Sunday, August 10, 2014


...about that New York Times Magazine story on libertarians we discussed the other day, and rightblogger reactions to it.

This one has loads of director's-cut extras. For example, I wanted to include a bit about how libertarians sometimes propose something less vicious than usual in a touching attempt to appear human; but word count was getting out of hand. So I include the excised section below for you late-night real-people:
True, sometimes a libertarian will try to stir the pot with ideas that are not just straight-up starve-the-poor: For example, Charles Murray, the Cato Institute, and others have floated the idea of a national guaranteed income, on the grounds that it would remove the disincentives of traditional welfare. (Part of the irony here is that the statist Martin Luther King, Jr. also wanted a national guaranteed income; by the way, last MLK Day, Reason's Nick Gillespie honored the Reverend's memory with "Ending the War on Pot Would Help Complete Martin Luther King's Call for Civil Rights," which is just about as libertarian a headline as one can possibly imagine.) 
At Reason Matthew Feeney talked this up, though, he nervously allowed as how "those who are not fans of Murray’s guaranteed income may be more open to Milton Friedman’s negative income tax," since libertarians, like other conservatives, love anything that looks like tax reform.  
But alas, guaranteed income looks like a non-starter among the libertarian rank and file. "Libertarians don't need to dream up anti-libertarian crap to promote," cried Thomas Knapp. "We've already got people who are willing and able to do that. They're called statists and they are perfectly well-qualified to vomit up nonsense like [Cato's guaranteed income argument]..." Even more to the point, take a quick look at Feeney's commenters, and you will see many ripe examples of the dominant attitude among libertarians toward giving the moochers anything at all, e.g., "Personally, if it were up to me, SNAP would only purchase some sort of horrid nutritional gruel," etc.
By the way, if you think the libertarian cartoons we used in the column were wacky, you should see this.

UPDATE. Not that I want to take attention away from our subjects (let alone my column -- please click, they beat us if no one clicks) -- but I found so many numbskulls while researching this that I am compelled to share, and one of my favorites is Sheldon Richman -- remember him from that amazing "How to Talk to Non-Libertarians" article, which is right up there with Lenny Bruce's "How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties"*? Well, now he has one at Reason called "Can't Help But Be a Libertarian" and holy shit:
It's not easy being a libertarian. I am not looking for sympathy when I say that.
<laugh></pretend weep><laugh></pretend weep>
I just mean to point out that rejecting the conventional wisdom on virtually (do I really need this adverb?) every political question, current and historical, can be wearying. Life could be so much simpler if it were otherwise. No doubt about that. I really don't like conflict, especially when it can quickly turn personal, as it so often does. (I embrace the advice that one can disagree without being disagreeable.) But for a libertarian, disagreement with most people is not an option — we can't help it.
<beats tiny fists> Oh, if only I could be a littlebrain!</beats tiny fists>  But alas, wonderful conversational gambits like "if you follow the steps of an algebraic problem and see why X=4, do you have a choice about whether to believe that X=4?" aren't working for him. "If you grasp that an inference logically follows from factual premises and self-evident axioms, can you really elect to disbelieve it?" he blubbers. "I don't see how." Please, invite this poor schlub to your next party -- for freedom!

* "What the hell is that guy -- the guy on the Cream of Wheat box?" is one of my favorite things in thingdom. 


  1. mgmonklewis6:57 PM

    Those cartoons... wow. Just as Newt Gingrich is a stupid person's idea of what a smart person sounds like, those cartoons are a libertarian's idea of what wit looks like. Apparently we can add Humor to the long list of things libertarians don't understand (like Economics, Interpersonal Relationships, etc.).

  2. synykyl7:20 PM

    ... "Personally, if it were up to me, SNAP would only purchase some sort of horrid nutritional gruel," ...

    Personally, if it were up to me, that gruel would be made from shredded libertarians.

  3. Personally, if it were up to me, SNAP would only purchase some sort of horrid nutritional gruel

    "...also, if it were up to me, seven-of-nine would've never worn any clothes at all, because if you really think about it the borg wouldn't consider things like modesty at all. also, if it were up to me, the new captain america would not be the old falcon, no way, that's so politically correct and what's next a black doctor who? also, if it were up to me, jj abrams would have nothing to do with the star trek franchise and let me tell you why..."

  4. Code Name Cain7:47 PM

    "...many of the most passionate proponents of same-sex marriage are also the most passionate proponents of the government forcing Christian bakers and florists to participate in gay marriages."

    Because to libertarians true freedom has always been the freedom to oppress minorities as much as your heart desires. Inquiring minds want to know why this ideology appeals almost exclusively to white males?

  5. coozledad7:55 PM

    Well, at least one of the cartoons demonstrates an understanding that their society can only take root on a fictional vessel, way out in the ocean where they can't be pantsed.

    The only food on this vessel will be shredded Libertarians.*

    *See synykyl, above.

  6. hellslittlestangel8:01 PM

    I can always tell when Roy has outdone himself: I have to pay close attention to the location of the quotation marks so I can tell the difference between his wisecracking and what right-whingers have actually said.

  7. Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.8:05 PM

    Objectivist Jerky, cf. John Scalzi.

  8. Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.8:06 PM

    Humor, like reality, has a liberal/statist bias.

  9. Meanwhile, the commenter who wrote that is furiously masturbating to the thought of poor people struggling to keep down slop.

  10. ColBatGuano8:41 PM

    It's going to be hard to bring your case to court if you've died of cancer, but that's the plaintiffs problem, not libertarians or the industrial polluters they love so much.

  11. if it were up to me, SNAP would only purchase some sort of horrid nutritional gruel," etc.

    Fuck, this dude wants the poor to eat the pureed leavings of their "social betters".

  12. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person8:42 PM

    Have to cut Heston's last line, in the interest of truth-in-cinema...

  13. montag28:46 PM

    One has to admit that libertarians are funny, I mean laugh-out-loud buffoonery at its best, like the Spike Jones orchestra wrapped up in Prof. Irwin Corey's faux intellectualism.

