Information really is beautiful…

By skepticlawyer

…When presented like this.

Graphic artists David McCandless and Stefanie Posavec have attempted to show the difference between left and right (something always fraught with danger) by means of my favourite learning tool, the Mind Map. What’s especially interesting is their attempt to factor libertarian thinking into the mix, which means that a surprisingly large number of conservatives support abortion rights and gay rights, while a surprisingly large number of progressives believe in God. Where the two ‘sides’ part company is in support for gay marriage: it seems that even the libertarian wing of the conservative movement haven’t been persuaded of that one, yet, at least in the US.

Interesting, too, that the artists had to produce two versions: the US version has the ‘right’ side of the diagram coloured in red and the ‘left’ version coloured blue, while the EU/Australia/Canada version reverses the colours. I’ve featured the EU/Commonwealth version below, but you can check out the US version (and earlier drafts) over at McCandless and Posavec’s site. McCandless admits in today’s Guardian that the original version had a left-leaning bias, which he and Posavec corrected after being called on it. The ‘Information is Beautiful’ page has a before and after version showing the changes.

One final thing: you will have to click to embiggen, and perhaps even save the image separately so it takes up your entire screen. My laptop screen (admittedly, the smallest species of Mac, only 13″) doesn’t do it justice.

And another thing: I couldn’t get onto the internet this morning UK time, which meant several people got trapped in the spammer. Apologies; I think I’ve found you all and let you free, but if not, please do repost. It’s now lunchtime here.


  1. Patrick
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    almost every right-libertarian has meshed elements of conservatism into his/her personal philosopy.

    I would usually describe myself as a conservative libertarian or a pragmatic libertarian, so can’t argue with that.

    admire Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan above all

    lol, you forgot the rather significant qualifier ‘other recent heads of government’. Unsurprisingly since with that essential rider the sentence is amazingly banal.

    Then you have the next paragraph. Wow. I’m not sure there is much point besides rejecting each hypothesis. ‘Road to Serfdom’ anti-government sentiment really seems like a mixture of non-sequitur and contradiction in terms – I’m pretty sure Hayek was a fan of governments not anarchy. So let’s ignore that and focus on the Ayn Rand bit.
    Ayn Rand was a believer in, first, second and thirdmost, invention and business. (OK, bad sex writing and monologues too). None of her heroes were violent – rather, they fled, which was the whole point. Her ideal society didn’t even have armies…about as far from Nazism as you can get…which brings us to a far better analysis of this freak.
    But we have one more idiotic trope:

    the gun fetishism that is inextricably linked to libertarianism

    Again, words have confused you…you clearly meant to say ‘being scandinavian’ instead of libertarian, but forgot to proof-read.
    Ah, oops, there were actually two more idiotic tropes – the great ‘if this lone Nazi freak was not the fault of right-wing small-government libertarians then North Korea, Mao, Pol Pot, Che, Castro, Chavez, Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin and the decades of misery and hopelessness suffered by every marxist state are nothing to do with the marxism they directly professed to apply’.
    Oh, now I see, once again the fuller sentence belies the abbreviated hypothesis.

  2. Mel
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Let me rework Patrick’s third para as a response to his last para:

    “Then you have the next paragraph. Wow. I’m not sure there is much point besides rejecting each hypothesis. ‘[The Communist Manifesto’s]’ anti-[capitalist] sentiment really seems like a mixture of non-sequitur and contradiction in terms – I’m pretty sure [Marx] was a fan of [socialism] not [despotism]. So let’s ignore that and focus on the [Rosa Luxemburg} bit.”

    Really, Patrick, arguing with you is a lot like shooting fish in a barrel. It just doesn’t seem fair.

  3. Patrick
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    [email protected], my shorter take on that article would be hell no. But I guess that’s one of the luxuries of libertarianism, you can constantly snipe from the sidelines and retreat behind some pretty daunting ‘ifs’… see; mel and I are not so far apart after all 😉

  4. Posted July 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Mel, your own opposition to Muslim immigration is very much a conservative position. Libertarians are in favor of the free movement of labour (by analogy with the free movement of capital). I have (over time, and with very great reluctance), seen the merit in George Borjas’s arguments against mass low-skill immigration, because it nails the wages of the poor to the floor. The latter’s opposition to this process often manifests in extreme politics: the FN in France, the BNP and UKIP in Britain. Then the rather simplistic contention that poor people are racist gets flung about, when in reality the politics has an economic origin.

