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Jul 29

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Anti-Libertarian Criticism Site Review

Anti-Libertarian CriticismFor some time I’ve been thinking about starting a series of articles where I discuss (review, if you will) other blogs. It comes from one of the primary things I tell people who ask me about starting a blog: come up with things you can write on a regular basis. In my case, each morning, I write a birthday post. It gives me something to do. It’s like having a baby: it demands attention and thus your blog more generally gets attention. I have another series called Odds and Ends, but it is intermittent. This one will be too. But I start today because I’ve discovered a new and fascinating blog, Anti-Libertarian Criticism.

Overview

The tag line for Anti-Libertarian Criticism is, “Keeping libertarians in check and exposing it as a bankrupt ideology.” It’s first post was on 15 May of this year, Left-Libertarianism Is Bunk Because It’s Still Libertarianism. In it, he explains that he was once a fellow traveler. And as all people who took something silly much too seriously, he is now in the best situation to critique that silliness.

I have a special interest in his insights, because my experience with libertarianism is a whole generation before his. It is also clear that his involvement in the movement was much more intense than mine, even though I was quite involved. What I thus found most interesting was an article he wrote earlier this month, Critical Map of the American Libertarian Movement. To me, there have always been, roughly speaking, three kinds of libertarians: embarrassed conservatives, reluctant liberals, and conservatives that like to associate with the name. Good examples of this last category are people like Rand Paul and even Ted Cruz. As for the the actual libertarians, my experience is that 95% of them were really conservatives.

The map that Brainpolice2 (the writer of the site) provides contains eight types. It includes Paleo-Libertarians, which is what I normally call pretend libertarians like Paul. I think that’s correct: he is part of the ecosystem. It also shows how libertarianism can be molded to anything you want to believe—as long as you deify the “free market” and capitalism. And this is really more than anything else what Anti-Libertarian Criticism discusses: the delusions of the Left-Libertarians that they are arguing for a post-capitalist utopia.

Reading through the blog, I was constantly struck with how much I agreed with Brainpolice2. But he goes into much more depth about libertarianism than I am ever willing. To me, the movement is made up of confused idealists and conservative apologists. But it is great fun to read someone who looks at the movement seriously. And the work is more and more important as libertarian (or at least pseudo-libertarian) thought becomes a bigger part of the Republican Party—especially among the Tea Party base.

Style

The site is stark. There is very little visual candy. There are only two images and a single video embedded (of The Who performing “Don’t Get Fooled Again”), and these are from the first couple of posts. It’s probably all for the best, however. The articles are more along the lines of what you expect from Noahpinion—longer, more detailed articles than one normally finds on blogs. And the style is more academic. They often sound like term papers, “How I Wasted My Youth on Libertarianism.” But there are sparks of real wit amid the deliberate prose.

Like a lot of blogs, Anti-Libertarian Criticism is anonymous. I don’t know if people realize quite how annoying this is to readers. We do really want to know who we are dealing with. All that the “About” pages says is, “I am who I am. I had my time in the libertarian movement and my continued observations of it call for criticism.” I understand the need for anonymity. In my past, I’ve published some very controversial things that have caused me no end of trouble. But in general, I think people are unnecessarily paranoid. I know liberal bloggers who never write anything you wouldn’t see on MSNBC but who are still afraid their employers will find out about them. The only reason I can think for Brainpolice2 to be anonymous is if he’s still active in the movement and if that’s the case, it ought to be stated.

The Future

My fear is that the blog will not go on very long because the subject is so limited. Thus far, Brainpolice2 seems to have found many interesting angles to look at the subject. Eventually, I think he will have to broaden the focus. For example, I’d like to hear his take on the reporting of Bleeding Heart Libertarian David Weigel. But for now, it provides a wealth of insights about the modern libertarian movement. I will definitely be checking in on it.

Permanent link to this article: http://franklycurious.com/wp/2014/07/29/anti-libertarian-criticism-site-review/

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4 comments

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  1. andrew markoff

    It is vital that you see this:

    [url=http://majority.fm/2014/07/…]Mark Ames: Reason Magazine’s Holocaust Denial History[/url]

    And listen to an interview with the author here:

    http://majority.fm/2014/07/

  2. admin

    @andrew markoff – I really do have the best readers! I actually did listen to that show and I have two of Ames’ articles open in tabs, waiting for me to figure out what I want to say about them.

    The South Africa thing I knew about in a general sense: libertarians were complete apologists for the apartheid regime. The Holocaust denial came as a surprise. And I’m really interested in Ames’ contention that it is all about destroying FDR’s reputation. As I’ve written here before, when I was a libertarian, I argued in favor of FDR, saying that he’s the guy who prevented a socialist revolution. He allowed the rich to stay rich.

    But that’s the thing about libertarians: they are Utopians. They don’t believe in margin improvements; it is all or nothing. This is why people like the Koch brothers have been able to use them so effectively. As I often say, my primary reason for abandoning the movement was, "Vote libertarian, get conservative policy." Of course, I was never that keen on the "economic freedom" argument, which Brainpolice2 rightly notes is the one thing that unites all libertarians.

    Thanks for providing the link! BTW: you provided the same link twice. What was the other link you meant to send? This one:

    [url=http://pando.com/2014/07/24…]As Reason’s editor defends its racist history, here’s a copy of its holocaust denial "special issue"[/url]

  3. Brainpolice2

    Hey, thanks for the write-up/review of my blog.

    To clarify for you, I am not at all involved in the movement for a number of years now. I mostly cleaned them out from my social networking, except for a smaller amount of people I kind of keep an eye on. My relative anonymity is mostly precisely because I want to distance myself from the libertarian circles, and because I’ve tended to feel a need for a degree of separation between political and personal or professional life (I’ve had negative results with local people because of my political commentary on social networking). I also have been subject to defamation by certain people before. So it’s kind of an intuitive defense mechanism.

    You’re correct to point out that there is a limit to the theme of the blog so far. I’m unsure if that calls for a different blog or not if I want to give more general commentary and criticism.

    1. Frank Moraes

      I think it is great if you can keep the blog focused. I’ve never had the talent myself. But in my experience, blogs have a mind of their own and become what they want to be. I don’t see any problem with the blog expanding, though.

      Anyway, thanks for the blog. I learned a lot about the modern movement. I get a lot of libertarians coming around here yelling at me. But they aren’t the left-libertarians. In fact, they ought to be called LIRO: libertarians in rhetoric only.

  1. Why Libertarianism Is a Moving Target | Frankly Curious

    […] even among the more serious libertarians, there is fierce disagreement about what a libertarian is. Anti-Libertarian Criticism provides a Critical Map of the American Libertarian Movement, in which they list eight different […]

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