Libertarian Self-Delusions

From Critiques Of Libertarianism
Jump to: navigation, search

Libertarians believe many weird things about themselves compared to others. Many are splendid examples of the Dunning–Kruger effect. See also: Derp.


Ayn Rand was not a libertarian
Yes she was. Her minarchist splinter sect (Objectivism) was distinguished by different pretentious bullshit philosophy, but nothing else. She hated other libertarians because they were rivals who dared to disagree with her, the same as happens in any other frequently schismatic cult religion or philosophy.
Capitalist success is meritocratic and thus deserved. (2 links)
The same way the scum floats to the top? Because libertarians usually define merit as success in capitalism, this begs the question. Meritocracy still has the problem of rule by a small clique. Positive feedback in markets makes success very much dependent on random initial conditions.
Greed Is Good (2 links)
Libertarians like to think their greed is good, but think labor unionists are greedy and thus bad. Greed is different than desire for wealth: it is desire for wealth without enough regard for whether others are harmed.
I'm going to live forever! (2 links)
Quite a few libertarians and rich technocrats such as Peter Theil, Steve Jobs and Dean Kamen have spent vast sums searching for personal immortality through various fraudulent schemes for transhumanism or life extension. Excessive individualism makes people prone to this problem.
Individual Choice (1 link)
Individual choice is a misleading concept: individuals do not control the choices available and are heavily influenced by advertising, propaganda, and other irrational factors. It also focuses attention away from alternatives, such as social choice.
Libertarian philosophy is consistent.
What a whopper of a lie. Perhaps it might be true for a sufficiently weak measure of consistency, such as "parroted from the same source." But there is no one libertarian philosophy: there are zillions of variants and interpretations based on wildly contradictory assumptions. If there are any that are philosophically consistent (meaning not leading to contradictions), I haven't seen them. And almost all fail the basic test of consistency with reality. They make claims that are scientifically testable, and fail. (Rand especially.)
Libertarianism is growing! (1 link)
Nope. Koch-sponsored plutocratic control of government, media and other institutions is increasing, but that is not libertarianism. The number of people with libertarian leanings has remained constant for decades, and the Libertarian Party has long been in decline.
Libertarians are neither right wing nor left wing. (5 links)
Libertarians are simply pragmatic conservatives who have a moral focus on non-interference by the government, according to George Lakoff. That makes them solid right wingers.
Libertarians are the true liberals. (2 links)
Libertarianism forgets several basic tenets of liberalism so that it doesn't have to balance property against them. This is especially obvious in sp-called Classical Liberalism which pays attention to only the economic ideas of some liberals.
Libertarians understand economics better than people with other political positions. Especially liberals. (4 links)
The vast majority of libertarians who actually learn some economics learn either Austrian Economics or Chicago Economics. Those conflict so seriously that one side (or both) MUST be wrong. Both choices are seriously afflicted with the idea that economics is about capitalism, rather than actual human behavior.
Non-Libertarians Supposedly Supporting Libertarian Viewpoints (10 links)
Many economists and historical figures are claimed to be supportive of libertarianism or "protolibertarians". US founding fathers, various economists, J. S. Mill, etc. Often they are mischaracterized as "Classical Liberals" to confuse the issue. Many were just early liberals or feminists.
We are all individuals. (1 link)
One of the great lines from Monty Python's "The Life Of Brian". Brian is trying to dissuade the crowd from proclaiming him the messiah, telling them not to follow him, and he says "You are all individuals." The crowd responds obediently in unison "We are all individuals." Like Christians, most libertarians are indoctrinated with the same small set of basic texts and, despite their diversity, tend not to vary very much from the same small set of beliefs.
We are producers, you and government are parasites. (2 links)
A common idea from Ayn Rand.
We are the good guys.
Every religion, every cult, every ideology is convinced they are the good guys, and libertarians are no exception. Slave owners knew they were the good guys, and so did every imperialist. The answer lies in what OTHER people think of you, and almost everybody hates libertarianism.
We do not owe each other anything because we are self-made. (3 links)
A favorite libertarian myopia! Conveniently forget all the contributions that went into making us successes. Also known as "I built it all by myself." Ignores the lessons of I Pencil: A product of the mixed economy and the fact of Social Capital.
We libertarians are more intelligent. (1 link)
Take a standard adolescent fantasy, mix it with a simplistic ideology, and wow! You know all the answers! Everybody else is so stupid!
We libertarians are peaceful, statists are violent! (2 links)
All social systems require violence and coercion if they have ANY types of rights, because ultimately All Rights Are Coercive. Libertarians often delude themselves that their rights are natural and do not require force, but if you ask them what happens when their rights are violated they start talking about "defensive force" which somehow they think is not violent. All property, all rights are ultimately held coercively.
We libertarians are rational, they are not. (14 links)
People's thinking is based upon their values and premises. You cannot judge somebody else's rationality without adopting their values and premises for the judgement. There is very little evidence that libertarians do that, or judge fairly. Instead, the vulgar libertarian "logic" simply identifies that other people don't hold the same values or premises. See also Homo economicus.
We see clearly, but you have all been brainwashed by government, mainstream economics, liberal media, etc. (4 links)
This is a common propaganda technique: accuse your opponents of your own failings. The great fallacy is that even if we HAVE been brainwashed, that doesn't make libertarian fallacies any more correct.
We understand libertarianism and you do not. (1 link)
Self-described libertarians are often mistaken about basics of libertarianism, have misclassified themselves, or mistake their particular sect as representing all libertarianism.
We understand the Constitution, they do not. (7 links)
This libertarian attitude shows a profound ignorance of how the law ascribes meaning to documents such as the Constitution. This is explained further.


