How Anger Ruins Liberty


The libertarians are right about many things, and the general populace is notably libertarian in many ways. And yet, relatively few people have any interest in the libertarian “movement.” At this point, two or three generations of libertarians have wondered why they couldn’t get more people, but they have few answers, save for being more and more flamboyant.

There are many reasons for the lack of libertarian ideas spreading of course, but my point today is a very simple one:

Libertarians major in anger, and that chases millions of decent people away.

I’m sympathetic, you understand. Once you see what coercive institutions have done to mankind, it’s completely understandable to become angry. But if our writings are a one-note symphony of complaints, we doom ourselves to the fringes, no matter how right our ideas may be. There has to be more than that if we’re going to draw people in.

Doing more of the same things that are failing – but doing them louder and with more “edge” – hasn’t worked. If we want people to receive our ideas, we’ll have to give them a positive image to move toward, and few libertarians ever do that.

Positive Libertarianism?

Yes, positive libertarianism. Please see this article, which makes the case for it pretty directly.

Many libertarians complain simply because it seems to be “the libertarian model.” But that’s a silly reason. And what’s worse is that complaining ties us to the things we complain about. That keeps us from covering new ground and keeps the same old abuses in the forefront of our minds. In other words, it’s a recipe for stasis.

What the World Sees

A young friend of mine is particularly engaged in this issue and recently sent me these comments:

These people are very angry… they all seem to talk with a “screw you” tone of voice and connotations.

People with this philosophy are almost universally lacking in kindness. Perhaps they have it, but they don’t express it in their words.

In my head, the philosophy is a kind one. When you think through the logical implications, you realize that this would produce benefits… but you have to actually tell people that, rather than just say, “Screw you; taxation is theft!”

The delivery of the message is sending people away.

It’s not about the taxes. It’s about people. It’s about respecting and valuing people, and libertarians are really failing at that.

Where Anger Ends Up

I hate to post the following images, but I think they’re important to see. All of these come from the social media feeds of people who boast of “freedom,” “ancap,” “libertarian,” “anti-state,” and so on. This is where anger can lead, and part of the pathology involves picking on women.






So, why aren’t there more libertarian women?

Yes, I know this isn’t representative of all libertarians (thank God), but the people who post this kind of filth have hundreds of thousands of followers and likes.

So, the libertarian movement has a problem, and at the root of it lies anger.

Anger Is Poison

Let’s get to the bottom of this: Anger, while it may be an understandable response to abuse, is highly toxic if not purged. And it is definitely not suitable as a modus operandi.

Not all libertarians deal in anger, of course, but the many who do are poisoning their own progress. Pointing out evil is fine at times, and occasionally necessary… but not all the time.

If the choir we’re preaching to demands negativity, it’s a choir we need to leave behind. If our “click-numbers” sag, then so be it; if we can’t put goodness above numbers, we’re poisoning  the people who give us their time and attention.

We need to build what’s right, not to complain about what’s wrong.

* * * * *

If you’ve enjoyed Free-Man’s Perspective or A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, you’re going to love Paul Rosenberg’s new novel, The Breaking Dawn.

It begins with an attack that crashes the investment markets, brings down economic systems, and divides the world. One part is dominated by mass surveillance and massive data systems: clean cities and empty minds… where everything is assured and everything is ordered. The other part is abandoned, without services, with limited communications, and shoved 50 years behind the times… but where human minds are left to find their own bearings.

You may never look at life the same way again.

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

14 thoughts on “How Anger Ruins Liberty”

  1. You make some valid points but there is a need for righteous indignation. Also, anyone who does not become angry when he finds out what is going on is, to some extent, unnatural. Obviously, we should not let anger overcome reason in our fight to restore liberty.

