[ExI] META: Overposting (psychology of morals)

Jeff Davis jrd1415 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 5 01:30:39 UTC 2011

On Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 8:06 PM, Rafal Smigrodzki
<rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:

> ### Jeez, Bill, what do you really know about us?

There's something about libertarianism that makes it quite appealing
to a broad spectrum of folks.  So broad in fact that contradictions
pop up.  How can Jerry Brown and William Safire both be libertarians?
Jerry brown has called himself a libertarian socialist (which can't
help but make other libertarians seriously queasy).  Can you even
imagine "libertarian" as a modifier for socialist?  Libertarian often
feels like a warm and edgy default label when all other
self-identifiers are unsatisfactory.

So who are "us", really?

What degree of self-knowledge and intent is required to convert spin
into fraud?

 In the matter of "initiation of force", when do you "start the
clock"?   Can the native Americans go on the warpath and claim
libertarian justification?  Can Jews attack Germans or Russians with a
clear conscious?   Can the Iranians attack the US over the Shah?  Can
the Armenians go after the Turks?  How do you distinguish retaliation
from defense, from unprovoked aggression?  And what exactly
constitutes this proscribed "force"?  What of sanctions, embargoes,
blockades, cyber attacks, political subversion, attacks against the

I don't mean to be fussy, but I'm inclined to think Humpty Dumpty was
speaking libertarian when he said:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,
"it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so
many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be the master - that's all."

"Which is to be the master", indeed.

 Best, Jeff Davis

 "We don't see things as they are,
       we see them as we are."
                  Anais Nin

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