With the electorate getting more comfortable with libertarian ideas, a Maginot Line of hackery is being built to keep the barbarians out.
The latest is over at Reuters, where Sally Kohn writes one of the silliest pieces on the topic I’ve ever read. Using Peter Thiel’s seasteading efforts (”sovereign nations built on oil-rig-type platforms anchored in international waters”) as her touch-point she expounds on this “sinister” and “un-American” ideology lurking deep in the dark souls of otherwise “tame-seeming libertarians.”
Don’t like the idea of tax dollars paying for public schools or highway construction or Medicare—or don’t like the idea of taxes at all? The brave new floating world offers just the solution. And if the self-appointed creators wish it, there would be no restrictions on guns or automatic weapons. Or, for that matter, no prohibition against murder. Pesky “moral suasion”!
Automatic weapons and murder for all! (The Most Dangerous Game starring Peter Thiel as Zaroff.) Was she joking? I can’t tell.
No, I don’t “like” the idea forcing citizens to join a Washington-run health care program or forcing parents to pay for crappy school that fail their kids year after year. But I’ve yet to meet a libertarian who opposes restrictions on homicide. Perhaps I don’t get out often enough. I always knew there were many schools of libertarian thought, all of them having something to do with an underlying belief that an individual ought to have the freedom to live his/her life as he/she likes as long he/she respects the individual rights of other hes/shes. Critics always seem to ignore the latter half of the idea. Imaginary anarchy, racism, and hedonism ensue.
Kohn also informs us that libertarians don’t want roads and would like to abolish FEMA and the TSA—which God gave us in 1979 and 2002, respectively—because if government isn’t helping no one is. (I suspect the folks at the Reason Foundation have probably done more thinking about transportation today than Kohn has in her entire life.)
She tells us that anti-corporate he-devils used to avoid regulation—even the law—for personal gain but today he-devils want to start new countries even as they look to destroy old ones. Never mind, that the modern-day Robber Baron has a better chance enriching himself by buying into government. As long as it’s environmental friendly cronyism this is to be admired.
There are many substantive arguments available in this debate, but it seems that the effort is to either misinform or scare the hell out of people.
Do libertarians like Peter Thiel really want to live in America? (Evidently he doesn’t? Right?) I suppose you’d have to ask him. I’m only a mushy small “l” classical liberal type and I like living in America. But if America becomes a place where government has its coercive hands in every aspect of life and business—the kind of America that Kohn envisions—then seasteading is going to look mighty attractive.
David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Blaze. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi. This column first appeared at Reason.com.