'Libertarian Is an Adjective, a Sensibility, a Temperament, not a Rigid Doctrine or Dogma.'

Interviewed for PBS series, Nick Gillespie talks about Reason's and libertarians' influence over last 50 years.


I was interviewed last year by Bob Scully for The Free Market Series, which is produced for the Montreal Economic Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Canada, and aired on PBS stations around the country. The interview, part of a series that explores how free-market and limited-government ideas have changed the world, is now live at Facebook and YouTube.

Scully asked me to talk about the broad impact of libertarian thinking over the past half-century since Reason was founded in 1968. With many references to The Declaration of Independents, the 2011/12 book I authored with Matt Welch, I talked about how I tend to view libertarian as an adjective rather than a noun. It's a temperament, sensibility, or mind-set that is open to pluralism and tolerance, accepting of change and flux, and interested in experimentation and innovation in most aspects of life rather than a rigid doctrine or dogma. A snippet:

Libertarians often get a bad rap for being out to lunch, or abstract theorists, or idealists living in a dream world…but when you look at the immense increases in personal freedom and in many ways technological freedom, educational freedom that we have now, the world has become more and more libertarian without fully recognizing it. There are tons of troubles in the world. We read every week about kids' lemonade stands being shut down by overzealous bureaucrats, revelations of mass surveillance programs by the government, and the U.S. is still involved in wars it shouldn't have been in in the first place, but when you look at things on a very basic level, people are increasingly free to live their lives the ways they want to, and that is a tremendous delivery on the promise of America.

Click below to watch now. Go here for more links, including MP3 download. And go here to watch the full series, which includes Q&As with Dan Hannan, Larry White, Matt Kibbe, and others.

NEXT: Toward a Unified Theory of Stalin, the Teamsters, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Facebook

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  1. Nick’s adjective is “unprincipled”.

    1. “unprincipled” was my nickname in high school.

    2. Have you considered changing your username to Emotional Butthurt Animal?

      1. I prefer “Emotional Opposition Butthurt” or “Butthurt Butthurt Animal”, personally.

  2. I tend to view libertarian as an adjective rather than a noun. It’s a temperament, sensibility, or mind-set that is open to pluralism and tolerance, accepting of change and flux, and interested in experimentation and innovation in most aspects of life rather than a rigid doctrine or dogma.

    So nothing to do with limiting the use of coercion? Damn, I’m behind the times I guess. I should have just been concentrating on being open to pluralism and accepting of flux, whatever that means, instead of opposing the initiation of force.

    1. Nick’s def could just as well be applied to progressivism.

      Hence, the recent Reason tilt to the left.

      1. It could also be applied to football or eggplants or platypuses. You can apply a definition to any word you like, but that doesn’t make it an apt definition.

        1. It could also be applied to football or eggplants or platypuses.

          No, it couldn’t. Those things have nothing to do with the definition that Nick is attempting to pin on libertarianism.

          You can’t possibly be that stupid.

      2. Really? Progressives, Republicans, Democrats, they all want change and innovation and diversity and pluralism? None of them are rigid dogmas?

        You can’t even argue well over something so simple.

        1. Please tell us what the Republican dogma is. Small govt? Lower taxes? Haha!

        2. Republican and Democrat are definitely not “rigid dogmas”. They are two groups fighting over power using two different sets of rhetoric to appeal to different groups of people.

          When he said progressivism he presumably meant leftism. in case you’re pulling Hugh’s trick of pretending to be confused because the word meant something else centuries ago.

    2. It goes without saying. Pluralism? Tolerance? Change? Flux? Experimentation? Innovation?

      The freer the society, the more of those you get. The freer the society, the less aggression you get too. It ain’t hard to figure out. And P.S., being pedantic doesn’t get you much more of those either.

      1. And no, this doesn’t apply to Progressivism or anything authoritarian or statist. By definition, they all limit diversity, tolerance, innovation, change. Those are the last things any of them want.

        1. Conservatism is the ultimate limit on diversity, tolerance, and change among the isms you mention. Conservatism defined means “resistant to change and modernity”.

          I know that the Peanut Gallery here doesn’t see it that way since you all are mostly conservative but thems the facts.