    For that reason, I have given up a core libertarian position. Not lightly, and not without thought, but ideology has to give way to empirical reality. I should add that Jason and I have a strong utilitarian streak. In my case it is focussed on measurable outcomes rather than a larger ‘happiness principle’.

    I’d be intrigued to know what the basis of your opposition to Muslim immigration may be. Is it economic? Is it based on failure to integrate? If the latter, then you are trending conservative too.

    Not all conservative arguments are bad. It’s unfortunate that, these days, nearly all the conservative arguments widely seen around the place are bad (mainly because American conservatives are so enamoured of religion). Other conservative arguments – that schools would be better places if they were more hierarchical and gave teachers genuine authority over unruly pupils; that education is not about self-esteem but about learning how to _do_ things; that substituting government authority (ASBOs) for parental authority has been a terrible failure and stops young people from taking responsibility – are all good arguments from the conservative side of politics.

    And Mel, do stop claiming victory in arguments with Patrick. If anything, you’re missing his point. And summarising someone else’s argument so that it suits yours is generally (and properly) seen as a strawman.

    On Steig Larsson (to answer the other question raised), I read the first book in the series, and disliked it. Maybe my reaction was borne of having actual experience in criminal justice, but I found the plot contrived and the heroine completely implausible. She had become so unbelievable by the last third of the book I was reading for the giggles and not much else. Maybe the films are better, but the book broke my willing suspension of disbelief so badly I would need to wait for some time before watching.

  5. Patrick
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    lol SL I too have experience in criminal justice, but I didn’t think I was reading a documentary! But I do know exactly how you feel, sometimes it is quite a handicap when you can’t suspend disbelief just enough to enjoy the show 🙁

  6. Posted July 24, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Patrick, I take it you’ve had the experience (during police procedurals and the like) of wanting to throw stuff at the telly when they get stuff so awfully wrong? It’s very frustrating.

    My reaction to Larsson was also borne of my three years in the Home Office, dealing with disadvantaged people of various stripes (mainly immigrants, but there were plenty of others). Children (especially girls) who have been treated very badly in that way do not react like Lisbeth Salander. Ever. No matter how clever they are (and IQ is moderately randomly distributed in the population, so some are clever).

    And kvd @42: that piece by Charles Moore in the Telegraph was going to form the basis of my proposed post on this issue, but it seems we’re having the debate on this thread anyway. Oh well, that will teach me to ‘jump the gun’!

  7. Patrick
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    In fact the only remotely ‘law’ or ‘police’ show I have been able to bear is The Wire, because as far as I could tell it was basically real (well, and the Bill).

    But for some reason with Steig Larsson I was just able to enjoy the drama.

    I will add, on the Charles Moore piece, that I really thought it sucked. Most of all, take this line:

    The Right has done itself harm by covering up for so much brutality.

    I’ve read the piece twice and I still don’t know wtf he means…maybe, like mel, he suffers from a malicious editor distorting his original sentences?

    Or this one:

    As for the plight of the eurozone, this could have been designed by a Left-wing propagandist as a satire of how money-power works.

    Wtf? Isn’t it a central libertarian critique of progressive policies that regulation breeds vested interests breeds corruption? He clearly means, here, a left-libertarian critique, but there are so few left-libertarians around that why bother talking about them?

    Most of his Murdoch-shtick reads as if he wasn’t aware that the non-Murdoch and even the ‘lefty’ tabloids were apparently pretty neck-deep in it.

    (I’ll stop the gratuitious asides tomorrow.)

  8. Mel
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    SL- My own opposition to Muslim migration is qualified- I think Muslim women and Muslims from those countries/ethnicities/traditions that haven’t produced significant numbers of terrorists in western countries should be welcomed to Australia like everyone else. I think I have clearly spelt out that qualification on this forum in the past.

    But that is just me. It doesn’t change my fundamental point, that being that in practice nearly all right libertarians have various conservative tendencies and that to try to pigeon hole Breivek as a conservative rather than a libertarian is silly. He was both.

