P. Z. Myers Hates You Worse Than the Nazis and the Communists

P. Z. Myers posted an article on his web site titled "Miéville takes a whack at the Libertarians"

"My least favorite political/economic group is the Libertarians, so it is a wonderfully pleasant experience to watch as China Miéville takes a sharp and dismissive rhetorical blade to a Libertarian pipe-dream.

...

Well said — I think the institutionalized selfishness, petty small-mindedness, and bourgeois values run amuck of the libertarians represent the worst of America — and that finding common cause, supporting both social and economic equality, and striving for a real community of liberty (not that penny-pinching masquerading as freedom that libertarians espouse) represent the best."

I think the fact that both the big "L" libertarians dislike me calling myself a libertarian, and the fact that libertarians have proposed stuff like this, was why I decided not to call myself a libertarian anymore. I'm a responsibilian for now till I come up with a better label. I do think however that P. Z. is being a little harsh on you libertarians.

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Patri Friedman already blogged about this

There are a few entries about this, for example this one. What's your reaction to his reaction? All that PZ Myers has done is quoted the material (which was already addressed here) and added some of his own bile to it. It doesn't really further the discussion to quote his bile, unless your point is that critics of libertarianism have very little to say about it that has any intellectual value. No argument from me on that point.

Update: I checked out the comments to see what you wrote. Your comment was fine. Here's a sampling of the other comments. My overall assessment: the commenters make PZ Myers look sagacious by contrast.

some kind of moral principle of you deserve what you work for crap

Next to Bushites, they are the trash a society like ours is doomed to generate

Calling oneself "libertarian" or espousing any of the beliefs associted with said label is the height of political laziness.

Unfortunately, many people would rather blindly hold to a simple ideology than deal with a difficult truth.

It's almost like they live in some kind of a fantasy
world where roads, bridges, sewer systems, etc just
happen- somehow.

it is blind and ignorant to think that any where in the modern world
you "earn you bread" by your self and are not dependent on the rest of
society.

And so on and so forth. Drivel.

 

I still don't understand

I still don't understand what the phrase "Pinochet of Penzance" means. It sounds like an insult, reads likes a pun, and kicks like an idiom, but damned if I know what it's supposed to signify.

I may be beating a dead

I may be beating a dead horse but:

- Pirates of Penzance: a comic opera making fun of pirates
- Pinochet: a dictator associated with libertarianism by the left for pushing some free market reforms in Chile

The libertarians being made fun want to live on the sea... they are inexperienced and a bit ridiculous as in Pirates of Penzance but are also dangerous because they hold anti-socialist ideals hence they are Pinochet... Pinochet alliterates with Pirate, hence Pinochet of Penzance... slightly ridiculous anti-communists dreaming to live at sea.

Ah. 

Ah. 

Pinochet

Pinochet: a dictator associated with libertarianism by the left for pushing some free market reforms in Chile

Oh...is that it? I thought they just called him a libertarian because he didn't kill as many people as the typical left-wing dictator. Not killing people is pretty libertarian.

Quite the contrary

"Calling oneself "libertarian" or espousing any of the beliefs associted with said label is the height of political laziness."

Quite the contrary. Saying you renounce power over other people and ought to treat everyone by their own rules, is the noblest political stance of all.

He changed the subject

"Unfortunately, many people would rather blindly hold to a simple ideology than deal with a difficult truth."
Maybe so, but I thought we were talking about libertarians. There aren't many libertarians, unless you simply define them to be one of four political poles, a recent ludicrous ploy.

Yeah, someone sent this to

Yeah, someone sent this to me, but I just didn't think it was worth commenting or responding. They can dis their caricature of libertarians in their echo chamber all they want as far as I'm concerned. If they have any substantive criticism or show any understanding of what libertarianism actually is, then maybe they're worth talking to / paying attention to.

Pipe-dreams

Lots of libertarian ideas are pipe-dreams. Sure, floating cities are pipe-dreams today. But so is minarchism. So is Constitutionalism. So is federalism. I'm not embarrassed by any libertarian pipe-dreams if the pipe-dream is consistent with self-interest because in the long term, self-interest will prevail. Why NOT starting talking about it now, as long as we stay skeptical and self-critical?