          1. Yea, right, that’s why it’s proggies who are so bent on keeping the poor from helping themselves and so bent on socialism and equality at the expense of actual progress and innovation.

        2. SR&C, aren’t progs always spouting diversity, change ( and hope), tolerance ( of their chosen peoples and policies)? Many of their new tax schemes are innovative (penaltax), and wasn’t Obamacare a big experiment (that failed), to say nothing of their climate policy ideas? These terms are not necessarily complimentary.

    3. I think you are conflating libertarian and libertarianism. Libertarianism is a political idea that the government should be prohibited from initiating force. A libertarian is as we all know a classical liberal who is tolerant of the opinion of others.

      1. A government that is prohibited from initiating force? Who decides what counts as initiation of force? The government?

        1. Any action taken by one which makes another act against their will.

          1. That won’t work. What if someone wants out of a contract without suffering the consequences?

            1. Any action taken by the injured party would be retaliatory in nature.

          2. So, like any act of government?

        2. Whether a particular act is an initiation of force does not depend on anyone deciding it is.

      2. By that definition, a libertarian need not practice or believe in libertarianism.

        That seems pretty ridiculous given how the -ism suffix works (not to mention that it contradicts the common meaning of both words that I have observed until now).

        1. Well they are really classical liberal and capitalism. The L words are marketing.

  3. It’s a temperament, sensibility, or mind-set that is open to pluralism and tolerance…rather than a rigid doctrine or dogma

    He says as a hoard of commenters arrive to complain that this definition of libertarian doesn’t adhere to their own

  4. It’s a temperament, sensibility, or mind-set that is open to pluralism and tolerance, accepting of change and flux, and interested in experimentation and innovation in most aspects of life rather than a rigid doctrine or dogma.

    That will come as a surprise to a number of regular commenters on this blog.

    1. I am only surprised that he is so bold in expressing this belief publicly.

      1. I know that people expressing beliefs that diverge even slightly from yours is very upsetting to you. Maybe you should go cry it out a little before banging out another rage-post.

        1. It’s not upsetting in the slightest. If anything I’m happy we can air our grievances with this view of libertarianism out in the open now.

          1. As defined above, libertarianism is nothing. No principles, no meaning, just flowery language that describes nothing.

            1. Just because they aren’t your principles doesn’t mean they aren’t principles.

              1. State them then

    2. i like Gillespie’s articles. He reminds me that in the heart of every libertarian, a fat naked dude is dancing….

  5. As a for instance, under the old dogmatic “non initiation of force” definition of libertarianism, forcing someone to bake a cake for a gay wedding, or forcing a business to let men claiming to be women use the women’s restroom, would be verboten. But under the shiny new sensibility-temperament definition, it’s required, since you have to be open to tolerance and pluralism and accepting of change.

    1. Except that it’s intolerant and monistic to force people to do business with people they don’t want to.

      1. How is it intolerant? The business owner is the one being intolerant to begin with.

        1. The whole point of tolerance is to tolerate (that is, not try to destroy) people who act or think differently from yourself, especially assholes. If an asshole baker doesn’t want to bake a wedding cake for a couple because they are gay, most libertarians would say we should tolerate that decision and go across the street to a baker who’s not an asshole.

          1. Your definition of tolerance is quite narrow. Indeed it seems that you’re trying to rescue Nick by redefining tolerance to mean “non-initiation of force”.

            Are you claiming that the baker refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding is tolerant of homosexuality? Further, according to your definition, an employer who refused to hire anyone other than straight white Christian males would not be intolerant. A KKK member marching and condemning Jews, blacks, and Catholics as inferior beings not to be associated with would also not be intolerant.

            1. I’m using the definition of tolerance as understood during the Enlightenment. You seem to prefer the expanded definition used by the progressive-left.

              1. I find it interesting that you’re just attacking the commenters directly, a classic ad hominem, instead of providing any substantive arguments as to how Nick’s definition is a non-vapid answer to “what is Libertarianism”.

                1. I find it interesting that you’re attacking me for failing to respond to an argument that no one has made, since the first use of the word vapid in this comment thread is yours. And it isn’t a terribly substantive argument, if you don’t mind me saying.

