William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Libertarianism: The "Human Centipede" of political ideologies

    There are no great libertarian thinkers. Libertarianism is the absence of thought.

    Lately, libertarianism has gained some weird popularity in the U.S. Sort of like Garbage Pail Kids did, but more offensive and less intellectual. Somehow, a growing group of maniacs has decided that things like paying taxes and making sure their handicapped grandma doesn’t die is an affront to their personal liberty.

    I used to go by the theory that there are no homeless libertarians, but now I realize that was in error. The homeless are the quintessential libertarians, with no freedom-sapping things like shelter or clothing taking away from their personal freedom of licking the cheese off a three-day-old McDonald’s wrapper.

    Libertarianism is like Scientology in that it’s a huge scam with a cult following of people who have completely lost the ability to think for themselves. Also, both libertarians and Scientologists believe in space aliens and that “Battlefield Earth” was Barry Pepper’s best work.

    In the U.S., libertarians are under some bizarre fantasy that State governments somehow are better than the federal government. This fantasy is formed by being utterly ignorant to the current plight of states and the stupidity of state laws. Hell, why stop at States. How about we just live under City laws. Or better yet, let your neighborhood make all the rules. That way, you can have neighborhoods that have legalized dog fights and pedophilia. You know, Liberty.

    And don't even start with the, "Well, the Founding Fathers said ... " stuff. As soon as you have writings of the Founding Fathers talking about a nation of 300 million people with 50 states and run by mega-corporations, we'll talk.

    Libertarianism is a lot like the movie “Human Centipede” in that everyone involved is completely full of shit and it’s never actually been done in real life

    Libertarianism was originally known as Anarchist Communism, because it essentially takes the worst of two hideous and failed ideologies, smooshes them together and calls it a philosophy. Human civilization has never tried libertarianism as a ruling ideology because humans aren’t, by and large, selfish and soulless monsters. Also, because it’s the type of ideology a 13-year-old comes up with when they’re angry that their parents make them mow the lawn.

    Libertarians believe that masturbating in front of a mirror is the purest form of sex because it’s all you, baby.

    Libertarians essentially believe that those who fall through the cracks of capitalism will be taken care of by charities. Because God knows, the majority of Americans who work 18-hour days for $2 an hour will spend their off hours working at soup kitchens and giving free appendix surgery to those who need it but can’t afford it. A libertarian regime would just mean we’d need to get used to wading through dead bodies to get to work. Because it would infringe upon our liberties to bury anyone who’s not you.

    Libertarians believe the purest form of death is putting a bullet in your own head. Because you were free to own a gun and eat a bullet to get away from the nightmare of libertarianism.

    Libertarianism is the belief that the poor of the United States aren’t suffering enough.

    That so many people have seen how capitalism and unfettered free markets affect the common person and yet still consider it a perfect economic system can only mean one thing – that libertarians are just Republicans that have grown embarrassed in calling themselves Republicans. It’s not an ideology. It’s a way for rich people to sit back, feel superior and enjoy watching poor people fight to the death over a scrap of gristle.

    Libertarians don’t have any idea what in the hell liberty or freedom mean. They are just a bunch of assholes who don’t want to pay taxes and want to get stoned and watch people who earn less than them wither and die.

    In an era of winner-take-all capitalism, libertarianism is not just moronic. It’s evil.


    Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles


    I hope this is a joke. You present no evidence, facts, or any other coherent thought other than a bunch of incoherent, illogical fallacies. If this is meant to be serious writing, you need to get an education.

    Stephen (not verified),

    Check out the little red words following the writer's name, the date and the time signature and hope no more. 

    This is listed under "humor and satire"?


    I don't see how, as it contains neither.

    and politics

    So, the "satire/humor" relieves Wolfie from any responsibility for having any particular standards applied to what he blathers whatsoever .... and the "politics" relieves him from any responsibility for having to be funny. Classically Democrat.

    This is indeed comedy ... just probably not the sort you think.

    Not at all.  I do think the satire/humor tag gives Wolfie more license than a conventional political piece.  My pointing out that it was also tagged "politics" was just heckling.  I didn't find it all that funny, although I laughed out loud at the human centipede reference.  I thought that was well done.  Nor was I offended, either, but knew many would be.  I just don't know any libertarians and scarcely give the philosophy much thought.  It just isn't interesting to me.  At all.  And I don't doubt you're right about whatever comedy you're sure it indeed is, isn't how I read it.

    My pointing out [...] was just heckling.

    No shit, Sherlock.


    Snappy comeback.