    What's particularly funny about this is that the NYT article was received by all and sundry reputed libertarians as "hooray! hooray! callou! callay! Somebody noticed us!," and never once realized that this may well be their Warhol-approved fifteen minutes of fame, followed by several millennia of obscurity punctuated by society's occasional laughter.

  14. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person8:47 PM

    I hold no brief for the Cap'n, and I think a black Dr is long overdue, but I find the rest hard to argue with...

  15. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person8:56 PM

    I just mean to point out that rejecting the conventional wisdom on
    virtually (do I really need this adverb?) every political question,
    current and historical, can be wearying.

    Maybe I can help you here. If you disagree with the entire fucking world, the entire fucking world (I'll slow down) is. not. the. one. with. a. problem. . .

  16. The poor suffer enough without having to eat toxic stodge.

    It's almost Puritanical, innit? This hatred of the idea that the undeserving will have some little kernel of pleasure somewhere in their lives. I bet this bunghole lurks around soup kitchens, snarling and fulminating because the food smells like something he'd want to eat.

  17. ckc (not kc)9:04 PM

    But for a libertarian, disagreement with most people is not an option — we can't help it.

    DSM-6 is your best hope

  18. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person9:07 PM

    They would have a Libertarian National Anthem, but they can't decide whether to use Money, It's Money That Matters or even which version...

  19. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person9:07 PM

    I can never get past the Peirce Limit with any of these dweebs.

  20. Oh you don't have the money for an attorney? Tough shit, moocher!

  21. "If you grasp that an inference logically follows from factual premises
    and self-evident axioms, can you really elect to disbelieve it?"

    The problem is that their "factual" premises are based on distorted facts if not outright lies, and their self-evident axioms are childish "insights" ("A is A" is pretty much kindergarten stuff). It's easy to elect to disbelieve patently obvious bullshit.

  22. montag29:13 PM

    And Texas surely is the national laboratory for bad government. Its "tort reform" for medical malpractice was a jewel in the conservative crown. After convincing its low-information citizens that all the steps taken would reduce medical malpractice costs, and after convincing them that a constitutional amendment was necessary, which Texans then passed by referendum, the primary provider of malpractice insurance in the state raised rates by 19%.

    The end result? It's virtually impossible to sue for medical malpractice in the state. No reasonable lawyer will take on a case because the cost to prepare for trial exceeds the possible return because of the cap on damages, which was precisely the point of the cap. So, Texans happily screwed themselves for a wholly imaginary promise of reduced health care insurance costs. To make it even more absurd, during the campaign to screw themselves, the Trial Lawyers Association surveyed the insurers and found that medical malpractice awards and settlements represented, historically, only 2% of their operating expenses. Poorly performing investments and demands for higher returns from their major investors were much more likely to affect their rates.

  23. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person9:14 PM

    I've been letting X equal X for years now, and the Enlightenment still hasn't come...

  24. marindenver9:14 PM

    Megan McBlarghhle thinks WalMart should take over our health care because they have such a great track record of caring about the little people. And what the hayell is the Wash Monthly doing publishing her droppings? She didn't have a single substantive thing to say about health care or anything else.

  25. If you grasp that my lazy philosophy major wankspeech is really impressive, you won't notice that I'm full of shit.

  26. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person9:16 PM

    Remenant Stew!

  27. They could use The Flying Lizards' cover of The Beatles' Money to show they're pro-chicks n' stuff.

  28. One look at the kind of meat by-products served by public schools and prisons, and it's clear that the poor are already forced to eat toxic stodge.

  29. I was hoping that they'd make Shane MacGowan the new Dr Who.

  30. She's welcome to plop down $40 when they start providing in-store office visits. Or she can get a job there and only pay $4.

  31. montag29:21 PM

    Oh, I'm sure that WalMart, in its infinite corporate wisdom, can convince doctors to work for seventy-five cents over minimum wage, especially if it makes the Waltons an extra few billion a year.

    MeMeMeMeMeMeMeMeMeMegan is shilling for WalMart? Once again, I remain steadfastly unsurprised.

  32. "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit."

    -attributed to W.C. Fields

  33. It's not easy being a libertarian. I am not looking for sympathy when I say that.

    Do you have any idea how hard it is to be smarter than everyone? It's a terrible burden, I'll have you know. There are so many things you don't understand about the way we superior beings have to live. Every day, I have to stamp out any residual empathy I might have for people who have different philosophies, lifestyles and/or personal circumstances. If I forget to do this, I start to see things from other people's perspectives, and it's such a waste of my time. I'm smarter than everyone - I don't need to know about anyone's life to tell them what to do.

    Do you know what I go through? All I do is tell people that they're wrong about everything and they deserve and they get made at me. Sometimes, they curse. Seriously! And on occasion, some wiseass in a comment section mocks the way I write. Do you have any how much that hurts me? These torments are far worse than ending up on the street because I couldn't pay my rent (That's never actually happened to me, but I'm smart enough to imagine what it's like and how I'd use my superior brain to fix it).

    But it's worth it, no matter how much people may ignore my brilliant advice. I still know that I'm smarter than they are. And when I look in the mirror in the morning and see my best and only friend looking back at me, I know that I'm doing the right thing. It's not easy being superior, but I can't help it. It's the libertarian way, and it's my way.

  34. A doctor’s visit at one of its primary-care clinics costs just $40, in cash — the only insurance they take is their corporate health plan and Medicare.

    McArdle does realize that the doctor's visit isn't the expensive part, right? There's a reason why shitty insurance always makes a point of paying for that part.

    That's as far as I got. Well, that and another self-aware "joke" about being of above-average height (damn it Megan, being tall is not that interesting).

  35. Happiness incentivizes laziness, you know.

  36. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person9:31 PM

    By the way, if you think the libertarian cartoons we used in the column were wacky, you should see this

    Ho Lee Shit. Looks like the portfolio of a proud art school flunkout...

  37. BigHank539:34 PM

    Even in relatively straightforward cases dragging your feet has many rewards. Exxon took twenty freakin' years to pay out everything they owed for the Exxon Valdez disaster, and through their repeated begging at the feet of the courts they managed to reduce what they owed by at least four billion dollars.

  38. synykyl9:36 PM

    The only thing "self-evident" is that libertarians are full of crap. Their observations are crap, their inferences are crap, their logic is crap. On top of that, most of them are less likable than ebola.

