Thursday, February 04, 2010
Will libertarian bloggers ever grow up?
Youtube comments are not noted for their intellectual content, but a comment on the Traffic song Light Up or Leave Me Alone gets it just right: "I think this is the ultimate, 'get out of my room Mom!' song."
And karenparetto has also put her finger on the problem with many libertarian bloggers. They are irredeemably adolescent. The issues that motivate them over and over again are "get out of my room Mom!" ones: alcohol, gambling and smoking.
Even the splendid Charlotte Gore has succumbed to this world view. On Saturday she announced she was closing her blog down because she had run out of things to say. On Tuesday she had a piece on Comment is Free. (Well she certainly didn't write if for the money.)
And that CiF piece was, inevitably, about smoking.
Where are the libertarian writers on education? God knows we need some, given the ludicrous centralisation that has taken place over the last 20 years. What would a libertarian health system look like? Can you have a libertarian foreign policy? Or libertarian social services?
I do not call myself a libertarian. I share much of their analysis of the dangers and failures of the Fabian idea that the state should take over more and more areas of our life. But I don't like their foundationalist approach - the idea that you draw up a few abstract principles in your study or seminar romm and then demand that the world be changed so it is in accord with them. It is a philosophy that is profoundly uninterested in the textures of life as we live today, and this blog is very interested in those indeed.
So the reason that "get out of my room Mom!" issues have such an appeal to libertarians is that I suspect they rarely get out of their bedrooms themselves. Indeed, I am not convinced that some even get out of their pyjamas.
Charlotte trying to shift the Lib Dems in a more libertarian direction was a bracing and useful presence. I fear that if she leaves the party - and she already seems to have done so - Charlotte will become just one more free-floating libertarian and be far less interesting as a result.