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September 24, 2006



This bit about lonliness:

3. I'm a loner. This has two effects. First, it gives me a preference for liberty - leave me alone - over community. Second, it means my political beliefs have not been shaped much by the opinion of other people. Instead, they come more from the literature.

touches a nerve.
Maybe more.
Do ignore the difference between being a loner (as you stated/claimed) and being lonely (as I imputed/reconstructed)--much depends on this suspension/liberty. Of course the disconnection between 'people' (count me in here) and 'literature' (elitist people --I count you in here) is overstated and one (Me bud) must not take this disconnection too seriously.
May I redirect your attention (from me) to Philip Slater's (now ancient I suppose) Pursuit of Lonliness?


Interesting, Chris, that calmo zeroed in on point 3, as that is also the situation with me, which caused my views to become more right wing. I detest the leftist denial of freedom [political correctness] which would regulate us all into oblivion whilst leaving us groaning under an expanded bureaucracy.


Fascinating. #1: Surely the beginning of political wisdom is thinking about how far we should constrain authority. That's true whatever our experience, I'd guess, except perhaps for someone who combines exerting lots of authority with a severe deficiency in reflection. #2 is about reason. #4: perhaps you should change this - instead of taking a rather misanthropic attitude to those with whom you don't fit in, why not consciously adopt the cheerful attitude that they might introduce you to pleasures you've not met before and, even if they don't, you can study them for fun, as an amateur anthropologist? "You can observe a lot just by watching." Just make yourself harder to "place" by faking a suitable accent - Scots, Australian, whatever.


Hmmm - I'm not a loner so argue from experience that most people, including myself, are well-meaning but often a pain in the ass and when we act collectively we are often VERY stupid. I conclude therefore that the power of the collective should be limited.

I've never meet people who went to grammar schools, Oxford University or live in the posh parts of London so it's difficult to comment but I imagine they're a bit of a pain in the ass too? The ones they put on the telly certainly are - but they may not be representative?


"I'm risk averse"

Do you consider it a good risk for an agency in society to have the power to use violence to fund its activities with involuntary payments?


I'll confess to having spent four years among the dreaming spires (and having thoroughly enjoyed it), and I'm probably a bit of a pain in the arse, although I'd claim that I ranked closer to the bottom of the anal pain scale than the top.

I wouldn't say that rationality was the cause of my political beliefs - I'm not sure that it's even possible to come to a purely rational position on the ideal size and scope of a state welfare safety net, for example - but it certainly has a strong influence. In my case, rationality has moved me vaguely libertarianwards, and economically from the woolly centre-left to the woolly centre-right.


The different other James to me states, on his site:

...One way to deal with this is to respect that person's wishes, and leaving that person alone, but I don't see this option catching on with too many leftists. They'd rather have a state with the power to use violence in order to compel people to provide funds for a program of redistribution...

I quite frankly have a problem with the terms 'left' and 'right'. It seems o me that Chris Dillow and I are not too far apart and yet we're labelled differently. What about a model a bit like the solar system ellipse, instead of a linear left/right continuum? Then the dictatorship of the proletariat meets the fascists at one point on the ellipse. Along the other points are an increasing tendency to deregulation, free market ethics, small government, less shop steward mini-gods, no political correctness, redistribution according to market policies rather than regulation and so on. Seems a more relaistic model for mine.


James, It's awfully presumptuous of you to go posting comments on blogs using only your first name, especially when it's such a common one as James. Seriously, who does that?

james higham


The Pedant-General


1-4 are about libertarianism in general. Only 5 talks about the state and redistribution. It is at best weak and is self-evidently contradictory to 1.


tom s.

I admire the fact that you are owning up to the roots of your beliefs. I wish more people would. Not me, of course - I reached my own beliefs through intellectual exploration, reflective introspection, and vigorous life experience - but all those others. The fact that I am an atheist socialist son of atheist socialist parents is purely the result of great minds thinking alike.

As for your number (3), I too lean towards lonership, but it drives me the other way. The fragility of my connections to others makes me appreciate such community as I get. I suspect I therefore value community more than naturally gregarious types to whom it may be so normal as to be not noteworthy.

tom s.

"Do you consider it a good risk for an agency in society to have the power to use violence to fund its activities with involuntary payments?"

No - I'm absolutely opposed to collection agencies, banks, and insurance companies.

james higham

As we bloggers mostly appear to be loners, does that mean we are unrepresentative of society in general and are therefore unqualified to pontificate on life issues? I ask only for information.

angry economist

blogs are ideal for loners. some social interaction and debate without personal contact or being no comfortable with social conventions and niceties, which can be a bit tiresome and dull for loners

my theory why blogging is so popular in the UK is because of the British cultural aversity to conflict and discussing politics face to face, over dinner, etc, as they do in other cultures


tom s.

I asked about involuntary payments.


What would a left libertarian reading list look like?


I agree with tom, admirable to own up to the roots of your own belief.

I was a loner at school - that resulted in be having somewhat hostile relationsips with other students. But I had an acceptable relationship with my parents (one where I could trust them to behave reasonably) and teachers.

I hate the anarchy of society that allows children to commit serious crimes against eachother and forces law abiding students to commit those same sorts of crimes in the name of asserting their rights.

I also have seem many people who made very bad decisions and could see their lives like a slow motion train wreck that they had no hope of stopping themselves. it seems to me in some cases one can easily out think the public.

but I may well agree with your 4 and 5.

andrew duffin

I don't understand how "I've got a problem with authority...power and authority are fists..." chimes in with "The state should provide a helping hand"

What is the State, if not a fist? What is its power, if not the power of coercion and force?

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