    I'm not sure what bone you have to pick with me.  But I'd really like to know how you get videos and stills into comments.  I can never get it to work.

    Click reply. At the top right of the comment box, there's little symbols for images and such. Use them. Then you and KGB can fight facepalm wars!

    Looking at the comments so far, I can only say that such a blog is necessary for this country unfortunately.  If for the only reason that people can't get how satire operates.  Now if the Left can treat the Anarchists the same way it treats the Libertarians, we'll be making some serious progress.

    I tell you what, if an anarchist ever gets elected to Congress or gets to spout his theories in Democratic primary debates while the other other candidates parrot his talking points, I promise to satirize the hell out of him. In the meantime, I'll let the anarchists frolic unmolested with the rest of the impotent crackpots, as I've got more interesting things to write about.

    Well, if to take this seriously, when someone like Ron Paul, even in this environment where someone like Perry and Cain can get 20%+ in the polls, can't break 10%, then why are we talking about the Libertarians.  It isn't about the purists.  It is about the underlying theoretical viewpoints that get manifested in the more acceptable forms.  If the occupy movement has done anything, and it has done other things, it has shown the Anarchist romanticism that underpins much of those who identify themselves with the Left.

    Anarchist romanticism that underpins much of those who identify themselves with the Left.

    This sounds much like the deliberate misrepresentation of liberal activists that one hears on Fox News. Something like this:

    1. OWS protest the government

    2. Anarchists protest the government

    Ergo, OWS is a bunch of anarchists

    Or its sister syllogistic fallacy:

    1. Liberals oppose income inequality

    2. Socialists oppose income inequality

    Ergo, liberals are socialists

    Or maybe it's this one:

    1. Some OWS protestors are anarchists

    Ergo, OWS protestors support anarchy.

    While this is about the least funny shit I've ever seen on a humor/satire thread ... Ev.ar ... it should probably be noted that Ron Paul is running as a Republican, not a Libertarian.


    Come on, you're missing the point - Libertarians are losers because Ron Paul can't get 10% popularity and they just don't seem to be into the spirit of compromise. Of course Jesus would be thrown out of this Temple if he suggested we could be nice to each other - expect that to track at about .009% compared to the simpler, more popular idea of beating the needy senseless and carving out the safety net bit by bit, and for heaven's sake (channeling Rummy) to support the war on terror.

    And because Ron Paul has that L-word pinned to his name, we should ignore anything that might seem sensible, such as getting out of all our senseless wars and stop tossing trillions to Wall Street. Because Paul as all Libertarians is evil - can you imagine what would happen to Wall Street if not only did we have no rules and oversight, we allowed vigilante justice by say Anonymous to Mad Max-out the Humungus-led hordes.

    Nope, simpler to play by the existing rules, and vote in compassionate conservative Democrats who will make sure to keep a shard of Medicare alive for pretense sake. Those other guys are just delusional.

    Wulfie, don't listen to the rest of these holier-than-thou blatherers. You are spot on, and I thank you for writing this very concise explanation of what it is to be a Libertarian. I also sincerely hope that this was NOT meant as a joke. It is the Libertarians who should be considered jokes., but unfortunately, stupid people think they sound smart. We are totally screwed, and thanks for pointing out why.

    "don't listen to the rest of these holier-than-thou blatherers" - so who's the original blatherer, Wulfie or you?

    The search for the original blatherer--a mystery that has obsessed scientists and philosophers since the dawn of time. Alas, we may never know.

    Twas Heraclitus, who never blathered into the same river twice.


    Um, I would say that this dude is the ​ORIGINAL ​holier-than-thou blatherer since it is the first comment:



    I hope this is a joke. You present no evidence, facts, or any other coherent thought other than a bunch of incoherent, illogical fallacies. If this is meant to be serious writing, you need to get an education.


    I agree with Cville.

    Nice rant!

    Of course politics involve coalitions; mostly of a temporary nature so that the Paul's might sign on to measures seeking to shrink the military in this nation but would never sign on to a minimum wage bill or a health bill or a civil rights initiative or any other bill that might actually help human beings. hahahaha

    And like Moyers said of Texas legislators:

    If you think these guys are bad, you should meet their constituents!

    Just as an aside cause I do not know where to put this thought I saw Coulter on CSPAN selling one of her non-documented drivels and she actually said:

    The primary aim of the Left in this country is to break the Commandments of God, each and every one!

    She actually stated recently that the killings at Kent State were dispositive in ending the  hippy movement. Four Dead in Ohio was a good thing for this nation. The only way to stop this new lawless anti-Wall Street movement is to kill four or five of the protesters.