    LE is right about conservation and conservatism. In many ways I am conservative in the true sense of the word.

  9. Posted July 24, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I’ve only recently read the Millennium Trilogy, and while I enjoyed the rare spectacle of a physically violent female protagonist (it IS possible, just not for the reasons/processes he has) and the way Larsson had the dynamics of a magazine down pat (being a fellow ex-journo, no surprise there) I did really spend most of the three novels with a foot itching to give Mikael Blomkvist the kicking he so richly deserves (speaking of violent female protagonists). Have yet to see the film

    Certainly, almost every libertarian I have ever spoken to admire Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan above all else and get rather ratty if you disparage their conservatism.

    No attempt to put philosophical ideas into political practice stands much scrutiny Mel, they all fall short, but if you can appreciate ‘where politicians are coming from’ it’s easier to fairly consider the policy choices being made. Current conservative policy on welfare reform is frequently written off by lefty critics in the “coalition of resistance” as an ideologically motivated attack. That is is what’s known in the trade as: bollocks. Traditional conservative policy (and even recent rhetoric) supports the contributory basis of National Insurance… which is why abolishing Incapacity Benefit, the last contributions-based welfare benefits is just nonsensical. In this case, all the talk of lazy scoungers going straight from school onto Incapacity is also a load of twaddle (they wouldn’t qualify, you need to have worked to pay sufficient National Insurance). In this particular instance BOTH sides are deliberately talking out of their nether fundaments but it at least brings you to important question of WHY…

    If you can understand the economic theories underpinning ‘efficiency wages’ etc, then you can understand and counter some of the arguments against the minimum wage (eg. without strict control of immigration in the Australian-style the wage floor won’t ‘float’ on the market, it will simply crash) instead of simply writing off the speaker as someone who hates the poor.

    My objection to Philip Davies MP is not that he is wrong in saying the minimum wages should be waived for disabled people, but that our labour is inherently ‘less efficient’ that that of normal people and therefore should be priced accordingly. What he doesn’t appreciate is that our personal levels of efficiency are already factored into the market – if you can’t compete against an able-bodied peer you simply don’t get the job. Repricing our labour simply reinforces the PERCEPTION that our entire class of labour is worth less, regardless of the facts relevant to us as individuals. It just means returning to the days when only those who could pass got work. The overall numbers of disabled people in work may have been slightly higher back then, but only slightly.

  10. TerjeP
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes conservatism is a good thing. You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

    I regard myself as a radical incrementalist. I have radical goals but I think we should get there by a series of steps after which we can evaluate our progress. For instance I think we should abolish income tax and cut government spending to suit but I generally try to map out a logical sequence of steps to get there. This isn’t conservative so much as sensible.

  11. Movius
    Posted July 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] I assume you’re talking about the book “Lords of Chaos”? That book, although entertaining, is known to be wildly exaggerated, even fabricated in parts. As well as over-emphasising groups that were practical non-entities (ie. ‘Absurd’). it also, draws weird tangents to unrelated political events, but that is a given for this genre of book.

    Regardless, it does highlight a history of *violent* anti-Christian Nationalism* in Norway that has been completely missed in the “But Why Norway?” reporting here.

    *My favourite comical example (turn up the volume to hear properly.)

  12. kvd
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    [email protected] I’m sorry you were not able to enjoy the book. Yes, there may have been a need for some suspension of disbelief, as I myself found reading of a young Roman lad befriending a young Jewish boy by discussing his remote control racer 😉 but I seem to remember reading also somewhere of a karate weilding ladybrave throwing a would be attacker down the stairs even after being crowned with a bottle – so I’m sure there are a few real life Lisbeths out there… (second smiley)

  13. Posted July 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    [email protected]: “anti-government” means very little. Anarchists are “anti-state” in any form: Breivek seems to be no sort of anarchist. Nor an anarcho-capitalist. You could hardly describe him as a classical liberal, which is where libertarianism derives from.

    In fact, you haven’t established any significant libertarian element to his connections at all. Walking around shooting unarmed people because you disagree with their politics hardly bespeaks support for personal liberty.

    If you want a feel for the ideas which seem to motivate him, read some of George Mosse‘s work, such as Nationalism and Sexuality or Towards the Final Solution.

