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Posted by on Jan 24, 2010 in Arts & Entertainment, Media, Politics, Society | 17 comments

Libertarians: Stop trying so hard

Every time I meet libertarians, they seem hellbent on making themselves look like horrible human beings. Not for their pro-limited government views, which seem refreshing in a time when The Government Is Taking Over Everything and still retaining the Bush administration’s national-security rationales (best of both worlds!).

Cross-posted at Cultural Imperialist

The problem is libertarians don’t want you to think they’re Squares. Everything is fucking ridiculous or shitbrained – try making it through a libertarian sentence without casual swearing of the fourth-grader-fitting-in variety. They love alcohol, tobacco and drugs – I mean, who doesn’t? But they have no perspective on how to enjoy oneself imbibing, smoking or ingesting of other forms. Everything has to be over the top, to show you’re not a Prude.

A Washington Post profile of Reason magazine’s re-location to D.C., and the anything-goes parties it brought along, has always stuck in my mind: “Once a month, culture comes in the form of magazine release parties at assorted Dupont dives and wafts of conversation like ‘This can’t be good for my liver’ and ‘Jeremy has passed out in his own vomit.'” Yes, we get it – you obey No God But Yourself, or Adam Smith’s invisible hand, or that cute coed dressed as an NC-17 anime character at your Burning Man Lite party. Anything with the whiff of traditional morality, Christian charity or personal humility – such as frowning on Randian spouse-swapping – is simply poor taste.

Of course, I’m simplifying and in some sense inveighing against a particular cultural anarchy espoused by the young, hip libertarians in urban settings. If you were around farmland for any period during the 2008 campaign, you saw the Ron Paul for President signs flowering like fields of Afghan poppies, and surely freedom farmers share little in common with leather-clad, swarthy magazine editors in D.C.

But these are the folks who give libertarianism its national face, to the extent anyone could pick it out of a police lineup. They would do well to remember Ben Folds’ proverb: “There’s always someone cooler than you.”

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