              2. Forget it Hugh, all they know is the NAP, and that it doesn’t apply when there’s a State, and so nothing else matters. They’d rather whine about what freedoms we don’t have than celebrate and enjoy the ones we do, and work for more all the while.

                1. The NAP could apply to the state. Simply prohibit the government from initiating force thereby limiting its authority to the retaliatory use of force.

                  1. IceTrey|5.6.18 @ 7:15PM|#
                    “The NAP could apply to the state. Simply prohibit the government from initiating force thereby limiting its authority to the retaliatory use of force.”
                    This might be sarc, but if not, you are proposing the dismantling of the state entirely.
                    Absent the monopoly of force granted the state by the population, there is no state.

                2. Forget it Hugh, It’s NAPtown.

              3. I’m using the definition of tolerance as understood during the Enlightenment. You seem to prefer the expanded definition used by the progressive-left.

                We’re having this conversation in 2018. Prevailing definitions of 200+ years ago don’t matter. And of course, Nick was not using the 1700s definition either, as you full well know.

  6. OT: Warmists least likely to act to protect environment.

    We conducted a one-year longitudinal study in which 600 American adults regularly reported their climate change beliefs, pro-environmental behavior, and other climate-change related measures. Using latent class analyses, we uncovered three clusters of Americans with distinct climate belief trajectories: (1) the “Skeptical,” who believed least in climate change; (2) the “Cautiously Worried,” who had moderate beliefs in climate change; and (3) the “Highly Concerned,” who had the strongest beliefs and concern about climate change. Cluster membership predicted different outcomes: the “Highly Concerned” were most supportive of government climate policies, but least likely to report individual-level actions, whereas the “Skeptical” opposed policy solutions but were most likely to report engaging in individual-level pro-environmental behaviors. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.”

    1. LOLZ. All talk, no action.

    2. It would be interesting to have a similar study on people’s charitable habits. I’d guess that those most for govt welfare would be least personally charitable. And vice versa.

    3. “the “Highly Concerned” were most supportive of government climate policies, but least likely to report individual-level actions,”

      Well, you can’t be good if daddy doesn’t *make* you be good!

  7. Ed Gillespie: Pollyanna-at-Large for Reason Magazine.

  8. Libertarianism is a commitment to the idea that people should be free to make choices for themselves.

    1. So now you’re pro-choice?

      Good to hear.

      1. I think that elective abortion is morally wrong and should be legal.

        I also think that you’re a stupid asshole.

    2. ….as long as the actions chosen do not violate the rights of others.

      1. That’s the point.

        Rights are choices.

        We have the right to make choices for ourselves.

        To violate other people’s rights is to violate their right to make a choice for themselves.

        Property rights are the right to choose who uses something, how it’s used, when it’s used, etc.

        That we get to choose what we say, our own religious beliefs, whether to own a gun, whether to remain silent, whether to testify against ourselves, etc.

        Libertarianism is a commitment to the idea that we’re obligated to respect each others’ right to make choices for ourselves.

        1. I wouldn’t equate rights and choices. A person still has the ability to make choices even when subjected to force and/or fraud. The reverse is true as well: noncoercive actions can limit other people’s choices.

          If someone walks up to me on the street and punches me in the face, they haven’t taken away my ability to choose. But if the owner of land that I would like to use refuses to let me use it, they have taken away my ability to choose to use that land for myself.

          1. You might describe rights as an obligation to respect other peoples’ choices–but choices are fundamental to what we’re talking about when we’re talking about rights. When we’re talking about rights, we’re talking about the right to make a choice–in every instance.

            Force and fraud are examples of violating someone’s right to make a choice for themselves. So are theft, rape, etc.

            The sale of cannabis isn’t a legitimate crime if no one’s rights (to make a choice) are violated. Isn’t self-defense a legitimate excuse for killing someone only because the shooter didn’t really have a choice?

            “If someone walks up to me on the street and punches me in the face, they haven’t taken away my ability to choose”

            You see the difference between that situation and a boxer getting punched in the face during a prize fight, don’t you?

