Firefly Is Not a Libertarian TV Show

FireflyI saw over at Reason Magazine that they published one of those dreadful articles, “The Five Best Libertarian Television Series.” I’m not going to look it up, because it is nonsense and frankly, I don’t feel that the racist and elitist Reason deserves a link. The list included things like House of Cards, which really isn’t a libertarian show. Ditto for The Wire. Apparently, any series that shows the government in a negative light is libertarian. It also contained South Park, which really isn’t libertarian so much as iconoclastic. But given that the creators seem to be libertarian with a much bigger ax to grind against liberals than conservatives, I figure Reason thought that was enough.

The last show I had heard of was Penn & Teller: Bullshit! That’s an interesting choice. I only saw one episode of it and it was definitely what passes for libertarianism in this country: it was a total whitewash and apologia for a huge multinational corporation. They took on the very important issue of whether Walmart was really providing minimum wage jobs. And what a surprise: Walmart pays more than minimum wage on average! Of course, unless even the CEO was paid minimum wage, the average wage would have to be higher. It was an amazing example of straw man argumentation. But the show was more than that. It also showed a whole lot of great things that Walmart was doing for their employees. That’s the great thing about libertarians: corporations don’t even have to pay them to create PR material.

But what most struck me was that many Reason readers were upset that Firefly was not on the list. The only libertarian thing about the show is Mal who talks a lot like a libertarian. But he’s not a libertarian of the kind that reads Reason. He isn’t an idealist. He just wants to be left alone. And he doesn’t live in the United States or Sweden. He lives under an authoritarian government — one far more invasive than even that in North Korea. What I’m saying is that Mal isn’t a libertarian idiot who claims that paying taxes is equivalent to slavery. And he certainly isn’t an Objectivist who who doesn’t believe in altruism, given that Mal is one of the most altruistic characters in the whole show.

The main thing that makes a libertarian a libertarian is their resistance to paying taxes. I wrote about this just yesterday, Why Do Libertarians Tend to Be Republican? I mention this because I know there are libertarians who would claim that the show is libertarian because Mal is self-sufficient. Indeed he is. But I don’t know where libertarians got the idea that they are especially self-sufficient. After all, as Ha-Joon Chang discussed in, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, people in poor countries are more entrepreneurial. Libertarianism doesn’t appeal to these people; it appeals to a bunch of privileged idiots who are just convinced that “they did build that” or at least they would have if only the government had gotten out of the way.

Mal in Firefly has actually headed out on his own. It would be equivalent to disappearing into federal land or taking to the high seas. The libertarian plan is to whine and complain that the government is oppressing them at the same time that they take advantage of every government program available. And more! They actually distort the political system to push more of that sweet, sweet tax money to themselves. Show me a libertarian and I’ll show you piles of government subsidies from student loans to government contracts.

The thing about Firefly is that it is about a group of people who all care for each other. Trust me, I know the libertarian counter to that: those people choose to be part of that group. Well, so do we. There really are places that libertarians could disappear to if they really wanted to. That probably wouldn’t be the case in their libertarian utopias, because literally every square inch of land and sea would be owned by someone — or perhaps just “one.” But of course libertarians don’t run away from it all because they like the things that our mixed economy provides. Well, I’m being unfair. Some people do this, but it usually ends in incest and other less than utopian outcomes.

So please libertarians, keep your ideology off Firefly. I see why you think it is “libertarian.” I’ve long seen it. But there is a very big difference between “This government is authoritarian!” and what you believe, “All government is authoritarian!” Remember, George Orwell was a socialist and Aldous Huxley was a liberal. Huxley was also a mystic, so sorry atheist libertarians. Of course, Joss Whedon is a humanist. Most of us aren’t that fond of government; we just think it is a hell of a lot better than living in Walmart World.

Afterword

I will provide an exception for drug users. There are libertarians who just want to be allowed their drugs and are tired of paying so much for them and being thrown in jail. I understand such libertarians. But such libertarians would never even consider voting for the Republican Party given that they are responsible for the original War on Drugs and then for really ramping it up under Reagan and then Bush. I am assuming here that drug libertarians are not as clueless as the rest of them.

24 replies on “Firefly Is Not a Libertarian TV Show”

  1. JMF says:

    Mal is Han Solo through Joss Whedon’s entertaining filter; it’s an archetype that borrows heavily from the Bogart films.

