Libertarianism in the United States is an awkward alliance

Sunday, July 24th, 2022

Virginia Postrel notes that libertarianism in the United States is an awkward alliance between nasty “leave me alone” types and nice “don’t dictate to others” types, Arnold Kling reports:

She invoked David Hackett-Fischer’s classic Albion’s Seed. That might be a good book to discuss at some point. The nasties are the descendants of the Scotch-Irish “borderers.” The nice are the descendants of the Quaker migration. The former are Trump supporters. The latter are more likely to be #neverTrumpers.


  1. Gavin Longmuir says:

    “Postrel said that libertarianism in the United States is an awkward alliance between nasty ‘leave me alone’ types and nice ‘don’t dictate to others’ types.”

    What is “nice” about people who don’t want to dictate to others that they should not defecate on the streets, or shoot up drugs outside a school? “Worthless Wimps” is the term that comes to mind, not “nice”.

    What is “nasty” about wanting to be left alone? Most of the people who want to be left alone arrange their lives to minimize interactions with awkward people; they are not trying to dictate to anyone.

    Based on her foolish statement as recorded by Kling, Postrel seems to be fairly stupid and extremely biased in her NeverTrumpism. Opps! Is that a “nice” thing to say or a “nasty”?

  2. Harry Jones says:

    The Amish will shun you if you don’t toe their line. Where do they fit into this?

    At least they leave you alone after they’ve shunned you.

    The only nasty people are the ones who won’t leave you alone after you’ve left them alone. They are the reason why “live and let live” can’t work.

    The trouble with libertarians is they don’t understand how power works.

  3. Wang Wei Lin says:

    Gavin: “Postrel seems to be fairly stupid…”

    It’s not just Ms. Postrel. Liberals are generally stupid people, as are the “never Trumpers,” both of which have a messiah complex to save us Dirt people from ourselves.

  4. Lu An Li says:

    Libertarians to me seem to have an unnatural obsession with four topics. 1. Marijuana. 2. Precious metals. 3. Income tax. 4. Alternative health cures. All to me are specious. I am sure there is much more to libertarianism, but those are the four major issues I perceive they are overly excited about. #1 maybe not so much now.

  5. Bob Sykes says:

    The problem with libertarians is that they regard people are freely interchangeable atoms, without any culture or history or even genetics. They are fully on board the marxist view of people.

    One consequence is a total disregard on nations and nation states. The fact that current immigration, legal plus illegal, runs about 3 million people per year does not worry them, because there is no difference between some White Lutheran in Minnesota and a Nigerian Muslim.

    Libertarians also are reluctant to challenge sexual perversions, even pedophilia. The Christian Community promoted by Catholics, Orthodox, and some high Protestant churches like the Anglicans is repugnant to them.

  6. Szopen says:

    Bob Sykes, yup. Immigrants do not come from Immigrantland. I had the same thought when I read a recent post by Bryan Caplan saying that when my country accepted a few million Ukrainian refugees (mostly women with children from a neighbouring country, speaking similar language, looking almost the same, sharing common history…) that meant it proved wrong people against mass immigration.

  7. Chedolf says:

    Bob Sykes: “The problem with libertarians is that they regard people are freely interchangeable atoms…”

    Because libertarianism is applied autism. It’s not just a funny line, it’s really true.

    Bryan Caplan once asked people following him on Facebook if they thought he’s autistic. About 50% said “yes.” My reaction is “only half?”

    People like him have trouble perceiving a lot of ordinary social phenomena. There are some who can make up for this lacuna with disciplined, brilliant data analysis, but Caplan isn’t one of them.

  8. VXXC says:

    At least 90% of Americans are Libertarian when it comes to MONEY. Or their own personal property or wealth. The secret of America is Private Property protected from Political Greed or Political folly of being generous at first then grasping back the money on the back end when the bills come due.
    Machiavelli warned about this in The Prince, the Liberal Prince is loved when he is dispensing money and hated when he comes to collect the taxes, the Liberal spending is followed by tyrannical collection or the fall of the Prince.

    That is the secret of America to anyone who looks beyond the Freedom paplum – Dirk Pitt the Elder saw our GREED moved us to fight the French once a 40% subsidy was provided along with the promise of political equality – The Empire of Liberty. That is the Colonies moving from reluctance to fight the French and Indian war [the American theatre of the 7 years war] into action, organization, taxes, logistics, raising and providing for armies.
    After the war won Pitt fell and the Crown foolishly tried to renege on full political rights and collect their 40% back -the colonies were already on the hook for 60%.

    [In fairness the English as they will tell you are congenital duplicitous c--nts, don't blame them they are born that way, it's not their fault].

    Sherman saw it at Shiloh, that if the property of the Confederacy was damaged or destroyed their fight was over. Hence his march later that won the war.

    This is the secret of German, English, American rule. The people have property and their political arrangements are such that it’s more or less protected.

    The downside is such people are 90% useless for any action or war or revolution that endangers said property. Greed uber alles, they send their kids into nests of predators called teachers knowing the dangers , but …education …

    Greed uber alles.

    Just as Hitler saw the Middle Classes were utterly useless if they had to fight, that only the workers had a reason, just as Lenin mocked justly the Petit Bourgeois so did Sherman and before him Pitt see the truth. For 90% of Americans – and English, Germans – the main thing is their property and wealth.

    This is stabilizing in good times and a fatal block to action in hard times or danger.

    A lot of you are gonna die in the near future, counting your money to the last thought…and you’ll for the most part starve.

    “…as for the 10% who will sacrifice for the common good, we’re checked at present and checked by the rest of you. We can wait, we learned to wait from the Arabs, the Pashtu.”

    BYE. Go count your money now.

Leave a Reply