Friday, December 04, 2009

Quote of the day...

... comes from Charlotte Gore, referring to your humble Devil in her assessment of the geekiness of libertarians.
Chris runs the infamous and fantastically sweary Devil’s Kitchen blog, and because he’s one of the naughtiest geeks (second only to the incredibly, incredibly naughty Guido Fawkes) he’s right at the top of the evil dork hierarchy.

I might compose a longer reply to Charlotte's post, but I would say that it is not necessarily that libertarians are all geeks, as she asserts, but more that people who are interested—really interested—in politics are, in the main, geeks.

And by "really interested", I mean those who think about the philosophy and policies behind the whole political process—I am not counting, for instance, those enthusiastic members of Labour, LibDems or the Tories who turn out every weekend to knock on doors simply out of tribal loyalty, nor those who do it for social motivations (and there are plenty of both).

To be a libertarian—a real libertarian and not merely a Tory who doesn't mind, for instance, a bit of drug-taking—requires you to really think about the your entire world-view. It requires a certain amount of mental agility, and it requires a certain amount of actual knowledge—of history, of economics, of philosophy...

People who are tribally loyal to certain parties are not going to vote for anyone other than that party—they are loyal to the party, not the policies: as such, all too many of them never really consider the policies.

Libertarians have to think—not only about the philosophy and what it means, but also about how that philosophy can translate to real world policies.

As such, they tend to be intelligent, well-educated and used to working through complicated processes; and, given that libertarianism requires appeals to reason and not to touchy-feely cuddliness, they tend to be able to consider things in a somewhat detached manner.

In short, the profile of libertarians corresponds pretty closely with the profile of geeks. This doesn't mean that libertarians cannot convince non-geeks, only that those who tend towards this philosophy are often geeks.

Anyway, we shall see how it all pans out...

11 comments:

Stuart said...

Dear Devil

How true, and how sad that almost nobody understands that this stuff determines how all our lives will be lived.

Laurence said...

I'm not sure that you're really addressing the point that Chalotte was making - always assuming that I've got it right.

Isn't it more the case that there are heaps of avowed libertarians that you can read on line but actually not that many libertarian voices elsewhere.

Blogs seem to be the province of techies rather then a broader cross-section of people and hence the temptation to imagine that libertarians, like geeks, live surrounded by empty pizza boxes and styrofoam cups.

Doesn't it follow that libertarians need to break into the mainstream in order to attract wider support? I think that was more the thrust of the argument and I think Charlotte's probably corret.

Polaris said...

I'm thick, that means I can't be Libertarian, yeah?

Inverted snobbery, or summit like that?

Anonymous said...

It also requires a certain mind-set.
Some people simply love interfering in others' lives and simply love issuing instuctions.
We see evidence of that in our daily lives.
Some people are happy that others do what they want.
I have no idea what determines which group someone might fall into,and I'm not sure how often people change their minds.

There are other aspects too, social libertarianism along the lines of I don't care what drugs someone ingests or which mammals,reptiles or crustaceans they sleep with, and economic
libertarianism with the benefits of releasing creativity and energy.

But I don't think libertarianism requires much in-depth knowledge of any of the subjects you mention.Just a willingness to think a little bit about things that happen all around us.

'Fed up with having to go outside to smoke? Vote Libertarian.' (I've nicked this line from someone but I can't remember who,maybe even your goodself?)

'Think the government is too big and powerful? Vote Libertarian.'

'Don't see why you should ever have to prove your innocence to the authorities? Vote Libertarian.'

There is a role for rigorous philosophy but I don't think it's essential for most.

Kevyn Bodman

Span Ows said...

I think Laurence is right and has correctly interpreted what CG is on about...she says:

The only conclusion to draw is that the time of the evil dork may well be here. They run the frickin’ internet and they’re going to use their advantage on the internet to affect change in the real world. Well, that’s the plan.

Look, it’s not a criticism. I’m a nerd myself


I would however say that you (Devil) swear LOADS more than Guido. It's the comments over there that has all the swearing.

Anonymous said...

dorkarchy? dorkarchists?

knirirr said...

In short, the profile of libertarians corresponds pretty closely with the profile of geeks.

This would seem to be in agreement with your statement.

Anonymous said...

o/t but, a fusion roundup from MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34260227/ns/technology_and_science-future_of_energy/

Alan said...

"...given that libertarianism requires appeals to reason and not to touchy-feely cuddliness, they tend to be able to consider things in a somewhat detached manner."

That'll be why many often come across as sociopathic freaks then.


Well I think I sometimes do

fewqwer said...

The reason economically literate small state advocates do not reach a mainstream audience in the UK has a very simple three-letter explanation: B, B, C.

Chris Edwards said...

It is only recently I looked up "liberal" and found out it means adhering to libertarian principles, I allways thought it meant being a libertine. Still an easy mistake to make. When looking this up I found a graph (no hockey stick though) and it placed libertarian across both left and right, how could a socialist libertarian exist in this dimension? it is an oxymoron at least.