    Hayek’s Road to Serfdom was an attack on central planning. That Stalin’s regime had re-introduced the principle that no worker could leave a workplace without the workplace’s permission (the essential element of serfdom) and turned “sickies” into a criminal offense was hardly evidence against his contention. Hayek also supported a minimal welfare state. Not that his views seem to have anything to do with Brievek anyway.

    As for my comments on Islam, my key point is that you cannot presume from the logic of belief to the logic of believers. People are more complicated than that; so no, it was not an “anti-Muslim diatribe”.

    Regarding Daniel Pearl, the Prophet famously ordered the beheading of a poet who had written satirical verses against him; not to mention the beheading of all the males of a Jewish tribe he defeated, with the women and children being sold into slavery.

    The central problem of Islam is that it revolves around a claim that the key issues of how to organise human society were resolved in C7th Arabia. Now, we may wish that wasn’t so, but it is.

  14. Movius
    Posted July 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] You were saying…

    Also, there was a protracted legal fight and courtcase over the name ‘Gorgoroth’ a couple of years ago that may interest some readers of this blog.

  15. Posted July 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] I am not quite sure which ‘it’ you mean me to Google.

    If you mean the Atlas Shrugs blog, a quick look identified Pamela Geller as its author. Her, I know about. An obsessive with far too simplistic a view of Islam. One of my rules is that if you kick Michael Totten for being an “apololgist” for Islam, then you put yourself in the “narrow-minded simplistic obsessive” category.

    I used to read Gates of Vienna, mainly because they had some useful links. But I was worn down by the “too simple, far too simple” take on Islam.

    Andrew Bostom and Robert Spencer at least have the virtue of assembling a lot of interesting and useful historical material.

    Mark Durie is greatly superior as a source of knowledge and analysis, however.

    One of the problems is that there seems to be so little middle ground between those for whom nothing ever indicts Islam as in anyway problematic and those who treat a 1400 year old religion spread across three continents as if it was a single thing, purely problematic.

    Islam has tendencies, some very noxious, but it is a global religion which comes in many and varied forms.

    As for ideology and outrage, it would be helpful if people simply applied the same standards; rather than picking and choosing implications according to congeniality. (E.g. no amount of Islamic terror ever indicts any aspect of Islam but any act of extreme right terror indicts every single ideology that one can tie to them, no matter how loosely.)

  16. Mel
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Our resident considered and disinterested man of letters, Lorenzo, gets much of his information on Islam from Daniel “Obama is a Muslim” Pipes, not unlike Mr Breivik. If you look a little harder and stop being so damned lazy you’ll find much better sources of information. Also, while it is OK to read blustering cause-pushers like Pipes you must always be aware that you are being presented with a highly censored, distorted and at times factually incorrect version of reality.

    Much of Islam is on the nose but we don’t need to read Pipes to work that out.

    Personally I think Islam will eventually become more civilised but it may well take a century or two before it reaches the point Christianity is at now. Certainly when the Middle East is no longer flooded by oil money the game will change big time, one way or another.

  17. Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Mel, stop playing ‘gotcha’ games. It’s getting tedious.

    Lorenzo, yes, I meant Geller’s version of _Atlas Shrugs_. Breivik is a huge admirer of her and Spencer, less so of Pipes. The main writer he admires is a pseudonymous blogger called ‘fjordman’. There are entire essays by this blogger excerpted in Breivik’s material.

    In some respects, Breivik’s manifesto is like a potted history of the worst international bloggy flame wars since 2001. All the players are there, including Little Green Footballs, Gates of Vienna, Brussels Journal etc … along with the EDL.

  18. Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    [email protected]

    Our resident considered and disinterested man of letters, Lorenzo, gets much of his information on Islam from Daniel “Obama is a Muslim” Pipes, not unlike Mr Breivik.

    I think that is a record number of false statements in one sentence, even for you. I occasionally glance through Pipes’ blog, but a search of my blog will show I rarely source him. I have never read any of his books.

