Response to Curt Doolittle on Libertarianism

 

First, I want to thank Curt Doolittle for taking interest in my post and taking time out of his day to share his thoughts on my critique. He came at me like a gentleman, and I want to do the same for him.

 

So, let’s head right in. My original text is in black, his comments are in red.

 

response1

 

His first set of objections deals with my failure to define oppression and asks if all are oppressed equally. I agree to the first statement. As part of the manosphere/reactosphere, I took for granted the audience and assumed that they were familiar with the concept of oppression. So, I’ll provide google’s definition for simplicity’s sake, which was the concept I wanted to convey:

 

oppression – the state of being subjected to unjust treatment or control.

 

I believe that everyone can find a reason to believe that they are some degree of oppressed, either by government or society. Now, I do not believe this oppression is equal, and whether this oppression actually exists isn’t really important. What’s important is that people gravitate to justifications for these feelings.

 

Liberals harbor all demographics with their privilege/oppression narrative as long as they aren’t white, straight, males. So what other ideology harbors white, straight, males? It’s Libertarianism, because it explains their particular oppression. Libertarianism doesn’t intend for this to happen but that’s where the demographics migrate in actual reality. Exceptions? Of course. But the trends are trends for a reason.

 

As I explained in my previous post, the script of liberalism and Libertarianism are too close to be truly opposition to each other. Rather, they are complementary. Liberalism is a concave puzzle piece, taking in all groups that surround its open middle. Libertarians are the connecting piece of the missing group. Both make a complete narrative which contain rights, equality, and freedom.

 

This by itself doesn’t mean that Libertarianism is factually wrong, but it puts the Libertarian narrative in proper context as a bizarro-world leftist narrative.

 

This isn’t a tangent, but integral to my critique. Those who reject the liberal narrative usually find Libertarianism, and many Libertarians were once liberals. This is no coincidence. My critique serves to highlight the bait and switch that many Libertarians have fallen for. If one is weary of the liberal modus operandi, then one should similarly be weary of Libertarianism.

 

response2

 

Next, Mr. Doolittle claims that I confused oppression with meritocracy and I don’t see where I’ve done so.

 

As for the Dunning-Kruger effect, I believe what Mr. Doolittle means is that these groups, for whatever reason, are unable to achieve in the meritocracy, but lack self-awareness in knowing why they’ve failed. They do not recognize their own incompetence, and so they find justification in the privilege oppression narrative. Of course, that’s what I’ve garnered from his response. They are my interpretation of his words. Personally, I think this is insightful (if indeed I have understood it correctly), and I agree.

 

response3

 

A slight misunderstanding here. I am a proponent for property rights and meritocracy for a multitude of reasons that I won’t go into here. Just because I oppose Libertarianism, and Libertarianism advocates for property rights/meritocracy, doesn’t mean I oppose those things. Thus, I’m not sure how to respond.

 

response4

 

My answer would be no. Socially, it is destructive to reward failure and punish success. I believe we are on the same page here.

 

response5

 

Libertarians do not call it oppression, but the concept might as well be.

 

The state holds people down, particularly white males. This influence can be defined as oppression. The Libertarians think in terms of this influence. Therefore, Libertarians think in terms of oppression.

 

Mr. Doolittle is probably well aware of the tendency of statists to deny that taxation is theft because of the negative connotation of the word “theft”, even though by defintion taxation is theft. He is making the same mistake here by denying Libertarian’s focus on oppression because the word sounds outside the Libertarian lexicon.

 

response7

 

I’m not so sure on the accusation of selective reasoning. Much of my piece entailed connecting Libertarian ideology with its liberal counterparts. Caretaking, at least in my view, has little to do with it.

 

response6

 

Mr. Doolittle states that PC backlash is caused by the state because people cannot counter-sue in the state’s court of law. I think most conservatives and reactionaries would find that notion rather absurd. Mr. Doolittle, like the other Libertarians I previously aligned with, has found an excuse to blame the state when the link is tenuous. PC battles aren’t something you can win with a counter-suit. I think what Mr. Doolittle misses is the memeplex going on outside the influence of the state and the social damage that can be caused by it. If anyone here has heard of the kerfuffle with Adria Richards getting two men fired for their just slightly un-PC-think then they see for themselves that the witch hunt can be entirely private and perfectly legal. Media outlets don’t need to be funded by the government to run hit-pieces on political dissidents. Propaganda can be, and many times is, privately funded.

 

Hollywood is a good example of this leftist manipulation because it receives far less government intervention, and so the government is harder to blame. Are actors, producers and directors not disproportionately liberal? Do they not disproportionately make movies with a liberal slant? How would one blame the government on this one? Mr. Doolittle waves of the question entirely by saying:

“Libertarians believe that people are not fooled by these influences, and the data show that to be correct. There is no evidence to the contrary.”

 

On top of being absolutist and completely unsupported, I think that view is a naïve and not very reasonable. Of course people are fooled by influences. There is whole litany of cognitive biases that are essentially bugs in human mental programming which can be exploited. There is a whole list of persuasive techniques that are used to influence people. Everyone from politicians to sales people have developed strategies to take advantage of these mental quirks. This is an actual thing. Persuasive techniques are an actual thing. Manipulating people via conditioning is an actual thing. I’m sure Mr. Doolittle is aware of Asch’s conformity experiments, where participants outright denied reality because others did the same. Mr. Doolittle is experienced with economics and political thought, but I get the impression that his background in psychology, particularly social psychology, is rather limited.

