Classifying Libertarians

We’ve had a few discussions here about classifying Libertarians (for instance here and here), but by far the best classification I’ve seen so far comes from today’s The Blanks Slate. It’s so good I’m going to be very rude and quote it pretty much in full (as I can’t work out what to skip! Sorry!)

Catoites: Associated with the Cato Institute, typically urbane libertines. Work in a giant greenhouse. Often mistaken for Republicans, but indeed they are too principled.

Reasonoids: Associated with reason magazine, typically libertine urbanites with an aversion to professional attire and a penchant for Johnny Cash impersonators.

CEIers: Convinced that the polar bear floating down the Potomac was just a hallucination brought on by delerium tremens. Remedy: more drink.

Classical Liberals: aging ex-hippies familiar with Latin, Greek and/or the Western Canon.

Randians/Objectivists:Making the principled argument for selfishness since 1957. They believe in objective truth as told by Rand, so they are very much like fundamentalist Muslims though thankfully they’re too self-absorbed to blow themselves up.

Paulistas: A cult of personality much like the Randians but lack any cognizable sense of humor. They are best known for driving flame-traffic on websites that criticize the great and powerful Ron.

Liberaltarians: The one group in America that can legitimately blame Obama for their unemployment.

Beckians: Nominal libertarians but de facto conservative populists whose manifesto pines for the day when America was collectively at the height of its irrationality and bloodlust as we entered the anger stage of the grief process. (No, really.) Also, they seem to believe Jesus wrote the Constitution.

Constitutionalists: Lawyers and legal types who take the Constitution much more seriously than the Founders ever did. They seem to believe that Madison was Jesus.

Austrian Economists: Economists who hate math.

Chicago Economists: Economists who hate English.

Anarchists: Statists who’ve never been mugged.

Minarchists: Anarchists with commitment issues.

Seasteaders: Anarchists (on a boat!) who’ve never been marauded by pirates.

Now everyone go check out and subscribe to The Blanks Slate!

49 thoughts on “Classifying Libertarians

  1. Hahahaha, pretty funny. Wouldn’t you be a Chicago Terje?

    I’ll add my own;

    Voluntaryist: An even more pretentious anarchist, claiming super-duper-purity and pretending that they are centre-left.

  2. Also, in before Sukrit comes here to say that none of the above are real libertarians because they don’t argue against Nuking Japan or some drivel.

  3. I should probably make clear that I am myself a voluntaryist. I’m confused Yobbo, is that a joke, or do you think it is a fairly standard libertarian proposition to nuke people?

    I also love the ron paul one. man are his fanatics crazed and humourless, at least those who comment on news articles about him.

  4. That’s what defines moderate libertarians; “let’s compromise, we can have a big state AND we can nuke people – Win-Win.”

    Moderate libertarian (transition stage): In training to become a self-righteous, egotistical jerk (anarchist)

    Moderate libertarian (who got stuck, or was never principled enough to want to take drugs and blow up government buildings): Ageing semi-ex-conservative who tries to stay one of the ‘hip kids’ by being ‘radical’. “Take that society; I just won’t conform!”

  5. i’m pretty keen on that constitution thing too, i came up with an idea to make the senate into a randomly selected group rather than voted, and the judiciary solely selected by academic ability specifically knowledge of the body of law, and i thought i’d throw in fractal representation as well so you only ever vote for people in your neighbourhood, and then reps vote for their rep on the city level, and up to state and up to federal etc, with sharp regional jurisdiction demarcations… and compulsory military/police training for everyone with random selection for service. nice in theory but who knows whether it would ever get anywhere. anyway, the point of all this is to eliminate the danger of nepotism, which is how we got to such a bad situation, this is the ‘two foxes and a sheep voting on dinner’ problem of democracy.

    our constitution here in australia is just an administrative document, it hasn’t got any attached bill of rights and although one might argue habeas corpus and magna carta have some relevance i’m sure in a court you’d get laughed all the way to jail over that. we are still a colony really, a penal colony no less.

  6. Since the classification scheme was ultimately meant to be humorous, I won’t point out its multitude of flaws.

  7. War and big bombs are pretty exciting in an immature kind of way. But really, grow up. Have you studied imperial Japan? What would have happened, had nukes not been used? Was there no other way to deal with them? How much fight did they have left in them? Do you know, or are you just babbling off the same crap you learnt in school? Nuclear weapons are fatally immoral. A utility argument, that you can murder to prevent murder, is going to need strong justification before it can be taken seriously.

