Monday, May 4, 2009

One label, two camps, and never the twain shall meet

Vox mentions a strange disparity:

I find this sort of thing to be rather funny. It appears that Vox Popoli is rated the #7 Christian Libertarian blog while failing to rank among the top 100 libertarian blogs and websites.

Though, actually, it's not that strange at all. The answer is that there are libertarians and then there are libertarians.

One camp is centered in Washington, D.C. This camp sees libertarianism as little more than the right to use illicit drugs, rent prostitutes, and engage in various bizarre sexual acts. Examples of this kind of libertarian include Bill Maher and Matt Welch.

The other camp is decidedly not based in Washington, D.C. It is less centralized, though I suppose one could say Auburn, Alabama is a main base of operations. This camp arrives at libertarianism via ideas about property rights, from which all else is then derived. Examples of this kind of libertarian are Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard.

These two camps clashed a bit during the Republican primary of last year. I blogged about it a little in this post.

The differences between these two groups are not trivial. We're talking about opposite ideas about the very nature of government here.

The first link in Vox's post only lists Christian libertarians, so it is already limited in nature. It is the second list of "top 100 libertarian blogs and websites" that needs a little pruning. Mr. Messamore first must decide which camp he wishes to list, then remove the links from the other camp. Because as it is, his list is pretty meaningless; he might as well make a list of top conservative blogs that includes stuff like Daily Kos and msnbc.

This is a decision that every man who calls himself a libertarian must make. Do you call yourself that because you just want to smoke pot and have sex with hookers? Or is your political association based on something a little deeper and more fundamental, something that impacts not only your brain's production of dopamine but every other aspect of your life?

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but not all that call themselves roses deserve the name. It is the same with libertarianism and libertarians, and it is important to remember that when dealing with the other camp.

UPDATE: Just to be clear, I mentioned Welch as an example of the D.C. libertarian camp, not necessarily as an example of one who indulges in unseemly personal activities. I have no idea what he does in his private life, nor do I care to know. Sorry for any misconceptions.

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