Libertarian theorist Wendy McElroy worries that she might have to leave the movement she practically founded, because, to use a biblical quote, “there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph.” A new generation of self-styled libertarians that doesn’t know the meaning of libertarianism has arisen, according to which Wendy, and certainly myself, are deemed “brutalists.”
I wrote “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fem, I Smell The Blood Of A Racist” about one of their luminaries, before I understood the extent of the revisionism in which the “humanitarians” were engaged.
So numerous are the libertarians who condemn me that I have long since stopped giving a damn. Most are like the proverbial (or metaphysical) tree falling in the woods. We know they say stuff, but nobody wants to stick around to hear them make the tedious sounds they make.
Over to Wendy, who is heartbroken over “the attempt to change the ground rules of libertarianism through introducing left-leaning attitudes and concepts”:
… the absurd and manufactured debates [is] about “”thin” and “thick” libertarianism – the “humanitarians” versus the “brutalists.” It is an attempt to introduce political correctness into libertarianism so that it is not enough to advocate nonviolence; you have to advocate it for the right reason, as defined by those who provide themselves as moral filters. They call me a brutalist. This means I will never violate your rights; your children, your property are safe in my presence because I respect your right to live in peace. But I don’t protect your children for the right reasons. For this, I am to be excoriated. This is the second approach to a new definition of libertarianism: People wish to analyze society not according to whether it is voluntary but in order to ferret out signs of power and privilege which they self-righteously condemn. Consider open source software. It has been castigated as a realm of privilege because it predominantly consists of white men. Open source software is source code that is thrown into the public realm so that anyone can modify and enhance it. It is a pure expression of free speech; the product is available to everyone for free; there are no entry barriers or requirements other than caring enough to learn code. Learning code is also available and free to all.
I think it was the condemnation of open source software that made me crack. Out of the goodness of his heart, my husband has devoted substantial time to what amounts to an intellectual charity. He pursues it for the same reason he repairs and gives computers for free to underprivileged children; he believes in the power of technology to lift people out of poverty. (BTW, I strongly suggest no one criticize my husband to my face on this point; I am likely to render the most Irish of all responses.)
Open source software is condemned for no other reason than it involves few women or minorities. This reflects nothing more than the choice of those women and minorities. It costs nothing to learn coding. Tutorials are available for free to all and everywhere. Correction: It does cost time and effort. The individual has to exert him or herself. I’m not willing to make the investment but neither do I blame the first white guy I see for my own inertia. If there is something in the culture of women and of specific minorities that prevents them from rising, then blame the culture. Don’t blame a white man like my husband who is falling over himself to provide a free service. (Correction: my husband is Hispanic … but that won’t give him a free pass. I mean, after all … the genitalia. And the grand critics of society don’t really care for accuracy.)
Last night, I contemplated my exit from a movement that considers me to be a “brutalist” after years of unpaid work promoting nonviolence. I found myself engaging in an emotional release that I’ve used for many years. I wrote a letter to my father. My dad died when I was ten years old. I loved him. …
Read “A Letter to My Father” By Wendy McElroy