We all had a good laugh at Jeffrey Tucker’s expense the other day, when he got the usual Bumbling Bees treatment: I found a goofy picture of him, artlessly slapped a DC Funk Parade foam finger on it, and then made fun of a stupid thing he’d done. I was prepared to leave it there; I’m a merciful guy, after all, and I’m sure that, now that he’s been shamed in Last Week in Weird, Tucker will renounce his madcap ways and return to being an actual principled libertarian with a functioning sense of irony.
Then Robby Soave had to open his big mouth.
Contra Reason’s Nick Gillespie, the best thing that happened for the liberty movement in 2016 — indeed, arguably the only good thing in what was otherwise a catastrophic year — was the sudden explosion in popularity of the wonderful libertarian mantra "taxation is theft." In addition to being absolutely true and correct, this is also a powerful slogan that portrays libertarianism at its best, as a philosophy that does not waver and does not compromise with evil for political expediency.
So, naturally, there are libertarishes who hate it.
It seems like the internet just can’t stop crying embarrassing crocodile tears about how 2016 was allegedly just the worst year ever. In most cases, of course, this is a thinly-veiled whinge about how St. Hillary Clinton became a martyr for the cause of universal perfect justice when the Soviet Union forcibly installed some sort of orange space Hitler as the new dictator of the United States, which bone-brained rubbish you must forgive me for not treating with the gravity it deserves. On the other hand, we also have classic libertarianishes like Reason’s Nick Gillespie, who, amidst all the me-too hand wringing, can point to one thing about 2016 that was just super.
If there was anything good that happened in 2016 — a year filled so much awfulness [sic] that even the Chicago Cubs could win the World Series after a thousand-year drought — it was [Gary Johnson’s] ramshackle campaign to bring a very different way of thinking and talking about national politics to America.
In a just world, we could just assume that Gillespie is congratulating the Cubs for being the best thing in 2016 — in which he would be correct — and then all go have pie. In this fallen world in which we live, however… suffice it to say things are about to become maudlin.
The mincing communists over at Salon gave all four of their readers a bad case of the vapors a few weeks ago by calling on Twitter to ban Donald Trump. Their reasoning? He’s, like, rude and stuff. This sort of clueless line-toeing is par for the leftist course with Salon, to be sure, and I don’t intend to waste my time or yours refuting it, not least because I think it would be quite frankly hilarious if Twitter were to ban a popular celebrity loudmouth who will, in a few weeks, also be the sitting president of the United States.
No, what I’ve come to talk to you about today is Peter Van Buren, who is normally a reliable foreign policy commentator, but has apparently acquired some type of Trump Derangement Syndrome Derangement Syndrome, as he’s written an entirely madcap article entitled "Ban Trump, Twitter, and Free Speech" in which he seems to claim that the First Amendment compels the government to nationalize Twitter. You think I’m making that up? You tell me:
The Adam Smith Institute’s Tim Worstall claims to be one of the world’s foremost experts on scandium. Whether or not this is true I am ill-equipped to say, as I know almost exactly nothing about scandium. I assume they use it to make scanners, and I was figuring it was probably from Sweden, but then I realized I was confusing it with Scandinavium, a similar metal so heavy that Iron Maiden’s played there nine times. Anyhow, the point is: I don’t know anything about scandium, and I freely concede, in advance, any arguments about scandium I ever get into against Tim Worstall, who knows much more about scandium than he does about socialism. Sadly, it’s the latter he’s chosen to write about today, in an utterly bizarre article nominally about the mining strikes in Bolivia.
If you haven’t been following the Bolivian mining strikes, they’ve now escalated to the point where Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Rodolfo Illanes was recently kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by the strikers. Our friend Tim Worstall would have us believe that the strikers are protesting against socialism, but is that really the case? We’ll explore that very soon, but before we dive into the pièce de résistance, we need to whet our appetites with this lovely little amuse-bouche of stupidity:
Around here we usually make fun of Bolivarian socialism by reference to the idiocies which Nicolas Maduro has been imposing upon the people of Venezuela. They do, after all, call their system "Bolivarian socialism." Across the continent, in Bolivia, we also have a closely related Bolivian socialism. Evo Morales has often said that he takes inspiration from Hugo Chavez, and that the system he is using in Bolivia is similar. So, Bolivarian socialism in Bolivia then. Umm, perhaps both Bolivian and Bolivarian socialism?
Why yes, those do sound rather similar! What an astonishing coincidence! On a related note, I’ve always found it weird how similar the titles of Superman and Superman II are. What do you suppose were the odds that would just happen by chance, as it so obviously did? The universe is a mysterious place, my friends!
In case you’re unfamiliar with Alicia Dearn, she’s a lawyer and establishment libertarian who worked in the Gary Johnson 2012 campaign, then went on to lobby for his VP slot in 2016 (only to get passed over for the worst possible choice). Last week, she made the following pronouncement:
Libertarians who think that the anti-discrimination laws are against libertarian ethics are wrong and need to re-examine their thinking.
I’m one of those horrible wrong libertarians, as I believe I’ve made clear once or twice recently, so I consider myself fortunate that I have Alicia Dearn to hand to guide me through reëxamining my thinking. Let’s see what she has for us!