People seem to be faintly drawn to the idea that there might be more political dimensions than just "left" and "right". Bullshit. Being in favour of allowing other people to take drugs, shag each other or read what they want isn't a political position; it's what we call "manners", "civilisation" or "humanity", depending on the calibre of yokel you're trying to educate. The political question of interest splits fair and square down a Left/Right axis: either you think that it is more important to provide a decent life for everyone in the world, or you think it is more important to preserve the rights of people who own property. You can hum and haw as much as you like about whether the two are necessarily incompatible, or whether the one is instrumental to the other, or what constitutes a "decent life" anyway, but when you've finished humming and hawing, I'm still gonna be asking you the question, and your answer to it will determine whether or not we're gonna have an argument.
Daniel Davies,, December 31, 2002
One cannot overstate the childishness of the ideas that feed and stir the masses. Real ideas must as a rule be simplified to the level of a child's understanding if they are to arouse the masses to historic actions. A childish illusion, fixed in the minds of all children born in a certain decade and hammered home for four years, can easily reappear as a deadly serious political ideology twenty years later.
Sebastian Haffner, "Defying Hitler: A Memoir", pg. 17.
Libertarianism is, in the end, not so much about liberty as it is about protecting and enforcing absolute property and contract rights.
Samuel Freeman, "Illiberal Libertarians: Why Libertarianism Is Not a Liberal View" pg. 133
[H]umans are, at a very deep and basic level, gift-exchange animals. We create and reinforce our social bonds by establishing patterns of “owing” other people and by “being owed”. We want to enter into reciprocal gift-exchange relationships. We create and reinforce social bonds by giving each other presents. We like to give. We like to receive. We like neither to feel like cheaters nor to feel cheated. We like, instead, to feel embedded in networks of mutual reciprocal obligation. We don’t like being too much on the downside of the gift exchange: to have received much more than we have given in return makes us feel very small. We don’t like being too much on the upside of the gift exchange either: to give and give and give and never receive makes us feel like suckers. We want to be neither cheaters nor saps.
Brad DeLong, "Regional Policy and Distributional Policy in a World Where People Want to Ignore the Value and Contribution of Knowledge and Network-Based Increasing Returns"
This wish to believe that you are not a moocher is what keeps people from seeing issues of distribution and allocation clearly -- and generates hostility to social insurance and to wage supplement policies, for they rip the veil off of the idea that you deserve to be highly paid because you are worth it. You aren’t.
Brad DeLong, "Regional Policy and Distributional Policy in a World Where People Want to Ignore the Value and Contribution of Knowledge and Network-Based Increasing Returns"
[W]e have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
George Orwell, "Review of Power: A New Social Analysis by Bertrand Russell"
As with much libertarian posturing what they say and how they act are two different things. The libertarians are owned (whether they know it or not) by a group of super wealthy capitalists (Scaife, Koch, Walton, Coors, Mars, etc.). They get their ideologically motivated followers to spew things about "free" markets and maximizing profits, but all this is a cover for their true agenda -- making them even richer.
Robert Feinman, commenting in "What obligation? Maximise what?"