Posts Tagged ‘open dialogue’

By R.C. Seely

IF YOU SEARCH THROUGH LIBERTARIAN GROUP PAGES on social media sites one of the most common openings from trolls would have to be the question: “What is the libertarian stance on…” You don’t often see this on duopoly pages and it’s not only odd but demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the party by the online passerby, or is drive by a more accurate description? Usually those who post such comments are not looking for a discussion, but to cause trouble, libertarians do this all the time as well, so I’m not condemning the behavior simply find the common socially accepted opening extremely amusing. It’s at a level that would be even less than sophomoric. Which also appears to match their understanding of the movement they so eagerly mock.

A far more effective phrasing would go along the lines of: “From your understanding of libertarian principles​, what is the party’s stance on…” or even better “What is your stance on…” Not only is it more respectful but demonstrates an understanding of those being addressed and the desire for an actual exchange of ideas.

The manner in which you conduct yourself both online and in person is entirely up to you, but if you want to have an actual discussion, statements such as “that’s a typical response” will get a typical–and well deserved–response of hostility. A piece of advice is simply don’t do it. If it would offend you, why do you think it wouldn’t offend others? And yet, they are surprised by the lack of engagement from the other person–go figure!

Critics of online social commentary claim that the anonymity makes them more brazen and hostile–and what’s your point? Of course it makes us more daring, it also spreads ideas and views that are contrary, and protects us from unreasonable consequences of rogue government agency enforcers. Just because we have the freedom of speech, doesn’t mean that those in power–who in general are not exactly advocates of constructive criticism–won’t enact laws to censor that said right. The law of Civil Disobedience for one, think it’s a coincidence it is open for interpretation? Or the Seditions Acts that have been introduced, and reintroduced, and reintroduced. Or how about the future laws from the current administration and social media compliance to curtail “fake news.”

What those who make their drive-by remarks don’t seem to grasp is they are not wrecking havoc on the libertarian party, in fact they are probably helping. Yes, there will be many who react to the intruder, but others will actually answer and engage, even when it’s clear the one who posted has fled. The libertarian prespective is less one of a collective view and more principles with an open dialogue to get back on the road of limited government. Some see that as keeping the death penalty, others abolishing it; some are pro-life, others pro-choice; some want a strong social safety net, others want it completely dismantled. Some are hard core environmentalists and feminists. Some voted Gary Johnson, others Hillary Clinton, and others Donald Trump and they are not any less libertarian for it.

The libertarian Party is not one that believes in ownership of the individual in any fashion, that’s why the common views are the draft is tantamount to slavery, why “taxation is theft”, and the wall is more of a tool to restrict movement than protection for the citizenry. That also means that the party doesn’t own the libertarian and the question “what is the libertarian stance on…” is a logical fallacy, it can’t really be answered, because that makes the implication the party owns you and you have to fall in line with their political dogma. So what is the libertarian stance on that? I don’t know but this is my stance.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has also written books on pop culture, the most recent Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.