    A fun thing I thought about reading your take here; what would be some truly libertarian, “all for one and none for all” pop culture examples? Bogart’s Fred C. Dobbs from “Sierra Madre” immediately comes to mind; Robert Shaw’s Quint from “Jaws.”

    If they want to include “The Wire” in their pantheon, because it depicts a broken social structure (the creators of that show were deeply, angrily liberal), you might as well include “The Godfather.” The Corleones take advantage of corruption in high places and, of course, all association with them is utterly free from state coercion, the only kind of coercion worth worrying about. Maybe “Deadwood”‘s George Hearst belongs, as well. There’s a free-market hero.

    I’d be interested in your take on the libertarians you knew. What were they like? Most were assuredly male. Did they have a certain age tendency, socioeconomic background? I’d guess that within the Angry White Guy parameters they were fairly varied.

    • Frank Moraes says:

      My personal experience is skewed by my lifestyle. But in general, they were people from middle or upper-middle class backgrounds who had good educations and some intelligence. They had every reason to believe that things were going to work out well for them. So I always saw their libertarianism as being self-serving. At the same time, they were blind to this and had convinced themselves it was all about “Freedom!” There were also a lot of simple conservatives who fancied themselves libertarians because they had to read Common Sense in college. They generally would abandon libertarian ideals whenever it interfered with holding conservative ideals. These people were without exception anti-choice. It would be like a socialist saying he was a libertarian because they agreed on the issues that they agreed on. For the more serious libertarians I spoke of before, having disagreements with conservatives made them feel good. They loved that they disagreed with both sides because in their simple minds that meant they must be right.

      I don’t recall one of them being anything but white — but there might have been a Latino or two. They were overwhelmingly male — 90%, maybe even 95%. I also knew some who I thought of as Cannabis Libertarians, who just wanted their drugs. They were by far the most interesting and least annoying libertarians. These people have to be dropping like flies in the movement. I hope in the end that they will see that cannabis is being legalized because of liberal work. It’s come mostly out of the harm reduction movement. And the libertarians’ great allies the conservatives have always stood in the way of it.

      There was one incredibly telling incident for me, which I’m sure I’ve written about before. After a libertarian group meeting, I was talking to one of the old-timers. I expressed my concern that so many people talked about Rush Limbaugh in a favorable way. He said, “Well, Limbaugh is very good on economic issues.” First, from my perspective, that wasn’t true. I didn’t believe in corporations (which are a government defined entities expressly created to minimize the personal responsibility of the owners). And I was just fine with unions, which were voluntary associations. So in general, Limbaugh was not good on economic issues. Second, it offended me that economic issues would trump virtually every other libertarian principle — from civil rights to foreign wars.

      Even still, I continued to go to meetings and be involved with the party. I pretty much remained a libertarian until Bush the Younger became president. That’s when I started to see that libertarianism was just a kind of conservatism. That allowed me to start looking at it in a more practical sense. I really was interested in maximizing freedom, and libertarianism just isn’t the best way to do that. In particular, I came to see that a theory I had depended upon wasn’t true. The fact that only governments could have armies didn’t much matter. And it didn’t matter at all if you had governments so weak that they couldn’t stop the corporations from having armies. My reading of William Gibson probably helped in that way too.

      The realization also allowed me to think more clearly about the philosophy of libertarianism — and everything else, for that matter. Libertarianism really is an intellectual trap that can keep you from thinking seriously political and economic issues. All libertarians should be required to read Robert Nozick. Without him, there really is no serious thought in libertarian philosophy. Everything else is just fairy tales for adults.

  2. JMF says:

    Interesting. The “fairy tales for adults” observations rings true. I ride the bus every day, and I’m a snoop who looks at what book titles other riders are reading. (Books also stick out, because they are not dumbphones.) I’ve seen a lot of Ayn Rand and a lot of romance/fantasy/sci-fi stuff. The plot of most of those books involves people who are destined for Great Things (great loves, great society-altering importance) but don’t know it yet. Idiots have kept them down.

    I once read Dr. Chomsky mentioning how many conspiracy-theory-kooks he receives mail from and how befuddled he was by this. It’s not befuddling. It befuddles the good doctor, because he’s reasonably sane; it doesn’t befuddle me.

