Why I stuck with libertarianism — despite the kukubirds in the movement

December 29, 2013
The Libertarian Kukubird in its natural habitat.

The Libertarian Kukubird in its natural habitat.

Salon is back with another hit-piece on libertarianism, this time from a supposed reformed former libertarian and Ron Paul delegate, Edwin Lyngar, who fled the movement and became a liberal. Aside from being a Ron Paul delegate, his stated libertarian credentials are as follows:

I came by my own libertarian sensibilities honestly. I grew up in a mining town that produced gold, silver and copper; but above all, Battle Mountain, Nev. made libertarians. Raised on 40-acre square of brown sage brush and dead earth, we burned our own garbage and fired guns in the back yard.

He later fled the libertarian movement for the following stated reasons:

“Bring in the clowns,” [the smart, charismatic Ron Paul staffer] said, and smiled before I lost her in the mass of people [at the Republican Convention]. I will never forget that moment: Bring in the clowns. At the time, I considered myself a thoughtful person, yet I could hardly claim to be one if you judged me by the company I kept. The young lady knew something I had not yet learned: most of our supporters were totally fucking nuts. … From the ashes of the election rose the movement that pushed me from convinced libertarian into bunny-hugging liberal. The Tea Party monster forever tainted the words freedom and libertarian for me. The rise of the Tea Party made me want to puke, and my nausea is now a chronic condition.There are a lot of libertarians in the Tea Party, but there are also a lot of repugnant, religious nuts and intolerant racists. “Birthers” found a comfy home among 9-11 conspiracy people and other crackpots. After only a few months, I had absolutely no desire to ever be linked to this group of people.

Basically, Mr. Lyngar fled guilt by association. He added:

I began to think about real people, like my neighbors and people less lucky than me. Did I want those people to starve to death? I care about children, even poor ones. I love the National Park system. The best parts of the America I love are our communities. My libertarian friends might call me a fucking commie (they have) or a pussy, but extreme selfishness is just so isolating and cruel. Libertarianism is unnatural, and the size of the federal government is almost irrelevant. The real question is: what does society need and how do we pay for it?

So let me get this straight: Raised in libertarian Battle Mountain, Nevada, on a diet of sage brush and burnt garbage, Edwin Lyngar became a Ron Paul delegate to fulfill his libertarian vision on starving poor children to death. But intolerant Tea Party racists and kukubirds made him nauseous, and he had absolutely no desire ever to be linked with them. Thereafter, he began to “think about real people”. Upon some soul searching, he realized that he no longer wanted to starve poor children to death, and that he liked National Parks, too. That’s when he decided to become a liberal. Do I have that about right?

Well, this may come as a shock to Salon.com’s readership, but most libertarians, myself included, and even tea party kukubirds, don’t see themselves as wanting poor children to starve to death. To the contrary, we envision alternative means of making such necessities more affordable for all, including granting the public greater freedom to innovate, carry on businesses, and work. Of course, libertarians get trounced in most elections because most voters either don’t understand the libertarian alternatives, or they don’t believe that libertarian alternatives will actually make food more affordable, or they believe that trying the alternatives will be too risky. This is all understandable. Although grounded in what I believe to be sound economic principles, it is a leap into the unknown and untested, as far as most Americans living today can tell.

What’s not understandable is a self-styled former libertarian carrying on as if libertarians have offered no alternatives to the welfare state. I won’t go into the specifics of the libertarian vision of prosperity here. Suffice it to say that suggesting that libertarians simply want people to starve to death, or don’t care if they do, as if libertarians have no alternative ideas in mind for improving prosperity, is a shameless libel. If that’s how poorly Mr. Lyngar represented the liberty movement when he was in it, then, frankly, I’m relieved that he is now out of it, and I hope he stays out of it so long as he demonstrates such an inability to articulate the fundamentals of market economics.

Mr. Lyngar threw in this stuff about starving poor children almost as an afterthought. It seems to me that his priority was to rehabilitate his own image. He certainly devoted more bandwidth to distancing himself from kukubirds than he did to feeding hungry children. Fair enough. The libertarian movement has more than its fair share of kukubirds. I am concerned, at times, that I might be mistaken for one of them, but I stick with the movement anyway. I take that risk. I take those lumps. Why do I do it? I do it because I believe that the libertarian political philosophy is grounded in sound economic and moral principles, as articulated by the scholars at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, the Cato Institue, and by the thoughtful pundits at Reason.com, among other luminaries. That some racists and kukubirds have also associated themselves with the movement has no logical bearing on the soundness of its underlying economic principles. I posit that, like Mr. Lyngar, these unsavory characters probably joined the movement for reasons other than the sound economic principles on which it is based, such as the nurture of growing up around libertarians, or the inarticulate distrust that spawns conspiracy theories.

