Never Took That Libertarian Loyalty Oath

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A recent comment suggesting it was "funny" for a "libertarian blog" to suggest the possibility of restricting private social media platforms' property rights led me to want to repost this reminder:

I'm not a libertarian.

This is not a libertarian blog.

Don't expect solid or even near-solid libertarianism from us.

Some of us are pretty hardcore libertarians. Some are more conservatives. Some are moderates. Most of us are a mix. Our blog subtitle says "Often libertarian," and that's true. But "often" was deliberately chosen to also flag "not always" (and not even almost always).

If you call me anything, you might call me a libertarianish conservative, but even that isn't really that helpful, since sometimes my positions aren't aligned either with most libertarians or most conservatives. I think human affairs are complicated things—as my father likes to quote, "Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made." We all come at this with some general principles, but, to offer another quote, "General propositions do not decide concrete cases," in part because there are so many things we want at once and so many opportunities for good general principles to conflict.

For instance, I want liberty (often including privacy) and security; indeed, security is often another term from liberty from private misconduct (or liberty from foreign governments). These aren't always consistent, but I can't tell you that one should always trump the other. (That's why the Fourth Amendment, for instance, bans unreasonable searches and seizures rather than banning all searches and seizures; that's why the Constitution tries to create a limited government, but does create a government.) I support private property rights, subject to some limitations, and can't easily capture all the limitations into one formula. My guess is that many of my cobloggers take the same view.

Now maybe I'm not libertarian enough. Or maybe I'm too libertarian. Or maybe I'm one of these in some situations and another in others. Perfectly possible, indeed very likely. But measure me, and the blog, based on the merits of the particular analyses we offer in each post, not against our supposed (but never actually offered) assurances of libertarianism.

NEXT: The Great Bumper Sticker Defacement Criminal Prosecution Fizzles

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  1. The damage is done. The social media companies knelt to government threats to kill section 230 because they weren't censoring harrassment. The Democratic debates had an entire discussion unit on how to best hurt them, some candidates going beyond a 230 wipe into laws to directly hurt them. One sits a heartbeat away from the presidency.

    It is not a free choice on their part. Potential losses of hundreds of billions in stock value as they become opened to lawsuit liability would drag them back down, like auto manufacturers, or struggling internet companies in other nations, which had no such protections, and did not rise to global dominance.

    Do two wrongs make a right? Or do you fight fire with fire? Let nobody forget the first thing done with the new harrassment development was to point out their political opponents' tweets were harrassing, don't forget to censor them, too!

    I didn't vote for the man. But this behavior is vile in America.

    1. Lawsuits tend not to affect stock price as you describe.

  2. People conflate libertarianism with anarchy. Letting large monopolies run the world and restrict rights is just as bad as big government. Big companies need to be kept in check just as much as got. Property rights need to take a back seat to other rights.

    Facebook, Google, etc should be common carriers. That is actually the most libertarian position.

    1. No, it is not remotely libertarian to do that. What a bizarre claim.

      No one needs Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. There's no excuse for treating them as natural monopolies or necessities.

      1. The irony of writing "No one needs Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. " from an iPad on an internet blog.

        1. We adults are capable of separating the fact that we own things, from the fact that we don't actually *need* to own them

          1. You don't own yourself. Facebook's actual "property" is all the data they have collected on you that sits on a server in Huntsville Alabama. Every time you write a comment, buy something online, read an article, all your GPS data, all get aggregated on a server to develop a profile of you. And its all there for the hacking.

            You only *think* you understand the property rights of the internet companies. Because they have basically stolen you to use against you and sell you products, and now you are dumb enough to protect them.

            1. Nice deflection from original comment of "needing" to do any of those things. What other progressive laws do we need to protect people from their own decisions?

              1. Stay off public roads because of the license plate readers and cameras. You dont need to use a car either. Just get 60 acres and some horses, if you can afford it, and go back to being Amish.

              2. Also I am ignoring the comment about "needing" the internet. You are arguing with me about needing the internet, over the internet. You clearly need the internet to do that.

                1. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are not "the Internet."

