Yesterday, while doing some browsing in between craft sessions with the snolfs, I encountered a statement by someone I had been thinking fairly well of (I say “fairly well” because his writings have, of late, been focused on a specific person ... you know the one ... running for Grand Poobah Over Us All). His statement floored me.
It’s here, but because it’s short and comments can easily be memory-holed, I’ll post it in its entirety:
Anyone who claims they are against Ron Paul and are also "libertarian" are not libertarians.
Now, I know it may seem odd, that a place where at least two contributors have expressed dismay over the word’s dilution over the past few years is now taking umbrage at a statement such as the above. However weak it may seem to purists, though, the term “libertarian” retains a nontrivial amount of relevance. And as I wrote in my piece linked above, I am not entirely ready to jettison the term: to the degree that “libertarian” means for genuine freedom, it applies to me. But that’s a very minor part of what has me riled about that statement.
No single person defines an entire ideology. No individual can, after it’s been shared with just one other person, much less spread around the world. Ayn Rand tried, and we all know how well that went, even while she was alive and trying to rein in those unruly splitters who dared to do what she exhorted—to apply one’s own ability to reason—to her ideology. It is even more absurd to advocate the foregoing litmus test for being libertarian, when the ideology pre-existed the person. (And I’m not going to get into the quagmire of Mr. Potential Grand Poobah’s positions on various issues, because in a genuinely free society—one that’s been freed of the structure of the USSA’s current
ruling pestilent class—his positions would be no more or less important than any other individual’s who has consented to be part of the voluntary community.)
Let us not forget that Mr. Potential Grand Poobah isn’t even running for Head Pestilent under the libertarian banner this time.
I would like to think that the comment was written as many are: in the heat of the moment, when many don’t take care to think carefully about what he or she wants to communicate, much less take the time to choose the best words for conveying that idea. If so, I can overlook such a lapse—I’ve certainly lapsed and gaffed all over the ’net myself. But I don’t know how likely that is ... the fever pitch with which some approach their advocacy seems to leave little room for recognizing gross overstatement ... especially when it comes from themselves. Having one person—one human individual who has changed his mind and made mistakes, as each human does—asserted to be the sole measure of being for freedom is enormously repugnant to me.
[As a pre-emptive measure, in case some who read this want to try to persuade me of the error of my thinking, please read this first, then consider whether you want to invest some of your precious life to that task.]