Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Constitution-subverting tendencies have been found out. Darn it.

From the ever-thick files of Really Stupid Things Written About Libertarianism comes this gem: (via):

Anytime anyone says anything libertarian, spit on them. Libertarians are by definition enemies of the state: they are against promoting American citizens’ general welfare and against policies that create a perfect union. Like Communists before them, they are actively subverting the Constitution and the American Dream, and replacing it with a Kleptocratic Nightmare.

I would not, actually, mind if people spit on me every time I said something libertarian. I do not own enough expensive accessories for it to much matter if my things get damaged by flying spittle. It is true that I say things that are libertarian several dozen times on a good day, especially if comments like "Good morning, Pnin, how are you today? Would you like pancakes?" can be construed as libertarian.

But the spitters should think through whether they want to devise some kind of counter-spit mechanism for comments that are not really libertarian. Like, imagine that Mark Ames went to a bar with two Koch Fellows. Koch Fellow #1 might say something like, "I want to cut the Department of Education's budet by 85%." Mark Ames might be tempted to spit on him for that remark. Except Koch Fellow #2 might fly out of his seat and proclaim, "Eighty-five percent? Eighty-five %*$* percent? Why not abolish it altogether? Statist!" Koch Fellow #1 might then argue that it is perfectly libertarian to have a federal Department of Education that runs American Indian tribal schools and schools on military bases. But Koch Fellow #2 might not agree. So there would need to be a rule in advance: does Ames spit at the initial remark? Or should he wait until the two libertarians have agreed that this argument is in fact actually libertarian? Or is there some kind of viable counter-spitting procedure? Ames might assume that young libertarians do not spend a lot of time sparring with each other about what views count as libertarian and which do not, but I can assure him that his assumption is entirely wrong.

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