Inevitably, it mentions your humble Devil's less than impressive showing on The Daily Politics (to which the first blockquote refers) and, of course, the comments are a joy. When defending the libertarian blogosphere, I got increasingly carried away but also articulated a number of things which I have been vocalising for some time. As such, I thought that I would repost my comment here.
... when you knew how uncomfortable he was defending his stuff in public.
Except that I have defended my style in public a number of times.
What I was uncomfortable doing was defending my style whilst ostensibly representing other people.That says a lot about UK libertarians because nothing affects your liberty as much as losing your job and having no money.
Um. Apart from being locked up without trial. But hey! the government's only doing that to brown people—it'll never happen to you, so who cares, eh?
Many of us were, indeed, very rude about statists—and many are still are. That is because we find ourselves simply unable to understand why they continue to advocate yet more statist intervention when it any empirical figures show that these interventions make the poor worse off; we also find it massively insulting when the Left maintain that they care about the poor when they are not only ignoring the fact that they are harming those who are worst off, but they are also just as privileged as we "fatuous old Etonian tossers".
It is also frustrating when Leftists attack us for being Tories who would bring Section 28 in again, and persecute gays or some other bunch of minority; this is based on a fundamental, blinkered and, frankly, ignorant view of what libertarianism is.
The Libertarian philosophy is very simple:You can do whatever you like provided that you do not initiate force or fraud against someone's life, liberty or property.
And "whatever you like" includes giving to charity, helping out your local community and generally improving the lot of both yourself and your fellow human beings.
Now, some libertarians simply are not interested in doing so; they just want to live their lives in splendid isolation. Fine—they should be able to do so.
Others, like myself, have a fundamental belief in a libertarianism that is not isolationist—that does advocate voluntary collectivism. But the key word in that clause is "voluntary".
If you do not believe in voluntary actions, then you are an authoritarian: you believe in using violence in order to force others to support your aims.
And how can that be right, when there are 60 million people in this country with aims and desires that might not—indeed, probably do not—match yours? Who are you to use force to compel them to give up their dreams in order to fulfil yours?
This attitude is not only dangerous and arrogant but, to a libertarian, morally wrong.
Can you wonder that libertarians get so angry about the perpetration of violence and coercion on others? Can you not understand why we rage when those same dictators turn around and tell us that we are immoral and evil?
Fundamentally, libertarians are despised by statists—on all sides of the political spectrum—because we tell them that they cannot play with their toys any more. And we do so because those are not toys: they are real people—individuals, with individual lives and individual desires.
It is not we libertarians who are immature and immoral, for it is the statists who believe that they should be allowed to play with their toys—regardless of the actual lives that they might ruin.
Oh, but the other reason that I will miss many of the bloggers who have ceased to be is that they were funny; I suspect that the blogosphere is heading not for a more "mature" period, but a more po-faced period.
And perhaps Steven Baxter is right, and "the posts will become more nuanced and less aggressive"; but I suspect that the whole rigmarole will become far less fun.
Indeed, I suspect that it already has.