Sunday, April 1, 2012

P.J. O'Rourke on Libertarians

P.J. O'Rourke has penned an essay on the Koch brothers' attempt to take over the revered Cato Institute (which was founded with a lot of Koch brothers startup money, BTW.) 
The essay is good, but the best part is where he describes the thinking, behavior, and all-around hardheadedness of my chosen tribe:

And Cato couldn’t be involved in partisan politics. Everyone there is a libertarian. You might as well command your cat to bring you your pajamas as tell a bunch of libertarians to get on the same political platform. I know these people. Ron Paul is a bien-pensant by comparison. Cato scholars prize contentious thought. Get in a debate with one and you’ll find out he doesn’t even agree with himself.

This is why I'm generally opposed to some of the "Purity Tests" that some of my co-libs want to apply to guest speakers, candidates and policies.  Because there really isn't a policy that will perfectly reflect what Milton Friedman said on page 309 and what Henry Hazlitt really meant on page 106 and the content of that Hayek speech from 1946, AND that plank in the party platform that we put in place just to end the freakin' meeting .  Sometimes, the Best really can be the enemy of the Good Enough For Now. 
Here's some more P.J.

More to the point, the Koch brothers will lose the think tank’s impressive roster of thinkers and scholars. I haven’t polled them as to who would stay and who would go under a Koch regime. But, as I said, I know libertarians. If the Kochs win the pot, they’ll have to piss in it. It will be empty otherwise.

Meanwhile we neocons and paleocons and rank-and-file Republicans should understand how important Cato is. Libertarianism is of great worth even to those who consider Atlas Shrugged useful mainly as dead weight to keep the tarp on the above-ground pool from blowing away.

It can be said, with some justice, that libertarians apply only one measure to every issue. But what a sublime yardstick it is. Libertarians ask, about each thing they encounter in public life, “Does this promote the liberty, responsibility, and dignity of the individual?” Libertarianism can have political implications, but politics is, by definition, mass action. And libertarians don’t believe in the masses. They believe in the individuals huddled in those masses. A pure libertarian is opposed to politics down to the soles of his shoes (or, libertarians being libertarians, down to the bottom of his sandals worn with socks). Libertarianism is contra-political, an emetic dose to be given to politics. As we’ve seen lately, all politics needs one sometimes.

Precisely.  If it really matters who wins these upcoming elections, then our government is too big. 
Vote for the emetic.  Vote Libertarian !!!! 


Anonymous said...

My big problem with libertarianism is how it just always happens, by chance, accidentaly to be in favor what is important to the rich and powerful.

So I googled 'cato on global warming' and I am shocked, shocked to discover they are on the same side as the carbon club.

What a co-inkydink.

Invisible Backhand said...

I just went to and searched:

"eminent domain" = 431 hits

"keystone xl" = 629 hits

both = 3 hits, none of them about eminent domain and keystone xl

Actually, Cato seems to be FOR Keystone XL.

And Cato's concern for eminent domain seems to be FOR-GOTTEN.

Sam Duncan said...

Barack Obama and Al Gore are considerably richer and more powerful than any AGW-sceptic I've ever run into, Anon. And the Cato's budget is pocket change to the likes of Greenpeace.

Invisible Backhand said...

Wow, just feel the energy around here.

The Whited Sepulchre said...


The Whited Sepulchre said...

Please let me know how Libertarianism favors the rich and powerful.

For once, we are in agreement !

(Except on the level of excitement around here. This stuff is a hobby, not a job. And speaking of a lack of comments....)

Invisible Backhand said...

You're going all counter queen on me? I have the best 'exposing Russ Roberts and Don Boudreaux for all their Koch funded hypocrisy' blog in the world. You're the one trying to get voters and recruits. That libertarian tidal wave going to peak anytime soon?

P.S. When you fall asleep behind the wheel because that free market is making you drive 144 hours a week, try not to take any innocent lives out at the same time.