Losing it
Posted by aogMonday, 07 April 2003 at 08:56 TrackBack Ping URL
It's sad to see a number of libertarian writers I've liked lose it over Iraq. The latest example is Wendy McElroy. As far as I can tell from her previous writings she is a hard core libertarian, but in a recent screed she says, concerning photos of caputured American soldiers, “[...] stoking accusations that private firms are censoring free speech” [emphasis added]. It's a tenet of libertarian thought that private entities can not censor — only a government can do that. Definitionally, if a private entity makes a choice to not disuss / publish / broadcast something, that's just a private decision. This may seem like a minor point to non-libertoids but it's a big deal for those who take liberatarians seriously (yes, I know, all three of us care deeply 8-)). Yet here is McElroy, throwing away that principle just to indulge in what is basically conspiracy mongering against the invasion of Iraq. Very disappointing.

UPDATE: It's worse than I thought. She's using Radio Havana as an alternative news source and fawningly citing Robert Fisk in Arab News. Radio Havana says

Although the invasion of Iraq is being fought under the name ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom,’ it has constricted the range of expression sanctioned by media outlets within the U.S. Starting before the war began, several national and local media figures have had their work jeopardized, either explicitly or implicitly because of the critical views they expressed on the war
This while Cuba is rounding up dissidents and giving them life sentences.
Comments — Formatting by Textile
pj Monday, 07 April 2003 at 23:10

I gave up and switched my party registration from Libertarian to Republican 3 years ago. I dropped my Reason magazine subscription soon after Nick Gillespie became editor and the mag became unmoored from reality (I don’t know what Virginia Postrel sees in him).

I think American politics has re-aligned itself, with the Republican party becoming a genuine party of liberty (as the Richard Nixon - George HW Bush “We are all Keynesians now” generation retired) and the Democrats becoming an illiberal party (notice how they never call themselves liberals anymore — they have no affection for the liberal tradition). The Republican embrace of libertarian ideas has left Libertarian Party members with nothing to contribute to the debate. They have reacted like brats.

The killing moment for me was one the Libertarian candidate for US Senate in Massachusetts challenged the Republican candidates petitions, trying to get him off the ballot so she could go up from 4% to 13% of the vote against Ted Kennedy. After all the years Libertarians worked so hard to get petition signatures and complained about the harsh ballot access standards, to try to push someone else off the ballot was extraordinarily rude.

All this coincided with my growing realization that the moral side of politics was important: you have to work together to get things accomplished. Libertarians seem to want to be perpetual rebels, always fighting. With that attitude, accomplishment is always going to be beyond their grasp.

End of Discussion