Credit: Nina Paley

Credit: Nina Paley

I think that most people who fancy themselves libertarians don’t understand what it is and only use it to justify their selfishness. That might be a bit brief. Fortunately, RJ Eskow, writing on AlterNet, has approached the subject in much more detail. He’s made a post called, “11 Questions You Should Ask Libertarians to See if They’re Hypocrites.” Here are a few choice quotes from that article:

“(Ayn) Randian libertarianism is an illogical, impractical, inhumane, unpopular set of Utopian ravings which lacks internal coherence and has never predicted real-world behavior anywhere.”

“At no time or place in human history has there been a working libertarian society which provided its people with the kinds of outcomes libertarians claim it will provide.”

“In their world, democracy is a poor substitute for the iron-fisted rule of wealth, administered by those who hold the most of it.”

“(How did) Internet billionaires become wealthy? They hired government-educated employees to develop products protected by government copyrights. Those products used government-created computer technology and a government-created communications web to communicate with government-educated customers in order to generate wealth for themselves, which was then stored in government-protected banks, after which they began using that wealth to argue for the elimination of government.”

Credit: Jen Sorensen

Credit: Jen Sorensen

Here is a sampling of the 11 questions:

Relating to the last of the quotes above: “Does our libertarian use wealth that wouldn’t exist without government in order to preach against the role of government?”

Since Ayn Rand called people who “live for others” parasites: “Does he think that Rand was off the mark on this one, or does he agree that historical figures like (Martin Luther) King and (Mahatma) Gandhi were parasites?”

Since libertarians are opposed to the undemocratic power of government: “Does our libertarian recognize that large corporations are a threat to our freedoms?”

Libertarians revere the idea of “property,” but they object to government interference. “Does our libertarian reject any and all government protection for his intellectual property?”

Libertarianism is a dead philosophy. Unfortunately its zombie lurches on.


About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.
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9 Responses to Libertarians

  1. emmylgant says:

    Thank you for posting this and giving the link to Alternet. I needed that kind of ammunition to argue against the heartless and what I call the “bad faith” Rand position, because if one is honest, it takes about five minutes to figure out that it is unworkable and a very mean utopia…

  2. emmylgant says:

    Yup. You said it best.

  3. Laird Smith says:

    The Alter Net site is an interesting one with much information to view.
    The Libertarian idea sounds like the fodder of naive youth.

  4. arjaybe says:

    I knew a guy when I was doing Air Traffic Control who said he was a libertarian and that it was his right to not wear a seatbelt. I said it was also his right to pay his own medical expenses if he had an accident while not wearing it. He had no reply.


  5. oldhonu says:

    Your ignorance of Libertarianism and your narrow mindedness concerning its adherents have convinced me to exercise my freedom to ignore both your opinions and your book.

  6. arjaybe says:

    Given your apparent inability to understand what I said, it’s probably best you don’t read the book. Thank you for taking the time to tell me that you’re ignoring me, though. I don’t expect you get the irony of being free to tell me that on my website, do you?

    Did you answer the eleven questions?


  7. rand was correct says:

    >>@rand was correct

    And what has libertarianism got to do with “Why I Freed Green Comet?”

    Anyway, I presume you can point to the comments I made that are “self-important, self-satisfied, self-aggrandizing, trumpeting of strawmen arguments and false premises” in the actual post on the subject. Be clear and concise. Go.


    Yup, posted in wrong comment window. Oops. Sorry.
    I'll try to be clear, but concise will be difficult since there is such a density of points that need correcting, and I only want to give this a few minutes of my life.

    Start with: It's wrong to twist the fact Libertarians want a more limited role for government into the false premise that Libertarians want NO government, or that they they should have to ignore everything that has been accomplished within current and previous systems for their proposed system to have merit.

    Move on to: I have seen lots of insulting ad hominem one-liners about Ayn Rand on pages like these and up in those "11 questions" but never a fair, honest, argument of what is wrong with the Objectivist philosophy and how liberal socialism and collectivism (which always seems to be the root opposing view in these attacks) is any better, or has done better historically.

    Thanks for reading, and to continue my mis-posted comment trend, I'm enjoying Green Comet so far. I'm only a shot way in, but I'll even if your heros do seem to be shaping up to be left-wing wackos. 😉

  8. arjaybe says:

    Liberal socialism and collectivism. Are you erecting your own strawmen now?

    The fact that self-styled libertarians want SOME government makes me think that they’re just wimpy anarchists. They don’t want government to interfere with their aspirations, but they want it to protect their property. Cherry-picking by the presently privileged is what it looks like. That kind of idealism makes libertarianism just as vulnerable as anarchy is to reality.

    I hope you enjoy the book. Be advised that some people find the first part difficult. Hang on through chapter fourteen.


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