Wednesday, 11 August 2021

The Thrill is Gone


For years (foolishly perhaps) I've been lurking on a blog that described itself as "Libertarian". It was fun whilst it lasted. Thanks, Professor Davidson.

It's gone. It persists only in archive. And this little blog survives, gentle reader. Darwin was spot on...

At the same time, a pandemic has killed six hundred and twenty-seven thousand in the Land of the Free. It's reasonable to conclude that the two situations (the deaths of over half a million Americans, and the demise of a "Libertarian" blog) are linked.

Libertarianism has always been a romantically destructive philosophy. It is associated these days with the American Right, but ironically has its origins in the later works of Marx and Engels (Ernesto Screpanti, Libertarian communism: Marx Engels and the Political Economy of Freedom, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2007).

Its ideological base has been co-opted by politicians such as Rand Paul and many Americans who admire the thought of writers like Ayn Rand. There is a depth of irony in this association, of course. You have only to read a few of Ayn Rand's quotes on  Libertarianism to understand that - 

Libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people: they plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose, and denounce me in a more vicious manner than any communist publication when that fits their purpose.

Libertarianism has always been impossibly romantic, espoused by dilettantes, and deemed fashionable by the shallow. It has always lacked substance and pragmatism, and of course, as a system of association and organisation, is entirely impossible. It is essentially the refuge of the intellectually lazy and the naive. God knows there's a few of those loose in the Land of the Free, and many of them post in the lunatic Right blogosphere.

That has been revealed so clearly by the consequence of the pandemic across the Pacific, and the wailing and gnashing of teeth caused by the attempted application of science to its management. The non-existent US health system has a lot to do with it, of course.

An even deeper irony holds when you consider that by most recognised criteria, The USA is not up there on international comparisons when it comes to actual Liberty.

The 2021 Index of Economic Freedom which promotes economic opportunity, individual empowerment, and prosperity puts the US at twentieth on the scale, well below countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Ireland. 

And I didn't use this post as an excuse to play some BB King. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, but the thrill of Glibertarianism has indeed gone...

 

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...