Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Libertarian Dodge

Speaking of Obama's televised speech to the nation's schoolchildren, Megan McArdle tries to draw an equivalence between the actions of the left and right. She links to Byron York, the author of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President--and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time, who points out that liberal congressmen complained when Bush addressed the nation's schoolchildren after cutting school lunch funds. That makes liberals hypocrites, McArdle declares.

McArdle is very fond of declaring that liberals are just as bad as conservatives, a statement that both sides can find offensive. McArdle does not point out liberals becoming hysterical at the thought of the president addressing schoolchildren out of fear of his voodoo mind control, however. Liberals also did not scream and sob at their Congressmen and women in town halls, demanding to take America back from the Marxists and socialist Nazis.

The libertarian dodge is a very handy one, in which a person can hold herself apart from the heaving masses, criticizing and sneering at both sides without having to do or say anything helpful or constructive. As McArdle says, "You seem to be under the mistaken impression that I have a workable political program. I'm a libertarian. My political ideas are always unpopular."

And unworkable.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Except she's not even a libertarian*. That's merely cover so she can appear to be "objective." Megan's a Pseudo-Libertarian Corporate Republican.

*I think libertarianism is jackassery

Susan of Texas said...

Yes, it seems to be a pose in a lot of instances. It's degenerated into the party of Jonah Goldberg and McArdle.

clever pseudonym said...

It's also a convenient way to never be wrong. You criticize the left and the right, while smugly waving your membership card for a party that has very little power or clout to implement their own public policy; this being the case, they never fail.

And there's the added bonus of Megan getting to feel super-special because her ideas are "unpopular." She deludes herself into believing it's because she's elite and smarter than everyone else who just can't understand the value of libertarianism. The truth is, their ideas are unpopular because they are impractical, stupid, and ignore the real world.

Downpuppy said...

Just aside,

http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/09/all_health_care_politics_is_lo.php

is amazing, in that Megan still has no clue that group & private plans are not the same thing. (& she misses on cost by a factor of 4)

Susan of Texas said...

As Jonah Goldberg would say, the point still stands--health care will kill your granny and run over your puppy.

bulbul said...

Susan,
actually, I don't think this maneuver is typical of libertarians. Like cp said, it's a convenient way of never being wrong and this is the main reason it is practiced by journalists, especially in the US. They call it "balance".

cp,
what's that old line about Christianity having been tried and found wanting? Well, the thing is, we already tried libertarianism. And then we spent last 200 or so years running away from it. Last 80 or so we really hauled ass.

Ken Houghton said...

Curiously, the current issue of Vanity Fair features (p. 111) a "Bright Young Thing," a 26-year-old Angeleno who declares her favorite books to be Rand's The Fountainhead, The Virtue of Selfishness and Philosophy: Who Needs It and Alice Schroeder's biography of Warren Buffett The Snowball.

Clearly, this is someone who is Self-Made and purely Independent, which is why she appears on the cover of the Fanfare section of VF.

Yep. No one would ever suggest Kimberly Ovitz might have received any help in pulling herself up By Her Bootstraps. Libertarian to the Core.

tigris said...

Some Democrats reacted to Bush's speech after it was given, not so much complaining about the speech itself but that Department of Education money was used to fund it. Congressional hearings were held, and they determined it wasn't improper. How does that make laughing at the "the speech hasn't been given yet but ZOMG BLACK HITLER!" folks hypocritical?

Downpuppy said...

This is just sad now:


Downpuppy (Replying to: MBP) September 8, 2009 2:46 PM

There's no evidence presented of any union health plan anywhere coming in at over $21,000/year.

Megan McArdle (Replying to: MBP) September 8, 2009 6:01 PM

The evidence is that the unions are fighting this thing tooth and nail. Are they against it just to be against it?

If the tax is not window dressing--i.e. if it actually raises any money to help pay for the rest of the bill--it will almost definitionally hit unions, which tend to have gold-plated benefits. A tax on some theoretical awesome health care plan for CEOs would not raise more than a few tens of thousands of dollars.

Downpuppy (Replying to: MBP) September 8, 2009 7:08 PM

Stop. Just stop. Find out what a "Group" policy is, and why the individual market is utterly broken. Once you have a reasonable grasp of what things cost, maybe you can post again.

This has gone beyond embarrassing yourself, to trashing whatever reputation the Atlantic has left.

Andrew W said...

Google informs me that "Kimberly Ovitz is a sophisticated, beautifukl, androgynous lifestyle collection for women."

Susan of Texas said...

Kimberly Ovitz, daughter of Michael Ovitz, whom even I have heard of. A Hollywood princess who had enough money at 25 to start her own design studio. Yeah, that's boot-strapping, alright.

Downpuppy, I'm very torn. On the one hand, it''s horrible to see people humiliate themselves. On the other hand, she seems to be perfectly happy getting everything wrong and correcting almost nothing. And gloating over any perceived liberal troubles.