The madness of libertarians

Sage McLaughlin writes:

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit maintains one of the best sources of news links of any blogger, and he’s generally a pretty smart guy. But what a remarkable density of mind, what ideological stupefaction, is revealed by this blog post, which I’ll copy in full:

THIS ISN’T GOOD: CDC Warns Untreatable Gonorrhea is On the Way. “Gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, is increasingly showing resistance to one of the last known effective antibiotic treatments, leading researchers from the Centers for Disease Control to ‘sound the alarm’ about potentially untreatable forms of the disease.”

Really, this isn’t how I envisioned the 21st century turning out.

I am almost awed by this level of cluelessness. Since the 1980’s it’s been pretty clear that that is how things were “turning out”—rampant, incurable disease, spreading human dysfunction, and human misery. Like many libertarians, Reynolds is a technology enthusiast, as well as a staunch defender of the revolution in morals that is presently destroying the fabric of American society. Still, for anyone at this late stage to whine plaintively, “How were we to know?” is just too much to take. I wrote to him and said, “We’ve always known, Glenn. Four thousand years ago we knew. Civilization itself provided us the evidence.”

Now, like many traditionalists, I used to be a libertarian. It’s almost a natural state for many wayward Americans looking for something intellectually solid to stand on. But after some time, and after one has taken in a little real-world evidence, the solidity of libertarianism’s monomania looks less like an exercise in principle, and more like madness. Beginning with a couple of simple (and usually unquestioned) premises about force and freedom, libertarians push those premises until they become barriers to common sense. They persist in this insanity no matter what the consequences, so that they are always shocked when they find out, e.g., that people engaging in consensual behaviors often behave in ways that have massive negative social externalities for everyone else around them, whether or not there was any “force” directed at the wider society. Another instance is their absurd attempts to pretend that a corporation that is “free” to flood our airwaves with moral degeneracy of every kind is somehow not “imposing its morals” on society.

Our only real hope is that liberalism’s Gotterdammerung will induce a massive re-orientation of our society toward natural law. Arguing with libertarians and liberals, important as that is, won’t do it. All we can do is to try to preserve what we can, so that it can be picked up by later, hopefully more chastened generations. It seems that’s our duty, even if it often appears futile, as it does when conversing with libertarians.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 14, 2012 06:50 PM | Send

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