    So my conclusion is that there are worst people in our universe than libertarians!

    just lame

    Dear Anonymous (not verified) :

    What a brave and fascinating comment.

    I think this is very funny Wolfie and spot on. I can't believe Libertarianism has raised its ugly head in this new millenia and is somehow taken seriously??? What?  It used to be the ideology of all teens who read Atlas Shrugged, and then they turned 18 and saw the realities of the world and laughed it off. But no longer, it seems to be taken seriously as a political system, which is beyond bizarre for all the reasons you mentioned.

    Libertarians are by and large are men, why is that?  If you notice, every person who has responded with a degree if anger, all men, probably all WASP's. I love your comparison to Scientology, spot on. 

    But there is one paragraph that floats above the rest:

    In the U.S., libertarians are under some bizarre fantasy that State governments somehow are better than the federal government. This fantasy is formed by being utterly ignorant to the current plight of states and the stupidity of state laws. Hell, why stop at States. How about we just live under City laws. Or better yet, let your neighborhood make all the rules. That way, you can have neighborhoods that have legalized dog fights and pedophilia. You know, Liberty.

    This is exactly correct, this is exactly the way they think. Let's all live under Home Owner Association Rules! Woohoo! Remember you need to have the color of your house approved before you paint it this year!


    I don't recall the Home Owner Association carrying out drone attacks or proposing indefinite detention or even the teensiest bit of waterboarding. Hardly even a pepper spraying I can think of.

    I don't remember the HOA backing the lenders as they illegally foreclosed on homes, much less giving away the entire year's member dues to a few poor banks going through troubled times.

    And don't think the HOA invited oil drilling or toxic waste dumps into the neighborhood, but maybe I missed that meeting.

    Perhaps it's true that there's a neighborhood somewhere that would support pedophelia - I personally doubt it aside from crude stereotypes about West Virginia - but does that mean a Mark Foley doesn't exist on the national level?

    Current plight of states? Well, one of the causes of the current plight is that the national government cut its budget & responsibilities, and threw all the crap back on the states, including lots of federal "obligations" the states can't just refuse just because the feds are a the big gorilla that can.

    And in answer to your acute observation that there are fewer female libertarians than male, I drop the stunning riposte: more men watch football than women, and more women watch Oprah than men. So there must be something wrong with either Oprah or football, or maybe even both.

    I guess we feel good by dismissing this or that movement as completely deranged. Funny, that's how we got into thinking we could take over the entire Middle East without any resistance, or funnier still, with welcoming arms. But those wacky libertarians, they believe in the gold standard, rather than printing money by Fed fiat to support profligate banks selling worthless toxic assets to unsuspecting consumers. Aren't them libertarians strange?

    Hahaha, your response is the typical over-the-top response I expect out of libertarians, well done!

    You wrote:

    Well, one of the causes of the current plight is that the national government cut its budget & responsibilities, and threw all the crap back on the states,

    Guess why? All the dumb assed libertarians driven by the Norquist "we dont have to pay taxes for anything, we will let states do it and make our systems as redundant and as expensive as we possibly can."

    Thanks for stepping up and proving  what a ridiculous ideology this is. Well done Peracles, well done.

    Let's see, believing that local control = pedophiles & dog fighting isn't "over the top"?

    I'm not enamored with the "no taxes" position, nor am I enamored with where TARP went, where military subsidies go, our ability to increase payments to Big Pharma and other parts of the health industry without exacting serious cost savings.

    So while Libertarians are radical, I can sympathize with part of the direction.

    I'm not sure what acting smug about it gives, since obviously the current system has huge problems that we're not fixing.

    I.e. the ideology of "elect us, we suck less than the other team" hasn't shown improvement in employment or a decrease in wars or a savings in budget. So why should I think the Libertarians are any more ridiculous?

    Hey look, it's a supercommittee to come in to tell us how to do our jobs!!! Oops, splat. Okay, next brainiac idea anyone?


    All you white guys think alike.

    (See you at church next week?)

    Pretty much a spot-on critique of libertarianism.

    A wonderful takedown, Wolf.  The only thing that keeps me liking Libertarians is the prominence of stupid, unnecessary laws.  But, most of those stupid laws are made, and enforced, at the state and local levels.  If left to their own devices, most states would be true tyrannies.

    Sure took me right down, but left me a bit confused. I mean, I've got some fairly strong Libertarian leanings myself and in this one sentence he hit three out of four descriptors that apply to me.

    "They are just a bunch of assholes who don’t want to pay taxes and want to get stoned and watch people who earn less than them wither and die."

