Libertarians: Hey look, it’s Haley’s comet!
How are libertarian lovers of liberty responding to the assault on democracy and the rule of law that took place in the Capitol Wednesday?
Over at Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen speaks out eloquently against Trump’s anti-democratic behavior. Just kidding! In a post entitled “That was then, this is now” Cowen reminds us about the terrorist attack on Congress by Puerto Rican nationalists in 1954. But there is no analogy between a terrorist attack by a politically powerless minority (as bad as that is) and a mob attempting to subvert American democracy at the behest of a sitting President who just lost an election. No analogy at all.
Cowen also has a post bemoaning the failure of the Capitol police to secure Congress, and a post quibbling over the correct definition of a “coup” and expressing surprise that some Capitol police officers seemed sympathetic to the protesters. I enjoy a good debate over proper English usage as much as the next guy, but . . . No mention of Trump? No mention of the Republicans who enable him? No mention of the role of Fox News? And being surprised by the behavior of the cops, what can I say? We saw the sympathy of the police for armed right wing vigilantes this summer.
There are important issues I agree with Cowen on (notably on covid – an issue on which he is not libertarian), but his inability (or unwillingness) to see or admit the seriousness of Trump’s assault on democracy – supported by so many elected Republicans – is baffling. Why, it’s almost like he is playing for Team Republican, to borrow a phrase from Brad DeLong.
Let’s head over to our reactionary, race-baiting liberty-loving friend Donald Boudreaux at cafehayek . . . Nada, just the usual anti-lockdown hysteria (“tyranny”, “deranged lockdowns”, blah blah blah). Oh, and he helpfully informs us that “Tamping down the current derangement is the most pressing challenge facing humanity today.” Uh-huh. Democracy? Whatever! We have some government-bashing to do . . .
I get a couple of feeds from econlib.org. Crickets. What about Hoover? A fun piece by David Henderson entitled Markets Work, Government Doesn’t (Hoover optimistically classifies this as “research”, I kid you not). There’s a broken link to a reasonable sounding commentary by James Mattis. A Fox News clip featuring the great libertarian John “torture memo” Yoo suggesting, in an even-handed way, that violent protesters should be arrested whether they are antifa or Trump supporters. Both sides do it! And a podcast by Sebastian Gorka that I won’t bother listening to.
Arnold Kling? Nah.
And libertarian friend of the blog Jason Brennan has a piece up which asks us to consider if the mob storming the Capitol would have been justified if the election had in fact been stolen. Naturally, there is no discussion of the risks that Trump and his followers and enablers pose to American democracy, or what steps we might take to preserve our democracy.
Cato has a couple of pieces up that treat the issue with seriousness. That’s it in my feeds.
So my question to libertarians: why should we believe that you care about democracy and the rule of law? Why shouldn’t we think that (most of) you are playing for Team Republican, and for the worst parts of that team? Silence is complicity.
All libertarians are assholes, Volume 24,343.
The ass comment did not get you into trash. I think the system just does not like you.
doubtful that libertarians care about democracy. just freedom to do what ever they can, or want to do. democracy isnt their choice for a government, its supposed to be run by business for business. course we some time look that way, but part of that is business is a major source of polical funding
Tyler Cowen speaks out eloquently against Trump’s anti-democratic behavior. Just kidding!
[ Always but always a nihilist, replete with ethnic and gender prejudice. “Libertarian” is just for pretense. ]
There is way too much “whataboutism” from too many writers.
Do you enjoy flogging yourself and then pouring salt water on your wound for the extra effect? Tyler pulls up something from 66 years ago and compares Puerto Ricans to Whitey Americans? Wow, that is a long haul.
The proper term for what Trump has attempted is not coup, which involves military overthrowing a ruler. It is the Latin American autogolpe, which involves an existing ruler illegally acting to remain in power.
Thank you for the info.
I should have made clear that Yoo’s reference to antifa being at the protests is just right wing disinformation.
All libertarians are AHs, Volume 32,678
Since you’re talking about other blogging sites, I wanted to share my impressions of the website “Naked Capitalism”, listed as the first site on your “Blogs of Note” in the sidebar.
Naked Capitalism has not had a bad word to say about Donald Trump in the past five years. It was one of the harshest critics of both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, and almost every day has links to a theme called “Democrats in disarray”. It has consistently trashed almost every Democrat it sees, now going after Bernie Sanders and AOC recently.
Lambert Strether, one of the two main bloggers, has recently been a complete fanboy of noted constitutional scholar Josh Hawley, to the point about a week ago that I thought he was auditioning to be Hawley’s press secretary in a 2025 Hawley administration.
It is hard what to make of Naked Capitalism in terms of where they stand in terms of actual American politics. They give Trump and Republicans a complete pass while complaining about virtually every Democrat in office, and also hate most liberal left groups as well. I just can’t figure out their strategy.
Thanks. “Autogolpe,” always nice to learn a new word, particularly where the meaning had already arrived.
I knew “coup” was the wrong word, not enough violence for one thing. Sure there are bloodless coups, but that would in some way imply overwhelming force to intimidate the existing establishment to stand down. This was not that, not even close.
Since I have read only a couple threads there over the last fifteen years, then I cannot tell you in any detail about that specific blog. However, I read Economist View daily from early 2010 until a few weeks after Doc Mark Thoma ended his postings on 12/13/2019. The EV Blog had a lot of infighting between moderate and progressive liberals which to an outsider might appear similar to what you describe, but EV was much more than that which allowed a different perspective to emerge. EV was entirely ungated and unfiltered, except Thoma would moderate by deleting specific comments and blocking commenters that were extremely personally abusive. Everything else was fair game. This meant that EV was regularly visited by right wing trolls, only a few of which crossed that direct and personally abusive language threshold that got one the hook. Since Thoma did NOT maintain an echo chamber environment and EV had a lot of regulars and drive-bys that were intelligent and well-educated, then the right-wing trolls had their hands full.
I understand that a lot mild mannered liberals do not like the Internet flame wars environment that this incubates, but a lot of old farts with militant progressive pasts love it. And they are good at it. They were doing if face to face in the 60’s and 70’s before personnel computing and the Internet gave “activists” safe places to hide. At Thoma’s EV Blog the right wing trolls just herded in irresistibly like lambs to the slaughter. Those were the days my friend.
In any case, the liberals at EV in the absence of trolls could be ruthless among themselves with centrists blaming progressives and progressives blaming centrists for our frequent losses since 1968. Only the most imaginative of liberals could believe that their words might change the beliefs of any conservative. Also, clearly if the people’s party keeps losing its people then it must be something that we ate. Without those right wing trolls getting constantly bashed in the background then an outsider might have assumed that EV was not a liberal blog at all.
Hmm. Strategy? When fighting trolls rather than attack head on; instead use bait that will induce them to out themselves where the cops or other moderators will remove them instead of the defender that loses his cool with trolls. Sun Tzu would approve.