            2. You don’t own yourself. Facebook’s actual “property” is all the data they have collected on you

              Data about me is not me.

              1. If we want to get into a metaphysical discussion, the question would be: what is you? Is it your body? Your memories? Your experiences and skills? If you were to have the entire contents of your brain uploaded into a simulation that you could freely interact with, would that be you? And if so, how long would it take before the virtual you and the physical you were different enough that they would be considered separate identities/personalities/individuals?

        2. Irony? the iPad is not Google, and this blog is not facebook. It illustrates the point that we have choices.

        3. What a weird thing to say. Apple is none of Facebook, Google or Twitter. They don't run a social media platform, and no one would argue that they have anything like a dominant position in the "hardware to connect to the Internet" category.

          Similarly, this blog is none of Facebook, Google, or Twitter. As far as I know, it's hosted independently of all of them. None of them makes moderation decisions here.

          This blog actually proves the point that there are alternative ways to communicate on the Internet without needing to get any of the big social media platforms involved.

          1. Yes. There are alternative ways to communicate on the Internet without needing to get any of the big social media platforms involved.

            For now.

            Repeal sec 230 and it will become too expensive for anyone but the major players to host comment sections. Facebook, Google, Twitter, et al have the resources to fight meritless suits that other sites do not. So, we'll just have the big ones left, and they will be much more ready to wield the ban-hammer than they are now.

            1. Nobody who seriously wants a free internet is proposing to repeal all of Section 230. It would be sufficient to repeal the "or otherwise objectionable" catchall.

              1. So your local Catholic diocese wants to start a message board where parishioners can discuss the Bible or maybe even just community events. They're not allowed to take down the pro-Satan trolls under your proposal?

                But your first sentence is wildly incorrect. LOTS of people want to repeal all of the platform immunity under Section 230. Most of them don't understand what they're talking about, but you're suggesting a degree of nuance that doesn't exist in most of the dialog on the topic.

                1. Well, he did say "Nobody who seriously wants a free internet..." which presumably includes only "true" Scotsmen.

                2. We have one such person right here, in Lathrop!

        4. I don't have any social media accounts and don't use Google, yet I still somehow manage to post here. So I guess I don't get what's ironic.

    2. People conflate libertarianism with anarchy.

      No, the problem is equating anarchy with chaos.
      Libertarianism can include anarchy and minarchy, which is near-anarchy.

      Chaos is independent of all of those. One could easily conclude we have chaos now, and certainly don't have anarchy.

      1. Chaos and order aren't opposites, they're complimentary. Increasing order generally increases increasing chaos at the same time. (Example: the more rules/laws there are, the less they'll actually be followed in practice).

        1. er... strike the 'increasing' before chaos in the second sentence.

    3. I'm not exactly sure what Facebook and Google have a monopoly over, given that I use their competitors daily.

      The only way a large monopoly can exist or run the world is if there's a government making it happen behind the curtain.

      1. Interesting case today, Facebook and Google have been accused and sued for trying to get around Apple's privacy protections, and Google has been assisting Facebook in placing ads.

        Is it illegal collusion? Several state AG's say it is, I don't know.

      2. I actually tried to switch from Safari to Chrome on my iphone recently.

        Holy crap, what a shit show of no ad blocking. Quickly switched back.

        1. There is an adblocker plugin for Chrome, it's just not part of the base install.

        2. There's no such thing as other browsers on an iPhone. Apple requires all 3rd party browsers to use Webkit (i.e. Safari) under the hood. No matter what browser you think you're using, it's basically Safari under the covers.

  3. I appreciate the honesty in the title. I wish more people would acknowledge that not all they're views perfectly align with an ideology or principle.

    1. Labeling a blog "often libertarian" without mentioning "conservative" -- when the proprietor endorses Ted Cruz and the blog focuses on "owning the libs" while conspicuously avoiding subjects inconvenient for conservatives and Republicans -- is not honesty. It is faulty advertising, perhaps served with a side of lying to yourself.

      The vitriol aimed at Prof. Somin by this blog's carefully cultivated class of disaffected conservative commenters whenever Prof. Somin offers some genuine libertarian content is telling.

