Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dana Garrett of Delaware Watch plans a series of posts on Libertarians...

... and I welcome it [read my comment at the end of his inaugural post].

I don't expect Dana to like a lot of what he finds about Libertarians, but I do expect he will subject the philosophy and its political incarnation to some serious scrutiny. That's good.

I intend to link to each of the posts as he publishes them, because I suspect very few Libertarians will make his progressive-liberal blog regular reading (which is a shame, because as much as we disagree we are good friends and learn a lot from each other).

A point of personal privilege, however: I suspect Dana will ruffle a lot of your feathers with his opinions. If you want to take issue with him on the issues, or the accuracy of his interpretations, feel free... he's a big guy and can stand up for himself.

If, however, you feel the need merely to rant about being mischaracterized by someone you consider a Statist progressive, please do it here rather than there. I'm posting his links on this issue so that we can learn about and from him hopefully learning about and from us, not so he can be inundated with people abusing him. Capeesh?


tom said...

There is little point in commenting on the central theme of Dana's first post. He clearly believes that guns, and people who own and carry them quite rightly make sane, ordinary people nervous. This is a perfectly valid point of view as long as it isn't accompanied by the desire to have government impose it by force on those who don't share that view.

There is little chance of reconciliation between his view and the one held by libertarians so I won't bother trying.

However Dana's use of Porcfest (which I seriously doubt that he attended either) as an example of what libertarians are like is a mischaracterization I feel obligated to rant about.

Porcfest, like Mardi Gras or NASCAR or Gay Pride parades or the Obama Inauguration, was intended to be a spectacle. The majority of its attendees would probably look or act no more weird or threatening than you or Dana if you saw them at the grocery store.

If people don't want to be shocked or scared, they should make an effort to stay clear of things that they know will shock or scare them. Porcfest was very well publicized. Had you lived in the area, you would have known that a bunch of crazy, "gun-totin' libertarians" were going to be playing mini golf and picking up trash at the park. The most you could legitimately claim is that they inconvenienced you by making you change your plans. If you chose to take your family to that park or mini golf course anyway, it is your own fault that you felt intimidated.

As for seatbelt & helmet laws, this is probably another fundamental divide between progressives (who think the state should override individual freedom and protect people from their own bad decisions by force if necessary) and libertarians (who think people should be free to make their own choices knowing they will suffer the consequences if they choose poorly) that I shouldn't bother trying to bridge, but...

If wearing a seatbelt or helmet is
clearly so much safer, or failing to use them so obviously life-threatening that no rational person could possibly disagree then there is no need for a law because the vast majority will do it voluntarily and the few who don't will quickly eliminate themselves (and as an added bonus, will no longer be able to frighten your women & children with guns).

On the other hand, if there is room for disagreement among rational people on whether or not the risk is worth taking, then the libertarians are right and government intrusion is ipso facto bad.

Beto Castelo said...

If Mr. Garrett's follow up posts are going to offer the same amount of critical insight as his first, there's hardly much to look forward to. His fixation on guns is a red herring, since respect for the second amendment is more of a side-effect of the general libertarian practical regard for the constitution, and not a central tenet (or at least as I see it).

With that said, taking the bait, the over-sensitivity regarding open-carry of firearms is misplaced. Concealment vs. openly-carrying offer few practical differences to anyone involved. As an observer, if you can tolerate one, you should be able to tolerate the other (and, more to the point, if you don't tolerate one, how do you tolerate the other?). As an armed person, you're bound to the same laws in either case (assuming you can legally do both). Mr. Garrett's assertions on being fearful of firearms don't seem to allow him any objectivity on the issue.