L. Neil Smith's THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 890, September 18, 2016
It’s Not Our Job To Correct Wrong-Thinking
by Paul Bonneau
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
I was looking at youtubes and articles linked here a week or two ago, starting with Chris Cantwell’s Top 10 Reasons Libertarians Aren’t Nice To You. I can’t help but think Chris misses the point here.
Certainly, it must have been satisfying to deliver this whack, and might even have, here and there, a salubrious effect—much as a 2x4 across the nose might occasionally provide.
Not that I don’t agree with the points as they stand by themselves—I do. Who hasn’t been frustrated by this state of affairs?
I just wonder overall, what good it will do to follow this line. Will people move toward liberty because of it?
People have this funny characteristic: they resist frontal attacks. It doesn’t matter how correct the material; it matters to them how it is delivered.
Assuming Chris’ audience was not the ruling class, but the large population of people who support the ruling parasites with their belief and their taxes (it’s not entirely clear who his audience is—it seems to vary with each point), then let’s not forget that they, too, are victims.
How do people learn? Do they have knowledge poured into their brains by wise others (are libertarians aping the methods of the rulers)? Or, do they on their own piece things together slowly, over years of experience?
I don’t think it is our job to correct them. Almost every tyranny ever established started with the proposition that wrong- thinking must be corrected. Usually the initial stages are voluntary, as with the Temperance Movement. But how far behind was Alcohol Prohibition, when Temperance successes remained modest?
This is not to say that pro-liberty material should not be posted. There is room for something more in the line of reference material, such as (for example) what Mises.org might host. It should be done with credibility first in mind, and dispassionate. Or other material can be humorous—people respond to that also.
It’s not our job to “fix“ the thinking of others. It’s our job only to get their boot off our neck. And by “their“ I mean the ruling class, not the hoi polloi who also have a boot on their necks.
Chris actually does address this, in point #2. But he does it in the most provocative way possible, in a way bound to generate opposition just like the rest of the points. Why talk about our being perfectly fine if they want to establish a factory and run it on Marxist principles—as Killian does in his youtube? Would ordinary people actually do that?
Here’s how #2 would be presented by someone with some actual exposure to Dale Carnegie’s ideas about how people work: “Wouldn’t you prefer to have over you only those people with whom you largely already agree? Such as only conservatives if you are a conservative, or only liberals if you are a liberal? This outcome requires only one thing, that you allow others to go their own way too—as long as they do not impose on you.“
Or how about this? “People should get what they want, don’t you agree? How are they to learn otherwise? Why not let liberals be liberals, conservatives be conservative, and so forth? Why do we have this one-size-fits-all, winner-takes-all political environment? Who does that benefit?“
One of the commenters complains about being annoyed with people who respond inappropriately after their being “crushed in an argument“. Talk about being tone-deaf. Can you imagine Dale Carnegie explaining how you can crush people most effectively? Who says libertarians are smarter than other people?
[ I suggested last ish that perhaps the reason there are not more libertarians is that understanding the ZAP (and TANSTAAFL as Mr. Potratz mentions in the Letters this ish) requires more than “normal&rdauo; or “average” intelligence. But even so, there are a lot of smart people on the side of fascism, socialism, nanny-statism, you-should-be-a-slaveism. So it is not lacking intelligence that is the cause.—Editor ]
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