            The difference is that a prize fighter chose to get in the ring and subject himself to punches from an opponent. You made no such choice when someone just walked up to you and punched you in the face. You have a right to choose who can and can’t punch you, and if someone violates your rights by physically hitting you when you’ve done nothing to consent to such a thing, then the right they violated was your right to make those kinds of choices. If you asked the guy to step outside for an old fashioned fist fight, and he hits you in the mouth, then your rights were not violated.

          2. The fact that our rights are choices becomes obvious when we think about the difference between things than can make choices and things that can’t. Things that can not make choices, obviously, have no moral obligation to respect our rights, and we have no obligation to respect their right to make choices either–because they cannot make choices. In fact, morality cannot exist without the ability to make choices. The obligation to choose to respect other people’s ability to make choices for themselves is both what we’re talking about when we talk about morality and what we’re talking about when we talk about rights.

            We have zero obligation to respect the rights of a gigantic meteor hurtling through space,–because it cannot make choices, it has no rights. People aren’t like meteors that way. Because people can make choices, we are morally obligated to respect their right to do so for themselves. This is why rape, robbery, fraud, etc. are both immoral and a crime–it’s because the obligation to respect people’s right to make choices arises from their ability to do so.

  9. So Nick does not actually regard economic liberty, along with liberties of conscience and expression, to be essential to libertarianism? Or in another way, he considers the rights to smoke dope, only dope, and sexual liberties to be important enough to counterbalance the losses of and challenges to liberties in other areas?

    I suppose it’s not much surprise, as the recent LP presidential ticket shows that there is a large portion of Libertarian Party caucusers who feel the same way.

    1. Why yes. Liberty begins with personal freedom and extends to economic freedom. But we have two Big Government parties that diddle around with tax rates of 35% or 39% without actually cutting the size and scope of government.

      1. You can’t have personal freedom without economic freedom.

    2. Can you note the specific points in the interview where he said either of those things?

      1. He said it in the blog post that you’re commenting on, numbnuts.

    3. Personal liberty is much more important to most people than economic liberty. Violations of personal liberty tend to evoke much stronger emotional responses in people.

  10. Well, we libertarians should be rigid when one of our non-negotiable positions is challenged. Like open borders, for example. You aren’t a real libertarian ? or even a decent human being, for that matter ? unless you support unlimited immigration into the US.

    We must also be rigid in our defense of abortion access. I’m still disappointed Reason let that Slade person write a piece about her anti-choice views a couple years ago. Unrestricted abortion in all three trimesters is the second fundamental goal of any serious libertarian movement. We can never back down against the Christian extremists who are trying to turn the US into a theocracy.

    “Handmaids Tale” author: US under Trump is becoming more like Gilead

    1. Real libertarians believe that people should be restricted to their native racial homeland!!

      Why do you hate liberty?

      1. I don’t hate liberty. I’m on your side: a left-libertarian who votes Democrat and despises Drumpf.

        1. You can’t have liberty with brown-skinned people running around in our country!!!

          I’ve advanced into a Bratfart libertarian!

        2. I agree in principle but what do you think about Milton Friedman’s argument that true open borders are not possible in a welfare state? If we could get rid of that we could have open borders. In the meantime I would support as close to .that ideal as we can get.

          1. Well Echo if that is for me I will give an honest answer to an honest question.

            I agree with Friedman 100%. The preferred remedy is to dismantle the welfare state rather than restrict the movement of people.

            Why won’t the GOP try that?

            (they suck ass, that is why)

            1. I agree with Friedman 100%.


          2. Good discussion here about what Milton Friedman really said about open borders and the welfare state.

    2. Why just three trimesters, you misogynist? Womyn need some time to recover before accepting such a parasite. Let’s add at least one more!

      1. The scientific consensus is that life begins at birth. Therefore “4th trimester abortion” is wrong because it’s killing a human, although abortion 8 months 25 days into pregnancy is perfectly OK. (This is one issue on which I agree with Bernie Sanders.)

    3. Libertarians support the unfettered movement of all people universally.

      1. Universally? I disagree. I don’t support “Open Borders for Israel.” That’s a white nationalist, alt-right position. My unlimited immigration / zero deportation stance only applies to the United States.

        – OpenBorders(4USA)Liberal-tarian

    4. Anyone who tries to smush Trump into the Handmaid’s Tale is an idiot. There’s stretching a metaphor for political purposes, and then there’s just ripping it up and pissing all over the shredded remains.

