I stumbled across an article on Salon.com this morning by Edwin Lyngar called “Why I fled libertarianism—and became a liberal.” It was, well, an interesting (?) read and I suppose somewhat confirmed my opinions about the weird cult of politics that we have in this country.
To very briefly summarize, Lyngar left libertarianism because of all the conspiracy theorizing nutcases he met and interacted with during the 2008 Ron Paul primaries. He became a Democrat because, in his words, “I began to think about real people, like my neighbors and people less lucky than me. Did I want those people to starve to death? I care about children, even poor ones.”
The idea that libertarians don’t care about the poor is such an old and tired argument. It displays such a basic and brutal misunderstanding of the movement and of economics. If Lyngar truly were a libertarian (or should I say actually put some thought into his views prior to his “conversion”), he would have probably found that individual liberty could help the poor as opposed to well-intentioned, but doomed-to-failure government programs.
The problem we have in this country (and in numerous others) is that so many people, like Lyngar, feel the need to align with a certain political party. This includes a Libertarian Party that I don’t consider to be very libertarian at all. Lyngar felt more comfortable in a group that seemed to have more “rational” people as its members. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t get annoyed if people talked my ear off about the government poisoning us through chemtrails, but I don’t define myself by what the members of the political party I’m registered with think. Heck, I’m still registered as a Republican—it simply does not matter to me.
I was hoping against hope, but I held out some optimism that Lyngar might actually talk about why he thinks centrally planned markets are better than free markets. Or why forcing people to associate with others is better than allowing voluntary associations and contracts. Instead, he was more concerned about which political party had more conspiracy theories that were socially accepted by the masses. Yes, chemtrails are fun to laugh at, but so is the liberal rejection of Game Theory and their belief that many prices are controlled by collusion outside of the government’s reach.
The world would be much better off if people, unlike Lyngar, actually thought for themselves and didn’t care how their beliefs lined up with a certain political party. You don’t have to go “shopping” for ethical, economic, or social views. Those that do are in shackles—but at least they get to pick their master!