  39. montag29:40 PM

    And they still haven't paid the fine as later imposed. So they continue to use the legal process to fuck the victims, even after the New, Improved, Conservative Supreme Court did them a favor.

  40. mortimer20009:43 PM

    I just opened a new diner down the street from the Cato Institute. As you can see, I refuse to serve certain people, but I figure they'll be down with it just like they are with the anti-gay bakers and florists, because liberty. Besides, can anyone think of a tiny minority group more deserving of being oppressed?

  41. montag29:45 PM

    I used to think that the Scientologists were the frontrunners in the lack of humor derby, but, libertarians aren't just humorless, they seem to be proponents of anti-humor.

  42. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person9:49 PM

    Or how to fucking draw. I can't draw worth a shit, but if I felt I really needed to draw political 'toons, I'd have to knuckle down and come up with some sort of minimalist "style" that I could use, call it good, and work on my message. If my humor hit the mark, readers could either ignore my silly-but-not-stupid-looking "style" or declare it the cutting edge of a new wave, or some shit. This guy has double-whammied his own ass by writing borderline incomprehensible, childish text coming out of the mouths of characters that look like a failed junior high art project.

    Update I went back, this time with scripts enabled, and I think I nailed it with "Junior high":

    Be forewarned, time has been known to quicken in this realm.


  43. TGuerrant9:56 PM

    I want to spend Christmas eve in the drunk tank with that comment.

  44. Coincidentally, I just opened a burger joint down the street from Cato. I serve burgers laden with E. coli and Listeria... you can really taste the freedom... both ways!

  45. TGuerrant10:02 PM

    And while they withheld what they owed, they earned profits with it.

  46. While I just opened a libertarian comic book store that only sells libertarians comic books. To libertarians.

  47. TGuerrant10:04 PM

    Good observation! I did indeed have to pause and read back at least three times to figure out whether the quotation mark that had just jumped in my way was opening or closing a quote.

  48. BigHank5310:09 PM

    A particularly black piece of entertainment from the Wikipedia article: Morgan Stanley created the first-ever credit default swap in 1994 to cover the $5 billion fine that Exxon wound up not paying. There is no bottom to the barrel.

  49. BigHank5310:12 PM

    I hear the test footage actually went over really well until Shane MacGowan smiled, and then all the test audiences started wondering why The Walking Dead was having a space-based spinoff.

  50. Well, in fairness, the Abrams Stars Trek ARE pretty dire.

  51. Tiny Hermaphrodite, Esq.10:18 PM

    Why not throw in a sex change, too. Best of all would of course be a transsexual Idris Elba.

  52. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person10:32 PM

    That Ben Garrison (who at least can draw a bit, but keerist, can you give us an Obama caricature that looks somewhat like him? Gotta get those ears in there, even in a football helmet. Crikey. And what's with that chin?!) seems an odd sort of Glibertarian. He's a Birfer, a Benghaziac, an Obamacarophobe, a Cool Earther, a Fastandfurioso, and...I don't get the NDAA bit. Unless Glibs are just against having a military now? I mean, we get one of these every year. Well, fuck, I'll just get more gray hairs trying to understand these people. But is this the new Libertarian thing, getting behind every anti-Obama conspiracy from the Great Climate Change hoax on down? Granted, I don't pay that much attention to these guys (and gals. McHi, McMegan!), but I didn't think they'd walked off the deep end of that pool too...

  53. I hope you've got nose-plugs. That's bound to be a wretched hive of scum and catpiss men.

  54. Tehanu10:33 PM

    What's wrong with the Beatles' "Taxman"?

  55. DocAmazing10:35 PM

    Just lately, everybody's a Libertarian, and actually being in favor of a less-intrusive government isn't a requirement for the use of the name.

  56. montag210:35 PM

    They seem to be working rather strenuously to disbelieve climate science. And even when they're grudgingly admitting that climate change might be occurring, they're strenuously avoiding admitting that it might be anthropogenic. Or, if they've processed that information according to their "factual premises and self-evident axioms," they're firmly in the camp of "nothing needs to be done about it."

    So, I'd say they're more inclined to disbelief in the face of evidence than most people. Which is not exactly a surprise, given all the other loopy notions libertarians embrace.

  57. Tehanu10:38 PM

    I have personal experience with this mindset in the form of, well, I'll just say, a family member who believes that being the sole proponent of ANY idea or issue is the only moral stance. If everyone else -- or heck, anyone else -- believes it, that automatically makes it suspect. Sigh.

  58. Code Name Cain10:41 PM

    It should be wearying to think the Civil War was not about slavery, economies function best on the gold standard and that Hayek, Rothbard and Rand were intellectual giants. But it's not strictly because these are minority opinions, it's because they are ludicrously wrong.

  59. Tehanu10:42 PM

    The Endorkenment, on the other hand, seems to be coming along just fine. And no, that is not misspelled.

  60. Tehanu10:51 PM

    My favorite bit: "Against Crony Capitalism
    said libertarianism is "respectful of the individual and encourages
    win/win solutions... Don't
    poop where you eat."

    They left out the next obvious sentence: "And no evil gubmint can keep you from pooping where other people eat!"

  61. montag210:52 PM

    "Be forewarned, time has been known to quicken in this realm."

    By definition, this is a person who has absolutely no understanding of relativity. Otherwise, he'd know that he was just describing a place where all motion, relative to the rest of us, had come to a halt.

  62. Code Name Cain10:54 PM

    Here's perhaps my favorite example of the childishness at the heart of the libertarian worldview. Triple H actually explicitly advises you behave like a child when asking questions of Paul Krugman:

  63. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person11:06 PM

    "If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars
    in cash, I don't care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him"

    This should have the Open Carryout crowd looking up the number of the Ajax Liquor Store...

  64. AGoodQuestion11:08 PM

    Imagine, conservatives and libertarians coming together against Obama!
    God, if libertarians and conservatives are going to start orgasming together I hope Obama has the sense to get far away.

  65. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person11:08 PM

    It isn't just the lack of humor. This guy wants to be a political cartoonist, and utterly fails artistically and textually. It's both incomprehensible, and ugly.

