Perspectives: Passing The Torch
“The torch has been passed to a new generation of…plow people!”
-Mayor Quimby, The Simpsons
A long, long time ago, before the Earth had cooled and Man used dinosaurs for both agricultural and recreational purposes, I suggested to Being Libertarian’s Editor-in-Chief Martin “The Magistrate” van Staden that we write the occasional editorial. He, in reply, suggested I “go to hell.” He then berated me for several minutes for coming up with such a stupid idea. I persevered, arguing that we should have some forum for our writers to expound on an issue without having to write a long form opinion, and thus a compromise was born: the weekly feature “Perspectives.”
The concept of “Perspectives” is not unique; in fact, it’s quite derivative. I certainly did not originate the idea of a conversation between a website’s editors and writers. What I do hope is unique about “Perspectives” is that it captures the libertarian variant of the joke about 7 people having 8 different opinions. This joke is meant to poke fun or disparage whatever group of people the joke is being made about, but I think it actually gets to the core of one of the more important character traits of many libertarians, which is a commitment (sometimes manifesting more as a seeming obligation to be contrary) to seeking other possible explanations for current events and phenomena that deviate from “conventional wisdom” or that which is disseminated by the mainstream media and prevailing power structures, i.e., duh, government. In other words, we can be ideological, but we don’t have to be dogmatic. It is the dogmatic tendencies of conservatives and progressives that we spend so much time railing against and trying to subvert. The two terms are, of course, related, but they are not synonyms.
Liberals believe they are data driven, that they employ science and do “what works.” Conservatives advocate for the free market, which is supposed to operate as a data driven concern. We know that both the Left and the Right, on a regular basis, deny the validity of new information that challenges their worldviews. I hope “Perspectives” showed that we libertarians do not prize uniformity of opinion over critical thinking.
This leads to a variant on another joke, which is that trying to get a bunch of libertarians to focus on and have a discussion about a particular topic is like trying to herd cats. I tried my best to not conduct the conversation so much as just start it by presenting a question and my answer, or a topic and my opinion, and allowing the participants to bat it around like a game of tetherball. Each week’s installment of “Perspectives” that is presented to Being Libertarian’s audience is about half of the actual conversation we would have since it would often devolve into tangents, gifs and memes, most of which were about if taxation is theft (it is), if libertarianism really is gaining in popularity (it’s not), or if Charles Peralo has a bowl cut (he used to). Often I’d have to bring the conversation back around to the topic at hand, but that was OK; libertarians usually walk to the beats of their own drums. It’s why we started “Perspectives” in the first place, to provide a forum for disparate opinions from liberty-minded writers regarding an issue. The Magistrate and I wanted to expose the nuances that exist within issues; putting forth a chorus of writers who always agreed with each other would be a pointless exercise. We didn’t want to put forth an orthodoxy of thought. The feature is called “Perspectives,” not “Perspective.”
What I like about British TV shows is they tend to have a short series run, as opposed to popular American shows which go on forever until they do not resemble their original incarnation. We’ve recently added several editors to our staff, so now is a good time for me to pass the torch to someone else to help keep “Perspectives” fresh. Being Libertarian’s Assignment Editor Brandon Kirby is taking over. Despite being Canadian, he’s a good writer, free thinker and not a half-bad dresser. He’ll change the format of “Perspectives” a bit. We hope you will continue to read the feature and share your own perspectives in the comments section. Hopefully, passing the torch to Brandon will be an example of “creative destruction” and I will now cease employing the phrase “pass the torch.” No matter what shape “Perspectives” takes in the future, it will no longer begin with:
“Being Libertarian Perspectives serves as a weekly, multi-perspective opinion and analysis piece by members of Being Libertarian’s writing team. Every week the panel, comprised of randomly selected writers, answers a question based on current events or libertarian philosophy. Managing Editor Dillon Eliassen moderates and facilitates the discussion.”
Thank you to the readers, thank you to Being Libertarian’s writers and editors who have participated in the feature’s installments, and thank you to Brandon for actually agreeing to do this. Sucker.
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