Thursday, June 6, 2013

A "Progressive's" Anti-Progressive Argument Against Liberty

Michael Lind of thinks he has us stumped. " If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?"

I really liked Tom Wood's response, as well as Bob Murphy's brief note. Here's what I have to add: this  attack is supposedly from a "progressive" author and website. The irony is palpable, then, to see them use such an anti-progressive line of argumentation: If x hasn't been tried, it must not be that great.


  1. Looks like he does have you stumped, since none of you bothered to answer the question. The real irony here is that you seem to think that labelling someone "progressive" is all the response necessary to prove them wrong. Fail.

  2. The irony exist in the fact that progressives advocate for progress which requires change. Change is something new, untried, or out of the ordinary. Oh hey, also known as something that hasn't been tried before.

    Of course I could challenge you on the fact that libertarianism is "untried." Never-mind the modern westernized state that embraces markets and property that has improved the lives of billions.

  3. Actually, Tom Woods does answer, but you may have to think thought the questions he poses a bit, to see it.

    The irony is that progressives indeed claim to want to try new things, and yet attack libertarianism for being a new thing.

  4. No, Woods doesn't answer. He asks a bunch of different questions, pretending that he's simply rewording the original question. He's not. He's trying to change the subject and/or reframe the argument, presumably because he doesn't have an answer to the question.

    Lind didn't attack libertarianism for being "a new thing". He attacked it for being a bad idea, for being a philosophy of juvenile, superficial nonsense, and for being a sort of utopian cult. Disagree with him if you want, but responding to his question like a juvenile, superficial cult member isn't the same as answering it.

    1. Despite your denials, Woods does answer. One could have said in 1750, "If slavery is so bad, why hasn't it been abolished?" Of course, it is because the values of the people had not been changed. That is exactly Tom Woods' point, and it perfectly answers Lind's question.

      And if Lind knows any history, he knows libertarianism is quite a new philosophy. So to ask the question as he does is like asking why everyone does not have Google Glass, if it is as good as Google claims it is.

  5. Woods answers something, but it's not Lind's question. He seems much more interested in preaching his message to his bleating choir. It's silly to say that libertarianism hasn't been tried because it's stupendously unpopular, while refusing to explain why it hasn't been tried by those involved in the libertarian cult. Surely they can't all be too busy sitting in their parents' basements swarming comment threads to attack anybody who criticizes their sect. There are plenty of countries in the world with relatively weak central governments. With very small populations. Yet there has been no exodus of libertarians fleeing the dreadful fascist police state that the US has become, and setting out to "liberate" one of those countries and create their anarchist utopias. Tom Woods hasn't offered an explanation for why that hasn't happened. Ever. Maybe he's too busy whining from his parents' basement.