  66. "...what is truly radical about Senator Paul is not his
    philosophy per se but his relatively modest conception of what
    government can and should be." Just like conservatives, in other words,
    but intellectual-like, not merely about "experiencing sensation".

    Listen up, Brothers in Liberty... would you rather experience the soul-wasting of so-called "Happiness", or the true purity of righteous suffering? WHO'S WITH ME!?!?

  67. Spaghetti Lee11:10 PM

    So, Ditko and Miller?

  68. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person11:13 PM

    they're firmly in the camp of "nothing needs to be done about it."

    Secretly rooting for the True Libertarian Paradise that will emerge from the ashes. In Antarctica. Which will be small enough that a dedicated team of Libertarian leaders can take control. Not that they believe in control, mind you, but dang it, somebody's gonna have to...

  69. Spaghetti Lee11:13 PM

    And America was asking for it anyway. Did you see how it was dressed?

  70. That was the moment when I realized the Fab Four had sold out.


  72. mgmonklewis11:18 PM

    Statism. It's the styrofoam packing peanuts of every whiny libertarian argument.

  73. mgmonklewis11:20 PM

    I would like to Go Galt with this comment. And then shiv it in the back and push it overboard as we motored to Galt Island, because no one is worthy of Galt Island except me.

  74. AGoodQuestion11:21 PM

    Soylent Greed is people, but not sheeple.

  75. mgmonklewis11:22 PM

    That would be awesome. The robotic nature of the Flying Lizards song would capture libertarianism in a nutshell. (Runner up: "Money Money Money" by ABBA, because associating libertarians with Swedish ABBA would make them irate.)

  76. AGoodQuestion11:22 PM

    also, if it were up to me, jj abrams would have nothing to do with the star trek franchise and let me tell you why...
    Something about his casting a sissy boy Spock, I'm guessing.

  77. " And MRA advocate Karen Straughan has been appearing at libertarian events
    to spread the good news about men's rights ("Among those of us who talk
    about these issues, it's called 'taking the red pill'")."

    Cialis is red? Who knew...

  78. mgmonklewis11:28 PM

    Upvoted for "callou! callay!" Verily, I chortled in my joy.

  79. AGoodQuestion11:29 PM

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure that in this Libertarian Paradise they're trying to promote, the only people who could sue are corporations - who are people, my friend! - wishing to unleash a copyright infringement suit on some schlub with no legal funds to defend himself. I mean, plebes suing because of smog and dead trees? How can he even say it with a straight face?

  80. Spaghetti Lee11:30 PM

    Can't Help But Be a Libertarian. Elvis' rough draft of Can't Help Falling in Love.

    Richman, as usual, is pussyfooting around his own conclusion: I've seen that sort of argument trotted out by extremist assholes across the political spectrum. It's not me, it's my axioms. I don't want to hate you, but my principles require me to. They act all noble about it, but in my opinion it's usually an outlet for the sadistic tendencies they already had: when you don't have to take responsibility for treating people like shit, it's much easier.

    I mean, I agree with "don't refuse to believe facts because you don't want to" and "Going against conventional wisdom all the time is a pain in the ass" as far as they go. It's just kind of amazing to me that a guy who's in theory promoting his worldview makes it sound so joyless and dehumanizing. The 'party of freedom' has more rules and restrictions on how to live your life than John Calvin.

  81. Spaghetti Lee11:31 PM

    What is it that today's Dagny Taggarts and Hank Reardens are complaining about?

    That they're not getting their cut.

  82. Jaime Oria11:45 PM

    A first glance at your comment had me read it as "Richman, as usual, is pussyfooting around his own concussion-" Can't say that doesn't also work.

  83. AGoodQuestion11:45 PM

    Ditko, Miller, and maybe Paul Pope would be the top of the food chain. (Not sure about Pope, but he did a dodgy Elseworlds Batman story set in Nazi Germany that stopped dead for a page of libertarian pontifficating.)

    Lower down would be the makers of the Chuck Norris kommando comic.

  84. Spaghetti Lee11:49 PM

    Man, shit's fucked up when Murray and Cato look like the good guys.

    I don't know how I feel about a national minimum income as economic policy. Contrary to popular libertarian belief, most people on welfare are not there because they're perfectly capable of finding and holding a job but simply don't want to. It's for people who can't work because of some physical or mental ailment, or for people who are on the shit end of "1 open job for every 4 jobseekers" and the people who want to keep the checks coming recognize that crowing "get a job, loser" is not actually a solution to that problem. For the former group, if they exist, they just hate work and likely wouldn't shift themselves just because it's "income" instead of "welfare". For the latter, the issue isn't the jobs on offer, it's that they can't work, and a guaranteed income wouldn't help them either.

    But you know, it's a good day when libertarians are actually proposing policy solutions (assuming Murray and co. are being sincere/aren't hiding some poison pill in the fine print), and an even better, rarer day when they seem be doing it out of an empathetic impulse: how can we minimize human suffering while still fighting for what we believe in. In a sane world, more libertarians would be like that, because in a sane world, your political principles are something you start with, not something you end with everyone else accepting. I get that people like to stay true to their own moral values, but that's the thing: when the topic turns to public policy, it's no longer about "you." Turning a policy debate into a self-imposed test of will until the people actually trying to fix things give up and indulge you is very self-centered, and rather dickish.

    But you know what? It doesn't matter, because most libertarians these days are too deranged to distinguish between any of what I've mentioned. Take Mr. Dickensian Headmaster up there. Has he given this an ounce of thought beyond the sheer visceral pleasure of knowing that he's made someone else's life worse? Does he expect this to solve anything? Does he think it will make the poor shape up and fly right? Of course not. To people like him, life is a hamster cage and he's a kid with a sharp stick. People suffering materially isn't some unfortunate side-effect of a larger fiscal agenda, it's the whole damn point.

    It's not that libertarians disagree with me on how to fix society's problems. Why would I expect otherwise? It's that so many of them seem to have no interest at all in fixing those problems, they're just trying to make them even worse to feed some cackling sadistic void that exists where normal people have empathy and humanity.