      This blog could be great. I wish it were.

      (That's Charlie and especially Bill for the win)

      1. the blog focuses on “owning the libs”

        Whom are you quoting? Yourself?

      2. The Conspiracy went from enjoying the conversation between several highly educated people and how lawyers and non-lawyers parsed the news of the day to watching redpill monkeys screaming and throwing poo while highly educated people pretend not to notice they've joined the circus.

    2. Wait, demanding orthodoxy isn't a good thing? Calling someone an [X]INO is a destructive litmus test? People are capable of putting together their own ideologies that don't comport directly with the most extreme heterodoxic demands of the fringes? Morality is possible without an inflexible demand to conform? People get to make their own decisions?

      Shocking and unacceptable. *eye roll*

  4. The title reminded me of the Frank Zappa outtake "The M.O.I. Anti-Smut Loyalty Oath".

  5. Professor Volokh...Just be you. 🙂

    I learn a lot here.

  6. As Aldo Raine said, "Sounds good." Sounds good to me.

  7. You fit right in here at Reason - 'sometimes' libertarian.

    1. Indeed, if the Conspiracy were consistently libertarian, it would be a poor match for Reason. As it is, the only mismatch is that they're honest about not being consistent libertarians.

      1. Well, Reason used to be a nominally libertarian publication. Now, not so much. I propose we rename Reason to Emote! because that is a much more accurate description of what Reason writers do: Emote, and not Reason.

        1. Reason used to be a genuinely libertarian publication, I had a subscription to it at one time, along with Liberty. NOW it's only nominally libertarian.

          I blame the 'liberalitarian' alliance; Too many libertarian organizations fell for that nonsense, and got subverted.

          1. I just went to the front page, Reason.com. I do not see a single headline that suggests a liberal rather than libertarian or conservative perspective. I see criticism of public schools, of NIMBYism, of bigger government/Bidenism, of zoning, of lockdowns, of taxes, of left-wing cancel culture, of California overregulation. I see praise for school choice and gun rights.

            1. David,
              Your problem is that you're performing an mild experiment, and you're going by what you actually observe. Instead; now try ignoring those data, and substitute in they place your feelings...that slightly uncomfortable tickle behind your stomach that is telling you, "Life, my govt, my peers, my medial--are more liberal than I feel comfortable with. And are more liberal than I think is good for America or American values."

              See? Once you ignore the actual world and you go by mere feelings; it's much easier to feel aggrieved and disaffected.

              You're welcome.

              1. Libertarian ideals aren't conservative. They are heterodox. Culturally, libertarian principles trend left because the right is more willing to use governmental force to restrict personal freedom.

                They also aren't liberal. They are heterodox. Fiscally, libertarian principles trend right because the left is more willing to use government force to extract tax revenue.

                Both of them are willing to deficit spend, these days, which is decidedly unlibertarian.

        2. I also had a subscription at one point, but I realized that Reason wasn't libertarian when they did a survey of Reason writers before the 2008 election and it went something like this: 1 - McCain, 2 - "I don't vote and you shouldn't either", 6- Obama.

        3. I've been reading Reason since the early 90s. The only significant difference I see today is that they didn't kiss Trump's ring. This is the thing that has some of the riff-raff that Ron Paul dragged in all worked up. (And I like Ron Paul, BTW.)

          1. I think I actually dropped my subscription in the 90's, I'd been a subscriber since the early 80's, when they were running the likes of Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell.

      2. Reason leans liberal, whereas I think Volokh leans conservative.

        The comments have gone full crazy train post-Trump however.

        1. Bubba,
          Mostly agree. But I think you're looking at the time during Prez Trump with rose-tinted glasses. (That's my impression, anyway.) I was shocked (at first) at how many of us hoi polloi were willing to whore our integrity. People who had been around, commenting occasionally, for *years*, and who had been--I thought--principled conservatives and conservative libertarians were suddenly defending Trump from the indefensible.

          In this very thread, there are people who are arguing (with a straight face, I gather) that when Trump bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, it was really all done with consent, b/c of a qualifier that "...they let you get away with it..." It simply boggles my mind. Just more evidence (IMO) that just as many people have TDS (pro Trump) as have TDS (anti Trump).