      Heck, you’d do better to try to smush Trump into “Forest Gump”. Or maybe “Being There”.

  11. Fascinating subject. The comments here are enlightening. They explain one way that people can talk past one another indefinitely. Same words, different meanings.

    1. SOP.

      Because despite garnering only 2-3% of the vote libertarians are at each others throats over social issues.

    2. Yes. Communications has a surprising voluntary element. Folks seem to understand what we say only when they want to.

      That causes some trouble. lol. Hooo-boy, that causes some trouble.

    3. Commenters on here are not interested in persuasion. This is a battlefield, not a negotiation room or a lecture hall.

      1. Says the guy who has no argument and spews insults.

        Chipper Morning Baculum|5.6.18 @ 8:41PM|#

        Have you considered changing your username to Emotional Butthurt Animal?

        Let the change you want to see in the world begin with you.

    4. Abortion, gay butt sex, immigration – THERE ARE THE DEFINING ISSUES OF TODAY!

      1. Hey! Straight butt sex is also important!

        1. It’s buttsex all the way down.

      2. You’re stupidity, OTOH, is a uniting element!

  12. My concept of liberty is the freedom to have the world be however I wanna do it for people to do whatever I want. So fuck off slave or give me my fucking money!

  13. John McCain: I regret picking Sarah Palin as running mate

    No shit. The Birdbrain from Wasilla was your biggest mistake.

    1. Ask the Republicans how they feel about picking McCain.

      1. What choice did they have in 2008? Sanctum Santorum? The Huckster?

        1. Toby Keith.

          1. Toby Keith could have won.

            Reality show host? check

            No clue about politics? check

            He would have saved us from the Dotard. Americans need to shit out the “outsider” disease fast.

            1. A better choice than Obo? Check.

        2. Mitt Romney. Ron Paul.

    2. Except he said that he wished he’d picked Joe Liebermann instead of Palin. I’m no fan of Palin myself but she’s better than that turd.

  14. Gillespie was fairly specific about the suspicious-of-government aspects of libertarianism.

  15. Still promoting The Declaration of Independents – I still haven’t read it – but still plugging on.

  16. If you watch the video, it actually looks fairly good, even for someone like myself who doesn’t necessarily share his optimism. But he’s selling his brand and focusing on limited government.

  17. So Reason does a pathetic hit piece on Jordan Peterson about how he’s some sort of feel-good messianic wanna-be, but this is what a logical, enlightened, libertarian looks like?

      1. Fuck him?
        Fuck Hyou!

        Seriously, Curbed quotes aside, fuck off Hugh – You’ve got absolutely nothing interesting, insightful, or meaningful to say. And I’m not just talking about this thread, which you only care about trolling up and running away when challenged on one of your pedantic assertions, but every comment of yours I’ve ever read. You’re getting close to Hihn territory where your name prompts an sutomatic scroll down without reading. Your comments are a waste of time and photons.

  18. OK, some links, with the links custom-arranged for OBL!

    First, am I bad person to find this humorous?

    “Man tries to take selfie with bear, gets mauled to death as friends watch”

  19. And how about a startling expose’!!!????

    “Check your phone 86 times a day? Tech insiders say that’s by design”
    “Tristan Harris, the center’s co-founder and executive director and a former Google designer, wants people to realize those attention-grabbing techniques are intentionally designed to “hijack our minds and our society.”

    Yes, dim-bulb J-school idjits are amazed that product designers hope their products are good enough that people will want to use them!!!!!
    And we get a dose of pseudo-science for-lock tugging tossed in:
    “Tech giants like Facebook and Google have gained sway over billions of people through subtle Pavlovian techniques that keep them coming back for more.”

  20. But wait, there’s more! Seattle’s got nothing on Mountain View (part of Silicon Valley):

    “The $5 million Google tax that could fix every Silicon Valley problem”
    “Mountain View’s mayor, Lenny Siegel, says it has “too many good jobs” and not enough transit.
    The solution: Slapping a multimillion-dollar tax on Google, by far the city’s largest employer.”

    Yep, you did not read that wrong: A mayor said the largest employer in his berg offers “too many good jobs”.
    He said that.
    He’s an Idiot (noun).

