There’s now a petition circulating to censure the crazy libertarian econ prof at my university who wondered why it was wrong to rape unconscious people. I won’t sign it myself, partly because I’m not a speech police, and partly because people who know him say that he would love to get censured so he can wank about how his freedom is being taken away. His whole career just a not-that-elaborate trolling operation. In fact nearly all libertarians’ careers are not-that-elaborate trolling operations. Megan McArdle may be the ultimate example, but it’s true of most of the staff of Reason magazine as well. Take something contrarian and/or offensive, say it as loudly as possible, and….profit.
It’s their prerogative, to be sure, but it’s not any way to build a political movement. Most people who hear of a political philosophy whose adherents think gang rape is ok simply conclude that they want no part of that political philosophy.
Conservatism (I’m being generous and pretending that libertarians aren’t conservatives) is starting to face that problem too. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Bill Nojay they’re all nothing more trolls. They may get teh base riled up but you reach a point when there’s a people pointing at you than pointing with you.