THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 362, April 9, 2006
Free Market Money
Political Junk Science and its Geeks
Exclusive to TLE
I am majoring in history and political science, and I'm very glad to be finished with the political science requirement. Every class I took for that subject I ended up disliking by the end of the semester. By the time that I realized they would all suck, I was almost done with my polisci requirement so I just finished it.
So what was so bad about political science classes? The political part of them.
Political Science 101 featured an obnoxious socialist whose lectures were apparently prime time for him to drop names of impressive sounding political works he was supremely familiar with, and to tell students exactly how capitalism ruins everything it touches and which kinds of socialism might save us.
During one lecture (I don't remember how it came up, but I think the topic of the day was capitalism) a student responded to one of his statements by saying something like "I guess you'd have to go to the Libertarians for that." The professor's response left me absolutely dumbfounded. I don't remember his exact words but I remember the idea. He said that the Libertarians were a very minor fringe group on the level of the Maoist Party, not really worth discussing.
Cue a Chris Griffin "wwwwWWWHHHHAAAAAAT?" That's right, the LP, "the largest third party in the United States, with over 200,000 registered voters and over 600 people in office"* is about as big, popular, and influential as the American Maoist movement.
Things were different in other classesnot necessarily better though. I don't recall hearing the word "libertarian" in any of my later courses except for a Congressional Politics class in which the professor would often rattle off the names of several political parties when he wanted to make a point that certain things applied to all parties.
Then there was Introduction to Political Science Methods, which was about statistical methods used in political science research. In this class we learned all about how to correlate people into numerical scales that often ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative" or "very Democratic" to "very Rebublican." Yup, no place for a libertarian, except for maybe "centrist." Believing in liberty, it appears, is a mathematical impossibility.
This shouldn't really be surprising. In most political science classes, questions regarding the proper role of government almost never boil down to whether or not certain actions would fall under the proper role of government. Rather, it is assumed that government has a legitimate role in deciding nearly everything, and determining "the proper role of government" is all about figuring out the proper way for government to intervene. Now I don't remember the actual phrase "the proper role of government" being brought up in this manner; I'm simply using it here as tool to illuminate how political science classes often worked: everything was based on the unspoken assumption that some kind of invasive state action is necessary.
Needless to say, to someone as interested in liberty as myself, I usually thought these classes were boring. Students who are "political" are usually just as lame. When I was recently thinking of how there are actually college students who enjoy discussing the best ways for the government to run things, my thoughts kept returning to a similar rant that goes kind of like this:
"Don't you have anything better to do than spend time deciphering the best way to run everyone else's lives for them? Seriously, get a life! You'd have to be pretty damn pathetic to think that crap like that is interesting! Now, figuring out how to best attain libertyTHAT is interesting. If you ever discover that you give a damn about freedom, then maybe I'll want to talk to you. Until then just keep your silly authoritarian fantasies out of my life. Why are you so afraid of freedom anyway? Did someone tell you it was baaaaad for us? Who told you that? I know I can't think of any reasons why such a person might say that freedom brings nothing but disaster."
Seriously, now, I've hated busybody BS like this since I was about six years old! You'd think these losers would eventually grow out of their "If I were king, I'd give everyone free candy and make it a crime to frown" fantasies! All that I really have to say to such people can be summed up as, "Grow up. Get a life. That's right, come up with a life of your own and stop acting like everyone else's lives were mere planks to be lain in the floor of your hall of authoritarian dreams."
No, the science of "what's the best way to screw who out of what for whatever" is not interesting at all. Liberty is tremendously interesting. So when you students of statism get your heads out of your asses and want to talk about liberty, I'll listen. Maybe I'll even help ya pull it out of there. Until then, I'm just not interested. If you'd like to actually discuss liberty versus whatever statism you prefer, then sure, I'll talk to you about it. We might both learn a bit from a real conversation. But if you're only interested in telling me why I'm wrong about so many things and why a free and tolerant society could never work, then I'm probably not going to bother listening anymore. I've heard it before, okay? It's just not worth my time.
Maybe the worst part of it is the way so many of them seem to think they're so original or radical or whatever, even though the way they talk makes them seem to have recording-and-playback devices where their brains should be. It's kind of like people who wear shirts boasting the iconic face of authoritarian murderer Che Guevara. Say, does anyone know of a good picture of Joe Mengele I could put on shirts to sell to idiots? "Hey kids! Wanna show how big of a rebel you are? You need a shirt with a propaganda-poster style picture of someone who helped a state inflict murder on people. Ooooh I bet mom and dad wouldn't like that!"
The world would probably be a better place if authoritarian dreamers would confine themselves to their parent's basements and play D&D like some more evolved geeks do. At least then we wouldn't have to hear the annoying duckspeak wafting from their talkholes as much.