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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Todd Seavey and Kerry Howley (joined by Dan MacCarthy) continue their debate of whether libertarianism should include concern for more than just property rights. Its an old debate, one that Seavey and Howley have had in the past in their respective blogs, and one I have commented on extensively earlier, so there’s nothing much to really add. There’s one point — it struck me then, and it strikes me now — that however, I should reiterate.

Kerry at one point writes: “None of this is to say that it is the state’s place to force a family to accept its children, a church to welcome all comers, or a sex worker to embrace all lonely hearts. There is a difference between emotional coercion and physical force.” I am glad. If Kerry actually advocated using laws to overcome social pressures, I would have to stop calling her a libertarian.

But then, the reader could be forgiven for wondering what really are these guys arguing about. As Todd says: “There’s a vast universe of moral and philosophical judgments beyond libertarianism, and one of the beauties of the philosophy is that it leaves people free to debate those countless other matters without breaking the minimal ground rule of respecting one another’s rights.” If Todd agrees that a libertarian may validly  advocate for all the things Kerry wants (as long as they do not insist that it be included in the libertarian canon) and Kerry agrees that all the things she wants ought not to be coercively imposed, it seems to me that these people are speaking a bit past each other, or at the very least, their debate is more semantical than substantive.

No, I am not saying that there isn’t a disagreement, merely that the disagreement (Kerry: Libertarians should combat more than state tyranny, though not through the legal route; Todd: It is perfectly fine for libertarians to combat social tyranny by social means, though we should not mandate it as a part of libertarianism) is not as wide as the debate might make it seem to be. Todd’s position (which I completely agree with, by the way) doesn’t really seem to counter Kerry as much as some other straw-woman who wants to break apart racist, homophobic or patriarchal conventions by force. Kerry’s counter-reply also seems mildly oblivious to Todd’s position. I share Kerry’s concerns and I agree with Todd’s position. Isn’t that a little funny?

But anyway, those who aren’t steeped in this subject too thoroughly should really read the Reason article; Howley, Seavey and McCarthy are all fine writers, and they make all the points worth making. Also you may wish to glance at Ilya Somin’s take on the issue.

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This is so freakin’ hilarious!

For those lazy to follow through the above link, here’s the story. The Republican Liberty Caucus published a piece of news that attempted to portray Radley Balko as a liar. Except that they forgot that Forbes.com is not the same as Foxnews.com. Here’s what the Caucus post stated:

Liberal (and ersatz libertarian) blogger and wanna-be pundit Radley Balko claims on his bio on his blog that he is a bi-weekly columnist for Forbes.com. But an investigation by the RLCIL demonstrates that Mr. Balko has taken extreme liberties — perhaps even license — with the term “bi-weekly.”He makes his claim at, http://www.theagitator.com/about/, indicating, that, in addition to laboring over his poorly written blog, “I’m also a biweekly columnist with FoxNews.com.”

However, the claim is not bourne out by the evidence. We searched through the Forbes.com site, and could find only two URLs, from the summer of 2005, authored by Mr. Balko.

I mean, how could this post possibly get published? This takes shooting yourself in the foot at a completely different plane.

That, and the utter irony of the Caucus lecturing Radley Balko about the meaning of libertarianism. For those unaware, the Republican Liberty Caucus (as Radley himself pointed out in this earlier post) opposes “strange sex”, claims that “pornography is not a free speech issue”, spends its funds denouncing Ayn Rand for not believing in God, thinks that anyone who can support Playboy is a “cultural radical” and opposes one Obama appointee because he, among other things, supports the right of gays to serve in the military and the right of women to have abortions without spousal notification.

The whole thing is so funny. Liberty has some strange friends, but none so demented as this sad organization.

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