     Well, I have been called an asshole enough times, and often knew that there was fair reason, so I will cop to that one.

     Paying taxes is no fun, I really don't like it so that's another one. I would choose, though, to pay 90% on a ten million dollar bonus next year, so I am not a purist Libertarian, give me a break. I am willing to compromise. What the hell, I'd be willing to pay only fifteen percent if that is what was required to keep our great system going. OK, I'll let you call me a Libertarian if you let me keep it all. That might make us both happy.

     There are other things which the Libertarians advocate that I believe in, like ending wars, but I grew up thinking that was a Christian sort of belief so where does that put me besides in a world that is kind of confusing.   

     The Wolfman missed a bit on the last part though. When it comes to getting stoned, I have liked it more than once, I've even had something akin to mystical experiences a few times. I have actually considered going back to Brazil and finding the right place to do some ayahuasca. I've heard that it is some extreeeemly intense shit, maybe wolfie knows, but I swear to God, if it made me want to sit and watch people "wither and die", I'd get the hell out and change my ways. So if that last part is something true about the nature of Libertarians, even some selected group known only to him, I aint one of them and I want everyone to know it, but if it is just Ann Coulter type of clever political discourse, [some people really like that stuff] [and it really is affective for some] I say hey, great work. I learned a lot. But, sadly, I'm still confused. Maybe I've been bonged on the head too many times.

    Heck, I describe myself as libertarian-leaning and on social issues, I totally am.  If you want to spend an evening snorting cocaine off a hooker's ass while gambling, I really don't see how that's anybody else's business.  I also don't like being taxed to pay for wars that I didn't want us to fight in the first place.  But, you know, I also support having a functioning infrastructure, so there's that.

    It might be the hooker's business, too.  That makes it a little sticky, though generally I agree.

    I come here to learn so answer me this, when it gets sticky can you still snort it?

    Not sure about coke--not my cup of tea.  I can, however, handle my weed sticky.

    No.  You have to be able to cut it into a fine powder.  You could, however, smoke it.  If you smoke it on top of a bowl of weed it's called a snowcap.  So I've heard.

    It's definitely the hooker's business!  Consent (among adults) is of paramount importance.

    The community has a responsibility to stop the exploitation of various groups by others. Hookers, multiple wives, children.

    Right on. I'm so tired of being exploited by hookers, multiple wives and children.

    "Scram, Kid. Ya bother me."

    No, it's the hookers, multiple wives and children who are being exploited.

    Oh, and no drug I've ever taken has made me want to watch anybody whither and die, either.  If one did, I'd definitely mark that down as a bad trip.

    Whither and die?

    Dude. That's Trope's riff.

    This is a point--about the states--that doesn't get enough attention.

    For some strange reason, anti-government libertarian types are in LOVE with government at the local and state level.

    I guess, to be charitable, it has to do with their views about federalism, i.e., government being better when it's closer to the people and therefore more biddable.

    But is it more biddable? Maybe at the town level, but maybe not. At the town level, you have cliques and lots of personal relationships that block outsiders from getting in.

    It would be interesting to do a survey and see whether the average person knows more about the president and his Senate and House representatives or about his state and local representatives.

    I would not be surprised if it turned out to be the former.

    The more paranoid side of me thinks libertarians' love affair with state and local government has less to do with the Constitution and liberty and more to do with being left alone to pursue various forms of injustice and tyranny without the intrusive eyes of "foreigners" who "don't know how we've done things around here for the past 400 years."

    The more paranoid side of me thinks federal governments are much more able to launch nuclear weapons, drones, cluster bombs, sterilization programs, embargos, punitive tariffs, extraordinary renditions, genetically modified seed, water boarding, stress positions, indefinite detentions, unconditional amnesties for corporate malfeasance, mass eavesdropping, wrongful incarceration, irresponsible drilling, toxic tailings, strip mining, unconstitutional confiscations, selective assassinations, and other illegal acts.

    But if you're worried about the local homeowner's association, heart be stilled, you have other meek warriors at your side.

    You've got a more paranoid side?


    I used to have a paranoid side, but it was out to get me, so I destroyed it.

    Yep - Obama's deported more Mexicans than Bush, and I think he's sending them to Kenya to set up strip malls and taco stands to win the hearts and minds of Africans - is that paranoid enough fer ya?

    Smells like... smells like... business opportunity. 

    Of course, in so much of what is the power of the federal government to launch such things is possible only with the cooperation and support of localized government entities from city councils to regional law enforcement departments to state environmental agency reps.  Whether it is embracing a manufacturing plant that produces drones or allowing for irresponsible drilling, strip mining, or not investigating corporate malfeasance, much of what occurs on American soil is done with at least the blessing if not the helping hand of the locals.

