Missing Person Alert

We seriously need to get on the ball and find out who kidnapped Matt Welch, because some imposter at Reason had this reaction to the speech:

There was much to dislike about this speech, most notably (for me anyway) the effortless way in which the new president talked out of both sides of his mouth. We will not govern in anger! No more drapes for you, fatcats! Etc. More on which tomorrow.

Welch is responding to this portion of the speech:

I intend to hold these banks fully accountable for the assistance they receive, and this time, they will have to clearly demonstrate how taxpayer dollars result in more lending for the American taxpayer. This time, CEOs won’t be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet. Those days are over.

Accountability is apparently viewed as hostility by libertarians. I guess libertarians think that if you give a bunch of taxpayer money to CEO’s because they have driven their company into the ground but are too big to fail, it is “angry” if you demand they don’t piss away that money redecorating their office or flying to Vegas. Who would have thunk it? Do our libertarian friends at Reason feel the same way about those receiving welfare? I doubt it.

I really don’t know what the hell has happened to the entire collective thought processes at Hit and Run (and let me note I can completely understand why they would not like the speech, but for the reason Welch highlighted here?), and were it not for Radley Balko I would have just given up on the place by now. And I say that as someone who has been reading Matt Welch for most of this decade (I don’t think he has ever not been on my blogroll)- even when he goes on endlessly about the Angels.

*** Update ***

Obligatory Scalzi link:

Libertarians: Never got over the fact they weren’t the illegitimate children of Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand; currently punishing the rest of us for it. Unusually smug for a political philosophy that’s never gotten anyone elected for anything above the local water board. All for legalized drugs and prostitution but probably wouldn’t want their kids blowing strangers for crack; all for slashing taxes for nearly every social service but don’t seem to understand why most people aren’t at all keen to trade in even the minimal safety net the US provides for 55-gallon barrels of beans and rice, a crossbow and a first-aid kit in the basement. Blissfully clueless that Libertarianism is just great as long as it doesn’t actually involve real live humans.

Libertarians blog with a frequency that makes one wonder if they’re actually employed somewhere or if they have loved ones that miss them. Libertarian blogs even more snide than conservative blogs, if that’s possible. Socially slow — will assume other people actually want to talk about legalizing hemp and the benefits of a polyamorous ethos when all these other folks really want is to drink beer and play Grand Theft Auto 3. Libertarianism the official political system of science fiction authors, which explains why science fiction is in such a rut these days. Libertarians often polyamorous (and hope you are too) but also somewhat out of shape, which takes a lot of the fun out of it.

Easily offended; Libertarians most likely to respond to this column. The author will attempt to engage subtle wit but will actually come across as a geeky whiner (Conservatives, more schooled in the art of poisonous replies, may actually achieve wit; liberals will reply that they don’t find any of this humorous at all). Libertarians secretly worried that ultimately someone will figure out the whole of their political philosophy boils down to “Get Off My Property.” News flash: This is not really a big secret to the rest of us.

That whole Scalzi post is genius.






97 replies
  1. 1
    El Cid says:

    Any suggestion in any way that government will strongly and forcefully prevent corporate executives from doing massive harm or even will punish said executives post-harming is a million, billion times more oppressive than a trillion Stalins. But I hate to exaggerate.

  2. 2
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    I’ve read Matt since 2001, and I don’t recognize him lately, either. His colleague Ken Layne seems to be able to keep his expectations and cynicism in balance, though. Who knew that writing for Wonkette would encourage less self-importance than writing for Reason?

    Oh, wait …

  3. 3
    calling all toasters says:

    "Libertarian" is just a cocktail party euphemism for "shrieking wingnut." Hell, even Neal Boortz claims he’s a libertarian. Probably skews his audience to a more upscale demographic.

  4. 4
    4tehlulz says:

    If you don’t unconditionally support the executive class, then you hate America.

    Why do you hate America?

  5. 5
    Seitz says:

    Libertarians are ALWAYS going to complain about who is charge. They just seemed sane (collectively) the last few years because we all hated Bush together. We disliked the man. They dislike the authority of the office.

    I kinda barely know Matt a little bit, so his stuff doesn’t sound angry or out of character to me, because I kind of read it and hear his voice and tone in my head. I still think he’s sane, he just has different views on government than most of us.

    Also, he’s a huge Angels fan, so he pretty much gets a free pass from me.

  6. 6
    Ejoiner says:

    "Libertarian" is just a cocktail party euphemism for "shrieking wingnut."

    I’m right there with you. Over the past decade I’ve gone from "oh, yes – an interesting, principled alternative to our dominant parties" to " oh, yes – another selfish idiot reeking of self-importance and arrogance."

  7. 7
    gbear says:

    There’s a story today about another bailout bank that just hosted a fabulous weekend event in LA. Music included Chicago, EW&F, and Cheryl Crow.

  8. 8
    Michael says:

    Libertarians at Reason have a lot to answer for.

    They’ve enabled failure on a grand scale in order to claim that they have a seat at the table. In the meantime, they foster a party environment where:

    – Dominionist (Christian Fascist) views predominate in public policy planks on homosexuality, sex ed, abortion, drugs and gambling;

    – Budgets increase and piles of money go toward fostering Dominionist planks and the police state;

    – Unaccountable and reckless corporatists get unlimited economic power, crushing any notion of self determination for those not born to position;

    – Inefficiency and incompetence in the conduct of war, disaster relief and contracting services are defended.

    How do those help foster individual freedom?

  9. 9
    Zifnab says:

    Accountability is apparently viewed as hostility by libertarians. Apparently, libertarians think that if you give a bunch of taxpayer money to CEO’s because they have driven their company into the ground but are too big to fail, it is “angry” if you demand they don’t piss away that money redecorating their office or flying to Vegas. Who would have thunk it?