          1. People who had been around, commenting occasionally, for *years*, and who had been–I thought–principled conservatives and conservative libertarians were suddenly defending Trump from the indefensible.

            Meh. I was around all through that time, and as I recall the conversations generally went something like:
            A: "Trump is a self-confessed rapist and therefore unqualified to be President!"
            B: "Um, this doesn't fit the statutory definition of rape because [legal analysis]."
            A: "HOW DARE YOU DEFEND SUCH A SCUMBAG!!!!1"
            Etc.

            I don't really recall anyone, much less the old hands, taking the position that Trump's actions were particularly genteel -- just not criminal.

            1. Brian,
              It's possible that your recollection is correct, and I'm not remembering accurately. Since I don't know how to search those past posts, on other websites, it will remain an unsolved question for me. But I'm glad you posted with your own take on it...cuz you very well might be right re this.

              1. I think you’re looking at the time during Prez Trump with rose-tinted glasses.

                I think you’re looking at the time during Prez Trump with TDS-tinted glasses.

            2. I recall these conversations as well and while some tried the whole "rape/not rape" angle, many also said "sexual assault" or just "assault." IANAL but I believe the acts required to commit this crime vary from state to state but groping is generally (but not always) covered.

              1. Whatever the label of a particular criminal statute of this ilk, I think you'll find that lack of consent is a requirement in all cases. Which takes us back to square 1 -- neither decorous nor a crime.

              2. I recall these conversations as well and while some tried the whole “rape/not rape” angle, many also said “sexual assault” or just “assault.” IANAL but I believe the acts required to commit this crime vary from state to state but groping is generally (but not always) covered.

                IF it was something that had actually occurred (Trump grabbing someone by the pussy), rather than just vulgar ravings of a narcissist, than you would have a point. Is it something that has happened? I mean, if it is, you've got an admission of guilt on tape. Funny that it doesn't seem to be that way though.

                1. Ok, so maybe it does seem to be that way. Several accusations doesn't equal proof, but points to plausibility of his statement being a recount of events that had happened, and not just hypothetical ravings.

            3. Actually, the dialogue typically went more like this:

              SP: "Did you hear what Trump just admitted doing? Assaulting women."
              T: "That's just locker room talk. There's no evidence he ever did anything like that."
              SP: "Um, actually, numerous women have accused Trump of assault."
              T: "There's no corroboration for any of those accusations."

          2. Bubba,
            Mostly agree. But I think you’re looking at the time during Prez Trump with rose-tinted glasses. (That’s my impression, anyway.) I was shocked (at first) at how many of us hoi polloi were willing to whore our integrity. People who had been around, commenting occasionally, for *years*, and who had been–I thought–principled conservatives and conservative libertarians were suddenly defending Trump from the indefensible.

            In this very thread, there are people who are arguing (with a straight face, I gather) that when Trump bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, it was really all done with consent, b/c of a qualifier that “…they let you get away with it…” It simply boggles my mind. Just more evidence (IMO) that just as many people have TDS (pro Trump) as have TDS (anti Trump).

            Has there yet been a single data point given as evidence that Trump has ever actually "grabbed [anyone] by the pussy"?

            My understanding of the conversation is that Trump bragged about being theoretically able to do something, rather than bragging about having actually done something.

            The actual context, not that you're really interested in setting aside your hate for Trump to analyze it critically:

            (From Vox, which I assume is your go-to) “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” Trump said. “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

            Notice how, Trump didn't say that he has ever grabbed anyone by the pussy. In context, he appears to have used the phrase as an example of anything which "they" would let "a star" do.

            Has Trump been accused by anyone of "just walking up to them and kissing them, and grabbing them by the pussy?"

            You should be shocked at how easily you were manipulated into taking this conversation as an admission of guilt, rather than the crude vulgarity that it appears to have been.

            1. Has there yet been a single data point given as evidence that Trump has ever actually “grabbed [anyone] by the pussy”?

              Um, yes.

