2013-05-20

In Defense Of Cartoons

The following started out as a comment on David Friedman's blog post, but the further along I got, the more I realized that (a) posting my thoughts there would detract from the otherwise civil discourse Friedman manages to attract, and (b) it's grown so lengthy that it is effectively a blog post of its own. So here it goes:


I think the most astounding aspect of this whole "cartoon libertarians" fiasco is that the BHLers are willing to defend what is obviously character malignment.

It's the same with the phrase "internet Austrians." It's a term cooked up to denigrate people who agree with Austrian-School economists, but who lack sufficient academic background to do so with full academic rigor. Likewise, what are "cartoon libertarians," if not people who share the BHLers' policy objectives but lack sufficient scholastic achievement to argue the BHLers' case flawlessly?

My question is, Why on Earth would BHLers want to do this? Is obliterating libertarianism actually what they have in mind? Because I'm not sure there is any other benefit to taking aim at the people who are attempting to learn from the Brennans of the world, but who also have things like day jobs and family responsibilities that keep us from engaging in academic research to the point of having an airtight argument.

It's hard not to take offense, frankly, and I'm not even sure I qualify as a "cartoon libertarian." But what Brennan wrote makes me want to qualify, just so that I can disagree with him.

Let me accept the label "cartoon libertarian." Heck, I'll be the Speedy Gonzales of libertarianism!


(For those of you a bit slow on the uptake, I'm choosing Speedy Gonzales in order to deliberately offend the sensibilities of people like Brennan, who I can only assume recognize the racist undertones of Speedy but fail to recognize that his many positive character traits actually imply something positive, not negative, about Mexican culture. In other words, Speedy Gonzales is exactly the kind of character that would offend the BHLers for being insufficiently touchy-feely while remaining adequately heroic to the rest of us.... Okay, having said that, I can now proceed to: Get it? Get it? Speedy Gonzales? Get it?)

Having accepted by assumption the fact that I am probably one of those horrible internet Austrians or bleeding heart austerians or crew-members of Battlestar Catallaxica or cartoon libertarian or whatever, I will now proceed in silence as Jason Brennan and all the real libertarians go ahead and engage in civil debate without me. I'll let them decide what I'm supposed to think. Go ahead, guys. The mic's all yours...