  85. AGoodQuestion11:53 PM

    I did have to like the unintentional candor of his football cartoon. The word "tyranny" is imprinted on the football itself, meaning that if impeachment wins, tyranny remains very much in play.

  86. Spaghetti Lee11:54 PM

    I'm not even a Star Trek fan: everything I know about it I've picked up from allusive references in other media. I don't really have an emotional connection to the characters as such. But I even I was kind of dumbfounded when the most recent one showed Spock, the guy whose name is a synonym for logic and calm, chasing down Khan and punching him senseless.

  87. Take Mr. Dickensian Headmaster up there.

    You misspelled "Dickish". Stupid autocorrect!

  88. Spaghetti Lee12:01 AM

    I wonder if the fate of today's libertarians in the history books will be like all those 19-century reformers who built 'utopias' where there was no alcohol/sex/dancing/meat eating and then wonder why nobody came.

    Of course, even those had a couple of people willing to lead the whole thing. Our version just wants everyone else to do it for them.

  89. Punching him senseless was the logical thing to do.

  90. montag212:08 AM

    Richman and his ilk seem to be advocating a rather unappealing sort of sadomasochism, especially in the embrace of a set of policies that annoys most everyone else, and which seems to bring them no real pleasure, since they're almost never right on the principles.

  91. It was Christmas Eve, babe, in the Tardis.
    A Dalek said to me, "We must ex-term-in-ate."
    And they he shot a beam, some purplish death ray thing.
    I turned my face away, and dreamed about you.

  92. Those people at least had the decency to sequester themselves in communes. The libertarians always threaten to go Galt or move to seasteads, but the fuckers never have the guts to leave.

  93. Spaghetti Lee12:15 AM

    Those cartoons...yowza! When they weren't incomprehensible, they were utterly harmless. Not what their creator intended, I'm sure. The funniest part was the assumption that anyone who uses Silk Road would be in a 50% income tax bracket.

    The caveman one raised a good point, probably accidentally. If we were to actually regress back to that stage, the sheer amount of work necessary to keep one's ass from starving would be more 'oppressive' than anything the government's come up with. I bet a large majority of libertarians would say that living on one's own, away from society, is the freest way to live, and that same majority would politely decline if you offered them a one-way ticket to the Siberian taiga with nothing but a knife and a filtration system.

    "Other people" are not a burden on personal freedom. "Other people" are what make the freedom to do anything other than scrape out a bestial existence in the wilderness even possible.

  94. montag212:17 AM

    Oh, they'd be happy enough to be put in charge, but since democracy has obviously failed them, because the will of the people has been to ignore them, they'd want, instead, to be appointed by acclamation of their peers--other libertarians (something I would like to witness, because the debate beforehand would be hilarious).

    And, yeah, they do share quite a bit of baggage with other utopians. To the current crop of libertarians, everything is fixable with a simple prescription, which of course requires an over-simplification of every problem, an attitude which inevitably doomed every other utopian experiment. If one really believes that every societal ill can be cured through no taxation and no regulatory structure, one simply hasn't been paying attention to either history or current events.

  95. Spaghetti Lee12:27 AM

    It's moments like this that through the whole batshit logic chain into such sharp relief. Take that far enough, and the freest people on earth are dictators who have exercised their FREEDOM to CHOOSE to not provide anyone with food or money or jobs or police. He wakes up every morning, free as a bird, an inspiration to us all!

    But wait, say the libertarians: we're not dictators. We don't have the authority or the responsibility to provide those things, we just don't want to be a part of it! Ah, but therein lies the rub: in a democracy, every citizen has their own small lot to cast in deciding how the ship of state is going to go. And collectively (heh) you all seem bent on casting it with the sort of people who would do just that, if you don't dream of becoming them yourselves.

  96. freq flag12:33 AM

    Well, since x does equal 4, then, yes.

  97. freq flag12:37 AM

    everything is fixable with a simple prescription, which of course requires an over-simplification of every problem

    Consider a spherical cow...

  98. freq flag12:49 AM

    Pay no attention to that water-soaked paperback copy of Lord of the Flies that just floated past.

  99. montag212:56 AM

    Yes, exactly, except in the libertarian notion of market efficiencies, I suspect they would assume a cubic cow.

  100. coozledad1:17 AM

    There's always Dixie.

  101. badJim1:55 AM

    Non! L'enfer, c'est les autres!

  102. montag21:58 AM

    That's pretty much the case right now. The entire tort reform argument hinges on the lie that civil torts by individuals for damages are clogging up the court system. I think it was the ABA that found that 60% of court cases are corporations suing other corporations.

    This whole attempt to disenfranchise individuals of their right to sue is even more bizarre, considering that right of civil suit is constitutionally defined, and we all know with what reverence conservatives and libertarians have for that document....

  103. MichaelNewsham1:58 AM

    "If you grasp that an inference logically follows from factual
    premises and self-evident axioms, can you really elect to
    disbelieve it? I don't see how. If you look outside and see it is
    raining, are you free to decide whether to believe it is raining?
    Not really."

    Said every Marxist and/or Catholic ever.

  104. Spaghetti Lee2:13 AM

    I like how he specifies that it has to taste awful. Otherwise they just won't suffer enough. This is libertarian-land, so someone will surely one-up him by saying that warm porridge served in a bowl is too good for these vermin. Giant sacks of millet, and they have to eat it off the floor on all fours! Oh yessssss....

  105. Let the poor eat Pop-Tarts.

  106. MichaelNewsham2:18 AM

    "Some local yokel member of the nra
    Kept a bazooka in his living room
    And thinking he had the chief in his sight
    Blew the whale’s brains out with a lead harpoon

    Last great american whale
    Last great american whale
    Last great american whale
    Last great american whale

    Well americans don’t care for much of anything
    Land and water the least
    And animal life is low on the totem pole
    With human life not worth more than infected yeast

    Americans don’t care too much for beauty
    They’ll shit in a river, dump battery acid in a stream
    They’ll watch dead rats wash up on the beach
    And complain if they can’t swim"

  107. Spaghetti Lee4:05 AM

    Just thought I'd point out that Thomas Knapp's blog is called 'Knappster.' Seems relevant re: the libertarians' eternal quest for coolness. I hope he refers to himself as that, in the third person, in everyday life. "Man, The Knappster just cannot deal with this parking ticket right now."

