Friday, July 15, 2011

Libertarian Look-a-likes?

"Those people, they all look alike." That kind of comment is a hackneyed joke among racist types. It references the observation that the people of one race may have difficulty distinguishing differences in the faces and expressions of people of another race. There is actually a psychological term for it: Cross-race or other-race bias. For those who recall the fictional Archie Bunker (picture at left) of All in the Family fame, that is the kind of bias one would expect from him.
Just as racists characterize a particular group as all having similar features and behaviours, so I find that Statists, Leftists, Liberals or collectivists like to lump everyone to the right of them as the same. From that, it sounds like I'm guilty of that very thing, but I try to be more discriminating in my "lumping." I also hate to use the term "to the right," I don't consider myself to the right of anyone, and in libertarian parlance "right" (describing political view) is kind of meaningless.

As proof that I am discriminating when I reference Statists and collectivists, I know there are some who are anti-war, and generally very socially liberal, they tend to be leftists or socialists like NDP supporters in Canada. I am anti-war, and very socially liberal, so we both share those values. They however believe that big government is the solution to virtually all social, environmental and monetary problems that people might have, I don't.
I also recognize that there are Statists who share with me the belief that governments should be smaller, yet those same people would support the war on drugs, deny marriage rights to gays, and support the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror. I don't.
So you see I do discriminate, what irritates me is that the statist/collectivist types somehow can't discriminate between libertarians and conservatives and like Archie Bunker they say: "those people are all alike."
A case in point: several weeks ago Stephen Metcalf of SLATE the online magazine, wrote an article called The Liberty Scam. That same article popped up in the National Post this week but Canadian-ized, as The Hypocrisy of Libertarians  In it, Metcalf slams libertarians and their philosophy, politics etc., naming several guilty practitioners including: Republican fiscal hawk Paul Ryan, Glenn Beck, the creators of South Park, the founder of Whole Foods, P. J. O'Rourke, David Mamet, and Sarah Palin. Hello what?! Ryan, Beck, Palin are libertarians?! See what I mean? They all look alike to Metcalf, its like other-race bias but political. 
Paul Ryan voted for TARP, the auto bailouts and the Patriot Act, some libertarian he is supposed to be. Glenn Beck, give me a break and Sarah Palin, you have got to be kidding. To the credit of the National Post they also printed right beside Metcalf's mess, a column by Jesse Kline called A narrow view of the libertarian creed. It is critical of Metcalf's column and rightly points out that Palin does not support: "gay marriage, ending the drug war, allowing open immigration, ceasing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, cutting the military budget, or any other libertarian cause." She is no libertarian either.
The next day an astute letter writer in the Post pointed out that the "issue is simple (to Him) - if big government was the solution to our problems they all would have been solved already. The idea that we are just one more social program away from utopia, one more regulation from all being safe and one more coerced tax dollar away from social justice is either naive or fascist. I'm not sure which." Neither am I.

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