for redistribution. Or theft. Or much of the wars that have been fought in history.
          Also, I see is, eventually, joining with our technology in a way that will make us a new species, one that is much smarter and capable of even greater things than homo sapient sapient.

          1. Ironically (perhaps, I scarcely know what the word even means anymore), one traditional avenue of approach for libertarianism, exemplified by the old motto TANSTAAFL, is that free-market economics is precisely the best system for dealing with scarce resources under most conditions.

            In other words, saying that less scarcity (there will never be none, as long as the laws of the physical universe remain the same) will make libertarianism more palatable is paradoxical, from a certain perspective, anyway.

            1. Yes, if you think of libertarianism as a free market philosophy. But as been pointed out by others, the free market is just freedom. Scarcity is the major friction in life. In a state of freedom, it is dealt with through cooperation and trade.
              Under politics, it is dealt with by force.
              If you reduce scarcity (of course you’re right, it won’t ever disappear completely), them you reduce the stimulus for people to demand redistribution.

          2. “Future nano technology may make scarcity a thing of the past.”

            Can you make beachfront property with nano?

            There will always be scarcity. Essentials may not be very scarce. The things that will be in scarce supply will be the more frivolous items, eg smart phones that are nice to have, but not essential.

            1. I could make beach front property with self replicating swarms of nanobots, yes. But, as I admitted above, you are right, scarcity can never be completely gotten rid of; it is a finite universe.

            2. Yes, with predicted self replicating nanobots, I could make beach front property.
              But, you’re right. Scarcity will never be completely gotten rid of.

              1. That squirrel was creative.

  23. One more thought before I head out: We don’t have to get to libertopia to consider libetarianism a success.

    If we could get a welfare system of cash grants or even vouchers, a foreign policy that just puts the responsibility for self-defense on our allies and uses economic or political power instead of military power against backwater dictators, and returns even 50% of regulatory and policing power to the state or local level, I’d be pretty ready to call it a day and grab a few beers. It’s not like progressives or conservatives get everything they want.

    1. How about a 4.15 trillion dollar federal budget and medical MJ in a few states?

  24. Putting on my cynic hat, I think libertarianism, as generally interpreted by most people who describe themselves that way, is too dogmatic and inflexible for most people. Conservatism and progressivism IMO are less defined and more flexible, which makes it easier to appeal to people. Most people find the notion of allowing people to do what they want as long as they don’t directly harm others, even if it includes stuff like doing drugs, prostitution, eating unhealthy foods, etc. to be scary. Most people favor at least some sort of government spending on education, health care, welfare, etc. Most people find non-interventionist libertarian foreign policy to be too isolationist and dangerous (granted there are other schools of libertarian thought on foreign policy, but most libertarians tend to advocate a foreign policy that at least leans in that direction compared to the status quo). For libertarianism argued from a rights-based POV, any deviations open the door to arguments for further ones (“If X policy that isn’t totally libertarian is ok, then why not Y?”). For utilitarian-based libertarianism, it becomes a matter of debate of what policy is most beneficial, and how to measure that.

    If the US had a multiparty sytem, I think a party with a libertarian bent (more classically liberal than strictly minarchist) could do fairly well (maybe 10-20% of the vote), but a platform as strict as the current LP still wouldn’t sell much better than it currently does IMO.

    1. I don;t consider libertarianism to necessarily be more dogmatic than any other ideology. I do think your correct about that impression though and I think the media has had a lot to do with creating that impression.

      1. Perhaps, but I think to a great extent it just is a part of libertarianism. Anyone here who argues against legalizing all drugs or allowing welfare programs to some extent is going to run into a lot of accusations of not really being libertarian. Same goes for a lot of other issues, and I won’t even pretend like I’ve been totally above that, although I’ve tried to stick more to arguing whether a certain position is libertarian and not so much excommunicating people for not fully adhering to every position I think is the most libertarian.

        You do get similar accusations in progressive and conservative circles, but I think the fact that these ideologies are more vaguely defined lends to more flexibility. Heck, there are a lot of ancaps that would consider even the most strict minarchist of not really being libertarian. I think minarchist (let alone anarchist) libertarianism is too inflexible for most people’s taste. The minarchist response to events like 9/11 or the Great Recession simply isn’t enough for most people (setting aside the question of whether or not minarchism would reduce the frequency of those sort of calamities).

        1. I think that there are so many more conservatives and liberals out there it makes it seem that way. Everybody has an opinion. If there were 50 million people calling themselves libertarian over our lifetime you would see that same thing. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing and quite frankly it can’t be. I see very little purpose in talking about minarchism when we can’t get our government or citizens to even consider stopping growing the government. Everyone is willing to cut something as long as it’s not there pet issue and every issue is someones pet issue. I guess I’m rambling at this point but my point is that I think we can advocate shrinking government without having to discuss who will put out the fires in libertarian land.

