Everybody wants a piece of John these days:
Describing an incident in which the local utility company chose to – without notice – rip out some of his trees in order to replace his water meter as “Why People Hate Government,” John Cole asserts:
”If libertarians would focus on crap like this instead of all the smug bullshit and contrarian economic analysis, they might actually be able to build their party.”
There are so many things wrong in this sentence that I think it quite perfectly illustrates ignorance (from Cole and plenty of others) about libertarians in general. The fact of the matter is that libertarians actually do focus on things like this quite a bit, and indeed proportionally more than do other ideologicalical groups. Of course, Cole focuses his writing almost exclusively on national politics, so he would rarely encounter the myriad libertarians who focus on local property rights issues and things of that nature.[….]
All of which is simply to say that there’s a big difference between the caricature of libertarians and actual libertarians. People who are not libertarians are certainly free to disclaim and ridicule libertarian thought on economic and welfare policy as “smug bullshit and economic analysis” – and sometimes they may even be right! – but to reduce libertarianism to just those areas where one disagrees with it is to rather miss the entire fucking point.
The post is self-congratulatory, trite, and a desperate attempt to get us to link, but I do see his point. I know plenty of libertarians locally who are very reasonable and spend time thinking about concrete issues, not just masturbating to thoughts of Dagny Taggart. And it’s not their fault that many of the Koch family’s propaganda factories describe themselves as “libertarian”.
But it’s not John’s fault either. If tomorrow morning, Nick Gillespie, Megan McArdle, and Glenn Reynolds started describing their Randian-Cheneyan-Hooverist nonsense as liberalism, I’d be pissed off too. But I’d start by criticizing them, not by whining about how bloggers never talked about all the great stuff True Liberals were doing at the local level.