    When we’re kids, we have Officer Friendly come to our school and show us what drugs look like. Then Officer Friendly tells us that any drug will lead us to this brightly-colored pill that make us chew out our own intestines. As grownups, we observe or participate in drug ingestion, and nobody chews out their intestines. Nobody goes blind staring at the sun. (And nobody can street buy LSD anymore, which is a shame; once every few years or so, that’s a fun one.)

    The official story is crap. It doesn’t take a lot of digging to figure this out. Most of us experience how bogus the official story is fairly early in our adult lives. The response many have is to cling even tighter to that official story, or accept other narratives which may or may not have any basis in identifiable fact.

    We live via narrative. We want an arc to our stories, a meaning. Libertarianism has good guys and bad guys; it has a magic pill that would fix everything. I used to get so frustrated, as a youth, reading Dr. Noam and how his incessant mantra was “read further.” I wanted him to tell me the answers. He was right, you have to read the answers yourself. It helps to have a good teacher, somebody who is peer-approved like a quality union member or smart college professor, that can help steer you when you get befuddled. It’s easy, when you get befuddled, to fall into traps like fundamentalism, conspiracy theories and, I’m sorry to say it, libertarianism. It’s how smart people become Randians, or Rajneeshees, or Travis Bickle.

    • Frank Moraes says:

      I’ve know a lot of conspiracy theorists. I also get email from them when something I write touches on what they are interested in. I wouldn’t say they are crazy. They are usually smart people who are good at picking up on inconsistencies. But they just can’t accept what thermodynamics teaches us: dig deep enough and you will find contradictions. That doesn’t mean that the story is fake. But I largely admire conspiracy theorists.

      As for Chomsky, well, I think a big problem is that he doesn’t see an answer. And that’s because there really is no answer.

  3. JMF says:

    Aak, that post was rambling/insensible. Here’s better. Joss Whedon, libertarian:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TiXUF9xbTo

    Stephen King, richest author since Dickens, on why rich people should be taxed until they bleed:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/30/stephen-king-tax-me-for-f-s-sake.html

    • Frank Moraes says:

      I’m pretty sure that I’ve written both about the Whedon video and King’s stand on taxes. I went ahead and watched the video again. His performance is surprisingly good. And the writing is perfect: Whedon does Whedon. It almost made me vote for Romney; I mean, hell: zombie apocalypse! That’s a society that might actually value my many skills, even if I am a slow runner and not good in the violence department.

  4. AJ Olding says:

    “But he’s not a libertarian of the kind that reads Reason. He isn’t an idealist. He just wants to be left alone.”
    He just wants to be left alone?
    By whom does he wish to be left alone?
    The government. The people who want to impose regulation upon him.
    Does that mean he wants to be left alone by everyone?
    No. He wants to make money by shipping things and retrieving things for people. He also isn’t retrieving anything. He turns on the one guy who had him steal needed medicine. Clearly he has some ethical code. He’s not just violating everyone’s property rights. Yes, there are several examples of him violating property rights, but the show doesn’t really give a whole ton of explaination as to exact circumstances so its difficult to separate out what is and isn’t a violation of the NAP.

    “He lives under an authoritarian government — one far more invasive than even that in North Korea.”
    Don’t trivialize the hell that is North Korea. There are about 200,000 people being tortured in Prison Camps right now.

    ” And he certainly isn’t an Objectivist who who doesn’t believe in altruism, given that Mal is one of the most altruistic characters in the whole show.”
    I don’t think you understand what the idea of altruism not being real actually is. Its not, people don’t do things for others when there is no gain for themselves. It is that people do things because they want to do them.
    Example –
    Altruism: People with kids in the hospital need help, so I’m going to place a burden upon myself and volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house to help them, despite the fact I’d rather do something else.
    Non-Altruism(Self-serving): I want to see people who’s kids are in the Hospital have an easier time. I see personal benefit in helping these people. I see that volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House provides a personal benefit to me. So I do that, because I want to.
    Objectivists recognize the second line of logic as what actually happens when people help others, and not the first. At the end of the day its more a matter of semantics than anything.

    “The main thing that makes a libertarian a libertarian is their resistance to paying taxes.”
    No its not.

    ” The libertarian plan is to whine and complain that the government is oppressing them at the same time that they take advantage of every government program available. And more!”
    This is not an argument. Its unfounded generalization.

