Blogs > Liberty and Power > Even More Wolf

Feb 25, 2004 5:07 pm

Even More Wolf

I don't think Gene should worry about offending me; I hang out with libertarians of all stripes, and am sadly accustomed to hearing far more un-PC remarks than anything Gene is likely to say! ("This is the movement we have chosen ....")

But I do think we as libertarians should be worried in general that non-libertarians will be offended, and justifiably offended (i.e. this isn't just a strategic concern, though it is that inter alia), by our tendency to shoot from the hip on questions like these.

(By the way, it was mainly the"twit" rather than the"self-dramatizing" I was objecting to -- or I was objecting to the"self-dramatizing" only insofar as it was coloured by by the"twit." I don't think self-dramatisation per se is a vice; a life has narrative structure, after all.)

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Gus diZerega - 2/26/2004

I agree Coulter is no libertarian. But I read Gene Healy's post as implying that his major issue with Coulter's style of writing was style - needlessly confrontational and provocative. He hoped he wasn't guilty of that.

Maybe I read too much between the lines, but I am disappointed by the tendency of many libertarians to identify themselves with a "conservative" movement that is increasingly far removed from the limited government brand of conservatism. Except for LP types and some anarchocapitalists, they tend to identify politically with the right - and even to appropriate the general term "right" as the broad kind of ideology they have. For example, in an artiucle of mine in the often libertarian oriented New Liberal I attacked the "Radical Right" and a libertarian associated with the Mises Institute (if I remember corrcetly) took exception.

By identifying with the "right" many libertarians have adopted a similarly disdainful approach towards the "left:" Yet I would suggest that today most on the left have abandoned the ideal of socialism and many have even become suspicious of the Progressive Era ideal of management by experts. Given this, on most actual issues of political importance I would argue the left - especially liberals - often comes closer to a libertarian position than the reigning rightists.

If you're gonna ally with anyone, the right today is the farthest from a libertarian position of anywhere in the country. Wolf's article wasn't particularly important given all that is going on, and spending so much time sniping at a liberal feminist when rather more terrifying things are happening in Washington DC seems to me giving no aid at all to the cause of liberty.

Gene Healy - 2/26/2004

Yes, I was only using "Ann Coulterish" as shorthand for "obnoxious"--not to indicate "a libertarian hero of mine with whom I otherwise agree but is unduly strident." Perhaps there's other evidence that I'm "severely intellectually challenged," but I don't think it can be found in that sentence.

Robert L. Campbell - 2/26/2004

Maybe I am missing something, as I have not studied Gene Healy's total output.

But I don't take a criticism of Ann Coulter's inflammatory style to constitute an endorsement of any other aspect of Ann Coulter--and I don't see how any such thing follows from what Gene wrote.

I am well aware that Ann Coulter is not a libertarian. I can't speak for other libertarians, but I would imagine most of them have also noticed that she is not. More generally speaking, she is what one of my colleagues used to call a "pit bull." And I don't much care for pit bulls, whatever their ideology or mission.

Robert Campbell

Gus diZerega - 2/25/2004

I could not agree with prof. Long more. The tendency of all too many libertarians is to take their initial views of issues like these from the culture warriors of the right who generally don't have a libertarian bone in their body. Healy's reference to Coulter is an example - there is far far more objectionable about Coulter than her inflammatory styler. There is also her dishonesty for example. And anyone who thinks she is a liebrtarian, even in sympathy, is rather severely challenged intellectually. Libertarians would be wiser to make a sympathetic attempt to understand the situations other people find themselves in - such as students with powerfful professors. Some do, many many do not.

Lest anyone think words like sympathy are too mushy, PC and/or leftist, I recommend them to ponder Adam Smith and David Hume on the subject.