I Write for Me, First…

Via LFAT, I notice this from Jonathan Calder at Liberal England. The question being (and it’s a loaded one) will we (libertarian bloggers) grow up?

Youtube comments are not noted for their intellectual content, but a comment on the Traffic song Light Up or Leave Me Alone gets it just right: “I think this is? the ultimate, ‘get out of my room Mom!’ song.”

And karenparetto has also put her finger on the problem with many libertarian bloggers. They are irredeemably adolescent. The issues that motivate them over and over again are “get out of my room Mom!” ones: alcohol, gambling and smoking.

Oh, my, where to start…

Okay, while the article does raise some interesting questions, why is it that folk seem to want to decide what it is that we should write about? This isn’t the first time I’ve seen comment along these lines; as if, somehow, we should all be writing to some sort of agenda.

Look, libertarians are like atheists (and some of us are anyway) and cats, we are independent creatures and we write about those things that pique our interests. For me, this is civil liberties and that was the primary driver for starting this blog. On the matter of smoking, as it seems to be a sticking point, I neither smoke nor drink, yet the puritanical drive against both disturbs me immensely. You see, smoking and drinking isn’t the issue, it is indicative of a deeper malaise in our society; the rise in the new puritanism. Fake charities lobby their paymasters while the useful idiots snap, yap and bay at their ankles demanding that things be banned and people forced into line – and it is always someone else that needs to be forced. The mob has always been with us and remains to this day; disguised as caring puritanism, its vileness lurks barely beneath the surface. Read any discussion in a mainstream publication on these issues and the feculence bubbles and festers like a witches’ cauldron. Yesterday it was hunting with hounds; today, it is the smoker and the drinker; tomorrow it is butter, salt and saturated fats. The day after, it will be something else – there is always something else as this beast is never sated, seeking as it does, to regulate the minutiae of our lives for our own good.

So, that’s why we keep wittering on about smoking and drinking.

I do not call myself a libertarian. 

Fine by me.

I share much of their analysis of the dangers and failures of the Fabian idea that the state should take over more and more areas of our life.

Jolly good. I wish more would do so. Although, despite people telling us that we are ranting in cyberspace where no one hears you cry, people do seem to bang on about the libertarian blogosphere rather a lot. So, perhaps, people are listening and, just perhaps, we resonate with the concerns those people have.

But I don’t like their foundationalist approach – the idea that you draw up a few abstract principles in your study or seminar romm and then demand that the world be changed so it is in accord with them.

I simply do not recognise this analysis. I haven’t drawn up any abstract principles, nor for that matter have I demanded that the world be changed – other than the state be rolled back, which is a perfectly reasonable desire. Every political activist is seeking to change the status quo; why not libertarians? What I have done, is use this as a platform to rage against the erosion of our civil liberties and it is civil liberties that I am principally interested in.

It is a philosophy that is profoundly uninterested in the textures of life as we live today, and this blog is very interested in those indeed.

The texture of  life is not something that presses my buttons. It is not something that I wish to write about. Liberal England does. The Internet being a big place, means that those who want to, may read my witterings about civil liberties and Calder’s pontification about the textures of life. Simples. Everyone’s happy. So, what’s the problem?

I don’t write about foreign policy or education because, frankly, they are not in my sphere of interest – despite my being actively involved in the latter. I am interested in adult education, but have no particular desire to write about it, nor any particular desire to put forward an education policy – although, if asked, I would recommend a return to subjects that have fallen by the wayside, such as English language, grammar and mathematics, having had to deal with semi-literate and semi-numerate products of our wonderful modern education system.

If you want to read about these things, there are people who do talk about them. This place is not it. I write this for the same reason that Devil’s Kitchen writes; it is a catharsis, a place to vent my spleen when the control freaks snip away at yet another civil liberty. Get those back, and then I might feel inclined to discuss the other things. I write here about those issues that either interest me or irritate me. I am not paid to do so, so what you see is what you get, there is no agenda and I don’t plan to adopt one. If you pay me, well, that’s a different matter. On those occasions when I have written for payment, I’ve written about what those who commission me choose.

So the reason that “get out of my room Mom!” issues have such an appeal to libertarians is that I suspect they rarely get out of their bedrooms themselves. Indeed, I am not convinced that some even get out of their pyjamas.

Um, bollocks, frankly. And, making a sweeping, puerile generalisation such as this, while attempting to take the mature high ground is something of a contradiction…


  1. Well said.

    “get out of my room, mom”?

    I think the guy unwittingly encapsulates the inability of big-gov liberal do-gooders to distinguish between the role of a parent to a child and that of the state to the individual citizen.
    .-= My last blog ..One to watch =-.

  2. Many on the left can’t understand why we don’t write to an agenda for one reason – it’s what they do.

    As to the pyjamas idea – well, the papers have made clear in recent days just who is going around in their pyjamas. So maybe that wasn’t the best choice of insult.

    Seems the Libertarians are really starting to worry some of the other parties. The attacks will get nastier.
    .-= My last blog ..Quantum Politics =-.

  3. Great article. Especially this.

    “The mob has always been with us and remains to this day; disguised as caring puritanism, its vileness lurks barely beneath the surface. Read any discussion in a mainstream publication on these issues and the feculence bubbles and festers like a witches’ cauldron”

    The new drive for ‘denormalisation’ of others brings the vilest in society out from under the rock where they should be confined.

    It’s to socialism’s shame that these people are pandered to.

    Agreed about the pyjamas jibe, too. Kinda defeats the whole object of accusing others of being puerile.
    .-= My last blog ..A Tale Of Two Bridges =-.

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