"P. Z. Myers Hates You Worse

"P. Z. Myers Hates You Worse Than the Nazis and the Communists"

This is not surprising, considering lines like this:

"finding common cause, supporting both social and economic equality, and striving for a real community of liberty . . . represent the best."

If he's expecting government to work toward a "common cause" and establish "social and economic equality", it's likely he would be right at home with Nazis and Communists.

Worst comment

My favorite comment for sheer bigotry was by one H. Humbert "They're still lazy, selfish, greedy and cruel, but at least any lip service about the sanctity of human life has been done away with."

What am I missing?

I am truly surprised that nobody here is talking about the obvious tension presented by this. A Pharyngulan agreeing with Mielville's ridicule of Libertarians? I would think a dyed-in-the-wool Natural Selectionist would at the very least understand and concede the Memeological basis of Libertarianism, being grounded as it is in selfishness. Surely it should come as no surprise, especially to a Pharyngulan, that the emergent phenotype of selfish genes is selfishness. I know, is isn't ought, but still, ridicule? Aren't these the very same Pharyngulans who are quick to praise the work of evolutionary psychologists (who finally revealed for us that deep, age-old mystery of why men dig blond women)? Isn't L(l)ibertarianism likewise consistent with reproductive success?! I would have thought many here would have been left feeling insulted and abandoned by this Pharyngulan's assent to Mielville's caricature of L's. Where's the outrage?

Woh woh woh

I would think a dyed-in-the-wool Natural Selectionist would at the very
least understand and concede the Memeological basis of Libertarianism,
being grounded as it is in selfishness.

Libertarianism is arguably grounded in individualism but that's very different from selfishness which is itself different from ethical selfishness advocated by Objectivism.

Surely it should come as no
surprise, especially to a Pharyngulan, that the emergent phenotype of
selfish genes is selfishness.

Except it's not, at least not necesseraly. Of course you can stretch the definition of selfishness to tautology by defininig it as including any act that one wants to perform but that would be a bit pointless.

Giving birth includes (included at least) considerable risks to the mother, that's hardly an emergent "selfish" phenotype. Not to mention animals commiting suicide when they feel they are weaker than their siblings.

Liberty and selfishness

Libertarianism is arguably grounded in individualism but that's very
different from selfishness which is itself different from ethical
selfishness advocated by Objectivism.

I don't know enough about Objectivism to speak to that, but otherwise I agree. Libertarianism is not, after all, a prediction about how people would act, but (among other things) a repudiation of the state's claimed privilege to coerce action. The difference, then, between libertarianism and (say) liberalism can only be that, in certain areas, liberalism asserts the privilege of the state to coerce action to achieve certain ends - presumably "non-selfish" ends, whatever those might be.

But if liberals had any confidence that humans would act to bring about those "non-selfish" ends that liberals care so much about, and do so freely, spontaneously, without coercion, though possibly after some education, some liberal spiritual uplift, then liberals would presumably not find it necessary to advocate coercion to bring about those ends. It follows, then, that liberals must believe that people are incorrigibly selfish.

Note to European readers

There is not, as far as I know, any term other than "liberal" in American English for the American socialist-lite mainstream. "Socialist" is too strong, "leftist" is also too strong, "Social Democrat" simply has no comprehensible meaning to American readers, etc.

Au contraire

Libertarianism is arguably grounded in individualism but that's very different from selfishness which is itself different from ethical selfishness advocated by Objectivism.

It was "institutionalized selfishness" in particular that Meyers attributed to Libertarianism, rightly or wrongly, which he expressed contempt for. Question is why? Selfishness may not be the only ethic consistent with Libertarianism (individualism if you wish), but it certainly is a dominant one. Since phenotypic selfishness is unarguably a prediction consistent with so-called "selfish gene theory", why condemn it? If it's been a stable "evolutionary strategy" for thousands of successful sexual species, then it should come as no surprise to a Pharyngulan that many humans are no different.

Successful species

What's a successful specie?

I can think of many criterions but E. Coli beat us to most of them. 

re:Au contriare

What's a successful specie?

According to the selfish gene hypothesis, one whose members are continually selected for reproduction.