Edwin Lyngar of Salon.com has predictable (and lame) reasons for fleeing libertarianism

Edwin Lyngar

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!

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Your problem is that you hate poor people and you’re a racist. Your solution to help people with cancer is to tell them to die.

Rollo McFloogle

This is a good demonstration of using pure emotion instead of rational thought to argue a point.

You’ve got it right. I think the biggest thing to point out here is that you should care about your own beliefs and represent them to the best of your ability. If people were willing to have a normal discussion about the issues in front of them, this liberal (claimed to be libertarian) may not have been scared off. It isn’t right for him to base his beliefs on his opinions of individuals, if I did that, there’s no way I’d be an AnCap. But I care about what people have to say and where THEIR minds are at. I… Read more »
James S.W.

In short, what does Game Theory say about price-setting?

Rollo McFloogle

For example, let’s say that at some intersection, there are three gas stations. One day, one of the owners calls the other two together and says, “Let’s all raise our prices up from around our current $3.40 to $3.90. We’ll all be able to rake in a lot more money.” At the time, everyone is in agreement, but if you are one of the three business owners and see your competitors put up their new higher prices the next day, what do you do?

Lynn Card

I read Mr. Lyngar’s article. I think he is a poser. Or he took one creative writing course too many and is no longer capable of rational thought.


[…] my face that I can tell that Edwin Lyngar writes a new article because I start getting page hits on my critique of his “Why I fled libertarianism—and became a liberal” piece. Because of that post, I currently hold the #3 spot on Google when you search for “Edwin […]


[…] Lyngar, whom I’ve critiqued here before (and here), has written another piece of Salon.com, this one called “I was poor, but a GOP […]