 

People aren’t immune from psychological conditioning from the media. The sole purpose of advertisements is to change people’s beliefs and behavior. If they did not work, then the market would see no use in having them. The fact that they exist on a market means they’re working. Media, whether it be the news or fiction (though they are not always mutually exclusive), creates the worldview of reality beyond our limited personal experience. Selecting certain elements out of a Rorschach blot can generate any picture the artist desires, and so selecting certain pieces of information while ignoring others shapes perception of reality itself. People are indeed rational actors/thinkers, but they are rational based on the information they have. Control the information and you control the frame, and media has control of that information. It can craft whatever narrative it desires, and it doesn’t need the state to do it. Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman; who was the victim? Alternative question: who was the real victim, who was the media’s victim, and who do most people view as the victim because of it? See my point?

 

This manipulation does not work with everyone always, but it is a real thing. There is a whole science behind persuasion, a whole industry behind advertisements, and people who spend countless hours collecting data on how much other people’s views can be changed. Mr. Doolittle and the Libertarian opinion on this issue wants to completely erase these effects, stating that they simply don’t exist, that we are somehow immune from absorbing the sensibilities that are taught in school or observe in entertainment because the notion that we can be manipulated is Libertarian kryptonite. It reveals that tyranny can exist outside the state, and that is something Libertarians can’t even begin to rectify through their ideology because their ideology only focuses on the state. That is their Achilles heel.

 

Finally (it’s a big one):

 

response9

I believe Mr. Doolittle has a misunderstanding of my position that is not his fault, but instead my own. I have only recently started commentaries about society and politics as a reactionary, and so I haven’t gotten a chance to get to my views on democracy.

 

In short, democracy is mob absolutism. On paper, it tries to guide society’s path by the wisdom of crowds but in practice it only gives more power to people who spawn more, and those people are more likely to be of low intelligence and ability. Hey, I don’t make the trends, I just tell it like it is.

 

For the record, I reject universal democracy, so Mr. Doolittle’s last statement doesn’t really apply to me, but is insightful by itself. That’s why I’ve included it.

 

So, in summation, plenty I agree with, plenty I don’t. I still think that Libertarianism is a counterpart to Liberalism rather than actual opposition because they function nearly the same, save for their nomenclature. I also believe that Mr. Doolittle illustrates how Libertarians overlook the influence of the media as a part of society that can work against Libertarianism (and the rest of us) without the state. Not only do I think my original point still stands, but that Mr. Doolittle has inadvertently supported it by trying to wave it off.

One thought on “Response to Curt Doolittle on Libertarianism

  1. Good post. Good response. Intelligent. Thank you. A couple of thoughts for you:

    1) “As for the Dunning-Kruger effect, I believe what Mr. Doolittle means is that these groups, for whatever reason, are unable to achieve in the meritocracy, but lack self-awareness in knowing why they’ve failed. They do not recognize their own incompetence, and so they find justification in the privilege oppression narrative. Of course, that’s what I’ve garnered from his response. They are my interpretation of his words. Personally, I think this is insightful (if indeed I have understood it correctly), and I agree.”

    Yes. This is the problem. It’s terribly frustrating. It means that for all intents and purposes, there is no self evident means by which people can tell whether or not they are in fact oppressed. They cannot know, it is not right to ask them to trust.

    And so when you state: “oppression – the state of being subjected to unjust treatment or control.” in your opening paragraphs, it is in this context that I’m troubled by the oppression narrative. The painful reality is that we are not marginally different for physical labor, but we are vastly different for the handling of abstract concepts that are made possibly by symbols, methods, formulae, and instruments, which reduce to analogies to experience, those things which we cannot sense without such tools. These tools multiply our differences enormously, and so the disparity of our value to each other in the market is vastly different. Which is what the data shows.

    My complaint about your analysis is the use of the oppression metaphor in the context of the known and measurable problem of self-judgement in relation to others. The majority of social cognitive biases only serve to enforce the DK effect. The market tells us our value to others in a factual manner, although we may not like what it tells us.

    2) The second point is more important. And that is the historical change of the common law, by the state, to insulate corporations, capitalists and politicians from harm, so that they would feel comfortable taking risks, even if there were nasty consequences. The change to the law occurred when coal plants were polluting England, and the state wanted the taxes, so it disallowed private citizens from suing for pollution to their lands by the factories. (really). Now, you can’t sue politicians, you can’t sue companies, because the state came up with ‘standing’ which limits who can sue whom.

    Now, you might think that politicians are better at protecting people than lawsuits and insurance companies are, but I have a very hard time empirically demonstrating that. In fact, It certainly appears to work the other way around. So, you can have the STATE functoin as the monopoly insurance company, or you can have each individual have the right of suit against anyone for damage to himself or the commons. It might be hard to imagine if you haven’t read enough history of the development of the common law, but you know, if you called a woman a whore in much of history, the punishment was about the same as taking off a chunk of a guy’s skull with an axe. It was very serious. Our current theory is that the problem with government is that it is a monopoly bureaucracy, when the only monopoly that is technically necessary is a constitution enumerating property rights, and an independent judiciary, and and the inability of individuals and corporations to hide behind the protection of the state through ‘standing’. And I can’t argue with that. It seems that the law common law is a better government than the government. So my argument (our argument) would be that the world would be better, more responsive, and provide better protection for consumers if you could sue someone for consumer protection. The reason is that the cost of defense is very, very high when selling consumer goods.

    Otherwise, I think we are on the same page.

    Unfortunately the libertarianism is both highly technical, and non-normative, and because of that it attracts all manner of …. whackos … and the insights by a very small number of people are lost in the chaos of ideological pubescent nonsense.

    Affections.
    Curt.

    Good writing. Thank you again.

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