9-10-16 Hodgepodge

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Libertarian "Big Tent" Paved Way for Trump

This week, the Washington Post ran an article by Matthew Sheffield (HT: Snedcat) that explores the connection between Libertarianism and the emergence of Donald Trump and the so-called "alt-right":

To solve the problem that few Americans are interested in small government, Rothbard argued that libertarians needed to align themselves with people they might not like much in order to expand their numbers. "Outreach to the Rednecks" was needed to make common cause with far-right Christian conservatives who hated the federal government, disliked drugs and wanted to crack down on crime.

All of these paleolibertarian positions were offered in Duke's 1990 Senate campaign and 1991 gubernatorial campaign. But they were also offered by another politician Rothbard admired: Ron Paul, the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate in 1988.
As past successful movements such as abolitionism have demonstrated, a far more effective approach than pandering to opponents is to ... convince others of the merits of your cause.

This article is helpful in showing a consequence of the failure of the Libertarian movement to challenge entrenched political philosophy by championing a positive alternative. That said, I cannot recommend it wholeheartedly. While, yes, it does differentiate the influence of Ayn Rand on some Libertarians from that of Murray Rothbard and his ilk, it later refers to those libertarians who pander to racists as "extremists," continuing an age-old smear -- of advocacy of limited government with racism -- that should have been buried long ago.

Neither Jim Crow nor slavery are "extreme" versions of capitalism: They are violations of individual rights that would not exist in a capitalist society. Anyone who advocates either has no business calling himself a capitalist, and anyone who ignores such a distinction is being careless to say the very least. Libertarianism may deserve to be associated with bigotry, but capitialism does not.

Weekend Reading

"Two researchers recently concluded that narcissism involves a conviction of superiority over others, while genuine self-esteem has more to do with a positive self-image without reference to others." -- Michael Hurd, in "What's the Difference Between Self-Esteem and Narcissism?" at The Delaware Wave

"Remember the waning days of the Soviet empire, before Gorbachev came to power, and a series of Russian dictators were reportedly ill and on their deathbeds before the government would disclose anything?" -- Michael Hurd, in "CNN Fires 'Dr. Drew' for Doing Right on Hillary's Health" at Newsmax

"If you can objectively identify something healthy and enjoyable that you get out of spending time with this person, then pursue that interest and forget the bottomless quagmire of political nitpicking." -- Michael Hurd, in "Politics Got You Down?" at The Delaware Coast Press

"Under the campaign finance laws, every new way to speak about politics becomes a 'loophole' that must be closed." -- Steve Simpson, in "Overturning Citizens United Would Be a Disaster for Free Speech" at The Hill

Find a New Way to Clean Your Grill

Here's an alarming health recommendation from the press that, for once, isn't all hype:
Canadian surgeons are urging people to throw out wire-bristled barbecue [cleaning] brushes, because none of them have figured out a surefire way of removing the wires when they get stuck in people's throats.

The thin, sharp wires can come off the brushes, attach to barbecue grills and cling to food without being noticed. If it's swallowed it can cause damage to the throat and epiglottis, which is the flap of cartilage that covers the opening of the windpipe when swallowing.
I insert "cleaning" because when I started reading this, I first thought something like, "Who would use a wire brush for basting?" The fun doesn't end in the upper digestive tract, either, and serious consequences, including death, can result from, say, a stray wire bristle working its way through the wall of your small intestine.

-- CAV


Rowsdower Rowsdower said...

Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Washington Post article was also lying. http://reason.com/blog/2016/09/06/washington-post-and-matthew-sheffield-di

Gus Van Horn said...


Whatever inaccuracies there are in the WaPo piece are indeed unfortunate as the article does appear, in the main, to have made a valid point.


jacobeking said...

RE: Dr. Hurd's self-esteem article.
I recently came to a similar distinction, but decided that true self-esteem comes from being better than one's past self (rather than others). I understand his argument that the comparison should be made against an objective standard, but don't think it's always possible to set one.

For example, say you're grossly overweight and decide to start running. You will probably never be an elite runner, and maybe not even above the median pace in any given race, but if you succeed in improving your fitness and enjoy the sport, it would be a valid source of self-esteem.

Gus Van Horn said...


Even if you don't enjoy running in and of itself, the running can be a source of self-esteem.

In my case, I have found that I can only enjoy running as a means to an end. Soccer got me running when nothing else did.