I don’t want to talk about libertarians, but I was running errands and happened upon this “debate” between Anthony Furey and Sam Seder that was on Majority Report about two years ago. It wasn’t really a debate. Seder mostly lets libertarians talk and tries to get them to be clear about what they think. So the vast majority of the time was spent with Anthony Furey doing the libertarian two-step. This is when they talk theory when the issue is practical, and practical when the issue is theory.
Question: “So you are against government funding higher education?”
Libertarian: “I just think that the government is to big…”
Question: “Isn’t there an implicit contract between the individual and the society?”
Libertarian: “Think about the [proposed and never enacted] soda size limit in New York City…”
Libertarians Have Something on Their Minds
It’s frustrating to listen to because you know the libertarian thinks something very concrete. They are just afraid to come out and say it because they know how awful it will sound. So we hear from Anthony Furey that he’s socially liberal. We’re supposed to believe that he’s a Good Guy Libertarian™, just looking out after the poor and oppressed. Yet when we had as close to the libertarian utopia that we will ever get — in the early days of the industrial revolution — life was horrible. It was largely because of the conditions that people lived in that we got the laws that that the Anthony Fureys of the world so hate.
There was a very telling exchange about food security. Of course, Anthony Furey would never quite say what he meant because he is a Good Guy Libertarian™. But it was clear enough. If only we got rid of taxes and “onerous” regulations then people would all have jobs and food would be cheap and each and every one of us would have our own pony! It was crystal clear that for Furey, just like for almost all other libertarians, his belief is faith-based. It’s like that old cartoon, “And then a miracle occurs…” I’m always struck that libertarians know just enough economics to be dangerous. They know about the invisible hand of the market and they pray to it daily.
Anthony Furey Turned Evil
But the more Anthony Furey talked, the less he seemed like Good Guy Libertarian™. The more he talked, the more he seemed like an angry conservative. He returned again and again to the idea of a “culture of dependency.” Furey is Canadian, so it didn’t sound racist coming from him. But it did sound very social Darwinian. This is, of course, the new way for conservatives to push their vile policies and not sound like the evil bastards that they are. It isn’t the fault of the poor that they are lazy! It’s the fault of the government!
Another telling point during the “debate” was when Anthony Furey started claiming the subprime mortgage crisis was caused by the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. Again, this is one of those wonderful conservative arguments that blame poor people without looking like it: “Isn’t it terrible that the government forced all those poor people to wreck the economy!” But, of course, the CRA did not cause the financial crisis. Repeating this in 2014 (when the “debate” took place) shows that Furey only listens to the kind of media that will feed his faith-based opinions.
Just Arguing Government Levels
But there is a broader analysis here. Whenever Seder probed too deeply into Anthony Furey’s thinking, the libertarian would jump back to the idea that he wasn’t for getting rid of the government altogether; he just wanted it to do the things it properly did. It was funny that the one thing he kept bring up was public transit. Why that?! Why is that a social good and healthcare is not? And that is what makes talking to libertarians so exasperating.
There are very few libertarians who believe in no government at all. Therefore, arguments with libertarians aren’t about anything but how much government there should be. But libertarians like Anthony Furey put on airs with their philosophy. They are nothing more than conservatives complaining that the government is too big. Okay! So how does that make them any less evil than Louie Gohmert? Because of their faith that giving rich people more money will help the poor?
I wouldn’t say that Anthony Furey is stupid. He’s a subgenius: smart enough to be dangerous. I would definitely say he is evil. And that’s especially so because of all the crocodile tears that stream from his arguments. So I suppose the title of this article should be, “Anthony Furey: Not Nearly as Bright as He Thinks, Evil, or Both?” But that’s too long. “Anthony Furey: Stupid, Evil, or Both?” gets the point across well enough. And the answer is: both.