    “There really are places that libertarians could disappear to if they really wanted to.”
    Name one.

    • Frank Moraes says:

      The NAP is completely useless as I discussed in, The Two One Kinds of Libertarians.

      I’m not trivializing North Korea. What the Alliance did to River they had done to countless others. But I will admit that the show isn’t exactly consistent about the portrayal of the Alliance.

      You are pushing a Nathaniel Branden take on altruism. That always struck me post hoc rationalization for what Ayn Rand had always written. And scientifically, either way you look at, Objectivism is still wrong on this subject. Do you guys still reject quantum mechanics?

      Look, I’m going to stop there. I run into this all the time. A libertarian comes here and reads one article and wants to counter the points I’ve discussed in other articles. In this case, you haven’t even looked at the one article I did link to here. What’s more, you don’t even seem to have read this article carefully. I didn’t just say that the main thing that makes a libertarian is his resistance to paying taxes — I liked to another article. You want me to name one place libertarians could disappear to? Read the article!

      I will grant you this: there are some libertarians out there who would never consider voting for Rand Paul. This is a man, after all, who thinks that you should be able to do any drug you want as long as it is a drug he doesn’t think is too bad. (His father is at least consistent on this point.) This is a man who doesn’t believe in foreign war except when he does — which is often. This is a man who thinks that a zygote deserves full citizenship rights. At least Ayn Rand was consistent enough to hate Ronald Reagan.

  5. Tom B. says:

    “The main thing that makes a libertarian a libertarian is their resistance to paying taxes.”

    This is a strange assumption and quite incorrect.

    • Frank Moraes says:

      As a practical matter it is quite true. I’m not interested in getting into a No True Libertarian argument with you. See my dozens of other articles on libertarians.

  6. fslenentine says:

    This is a strange little blog post (clearly I’m late to the party but I ended up here through a rather circuitous path).

    It’s not that I’m racing to defend libertarianism which, in my credible opinion, is an immature political philosophy, defined by its ideological character, i.e., it simplifies the complexity of sociopolitical dynamics to a single bullet point, namely coercive force.

    Having said that, your characterization of Reason magazine as racist was rather baffling. Elitist? I can buy that. They’re the political equivalent of fanboys, sitting on the sidelines pontificating about how they do it all so much better.

    Still, racist? How so?

    Beyond that, you seem unaware that Orwell’s politics were vastly more complex and confused, evidenced by his break with the socialists with “The Road to Wigan Pier,” noting their cynical elitism and malevolence inherent in their supposed fidelity to socialist principles.

    Not to suggest that he was ever a liberal (in the British sense) as he wasn’t, but he concluded that government itself was evil. He simply never resolved the issues of coercion and became what can roughly be described as anarcho-socialist, which is largely just a word for “politically incoherent fantasist.”

    For goodness sakes, you throw down on quantum mechanics, as a scientist, who seemingly doesn’t respect that the perpetual transitional nature of scientific discovery. Are you really so sure in the standard model of quantum mechanics (who knows? Maybe Bohmian mechanics after that Toronto experiment will make a comeback) as to wield it as a weapon to dismiss criticism, even of ideologues groping for consistency?

    And that right there seems to be the weakness in your reasoning… you generalize in bad faith to create appropriate strawmen and then confidently and arrogantly slap them down. It’s an exercise in craven intellectual narcissism masquerading as “courageous truth-telling.”

    It ultimately begs the question as to why you’d bother to expend so much energy slapping down imagined villains. You clearly want to say something but your knowledge is too superficial to manage it, and you surely know that, hence the style that you’ve developed to compensate for it.

    I write this with the knowledge that I will likely never return to this page nor engage in any discussion with you but my motivation is in good faith: writing is hard, and you seemingly do it well enough. Why not actually learn, deeply, about any one of the subjects on which you write?

    All you’re doing now is being a rabid fan for your “side” and it strips you of any real insight or charm. There’s no reason to actually read anything you write because it’s so easy to predict what you’ll say.

    And it doesn’t have to be that way. You produce. That’s half the bloody battle. Now try having something to say.

  7. Graham Vert says:

    Firefly (and especially Serenity) paints a picture of a dystopia that attempts to control its citizens through medication, in the hopes of changing human nature and “making people better.” In the process, it gives a compelling argument for legalizing sex work, depicts a clash between rural and urban societies and how they benefit from government money, and comes out against the government “meddling” in people’s lives.