    You misspelled it, John. That’s "Glibertarian". With a G at the front. These guys wouldn’t know what a libertarian is if John Galt himself wandered out of the woods and shot one of them in the face.

    Do our libertarian friends at Reason feel the same way about those receiving welfare? I doubt it.

    :-p Depends whose getting it. I’m sure they deserve every unemployment check, every child tax credit, and every social security payment they’ve ever received.

  10. 10
    Dave says:

    The problem with current Libertarian thought is that events have moved passed what it could address. The issues across the board now are too big for "No government at all" responses. How can that solve a global economic crisis, or climate change? We tried no regulation in the economic sphere for eight years. It was a bust.

  11. 11
    CalD says:

    Sad, what passes for a "conservative" these days.

  12. 12
    Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Whatever you do, don’t get Welch started on the LA Dodgers’ failure to re-sign 3B Adrian Beltre after the 2004 season.
    JUST. DON’T.

  13. 13

    Until Scalzi apologizes for ripping Logan’s Run I am not going to listen to a damn thing he says.

  14. 14
    Michael says:

    Scalzi was right. As a dystopian movie, Logan’s Run did suck.

  15. 15
    dan says:

    A libertarian is someone who thinks that a mandatory helmet law is for motorcyclists is a greater infringement on liberty than arbitrary detention, torture, warrantless searches. . . .

    Reason actually has a record on opposing these things, but I have to says that the "libertarians" I used to speak to don’t care about them and can’t stop shutting up about motorcycle helmets, which is why I don’t bother listening to them any more.

  16. 16

    I’m the "joe" who used to be so vocal in Hit & Run’s comment threads.

    I’ve completely given up on the libertarians. They financial collapse, the deep recession, the complete failure of the "liberals caused the meltdown cuz of the minorities" deflection, the obvious role deregulation and lack of oversight played in the disaster, and the muscular liberal response of the Democrats, especially Barack Obama, have driven them right around the bend. They’ve retreated to their happy place, and have stopped even trying to align their words and ideas with what is happening around them.

    Matt Welch – whom I was reading back in the late 90s when he wrote for Ken Layne’s tabloid.net – wrote a sneering piece in JULY 2008 about the chicken littles who were fear-mongering by saying we were in a recession.

    They only thing they do anymore is repeat the horse shit coming out of Limbaugh Land about the causes of the meltdown and the "pork" in the stimulus bill, and bray about the Tax Cut Fairies solving everything.

    Libertarians in 2009 remind me of Marxist-Leninists in 1992.

  17. 17
    Dave says:

    @Blue Neponset:
     
    Dude…Logan’s Run just isn’t that good.

  18. 18
    Lee says:

    A long time ago I gave up on Hit & Run and eventually Reason.

    Balko is the only one I read anymore.

    I used to (and occassionally still do) id myself as libertarian.

    I’m considering ‘pragmatist’.

  19. 19

    Scalzi was right. As a dystopian movie, Logan’s Run did suck.

    That’s crazy talk. It hit all the dystopian touchstones. The ending wasn’t jarring like Soylent Green or Planet of the Apes, but LR holds its own against those flicks.

    Also, Scalzi was bitching about the production value, and the feel of the movie.

    I know folks who argue quite seriously and (alas) accurately that it’s a legitimate classic of the genre. But it was silly then, and now — two years past its crystal-flashing birthday — it’s actually painful to watch, not only for its script, but for its entire aesthetic, which marries the hoary science fiction cliche of tunic-wearing with feathered ’70s hair.

    LR was a product of its times. Scalzi is nitpicking. Luke Skywalker had feathered hair and wore a karate outfit for goodness sake. Mark Hamil could have walked from the set of Corvette Summer right onto the Star Wars set without getting his hair "fixed".

    Maybe in Scalzi’s world movies aren’t filmed until they are able to be made into timeless classics but I’d rather have a non-timeless Logan’s Run than none at all.

  20. 20
    John Cole says:

    There is potential with this LR discussion for unparalleled nerd fury.

  21. 21
    Scott H says:

    I gave up my daily read at Hit & Run some time ago. If you’re looking for Libertarianism you will have to look elsewhere for it.

  22. 22

    You do know Balko has his own cross-posted blog, right? All Radley, all the time.

  23. 23
    kth says:

    The rugged individualist impulse in libertarianism is probably a healthy thing for our body politic. It’s their stupid formalisms that rankle, the insistence that the right of a working man to keep his home and the tools of his trade is exactly the same as that right of Bill Gates to keep the fifty-billionth dollar in one of his many bank accounts. Or that no-knock raids and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are categorically the same in terms of tyranny.

  24. 24
    BenA says:

    I always loved Logan’s Run beacuse of it’s great production values….

    Especially that great robot that froze everyone…. that was awesome. ;-)

    When I was a freshman or sophomore in high school… I thought Libertarianism was the way to go…. for about 5 mintues… then I actually started to converse with Libertarians and realized it was just a bunch of pot heads and gun nuts… and then started thinking about actual real world applications of Libertarianism and ohh say the environment… and realized that the only real compelling solution the Libertarian party had was to get high and shoot at stuff…

  25. 25
    The Moar You Know says:

    it’s actually painful to watch, not only for its script, but for its entire aesthetic, which marries the hoary science fiction cliche of tunic-wearing with feathered ‘70s hair.

    Let me make sure I get this right – Scalzi hates the movie because of the hairstyles. Two words: Star Wars.

    Unreal. The movie is all about aesthetic; the plot itself is rather thin (not true of the book but the book is unfilmable for many reasons). Now, I’ll grant you that I was eight when it came out, and therefore rather impressionable, but for my money the movie and the aesthetic is awesome.

    @John Cole: You are right; this could end badly.

  26. 26
    Fulcanelli says:

    Just don’t let a Libertarian babysit your kid. Sheesh, words fail me.

