” Half of the libertarians seem to have gone entirely off the rails… a very vocal half. Fiddle around reading “libertarian” websites and you’ll find all sorts of bizarre things: neo-Confederate denunciations of Lincoln, 9-11 Trutherism, anti-vaccine nonsense, climate change denialism, idiosyncratic “theories” of mental illness, apologia for Putin, arguments for the moral equivalence of Nazi Germany-United States-Israel, and (especially) rabid, blind rage against anyone who dares offer a counterargument. A sensible person, wondering what libertarianism is all about and trying to find whether it offers anything of value, would be so put off by this stuff that they’d forswear libertarianism as a kind of madness. (This isn’t hypothetical — decent people occasionally ask me how I can be associated with such craziness.) So right when the world most needs ’em, libertarians are going bonkers.”
Charles Steele, at his Unforseen Contingencies blog.
Hmmmm. I agree with much of this although it is worth repeating that being a skeptic about the claims made for catastrophic man-made global warming is not the same as being some sort of incorrigible “denier”.
I would also add something else. Libertarianism is no different from any other secular or for that matter, religious creed in having its fair share of nutters, heretics or those who say or do things that are just plain embarrassing. But even nutters can say or do things that open up debates that more “reasonable” people shy away from. Consider just how shockingly radical Mrs Thatcher’s brand of conservatism was made to appear 30 years ago, for example.
Long ago, I learned to stop worrying about this so long as the core message of respect for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness came shining through and so long as the majority of people who held such views seemed to be, and were, decent people. The problems start when that does not happen.