  21. And one more:
    SF is holding a special election for a new mayor. A couple of the low-watt bulbs who post here could find one or more worth voting for, but anyone of the adjective-libertarian persuasion would not be impressed.
    Further, SF has a bum problem, since the climate is mild, and the SF city government pays bums pretty well for taking up residence (and shitting) on the sidewalks.
    So, what do all these diverse (ha and ha) candidates agree on? Well”

    “S.F. candidates for mayor challenged to secure 1,000 homes for homeless”
    “Last week, the top five candidates for San Francisco mayor all pledged to secure 1,000 units of housing for homeless residents ? within their first year.”

    And they all agreed that the government will pay for it, so it won’t cost the taxpayer anything!
    Or they found a herd of unicorns, and they fart gold, so that’s the way it’ll get paid for.
    Or, screw it, what do you expect of campaign promises?

  22. More on “central planning is stupid”. Or “why the federal government shouldn’t be in charge”. Or pick your interpretation:

    Horses are an invasive species in the west. And they are overpopulated. And dying in bunches. There population needs to be cut way, way back. But whatever we do, we must not kill a horse:

    There are between 50,000 and 70,000 feral horses on Navajo Nation land and the officials have been grappling with how to get the population under control without hunting.

    “My administration will not condone a horse hunt for controlling the overpopulation of feral horses,” Begaye said in March after cancelling a seasonal horse hunt.

    Since 1971, the federal government also prohibits slaughtering feral horses under the Wild Free-Roaming and Burros Act.

    1. They need predators. Historically, horses were probably preyed upon by lions, sabertooths, and wolves. We don’t have sabertooths, but we have wolves and we could import some lions. But ranchers get so triggered when the subject of wolves comes up.

      1. Needle-tongued lizards should deal with the wolves.

    2. “Horses are an invasive species in the west. And they are overpopulated. And dying in bunches. There population needs to be cut way, way back. But whatever we do, we must not kill a horse.”

      Not sure there is a problem here.
      They are beyond the carrying capacity of the environment, so they are dying. If the enviro-weinies prefer them to die of starvation and feed the scavengers, it’s OK by me.
      Like those who find the fire-bombing of Tokyo acceptable but the (less lethal) nuking of Hiroshima horrifying, I’m mystified as to the choice of what qualifies as a ‘proper’ horrible death.
      BTW, I’ve never had a good cut of horse under any description. I don’t think they are bred to get “fat” as are beeves.

      1. Except they don’t belong there. So they squeeze out native species and cause excess erosion by denuding plant cover.

  23. Elementary-school students from a Chicago private school ask subway commuters to sign a petition to add an “s” to the city’s Douglas Park

    Stephen Douglas with one “s” is the Douglas in the Lincoln-Douglas debates. He administered some property for his minor children, including a plantation with slaves. Douglas used to be Douglass, but he dropped the second “s,” probably to distinguish himself from…

    Frederick Douglass, who would be 200 this year, the prominent abolitionist.

    1. Yes, this is what constitutes government education in 2018. Ain’t it great?
      (BTW the sunset this evening is spectacularly red in the center and water-color pinks to dark grays at the edges; I wonder if it is the ash from the HI volcanoe(s) drifting east?)

      1. I think it’s a private school.

        1. Well, I guess we can’t hope for help in all cases…

    2. Douglas Parks isn’t much of an improvement.

  24. The Village Voice praises Starbucks for standing up against racism, unlike carping conservative critics.

  25. “On Saturday…Karl Marx came home. In bronze. By way of China. And, oh, he is now 18 feet tall.

    “The unveiling of a two-ton ?Chinese-funded sculpture
    to honor the German philosopher on the 200th anniversary of his birth brought scads of tourists to Trier, where his life began….

    “On one side, hundreds of flag-waving members of Germany’s fringe Communist Party cheered. On the other ? separated by barricades and riot police ? an eclectic group of Free Tibet, anti-fascist and pro-human rights protesters chanted and blew whistles in a vain effort to drown out the speeches.

    “City officials say they see nothing wrong with the statue’s unusual path to Trier’s downtown. The statue, Trier Mayor Wolfram Leibe insisted Saturday, is not about the “glorification” of Marx. Instead, he told the large crowd that had assembled under a cloudless blue sky, it is meant to spark conversation ? and strengthen international bonds.

