Libertarian Elitism and Sheep

by Jeff Swanson

Everyone wants to be right. To know that their decisions are well made and based on sound reason. Sometimes we actually get stuff right. Why, then, do I find libertarians often telling me I’m wrong? I’m ok with this. Liberals tell me I’m wrong too. I’ve been known to have a cornered market on bad decisions. Why is that when a libertarian tells me I’m misguided, it sticks in my craw so much?

It’s all in the tone. It’s also about sheep.

Why do libertarians disagree with me so much? Don’t we, Republicans and Libertarians, both believe in fiscal sanity? We do. It’s those other pesky differences that get in the way.

What then is Libertarianism?

In a nutshell, libertarians want as much government out of our lives as possible. I don’t really disagree. I think the intellectual parting of ways is derived from how much a libertarian wants government out of our lives.

Minimally regulated markets, fiscal sanity and personal liberty are very noble postions. Positions that I wholeheartedly endorse. I’m not sure that I can get behind legalizing weed or leaving the world to its own devices with a reactive military. Yet, these are intellectual arguments, arguments that have merit and if you’re a libertarian, be sure to remember I said that. This isn’t really a condemnation of libertarianism at all. I too have good reason for my political beliefs.

What’s the problem? Again, the sheep.

I’ve found that libertarians are keen on letting others know just exactly how smart they are. How enlightened they are. That I’m writing about this subject, I must think I’m a smarty-pants too.

Not all who purport to be libertarian do so in manner that makes me crazy. I try to read, watch or listen to John Stossel as often as possible. He is clearly and openly a libertarian.

John doesn’t drive me crazy. If the libertarian deal was such an issue, wouldn’t you think he’d drive me to a bottle of Xanax? Yet John doesn’t. As a matter of fact, I like that he has a different opinion than me.

John doesn’t tell me I’m wrong. He tells me what he thinks. It may differ from my position but that’s just ducky. John doesn’t denigrate what I believe to make his point. John uses facts, data, research and thoughtful assessments and then leaves it to me to figure out for myself. John may point out that he thinks something is wrong, he does not tell me I’m wrong for thinking it.

Why then am I so crazy? Sheep.

More often than I’d like, I’ve had libertarians point out to me that they’ve adopted a superior ideology. Not a different one, a superior one. An ideology that is far more enlightened than the two major parties, than the overwhelming mass of voters.

Quite a claim. Then again, our founders had this problem and look how that turned out. Libertarians could be right. So might I…or even a Democrat? It’s often more subjective than we like.

Feeling strongly in what you believe is important. Feeling superior is wasted intellectual effort.

So what of this ‘sheep’ deal?

Well, the craw-sticker was this word; sheeple. It’s an internet word and it’s not new. It’s to denote the blind followers of an ideology. The sheep following the herd of political dogma. A reference I’ve often seen used by some libertarian folk when talking about us in the two ‘majors’.

If you are a libertarian and feel that you’re part of the enlightened crowd, that you don’t think in the same terms as the unwashed political masses, you to are a sheep but in a much smaller herd.

That’s ok. I’m rather fine with my sheepy loyalty to the Republican party but it is perhaps that I understand that I am a sheep and that’s just fine with me. If you to understand this regarding your own ideas, then bully for you. If not, you might be the worst of all; a blind sheep in a small herd.

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