Libertarians feel significantly less love for their own romantic partners, family members, friends and other people than do U.S. liberals or conservatives. They care less about fairness and other people's suffering than liberals do.
Whenever you have a comment thread full of libertarians, you can learn a lot about their priorities by asking: "As a result of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, restaurant owner Lester Maddox was forced — by the government! — to sell food to black people. Was Title II morally wrong?"
Libertarians believe poor people should have to rely on charity, even though charities can't meet people's needs during bad economies. Donors give less to charity just as more people are losing their jobs or taking pay cuts. Government can keep up a more consistent level of support precisely when charities cannot.
Writings on libertarians
Libertarianism is business as usual
There have been a lot of reductions in personal freedoms in the United States. On this, libertarians, left-liberals, greens, progressives, socialists, left-anarchists, and communists agree. Some of the libertarians have a kind of zealotry that makes them very single-minded about getting their message out, and in general it is a simplistic message so it's easy to communicate. So there's a generation coming of age on the internet who don't have strong views on economics but who know that they don't feel free, and the libertarian message is the loudest one that resonates with this feeling.
The problem with libertarianism is that economic inequality is not conducive to freedom.
Because everything libertarians can say in their defense — "legalize drugs, end aggressive war, reduce police searches" — are policies shared by progressives, the only uniquely defining characteristic of libertarians is their extreme right-wing economics. Right-wing economic policies, though, tend to favor the consolidation of wealth, at the expense of other freedoms.
Conservatives are famously short-sighted, wouldn't you agree? Isn't that one of the reasons libertarians don't want to be identified with them? Being tough on crime and tough on terror and tough on any foreign country that looks funny is short-sighted. Yet libertarian economic policies, in line with other right-wingers' economic policies, are similarly self-destructive.
Nobody is really free in the chaos and violence of a failed state. But even in a relatively stable state, people in poverty live under constant coercion and threat of violence.
And so today in the United States, even if we could immediately get rid of the PATRIOT Act and the war on drugs and the border walls and the cameras and the high-tech police cruisers and all the other obvious manifestations of the police state, and the corporate lobbying and the military-industrial complex and the military bases around the world and the constant state of undeclared war — and we should get rid of all these things immediately, but even if we did — life in the United States, for a substantial portion of the citizens, would still be more about violence and fear than freedom and opportunity.
And there is no laissez-faire policy that will address this reality.
- Noticed at least as early as March 2006.
- Iyer, Ravi; Koleva, Spassena; Graham, Jesse; Ditto, Peter H.; Haidt, Jonathan. Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Roots of an Individualist Ideology. 20 August 2010. Page 26.
- Ibid., page 12.
- For more on Iyer et al., see the online supplement at Ravi Iyer's blog, and criticism at Mike Huben's blog.
- Andy Koen. Charities feeling pinch of tough economy (archive). KOAA, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. 1 April 2009.
Please help make this list more complete. Format and order the links however you like; someone pickier will deal with any inconsistencies.
- 15 May 2006. Immigration solved, the Christian Libertarian way
- 10 June 2006. I think I despise anti-environmentalists as much as I do anti-evolutionists
- 22 August 2006. Bye bye, Beale
- 19 September 2006. The denialists
- 9 October 2006. Bachmann on ID
- 31 December 2006. My New Year's Dream
- 12 February 2007. And they call us atheists amoral
- 14 February 2007. Retraction
- 6 March 2007. A mystery explained
- 7 March 2007. I understand Satan is a Libertarian
- 9 August 2007. Another turkey pops his head up and gobbles
- 15 August 2007. Another debate with a creationist, another phony exposed
- 16 August 2007 A day spent traveling
- 1 September 2007 The hollow man
- 26 October 2007. Miéville takes a whack at the Libertarians
- 27 October 2007 Feminine complaints and masculine emissions
- 29 December 2007. Why is Ron Paul so popular?
- 11 January 2008. Ron Paul is one freaky, scary dude
- 9 March 2008. Beale vs. Plait
- 12 March 2008. Why do we even stoop to mentioning Vox Day?
- 1 May 2008. Pray for Robert Beale, too
- 9 June 2008. Sorry, Vox, I don't debate crazy pipsqueaks any more
- 2 December 2008. Dismal disaster
- 9 February 2009. Open thread
- 8 April 2009. Psss. Libertarians. Go pester Gavin for a while
- 7 May 2009. Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death
- 19 September 2009. As for me, I love socialism!
- 15 February 2010. Libertarianism defined
- 1 May 2010. Do libertarians have a sense of humor?
- 25 May 2010. You can tell where this is going, but you can hardly believe it when it gets there
- 28 June 2010. Rand Paul doesn't know how old the earth is
- 29 June 2010. A taxonomy of libertarians
- 30 June 2010. Annoying libertarians
- 16 July 2010. Evolution isn't libertarian
- 31 October 2010. NO RELATION!
- 4 September 2010. Rarely have I been so thoroughly misconstrued
- 20 November 2010. An online abortion poll — for real
- 16 January 2011. A logic puzzle for Martians
- 11 March 2011. Rand Paul's poop is more important than any mere woman
- 13 March 2011. Are teachers overpaid?
- 10 May 2011. Florida State University sells its integrity for $1.5 million
- 24 May 2011. Godless goals are progressive goals
- 1 June 2011. Ayn Rand wasn't always wrong
- 1 June 2011. Oh. So that's what the Libertarian dedication to civil liberties looks like
- 1 August 2011. Vox Day and the status of Xiaotingia (also on Sb)
- 2 August 2011. It’s official: Matt Damon just became my hero (also on Sb)
- 19 August 2011. Ron Paul gets no respect (also on Sb)
- 26 August 2011. TAX THE RICH!
- 28 August 2011. Talking about the weather
- 31 August 2011. Laugh at the Libertarian (also on Sb)
- 8 October 2011. A question for libertarians
- 9 November 2011. Massimo Pigliucci has principles
- 22 December 2011. The fanatically irrational Ron Paul and his fanbase
- 23 January 2013. Shermer's false equivalencies PZ on Michael Shermer
- A criticism of libertarianism article, imported from Wikipedia.
- 11 questions to see if libertarians are hypocrites an article that PZ recommends, see Talking smack at libertarians
- Liberapedia article on libertarianism