  108. Wait, this is a real place?

  109. Look, people say they want health care, there's some health care. If they people have health issues that can't be resolved during a 10 minute doctor's visit, that's their problem.

    As an aside, it strikes me as more than a bit hinky that a chain with a pharmacy will also now provide a service during which prescriptions are frequently written.

    (The corporate health plan thing is several rungs up the fucked up ladder.)

  110. Or Ends, by Everlast. Or perhaps even What It's Like. I can see a gibbertarian missing the point by a mile.

  111. Pope Zebbidie XIII6:56 AM

    You didn't mention being twittered to a rhetorical pulp.

  112. Pope Zebbidie XIII6:57 AM

    Because of our natural ability to appreciate the big picture of how this little hole in the levee bank will be a tide that lifts all boats.

  113. Pope Zebbidie XIII6:59 AM

    Be fair. For a moment there, they thought they might have to actually take a job at some point in the future.

  114. Pope Zebbidie XIII7:17 AM

    If you think the union movement is dead, try and cut the wages of medical professionals.

  115. From Patrick Bateman's 90s-style Usenet newsgroup?

  116. Pope Zebbidie XIII7:21 AM

    One expects to see another calling themselves LimeWire.

  117. I think the next step is defamation suits filed against people who give bad reviews.

    It has happened on a small scale in Virginia (independent contractor v. a woman who gave a bad review on Yelp! and no I don't know the outcome). I'm sure it is just a matter of buying the laws that will allow them to issue subpoenas via social media and review sites.

  118. Pope Zebbidie XIII7:25 AM

    Sky TV

  119. dmsilev7:26 AM

    Clearly, the proper course of action is to start agreeing with this person. Make them do some work and find _new_ fringe beliefs.

  120. "How can putting germs into somebody's body keep them from getting sick? If that were true, wouldn't there be no sick people in the world? I mean, every medical clinic in the world is capable of injecting germs into people--most people in the world live in a swamp of germs--so why are there still sick people in the world?"

    These people are not only assholes, they are dangerously stupid. Yeah?

  121. Although they won't admit it, libertarians would be perfectly happy staying in the Matrix--it's the only "place" their delusions can seem real, with a world-spanning computer taking care of wiping their asses and such.

  122. Freedom's just another word for "I disagree."

  123. How do you "" when the other person simply cronily ignores you? I mean--what does that look like, in reality? "Hey, you, cronycapitalist guy, stop being so cronelicious?"

  124. A One Act Play:

    Patient: Doctor, I think I have something wrong with me.
    WalMart Doctor [shakes head sadly] "Looks like colon cancer to me. That will be 40 dollars plus the cost of the tests. Unless you have Walmart Insurance or Medicare. We don't accept Obamcare or Medicaid here because: government."
    Patient: ????


  125. Possibly masturbating into gruel.

  126. redoubtagain8:20 AM

    "Explain to me how increase in paper pieces can possibly make a society richer. . ."

    Explain to me how increase in pieces of golden metal can possibly not increase inflation. Because Spain never figured it out in 200 years.

  127. redoubtagain8:27 AM

    "School days, school days, moldy bread and gruel days"

  128. BigHank538:41 AM

    Yelp's already got that covered--it turns out a business can make a negative review go away...for a price.

  129. BigHank538:45 AM

    I always wind up thinking of ABC's How to be a Millionaire when considering libertarian's money-worshiping utopia. Fer example:

    larger than life, and twice as ugly
    if we have to live there, you'll have to drug me

  130. satch8:46 AM

    If only the Shakers had had the NYTMagazine writing bright, shiny fluff about them, today we'd all be sitting on plain, uncomfortable furniture and not having sex.

  131. Derelict8:46 AM

    Wouldn't you rather experience the "Happiness" of the true purity of acting righteous while inflicting suffering on the powerless? WHO'S WITH ME!?!?

    "I am!" shouted all the libertarians in unison!

  132. Derelict8:49 AM

    But only ONE variety of Pop-Tart, which will be chosen for them by their libertarian overlord. Because nothing maximizes freedom like having someone else's will imposed on you.

  133. satch8:51 AM

    "Old times there are not forgotten".



  134. Derelict8:55 AM

    Of course, they do manage to miss the point that it is the government that enforces contract law and verdicts of the court. But I suppose that, after you sue Exxon, you can just drive to the local Exxon station and fill up for free for life. The local franchise owner would be happy to help you collect your winnings at his own expense!

  135. satch9:03 AM

    And while you're at it, explain why it's OK for the Hated Gubmint(tm) to be the entity in charge of setting the price of gold.

  136. That's it. I'm off gruel, now. Happy?

  137. Derelict9:12 AM

    Google "Digger Indians" if you want to know what pure freedom was all about. I'll sit here on the couch while you do so.

  138. Well, it has been said that if X = 4, then one must accept that X = 4, and not X = the Aristocrats.

  139. mrstilton9:16 AM

    "We Are All Bourgeois Now" by McCarthy; perhaps the Manic Street Preachers cover, to maximize cross-over appeal to the Jesus Freak wing of conservatism.

  140. mrstilton9:24 AM

    That's not water.

  141. BigHank539:24 AM

    Sooner or later in every argument with a libertarian they get around to saying If everyone just agrees to follow the rules or something equivalent, which is the point where you can start cackling. If one of your a priori assumptions is a populace that won't cheat, you can make any econokic system work. Maoism. Marxism. Anarcho-capitalism. Unfortunately, humans are nasty little cheating monkeys, as fifteen seconds of reflection on literature, history, or even popular TV could tell you.

    Libertarians are not big on reflection.

  142. Halloween_Jack9:35 AM

    "The Knappster don't play that!"

  143. BigHank539:40 AM

    Could I interest you in some Rand Paul Certified* Free-Range Organic Gruel?

