So that’s why the Iraq war didn’t work out – all the libertarianism!

You can learn this and other amazing things by reading America’s wonderful newspaper of record, The New York Times.

Brilliant, guys. Brilliant.

24 thoughts on “So that’s why the Iraq war didn’t work out – all the libertarianism!”

  1. Oscar Goldman

    Gee, do you think they could have been more condescending? Not to mention stomach acidly-flowingly hypocritical. Somebody get me some TUMS.

  2. Mace Price

    …I’m afraid Mr. Leonhardt is only pretending to realize that you can’t stop an idea, and for that matter a Polity, whose time has finally arriving. You may as its opponent revise it through subjective definitions, retard it with the capacity to synthesize public opinion and subsequent reaction, but in terms of rhetoric this only squanders the reserve of Political Capital when it becomes necessary, and then critical to expend. Moreover, Mr. Leonhardt should accordingly realize that each time he, and others of his persuasion, take it upon themselves to contextually apply the term “anti-Semite” That it not only serves to diminish its effective quality in silencing any legitimate and objective opposition, this by numbing the Intellectual public to the term ad nauseum. But also expedites the discourse to a juncture where the excesses, mistakes and liabilities of any Political entity will end, and its appeal begins to outweigh its former deficits. In this has the neo-Conservative and the Left begun to put themselves on the defensive…and having been there most of a misspent life I can tell Mr. Leonhardt that it’s no place to be.

  3. Tim

    I thought Jefferson had more to do with it than Ayn Rand. Stupid me.

    Speaking of Mr. J he gets a run over at Human Events (what other kind are there?) which is pretty interesting.

    I quote because cut and paste is easier than typing. The link is here.

    “The policy of the federal government,” wrote President Jefferson, “is to leave her citizens free — neither aiding nor restraining them in their pursuits.” Today, we are not allowed to plan our own retirement, design our own health insurance, or even devise our own children’s education. The endless intrusion reaches every facet of our lives from where we can hike in the woods to how our hamburgers must be cooked. Both parties instinctively look to government as the first answer to all problems. Even Republicans propose solving issues like illegal immigration by hiring 30,000 new federal employees.

    There is one crucial difference: unlike our colonial ancestors, contemporary Americans voluntarily agreed to all these usurpations with their votes. We have been warned frequently to be alert. In 1835 Tocqueville wrote, “the American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”

    So I wonder what that NYT-wit thinks of Mr. J? Throw that one down the memory hole.

    Now both Mr Jefferson and Ms Rand have their respective personal problems from a libertarian perspective, Jefferson’s slave holding and Rand’s McCarthyism. But so what? There is no need for any of us to polish their statues. I don’t see egalitarians falling all over themselves to excuse the personal wealth of FDR, Fred Engels or any damn commie or quasi-commie in the book. And as for global warming being fixed by “libertarian paternalism”, the NYT-wit doesn’t have a clue. The “classic” libertarian response to pollution is property rights not paternalism. Libertarian paternalism is an interesting newish idea (that I think is all wrong) but the main thinkers in the LP space have never pushed it as a GW solution. The guy is confusing LP with what economists call “Pigou Taxes”. He hasn’t done his homework. By the way, the “classic market failure” of global warming is really government failure. It’s governments that own the atmosphere. I’m not saying privatisation would work, or is even desirable here, but as a matter of historical fact, the atmo is run by the guys who run the world’s gitmos.

  4. Mace Price

    …Each day we sit in relative insignificance, we get stronger. But each GI and Marine The neo-Con drops into the meat grinder that is Iraq? Each son shipped home aluminum casket? He gets weaker.

  5. Scott Post Author

    I learned libertarianism from Jefferson. I’ve never read Rand and the only Rothbard I’ve read has been in the last few years.

  6. Tim

    If anyone is interested…

    There is a podcast and links to the work of Richard Thaler, the pioneer of “Libertarian Paternalism”, here.

