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Monday, April 7, 2008

Braggart, Hostile to Gays, Hates Christians, etc.

EDG, you seem to have been misinformed about me and I invite you to examine the motives of those who misinformed you.
Your charge that I lack "introspection" is astonishing, since I'm all about questioning assumptions -- mine and everybody else's -- all the way down to fundamental epistemology and metaphysics.  I maintain a list of my life's biggest intellectual mistakes at
I have no idea what incident in connection with Aaron Starr you could possibly be referring to.  I wasn't in the LPCA leadership until he was out of it, and he assiduously stays out of the public debates about ideology in which I defend the idea of a more ecumenical LP.  I can't think of any time in which I've ever initiated contact with Aaron, except one time to to ask him questions about LPCA financial history in connection with the work of our audit committee.  Nearly all of our few contacts have involved Aaron trying to get me to be more likable/popular when I defend myself and my ideas from criticism -- or better yet to ignore such criticism (as he rigorously does).  I'm sure I've disappointed him on this score, but I'm trying to do better. :-)  I know that one of my failings is that I often read people's words more carefully than they wrote them, but I only do so in hopes that they might return the courtesy.
I also would like to know what concrete evidence your informant might have that I'm a "braggart".  I'll admit I'm not shy about pointing it out when an argument of mine hasn't been answered.  Perhaps your informants don't appreciate the double entendre of my domain name  I offer no pretenses about my "value" to the LP or LPCA, and am painfully aware that my fellow LPCA leaders aren't much interested in the practical ideas I campaigned on:
I have never once expressed "hatred" toward evangelical Christians, even though I get regular hate email from some of them.  On the contrary, I've spent way too much of my time in the past taking evangelical Christianity very seriously as an intellectual enterprise.  Regarding Christians in the LP, I'm helping lead the effort to make the LP Platform be, for the first time since 1974, no longer absolutist in its "pro-choice" opposition to fetal rights, but rather to be neutral in this intra-party franchise dispute.  I barely know who Michael Shermer is, and I'm sure he has no idea who I am, so I don't see why you would call him my "friend" (aside from the fact that I appreciate his work and personal sacrifice for separation of church and state).
The notion that I have "hostility to gays" is simply libelous.  On the Platform Committee I have consistently and loudly defended 1) the inclusion of gay rights in our Platform and 2) the centrality of gay rights in LP political strategy as a mainstream and winning position.  I led the effort to break PlatCom's self-imposed only-recycled-language guideline to include specifics in our draft platform about equality for gays regarding marriage, immigration, adoption, and military service.  When the time came in Vegas for this plank to be considered, I went out of the room and brought back the leaders of the Outright Libertarians so they could take my novel language and improve it for us. We accepted every change to it that they suggested.  Three of my closest friends on the LPCA ExCom have been its openly gay members. I've crashed overnight in a (big) bed with a gay friend, and have had gay housemates and gay officemates and gay dormmates.  I'm living proof that gay is not contagious and gays are not predatory.  You should seriously question the personal integrity of anybody who would try to play a homophobia card against me.
I agree that a disproportionate number of the LP's deepest thinkers are anarchists/radicals.  However, I would suggest that the best way to measure an LP member's intellectual tolerance is the degree to which he 1) treats opponents and their actual arguments fairly, and 2) is willing for the LP's foundational texts to tolerate (or be interpreted as tolerating) the major schools of libertarianism.  On that standard, I invite you to compare my level of substance and tolerance with anybody's.
I'm surprised at your claim that you're not really sure who is real here, since you seem to think you know exactly who I am.   If many of the anonymous comments here would embarrass the author if his identity were known, that pretty much underlines my point.  TPW readers don't need to be told what kind of comments the anonymous posting policy tends to encourage.
I don't understand the need for all the vicious personal attacks that Libertarians routinely make on each other.  They particularly mystify my wife.  She always asks why Libertarians don't spend more time criticizing the ideology of nanny state incumbents, and less time policing each other's ideology through our official texts.  I'm not sure of the answer.  I just hope we can end the Platform Purity wars in Denver, and then start taking a torch to the nanny state, instead of protecting our flickering candle from the impure.