    *Legal disclaimer: The statement "Rand Paul Certified" shall not be construed to mean anything other than that Rand Paul has a certificate issued by a third party whose identity he is under no obligation to disclose. It is a large and impressive certificate with gold print and several signatures. This certificate may or may not have anything whatsoever to do with food items, their sale, or the traceability of ingredients therein, and Rand Paul hereby disavows any and all liability for injury, illness, or death caused by the consumption of Rand Paul Certified Free-Range Organic Gruel. The terms "Free-Range" and "Organic" are descriptive terms only and cannot be considered legally binding in any sense. Persons wishing to to dispute this binding agreement are welcome to contact the office of our arbitration service. On Neptune.

  144. Atrios9:41 AM

    The libertarian view is basically "everybody has the freedom to make the choice to become a law professor at a public university who dreams of robot sex"

  145. gocart mozart9:50 AM

    They one up the NRA with MANDATORY open carry in their MANDATORY "Patriot Agreement" which is all about metallic penis extensions.

    Eight: All Patriots, who are of age and are not legally
    restricted from bearing firearms, shall agree to remain armed with a
    loaded sidearm whenever visiting the Citadel Town Center. Firearm shall
    be on-the-person and under the control of the Resident, not merely
    stored in a vehicle.

    Or else!

    Twelve: Violations of this Agreement will result in review by an
    arbitration panel consisting of Citadel Residents with appropriate and
    proportional disciplinary action taken. The most severe disciplinary
    action may include the loss of Lease and expulsion from the community.

  146. Halloween_Jack9:50 AM

    Definitely Peter Bagge, although most of his comics don't really fall into that category. (I think he's done a collection of his Reason strips, and he will sometimes slip something into the Hate Annual, although that may be simply to take the piss--he put an essay in one that defended archasshole Mike Love of the Beach Boys and disparaged Brian Wilson's genius, if you can imagine that.) Chuck Dixon, recently of WSJ opinion page infamy, although again most of his comics work is Batman hackery, and he qualifies more as a straight-up wingnut. Bighead Press, but they don't have much traction. Scott Adams and Chester Brown are libertarians, but it's not in their work that much (except for Brown's relatively recent Paying For It, a chronicle of his patronage of sex workers).

  147. synykyl9:50 AM

    You mean we're not all doing that already?

  148. Derelict9:52 AM

    Well, you're free to take the crony capitalist to court because something . . . something. And then, after you discover that the crony capitalist has taken the freedom-and-capitalist solution of bribing the judge with sums of money you can't match, you're free to get down on your knees and pray to Ayn Rand.

    Or you can just use your super-genius libertarian smarts to invent Reardon Metal.

  149. To reach that conclusion you have to be one of the following:
    1. As innocent as a newborn lamb.
    2. Completely ignorant of all recorded history.
    3. Really mean - "Everyone else will follow the rules, while I run around gouging the suckers because freedoom!"

  150. Derelict10:12 AM

    "And The Knappster can't understand why they don't clean the streets! Some capitalist should clean the streets! Provided I can park wherever and whenever I want!"

  151. Derelict10:14 AM

    It's not that they have no sense of humor. It's just that the things they laugh at are not funny. Especially since so much of libertarian "humor" is essentially sadism ("Ha-ha! Poor people forced to eat gruel! Hahahahaha!")

  152. Derelict10:15 AM

    Imagine, conservatives and libertarians coming together against Obama.

    And that would be different from the current situation how, exactly?

  153. BigHank5310:18 AM

    What could possibly go wrong?

  154. gocart mozart10:32 AM

    Man goes to the doctor. The doctor says "I have bad news, you have cancer and unfortunately, your Wallmart insurance doesn't cover chemo." Man says "OMG, what can I do?" Doctor says "Well, some of your vital organs are still healthy and you would've been able to get top dollar for them on the free market but sadly, the statists won't allow it."
    (Rimshot!) I'll be here all night, try the steak and remember, don't tip your waitress because the glorious free-market has determined that her labor is only worth minimum wage.

  155. Duncan10:33 AM

    But wait. Traditionalist Christians have been claiming, not entirely inaccurately, that they *are* a minority. So, on this logic, or whatever it is, it should be okay to oppress them. What am I missing here?

  156. Ellis_Weiner10:52 AM

    So, on the one hand, they decline to moralize, or to endorse the state asserting moral values, and believe that unfettered personal choice in the marketplace of ideas (and commodities) will lead to the fairest, most intellectually defensible society.

    On the other, they offer gruel, because mooching is immoral, and freeloaders deserve to suffer.

    And *this* is the movement that dislocates its shoulder patting itself on the back for its intellectual consistency? Got it.

  157. sharculese10:52 AM

    Insisting that you guys will totally find McMegan has something useful to say if you'd just give her a chance is one of Ten Miles Square's hallmarks.

  158. Matt Jones10:58 AM

    Y'know, it's funny: for a bunch of dudes who worship the market and think it can't make an incorrect decision, libertarians are remarkably unable to notice that their philosophy has been roundly rejected by the marketplace of ideas.

  159. mortimer200011:02 AM

    The diner is real, the NO GOOPERS, TEABAGGERS, & RANDIANS sticker isn't. Even the amateur Photoshop skills of snarky cretins like myself have made photography something you can never trust again.

  160. RogerAiles11:19 AM

    So much so he named his "robot" Steely Rand.

  161. RogerAiles11:24 AM

    All that's missing is a coach labeled "Libertarian," using Jerry Sandusky as the model.

  162. Ellis_Weiner11:32 AM

    I yield to no one in derisive contempt for Ayn Rand, but she did say one true, witty thing when she called libertarians "hippies of the right."

  163. mgmonklewis11:33 AM

    I've seen the future. I can't afford it.

  164. Yeah! Courts are funded by taxes (although I'm sure gibertarians want to go all arbitration, all the time even for criminal matters).

    Therefore if some little brain is going to make the court waste time it should be spending on finding EOE, EPA, FDA, USDA, DOL, HHS, OSHA regulations are unconstitutional, then they should have to pay a small fine to each poor, put-upon Tax Payer they've harmed.

  165. Ellis_Weiner11:39 AM

    I.e., say "I know you are--and so am I!" until further notice.

  166. OtherJimDonahue11:40 AM

    When former MTV VJ Kennedy is one of the biggest ambassadors for your ideology, you have a problem.

