Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Crisis of Liberaltarian Intellectualism

In yesterday's entry, "Liberaltarianism and Intellectual Dishonesty," I focused on the ideological incoherence, intellectual pedestrianism, and moral perfidy of the left-libertarians who are often labeled "liberaltarians" (with most of my attention directed at Mark Thompson's League of Ordinary Gentlemen).

Robert Stacy McCain kicked up a bit of a controversy with his critical comments on these folks, "The Luxury of 'Liberaltarianism'," and he's generated a new (and quite raw) response from Ron Chusid at Liberal Values: "Must You Be Out of Touch With Reality to Be An Economic Conservative?" These passages are particularly juicy:

The current left/right divide is now primarily over social issues, civil liberties, and one’s position on the Iraq war, with economic issues no longer providing a clear delineation between left and right. The left/right continuum has increasingly become based upon two parameters: support for liberty on the left in contrast to the authoritarianism of the right and support for science, reason, and a reality-based view of the world on the left versus the reactionary opposition to modernity, science, and reason from the right. This division can be seen in Robert Stacy McCain’s response to Wilkinson’s views on liberal/libertarian fusionism ...
Ron cites a passage from Robert's post that stresses the bedrock of Middle American "Rotarianism" and the religious traditionalism of the Republican base. He then continues:

In expressing this belief in creationism, McCain already demonstrates a limited ability to either think rationally or to coherently comment on the issues of a twenty-first century world. The degree to which he is out of touch with reality also comes from the manner in which his views of liberals comes from a Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity promoted stereotype as opposed to anything which exists in the real world.

The typical liberal is just as likely as most conservatives (and more likely than Rush Limbaugh) to be in a traditional marriage, go to work every day, and abstain from drug use. The difference between liberals and social conservatives is not as much life style as the toleration of other life styles. Many of us live a basically conservative life style but do not feel the drive seen among conservatives to use the power of the state to impose their life style and personal choices upon others ....

Obama’s victory was an example of the emergence of socially liberal and economically conservative or pragmatic voters as we had a significant impact in both the Democratic primaries and the general election. All of us
affluent wine and latte drinking liberals who enjoy and understand the virtues of the free market are still around despite all the opposition from both the Clintonistas and Palinistas. Our views may or may not win in future elections, but we have become a force to counter both the views of the big-government elements of the left and the authoritarian right.
Genuine thanks should be tendered here to Ron Chusid, who has provided a fabulous window into the mind of those of contemporary left-libertarianism.

Robert Stacy McCain has already replied to Chusid's piece, in "
Faux Argument," where he writes:

Chusid's "about" page envisions a point at which "Republicans break free of their control by the religious right and neoconservatives." I'll let the neocons defend themselves, but what harm exactly has the "religious right" done to deserve Chusid's contempt or hostility? Who does he have in mind by this term, "religious right"?
Well, as a bonafide (and increasingly despised) neocon, I'll take that as my entree into this stage of the debate (and be sure to check Robert's link). So, first notice all of Ron Chusid's demonic attacks on traditionalists as backwater yahoos, as "authoritarian" and "reactionary" people who oppose "modernism" and "science." These people are also unable to "think rationally" or "comment coherently" on the issues, and are thus unfit for life in the "twenty-first century world." Further, with full obligation to the nihilist fever swamps of the netroots left, people like this take all their talking points from "Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity promoted stereotypes."

Okay, this is all quite interesting. No, wait ... it's more, it's utterly fascinating actually, unbelievable in fact, since it's defies reason that for all of Chusid's hot and heavy upturned cosmopolitanism, he still claims left-libertarians are practically jonesing to be "in a traditional marriage."

But wait! Traditionalism is bad, right? Shouldn't Ron be repudiating that old fashion stuff, not embracing it. I mean really, if these backwoods yokels are so ignorant and reactionary, you'd think the enlightened types like Ron Chusid would be beating a path to abondon such "stereotypical" lifestyles faster than you can say Stonewall. It's all so mid-twentieth-century like.

But more than that, the truth is the left-libertarians aren't at all in favor of "greater liberty" and "free markets." I mean take a look around. Some of the same folks who're are now key proponents of the liberaltarian movement are some of the biggest apologists for state centralization of the economy (only the Obama administration hasn't yet "incorporated" enough "libertarian thinking") and they advocate the violent supression of the free speech rights of marriage traditionalists, as we've seen in California with the extremist left-wing backlash to the passage of Proposition 8. Indeed, basic religious freedom of expression itself is totally under fire by these very same "libertarians" (yo, look out Mormons), although someone's forgetting that religious liberty is the very first item selected for protection in the First Amendment, and is historically guarded as a key foundation of a free people. It's thus exceedingly strange for one who promotes "liberal values" to make such hackneyed attacks on conservatives as this. Aren't there enough Daily Kos clones online?