  27. 27
    The Moar You Know says:

    Especially that great robot that froze everyone…. that was awesome

    @BenA: BOX!

  28. 28
    OriGuy says:

    Years ago I worked with a Libertarian Party member. They started shedding people right and left; you could see the handwriting on the wall. A while after I left, he got laid off. We met for lunch from time to time; he always had an excuse for not going on interviews: he was getting a suit made; he didn’t have a car; he was a big guy, sweated a lot in the summer, and riding the bus he would show up dripping.
    This was in Silicon Valley during a boom time. They would hire you in a bathrobe if you know your stuff. However, he’d never trained himself on anything outside the company’s proprietary software. The whole problem was that no one was buying the hardware any more.
    Finally, the severance and the unemployment ran out. Some friends gave him a room. He finally started going on interviews. It looked like he was about to get a job. They came home one day and found a note in the kitchen. The police came and took the body away.
    Libertarians talk about self-reliance as long as they don’t have to practice it.

  29. 29
    BenA says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    I still have his speil imprinted in my mind.. and I’ve only seen the movie… two, maybe three times… and haven’t seen it for years…

    "Protein from the sea!"

  30. 30
    Mike says:

    Libertarians are people who insist they have no use for either major party in between repeating Republican talking points.

  31. 31
    Bobby Skittles Jindal says:

    Libertarians often polyamorous (and hope you are too) but also somewhat out of shape, which takes a lot of the fun out of it.

    LMAO

  32. 32
    John says:

    Given that Scalzi specifically says immediately after his discussion of Logan’s Run that he doesn’t think the original Star Wars is very good, I don’t see how noting that Mark Hamill had feathered hair is a devastating rebuttal to Scalzi’s attacks on Logan’s Run.

  33. 33
    calling all toasters says:

    Mike wins.

  34. 34
    Tara the antisocial social worker says:

    Unusually smug for a political philosophy that’s never gotten anyone elected for anything above the local water board.

    I read this as "waterboard." Not sure what that says about me.

  35. 35
    lilly Von Schtupp says:

    I loved Logan’s Run. West World too. They seem cheezy to me now but I’d still watch them again. My favorite science fiction flick has always been Alien. I think it still holds up today. I was 13 when I first saw it. That creature scared me to death!

  36. 36
    Shygetz says:

    I find it odd that all Libertarians see themselves as John Galt, even though the world is supposedly filled with moochers and looters. Strange coincidence, huh? I kinda wish all the Objectivists nuts WOULD go on strike.

  37. 37
    Ed Drone says:

    Accountability is apparently viewed as hostility by libertarians.

    In a parallel sense, I note that on CNN last night, after the speech, they had this regular on, a black woman Republican, and she lit into the talk about the raising of high-income folks’ taxes. She specifically said that taxes are "punishment." I just don’t get it. Do ALL Republicans think that way? Taxes are punishment? Yikes!

    Why do Republicans so vigorously resist paying for what they get? Why?

    Taxes are the way we pay for what we need and use. If you don’t want to pay taxes, do without roads and education and the fucking army, for God’s sake! And if you can’t do that without leaving the country, good bye!

    And if you don’t want to keep your neighbor’s house out of foreclosure, I guess you don’t want to maintain the value of your own damned house!

    I’m getting emotional about pip-squeaks, aren’t I?

    Somebody ‘talk me down,’ please. /Rachelmaddow

    Ed

  38. 38
    Blue Raven says:

    Funny. I became polyamorous after I stopped being a libertarian (though looking back, I was misapplying the label and meant "old-school liberal"). I think I dodged a bullet.

  39. 39

    Unusually smug for a political philosophy that’s never gotten anyone elected for anything above the local water board.

    Actually, it’s precisely the lack of any real-world responsibility that allows them to be so smug. As we can see with the non-regulation of the lending and mortgage derivatives, whenever any of their ideas actually do manage to infect the real world and cause harm, they can fall back on their "what, li’l ol’ me?" act.

    Libertarianism hasn’t failed, because True Libertarianism has never been tried.

    I toldja, they’re like CPUSA members in the mid-1990s.

  40. 40

    @John:

    ….and that’s another thing that bugs me about Scalzi’s article. He doesn’t take on Star Wars directly. Instead he pokes fun at a movie that is on the sci-fi classic bubble for failings he also sees in Star Wars. Take on the big boys Mr. Scalzi. If you had ripped Star Wars because of Luke’s feathered hair no one would have read the rest of your article.

  41. 41
    NonyNony says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    They financial collapse, the deep recession, the complete failure of the "liberals caused the meltdown cuz of the minorities" deflection, the obvious role deregulation and lack of oversight played in the disaster, and the muscular liberal response of the Democrats, especially Barack Obama, have driven them right around the bend.

    What do you expect? The current economic crisis alone proves that their religion was a false one. Their own Paul the Apostle – Alan Greenspan – is wandering around like a babbling nutter saying crazy things like how "shocked" he is that people could be so "greedy". Their daily sacrifices on the altar of the free markets have netted them a pension plan in the negatives and Social Security isn’t looking so bad in comparison these days. None of this was supposed to happen – deregulation was supposed to lead to prosperity, not economic collapse!

    Their religion has been pulled out from right under their noses in the most traumatic way possible. It’s one thing to lose your religion through a daily application of observing objective reality and measuring it against the testaments of your faith (which is how I move from "Libertarian" to "Liberal who is more aggressive about supporting gun rights than average"), and quite another to have your faith ripped away from you by a single event.

    I’d feel sorry for these guys, but I’m more worried about the faithful who seem to be still trying to rebuild the religion instead of facing up to reality. Those guys are going to be getting crazier and crazier in the next few years.