  167. dmsilev11:44 AM

    "The following represents a voluntary set of conditions to which every single Patriot who accepts a residence in the Citadel must agree, in writing."

    Do they not know the meaning of the word 'voluntary' or not know the meaning of the word 'must'? "Both" is of course also a possibility.

  168. Helmut Monotreme11:46 AM

    It's an unfairly regulated market dominated by established industries managed for their sole benefit. If we deregulated the marketplace of ideas and stopped unfairly measuring ideas against validity, reality feasibility and consequence, pure libertarian ideas would rise to the top and outdated ideas would sink under the weight of libertarian disdain.

  169. Ellis_Weiner11:47 AM

    "Pleeze egg-splain to me how, prior to the manufacture of peezes of paper by central banks, there is such a thing as an economic crisis at all. How can banks sell mortgages to peeple who cannot pay them? How can ratings services give good ratings to junk securities? And why does it matter if they do?"

  170. They would want to write it, not be in it.

  171. Derelict11:52 AM

    It used to be water. Now, it's just a way for Corporation X to dispose of its unwanted toxic waste.

  172. My libertarian friend is in that camp. "The Earth is self-healing." True enough, but problem is: scars. I don't think he's figured that out yet.

  173. Ellis_Weiner11:58 AM

    I read the whole Times piece and kept waiting to read a reference to an idea that would make me think, "Huh. Actually I can see how, given our current reality, that might actually work." In other words, I kept waiting to see a libertarian idea that wasn't simply another example of the simplistic-wishful thinking or sociopathic acting-out that I was expecting.

    And there weren't any. Like the person who, "deep down, is very superficial," the fringe, absolutist simplifications *were* the substance. The article could just as well have been "Is This The Flat-Earthers' Moment?" The rest was Rand Paul political hedging and John Gillespie I-Shock-Republicans-When-I-Smoke-Dope.

  174. "The Hospital meets Black Friday; hijinks ensue!"

  175. Ellis_Weiner12:07 PM

    Stop, you're killing me. Well, you're killing somebody. Well, somebody is killing somebody.

  176. I think it would be worth doing for two weeks just to see what happened. If it pisses off conservatives . . .

  177. Drone: Hellfire missle, 15 dead. Policeman: .Glock 9 mill, one dead. Obviously no difference.

  178. BigHank5312:29 PM

    You might point out to him that the Earth is under no obligation to keep things comfortable for hairless large-brained apes, and then ask him if he's seen any dinosaurs around recently.

  179. Lurking Canadian12:32 PM

    But this is TOTALLY different from having laws. Because FREEDOM.

    I've often wondered if it would shut them up if the US Code were just relabeled "Covenants of the Homeowners' Association of America".

  180. BigHank5312:35 PM

    When Kennedy, Nick Gillespie, and Rand Paul are the hottest representatives you can find, you are the problem.

  181. LookWhosInTheFreezer12:39 PM

    "I don't know. I feel like I need to think about it more," which, considering Hemingway is a hardline Catholic Lutheran, seems unlikely to lead to a conversion.

    Sez you. I'm pretty sure Hemingway's just practicing a more socially acceptable, Long-Game brand of Conversion Therapy:

    1.) Claim SSM causes harm and vote against it at every turn.

    When challenged to show/explain harm

    2.) Shuffle feet, mumble something about more time to think about it.

    3.) ???

    4.) Gay people finally give in and live as Jesus commanded*

    *Or we continue to treat them as sub-human and blame it on themselves and/or the Founders ™

  182. Lurking Canadian12:41 PM

    I think it would be fun if they outsourced the instructions to IKEA. Just imagine the cartoony-looking scalpel making the incision in the smiling stick figure.

  183. Lurking Canadian12:44 PM

    "minimum" wage? Die, statist scum!

  184. tigrismus1:22 PM

    I don't get how he thinks a death sentence for stealing 50$ is just, but believes corporate taxes are an outrageous punishment of corporations.

  185. StinkinBadger1:29 PM

    I was having this exact argument the other day with a libertarian who cited "a very well known court case in New York in which a farmer sued a paper mill and won not only damages, but shut the factory down for polluting his land." I naturally asked for the case name so I could research it myself and was given the link to a "LearnLiberty" video, which also simply said those words without a case name. After significant time invested on the googlemachine I am still unable to find this magical and well known case where a simple farmer easily sued a corporate polluter and won.

  186. Glock H. Palin, Esq.1:44 PM

    Consider a free market...

  187. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person2:05 PM

    Hey, I think Elba would make a great Doctor, straight, bent, or tied in a bow...

  188. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person2:38 PM

    Hmm. Cubical ones would stack better, but spherical ones are more portable. Decisions, decisions...

  189. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person3:07 PM

    I believe I've spelt it thusly myself...:)

  190. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person3:17 PM

    And wishing he had someone to feed it to. God, I hope he doesn't have pets...

  191. synykyl3:24 PM

    If Khan was a libertarian that would indeed be most logical.

  192. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person4:57 PM

    You say that like it's a bad thing!

    Glib enough? I can't really tell...

  193. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person5:01 PM

    4.) Gay people finally give in and live as Jesus commanded*

    When asked to show where JC actually commanded this,

    5) Eyeroll, wave dismissively, while deparately searching from the corner of your eye for another party guest to talk at.

  194. StringOnAStick5:52 PM

    I listened a little harder, and damn, there is a dog whistle in there after all!

  195. StringOnAStick6:01 PM

    The whole national minimum income idea is just some more candy to toss at the "vote for Rand, because weeeeeeeeeddddd!" demographic. However, I'm fairly sure their numbers are smaller than the Libertoons realize, mainly because being pro-legalization is not the exclusive territory of selfish libertarian assholes (their own experience notwithstanding). I also have no doubt it would be a whole lot less than what the poor currently get, but it would be enough to keep Matt Kibbe in fine bud each month.

  196. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person6:43 PM

    I admit I'm wondering if he had to backtrack and add "nutritional"...

  197. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person6:48 PM

    Snahe McWho? Googlegooglegoogle...Heh. Yeah, he's about due for a regeneration, ain't he...

  198. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person6:49 PM

    Confinement Loaf!

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