Opposing Libertarianism

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***UNDER CONSTRUCTION*** Opposing evangelical libertarianism is easy, but there's lots to learn to do it effectively. Here is an overview of some of what you would want to know.


Understand the principles of discussion.

Know and recognize fallacies of logic and argument. Try to avoid using them yourself.

Nothing in this index yet.

Know and recognize principles of propaganda. Try to avoid using them yourself.

The Art of Being Right (book, online)
An acidulous and sarcastic treatise written by the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer in sarcastic deadpan. In it, Schopenhauer examines a total of thirty-eight methods of showing up one's opponent in a debate.

Try to use the principle of charity.

Interpret your partner's argument to make it as good as possible, not as poor as possible. If you misinterpret because of this principle, you will be in a stronger position when you are corrected.

Nothing in this index yet.

Reasoning has limitations.

Claims to "reason" or "rationality" should not necessarily convince us. Our suspiscions should start with first, the circularity of justifying reason with reason.

Cognitive bias cheat sheet [More...]
A grouping of roughly 175 cognitive biases according to the types of problems they are there to address: too much information, not enough meaning, the need to act fast, and what we should remember. Every cognitive bias is an opportunity to make a bad argument.

Know your terms.

Nothing in this index yet.

Know your own position.

Nothing in this index yet.

Base your arguments on knowledge, rather than your own say so.

If you think it's so, confirm it by looking it up, rather than arguing about it. It's all too easy and tempting to make claims based on opinion, but we all frequently form mistaken opinions.

Even if it's in a book or on the web, it may not be true.

There are vast numbers of recorded claims in books and other media that have been soundly refuted; find out what the counter claims are and which you should give more credence.

Remember what has gone on before.

It is dishonest to ignore the context of prior exchanges. Remember what both your partner and you have said. Memory is brief only in verbal argument, written copies can show you to be forgetful. If you don't want to be consistent, it's OK as long as it's above board.

Broad claims tend to be very weak.

There may be counter examples, better alternative explanations, or just plain little support beyond coincidence. Frequently, broad claims arise in propaganda or rhetoric rather than in careful analysis. Be suspicious of such claims, and treat them more as hypotheses than facts.

Admit when you've been wrong.

You'll be admired for your honesty, and will then have a point of agreement as a basis for further discussions. Not having a counter-argument is different than being wrong; there's no shame in saying you don't know yet, and you don't need to accept your partner's claim.

Don't interpret delays in answering as "winning".

It is not uncommon for new arguments to need years to be assessed for validity, even among professional scientists, philosophers, etc. Suspended judgement and skepticism are very valid responses.

These are just informal, off-the-cuff principles for good discussion: doubtless we can find lots of other candidates and improvements for this list.

There are also some basics that are very important to sophisticated discussion of libertarianism.

Basics for libertarian discussion.

Nothing in this index yet.

The links provided here are my own pick, and may not be unbiased. Please feel free to suggest other appropriate links.


A few books to help you understand what is wrong with libertarianism. (13 links)
These books generally do not attack libertarianism directly, but as you read them, you will understand more about how libertarianism is basically propaganda in favor of the policies the .01% want and how libertarianism has basically no philosophical legs to stand on..
Analyzing Libertarian Arguments (15 links)
First steps to analyzing libertarian arguments. Libertarian arguments literally make every fallacy of logic and informal fallacy of argument. After a while, it gets fairly easy to spot the problem in the arguments. Here are some of the major problems.
Books used as sources during the writing of Economix [More...]
An excellent reading list for understanding how politics and economics interact. From the graphic-novel style Economix.
EnoughLibertarianSpam [More...]
A reddit devoted to ridiculing libertarianism. Lots of traffic and postings. A fine place to get a quick answer to libertarian arguments.
The Crisis of Public Reason [More...]
Phil Agre provides one of the most compact insights into modern public discourse ever written. And wallops Hayek in the process.
Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision (book, online)
George Lakoff's handbook for progressive framing and political change. A short downloadable book.


I have always aimed to make my own prejudices sufficiently obvious to allow a reader, while studying the argument, to discount them as he thinks fit, though of course, this generally leads a reader of opposite prejudices to reject the argument in advance …
Joan Robinson, in Marx, Marshall And Keynes