  42. 42
    Cyrus says:

    The sad thing is, even (at least some of) the sci-fi writers whose fiction is held up as ideals allow more complexity in their views than libertarians themselves. I’m thinking of Robert H. Heinlein’s short story "Coventry" here. It’s hardly an unalloyed endorsement of left-wing politics, but the place called Coventry is almost a didactic "society of free people who reject the so-called social contract" thought experiment. And it’s pretty much exactly like the people here would expect a glibertarian society to turn out, and the protagonist wants to return to modern society, nanny state and all, as soon as he develops just a bit more awareness that other people matter and there are reasons for some apparently arbitrary rules and stuff.

  43. 43
    John says:

    Blue Neponset – what are you talking about? He doesn’t go into much detail about Star Wars, but he certainly goes after it directly – largely for having terrible dialogue. Which it does. (He notes the bad script for Logan’s Run as well). God, people get so defensive about their mediocre science fiction. I’ve not seen Logan’s Run, but he’s certainly correct that there’s a lot of "classic" science fiction movies that aren’t, objectively, terribly good.

  44. 44
    Michael says:

    @blue neponset

    That’s crazy talk. It hit all the dystopian touchstones. The ending wasn’t jarring like Soylent Green or Planet of the Apes, but LR holds its own against those flicks.

    Oh, please. A good dystopian movie is required to have at least some elements of plausibility. Society is apparently nuked out of existence, yet machinery is in place that assists in the management of resources for a chunk of humanity, which is constantly replenishing?

    Sure, both Soylent Green and POTA have their implausible elements, but at the core, the plausible outweighs the impossible. Logan’s Run, on the other hand, is as stupid as Zardoz.

  45. 45
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    I’ve met a lot of people who called themselves Libertarians, and to a one they were incredibly selfish, moderately sociopathic assholes with an outsized sense of entitlement. They were all white kids from the suburbs who grew up in relative material comfort, but considered themselves grievously opressed because they couldn’t toke up while driving.

    Motherfuckers. Thank $deity they’ll never be a political force of any consequence.

  46. 46

    Libertarians: Never got over the fact they weren’t the illegitimate children of Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand

    Ka. Boom.

    The fact that glibs wanted to be tells you all you need to know. I have a hard time telling the loudest ones from anarchists these days. However, it’s entirely likely they just piss me off so I lump them in with the other noisy cretins.

  47. 47

    I am talking about this cop out by Scalzi:

    "As a final example, I could pull out Star Wars, but I have to adhere to a word count… Suffice to say, everyone who ever winced at Luke Skywalker whining about wanting to go to Toshi Station groks that there are many things about that move that are just not good, never were and never will be.

    I don’t grok the many things about that movie that are just not good, and I never will because Scalzi is too afraid to mention them. One run-on sentence about Star Wars is not taking it on directly.

    Re: Luke & Toshi Station

    Mark Hamill was 26 when Star Wars was released. The fact that he couldn’t pull off a whiny line that should have been delivered by a 15 year old is not the fault of the script.

  48. 48
    John says:

    Mark Hamill was 26 when Star Wars was released. The fact that he couldn’t pull off a whiny line that should have been delivered by a 15 year old is not the fault of the script.

    Well, it’s surely the fault of, er, the movie? Just beyond that, this is ridiculous.

    Star Wars is full of awful dialogue, and Mark Hamill is a terrible actor. That these facts are true does not detract from the considerable virtues of the film, but it’s not actually a great movie in the way that, say, Casablanca is, which is obviously Scalzi’s point.

  49. 49

    Oh, please. A good dystopian movie is required to have at least some elements of plausibility. Society is apparently nuked out of existence, yet machinery is in place that assists in the management of resources for a chunk of humanity, which is constantly replenishing?

    No way man. You can’t have it both ways. If you can suspend your disbelief while watching talking apes round up mute humans who dress like Raquel Welch in 1,000,000 B.C., then you should be able to do it long enough to figure out the message Logan’s Run was trying to deliver.

  50. 50
    Matt Welch says:

    Fascinating subject!

    I’ve got a column coming later today that more fully fleshes out the point of that one particular sentence, but it has to do more with him talking out both sides of his mouth — i.e., repudiating anger in one breath, indulging it in the next — than bashing bankers per se. Though it should be noted that not all the banks involved in the bailout took those funds voluntarily, which kinda puts the fatcat-bashing in a different light for me (http://reason.com/blog/show/131506.html).

    If it were left up to me (and thank god it’s not), the banks wouldn’t have been bailed out in the first place, and the lavish/retarded habits of CEOs would have been rightly rewarded with bankruptcy and humiliation. My idea of "accountability" has more to do with letting rich assholes fail up front, rather than rewarding their incompetence while washing it down with sweet nectar of cheap populism.

  51. 51
    John says:

    Blue Neponset – again, huh? If you can suspend your disbelief for one sci-fi premise, you have to suspend it for all others?

    Furthermore, "figuring out the message Logan’s Run is trying to deliver" is absolutely not the same thing as "thinking Logan’s Run is a good movie." This, in fact, is Scalzi’s whole point – science fiction films are judged on a curve because they are judged on how interesting their premise is, not on how well they are actually executed. By noting that you can "figure out the message Logan’s Run is trying to deliver" and indicating that this makes it a good film you are simply demonstrating Scalzi’s point.

  52. 52
    Seitz says:

    Libertarians are people who insist they have no use for either major party in between repeating Republican talking points.

    I’ve always figured that a libertarian was a republican who was too embarrassed to actually admit to being a republican.

  53. 53
    Xanthippas says:

    I really don’t know what the hell has happened to the entire collective thought processes at Hit and Run (and let me note I can completely understand why they would not like the speech, but for the reason Welch highlighted here?), and were it not for Radley Balko I would have just given up on the place by now. And I say that as someone who has been reading Matt Welch for most of this decade (I don’t think he has ever not been on my blogroll)- even when he goes on endlessly about the Angels.