    “”It’s a gesture of friendship,” he said….

    “At the unveiling’s critical moment, Chinese and German officials together pulled back a red drape to reveal a rendering of Marx in full stride ? a book clutched beneath his left arm, his right gently pressed to his signature frock coat.”

    1. Puzzled as to why antifa wasn’t on the side of the commies.

  26. It’s a temperament, sensibility, or mind-set that is open to pluralism and tolerance, accepting of change and flux, and interested in experimentation and innovation in most aspects of life rather than a rigid doctrine or dogma.


    More freedom along the way is good, but the doctrine is the goal. When our, very limited, government is deciding whether to introduce new law, I want those assholes asking themselves whether it complies with first principles.

    THEN, we’ll be free.

    1. No, no, no . . . libertarianism is a temperament. It’s all about feelz.

      Lanny Frielander explained it himself in the first issue of Reason:

      “When REASON speaks of poverty, racism, the draft, the war, studentpower, politics, and other vital issues, it shall be reasons, not slogans, it gives for conclusions,” Mr. Friedlander wrote in the first issue, published in May 1968 and peppered with typographical errors and misspellings. “Proof, not belligerent assertion. Logic, not legends. Coherance, not contradictions. This is our promise: this is the reason for REASON.”

      That’s what’s made both Reason and its readers both different and better than everything else out there for so long . . . . until recently anyway.

      Either that or “REASON” back then meant what “Feelz” means today.

      Really, they should change the name of the place to “The Feelz Foundation” or maybe “The Temperament Foundation”.

      1. Reason has gone through fazes, none of which has been strongly principled. For awhile it was quite militaristic. Under the Postrel editorship the magazine was techno-fetishist. The Reason Foundation’s libertarianism appeals to people who are ga-ga for things like private toll roads, because they apparently bring us closer to liberty. In general, libertarian think tanks and their publications have leaned to the blander side of the movement; far from Mises, Szasz, and Rothbard. At the other end of the movement are the younger people whose idea of an intellectual is Ron Paul, and who are arrogant know-nothings.

  27. BTW, I’m getting an ad that links to this:

    “A Guide to Impact Investing
    Lisa Kitchin, CFP? and Associate Wealth Manager, First Republic Investment Management, First Republic Bank
    May 11, 2017”

    Please consider this for a moment: FRIM is offering ‘wealth management’ which offers to manage your wealth with no regard to return, but only on how you ‘feelzs’ about things.
    Dunno how I ended up getting on THAT list, but they’re pitching to the wrong guy.

    1. “One out of two people are enriched after a visit to Bob’s Wealth Management Emporium!”

      1. When someone who has money makes a deal with someone who has experience, the one who had experience gets the money and the one who had money gets an experience.

  28. You and Welch wrote a book, you say? First I’ve heard of it.

  29. Maybe you should change the name of the magazine to “Emotion”?

    So, it’s not The Party of Principle anymore, but instead The Party of Feelings?

  30. “…I talked about how I tend to view libertarian as an adjective rather than a noun. It’s a temperament, sensibility, or mind-set that is open to pluralism and tolerance, accepting of change and flux, and interested in experimentation and innovation in most aspects of life rather than a rigid doctrine or dogma.”

    Or how I can justify taking credit for developments that had little to do with our input.

  31. No true Scotsman…

    1. Well, maybe, but words do indeed have meanings. If “Scotsman” means “man (adult male) from Scotland”, then there ARE true Scotsmen. But, and this is the important part, telling people who are NOT an adult male and/or NOT from Scotland that they are “not true Scotsman”, that’s a function of the definition of the words, NOT a “no true Scotsman” fallacy.

      TL;DR, If words don’t mean things, then verbal communication is impossible. Enforcing word meaning is NOT a fallacy.

  32. It’s not a doctrine or dogma except for open borders. Where people who want to limit immigration are regularly pilloried in these pages.

  33. You’d think that if they wanted to talk about libertarianism, they’d talk to a libertarian.

    1. Talk to the adjective. lol

  34. Hereafter, “Toothless libertarianism.”

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