          1. “If there were 50 million people calling themselves libertarian over our lifetime you would see that same thing.”

            Maybe, but that’s putting the cart before the horse.

            “I see very little purpose in talking about minarchism when we can’t get our government or citizens to even consider stopping growing the government. Everyone is willing to cut something as long as it’s not there pet issue and every issue is someones pet issue. I guess I’m rambling at this point but my point is that I think we can advocate shrinking government without having to discuss who will put out the fires in libertarian land.”

            My point is that I think people are going to be skeptical of arguments for shrinking the government from people who openly want minarchism as the end goal. Again, I think if we were a multiparty country, a libertarian-leaning party could have success, but they would have to moderate their views compared to the LP significantly (e.g. arguing for low taxes and spending, but allow some welfare and discretionary spending that wouldn’t be accepted by most libertarians. Argue for a less interventionist foreign policy, but one still more interventionist than most libertarians would like. Argue for less social and economic regulation, but still more than libertarians would prefer, etc.).

            1. And I think that’s what a lot of us were hoping from Rand. I think if we can get more people like him in office we can at least start rocking the cart if not budging it.

        2. “You do get similar accusations in progressive and conservative circles, but I think the fact that these ideologies are more vaguely defined lends to more flexibility.”

          I think it’s more that their mass gives them a metaphorical gravitational pull in the typical human categorization algorithm, which draws in these sorta-kinda libertarian types. Whatever John considers himself to be, plenty of people would easily class him as conservative; almost none of us here would classify Bill Maher as a libertarian. But if things changed so as to make libertarian traits much more common and progressive traits much more rare, we’d probably classify Maher as a libertarian-of-some-sort, and save the progressive label for the safe-spacers and other super-purist prog types.

    2. A better way to put it IMO is that the Republican and Democratic Parties continue to exist and remain “successful” not because people adhere to some core set of immutable or even consistent if “evolving” beliefs but rather because the two parties stake out a certain share of the political opinions at any given time.

      Modern conservatives and modern liberals both see kindred spirits in ideological forebears from generations past, but the parties themselves are basically just organizations for filling political office. It’s not like slavery or free silver are salient political issues anymore; whereas libertarians are in many ways still talking about “solved problems”.

      It should be little wonder to people like Sam Haysom why Reason tacks to the political issues du jour and is based in centers of population and political activity. Coming out of the woodwork with unpalatable political positions is not going to win many elections, Donald Trump potentially notwithstanding.

  25. Whenever people disagree with me I take it as a sign of their ignorance and stupidity.

    1. Then you’ve got the makings of a libertarian senate candidate. Tell me are you a pizza delivery man or frustrated scifi writer? Don’t have to be but it helps.

      1. Well I bet he already has the eye roll thing down so he’s starting out ahead of the game.

      2. I have lots of ideas for sci-fi novels, but most people are too dumb to grasps the concepts and appreciate the character developments, so I don’t bother.

  26. Americans know that were it not for protectionists like Hamilton, America would not be in the same position. Had a libertarian free trader had Hamilton’s influence, America would be an economic back water.

    1. Suuuure it would. A continent size nation of free people would obviously be an economic backwater without protectionism and a central bank.

    2. America was an economic backwater for a century.

      I do love the idea that Americans, en masse, know and think about Hamilton’s economic ideas and with great consideration rejected free market economics.

      1. Never mind that it took a month or more for anything to get from the US to another country, and there was hardly anything made here in the early 19th century that wasn’t being made elsewhere, probably better and cheaper to boot. The tariffs of Hamilton’s day were more about the federal government raising money than anything else, given that there was no income tax.

        It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the US became anything to speak of economically, and that was when the country was helmed by people who were generally opposed to Hamiltonian government.

        1. And had nothing to do with who was at the helm. This nation is vary. Many people who live in urban areas have no idea about the true size of our country.
          It took a certain amount of time before the infrastructure and population was in place.
          The disagreements of the early Republic were disagreements about the proper size of government, and the government imagined by the most Federalist of early Americans was still orders of magnitude smaller than the government were have now.

      2. Americans have never embraced Free Trade.

  27. The problem is that young people are indoctrinated during public school years by public employees under mandates from the centralized socialist state Dept of Education, Section Dept of Truth.

    1. That is definitely part of the problem.

    2. Many people can’t even imagine a world without state schools, state police, state roads, utilities, etc. People fear the unfamiliar. Libertarianism represents many unfamiliar ideas.

