Anthony Furey: Stupid, Evil, or Both?

Anthony Furey in His Younger Days of Poverty and DeprivationI 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!

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.

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.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

14 thoughts on “Anthony Furey: Stupid, Evil, or Both?

    • Libertarians usually take months to come by. I was more worried about Furey coming by. The truth is that I held the same opinions when I was his age. Then again, I was pretty high at the time.

  1. Well, if he supports public transit, he’s less libertarian than some! Because the argument I hear all the time is if I don’t need public transit, why should I pay for it? AKA my yard is huge, I don’t need parks, and I buy the two books I never read each year from Amazon, we shouldn’t have libraries. Etc.

    If I hear CRA one more time, I’m gonna strangle a baby panda. The CRA had no regulatory teeth. None. Theoretically, the federal government could take compliance with the CRA into account when it was considering approval of bank mergers. The government never, ever, did this. So the CRA is essentially the Arbor Day of bank laws; sounds nice, nobody cares. Still, you know, it was signed by Carter, so liberals ruin everything.

    It’s curious how libertarians love police and hate laws. Or laws affecting the powerful. They’re just Calvinists without the piety — so, far worse.

    • I thought about writing, “Someone uses public transit!” But the truth is that I don’t know. It seems that all conservatives have one or two liberal carve-outs. I know what Furey would say, “Public transit is something that everyone benefits from — even if they don’t use it.” Of course, that’s also true of universal healthcare and almost every other thing you can think of. It’s even true of high taxes, because it makes it less likely that the poor will chop off the heads of the rich. Listening to the interview I sensed a real anger under his calm exterior. There were some people he was mad at. Maybe the liberals made fun of him in college. I don’t know. I don’t care.

      He didn’t mention that CRA — Seder did. Neither of them mentioned Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. But this is what he was talking about. He’d just heard the constantly repeated right-wing talking point and he did what conservatives normally do: he repeated it.

      The thing is, when I was listen to him, I thought, “He could be me.” Because at that age, I was a libertarian. But at the same time, I was keenly aware that most libertarians were just conservatives. And I was extremely discomfited by this. What’s more, I felt trapped by libertarianism. And I certainly didn’t think it would create the kind of utopia that this guy is pushing. Finally, I don’t think I hated poor people. But I think I was starting to, and that was when I started rebelling against it. I suspect that Furey will die a libertarian because the extent of his feelings are crocodile tears.

      • I’ve actually seen the following dingbat argument in print from a major metropolitan newspaper:

        “Welfare is eeeevil, as it only benefits some people. Government paying for a streetlight on my block, that benefits everyone who drives on that block.”

        That’s pretty much the little logical fallacy conservatives always trip into. If I want it, it’s good; if I don’t want it, paying for it with my taxes is an assault on human rights. It nicely fits into the Reagan/Nixon myth of “big gummint subsidizes lazy blacks” without saying as much. One’s not against welfare as a reparations policy, one’s against it because it’s not the streetlight in thy neighborhood anyone can use. You’re being principled.

        This is balderdash. I also like the word, “balderdash.” I don’t know if it’s a real word. I like to think it is.

        • When it comes right down to it, I don’t believe anything they say. As I’m mentioned many times: if conservatives got their so loved flat federal income tax, they would just ask for a regressive income tax. You know: because everyone gets an equal value from that street light, therefore it makes no sense to charge a rich man more than a poor man.

          “Balderdash” dates from the early 16th century when it had something to do with a drink mixture that didn’t taste good. But like many such words, no one seems to know quite how it came about.

  2. Is it currently verboten to mention that Hillary, her pal Obama, and their coterie are also big proponents of the Culture of Dependency BS? Meanwhile, I see that Matt Bruenig, perhaps the most effective anti-libertarian/anti-meritocrat rhetorician around, is still offline. He seems to have been thoroughly silenced. I’ve been thinking I ought to salvage some of his posts from the Archive while I still can. And it looks like Freddie deBoer is also going off political writing.

    • Thomas Frank was writing regularly in The Guardian for a while, but he hasn’t posted in a month. It’s probably at at-large gig, so he writes when he feels like it. Still, he never keeps those columnist gigs for long anywhere. Dammit, man! Your country needs you! Or a very tiny percentage of it does! Write, you bastard!

      • Since returning from writing his last book, he’s been writing in a number of places. I’m sure he’ll settle somewhere eventually. And then he’ll leave to write his next book.

    • He apparently lost his government job as well. His resume is up there. It’s really impressive.

      I don’t know if I would say that Hillama are big proponents of culture of dependency. And I certainly think we will not be seeing that in the future from the Democrats. That is residue from the New Democrats, who I suspect the Republicans got it from. “Oh! A better way to be a bigot!” I believe Carter was the first New Democrat (though not by name) and Obama will be the last. We’ll see.

  3. Anthony is a real moron, and this exchange just proves it. Libertarians always accuse liberals and progressives of living in a dreamland, but is the libertarians who live in a dreamland. There is no society presently or at anytime that exists in the way that libertarians think. The fact that people like Anthony Furey do exist in Canada, is not exactly something I would be proud of. He was part of the failed Sun News Network where he could spread his rubbish for those to hear. We should challenge the likes of him and laugh at their ridiculousness of their arguments.

    • You are quite right. It’s weird that libertarians tend to see themselves very much the realists. But if you dive down into their philosophy, you quickly see that it is all based on some idea that humans will act in a way that they don’t. If there was no government then everyone would just get along! Sure, there might be barbarian hordes who would enslave everyone, but they wouldn’t be following the libertarian philosophy, therefore: not the fault of libertarianism! It’s exhausting.

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