The <i>Proper</i> Terms of the Debate

Looking back at last week's events in the blogopshere, I see more and more evidence of a promising trend. When Kevin Drum, Matthew Yglesias, Crooked Timber, Brad DeLong, and other sundry blogerati take time out to ridicule ideas about liberty, that is a good sign. It's better than their ridiculing Jonah Goldberg for wanting to use more tax dollars to fund the Drug War instead of using them to fund more entitlement programs.

The axis has shifted, in a way that makes much more sense.

Ten years ago, very few people had ever heard of libertarians, much less people who score 160 on Bryan Caplan's Libertarian Purity Test. There are no libertarians on television, and very, very few in major newspapers and magazines, or radio. The chance that someone would actually encounter libertarian ideas from a knowledgable source able to make logical arguments and defend the ideology would be slim-to-none.

So when I read the orgy of mockery on Brad DeLong's blog, I don't despair. Heck, when I first heard the views of some of the more consistent libertarians, I reacted in much the same way as much of the blogosphere. "These guys are detached from reality." "They are utopians and fruitcakes." "How can anyone actually have those views!?!?!" I was angry. I was upset. My blood would boil. The usual adjectives of "doctrinaire", "extremist", and "loony" emanated from my mouth. Lucky for me, things that make me angry also make me curious.

And although we have a long way to go yet, at least the ideas are seeping through. The very presence of the name-calling and mockery is evidence for this. The internet, and more specifically the blogosphere has shifted the terms of the debate from left vs. right to libertarian vs. authoritarian. Read any major blog regularly, and you will see it. And the blogosphere is growing at a breakneck clip.

It's no accident that both the Reformation and the Enlightenment occurred only after the invention of the printing press. There is a reason that the USSR banned photocopy machines. Ideas are powerful, and the media through which they are conveyed are the robust engines of their dissemination.

The main reason I wanted to start blogging was because I saw a unique opportunity to take part in at least marginally changing in the culture of the world. Ideas are important, and the world wide web laughs at political boundaries. Blogging is currently the fastest growing medium of the English language; the only limit is our ambition. So I salute you my blogmates, my liberty-loving fellow travelers, and our regular readers. Let's make the most of it!

In the words of my macho libertarian co-blogger, "Bring on the ridicule." I'm loving it.

Viva la internet. Viva la blogosphere!

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Well said

Well said

You're wrong.

You're wrong.

Are there any good,

Are there any good, consistently libertarian radio shows? Something with a similar format to NPR, but without the irritating statist assumptions? Something like a radio version of Economist magazine but without the English bias against self-defense?

I guess the alternative is to get IP connectivity for my car and pipe my favorite blogs through a text to speech program...

What's the saying? First

What's the saying?

First they ignore you, then they mock you, then they start fighting you, then you win.

Or something like that.

Mark, I've always found Neal


I've always found Neal Boortz interesting, even though I disagree with him on a number of issues. Walter Williams is good when he subs for Rush. And Larry Elder is supposed to be a libertarian, although his show is not syndicated in my area.

Mark, thanks for clearly

Mark, thanks for clearly defining what you're looking for in a libertarian radio show. I've been interested in starting one (and a libertarian ad agency) in Sacramento (maybe going national eventually). You're questions are helping me to develop & focus my efforts. Please share any other thoughts/advice.