              1. So, specifically:

                "Kessica Leeds told the New York Times in October 2016 that Trump reached his hand up her skirt and groped her while seated next to her on a flight in the late 1970s."

                "Kristin Anderson, a photographer and former model said Trump reached under her skirt and touched her vagina through her underwear at a New York City nightclub in the early 1990s."

                "Jill Harth, a businesswoman who worked with Trump in the 1990s, told the Guardian in July 2016 that Trump pushed her against a wall, put his hand up her skirt, and tried to kiss her at a dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort in the early 1990s."

                Karen Johnson: "When he says that thing, 'Grab them in the pussy,' that hits me hard because when he grabbed me and pulled me into the tapestry, that's where he grabbed me," she said, according to the book excerpt."

              2. Thanks David. Several accusations.

              3. Just to be clear, what Trump described in the tape is definitely sexual assault (hypothetically or actually is the question).

                Obviously "I can do it because I'm a star" or "they just let me do it" are not consent. And I am not condoning the actions described. I was only responding to the claims that within the context of the tape there is not proof of, or admission of, guilt.

            2. As disgusted as I am by Trump, who is a complete septic tank of a human being, you are correct. He was never accused of grabbing anyone's pussy, and that would have come out.

              1. Crap, maybe I was wrong. I didn't think he was actually accused of grabbing anyone's pussy.

  8. For me the most important part of their subtitle is "Always Independent"

    I like the libertarian lean, and the contrarianism here. But independent thought with the whys of it are the most useful thing here. This is what keeps me coming back.

    1. Well, perhaps as independent as a Federalist-Heritage mouthpiece can get.

  9. Well crap. All these years I thought he'd been sworn to the oath. Now I won't be able to trust anything I read here.

  10. I left libertarianism as a teenager mostly because the simple, neat principles that seemed to work perfectly on paper become a mess when they interact with the real world. So it's good to see that the more thoughtful posters here are not dogmatic or inflexible about things.

    One thing I've noticed after reading EV for 20 years is a greater propensity towards engaging in the culture wars now than in the past. Granted, the entire country is much more polarized than 20 years ago so I suppose that is to be expected, but I wonder whether this is intentional or if he's even aware of it.

    1. "because the simple, neat principles that seemed to work perfectly on paper become a mess when they interact with the real world."

      You can make the same criticism of socialism, x100.

      1. Or liberalism. Or conservatism. Or religion. Or free market capitalism. Or basically any philosophical, theoretical, or other modeled system. That's the difference between theory and reality.

    2. I think it's the case of "You may not be interested in the Revolution, but the Revolution is interested in you!" (as Leon Trotsky supposedly said).

    3. I've been reading the VC for quite some time, largely because I was getting the best understanding for the arguments relating to repealing sodomy laws, enacting same-sex marriage, and other LGBTQ issues. I guess it depends on what you mean by "engaging" as to whether they were "engaging with" insofar as they discussed them and the legal and ethical aspect of the culture war, or "engaged with" as in having a friendly relationship with. For me, the discussions here became "engaged with" the culture war when the VC became "engaged with" Reason.com. The quality of the comments has declined dramatically, IMHO.

      Sure, they can say "fuck" all they want now but the price for that was an increase in the noise to content ratio.

      1. The quality of the comments generally reflects the quality of the Conspirators’ posts.

        Ask Prof. Kerr.

  11. The Volokh Conspirators have made it perfectly clear these past five years that they are nothing but a bunch of left-wing wankers.

    The "Conspirators" were always suspect but when Trump first ran for office, they became unhinged and revealed their true colors.

    But this website claims to be Libertarian, and yet the Volokh Conspiracy is still here. Which just goes to show that Ayn Rand was right. Libertarians are a bunch of drug-crazed hippies.

    1. I blame all the concealed carriers on this blog for promoting the moral decline of murica.

    2. The Volokh Conspirators have made it perfectly clear these past five years that they are nothing but a bunch of left-wing wankers.

      How dare they not agree with your odd views of the 2nd Amendment and concealed vs open carry? Those lunatics!

