Friday, July 27, 2012

Why Do Conservatives Misunderstand Libertarians

A gang of us over at Talk Polywell were discussing my recent post Emotional Decision Making.

One commenter left a link to Why Liberals Misunderstand Conservatives. Well that got me thinking, "Why do conservatives misunderstand libertarians?" Naturally I added a few words on the subject to the discussion.


For example, one of the leading approaches to the study of political attitudes states that political conservatism is a form of motivated social cognition: people embrace conservatism in part "because it serves to reduce fear, anxiety, and uncertainty;...


If you have been following along some of the other threads that is exactly the point I have been making about some of our conservative friends.

They hate that.

Politics is in the main a fear driven activity. To get meta to it you have to be mostly free of fears. i.e. you can't let your gut drive your thought. It leaves you without reason.

Carl Sagan looked at that in his "The Dragons of Eden" book.

When we live in fear we are little better than animals.

Which is why conservatives hate libertarians. "What? You are not afraid of X? What is wrong with you?" In fact just telling them they should be free of fear (it was at one time referred to as "Trust In God") drives them into a frenzy. Which gives a fine object lesson to the lurkers.


Then I added a comment to the "Why Liberals Misunderstand Conservatives" site. Reprized at Talk Polywell with a few prefatory remarks:

My attitude is: what ever comes up I will deal with it. What is the point of being afraid?

Here is a comment I left there:

You don't get libertarians. They are not morally impoverished. They are free of fear (mostly).

Which makes them a whole other animal compared to the left or the right.

In a different age it would have been said "They Trust in God". So important it is even printed on our money.


Which is to say we live in a godless age. An age full of fear. Which may be why the founders said that without God liberty can't survive. Those who printed "In God We Trust" on our money were trying to send us a message. It was not about Talmudic like scholarship and the "shalls" and "shall nots" - which vary according to place and time. It was being confident that what ever came up you would deal with it to the best of your ability. No nanny state required to prevent some things from coming up.

So let me repeat here something from some of my favorite girls. The Bene Gesserit Sisters.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.


Cross Posted at Classical Values


HA HA HA said...

The thing is, when you refuse to engage with somebody's ideas and instead resort to pre-adolescent playground taunting, what do you expect? Do you expect to be taken seriously?

How about an analogy: Take for example the argument that guns should be banned because everybody who thinks otherwise is either clinically paranoid, or sexually inadequate.

Do you find that persuasive? Or just depressing? Well, how does it differ from your argument? It doesn't. It's a childish playground taunt. I know analogies don't work well on the internet, but can you see the similarity there?

You know very little about conservatives, because you're too smart to listen to anybody but yourself. It's real hard to learn anything that way.

M. Simon said...

Ah. I see your fear has gotten the better of you.

Now I actually presented some arguments and cited sources.

What did you give me in return?

A squat.

Is that the best you can do? If so it confirms my understanding of and interactions with conservatives. They have no arguments. That leaves them stuck with the same thing the left has - feelings.

I do find it amusing that the atheist libertarians live in less fear that the folks who supposedly Trust In God.

And for the record I'm no atheist.

And also for the record. I know quite a bit about conservatives. I have discussions with them all the time.

Try over here for instance.

Classical Values

And also you might want to study conservative history. You would call the conservatives of 1900 libertarians today.

And what are today's conservatives? Christian Democrats.

Anonymous said...

That's right, Simon, involve everything in semantics, as if names are more important than identities.

I hope your fears don't prevent you from seeing the flimsy reality of labels.

M. Simon said...

Well Diane I see that conservatives still have no arguments.

And OK you don't like conservatives being called Christian Democrats or the fact that the Conservatives of 1900 would be called libertarians today - making their claim of conserving ludicrous. Fine.

So would it be OK to observe that the Christian Progressives who championed the various prohibitions (drugs, alcohol) are the progenitors of today's conservatives?

I mean really. I'm just some obscure blogger on an obscure blog. Why would you want to improve my Google ranking?

Well thank you. My ranking was falling and in six months or a year I would have been off the front page - death for a blog. Now I'm back near the top. Thanks!

Visit often. Every click helps.

The Samizdata folks have noted the same thing in Britain Misunderstanding Libertarians. And they see it the same way I do. Trust in God has given way to fear.

In fact I'm amused that atheists have less fear than the "Godly".

Isn't faith supposed to free you of fear?

Tom Bridgeland said...

Hi Simon. Tend to agree with you here. Since I'd like some click-throughs myself, I present an article I wrote on why libertarian arguments fail politically, even when I think libertarians mostly get it right.

M. Simon said...

Tom's link goes here:

Libertarians Fail Because They Don't Understand Human Nature

M. Simon said...

Tom - the most fundamental thing libertarians get is that government is evil as this fake George Washington quote points out.

"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." attributed to Geo. Washington

In fact the conservatives of 1900 got that. Te people who call themselves Conservatives today are merely the Christian wing of the former Progressive coalition. Or as I like to say:

We have two parties in America. Democrats and Christian Democrats.

That is changing. The libertarians are gaining the youth. Why? The Drug War has been making war on the youth. Nothing like a war to wake people up to reality.

That was the value of 1776.

M. Simon said...

I have more to say on the subject at:

A Social Look At Libertarianism