    1. I suppose being angry is a normal early-on emotion for neo-libertarians. But in time you either come to recognize that there is nothing inherently good about that brainless abstraction made up of psychopaths, called “government”, or you will remain an angry ministatist. You will come to cease whining about “The-Constitution” (a scam from its inception).
      I regard lunatics who claim to possess “jurisdiction” in the same manner as I regard rattlesnakes — except rattlesnakes do serve some useful purposes, such as feeding off rodents and other pests. The jurisdiction is force of arms — nothing more. I always believe the man with a loaded gun.
      Or woman — L-ord have mercy!
      Of course I’m 81 and haven’t voted since 1964. I received my intro to libertarian thought from Karl Hess and Harry Browne.
      If you love your freedom from a rat-free home, thank a rattlesnake.
      And abstain from beans.

  2. The toxicity of libertarian anger is of less importance than the self-righteousness of many libertarian spokesmen. Worse yet is the “pure” libertarian insistence on policies that would have ruinous effects. And let’s not forget the preponderance of marginal characters within libertarian organizations — or their tendency to “rise to the top” of such organizations.
    Ideology has a polarizing effect. It always has and it always will. But combine an absolutist ideology that dismisses the importance of admitting to its limitations with public anger and a plethora of marginal characters, and you have a recipe for failure.

    1. You make some important points, but I can not agree with some of the positions in the article that you link to above. For instance you suggest that there is no viable libertarian solution to providing collective national defense. Hans-Hermann Hoope writes pretty convincingly on this as well as Tom Woods I would assume. And the suggestion that the US military has been used for benign purposes by and large — is not supported by history. Perhaps you are right that there is not enough emphasis on the limitations of the philosophy (i.e. provisions for those unable to take care of themselves), but I have not come upon a libertarian that believes the philosophy will create a utopia. With that said, your comments on the polarizing effect of ideology and the marginal characters rising to the top seem to be right on.

    1. Not certain of your meaning, ramrod, but these posts create no benefit – they only harm.

    1. My wild guess: Guys who’ve been hurt by some woman, in some way, and make themselves feel better by slamming women in general.
      They find refuge in the libertarian non-aggression principle, which they twist into meaning, “as long as I use no violence against you, anything I do is righteous.”

  3. As difficult as it may be to put into practice, I think the suggestions in the article are right on.

  4. Kindness is hard to practice when government & commerce is stripping future potential from your kids.. Anger is the backlash response, found everywhere even semiconscious of the global problem. Complaint is the kindest response short of warfare , & thats the path of unifying political organisation.. Power thru every disruptive means possible, whilst pretending to service public interests, amplifying this corundum.
    Yes the plan is for a sterile world order .. sterile for the working “other side” ,
    This is the practical solution to public excess

    1. Talis: Momentary anger I understand, but if we remain angry, we never build, we only labor at tearing down.
      Freedom must be BUILT, and the powers that be will never do it. Unless we build it, it won’t be built, and anger draws us astray.

      1. Anger is not the solution, it is backlash of emotional instability. Who said anything about remaining angry.. This is a great example how even a doctorate is too close to the wood for the trees, Complaint is not Anger. Mob mentality is a most dangerous state of mind that sheep predispose.
        One cannot have new policy without complaint of the old. It is the manner of complaint that brings diplomacy. Anger, when fully managed, ceases to manifest even momentarily. When u are ready to place yor time into areas of expertise , let me kno (to improve metaSearch FOAF ) , which continues down its tragic markup path , like political dialog .. Worth nothing , due to impossibly convoluted cross-referenced syntax .. teatotaller charities (public service) cant see the wood, either, Thus continue to kindle Anger thru polarized argument, otherwise soluble thru organised forum.
        That organised Forum does not exist , only fragmented opinion that is easily inverted .. thats the only place yor “freedom” finds outside of religion.. losing its grip on that population embracing democracy. Too bad the rest are addicted to Anger, mainly thru historical betrayal.. one that can only be pacified thru a reinterpretation of events.. that pacifies Anger, a platform needing to be built 4access to all ethnic backgrounds Research Gate is a great start, tho highly disorganized in its opinions. Thats why the only alternate crowd control is known as Enforcement.

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