Brace yourself, I’m about to go on a rant. If you don’t feel like reading a rant just scroll up to the next story.
I’m easily irritated by inconsistency, which is why I loath the /r/Libertarian subreddit. While the subreddit is a great source for libertarian news the contributing members are extremely inconsistent. Yesterday I posted about the story of Leah Plante. She is facing cage time because she is refusing to testify against her fellows in a grand jury. Most libertarians would find such a situation reprehensible as one has the right to remain silent. This story made it to /r/Libertarian and, in general, most comments were on the side of Leah. As expected a large number of libertarians were opposed to the idea of coerced testimonies and witch hunts against political dissidents. That was until somebody pointed out that Leah has been involved in the Occupy movement. Suddenly the general consensus of /r/Libertarian went from “This case is bullshit, you shouldn’t be coerced into testifying against somebody!” to “Fuck that bitch! Occupiers deserve everything they get!”
What the fuck? People only have rights so long as they’re not involved in political movements you detest? A person has the right to free speech or to remain silent unless they’re not a libertarian? That, ladies and gentlemen, is a hypocritical stance if there ever was one.
As a libertarian I’ve found myself defending some very unsavory characters. I find myself defending the right of racists, bigots, etc. to speak freely. I find myself defending the right of those who have committed fraud to keep and bear arms. I find myself defending lots of people who I vehemently disagree with because libertarianism is, at least I thought, supposed to be able equal rights for all. It shouldn’t matter if you’re black or white, man or woman, libertarian or communist. If you’re a human being you should enjoy the same freedoms as every other human being. These freedoms, at least according to most libertarian philosophies, include not being coerced into actions you have no desire to take.
This “us” vs. “them” tribalistic bullshit needs to end. I’m not a big fan of collectivism and spend quite a bit of time arguing against it but that doesn’t mean I will suddenly do a 180 degree turn on my beliefs when a collectivist is facing a bad situation. Remaining consistent is important when you’re trying to make a philosophical argument. If you’re preaching one thing but doing another people will soon ignore everything you say. Arguing that everybody should live free of coercion one moment and then claiming coercion is perfectly acceptable the next moment makes you a hypocrite and nobody listens to hypocrites.
That’s my two cents, spend it however you want.