    I still read Hit & Run because I think it’s a valuable blog, but they’ve really lost it over the stimulus package. I mean, look at this ridiculous title of one of their posts:

    "What’s a Christ Figure Without a "Day of Reckoning"?

    That in reference to the impending speech. So even they can’t resist the Obama Messiah nonsense, when they’re especially antsy and have a point to make. I give them credit for being opposed to endless deficits under anybody, but honestly, they act like there’s NO economic crisis going on right now. I have yet to see anyone over there argue any sort of credible alternative to the stimulus package, or any real explanation of what we’re supposed to be doing other than "OMG deficit spending will bankrupt our future!"

  54. 54
    b-psycho says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that Matt Welch widely missed the point with that line (I see he noticed your comment…). You will have no argument from me whatsoever on that.

    Sad that so much of the population of people called "libertarians" are "no government involvement (except corporate status & limited liability & restrictions on organized labor, which we conveniently don’t count) in the economy starting…wait for it…NOW!" types. I’d prefer they put down the Rand & pick up some Benjamin Tucker, since they like dead authors so much.

  55. 55
    John Cole says:

    If it were left up to me (and thank god it’s not), the banks wouldn’t have been bailed out in the first place, and the lavish/retarded habits of CEOs would have been rightly rewarded with bankruptcy and humiliation. My idea of “accountability” has more to do with letting rich assholes fail up front, rather than rewarding their incompetence while washing it down with sweet nectar of cheap populism.

    That is just it. It isn’t cheap populism to demand that they act responsibly with the money after they have been given it. We are past the debate whether or not they should be bailed out. We are now to the “What should they be doing with the money stage,” and it isn’t angry or “cheap populism” to demand that they not piss it away on junkets and “fancy drapes.” It is common sense.

  56. 56
    b-psycho says:

    @Matt Welch: Then why not point out how they deserve jack squat & throw some much needed cold water on the idea that Obama is thinking about "the little guy" when he’s actually simply reinforcing capitals state-provided crutch?

    Like I’ve said elsewhere: if capitalism requires regular infusions of our money into the accounts of zombie banks, then capitalism by definition is not worth saving.

  57. 57
    Matt Welch says:

    I have yet to see anyone over there argue any sort of credible alternative to the stimulus package, or any real explanation of what we’re supposed to be doing other than "OMG deficit spending will bankrupt our future!"

    Our cover story on the stands now (not online yet) is about how to best spend stimulus and transportation dollars to improve the nation’s mobility. Look at our econ page (http://reason.com/topics/topic/147.html) and you will find a variety of articles and coluns chewing on various bits, and suggesting various alternatives (http://reason.com/news/show/130346.html, for example).

  58. 58

    If it were left up to me (and thank god it’s not), the banks wouldn’t have been bailed out in the first place, and the lavish/retarded habits of CEOs would have been rightly rewarded with bankruptcy and humiliation. My idea of "accountability" has more to do with letting rich assholes fail up front, rather than rewarding their incompetence while washing it down with sweet nectar of cheap populism.

    If it were up to me, sez the liberttarian, the government never would have built levees in New Orleans in the first place; therefore, this bitching about the FEMA response being incompetent and the distribution of rebuilding funds being driven by partisanship is just cheap populism. I’m certainly not going to sully myself by considering such trite topics as accountability in government contracting. Anyone who does just hates capitalism.

  59. 59

    Star Wars is full of awful dialogue, and Mark Hamill is a terrible actor. That these facts are true does not detract from the considerable virtues of the film, but it’s not actually a great movie in the way that, say, Casablanca is, which is obviously Scalzi’s point.

    His point is made in a vacuum.

    Sci Fi is a genre which is still in the process of maturing.

    Just as Sergio Leone paved the way for Clint Eastwood to make Pale Rider and Unforgiven; Lucas and whoever produced Logan’s Run are paving the way for someone to make a Sci Fi Classic worthy of the title.

  60. 60
    Matt Welch says:

    it isn’t angry or “cheap populism” to demand that they not piss it away on junkets and “fancy drapes.” It is common sense.

    If you don’t see either the populism or anger in the "fancy drapes" comment, then I guess you don’t see it. But "common sense"? Wells Fargo, which didn’t want to be bailed out, has been sending favored employees on annual trips to Vegas for years. But now, because they’ve been forced to accept money (according to the reporting on it, anyway), this is some kind of terrible "junket" that must be stopped at once. The hell does that have to do with "common sense"? It’s cheap symbolism for extremely marginal savings.

    And, pursuant to my (very small) original point in that one sentence, it — to my Ayn Rand-poisoned judgment (though don’t I have to read her first? Whatever) — contradicts the spirit of his comment of not indulging in anger and pettiness when fashioning policy.

  61. 61
    Mike in NC says:

    She specifically said that taxes are "punishment." I just don’t get it. Do ALL Republicans think that way? Taxes are punishment?

    In a word, yes. Life is one big Free Lunch, just as Ronald Reagan told them over and over. That’s how we got to where are today.

  62. 62
    Bill says:

    Well, Matt Welch has been hanging out with Glenn Reynolds a lot lately. I think the stupid just rubs off.

  63. 63
    John Cole says:

    @Matt Welch: Matt- you can embed your links by highlighting and clicking the “link” button to make it easier for people to get to them.

  64. 64

    Why are people kvetching about the original Star Wars movies when there are atrocities like Phantom Menace to mock?

    Jest askin’.

  65. 65
    Matt Welch says:

    Thanks, John. Still haven’t gotten used to that whole "technology" thing.

  66. 66
    John Cole says:

    If you don’t see either the populism or anger in the “fancy drapes” comment, then I guess you don’t see it.