Further, Ron Chusid doesn't understand economics himself if he thinks the Obama administration's getting anywhere closer to freedom anytime soon. There's been all kinds of attacks on the new stimulus legislation and the process, from bloat to the absence of transparency. But as a killer of liberty, this one's got to take the cake. On the question of parental autonomy alone,
as Michael Franc noted Thursday, the Obama-Democratic left evisicerate families by guaranteeing that children would be able to receive family planning benefits without parental knowledge whatsoever! It must be a violation of libertarian logic of historic proportions for someone like Ron Chusid to be railing away at country bumpkins while simultaneously claiming to be an advocate for family traditionalism amid the biggest expansion of state power in 75 years. God, there's got to be a bigger bogeyman than flag-waving creationists who want to have babies!

To be sure, what about this notion that libertarians are just like marriage traditionalists except they don't "impose their life style and personal choices upon others"? Is there any particular age, for example, in which libertarians have decreed it as being okay for kids to have sex and bear children? Of course, folks like me - us "evil neocons" - might sound a little "authoritarian" when rejecting juvenile liberaltarian licentiousness as social policy. You know, some people might actually be inclined to think that their "life style" is actually the superior one for the preservation of life and liberty, and the recreation of preferred standards of right.

I mean really, I'm just blown away here ...

When did left-libertarians abandon universal morals? Can
Ron Chusid and his brethren even be taken seriously, when by implication the libertarian thesis holds that every human action, every decision made on the basis of personal liberty, is of equal benefit to the regeneration of moral society? It certainly seems that way, when we have examples (only the most recent) of people like Nadya Suleman - the now notorious "Octomom" - having aggressive fertility treatments at will, essentially on demand, with the demonstrated results likely to put taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in public-benefit expenses. Is that something that's truly in the public good? Whoo hoo, liberaltarians! More choice, more freedom, more out-of-wedlock fertility "science" enabled babies!

The fact is, choice is the handmaiden of responsibility. Liberaltarians, or progressive conservativces, blah, blah, as far as I can see, are hardline leftists who are afraid to admit it, so they cloak themselves in a bunch of incoherent hogwash about superior knowledge of free markets while their electoral "choices" empower Democratic mandarins who are now advancing a proletarian-minded leftist-authoritarianism hell-bent on dismantling the institutions of liberty that have made and kept this nation great for over 200 years.

We're facing a complete bankruptcy of intellectual honesty and moral righteousness, and Ron Chusid's ilk are blazing the trail down the highway of good intentions. So, who really is so "unprepared" for a life of increasing complexity in modernity? Don't bet on the completely bereft liberaltarians, who in fact offer nothing more than the losing hand of demonic compromise to a secular messianism of libertine supremacy.


Libby said...

hey donald, this is good...stop over by my page if you have a chance...and happy valentine's day!

Anonymous said...

You are not fooling anyone.

You may be a professor, and you may put on airs about presenting philosophical pieces, but all you writing really amounts to is erudite name-calling.

Insulting people with ten dollar words is not more impressive than using 5 cent words - its actually far worse, because it gives evidence of a wasted intellect.

You may have the ability to do good work, but we really don't see much of that from you. You seem to be filled with a lot of animosity, and to have an instinct for the safe and easy and conventional.

It is not an attractive mix, and it certainly brings no light to any issue. Maybe it is time to take a very deep breath and to begin taking yourself far more seriously.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...

The "liberaltarians" are a strange combination to me. Because they would be for limited government with no moral restraints. Legalization of prostitution, drugs, gambling, etc. They seem like anarchists at a certain level. What I find, in listening to some of them, is a basic intellectual dishonesty. I still need to "listen more" to gain more understanding of really what their mindset is, but it seems like a "neo-moralism". They seem to have a view that unbridled immorality and licentiousness will produce order in a society that a limited government can sustain. That seems supremely illogical to me. It's as if they deny the realty of crime. Communists, on the other hand, like Obama (he's a full-blown new age communist - who combines that with a Muslim faith so a "new twist" on Sharia law, imo - him being a strange bird also), very much incite immorality and the destruction of moral values in their effort to overthrow democracy, liberty, and limited government. The only group that truly sustains democracy - as I see it - are truly conservative persons who envision a moral society of traditionalism capable of actually sustaining limited government through strong individual morals as well as strong family units in a society. Christians who truly have the values of the Christian faith in strong family and individual morals and responsibility - quite naturally "become" a society that is perfectly aligned with the true best land of liberty in limited government and a people who are self-controlled and responsible.

The liberaltarians want a system that their values will not produce. Their values are not consistent with a well-ordered society that corresponds to limited government. That's why I just cannot yet comprehend their reasoning. Seems fatally flawed and an illusion - unrealistic. The lawlessness of the social morals of the people in the society they envision - to me - will create much crime necessitating a larger government and social programs to meet the needs created by the socials ills produced by the degeneration of morals producing the breakdown of family and the peaceful structure and order of society. I'll have to read more about them.

Laura Lee - Grace Explosion said...


I just have to say, that a professor as intellectual and well-studied as Donald Douglas is not "putting on airs" as he communicates as the intellectual, and well-studied professor... ummmm... he is... as he writes philosophical pieces that shed light on issues.

And your point was??

opit said...

Shed light on issues ?
Punditry these days all to easily falls into the pit of false argumentation: to whit, defining the other chap's position so he is spared the difficulty of doing so - and then picking apart 'his' arguments.
I don't care who does it: the analogue 'intellectual masturbation' is all too apt.