After a few days talking about Marxism here and elsewhere, I figured it would be good to spread my wings and pick on libertarians. Here are two specimens.

First, from cartoonist Barry Deutsch comes the 24 Types of Libertarians (or click on the cartoon for a legible version at Deutsch’s site). There’s one variety that’s clearly missing, the Palo Alto-style technolibertarian. Although I suppose there’s some overlap with the Too Much Heinlein variant.

Second, from the truth is stranger than fiction department, here’s a charming comment from a thread on the libertarian-heavy Hacker News forum. The comment is from a discussion thread responding to Intel co-founder Andy Grove’s recent article in Bloomberg, How to Make an American Job Before It’s Too Late: Andy Grove. You might want to read the article and the Hacker News thread for context, but here’s what commenter yummyfajitas has to say about it:

Suppose, hypothetically, that we really do reach a stage where we have a small number of highly productive individuals and a large number of unskilled people without manufacturing work to do.

In that case, it is likely that the skilled will hire the unskilled as servants, making the skilled people even more productive (every hour spent doing laundry is an hour spent not designing the latest iPhone). People will probably also work fewer hours, and take productivity gains in the form of leisure rather than money.

Criticize though you may, at least he’s got a plan for keeping up his fajita habit.

(thanks to Mark Nelson for sharing the Hacker News thread)

published July 6, 2010


  1. Mike Treanor

    What’s cool about the left-wing stance is that you can talk politics with anyone because there’s always something to complain about no matter what the person who you’re talking to thinks. It even works with Marxists if you’re lucky!

  2. Timothy Morton

    Nice one. I spent quite some time talking to a Palo Alto type once about why the British National Health Service (of which I’m a beneficiary) was cheaper and far better than his idea, which was to “Just sort of let corporations handle it, because corporations always handle things best” (this was back in 1998). He looked at me stoney faced. Or maybe that was because he had had an enormous bong hit.

  3. anxiousmodernman


  4. Jeff Medcalf

    People tend to confuse minarchy and anarchy, and liberty with libertinism. And on top of that, because libertarians are politically fringe, they attract a lot of loons. When you combine that with the non-loons that go a little too far trying to be heard, and end up sounding like radicals because of it, it gets easy to make fun of libertarians. Particularly of the big-L kind.