When rhetoric doesn’t work

As I pointed out in SJWAL, the best rhetoric is based in truth. Conversely, the worst and least effective rhetoric is based in falsehood and posturing to uphold an obviously false narrative. In light of which observation, the following exchange on The Zman’s blog struck me as more than a little amusing.

First, a wounded libertarian tried to play a rhetorical fast one by striking a superior pose and resorting to a common meme:

I’ve reading some of your anti-libertarian rants lately. And the phrase that comes to mind is:

“show me on the doll where the mean libertarian touched you”.

Seriously – pretty much every person you’ve ascribed libertarian leanings to in your recent columns – with the exception of Charles Murray – is somebody I have NEVER heard of before , and I’ve been reading libertarian literature and columnists for a good 15-20 years now.

I’m starting to think this whole ascribing “libertarian” leanings to a bunch is another episode of that long running mini-series: “Look at me – I’m a conservative and I don’t know what the &%$! conservatism is”.

Previous seasons have given us a bunch of conservatives who filled up the Republican party with Neo-conservatives.

Apparently nobody went to look up what “neo” means.

Looks like we might be playing the same game again – except this time we’ve got a bunch of liberals calling themselves libertarians. Apparently because the words begin with “lib” everybody stopped thinking it out and thinks they’re one and the same.

The Zman didn’t need to respond, because the commenter’s pretensions were punctured, and his rhetoric was destroyed, by a single question from another commenter.

You’ve never heard of Reason magazine and Nick Gillespie?

That made me laugh. What sort of “libertarian” who has been “reading libertarian literature and columnists for a good 15-20 years now” is unfamiliar with the #1 libertarian magazine and what was ranked the #4 libertarian site back in 2012. Of course, the sad state of libertarianism can probably be best understood by the realization that this very site was ranked #51 that year. Or by simply reflecting upon the last two Libertarian presidential campaigns.

It’s over. Let reason – and Reason – be silent when observation and experience gainsay its theories.

What libertarians need to ask themselves are these two questions: One, is my ideal of maximizing liberty in my society, the human society in which I actually live, presently dependent upon the core libertarian ideas of the Non-Aggression Principle and the Sovereign Individual? And, two, at this particular moment in history, do those core libertarian dogmas tend to expand or to reduce human liberty in my society?