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Monday, February 2, 2009

"John Galt" Accuses Me Of Pretentiousness

John Galt, you agree it would be absurd to "believe that the State has to systematically mis-count election results in order to keep us liberty-lovers from the victories we otherwise would/could earn", and then you posit a conspiracy in which they did exactly that.

Saying that I'm "naive" and "childish" and I "blindly trust vote counters" is name-calling, not an argument.  What I trust is competition among  Unless you have evidence that vote-counting fraud has been anywhere close to the margin of victory of nanny statism over liberty in America, your conspiracy theories aren't very relevant to the topic of libertarian voting strategy.  (Even if elections were regularly stolen from libertarians by nanny statists, I would still argue that liberty-loving voters should make our enemies keep needing to steal elections, rather than just surrender to them.)

A lecture on pretentiousness from someone offering Latin lessons under the pseudonym "John Galt".  How droll.

Your desiderata for pretentiousness are bizarre.  I confine myself to one comment at a time precisely to make it easier for people to skip what I have to say if they don't want to hear it, and I consider it presumptuous (not to mention disorganized) to issue bursts of comments on somebody else's blog.  I assume no "eagerness" of people to read what I've written.  On the contrary, I would consider it impertinent to cut and paste large swaths of my writings into somebody else's blog. 

In my last response I offered three links to my previous writings.  The first was to a short text that is narrowly aimed at a question George asked me: whence the authority of the state?  The second was to a short essay that sets forth my historical argument for why I think we have been getting even more free in many ways.  I didn't want to make what you already called a long comment any longer, and I don't want to hijack this discussion with a side debate on the history of freedom, so I used a link instead of pasting.  The third link was in an aside about Konkin's theory of justice.  If that topic doesn't interest you, exercise your free will not to click the link.  I submit that a link is better for all concerned than the alternatives of 1) pasting that entire blog posting or 2) not giving George sufficient context for my question about Konkin.

You write that I "make a number of erudite statements about the nature of particular arguments that seem to suppose a shared background in rhetoric which isn’t clearly in evidence".  That complaint is content-free.  I asked how I could have phrased what I had to say in a way that couldn’t arbitrarily be called "pretentious" or some other name.  You did not answer.

Thus the only specifics in your complaint are about how I use comment boundaries and hyperlinks.  The only other content I can hypothesize in your complaint is that I'm deliberately creating a pretense that I've elsewhere already addressed many of the topics here in a succinct and easily-referenced fashion.  Well, that's no "pretense", that's just a fact.  If it intimidates you or makes you fantasize that I consider myself an "authority" or taxes your mouse-clicking finger, well, that's really not my problem. :-)

A very cool thing about the Internet is that one can profitably converse on close to a level playing field with some people as far above one's intellectual weight class as some other interlocutors are below it.  One can react to these two kinds of opportunities by being exhilarated and magnanimous (respectively), or by being intimidated and condescending.  Others won't always correctly interpret one's reactions -- witness how this paragraph will be interpreted -- but there's usually not much point in policing the reactions of others.  You attempted to police mine, and I'll let you be the judge of how useful the resulting sub-thread has turned out to be.