    My main problem with him is his partisanship in American politics, which infects rather too much of his analysis. When he writes on Islam itself, he can be informative–he has a PhD in the subject, from a serious university (Harvard), and reads Arabic,

    Feel free to recommend better sources of information on Islam. For myself, I can recommend Mark Durie, particularly his The Third Choice, for understanding Islamic theology. Ira Lapidus’s A History of Islamic Societies is a wonderful general history of Islam. For open-minded, sensible, informed and genuinely curious commentary on the contemporary Middle East, Michael Totten.

  19. Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] And, btw, Pipes does not claim that Obama is a Muslim: he claims he is a Christian who some Muslims may regard as an apostate and may had something of a Muslim upbringing.

    [email protected] Yes, I am not surprised Breivik is less impressed with Pipes, his view of Islam would be too nuanced. (Pipes argues, for example, that Islam is going through a particularly unfortunate period at the moment, and medieval Islamic jurisprudence developed various techniques for softening implications.)

    I have read some of Fjordman’s pieces and Brussels Journal. BJ had some useful historical references, and I enjoyed some of his critique of the EU. Fjordman has not lingered enough for me to report any strong impression of him.

    For all its virtues, the blogosphere is no substitute for reading serious books and studies to get your head around a subject. (The one exception I would nominate is that you can learn monetary economics by reading Scott Sumner’s blog, but that is more like an online postgraduate seminar.)

  20. Posted July 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    There’s no mention of Durie in there. He was another Australian I searched on last night. I’ll have to check out the other two.

  21. Movius
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] Nothing involving the Tolkien estate. Just an internal war between (ex) band members

  22. Posted July 26, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] I am not surprised Durie did not make it. Far too careful in his analysis.

  23. Mel
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Oh please, Lorenzo. You have Daniel Pipes on your blogroll. Here you describe Daniel Pipes’ writings as a model of complexity and nuance.

    Daniel Pipes writes articles with titles like: “Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam” that conclude:

    “In sum: Obama was an irregularly practicing Muslim who rarely or occasionally prayed with his step-father in a mosque. This precisely substantiates my statement that he “for some years had a reasonably Muslim upbringing under the auspices of his Indonesian step-father.

    Therefore, what MMfA calls the “Obama-Muslim falsehood” is in fact confirmed by both articles as truthful and accurate.

    Calling this a falsehood is in itself a falsehood.”.

    Compare this with your claim:

    [email protected] And, btw, Pipes does not claim that Obama is a Muslim: he claims he is a Christian who some Muslims may regard as an apostate and may had something of a Muslim upbringing.”

    Obviously I’m not comparing you to Breivik, but I am using your case as an illustration of how Breivik drew water from the same well as libertarians, such as yourself, who oscillate within the currently dominant libertarian paradigm.

  24. Posted July 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    No Totten, and no Lapidus, either. I have also just realised there is so much ‘fjordman’ that it is sometimes difficult to spot what is Breivik’s own work and what is fjordman’s. Material and opinions that I’ve been attributing to Breivik may actually be ‘fjordman’ and vice versa.

    ‘fjordman’ is clearly a different person (if nothing else, even when his writing is not labelled, the styles are so markedly different that ‘fjordman’ is revealed).

    If I were ‘fjordman’ I’d be taking a bloody good long look at myself and my opinions on pretty much everything, really.

    EDITED TO ADD: There is a climate change thread of doom over at Troppo that is now up to 400+ comments. Amazing. Maybe we all need a cup of tea, a Bex and a nice lie down…

  25. Patrick
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    SL, the funny thing about that climate change thread is that KP and Nick Gruen actually appear to be deliberately prolonging it… I think they are missing the old days.

  26. Henry2
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    78,79 and 80;
    What a fascinating exhibit of groupthink! An off hand comment in favor of a theatrical yet confident commentator on a reasonably well regarded leftist blog brought a hail of invective from the gatekeepers. I followed a link by Tim Lambert to his blog in the hope that he might have something more to offer and found it still wanting. While there I found another post which attracted nearly 400 odd comments.

    The similarity of the posts and trains of comments is notable and yet the majority of commenters swap sides. The incongruity is that in changing sides they adopt the arguments that they had vehemently argued against on Club Troppo.

    I think the reason this post got the response it did is that there’s a feeling that if this wall crumbles, recovering any ground will be impossible. Once more to the breaches, dear friends!!