    No, I really don’t. I don’t think it is insane, scary, reckless, threatening, or angry populism to demand that if your company needs to be bailed out, you aren’t at the same time spending a million bucks redecorating your office. Oddly enough, John Thain agrees with me.

  67. 67
    El Cid says:

    Mark Hamill is not a terrible actor. He was great as the Joker. Not Heath Ledger great, but these were cartoons.

  68. 68

    Wells Fargo, which didn’t want to be bailed out, has been sending favored employees on annual trips to Vegas for years. But now, because they’ve been forced to accept money (according to the reporting on it, anyway)

    Yeah, I saw the headline: Wells Fargo Victim of Reverse Hold Up.

    I like this guy, he’s funny.

  69. 69
    jrosen says:

    It is easy and probably a lot of fun to hold extreme positions that you basically know will never be implemented in any real world situation. If you are a science fiction writer like Heinlein you can skew your worlds to suit your fancy…or if a crank like Rand you get off by jazzing up a bunch of over-grown adolescents. You know you will never have to answer for your nonsense.

    That is, until some nutcase acts as according to your wild theories and goes to jail for not paying taxes, or camps out in fatigues waiting for "Red Dawn" and starts shooting, or blows something up to "protest"…what?

    However, every once in a while an "armed Bohemian" comes along who sounds just as crazy but really means it.

    I’ve met a few of these armchair libs and I actually enjoy the discussions since they help to clarify my own weak points. But I can’t take them too seriously…i only wish that they would do their poli sci and philosophical masturbation a little more privately. Then again, I don’t have to read their blogs, and generally I don’t.

  70. 70

    Matt Welch never once complained about "cheap populism" in any of the criticism of Haliburton’s contracting in Iraq. In fact, he often joined in it.

    I don’t think this is because his opposition to the Iraq War was any stronger than his opposition to the bailout. Rather, as a good capitalist, he views the Masters of the Universe as His Guys in a way that he simply doesn’t view defense contractors.

  71. 71
    sparky says:

    @Blue Neponset: lolwhut

    ohhhh, u meant vacuum tubez

  72. 72

    If you don’t see either the populism or anger in the “fancy drapes” comment, then I guess you don’t see it.

    The only way to see "angry populism" in that statement is to define any criticism of wealthy people spending money on themselves as "angry populism," regardless of the circumstances.

  73. 73
    John Cole says:

    Not an appeal to angry populism.

  74. 74
    Matt Welch says:

    Matt Welch never once complained about "cheap populism" in any of the criticism of Haliburton’s contracting in Iraq. In fact, he often joined in it.

    Pretty sure I never wrote about it one way or another, except maybe to say in a blog post once that no-bid contracts generally aren’t a good idea.

    I don’t think this is because his opposition to the Iraq War was any stronger than his opposition to the bailout. Rather, as a good capitalist, he views the Masters of the Universe as His Guys in a way that he simply doesn’t view defense contractors.

    Actually my opposition to the bailout was much stronger — I never came out one way or another on the Iraq war, until it was far too late. As for my "guys," I have a hard time understanding what part about LET THE BASTARDS FAIL you don’t understand.

  75. 75
    KRK says:

    @John Cole:

    Heh.

    But, but, but…it’s Obama’s hypocrisy that Welch is objecting to, not angry populism per se, right? And the folks at Reason know hypocrisy.

  76. 76

    The part where "Let the bastards fail" isn’t angry populism, but "if we have to prop up these bastards, they shouldn’t use our money as their entertainment fund" is the part I don’t understand.

    If I fail to produce a coherent narrative for the words coming out of both sides of your mouth, it’s probably not a matter of my reading comprehension.

  77. 77

    The part where "Let the bastards fail" isn’t angry populism, but "if we have to prop up these bastards, they shouldn’t use our money as their entertainment fund" is; that’s the part I don’t understand.

  78. 78
    John Cole says:

    As for my “guys,” I have a hard time understanding what part about LET THE BASTARDS FAIL you don’t understand.

    You know, I get that. I really do. As does everyone else here on the comments thread, and I won’t even point out that that is “angry populism” speaking. Hell, as the TARP bailout was happening, I never knew what to think, part of me wanted to not only let them fail but engage in summary execution of the boards, part of me thought we absolutely have to do it because we can not have the entire financial system come crashing down, part of me was just furious with the idiocy of McCain and the nihilism of the Republican response, part of me was just angry with the whole damned situation. And, to this day, I still do not understand the more complex arguments on either side of the issue, I have no idea if we are better or worse off for bailing them out, and I doubt we will ever know.

    But here is the thing. None. Of. That. Matters. We are past the “should we bail them out” debate. Now we are to the “Ok, we bailed these jackasses out, now we need to make sure they are using the money wisely.”

    That isn’t angry populism to suggest they shouldn’t be spending it on nonsense and exorbitant bonuses for the people you and I both agree are not only bastards but who have failed.

    My whole point was that from a libertarian perspective, there was probably a WHOLE HELL OF A LOT to hate in Obama’s (and Jindal’s) speech. Choosing to single out an act of what I consider basic accountability and dismissing it as angry populism is silliness and petty.

  79. 79
    John S. says:

    silliness and petty

    That pretty much sums up the tone over at Q and O, and increasingly Hit and Run these days.

    I’m beginning to think they are defining traits of glibertarians.