      1. I think many people can imagine it (and not just in the “Somalian wasteland” sense), but they see the “wrong people” in charge of the institutions leading to “bad outcomes”. Police protecting property owners, schools teaching religious beliefs, roads with tolls, utility companies shutting off nonpaying customers’ power, etc. The real problem is that while they would be just as free to set up different institutions with different goals, somebody would have to pay for them by choice.

      2. “Many people can’t even imagine a world without state schools, state police, state roads, utilities, etc.”

        I’m sure they can imagine these things. Just they prefer the way things are. To take advantage of markets, knowledge is needed. Choice makes things complicated. Everyone going to the same state school saves a lot of bother and leaves everyone open to spend more time on things they find important instead of a life of endless shopping.

        1. ” Choice makes things complicated. Everyone going to the same state school saves a lot of bother and leaves everyone open to spend more time on things they find important instead of a life of endless shopping.”

          Not everyone is a simpleton like you. We can handle choice and ‘some bother’ because it’s overwhelmingly worth it.

          1. “Not everyone is a simpleton like you. ”

            There are lots of simpletons like me. And a lot of us have better ways to spend our time than the life of endless shopping that means so much to you.

    3. I think it’s worse than indoctrination. The school environment is horrible for ‘conditioning’ people. I think it’s almost changes people into a different species.

  28. The problem isn’t libertarianism or libertarians. It’s non-libertarians, particularly people with way to much capacity for empathy and rationalization.

  29. My own thoughts: Libertarians are atheists. They believe in individual liberty as an end in itself. They don’t believe in some Great Purpose we’re all here for. What’s the point of libertarianism? You’re free to do whatever you want? What kind of Big Idea is that? Where’s the pot of gold at the end of that particular rainbow? Making America Great Again, now there’s a big idea, a sense of purpose, a cause we can all rally around, an accomplishment we can be proud of – to put off thinking about the fact that some day you’re going to be dead and a thousand years from now nobody’s going to know you ever existed. Being a part of something bigger than yourself gives your life meaning and purpose. Libertarians say there’s nothing more important or meaningful than yourself. Most people are afraid to face how insignificant their lives are – telling them there’s nothing bigger or more important than themselves doesn’t fill them with pride or joy, it gives them a sad. They don’t want to hear that shit, that you have to make your own purpose and meaning in life if you want there to be one, they want to be told the purpose of life is to go kill those fuckers over there or give all your money to that guy over there or do whatever it is the man on the TV screen tells you. And they look around and see everybody else killing those fuckers and giving that guy money and doing what the TV man says and yay! I picked the right religion! the most popular one! And their life has meaning.

    1. And this is why Objectivism is better than libertarianism.

      1. Objectivism is worse, since it’s based on a lie as self-evident as PC egalitarianism. No one is rational when it comes to politics. Everyone uses a mix of emotion and intuition to figure out their starting point, and rationalizes after the fact. Liberals are afraid of violence, so they support getting rid of all weapons, and then rationalize it. Libertarians are afraid of being enslaved by a class with an unmatched capacity for violence, so they support widespread gun ownership, and then rationalize. Progressives are afraid that someone might not do what they want, so they feel they must control all the weapons, and then deliberately make shit up after the fact.

        Objectivists do this as much as anyone (though they’re irrationally in denial about it), but they’re also shit at intuition and emoting, so they attempt to rationalize self-evidently stupid views, like the belief that merely crossing an imaginary line turns a destructive, parasitical savage worthy of naught but extermination into a vital, productive agent of civilization.

    2. Why are they atheists? I’m not an atheist. Our Founders were pretty libertarian and most of them were devout Christians. I never saw one as having anything to do with the other.

    3. This is another good point. But I don’t think libertarians are doomed to a future without big ideas.

      There is nothing unlibertarian about people banding together to create something bigger than themselves, so long as they are not forced to do so.

      But it is true that, so far, the libertarian movement has mostly consisted of people that are more into individualism than even voluntary collectivism. And that is a problem for growing the movement. But it’s not one of principle.

  30. Lots of good comments. I’d like to add that engaging the masses is not that rewarding beyond a certain amount. It’s a better idea to try and engage enlightened or desperate politicos. That seems to be the reason we are getting success at the state level.

  31. Another issue: we need a sun. Nazis had Nazi Germany. Communists had the USSR. Libertarians need their Zion. The closest we have is Hong Kong and Singapore and Switzerland. I hope we can do better. ZEDE would be a major step up.

  32. We’re telling people half their beliefs are wrong. They don’t like that.

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