    You can disagree, but the argument can clearly be made that the series is libertarian. And no, I’m sorry, being libertarian is not all about not wanting to pay taxes. This is coming from a libertarian who is perfectly fine with paying his fair share.

    • James Fillmore says:

      I have certainly not spent the time among libertarian thought you or Frank have, so I am no expert.

      However, in my experience, libertarian idealism (and I did at one point embrace that idealism) ends up in “everyone for themselves” realism.

      To take sex work as an example. Clearly, people selling sexual services are not intending to harm others and should not be punished by the state. And there is a serious argument that by decriminalizing sex work, we could reduce the dependence of sex workers on often-abusive employers (pimps, porn producers, those who know best how to avoid The Law).

      However, were sex work entirely deregulated, what would prevent even more pimps and porn producers from springing up? Not because they are best at avoiding prosecution, but because they are best at manipulating vulnerable workers?

      It would seem to me that the best way of minimizing harm done to sex workers is through a highly regulated, non-judgmental regulatory policy, such as Holland has. Just as the best way of minimizing drug harm is legalizing and regulating drug sales, as several countries do.

      Libertarianism does seem idealistic because it rejects bogus moral claims that preventing people from taking what they wish or screwing whom they wish is beneficial to society (proven false, repeatedly).

      But there is the truly moral issue of preventing unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of others. I do not see how libertarianism has any answer to this.

      • Frank Moraes says:

        I was going to respond to the guy, but then he said, “This is coming from a libertarian who is perfectly fine with paying his fair share.” Yeah, “his fair share.” In other words: he gets to determine the right amount of taxes. And I have yet to run into a libertarian who doesn’t have their own unique definition of libertarianism. They can’t even agree on what libertarianism is, yet somehow everyone is going to get along just fine in their utopia. That’s why I say its all about not wanting to pay taxes: it’s the one thing that binds them together. I will bet you anything that Graham doesn’t believe in progressive taxation. So you make $100 million a year, you pay 10% (a very common amount proposed by libertarians to pay for the things that libertarians have decided that government should do). And if you make $5, you pay 10%.

        He’s also completely wrong about Firefly. It’s like he hasn’t even seen the show. And maybe he hasn’t. Maybe he’s only seen the movie. One thing’s for certain: the creator is not a libertarian — far from it.

      • Graham Vert says:

        I’m not here to defend my personal beliefs. As much as I’d like to get into an argument about the merits of libertarianism with you, my point in making my original comment was that the show can clearly be interpreted from a libertarian perspective. Whedon himself has said that Malcolm Reynolds is “If not a Republican, then definitely a libertarian.”

        You can make whatever claims you like about any particular ideology, but given the article’s title, this becomes a disagreement over obvious fact rather than a clash of ideological perspectives. Yes, the show can be analyzed from a libertarian perspective, and the show’s creator has backed that up repeatedly. He’s called Reynolds a “small government type of guy.” So the headline is not just misleading, it’s factually inaccurate.

        Perhaps you’re uncomfortable with enjoying a series that you don’t agree with ideologically. I’d say not to worry about that. I enjoy quite a few TV shows and films that go against my principles, purely for reasons aside from politics. There’s nothing wrong with that. But the question at hand is “Is Firefly a libertarian show?” The answer is yes.

        • Frank Moraes says:

          > But the question at hand is “Is Firefly a libertarian show?” The answer is yes.

          No. If it were a libertarian show, it would be boring — like an Ayn Rand novel or play.

        • Frank Moraes says:

          PS: appeal to reason doesn’t fly generally, and especially around here. Creators of art get no special vote. What a work of art means is what the “reader” finds, not what the “writer” provides. Writers can tell you about process; not meaning. What you are saying is what I hear from people all the time about songs, “I know the song means X because the writer said it did.” (BTW: listen to what a writer says about their work over decades and you will find it changes — often radically.) It’s almost as primitive a form of thinking as libertarianism itself.

          • Graham Vert says:

            “Appeal to reason doesn’t fly generally, and especially around here.”

            You’ve said all you needed to say.

            • Frank Moraes says:

              That should have been “appeal to authority,” which is what you were doing. But I guess you didn’t realize that.

