‘Good’ Libertarians

By skepticlawyer

While we’re busy trying to avoid guilt by association with loony tunes, Mark Bahnisch has actually done a beaut bit of fisking on a Grauniad columnist who has a problem both with Facebook (quel horreur, it involves people and computers) and with Facebook’s funders because they’re, ahem, libertarians:

I won’t repeat again all the arguments I made against that sort of tedious theme last time I noticed it raising its head, because Hodgkinson goes on to reveal that the venture capitalists who funded Facebook are (gasp!) libertarians. I can’t quite make out why he says they’re also neocons, as the political positions he articulates don’t seem to have any relationship to those normally associated with neocons.

He also exposes some philosophical shenanigans on the part of said Grauniad columnist, as well as revealing the unthinking technophobia that seems to pervade certain sections of the left.


  1. Posted January 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Every ideological position has its moderates, its fanatics, its amoral Machievellians etc. The same spectrum personalities tend to manifest everywhere which different concentrations of different types depending on whether you’re a fringe/purist or a centrist/pragmatist (in it for the money?).

    A movement will tend to make a more valuable connection if its hardliners are kept in check. Likewise if the movement as a whole is kept in check by competing movements. That’s why we have elections. In a one-party system I suspect even the wettest doctor’s wife will go ballistic with power.

    Aristotles formula for virtue applies. Virtue is found in the median between extremes. There’s some moderate position between the uncompromising idealist like Ron Paul and Bill Clinton.

  2. Posted January 15, 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    “Good socialists” ? Know any ?

  3. Posted January 15, 2008 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I think I know what you mean by “wettest doctor’s wife”… I think.

    I try not to imagine anything else.

  4. Posted January 15, 2008 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Um.. I meant wet as in wet liberal. The other never occured to me. Whoops. 🙂

  5. Posted January 15, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    “Good socialists” ? Know any ?


  6. JC.
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    There’s some moderate position between the uncompromising idealist like Ron Paul and Bill Clinton.

    Adrien, don’t be a doofus. Clinton was about the most compromising prez there ever was. The guy couldn’t make a decision most of the time without agonizing what it meant to his poll numbers.

  7. Posted January 15, 2008 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Yeah and…

    The dichotomy is: Ron Paul – stickler for principle. Strong beliefs. Uncompromising.


    Clinton: believes in nothing. Committed only to staining the clothes of as many interns as possible.

    Hence you’d expect him to be the King of Wishy-Washy. Someone who’s got good principles and understands the real world would be nice.

    I’m dreaming aren’t I?

  8. JC.
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 6:01 pm | Permalink


    I thought you put both dudes on the opposite side of the ideological spectrum and suggesting the clinto was somehow uncompromising.

  9. rog
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Yes but..

    using that criteria Clinton was good because he didnt interfere …isnt that the libertarian ideal?

    “good principles” can turn bad when applied without allowing for all the particular circumstances and those circumstances include the mood on the street.

    Ron Pauls principle of returning to the constitutional law is good but is that what the majority of people want?

  10. Posted January 15, 2008 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    He is. He didn’t have sex with that woman. Actually he meant Hillary. 🙂

  11. rog
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Clinton is your average man, he thinks of sex every 10 minutes or so and gets little opportunity to get the dirty water off his chest. Thats how gets the vote, one look at Hillary and you are immediately sympathetic, poor sod.

  12. JC.
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    It was a more a case of he wasn’t allowed to interfere so he enjoyed the ride. The GOP congress had his head in a vice for a long time. He also had a decent set of secs and advisors.

    Rubin and Greenspan bascially ran the economy.

    But yes, Clinton was a pretty mild almost republican like figure in certain respects.

    Let’s stop talking about him in case Homer turns up and ruins the thread with some bullshit that leaves us breathless.

  13. Posted January 15, 2008 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    You beat me to it JC. If the Democrats controlled Congress, Clinton’s Presidency would have been a disaster, especially that health policy Hillary was meant to enact.

    The best thing for any President is a hostile Congress.

    It is a shame we don’t get more hung Senates in Australia.

  14. rog
    Posted January 15, 2008 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Newt Gingrich is now supporting Hillary, who knows what he has in mind?

  15. Rococo Liberal
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 9:14 am | Permalink


    Since 1980 the Senate has only been unhung between 2004 and July 2008

  16. Bring Back CL's Blog
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Clinton had very good economic advisors and for example interms of welfare to work ‘strongly influenced’ the legislation that he eventually signed.

    both Clinton and Gingrich agreed on a number of significant issues. He would not have been able to cut spending like he did if not for Congress.

    He was the master of triangulation afterall.

    I do not like the chances of say Hillary being able to do anything substsntive on eventually reducing the deficit whilst the Democrats control congress.

    On the other hand unless a new Newt arrives with a decent ‘rightwing’ agenda it is hard to envisage the GOP doing it either.

  17. Posted January 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm | Permalink


    Yes, you’re right. I guess the main difference is that the US Congress has fewer independents and minority parties willing to sell their souls for 15 minutes of influence. It is one of the benefits of separating executive powers from legislative powers and the realisable head of government power of veto.

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