Link Dump, 5-31-16: The Libertarian moment

I neglected to promote last week’s Link Dump, which had a fun video linking Keith Emerson to Nigel Tufnel, along with a few pieces on the death of facts.

Not as much to share today, but I have a couple that are related …

LIBERTARIANS SEIZE THE DAY!

A Trump-Clinton race, with unfavorable ratings that tie Nate Silver into a statistical Gordian knot, should be the shining moment for the Libertarian Party. And the party tells Slate’s Seth Stevenson they issued 20 times the previous record of media credentials for their convention.

How’d it go?

Some delegates seemed to resent the brighter spotlight, wishing things could go back to how they’d been before—a desire that, when voiced by men wearing T-shirts adorned with stipple-dot portraits of Friedrich Hayek, sounded a lot like a high school kid whining that his favorite indie band had signed with a major label. Meanwhile, others I talked to saw this moment not as an opportunity for Libertarians to meet nonwoke America halfway, but rather as a chance to let their freak flag flap before an exponentially wider audience.

Emphasis mine, because that analogy is so perfect.

Here’s where it gets a little more frightening:

Polling fourth, one slot behind McAfee, was a fellow named Darryl W. Perry, who accepts campaign donations only in the form of precious metals and cryptocurrency and who opted to have his nominating speech delivered by an “erotic services provider” who goes by the moniker “Starchild.” Perry’s most animated moment in the debate came when he slammed his fist against his lectern, forehead veins a-popping, as he insisted that 5-year-old children should have the legal right to inject heroin without adult supervision.

The party managed to nominate the relatively reasonable Gary Johnson, though not without some heckling:

The first boos came when Johnson admitted that, given the chance, he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Boooooooo! A second hail of raspberries came when Johnson, alone among the candidates, said he thought a driver’s license was a reasonable thing to require before allowing someone to drive. “I’d like to see some demonstration of basic competency,” Johnson acknowledged, rather meekly. Boooooooo!

And all this is a pity, because the American political spectrum could use a few more rational-yet-still-diverse ideas. Socialism emerged from academia this year, with Bernie Sanders proving — before he lost his message and his campaign became little more than an anti-Clinton, anti-establishment rant — that Euro-style programs can find an audience in the general populace. Libertarians can also provide some useful prodding, as the normally abstruse Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog proved over Memorial Day weekend with a post titled “If You Love Freedom, Thank an Anarchist“:

In what war in living memory was the freedom of Americans at stake? Without u.s. military action, were Japanese or German troops – let alone Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, Panamanian, Afghani, or Iraqi ones – really going to be marching though Times Square? If anything, given the notorious ratchet effect whereby wars tend to produce permanent increases in government power, it seems more probable that u.s. military action has contributed to a diminution of our freedom.

That’s politically incorrect in a big, big way. But it’s a point worth considering. Can we respect the job our military does without twisting the rationale for what they’re doing?

And it’s probably safe to say most Libertarians (or “libertarians,” for those who claim the ideology but not the party) don’t plan to spend our or anyone else’s tax money to build a wall along the Mexican border.

ELSEWHERE

A Patheos blogger takes up the argument that the world is getting better, not worse:

Forty years ago a waitress at Denny’s could refuse to serve a customer with scarring simply because the waitress found the customer too ugly. And today we have the luxury of debating transgender washrooms in Target.

And your musical moment — a six-minute mashup of 57 great classical tunes by 33 composers, with John Williams getting his due just before a breathtaking final minute …

 

 

 

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