  12. Imagine a society in which a single closely held corporation owned all property, but had a purely libertarian government which existed only to enforce agreements. Either you agree to having a microchip implanted in you that tells you exactly what to say and do every moment of your life, and you say and you do it, or you get evicted from other people’s private property and put out into one of the 5 by 5 foot public squares, the door to others’ private property locked behind you, and your body gets carted off after you starve.

    This is a perfectly libertarian society. Private property rights are absolute. You can agree to whatever you’d like. And boy is government limited! Government exists only to enforce private property rights and cart off the bodies of the starved from the public squares. It’s as limited as it gets.

    This is absolute libertarian utopia. Perfectly libertarian in every respect.

    If you were one of owners of the corporation that owns all the property, no doubt you’d think it just fine.

    But what if you were a member of the other 99.999% of the population? Would you really want to live in such a society? Would you really think it a free one?

    1. Note that the first word in your argument had to be "imagine". People arguing against, say, Marxism don't need to do any imagining.

      1. Right. All that imaginary Leninism among American university faculty has been entirely optional.

        1. Not sure I understand your point, Steve, but then I often don't. If you mean that some commenters here overestimate how far gone our universities are, I agree. 90% of what happens at 90% of universities isn't influenced by hard-left politics or for that matter, any kind of politics.

          I was just making the boring and obvious point that ReaderY made up a completely unrealistic hypothetical. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Volokh or Reason, I think one has to concede that their concerns are generally far from hypothetical.

          1. But unrealistic scenarios like that are very useful for probing the limits of proposed principles. Indeed, it's clear that, under some situations, a pure system of property rights could become problematic. This has always been understood by serious libertarian theorists. You need some limits, so that people can't be basically imprisoned by surrounding property owners, and various similar issues.

            1. But unrealistic scenarios like that are very useful for probing the limits of proposed principles.

              If the limits are far far beyond what could ever actually happen, then what's the point?

              It's kind of like the other Volokh's musings on whether a libertarian government can do anything about an asteroid coming to destroy the earth.

              1. "If the limits are far far beyond what could ever actually happen, then what’s the point?"

                They're not, that's the point.

                1. You think it's plausible that a situation could arise in which one company owns all property in the world?

        2. University Marxism is relatively harmless.

          But as someone who is married to a Cambodian, who's parents, aunts and uncles, all had family members killed, and were separated from surviving family members and forced marched for weeks to communes where they were subjected to forced labor, draconian rules, malnourishment, and watching summary executions I can tell you concern about Marxism isn't just an academic exercise. That isn't ancient history.

          1. University Marxism is relatively harmless.

            Where do you think Pol Pot & Co. picked up / developed their antihuman ideas?

            1. US foreign policy? US domestic racial segregation policies?

              1. US foreign policy? US domestic racial segregation policies?

                Congratulations. You've outdone even your own stupidity.

            2. The cafe's of Paris.

          2. University Marxism is anything but harmless, the universities are a key component of the propagation of our culture, and having them taken over by enemies of our culture is actually an existential threat, even if a slow motion one.

            1. Which universities have been taken over by enemies of our culture, you bigoted, superstitious clinger?

    2. I would offer up that peoples’ aggregate preferences to not be dominated would be enough to prevent this scenario.

      From the Wikipedia page on hunter gatherers:

      The egalitarianism typical of human hunters and gatherers is never total, but is striking when viewed in an evolutionary context. One of humanity's two closest primate relatives, chimpanzees, are anything but egalitarian, forming themselves into hierarchies that are often dominated by an alpha male. So great is the contrast with human hunter-gatherers that it is widely argued by palaeoanthropologists that resistance to being dominated was a key factor driving the evolutionary emergence of human consciousness, language, kinship and social organization.

      1. peoples’ aggregate preferences to not be dominated

        For a lot of people -- including my fellow Americans -- this preference yields to the desire to be provided for by the state. Then there're some real prizewinners out there who desire to dominate others. They take advantage of the previous group to get into power.

      2. Well, chimpanzees and gorillas are adapted for specific environments, thus limited territorially. With humans we adapted to the point where we became unconstrained territorially, at least for a few hundred thousand years. But then again, we never stopped being tribal.