              I note that you haven’t bothered to read any of my other (almost 10,000) articles, or you would not make such a dismissive point.

              • Graham Vert says:

                No, I think you said exactly what you wanted to say.

                And regardless, you can take the creator’s word with a grain of salt (I certainly do so with JK Rowling), but the fact remains that the authors/writers behind these works have thought about this material more than anyone else, and they’re the ones who construct these worlds. They populate them with characters and inject the story with whatever philosophy or worldview they see fit. You don’t have to take their interpretation at face value, but it’s idiotic to discount it entirely. It’s unarguably the most important perspective you can hear on the work. Show some respect for the creator’s intent.

                As for your other thousands of articles, you’re right. I haven’t bothered to read them, because after reading this one, I doubted it was worth it. This line, for example:

                “The main thing that makes a libertarian a libertarian is their resistance to paying taxes.”

                There’s no way for me to respond to a statement like that. It’s not just wrong, it’s deliberately wrong– an intentional misrepresentation of an opposing viewpoint in order to appeal to your audience. I don’t appreciate that kind of rhetoric, regardless of whether I agree with the viewpoint that’s being attacked.

                Just for yuks though, I read your “Why do Libertarians Tend to be Republican” article, which made a few good points. However, as a libertarian and a member of the Democratic party, I think that people like the Koch brothers have made “libertarian” a dirty word, so a lot of people whose beliefs align with libertarianism won’t self-identify that way. That covers a lot of Democrats I’ve met, and it makes it difficult to gauge what libertarians really believe. For example, I’ve worked at a congressional office (for a Democratic congressman) and a lot of people there aligned with my beliefs– they wanted to see tax cuts for the middle class, a more open immigration system, legalized marijuana, more personal freedom, less bureaucracy, etc. Our only real areas of disagreement were on guns.

                On the flip side, Tea Party people might call themselves libertarians, but they actually hold some latent authoritarian beliefs– sometimes not so latent. These are people who will wave a Gadsden flag and at the same time advocate for making gay marriage illegal. It’s the epitome of cognitive dissonance– but I don’t blame libertarianism for these people any more than I blame feminism for Amy Schumer. You can’t discredit an ideology solely by pointing to its worst adherents.

                Anyway, I think there’s a reasonable discussion to be had on all of these fronts, but your article’s deliberate shallowness severely hinders the possibility for such a discussion.

                • Frank Moraes says:

                  I’m glad you are in the Democratic Party, although it is hardly a leftist party; it is fairly conservative economically and liberal socially; so it makes sense for libertarians to be in it. It says much of libertarianism that those who profess the belief are generally not. As I probably mentioned in that article, my past experiences — in the early- to mid-1990s — was that left-leaning libertarians were extremely rare and most of them were libertarians because they wanted drugs legalized. The Libertarian Party was started by Republicans disenchanted with President Nixon. So the current make-up of libertarians is no different than it ever has been: overwhelmingly conservative — caring far more about taxes than civil liberties. In fact, I think it is worse because over the last decade I’ve seen a large number of neo-Confederates rushing to call themselves “libertarian.” So as a movement, I suspect it is more conservative than ever. But please don’t tell me these aren’t true libertarians because this is what libertarians almost always say. “Libertarianism” is probably a bad word for what you are. I don’t really label myself anymore except in a general way as a “leftist.” Otherwise, what I think is a bit too idiosyncratic. I am, of course, a Democrat — but that’s just a practical matter: we don’t have a parliament and the Republicans are vicious and insane.

                  My statement about libertarians is a generalization but it is hardly wrong — much less an intentional misrepresentation. For every Robert Nozick fan, there are a hundred neo-Confederates and probably as many Republican libertarians. I’m not trying to counter Nozick — he does a good enough job himself! (That’s a compliment.) I’m trying to counter the vast majority of libertarians who are at least somewhat anti-union and in favor of the totally anti-liberty “freedom to work” laws.

                  Creators of art know their work far better than the vast majority of “readers.” This is one reason I hate what we call “film critics.” But this is quite different from what a work means. That is entirely up to the “reader.” This isn’t to say that I don’t have an opinion about such matter nor that some readings are more supportable than others.

                  Throw aside what I said if you like. But given you were not making a reasoned argument but rather an appeal to authority, I don’t think you have much cause.

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