I’ve noticed something with libertarians. In person, they are capable of lengthy, logical, heavily-researched argumentation, and far more capable than either leftists, conservatives, or communists. Online, however, they appear to be the most easily-triggered of all political ideologies.
As the Director of Being Libertarian Canada, I can assure the reader that the slightest deviation is met with extreme hostility. One of the greatest defenders of capitalism is Milton Friedman, who also held a violent position concerning support for NATO foreign policy. Quoting Friedman elicits triggering among libertarians.
The fault is not within the stars but within ourselves. I’m not referring to the poorly educated within our ranks. I’m referring to people who are at the peak of intellection who cannot manage their emotions when they arrive at a perception of a disagreement.
Hayek was too much of a statist for Mises. Ayn Rand can be seen throwing temper tantrums from the slightest disagreement or hostile questions put to her on 1970’s television shows, she turned her back to William F. Buckley at a public engagement because he said he had to flog himself to read Atlas Shrugged (personally, the flogging is preferable).
Ronald Reagan has said things in defense of our movement. Bernie Sanders has supported some positions in defense of our movement. Tulsi Gabbard today is defending elements of our movement. Noam Chomsky, a communist, as an anarcho-communist, will often say somethings libertarians can agree with.
The trouble is not our enemies, it is our unwillingness to partner with them when they are correct.
We cannot even partner with ourselves, let alone those well outside our movement. Accomplishing things in politics involves compromise. The defeat of Hitler came at the extreme cost of partnering with Stalin.
The economy works in much the same way. Milton Friedman’s famous illustration of the pencil is the eloquent explanation of how people who don’t know each other, and may hate each other, come together to produce the metal, the wood, the rubber, the ink, the materials to harvest things things, all around the world, to create a single pencil.
The oil refinery in my province refines Saudi oil. I once burned Saudi Arabia’s most profitable export to go protest Saudi Arabia. In order to accomplish one’s goals, it’s necessary to partner with disreputable people.
Triggering is an important step in mental health. If one is only exposed to ideas they agree with, they experience an egregious echo chamber that breeds extremism. Avoidance of resistance produces lightness. Like a muscle that is never challenged, so too, a mind that is never tested becomes weak and easily defeated by opposition.
Working with people you disagree with is an integral part of gaining from their strengths and their gaining from yours. Working with people you disagree with is a huge step toward harmony.
Libertarians should expose themselves to oppositional thought.
If there were any books I could recommend to the libertarian community, it would be Hazlitt’s Economics In One Basic Lesson – but in practice, it would actually be Marx’s Communist Manifesto, or Keynes’ General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money.
We could sit around being angry with one another and accomplish nothing, or work with the environmentalists to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. We must work with the socialists to eradicate war and central banking. We must work with the conservatives to reduce taxes.
The future of liberty is bright. Hayek once wrote of the road to serfdom. Serfdoms were once the norm. Now, this is a democracy. Corporate lobbyists began to infiltrate to regain power over us. Now, off-the-grid-living is becoming a reality. Currencies are becoming independent of the banks, and it is possible to place them in locations free of government tax laws. We simply need to work with each other.