    Though it may certainly be in the realm of conspiracy theory, I have read that Japan wanted to surrender shortly before the nuking, but America refused. Wrong? I don’t know, but it would be stupid to reject the possibility before researching it better and supporting mass collateral damage off-handedly.

  8. I don’t think that Japan was as united as we believe. It is certainly possible that some Japanese leaders thought about surrender, but the militants wanted to go down to the last japanese, if they could. And the Allies, by insisting on unconditional surrender, made it harder to think about surrendering. So the A-bombs certainly saved allied lives, by forcing the Japanese military to accept that the home islands were about to be invaded. (I suppose we could have tried to kidnap the Japanese Royal Family, and have held them to ransom- but I can’t see any other way to have stopped the war, unless we surrendered!)

  9. Yes Buddy, you’ve been duped.

    The Imperial Japanese Navy wanted to surrender.

    The Imperial Japanese Army did not want to, even after the first nuclear weapon was dropped.

    The Emperor had to overrule them after the second one was used. There were elements within IJA High Command that STILL didn’t want to surrender after the second nuke.

    Look at the losses at Okinawa and Iwo Jima, as well as the firebombing of Tokyo.

    Nuclear weapons undoubtedly saved lives through a deterrence effect.

    Read the summary panel and then extrapolate losses on the four main islands (Honshu, Kyushu, Hokkaido and Shikoku). You could fit Okinawa and Iwo Jima in greater Sydney.

    There is a theory the US wanted to use the weapons to intimidate Russia. That may be true. It doesn’t mean they were unjustified in using them, seeing the hardline of the IJA and the bloodbath based on the Ryukyu campaign and the IJA plan to arm the civilian population.

  10. Nuke infers something. If we didn’t give them total defeat, they would have remobilised.

    You have to understand the mindset of post Meiji era Shintoism and Bushido.

    Going on the figures I supplied, the capture of a few key cities would have resulted in Japanese total losses at least equal to the nuclear weapons, with an indeterminate result, plus 2-3 divisions of dead allied soldiers.

    The resulting guerilla warfare, drive to conquering Japan or future war with a revitalised IJA and IJN would have been catastrophic.

  11. I am happy to know that you have a respectable knowledge on the situation. A consistent application of the non-aggression principle always or almost always leads to an increase in utility, at least to all situations I have considered (most of them). I have no reason to believe it would be any different in the case of imperialist Japan. I will have to research it more over to confirm this though. Wartime actions, more than anything else, are subject to a mass of propaganda. Even with this extra help, the supposed utile justifications for nuking civilians are incredibly shaky.

    Certainly not wholly substantial, but a good start:

  12. Buddy – did you not read about Okinawa – 50 000 – 75 000 civilians were killed over this tiny piece of land.

    I fail to see how you are sympathising with civilians. Okinawan civilians were literally decimated. Japan proper had a poulation of around 70 000 000 in 1945.

    The nuclear warfare undoubtedly saved hundreds of thousands of Japanese military, civilian and US military lives.

    I fail to see why defending South Korea was an atrocity as well.

    Why do Rockwellians endorse the Juche agenda?

  13. Buddy – you just write up a battle plan to invade Japan and tell us what the death toll for all parties would have been. We know that the IJA did not want to surrender even after the second bombing.

  14. All good things to consider when I get around to doing some in-depth research into the alleged utility of nuclear weapons and offensive war more broadly.

  15. I’m interested to see the alleged utility of an “honourable” invasion resulting in the deaths of millions of Japanese and Americans.

    “alleged utility of…offensive war more broadly”

    Maybe you should build a time amchine and present your findings to the Emperor Showa in 1926.

  16. Pingback: Types of Libertarians « O Insurgente

  17. Stop playing with yourself Buddy. The atomic bombs were just another weapon to be used. Of course the U.S. have every right to maximise devastation to Japan while minimising personal costs. Any U.S. General who was losing umpteen soldiers to make sure no innocent Japanese civilians would get hurt (assuming there was such people) ought to be taken out back and shot for being a traitor. Had the atomic bombs not been used then the U.S. would have continued firebombing Japan before starting a mainland invasion. After all, the Japanese were hardly nice people. The Japanese soldiers did far worse killing and brutality in China than what the atomic bombs did to them

  18. “Of course the U.S. have every right to maximise devastation to Japan while minimising personal costs.”

    Note the conflation of military and civilian, guilty and innocent, into one amorphous mass called ‘Japan’. See how it is explicitly stated with “to make sure no innocent Japanese civilians would get hurt (assuming there was such people)”.

    This is evil, people, plain and simple. This is the kind of thinking that drives totalitarian genocidal regimes. It’s disgusting.