  80. 80

    […] for those of you who think I am being too hard on the libertarians, let me point you to this righteous rant (mentioned here are […]

  81. 81
    Tom G says:

    I’m getting tired of seeing so many people slam "Libertarians" as being Republican apologists. There are many writers for whom that is TRUE, but there are also others. "Libertarians", libertarians, classical liberals, anarcho-capitalists, are not ALL THE SAME and it’s beginning to annoy me that the faults of one vocal section are held to totally invalidate the arguments of the rest.
    It’s very easy to make fun of glibertarians, or vulgar libertarians. I’m not saying they don’t necessarily deserve it. But I read a great many websites, including ones even more radical. Lumping everyone in together just shows that you can’t be bothered learning the differences.
    If you look closer, you’d see that there are quite a few libertarians who are harshly critical of those views that you all take to represent "Libertarians". Back when Ron Paul was running for the Republican nomination, there were several people who had legitimate concerns about him – without smearing ALL his supporters as "nuts".
    Please – don’t assume that Hit and Run is the be-all and end-all of libertarian thought. It’s not.

  82. 82
    Michael says:

    This is when I post up "Atlas Shrugged 2: Shrug Harder"

    You all deserve to die, for asking us to pay you back even one nickel, because we are all so selfish we don’t consider any of the things you all paid for out of your taxes and that you did with your labor to have been at all helpful to us as entirely self-sufficient brilliant inventors and managers. So die.

    Outside the valley, the conversion to local subsistence farming and the work of scavenging the dead cities for any usable metal would have been rough. No time or energy would have been available to save even minimal technology. We’re looking at a collapse all the way back to (at best) early iron age levels, maybe even all the way back to the bronze age, and nobody will even have time to teach the next generation to read and write. But one thing very clearly did happen, in every survivor’s village, and became world-wide policy as soon as even minimal travel and communication made it possible for the chiefs of the scattered villages of survivors began to reunite society into any kind of a civilization, and that is a fierce determination to make sure that the next generation remembered who had done this to them, and why they had done it. They would have educated their children to remember the names and descriptions of every one of the hated Strikers who had personally murdered four and a half billion people for a political point. And they would have educated their children that one idea, one idea in the Strikers’ twisted minds, had lead to those four and a half billion deaths, the greatest act of genocide in human history: selfishness. How far did they go to eradicate selfishness? They went so far as to eradicate the first person pronoun from the language.

    Because she died without telling anyone, it’s not entirely clear how Shrug Harder would have ended. We know that at some point, at least one of the Strikers does leave Galt Valley. He built a high-tech home, stuffed it with a library and all the wonders of the Strikers’ science, and then (apparently) set out to make contact with the nearest survivors’ village, assuming that they’d worship him as a god for his technological superiority, assuming they’d cheerfully feed him and provide him with anything he wanted for the products of his labor. And, rather obviously, they did what anybody would do: they executed him for crimes against humanity. His technological redoubt was never found. Did other Strikers meet the same fate, or are they all holed up in Galt Valley still? We’ll never know. But that brings us to the book that would clearly have been relabeled once the trilogy was complete … Atlas Shrugged 3: Anthem.

    *chuckle*

    I love that.

  83. 83
    John Cole says:

    Please – don’t assume that Hit and Run is the be-all and end-all of libertarian thought. It’s not.

    I honestly think Hit and Run is some of the best out there. What I don’t get is I notice a snideness and a snippiness that I have never noticed before- certainly never noticed during the Bush years. An odd tone, if you will. I understand that on many matters of economics, the Democratic position will not align with the libertarians, so there is fertile ground for hostility, but the same could be said about the past eight years of the Bush administration, but the tone just seems different.

    Maybe I am just filtering things through my own lens, and at this point I generally view Obama pretty favorably, but look at the over-the-top tone of Nick Gillespie the last few weeks and months. Maybe I am forgetting, but I just don’t remember the same sort of hysterical tone directed at things like Gitmo or what not.

    Again, that may be my failing, and I may not be remembering things correctly, but my overall perception of Reason magazine the last few weeks is they have taken on a tone of snide pettiness. And again, I am someone who in general looks favorably upon many of the same positions held by the folks at Reason. I thought one of the more courageous things they did recently was the excellent interviews and coverage of the John Stagliano court case (and I linked it but can’t find it now). Those were principled, reasoned stands and it really was a credit to them, because few would be willing to take a bold public stand in defense of a porn king.

    Again, you are not arguing with someone who is hostile to libertarians or Reason. Just lately they seem to be really snotty and not worth the while, and certainly not a credit to the libertarian cause. Half their posts lately could be cross-posted at Red State or the Corner they are so hysterical and over the top.

  84. 84
    Tom G says:

    Again, you are not arguing with someone who is hostile to libertarians or Reason.

    John, I’m a daily reader of your blog. I wasn’t really talking about you specifically, but of a more general attitude that I’ve seen – exemplified by one person’s comment to me in RL about libertarians being the "Got mine, up yours!" crowd.
    Discussing issues of liberty with them is like talking to someone with his fingers in his ears "Nyah Nyah Nyah"
    Trying to educate through that self-willed refusal to learn is impossible.

  85. 85
    Cyrus says:

    @Blue Neponset:

    Just as Sergio Leone paved the way for Clint Eastwood to make Pale Rider and Unforgiven; Lucas and whoever produced Logan’s Run are paving the way for someone to make a Sci Fi Classic worthy of the title.

    I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but I found this funny. Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy, the third movie of which was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: released 1964-1966. Pale Rider: 1985.

    Logan’s Run: released 1976.
    Released in 1995? Waterworld, Batman Forever and Judge Dredd.

    OK, I admit that’s unfair. There were good science fiction movies in 1995 too, like 12 Monkeys, and you never said you were talking about paving the way for something to happen after exactly the same amount of time. But (a) I just plain thought it would be funny to test the comparison, and (b) I think you’re letting being groundbreaking make up for too much. Sometimes stuff sucks, and the fact that good stuff comes later and resembles the earlier stuff in some ways doesn’t make up for the fact that the early stuff did, in fact, suck. Have you ever read Ralph 12 4C 41+ before? It was one of the first science fiction novels, coming after H.G. Wells and Jules Verne but before practically everyone else. The book predicted television, radar and the use of solar power, among other innovations, which is pretty groundbreaking.

