What Libertarians Say vs. What a Dumbass Hears

Most of what liberals or conservatives say about libertarians is really based on either a ridiculous straw-man version of libertarianism or something that isn’t even libertarianism at all (see: anarchism). Yes, libertarians come in different flavors and not all of us agree on all issues (which can be said for any philosophy), but it’s not nearly as broad-spectrumed as Christianity, which has a seemingly endless number of permutations where one can seek refuge to dodge criticism.

Rather than simply complain, as many tend to do, that these morons are mis-characterizing libertarians, I’m going to go into some specific things I believe, and how it tends to get interpreted by the mainstream media or the wayward idiot.

Enough small talk. Let’s do this.

* * *

What the libertarian says:
Government spending is at unprecedented heights, and is ultimately unsustainable at this point. If we don’t find ways of eliminating unnecessary expenditures and superfluous government programs, we’ll face crippling inflation, currency devaluation, ruined credit ratings and massive deficits.

What the dumbass hears:
No police, fire department, or postal service! Get rid of them all! The government should never spend any money, ever!

* * *

What the libertarian says:
Higher-than-necessary taxes are harmful to our country, because the money that’s taken from the people (which would otherwise be either spent improving the economy, or saved in banks, allowing for future investment) is instead spent by the government on wasteful things that people ultimately wouldn’t buy themselves.

What the dumbass hears:
We don’t want to pay any taxes at all!
Why should I have to share my hard-earned dollars with everyone else?

* * *

What the libertarian says:
The war on drugs is a failure on almost every level. It’s a waste of time, taxpayer money, and police resources. It hasn’t made drugs any less available, and has only forced the industry underground, which has in turn spawned violent crime, government corruption, and death. Even if a behavior is harmful, it is a person’s own responsibility to decide what he or she puts in their own body, and just like with alcohol and tobacco, a reasonably-regulated legal recreational drug industry would make everyone better off.

What the dumbass hears:
Everyone should do drugs! The government should encourage everyone to be doped up while driving, talking, sleeping, and operating heavy machinery; and government decriminalization obviously equals government endorsement… which is okay in my book.

* * *

What the libertarian says:
The war on drugs prostitution is a failure on almost every level. It’s a waste of time, taxpayer money, and police resources. It hasn’t made drugs prostitutes any less available, and has only forced the industry underground, which has in turn spawned violent crime, government corruption, and death. Even if a behavior is harmful, it is a person’s own responsibility to decide what he or she puts in does with their own body, and a reasonably-regulated legal recreational drug prostitution industry would make everyone better off.

What the dumbass hears:
All women should be whores! Men are superior to women and should be able to get sex whenever we need it, so we should put a ho on every corner of every street. Now go to work, bitches, and bring daddy his scrilla!

* * *

What the libertarian says:
The government has gotten so large and continues to grow so much that it now does more harm than good. A government that is larger than necessary inevitably becomes much more intrusive in the private lives and personal liberties of its citizens than it should rightfully be. Reducing the size and scope of the government would lower the cost of operating it and make us a freer people.

What the dumbass hears:
There should be no government whatsoever! Total and complete anarchy is the best solution for everyone.

* * *

What the libertarian says:
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The less power we give to government officials, the less room they have to exercise their corruption, and the easier it is for the media and the public to keep track of public officials to make sure they’re doing their job.

What the dumbass hears:
We need better, incorruptible politicians!

* * *

What the libertarian says:
Current welfare programs do not adequately address the issue of poverty or its underlying causes, and they do nothing but place a band-aid on the problem, enslave the people who rely on them, and drain money from the taxpayers funding it that could be better spent stimulating the economy and creating jobs. The welfare system should be reformed in a way that targets the real causes of poverty and doesn’t allow people to abuse the system. Obviously we should take measures to help those in need, who are in a poor situation through no fault of their own, but only measures that make sense.

What the dumbass hears:
Fuck poor people and underprivileged minorities! We should do nothing to help them and let them all starve to death. Get a job and stop complaining!

* * *

What the libertarian says:
Excessive regulations cause businesses to hire cheap labor overseas to avoid these regulations. This equates to higher domestic unemployment, less tax revenue, and higher deficits. Limiting government intervention in business to just a few reasonable regulations would make the situation better off for both workers and employers.

What the dumbass hears:
We want no regulations on anything! Businesses should be able to do whatever the hell they want.

* * *

What the libertarian says:
If someone says there ought to be a law, there probably oughtn’t. Each new law gives the government that much more power, which is why we should carefully examine any and all consequences of that law, especially those consequences that might not be so obvious at first glance. In many cases, private mechanisms and simple free-market principles might be better equipped to deal with the intended aim of the new legislation than public policy would.

What the dumbass hears:
Eliminate all laws! Humans are all good, decent people who can manage perfectly fine without a governing body or laws telling them what to do.

* * *

What the libertarian says:
Gun ownership is an essential part of maintaining a free state. It is crucial, in order to ensure that our politicians act in the best interests of the people, that the government should fear the people rather than the other way around. Apart from that, excessive gun regulation makes it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to arm themselves, which tips the balance of power in favor of criminals who illegally circumvent those regulations.

What the dumbass hears:
We should be able to buy nuclear missiles, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, mortars, rocket launchers, and bazookas! And as many as we want!

* * *

What the libertarian says:
Treating people differently based on their skin color is never the right thing to do. And it’s certainly not the right thing for the government to do. We need to end the culture of victimhood and resentment which has spawned so much injustice and hate, and start to truly see each other as equals. And one major step toward that end is to stop giving people special privileges based on their race.

What the dumbass hears:
I hate black people, and don’t want them to succeed at anything.

* * *

What the libertarian says:
This is not a Christian nation, a Muslim nation, a “Nation Under God,” or an atheist nation. Our forefathers may very well have been men of faith, but they left religious dogma out of the Constitution for a reason. A country that is truly free needs to allow all of its citizens to worship as they please, without endorsing or preferring one religious stance over another. Giving special privileges, exemptions, and standing to members of a particular religious order is unfair, unconstitutional, and disenfranchises those who do not agree or adhere to that particular religion.

What the dumbass hears:
All religion should disappear! Everyone should be made to give up their superstitions and religious rituals.

2 thoughts on “What Libertarians Say vs. What a Dumbass Hears

  1. Come on… You can’t claim “Straw Man” against detractors and then make a list of straw men about the detractors.

    • Kinda the point, though. I’m talking about straw men. I’ve exaggerated a little here to make my point, but all of these are mis-characterizations of some form. Believe it or not, many of these I’ve heard or read verbatim.

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