I will not abandon sound principles because others do not understand them. I will keep the courage of my convictions. I will not let the presence of kukubirds drive me from what I believe to be right. I will remain a libertarian until some non-libertarian demonstrates to me the alleged flaws of libertarian economic principles. As far as I can tell, Mr. Edwin Lyngar hasn’t bothered to try.

Image: Wonkette

Yahoo! News republishes odd smear against Ron Paul and the Ludwig von Mises Institute

May 1, 2013

Yahoo! News always gets me with its bizarre headlines, so I had to stop for this one, published today, April 30th, 2013:

Ron Paul slams Boston Police. Has he gone too far?

Well, a side observation:

Beyond that, the article, penned by Peter Grier of the Christian Science Monitor, is an empty critique of Ron Paul’s blog post for LewRockwell.com entitled Liberty Was Also Attacked In Boston. Read the rest of this entry »


Analysis of an argument: Some missteps to avoid

January 27, 2013

This video has been swirling around the libertarian wing of my facebook feed, specifically the Judge Andrew Napolitano page. Progressive journalist Thom Hartmann and Austin Peterson, Director of Production at FreedomWorks and editor of the Libertarian Republic have a heated discussion over the alleged right to health care on Thom’s TV program, The Big Picture. Here’s what all went down:

Of course Thom mangled the libertarian point of view. Of course I agree with Austin, but his performance disappointed me. Here are three missteps to avoid in discussion.  Read the rest of this entry »


Links for January 30, 2012: ACTA is the new SOPA; More on Ron Paul and Racism; others….

January 28, 2012
  1. I can’t commenting on the specifics, as I have not read the agreement, but this much I know: As technology improves, copyright enforcement will become more invasive and more draconian. As I consider intellectual property to be on shaky philosophical ground anyhow, I’d prefer to relinquish it now, a la Stephan Kinsella, than live under the coming police state, a la SOPA, PIPA, and now ACTA.

  2. Just because SOPA may has been tabled, that doesn’t necessarily make the internet a safe place to store and share information.

  3. This tightly knit sweater of criticism leaves a few strings dangling. It deserves a full response. For now, just understand that the alternative to a Civil Rights Act that forces blacks and whites to make nice is not necessarily either government-mandated Jim Crow segregation or segregation reinforced by mob violence. There is another way: Ron Paul’s way, which is not to force anyone to do anything, and to punish those who force their will on others.  Read the rest of this entry »


Links for January 23, 2012: Ron Paul on Drug War Racism; SOPA; others….

January 21, 2012
  1. Oh, boo yourselves.

  2. Listen to this, and then listen to ron Paul speak on the issue of the War on Drugs and its effect on minorities. Come back and tell me more about Ron Paul’s alleged racism.

  3. Ron Paul, speaking around the time of the publication of his infamous newsletters, condemns what he perceives to be the racism inherent in America’s War of Drugs.

  4. I’m relieved to witness these recurring fallacies finally put to rest. We’ll never hear of them again, I trust, and thank goodness. I so look forward to actual thoughtful, constructive drug policy discussions from here on out.  Read the rest of this entry »


Links for January 16, 2012: Ron Paul’s Libertarian Principles vs. Racism; Romney on employer-based health care; scads of great satire; others….

January 14, 2012

  1. Rigodddamndiculous.

  2. This is an analysis that makes sense only within the airtight confines of libertarian doctrine. It dissipates with even the slightest whiff of exposure to external reality. The entire premise rests upon ignoring the social power that dominant social groups are able to wield outside of the channels of the state. Yet in the absence of government protection, white males, acting solely through their exercise of freedom of contract and association, have historically proven quite capable of erecting what any sane observer would recognize as actual impediments to the freedom of minorities and women.

    Here is the libertarian response: Yes, there is a grain of truth to this. Yes, there are social powers that dominant social groups are able to wield outside of the channels of the state. But this is not a free process. This comes at a cost to the racist and the harasser. Read the rest of this entry »


Links for January 9, 2011: Classic Schiff; Great Greenwald; Comments on the progression of progressive arguments; others….

January 7, 2012
  1. One of my favorite parts of one of my favorite lectures.

  2. I can only imagine what the “horrible aspects of his belief system” are, but that aside, this is one hell of a great article.

  3. I’m noticing a pattern. It goes like this: Step 1): Progressives make some empty, bogus, polemic accusations against businesses and markets. Step 2) Libertarians and free-marketers see right through the accusations and expose their fallacies. Step 3) Progressives return from the drawing board after some time with slightly better developed versions of their accusations. Step 4) These new versions are a little trickier to unravel, but libertarians and free-marketers unravel them just the same. Lather, rinse, repeat. This link and the next link are examples of this pattern in action:  Read the rest of this entry »


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