  19. Don’t talk rubbish Jarrah. A truly innocent party who cannot be hurt are people who are not part of the war effort whatsoever. If A and B are at war then suddenly A attacks C then that’s a war crime. In reality women and children are far from innocent as they are doing their bit for their country’s war efforts and are valid military targets as such. Considering the whole of a country and its infrastructure is retooled for the war effort there is nothing but a landscape legitimate military targets. Your romantic notion of two armies that meet in an isolated battlefield is just that – a romantic notion.

  20. Gil, an army always should strive to avoid civillian casualties. It is one thing to take them prisoner, quite another to incinerate them with a hydrogen bomb. The reason why it is bad form to kill civilians is that is a really good way to improve the enemy’s enlistment rates, and calls for more resources to be allocated towards the war. It also looks bad shooting at someone who hasn’t got a weapon. And also to get the neighbours of the country turning against you too.

    If your comment held any water then it would logically follow that the jihadi islamist terrorists have just as much right to bomb civilian targets too. The bombs on nagasaki and hiroshima were cowardly, bully-like acts. If you think there was nothing ethically wrong with those bombings then you should put your money where your mouth is and go visit afghanistan and go kill some civilians, I hear blackwater likes people like you.

  21. That’s rubbish. Actually in the case of anti-American terrorists the Twin Towers were valid military targets as a economic hub of their enemy. Likewise it is now known that the Luisitania was a valid military target for the Germans when it discovered it was indeed carrying war supplies. It’s one thing to target non-related military people and sites but it’s almost unavoidable as most people in a nation-state are part of the war effort – civilian factories become retooled as war factories, civilians become military supply officers. Compare women working in an ammuntion factory versus women working on a farm of which little to no food goes to the war effort would be innocent. Get the difference?

    On the other hand, playing the “nice guy” as you suggest creates a long, expensive war as the enemy can keep hiding behind civilians. Alternatively, the atomic bomb is no different from any other bomb except on scale. If the Japanese had developed the atomic bomb instead they would be in their right to hit American military sites regardless of how American women and children were in the region and if the use of their atomic bombs won them the war then the Americans would have to sign a losing treaty.

  22. “Actually in the case of anti-American terrorists the Twin Towers were valid military targets as a economic hub of their enemy.”

    …except there’s one problem, you are semantically linking hiroshima and nagasaki with 9/11. while you are technically correct, there is no real law in war, such indiscriminate acts of, and i’m gonna say it, terrorism, cos that’s what nagasaki and hiroshima amounted to, lead not to victory but continuing justification for more warfare. your connecting hiroshima and nagasaki to 9/11 suggests also that perhaps 9/11 was a retaliation to a prior act of war against the nation or culture, in your mind… and what caused that problem? foreign policy? imperialism?

    japan may have been cowed by those bombs but it won NO respect from ANYONE. human society exists outside of warfare, believe it or not, not everything is war, and even war itself, could not exist on the basis of civil society, for who would make the bombs in the first place if it is not the individuals working in concert towards a collective goal of production. a warring rabble of dog eat dog individuals can’t even manage to make a stone axe because they are too busy fending off attacks from all sides from fists, feet and rocks and sticks.

    warfare is not the be-all and end-all of what happened in world war 2. the ultimate basis of the war was politics, and the only possible reason for bombing those two cities when the japanese military was unquestionably in retreat even if some of its commanders were gonna fight to the bitter end, is that the militarist commanders of the US military wanted to intimidate the world. ‘look we have big bada boom, if we decide we are gonna conquer you, you haven’t got a chance’

    and if you think that the americans didn’t conquer japan, explain to me why all of the manufacturing of electronics and precision tools disappeared from america over the 30 years after the war, why do japanese still love trains and baseball and television, if it was not for the imposition of these cultural preferences onto the japanese?

    there was a bigger picture to it, america the imperial state on the rise, conquering other nations without annexing them, indeed the pattern flows westward from russia to eastern europe to western europe to the UK across to the USA. americans think they are independent, but they didn’t win the secret war that led to the wealthy elite families of england gaining control of the government and using it to perpetuate their imperialistic designs. and england got owned in the first instance by germany’s banking cartels too.

    thus, not only was the bombing of nagasaki and hiroshima not even the will of the american people, it was done purely to soften up the japanese who were fiercely sovereign, who had been, through more of this secret war business infiltrated with the disease of empire and conquest, in order to lure them out into the open, spread themselves thin rout them every place they went and finally hammer the point home with two very big bombs.

    anyway, i’m digressing a long way on this topic, the point i’m trying to make is that expeditionary warfare is NEVER in the interest of the people, no matter how loyal those people in those cities that were bombed were, to their nation, their government did the wrong in the first place by seeking to expand their control beyond their cultural borders, and that’s what my point is. those bombs didn’t destroy the real enemy, you don’t end a war by bombing a couple of cities, you end a war by deposing the government of the invading army, and going back home and letting them deal with the rebuilding, not by sticking around for 20 years afterwards and moving your whole industrial base there. that’s the act of an empire, and the wars of empires are unjust and inhuman. they leave no dignity in their path and the people who wish them to be perpetuated are always cowards who hide in bunkers and take pleasure in mass murder.

