Sometimes people mistake me for a Republican, never a Democrat. In fact I am neither. I derive my political attitude, largely Libertarian, from my moral attitude, which is more or less Objectivist (see Ayn Rand). By comparison to most I was a late comer to Objectivism. I didn’t arrive at my moral attitude from reading Rand. I was well into my thirties lounging on a beach in Hawaii when I first read the Virtue of Selfishness, and discovered there was a philosophical language around the attitude I already knew I possessed. I remember thinking: “That sounds a lot like me.”
All these years later you still see Rand exalted in the darnedest places. The comments there indicate not everyone agrees.
You hear all kinds of epithets lobbed at Democrats and Republicans. A special set is reserved for Libertarians, including, but not limited to, crackpot, whacko, or Utopian. Serious but more generous critics prefer terms like “unrealistic”. These people provide counter-arguments of variable quality why a nation cannot – and never could have – self-organize around the principle of rational self-interest, and apologize instead for the variable amount of coercion that is necessary, they say, to hold the polity together, to keep the dark side of self-interest from ruining freedom and liberty for all.
Problem is, once you grant a little coercion is necessary for X (where x=your favorite reason), then the camel’s nose is under the tent, and before long he’s all the way in. In less than one hundred years in our case. Before long you have politicians at the podium during a nationally televised debate unabashedly approving of making a supposed bad guy feel as though he is being drowned, if that’s what it takes to get important information. Or not. Either way, yes yes, by any means necessary, the AmericanPeople® must be kept safe.
Instead of expressions of outrage at the apologists for torture, we hear even more pressing concerns:
More important, Bachmann’s shoes clash with her clothes. Forgive us if this sounds harsh, but a female candidate cannot convey Commander-In-Chief readiness in backless sandals paired with an evening suit, just as a male candidate wouldn’t score points wearing a suit and tie with mandals. [Source]
In the meantime, the lone Libertarian on stage, the unelectable one, well-coiffed if that really matters, is rarely called on.
I’m quite sure it’s because he is unrealistic.