    Most “libertarian” and “free market” economists generally fall into the “greenhouse skeptic” camp, or are at least (like me) “greenhouse agnostic” (i.e. it’s outside of my skill set). There is of course a minority (probably growing) who we could (I suppose) call “greenhouse believers”. There is a significant number of this group of economists who support what are called pigovian taxes, an outline of this position is provided by academic economist Greg Mankiw (see here). Generally these economists tend to be drawn from the more mainstream neoclassical group, and maybe from some of the neoclassical mainstream’s more government friendly (sub-)schools (e.g the Chicago and Public Choice schools). Generally speaking “Austrian school” economists are not found in this group. There is at least one significant exception. Edwin G Dolan. He wrote a popular book back in the late 1970s called Tanstaafl the Economic Strategy for Environmental Crisis. TANSTAAFL stands for “There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch”. Dolan’s book is still around on Amazon and can be picked up for cents.

  7. Tim

    P.S. By the way Dolan has outlined a more “Austrian” approach to the Global Warming problem, as distinct from the ‘pigovian’ approach, that can be read online via this PDF file (24 pages) see here.

  8. Tom Blanton

    The NY Times article is absurd and Mr. Gregory’s response was wonderful – he managed to articulate my major gripes with the conservatives, liberals and libertarians with clarity and brevity.

    I fear Mr. Doherty’s new book will contribute to the tendancy of libertarians to classify and catagorize each and every possible type of libertarian – allowing them to ignore issues and focus on personalities. I’ve come up with a new system of catagorizing libertarians. There are the principled correct-thinking libertarians that agree with me and there are the sell-out opportunist libertarians that are assholes.

    As for Rand, Jefferson, Rothbard, Browne, and all the other dead people that living libertarians seek to associate themselves with, let them rest in peace. Perhaps it is time to quit looking to these super-human beings and rely on our own damn wits to shape the future instead of trying to analyze the past. The past may be instructive, but the answers to an increasingly bleak future do not lie therein.

    There are a lot of folks doing great work as we speak – Anthony Gregory, Sheldon Richman, James Bovard, Jacob Hornberger, Lew Rockwell, Robert Higgs, Justin Raimondo, Butler Shaffer, and others – and the libertarian movement in general ignores the work they do. I don’t see these writers wasting much ink on issues regarding whether Rothbard was a radical, Rand was a bitch, or Jefferson was banging his slaves. That is because nobody, myself included, really gives a rat’s ass in the context of living in the fascist police state empire unfolding before us.

  9. vineyardsaker

    actually ‘vozhd” just means ‘leader’, it comes from ‘vodit” which means ‘to lead’.

    none of which which does not preclude Putin for at the least working for the devil 🙂

  10. Angela

    “There are a lot of folks doing great work as we speak – Anthony Gregory, Sheldon Richman, James Bovard, Jacob Hornberger, Lew Rockwell, Robert Higgs, Justin Raimondo, Butler Shaffer, and others – and the libertarian movement in general ignores the work they do.”

    Ignored by the movement, they are the libertarian movement. About 5 more names or institutions and that’s it. What else would there be?

  11. Anthony Gregory

    “Anthony Gregory, Sheldon Richman, James Bovard, Jacob Hornberger, Lew Rockwell, Robert Higgs, Justin Raimondo, Butler Shaffer. . . . ”

    What a ridiculously flattering list to be on.

  12. Tom Blanton

    Anthony: You’re a good writer and young enough to continue for 40 more years. Keep it up and you might surpass some of those other folks.

    Angela: You ask “What else would there be?”

    How about that crypto-fascist pro-tax warmonger that gets more airtime than all other “libertarians” combined – Neal Boortz. He’s the face of libertarianism among the general public instead of Lyndon Larouche. Then there is Glenn Beck who claims to be a libertarian. Of course, there are the Eric “We’re All Libertarians Now” Dondero types. Unfortunately, what passes as the libertarian movement is rife with idiots, liars, psychotics, opportunists, and clowns wishing to redefine freedom to resemble slavery.

  13. Angela

    Tom: I’m talking about libertarians, not conservatives. Boortz is a libertarian the same way Julia Roberts is beautiful. Repeating it over and over does not make it so.

    Who the fuck is that last one? I only deal with celebritarians, not punch lines.

    There is some hope with the LP Radical Caucus which I interviewed today on the Liberated Space. The interview is at

    For conclusive proof, I’m an asshole go to

  14. Steve C

    I believe Boortz broke in to politics as a speechwriter for (segregationist) Lester Maddox.

  15. Cous Cous

    It’s an absolute certainty that Pravda wasn’t going to blame the failure on too much central planning.

    Angela: I listened to your LP radical interview and am curious what happened at “Portland”. Did the LP get neutered by an inundation of closeted Republicans?

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