  27. Posted July 27, 2011 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Now 450+ comments. Epic. You may be right, Patrick 😉

  28. kvd
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    [email protected] because I think 78-80 would all have voted for Sue Fondrie

  29. Posted July 27, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    [email protected]: rara aves not rah rah ravers?

    Can a blog get a conservation grant as the home of endangered species?

    (latin mavens: excuse any grammaticos, corrections welcome, a correct version is probably something all too useful).

  30. Posted July 27, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    rarae aves (with the ‘e’ sounded long). 3rd declension feminine. You could still use ‘rara’, I think, because it’s an adjective of quality, but just to be on the safe side, I’ve popped it into the plural.

    I seem to be doing this a lot, don’t I?

  31. Posted July 27, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] – your doing it a lot becoz my english too latin is a lot bad for endings and gramar, more worser than as a kid when I was merly hopless. nigel molesworth cud bet me hollo even then. Chiz.

  32. Posted July 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] None of which adds up to Pipes claiming Obama is a Muslim, which is what you said. So, Pipes has upgraded ‘may’ to ‘did’: I simply do not read him enough to follow such threads. That Pipes is on my blogroll and I cited him as an example of particular range of thought hardly counts as making him a principal source of information on Islam for me, which he is not.

    For an indication of why he is not what the Pamela Geller et al find satisfactory due to is views about the complexities of Islam, consider this link and the debate it links to he had with Wafa Sultan.

    I realise that you do not do arguments, you do accusations and you are obsessed with dividing folk into “good people” and “bad people”, so the notion that one may find some things people say interesting while disagreeing with others seems to be a subtlety too far. But you clearly have no idea what libertarianism is, what makes someone a libertarian and the range of views among libertarians.

    For example, in the US, some of the strongest opposition to the “War on Terror” have come from libertarians (think Ron Paul, the Independent Institute, Will Wilkinson).

    Libertarianism is not “anti-government”: it is elevation of liberty and personal autonomy to very high value. This leads to scepticism about government action, but that does not mean that “antigovernment = libertarian”.

    As far as I am aware, Pipes himself is a fairly conventional conservative Republican in his general politics: he apparently describes himself as a conservative. So, hardly any sort of libertarian icon.

    You really need to acquaint yourself more with the nationalist political tradition. Breivik clearly lies well within the tradition of cultural panic nationalism.

    That we live in large welfare states means that alienated folk may pick up on some libertarian rhetoric, but that does not make them libertarians. It just fits in with such politics long-term pattern of being a “scavenger ideology” in George Mosse’s useful term, sucking up whatever themes or rhetoric seems useful at the time.

  33. kvd
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    you do not do arguments, you do accusations and you are obsessed with dividing folk into “good people” and “bad people”, so the notion that one may find some things people say interesting while disagreeing with others seems to be a subtlety too far.

    To blatantly plagiarise (neologism: buggarise?) something Jacques said: I think you’ve just defined the ‘true Mel’.

  34. Posted July 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] You may well think so, but I could not possibly comment 🙂

    For an indication of intra-libertarian strife, this defense of his father by David Friedman is both touching and apposite.

    Or Milton Friedman himself putting the boot into Austrian business cycle theory. Money, banking and (particularly) central banking. That is what gets so many libertarians really riled up.

    There is a strong libertarian strain in various military SF, in such writers as Michael Z Williamson (Freehold is one of my favourite hard SF yarns) or Tom Kratman (e.g. Caliphate).

    But neither go for simple “Muslims are bad”, even though both (particularly Kratman) clearly think Islam includes some destructive memes. (Indeed, Kratman thinks one of the problem with pandering to the imans is the betrayal involved of liberal-minded Muslims.) But their criticisms really are not so far from the sort of critiques Dawkins, for example, makes of religion generally,

  35. Posted August 6, 2011 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    [email protected] The blogger ‘fjordman’ has revealed himself, announced his intention of abandoning the alias ‘fjordman’ and gone into hiding.

One Trackback

  1. By Skepticlawyer » Excusitis on July 25, 2011 at 12:29 am

    […] He is Margaret Thatcher’s authorised biographer. Regular commenter kvd flagged his article in the long thread where this topic first came up for discussion, but I’d already seen it. I concur with kvd and […]

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