L. Neil Smith's THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 889, September 11, 2016
Not All Ideas are Created Equal
by Sean Gangol
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
In my last article “The Roadhouse Rules of Engagement” I wrote about how you should be aggressive with your ideas without coming off as a total jerk or a complete nutcase that should be barred from using the internet. As I wrote in my last article, we should start off by being nice, until you get to that point where you need to be blunt. Usually that point comes when your opponent starts launching ad hominin attacks against you, but that is not always the case.
It is hard to be nice to your opponent when he gives you an argument that has already been countered a thousand times over. Once again I am forced to refer to Shane Killian’s video, “How to Argue for Statism: Why We’re Rude to You” where he points out that one of the reasons why libertarians are so rude is because we get sick of having to answer the same arguments that have been countered over and over again. I can definitely relate. For a while I was writing responses to all the misconceptions and strawman arguments that people have about libertarianism. Eventually I got sick of having to answer the same arguments over and over. The most frequent arguments are “Libertarians are selfish.” “Libertarians hate the poor.” “Libertarians are heathens who just want to sit around all day and smoke pot.” These arguments were fun to answer at first. Unfortunately, it got old the sixth time that I was faced with these exact same arguments.
These arguments sound much like the same nonsense that creationists spout off about evolution. Yeah, I know that I sound like a broken record, but creationists and statists do use the same form of intellectual laziness. Usually creationists use a series of strawman arguments based on their ignorance of the subject that they are trying to argue against. They say things like “If we evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?” “There are no transitional fossils.” “The missing link is still missing.” If these people had bothered to do some research on the subject, they would know that the theory of evolution doesn’t actually claim that we evolved from monkeys. Instead it says that we have a common ancestor with monkeys. Also, we do have transitional fossils and “The Missing Link” is an outdated term that they don’t use anymore. You know why? Because the links are no longer missing. I don’t know what annoys me more. Intellectual laziness or willful ignorance.
The truth is that you don’t have to show respect for all ideas. Not all ideas are created equal. If I tried to argue that the earth is flat or that the lunar landings were faked because the moon is actually made out of moldy cheese, I would likely be mocked and ridiculed for such absurd ideas. I think we should do the same to ideas that have been proven false time and time again. If you take a look at the left’s track record when it comes to economic theories, such as Keynesianism, Socialism, Communism or any other form of economics that requires central planning, it has pretty much been a joke. Yet left wing intellectuals still believe that these polices are the solution to creating a perfect world. They will keep promoting these failed economic policies while ignoring their short comings. That is until people like us point it out.
I remember when I was posting on the old My Space forum, I had this one guy who kept heckling and mocking me every time I tried to put in my two cents. When I finally asked him what his problem was, he said that all libertarians deserved to be mocked and ridiculed. When I found out that the man was a Communist, I laughed hysterically. Say what you will about libertarianism, at least it’s an ideology that has never been fully tried. Communism on the other hand has been tried on both smaller and larger scales to no avail. Just about every country that has tried communism has either collapsed or turned into some impoverished hellhole that no one wants to emulate. Except for China and Vietnam which have actually embraced capitalism and abandoned the economic principles of Communism. Hell, the pilgrims once tried Communism in what is now the United States and they nearly starved to death. I could have told that guy on the forum all of this, but it wouldn’t have been worth my time. Instead I told him that once he has an ideology that hasn’t been proven to be a total joke then he can mock mine. Once I showed him how unimpressed I was with his heckling, he quickly stopped.
Now, I know that there are ideas that are so ridiculous that they aren’t worth responding to, like the earth being flat or the moon being made out of cheese. Those ideas actually can be ignored because they aren’t going to attract too many followers. The same goes with some of the most outlandish of conspiracy theories. They really aren’t worth the time and effort to debunk. When it comes to creationism and the nonsense that statists constantly peddle to the public, these things are believed by a higher percentage of people, which makes them more dangerous. By not countering these ideas, we are allowing our opponents to have the last word. We need to counter these ideas, even if it requires using mockery and ridicule.
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