Oh no, that's not to say that I'm getting sick and tired of supporting individual liberty. Far from it. No, I'm getting sick and tired of having to defend my philosophy from pseudo-intellectuals.
While libertarians like myself use logic, reason, and evidence in order to refute statist arguments, statists try to refute our arguments by refusing to address them, opting instead to create strawman versions of them and declaring victory after "defeating" them.
Take Paul Krugman--please!
This economist (and by "economist," I mean hack columnist who has been routinely wrong about everything, including the internet, and yet still manages to be a Nobel-winning Princeton economics professor) recently penned a screed again "libertarianism populism" which he dismisses as bunk.
And what is his idea of "libertarianism populism"?
The idea here is that there exists a pool of disaffected working-class white voters who failed to turn out last year but can be mobilized again with the right kind of conservative economic program—and that this remobilization can restore the Republican Party's electoral fortunes.And what proof does he have that this "populism" is "bunk"? Paul Ryan.
You know: the Republican VP candidate that no self-respecting libertarian liked because his proposed "budget" included increased military spending and corporate handouts for his cronies? (You know, things libertarians normally oppose?)
Seriously, all Krugman had to do was perform a simple search in Reason Magazine or Lew Rockwell or Mises Institute to realize that most, if not all, libertarians were opposed to Paul Ryan and his budget, thus making Paul Ryan the anathema, rather than the epitome, of a libertarian politician.
If Paul Krugman wanted to criticize a real libertarian politician, he could have criticized Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, whose proposed balanced budget would have slashed military spending and ended corporate welfare.
But then, that would be assuming that Krugman is interested in fairly and honestly critiquing libertarianism, which he clearly isn't. He much rather construct a strawman version which he can more easily knock down and declare victory over. Whether this is because of ignorance or intellectual cowardice is debatable, though my guess is that it's both!
Reason Magazine editor Nick Gillespe described Krugman best in his rebuttal to him:
Krugman has attained that rare level of eminence where he doesn't even have to engage the very opponents he dismisses as beneath contempt. Like Kurtz in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, he just needs to wave his hand, mumble vague abjurations, and rest assured his devoted minions will finish his work for him.Indeed. And this seems to be true of most critics of libertarianism. They don't bother addressing actual libertarian arguments, but rather, strawman versions of them. I can't count the number of times I've seen Somalia cited as an example of a libertarian country, or seen libertarians accused of worshipping the free market like God, or seen libertarianism dismissed as a Koch Brother conspiracy, or seen the philosophy summarized as "I've got mine! Forget you!"
The problem with addressing arguments against libertarianism is that most of them are strawman. Krugman could easily argue that libertarians believe that bananas have wings and taste like mint chocolate chip, and his acolytes would accept his counter-arguement that bananas don't fly or taste like ice cream as a legit refutation of libertarianism.
When your political opposition clearly doesn't care about honest discourse, is there any use trying to engage them? Trying to argue with a painted fence seems to be more profitable.