Proud To Be A Wimp

David Friedman on libertarian wimps and boors. I used to be a boor; now I am a wimp.

I credit the change primarily to this piece by Roderick Long.

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Being a wimp is doubleplusgood.

None of the above

As it happens, the statement is true; the "perhaps" reflects the number of murderers whose race is unknown. The question is how different people would react to it. The answer, I think, is that one group of libertarians would prefer not to state it and, if stating it, would be inclined to qualify their statement in order to make it clear that they were not racially prejudiced. A different group would state it with mild glee, in order to make it clear that they were not PC, not constrained by what they view as ideological commitments to shade the truth when it contradicts fashionable opinion.

Group me with neither. I am bothered - make that pissed - that people cannot make a true statement (or even a possibly false speculation) without having to apologize for it and reassure their readers that they are not evil, and I think ill of people who take offense at the truth. But I don't tap on the glass at the aquarium just for the hell of it, either. In certain contexts, uncomfortable truths are relevant and need to be stated to counter some idiotic nonsense, but it's not a situation to be sought out.

I think this difference shows up in the strength of the condemnations of the newsletter quotes, a strength appropriate in terms of current conventions of what one does or does not say but exaggerated, I think, in terms of the literal content of the quotes.

I haven't read the newsletter quotes and don't care to, so I take no position on them per se.

On the one hand, I [...]. On the other hand, I [...].

So David seems to classify himself as neither wimp nor boor.

The wimps, I suspect, have friends they respect who not only are not libertarian but are well to the left on the political spectrum, hence wimps are likely to think of their opponents to the left as reasonable people who are mistaken. The boors are likely to see opponents to their left as stupid or evil. On the other hand, the boors are rather more likely to have friends who are conservatives, even kinds of conservatives, such as religious fundamentalists or neo-confederates, whom the wimps disapprove of. So in that case the pattern may reverse, with the wimps seeing those they disagree with as evil or stupid, the boors seeing them as holding some mistaken views.

My friends and family are mostly to the left. I know very few people to the right. I think that people in general have idiotic political philosophies, because they aren't corrected by personal experience in the way that they are when it comes to everyday lessons, such as, "fire is hot". I do not see people's politics as "reasonable mistakes", I see them mostly as "unreasonable madness". There is no pressure to be reasonable in politics, and so people are not reasonable. On the other hand, people have perfectly understandable concerns which are given short shrift by the other side. Right wingers who want to limit immigration have a perfectly understandable preference for people who share their own culture, but make the mistake of thinking they have the right to eject foreigners from the territory. Left wingers who want to nationalize health care have a perfectly understandable dislike of financial helplessness in the face of avoidable sickness and death, but make the mistake of thinking they have the right to rob people (to finance the scheme) and take away their freedom to choose (to ensure equal treatment). Neither of the "mistakes" I just mentioned are merely "mistakes", they are morally reprehensible positions. So both leftists and rightists avidly, enthusiastically, support evil.

One more point: non-libertarians share with each other the non-libertarian view that the government has a legitimate privilege to do things which ordinary people would have no right to do. And since they share this common ground, then they have little choice but to attack each other on some other basis. The problem is that the legitimate basis on which to attack them is precisely their belief that government has a legitimate privilege. Thus when the left and the right attack each other, they have litle choice but to attack each other for the wrong reasons.

If you do care about being

If you do care about being able to make factual statements without apologizing, maybe you should consider seeking those occasions. If freedom isn't used, it shrinks. There are high individual costs to be a boor in a world where political correctness dominates but there is not a real penalty to take offense of factual statements in a world without, that's why I try to be a boor, convince people to be boors and I also am intolerant of those who take offense. In the long, this is the only individual attitude that can prevent political correctness from creeping in.

I'm enough of a boor

I'm apparently enough of a boor for Micha to think that I cannot be trusted around his female friends.

Thick Whimps vs Thin Boors


Words of wisdom here Constant. Maybe whimp libertarians are
those thick pink ones that taste good with mushrooms and onions.

The latter are hardass thin libertarians like Kennedy.


Yeah, I'm a thin libertarian

Yeah, I'm a thin libertarian if that means my thoughts about libertarianism are mostly concerned with the libertarian parts.

I see wimp and boor not as

I see wimp and boor not as categories into which I must fall, but rather as collections of tactics. I use whatever tactics I find best fitted to the situation. I learned Friedman's tactics online years ago and found them very useful, but I've never limited myself to those tactics.

I also avoid having friends. They invariably turn out to be albatrosses.

Why would anyone want to be either?

Wimps make it difficult for people to state true things. Political correctness hinders progress.

Boors offend people instead of engaging them. They're deliberately rude.

Why choose? Isn't this like choosing between Republicans and Democrats, or Hatfields and McCoys?

I don't even know what Political Correctness IS

From Roderick Long's piece:

"And look at the anti-Muslim, pro-war hysteria that's sweeping the country these days. The PC crowd, bless 'em, are certainly on the right side of that one. Libertarians should regard the PC crowd the way we regard conservatives: as potential allies."

But at least some of that anti-Muslim "hysteria" is animated precisely by politically correct ideas consistently applied, at least as claimed by those that live by them. Is Ayaan Hirsi Ali politically incorrect to point out disproportionately anti-liberal beliefs among Muslims in Europe? If she's doing it combat the litany of reactionary attitudes that stalwart PC types fight against, then perhaps it is her critics who are politically incorrect. To someone like Ali, western liberal attitudes toward Muslims are irrational, and akin to said liberals taking a positive attitude toward neo-confederates. Likewise, many pro-war liberals believe the American presence in Iraq will help facilitate their beliefs - that all ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations are to be respected and praised, a PC-ish attitude.

What we think of as "political correctness" just encompasses a series of culturally and often geographically bounded attitudes that are constantly in flux and by no means objectively more "progressive", "enlightened" or what have you.

Jonathan Wilde's comment rings true.