  13. idk man I don't think there's anything more libertarian than exercising one's freedom to be a hypocrite

  14. What people seem to be missing is that Facebook, Google, etc. own you - all your data sits on a server, enough to completely recreate you digitally. Including where you had your last meal. They can connect you with what you bought because stores keep that data and merge it.

    Protecting the property rights of the internet companies is not what you think it is. It's tantamount to protecting digital slavery.

    1. While I agree there are issues with data privacy here, I'm not sure what "digital slavery" really is. Who is enslaved? Just the data? Or by holding onto my data do I somehow lose free will?

      Just pass a law that says my data is my property even if Big Data(tm) stores it on their servers. There. Now it's not Google's property any more. I am released from slavery. I can now eat whatever I want for breakfast.

  15. The top of the blog says "often libertarian", and makes no reference to conservative, liberal, etc. That leads people to a reasonable inference that it's more libertarian than anything else.

    But, based on many of the posts I've seen here, I think "often conservative" would, on the whole, be more accurate than "often libertarian".

    Also, reason.com is pretty well known for being a libertarian website. Maybe this isn't the best home for the Volokh Conspiracy.

    1. based on many of the posts I’ve seen here, I think “often conservative” would, on the whole, be more accurate than “often libertarian”.

      Which posts would those be? The ones defending freedom of speech? The ones defending freedom of religion? The ones defending the right to keep & bear arms? The ones criticizing Obamacare? The ones criticizing the "lockdowns" and "vaccine mandates"?

      1. Yes, Ed, Except for the first one (free speech, which sadly is under assault from the left and the right)...all of those other example seem to fit neatly under the general umbrella of "conservatives"...if you accept that conservatism has been warped and twisted by Trump's impressive control over the Republican party. Even the anti-Vaxx idiocy, which, for many years, used to be the calling card for the moron and idiot subsection of the liberals. Back then, before Covid, liberals would roll their eyes when anti-Vaxx rhetoric was being defecated by the likes of Jenny McCarthy. But at least liberals could truthfully say (and DID say, consistently and repeatedly), "Look, she's generally a liberal. But her ideas re vaccines are wacky and stupid...and her view represents one tenth of 1% of Democrats. A tiny tiny fraction of us."

        But today, a ***HUGE*** number of Republicans believe in this idiocy. And, just as bad, a huge number of Republican morons are actual politicians. Trump believed and believes in the vaccine. But he was too stupid to stand up for truth (or, he made a craven and ultra-political decision to whore himself to the anti-vaxx crowd), and he chose to not attack any fellow Republican who came out during Covid as anti-vaxx. And when he got the shots, he made a conscious decision to hide this from his followers and supporters till after the election loss. Given the gutless nature of Republican politicians, one wonders what is happening in one of our mirror universes, where just-as-conservative President Trump in 2020 spent the entire election mentioning, "Covid is real, DO NOT vote for any Republican who says it's not real. The vaccines are coming, and DO NOT VOTE for any Republican who tells you not to take a vaccine. In the meantime; wear masks and socially distance!!!" I don't know if people in that alternate universe are, on balance, happier or sadder than in our own world. But I do know that 500,000 more Americans are still alive there.

        1. Okay, on re-reading this...I can see I went off on a bit of a rant. Time for a cuppa tea, a nice lie-down, and a good book. 🙂

          1. Also, a ticket back to reality from whatever fantasyland you were visiting there.

  16. I wish I knew what I was, politically. My instinctive view is that way people should or shouldn't do is very different than what the government should compel or prohibit. But, without going into specifics of all four axes, I can't really say whether I am libertarian, progressive or conservative, whether that should be a personal behavior preference or a public policy preference.

    I am probably on the libertarian side for much, because a lot of what I do to help people I wouldn't want to be compelled to do. And a lot of the things I am compelled to pay for, I don't want to.

  17. Prof. V: Years ago I decided to call myself a "libertarianish conservative", for reasons similar to (but less developed than) what you say in this post. It's worked for me.

  18. I mostly come her for the contrarian and independent thought. Occasionally, I appreciate the libertarian point-of-view.

