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Monday, January 11, 2010

Measuring How Libertarian Dondero Is

Brian Holtz // Jan 8, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Being wrong about one's facts doesn't make one unlibertarian. Nor does being contrarian in one's outreach strategy.

To measure how unlibertarian Dondero is, just have him take this purity test: I doubt he'd score much worse than Ron Paul.

Brian Holtz // Jan 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm

No, both Paul and Dondero would do better on the WSPQ and on the quiz in David Boaz's book Libertarianism: A Primer.

Being wrong about who counts as a libertarian doesn't make one unlibertarian. Hell, being wrong about who counts as a libertarian is very nearly one of the defining characteristics of being a libertarian. :-)

Advocating outreach to religious conservatives does not contradict support for gay rights.

As shocking as it may seem, a libertarian can be wrong without being any less libertarian for it. When you say Dondero is "unlibertarian" for saying X, what I hear is: "I disagree with X but I'm too lazy to explain why".

Libervention Debate Club // Jan 11, 2010 at 12:59 am

You didn't identify a single "big government view" of Dondero's.

Not everything one believes has to be either an "unlibertarian" belief or a "principled libertarian" belief. That's a

The Club suspects that you want to call Dondero's misguided outreach ideas "unlibertarian" because you disagree with his liberventionism. If you want to claim that liberventionism disqualifies one from being considered a libertarian, then have the courage to say so.

If instead you disagree with Dondero, and say that one can be a principled libertarian regardless of one's position on libervention, then join the Club.

Libervention Debate Club // Jan 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Yes, rabidly liberventionist libertarians are bad judges of the best means to get to the libertarian end of banishing fraud and initiated force from human relationships.

And rabidly anti-war libertarians are bad judges of means, too.

Witness Justin Raimondo's support for Obama because the trillion-dollar war is "bankrupting" us. (Can Justin say "Obama surge"? Or "Obamacare"? Can Justin count to fifty trillion — the size of the unfunded liability of the nanny state?) Witness Tom Knapp voting for the Green nominee over the LP nominee. Witness Paulie Sipos and Thomas Cannoli loudly declaring every other week that antiwar is their litmus test. The Club could go on and on.

Yeah, yeah, Price Club will ignore the literal budget figures and actuarial calculations, and quote lefty fantasy numbers that e.g. don't count Social Security as part of the welfare state because it's funded by payroll "contributions" that are named after it. Been there, refuted that. And yeah, yeah, Knapp will name-call Barr a "dixiecrat" and pretend that Barr favors government distribution of pornography when Knapp knows that's not really true. Whatever. The point here is that being wrong about the recommended means — whether Lieberman or Obama or McKinney or even Barr — does not imply that one no longer counts as supporting the libertarian end.

The Club is not saying that libertarian ends justify any proposed means as libertarian. Nor is the Club saying that foreign policy is irrelevant to libertarianism. The Club is just saying that libertarian ends don't dictate some particular means as the only libertarian path — and that disagreement over such means is not a good reason to label one as not supporting the libertarian ends.

If you disagree with someone's judgment that their advocated means will achieve their stated libertarian ends, then stand up and make that case. Don't cop out and label the person as "unlibertarian" just because they think they see a different path toward freedom than the one you think you see. Don't smear somebody as "an enemy of liberty" when they say they share our goal of banishing fraud and initiated force from human relationships. Do you really think you have so many allies advocating that goal that you can afford to excommunicate some who seek it? Do you really think that there are so few people clamoring for "peace" that you should support those who on net oppose liberty? That's as mistaken as Dondero thinking there are so few people clamoring for security that he should support those who on net oppose liberty.

If you and Dondero still (wrongly) think that intervention should be the most important — or even a top-ten — issue in determining whether one falls in the libertarian quadrant of Nolan space, then feel free to jointly complain to The Advocates and have them fix their quiz.

Good luck with that. :-)