  23. incidentally, i didn’t get to one of my important points, the whole purpose of those two bombs, while it intimidated the world, the japanese people were war weary and wanted out already, was as a stepping stone to china. right now, as we speak, these same war hawks are playing out almost exactly the same playbook as we saw in world war two, bullying china with keynesian imperialist economic action with regard to inflationary monetary policy, the nuts and bolts of it are that china is using common sense (and austrian school) economics, saving their money, which lets them lend it to the americans, who have been completely hoodwinked into buying into this idiotic economic disaster… and so instead of letting the fed’s idiotic and frankly, malicious debasing of their currency, they are holding their currency in lockstep with the americans so that their production costs don’t rise above the affordability of the american consumer.

    but the ‘favourites’ in this race are not the americans, america is about to get what they gave japan, if the american people don’t wake up to this game and throw out their war hawk leaders who are paid off by european wealthy families to run the country into the ground.

    i’m sure there’s a lot more history aspects to this that i can only speculate upon without actually doing more research about it but i have sufficient cause and effect reasoned out to surmise what was going on.

    i’m gonna turn off my email subscription to this site because it seems to me that it’s dominated by noisy war-loving government intervention supporters who think that human freedom and dignity is something to make jokes about, like this is the colbert show or something.

  24. Loki – tell me how you could have peacefully ended the war without a resurgent belligerency by Japan or ended the war with Japanese capitulation with a lower death toll by any count using means other than dropping the nukes.

    They saved lives. Invasion or blockade would have been utterly barbarous.

  25. “Note the conflation of military and civilian, guilty and innocent, into one amorphous mass called ‘Japan’. See how it is explicitly stated with “to make sure no innocent Japanese civilians would get hurt (assuming there was such people)”.

    This is evil, people, plain and simple. This is the kind of thinking that drives totalitarian genocidal regimes. It’s disgusting.”

    No Jarrah you’re being smug. How on earth do you get a brainwashed society like Japan to yield to reason?

    There WAS a amorphous thing called Japan. I’ll give you a hint. They didn’t need to gang press people into being Kamikazes. They had a grossly fucked up culture and casulty estimates for an invasion reach into the half millions for US soliders, millions for Japanese soldiers and tens of millions for civilians.

    Report back when you learn something about Iwo Jima and Okinawa and extrapolate that to the four mainland islands.


    183,000[USA] 117,000[Empire of Japan]

    Casualties and losses (U.S.A)
    12,513 killed
    38,916 wounded,
    33,096 non-combat losses
    (Many wounded died after the battle, death toll is an underestimate)

    (Japanese Empire)
    About 110,000 killed
    7,400–10,755 captured

    (Okinawan tributary state)
    Estimated 42,000–150,000 civilians killed

    Iwo Jima

    USA 70,000 Japan 18,061–18,591[1]

    Casualties and losses (USA)
    6,822 dead
    19,217 wounded

    USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95), sunk 21 February 1945, 318 crewmen lost

    17,845–18,375 dead
    34 captured

    Japan had a population of 70 million at the time.

    I might be wrong but those who wished that we fought a more “honourable” war are seemingly ignorant of what the casulties would have been of that path was followed.

  26. “Report back when you learn something about Iwo Jima and Okinawa and extrapolate that to the four mainland islands.”

    You didn’t read comment #32.

  27. You seem to think that the Bushi culture of Japan would have willingly disarmed and never tried to regain it’s Empire.

    Not bloody likely.

  28. You can create a whole line of counter-factuals, but we have to deal with the facts that humans, and human societies, have violent tendencies. How can we ameliorate this so that war becomes history? And can we do this without creating a powerful world super-state?
    I think these are questions that libertarians need to look into.

  29. Japan was probably the closest to a singular amorphous blob. Every Japanese had a duty to serve the Emperor to the death. There are even photos of children training with sticks in anticipation of an Allied invasion. There was no one in Japan who would say “screw the Emperor, I’m going on my own way”.

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