  19. Something touched a nerve ....

    When your name is on the top, and it says 'often libertarian,' readers have every right to connect the two. No need to be pissy about it.

    1. It says "Often libertarian." It says nothing about "conservative." It is false advertising for a blog that is movement conservatism masquerading as libertarianism.

      1. I suggest you boycott the blog in protest ...

        1. I'd rather spotlight its failures and plant the flag for the culture war's winners.

  20. No one here is unerringly consistent in there views, and if they claim to be then they are either consistently delusional, or a parody account.

    I know some of my positions are inconsistent, but I try to vote for the candidate that I think is most likely to do the best job leaving me alone. But even the best candidates for political office are more inconsistent that the worst weathervane here (while the worst candidates are usually the most consistent).

    1. If they're consistent, "at least it's an ethos."

  21. The only thing I can find that’s even close to a Libertarian oath is their take on the non-aggression principle.

    “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.”

  22. Eugene, your Facebook "About" info lists your Political views as "Libertarian". So, that settles it. 🙂

    1. The Instapunditeer has claimed to be libertarian, too. I figure they are sheepish about being known as movement conservatives in modern America academia, or believe from a tactical perspective that their right-wing arguments will seem more persuasive if positioned as coming from a libertarian.

      The garish libertarian drag fools no one other than some peculiarly gullible clingers.

    2. All that proves is Dr Volokh uses Facebook. And he wanted to have a brand association when he profiled himself there.

  23. Ohhhhhhhhhh. So we can anchor our views to our own experiences, fields of study, expertise and principles instead of to an ideology? Being an ideologue is NOT, after all, a default state of being?

  24. Holding you to some conveniently imagined set of rules (frequently while completely ignoring rules or consistency themselves) is a standard tactic. It's so common that people don't even notice they’re doing it sometimes.

    You have obligations, they only have rights. One of the obligations you supposedly have is to construct a perfectly consistent philosophical framework for everything and to never fail to communicate how everything you suggest fits into that framework. Another is to cite proof for everything you say. They have no such obligations and can blithely make up whatever conspiracy or accusation (often implied instead of expressed so they don't have to defend it) as an argument.

    Don't play their game. Facebook's conduct isn't about you. Changing the subject to you is a dodge, often because they have nothing of substance to say.

    1. He calls his blog "Often libertarian" but doesn't mention "conservative."

      His own words. Not someone else's rules, imagined or not.

      That is shabby, misleading conduct -- and undertaken for a reason. Comment in this regard is proper and any wounds self-inflicted.

      1. "Often" definitionally means "not always."

  25. " Now maybe I'm not libertarian enough. "

    Surely the president of Libertarians For Ted Cruz is jesting here.

  26. Seeing as this post is about a comment I made on your past article, I am sorry I did not see it until now. I wonder if you saw my followup comment to your comment on my comment that I did not expect you to be always libertarian and remember a past post you made about the often-libertarian description.

    I clarified that I thought the post you were making was a strange issue in my opinion to be diverting from libertarian. There is nothing wrong with that, but I just think it was an issue that was funny for you to not have a libertarian view, especially since it was related to free speech.

    1. I am wondering why you felt the need to call me out for claiming you took a "libertarian oath" when I explicitly said I was not doing that.

      "My post is not about your departing from libertarianism. I remember the post about the mostly libertarian part, and it is my mistake for not being more clear, but this just seems to me like a point that is funny to fall outside of the libertarian viewpoint. It is hurting no one to exclude certain viewpoints from social media.

      Social media in today's society, though very widely used, is not an indispensable part, such as phones and internet. One can simply either choose not to use social media or use one of the many other platforms. That is where the argument ends for me. I understand that others can have differing viewpoints and I recognize the legitimacy of them but unless and until social media is integral to daily life I do not see is as reasonable for the government to put any speech restrictions on it.

      Again, sorry for not being more clear in my original post."

      1. I do not buy the argument that it is property rights, which if I remember correctly I never claimed it was. It is forcing a company to allow postings on their service that they do not agree with, which seems like a free speech issue to me.

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