    It was also truly awful. I mean, it was "Eye of Argon" awful, except it was published in earnest. It was one of the first science fiction novels, so literary scholars might want to read it, but there’s no good reason for the rest of us to.

  86. 86
    Michael says:

    @John Cole

    What I don’t get is I notice a snideness and a snippiness that I have never noticed before- certainly never noticed during the Bush years. An odd tone, if you will. I understand that on many matters of economics, the Democratic position will not align with the libertarians, so there is fertile ground for hostility, but the same could be said about the past eight years of the Bush administration, but the tone just seems different.

    Maybe I am just filtering things through my own lens, and at this point I generally view Obama pretty favorably, but look at the over-the-top tone of Nick Gillespie the last few weeks and months. Maybe I am forgetting, but I just don’t remember the same sort of hysterical tone directed at things like Gitmo or what not.

    John, it was as if they really didn’t want to offend the folks they were deeply in bed with. Back when I was hovering around folks like that, I could never get a straight answer on why they were so adamant about marching along with the anti-abortion right or about supporting the ability of localities to trample the living crap out of the voting and economic freedom of people in their own communities without any possibility of recourse. The only answer I ever got was a claim that the smaller government carried more ultimate liberty, the bad practices would go away on a local basis, and that large national grants of liberty somehow meant that it could be taken away.

    I always thought that was specious thinking, as the results they claimed to seek were infeasible and unreachable.

  87. 87
    Capelza Gradenko says:

    John Cole..I don’t think it is just you at all.

    Hit & Run is one of the links on my Bookmarks Bar…and I’ve seriously been thinking about deleting it (actually I already would have, but I forget how to delete them easliy). It’s just not even interesting anymore.

    Balko’s work is more important than anything else on that page.

    And OMG! I love that take down of Atlas Shrugged by Hicks, I’d never seen that before.

    And lastly, what Zinfab said at #9.

  88. 88
    binzinerator says:

    dan at #15 makes a conjecture:

    A libertarian is someone who thinks that a mandatory helmet law is for motorcyclists is a greater infringement on liberty than arbitrary detention, torture, warrantless searches. . . .

    and kth at #23 also contributes:

    [for libertarians] no-knock raids and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are categorically the same in terms of tyranny.

    We now have a hypothesis. How shall we test it?

    Lo! Who’s there? Why, it’s Matt Welch bringing proof!

    Actually my opposition to the bailout was much stronger—I never came out one way or another on the Iraq war, until it was far too late.

    Absolutely beautimous.

  89. 89
    liberal says:

    @binzinerator:
    God, that’s hilarious.

  90. 90

    […] Posted in Democrats, Government, Obama administration, Politics at 12:43 pm by LeisureGuy With a quote from Scalzi. Read it all. […]

  91. 91
    Josh E. says:

    I prefer to call them lolbertarians. It summarizes Scalzi’s description aptly, in my view.

  92. 92

    Just lately they seem to be really snotty and not worth the while, and certainly not a credit to the libertarian cause. Half their posts lately could be cross-posted at Red State or the Corner they are so hysterical and over the top.

    Exactly. That’s why I’m gone.

  93. 93

    […] a funny blog here (H/T John Cole) that summarises the key points of the main three tendencies in US political ideology. My favourite […]

  94. 94
    Mike says:

    I’ve been reading Welch for years too. He’s often good. The few-word movie reviews were great. But he’s turned into a complete beating. There ought to be bloggingheads drinking game that requires shots when he again and again and again states that he’s never been a member of either major political party. I think a commenter on Kevin Drum’s site awhile back called libertarians "special teenagers." This was good.

  95. 95
    anonymous37 says:

    Wells Fargo, which didn’t want to be bailed out, has been sending favored employees on annual trips to Vegas for years. But now, because they’ve been forced to accept money (according to the reporting on it, anyway)

    You know, I did some Googling in order to learn more, because I hadn’t heard anything about this. Here’s what was reported: there was an October meeting with the heads of the major banks, and Richard Kovacevich, head of Wells Fargo, asked why he was being forced to take the bailout money. Paulson said, take the money now, or risk being unable to acquire private equity money later on. Because the federal government won’t be so generous next time around.

    So, of course, Kovacevich did the principled thing: he turned down the money flat, and held press conference after press conference stating that Wells Fargo was being punished for the incompetence of all the other major banks, and he dared the federal government to pass a law forcing his company to feed at the trough.

    Ha ha ha! No, of course he did nothing of the sort, and in fact signed an agreement to take the money like everyone else at the meeting. It was just a bunch of grandstanding done so he could cast himself as a reluctant victim of bailout socialism. Because if you want to argue that the bailout is unnecessary and only serves to reward the fat bastards who screwed up, you need to fall back on at least one example of a bank that didn’t want to take bailout money. Libertarians, be thankful he left you with that. It’s not a lot, but you don’t really have much else to work with.

  96. 96
    dino says:

    @Tom G:

    then dont brand yourself with a label

  97. 97
    Pug says:

    Again, that may be my failing, and I may not be remembering things correctly, but my overall perception of Reason magazine the last few weeks is they have taken on a tone of snide pettiness.

    That would be snide right-wing pettiness. I used to like Reason but they’ve gone off the deep end. I guess I liked David Weigel the best and he’s gone.

    I agree with some things the libertarians have to say, but let’s face it, they are a marginal group who will never get more than 5% of the vote. And they don’t deserve more than 5% of the vote.

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  1. […] a funny blog here (H/T John Cole) that summarises the key points of the main three tendencies in US political ideology. My favourite […]

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  3. […] for those of you who think I am being too hard on the libertarians, let me point you to this righteous rant (mentioned here are […]

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