I have no problems with libertarians. I have libertarian leanings myself. I take issue with the self-centered, self-seeking, egocentric, narcissists whom I call “Libertarians of Convenience” (LOCs) who falsely claim the libertarian name. The following three sentence definition of libertarianism is from the official Libertarian website:
“True Libertarians believe that, in politics, liberty is the most important value. Almost everyone wants freedom for themselves, but a libertarian also seeks to protect and expand the freedom of others. True Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and political freedom, emphasizing free association, freedom of choice, individualism and voluntary association.”
LOCs omit the last half of the second sentence that starts with “but a libertarian also seeks to…”, and in the third sentence, insert the words “only for themselves and allies” before each comma.
LOCs believe that libertarianism only applies to them and theirs. But not to anyone else. When a LOC and another individual’s rights conflict, LOCs believe only their rights matter. The other individual’s rights can be mocked, dismissed, or legislated away outright. I have memories of a former neighbor who had “no trespassing” signs every 50 feet or so along their property lines, with the serious threat of shooting as enforcement. But he would spend lots of time trespassing on everyone else’s posted property. BTW: calling the police only made it worse.
LOCs celebrate and promote the idea of free will and choice in their lives, but generally refuse to allow others free will and choice in their personal lives. They will often attempt to impose their personal worldview via legislation, yet fight similar attempts from others to reciprocate, particularly if the other worldview is disagreeable or undesirable to their closely held personal beliefs. (This is prevalent in fundamental religious LOCs.) I.E.: “Just try practicing your personal religious freedoms with the same freedom I do, particularly if I don’t like something about your faith and beliefs, no matter what I piously claim in public. Now, excuse me while I write a letter to get yoga or whatever thrown out of our school.”
To make it simple, LOCs can often be identified when they eventually make these and similar statements: “They cramp my style”; “I am more important than you. I don’t care about what happens to anyone else or their stuff”; or, the adult and mature “I don’t wanna!”; and finally, the classic adult and mature: “I’m gonna do the opposite of what you told me to, just because you told me to do it.” (Insert thumbs in ears, with fingers upward and outspread. Make “Raspberry” noises.)”
In conclusion, please call a “true” libertarian a libertarian. Call the libertarian of convenience an LOC. It’s pretty easily to separate the two. The Libertarian label needs all of the rehabilitation it can get. No thanks to the LOCs who stole the label solely to support and defend their own selfishness, self-interest and poorly hidden desire to run the world for their benefit.
R. L. Mitchell