Andrew Sullivan continues to send his minions to attempt to annoy me to death. He fails to understand that this is Pandagon, and we are professionals at the art of pointless blog warring. He also fails to understand that I know cartoonists who also consider the entire existence of the Cheeto-munching moral and intellectual midgets that drive the continued popularity of Ayn Rand novels to be as hilarious as I do. You can click them to get the full size.
Harrmumph. As a Libertarian, I must take slight exception. I wish both critics and cricised would stop confusing Libertarianism with Malignant Narcisissm. I know, I know, there's that whole pile of Ayn Rand to confuse the issue. But in point of fact, John Galt was an arsonist who betrayed the interests of his client and tried to justify it to himself. The fact that Rand portrays him as a hero speaks a great deal about her, and a great deal more about the ethics of those who point to Galt as an example of Principle.
I was particularly amused by this one comment - as often is the case, I find the comments to be as good or better as the original - and I do so envy such blessings...
As a conscious, de jure Libertarian; and antiauthoritarian to the very core of my being - I have more than once observed that in terms of outcomes - the greatest individual Liberty for the greatest number - Canada is a FAR more Libertarian country than the United States.
You see - and you will find this point made in core libertarian writings - liberty requires social infrastructure in order to ensure basic, common wants; otherwise those wants and needs can be and WILL be used by the minority against the majority to reduce them to a state of permanent serfdom.
Unless you can afford to say "take this job and shove it," you are not free. Arguably, it should not be a trivial step, without consequence, but it absolutely MUST be possible - or you are not living in a free society.
Likewise, there must be robust regulations and vigilant guardians watching over the markets and the commons, so that - well, so that what is happening in economic terms in the US and Europe, does not happen. And in Canada, that is the case. Canada has not abandoned regulatory oversight of critical industries in order to pander to would be Madoffs and Enrons and the result is more - not less - economic opportunity and practical liberty for more people.
But US Libertarians are of the opinion that Liberty is the same as License. It is a movement of the self-indulgent, those who cry that "I have mine, and you are a luser who deserves nothing from me."
This of course denies reality - that all persons who succeed in life to any degree are aided in this success by the entire matrix of society and it's infrastructure - benefited by education, libraries, early learning opportunities, the Internet, access to government funded research data, materials science developed at public universities, transportation networks funded by taxpayers by one means of social investment or another - in other words, they were free to act to their own benefit - and the consequent benefit of others - because their society affirmatively invested in and agressively defends that individual liberty.
People who think that living in a mountan-top bunker stocked with five years of food, water and ammunition is the ultimate expression of Liberty are, sadly, idiots. They are as restricted in their practical opportunities as any person languishing in a medium-security prison. Furthermore, they are institutionalizing their children with their various ignorance initiatives. But I digress.
Liberty is for everyone, with opportunity as broadly spread, and with a dedication to the eradication of the serfdom of poverty, or it's simply a chaotic struggle for dominance on a winner-take-all basis.
There is never any way of predicting who will win such a struggle - but having high motivation for a better life, and the grim reality of having little or nothing left to lose - has been a consistent factor in throwing out the old bastards and throwing in the new.
Real libertarians believe that taking the profit OUT of authoritarianism and putting it into advancing the total amount of collective cussedness and amused tolerance of The Other is the only route to a truly free, open and Libertarian culture.
And if this be Socialism, make the most of it.