America is full of people who call themselves 'libertarians'. Libertarians are people who never graduate from rational behaviour to superrational behaviour. They complain about any form of government (and rarely seem able to explain how their philosophy is different to anarchy/biggest bully wins). To them natural monopolies don't exist, even when socialising services reduces cost. They do, however, seem happy to have government funded roads, sewers and electricity.

They denounce global pollution measures such as those for climate change, ozone depletion and fishery exhaustion, instead having a religious belief in the power of the market to correct all woes. They also believe that pollution problems can be solved by taxing polluters.

They believe the only way to be safe is to give everyone hand weapons. They believe that the truth will always win out. They don't seem to understand externalities (On average. Some do, but don't believe in them). They think everyone should drive everywhere — public transport can never work in practice. To them, suburbia is the epitome of civilised living. But they would rather live in Manhattan or the Rocky Mountains than the outskirts of Dallas.

What a strange meme.


(09:38:08 PM) peter: Not being in the US, I don't fully grasp what libertarian means, e.g. I don't know how libertarians tend to balance the right of one man to swing his arm with the right of another man to an unbroken nose. I thought libertarians might be ppl who attach a strong weight to the feeling of freedom itself and simplicity of legal system as it applies to everyday lives, so tend towards allowing broken noses — at least as far as the legal system is concerned. Possibly they favour social mechanisms as a means of reducing broken noses, or possibly they're prepared to live with broken noses, considering this a better state of affairs than the weight of an oppressive legal system. Of course I had also considered that many libertarians simply hadn't quite twigged that it'll result in broken noses, or they think that they'll not get their own nose broken and don't care much about other ppl getting their nose broken. (06:36:21 PM) christof: from my experience, people are only libertarian if it suits them