There are so many straw men flung at libertarians that we must almost be eligible for some sort of agricultural subsidy. (This, in case you missed it, is irony). And over at Dim Post right now most of the usual straw men are being flung by commenters there with all the usual abandon – on a post that somehow links the move by the un-libertarian Rodney Hide to do something or other about dogs to the supposed problems a libertarian would have with packs of wild animals.
Yes, risible, I know – but all the usual straw men are on display in the comments there.
So this prompted me to dig up and link to and old post by Jonathan Pearce at Samizdata who, with some of the Samizda commentariat, between them collected up some of the most common of the well-known libertarian straw men, most of them in evidence with the Dim Bulbs:
- Free marketeers do not believe in law and rules of any kind.
- If you are a skeptic about global warming and other alleged environmental terrors, you care nothing for future generations and might also be in the pay of Big Oil.
- Libertarians believe in the idea that humans are born with a mental "blank slate" and hence pay no heed to inherited characteristics of any kind.
- For capitalism to work successfully, everybody has to be obsessed with making money all the time.
- Capitalism can only survive in an expanding economy.
- Libertarians are uninterested in preserving certain old traditions and cultures.
- Libertarians tend to be loners and discount the importance of community life.
- If you've done nothing wrong then you have nothing to fear from a state-sponsored identity card.
- By opposing state ownership, libertarians are taking things away from people - education, healthcare, food from their mouths etc.
- Libertarians talk as if every family lived on its own forty acres, and that everyone is more or less an equal player.
- Libertarianism ignores the collective power of modern corporate capitalism.
- Libertarianism is fantasy. The world needs pragmatic political and economic thought, not some deeply rationalist philosophy that has never, and will never, reflect the reality of the world we live in.
- Both Marxist and libertarian may congratulate themselves on their superior and enlightened understanding of how society ought to be run...
- ...It's a case of 'every man for himself', and devil take the hindmost...
- An easy example of market failure in this regard is homeopathy ... yet the stuff still sells. This is is not rational behaviour.
- Libertarians deny human nature ... in the Libertarian fantasy, once Libertarianism is brought about ... everything with go swimmingly.
- The problem with economic libertarianism, is that it has to repress the human instinct to organise into collectives.
- Libertarians would prefer to revert to a state where hired help was cheap and the person
cleaning the street lived in a slum and had a life expectancy of 35.
- Libertarians evidently want a pure abstract system where people make choices purely based on me me me.
- Libertarians are all selfish bastards who want to see people dying in the street
- Libertarianism lauds union-busting,but ignores the power of corporate collectivism.
- The market was created and is sustained by 'government intervention'.
- You don't believe in public education? You must want everyone to be uneducated!
- A Libertarian is just a dumb conservative who wants to be able to do drugs and cheat on their wives without feeling guilty.
More straw men there than a thousand-acre field in Kansas. And just for the Dim Bulbs, these are things libertarians don’t agree with, okay.
Read rebuttals of most of those canards here in the original post and the comments thread (and in the many, many Cue Card Libertarianism posts down there on the right-hand sidebar) and feel free to post any others in the comments below – just as you did when I first posted this.