    A key reason Afghanistan is a failed state isn't because it doesn't have a centralized (and very corrupt) federal government, but rather it doesn't have a working authority that reaches into the local regions of the country that seeks to align its agenda with that of the federal agenda.

    Bizarre - can you hear yourself prattle?

    It's the fault of local governments that federal government isn't effective or convincing?

    Afghanistan is a failed state not because it doesn't have an effective state government, but because it doesn't have a "working authority" to make functional local governments listen? Aha, I guess we deport them to Siberia or bring in drones to make them listen. Or at least get a better internet so we can monitor them doing exercises to Big Brother in the morning.

    Power is derived from the people. If the federal government makes itself useful, the local governments will latch on to the success. If it's just a big bullhorn telling them what to do, they'll wait for the militias to force them to follow (and unsurprisingly will fight back)

    I wasn't making the assertion that its the local government's fault.  I was asserting that federal government is only capable of implementing the laundry list you wrote if it has the support of the local authorities.  Which is another way of saying ultimately one cannot make the distinction between local and federal government - the lines become too blurred.  It is a similar dynamic when one is talking about how the banking industry has done all these bad things - they couldn't have done it without the support of the government.  It's a partnership kind of thing. 

    And claiming a state is failed has nothing to do with whether it is being successful in terms of meeting the needs of the people in a positive way.  When the Soviet Union was putting its iron fist down on Eastern Europe, I wouldn't call the Soviet Union a failed state.  So if you want to understand what "working authority" means - look at this part of world history to understand what I am talking about. 

    Power is derived from the People is an ideal, a nice one, and one a country should aspire to.  A successful federal government from this perspective would facilitate local governments latching on to it.  But this kind of success is not necessary for the "latching" outcome.

    This is all true, but...

    It is generally the folks who want to push issues down to the state and local levels who are most in favor of a strong defense and have found ways to justify the things on your list.

    And it was the states' rights folk who were most responsible for America's "original sin" and who are now the most militaristic in their outlook.

    How does one square this circle?

    This is NOT true of Paul, and I believe he's sincere. Yet, it's hard to judge the mettle of someone who votes his conscience with the knowledge that his vote won't change anything.

    He holds up the Constitution as the rationale for his political thinking, as if that were enough to settle the issue. But it's not.

    For example, is a woman's right to choose really an issue we should allow the states to decide individually? Or is it part of the general welfare?

    The states' rights folks seem to want to harken back to a time when the states really were independent, even sovereign, entities who could kinda sorta decide how much they wanted to play with the other states.

    But, IMO, this idea went away when we all agreed to bind ourselves to each other and become ONE country. A single entity.

    It doesn't make sense to me, for example, that having an abortion should be legal in one state, but a criminal offense, punishable by law, in another (or others).

    Yet Paul, who I believe is anti-choice himself, approves of this under the banner of the Constitution, even though his libertarian principles should push him in the opposite direction.

    There are issues where being an Alabamian gives you unique expertise and experience and which it makes sense for Alabamians to decide for themselves. Issues where they are uniquely or disproportionately impacted (perhaps).

    But there are a lot of issues (gay marriage and abortion come to mind) where regional or geographic differences are simply prejudices and out of step with where the country as a whole is moving.

    Or to put it in a less partisan way: As a nation, we're mobile. We all think we have the right to move to any of the states and become citizens of those states. We don't need to show our passports at the borders. Our driver's licenses are recognized in any state. And we know there are differences in the laws of the states.

    But do we want a marriage begun in one state to be outlawed in another state? Do we want people migrating from state to state to get abortions? A moment's thought shows how disruptive and divisive this sort of migration would be.

    (Yes, we under-aged Connecticut kids used to drive to NY to get beer, but that was beer.)

    I don't think these issues should be privileged by recourse to the Constitution or libertarian or even free market thinking.

    The best devil's advocate I can come up with is that if you distil democracy down to its purest form, it's also insane. I don't think that happens with democratic republics, but I'm no political scientist, so maybe I'm missing something.

    I.e., real world libertarians (such as the aforementioned Ron Paul) do make exceptions to this idealized form of libertarianism. Sure, there are dolts that hold that all taxation should be illegal, but I don't think you'll find any of them in Congress.

    Great piece, this. I think I'm a William K. Wolfrum fan. 

    No your stupid. (Love that argument, it works everytime.)

    [Unlike your spell check, which apparently can't distinguish between your and you're. - d]

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