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Ken Muldrew

As DeLong writes in a draft version of Slouching Towards Utopia, "This school [libertarian economic fundamentalist] is such as to make refutation difficult: their universe of values and assumptions is "crazy" in that it has so little in common with the one that the rest of us take for granted that it is hard to determine what arguments will have purchase."

I like Al Swearengen's take on this utopia: "Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair, or fucking beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back." There is nothing like a proper beating to make you appreciate your liberty.

BPx3

"I’d hear them growing wistful for the good old days when men like them were allowed to be men like them and their women were silent and docile and full of unquestioning admiration for men like them and all other men and women, the ones who weren’t like them and weren’t theirs, knew their places as obedient and uncomplaining workers, servants, cannon fodder, and beasts of burden, and I'd think they wanted to drag us all back to the 1800s."

Well put. An accurate description of the mindset of roughly ninety-eight percent of Republican men.

I wish, however, you had written, "the rancher's beautiful daughter," instead of "the beautiful rancher’s daughter." I'm now haunted by a vision of Lorne Greene, from Bonanza, wearing lipstick and mascara.

wwolfe

The indifference to Jim Crow and women's disenfranchisement is repulsive, yes, but this one is just plain puzzling:

"People were generally free to engage in occupations and professions without a license or permit."

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not nostalgic for a time when my doctor didn't need a medical license. Either that, or Hornberger thinks "Sawbones" is a term of affection, not gruesome literal fact.

Mark

Libertarianism is the sophomore men's fantasy rule the world club.

Kathleen

I think tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1899.

Belvoir

I kind of wish Megan McArdle got to enjoy libertarian livin' in 1860. Especially the silent part.
Scrubbing laundry down by the gulch, polishing her man's bootstraps during her agonizing 14th pregnancy. Oh god, that sounds wicked of me. But libertarians really do seem to live in some narcissist dream world, while on our planet they're rarely elected dog-catcher.

I always imagine McCardle on her comfy couch typing missives about initiative and self-reliance and the sappy liberals for her male audience of slavering geeks, while she eats a box of Ring-Dings and half-watches Oprah, ironically of course.

Rana

It's like the New Agers who all believe that they were princesses in a past life - none of these schmoes stops to think that, for most of them, life would have ended at 40, having spent most of their existence breathing in coal dust or risking limbs for enough wages to keep a roof over their head and to buy enough alcohol to deaden the pain until the next day's twelve-hour shift.

And, of course, in this glorious past life, they would all be free of cavities, poor vision, measles, heart disease, and so on, and no one they loved (if they love anyone) would die from lack of medical care.

Life may have been more "free" then - but that doesn't mean that it was good, even for the guys on top of the heap.

Lance

BPx3: I wish, however, you had written, "the rancher's beautiful daughter," instead of "the beautiful rancher’s daughter." I'm now haunted by a vision of Lorne Greene, from Bonanza, wearing lipstick and mascara.

BP, sorry about that. Of course there are those who'd find the image of Ben Cartwright in drag alluring, but maybe it will help you to think of Barbara Stanwyck in The Big Valley. Ben Cartwright didn't have any daughters, that we heard about at any rate, but Victoria Barkley's daughter looked exactly like a very young Linda Evans. Oh, and rumor has it that Susan Sarandon will starring in a movie remake of The Big Valley.

wwolfe: Maybe it's just me, but I'm not nostalgic for a time when my doctor didn't need a medical license.

That puzzled me too. All I can figure is that Hornberger is also a Walter Mitty and imagines that he could just walk into an operating room or a courtroom and successfully remove a rich man's son's brain tumor or save a corporate executive from being whacked with a million dollar settlement in a wrongful death suit. More likely, though, it's an expression of conservatives' hatred of professional organizations, particularly teachers' unions and the ABA.

Kathleen, lol.

Fairfax

Actually, there is place where the libertarian dream rules, a place of limited government (and how!), wide open spaces, a place Where A Man Can Do What A Man Wants To Do without a bunch of bureaucrats demanding he be licensed to do it, or trying to take away his guns.

It's called Afghanistan.

And just like anyone who dared to utter even the meekest statement critical of US foreign policy in the 1950s and 60s was urged to go to Russia, I urge all the so-called libertarians to take their covered wagons to the Khyber Pass, and head north.

I'm also reminded of a line from the play The Solid Gold Cadillac, where the hero (a self-made tycoon of the sort the libertarians dream of being, albeit one with a conscience) tells the heroine about how he went to the Klondike to dig for gold with his bare hands. "Did you find any?" she asks. "Nope, men with shovels got there ahead of me."


nadine

yep, i hear folks go off on their fantasy of the olden days lots. I murmur my appreciation of their appreciation and then point out that were we in the olden days, i would have died 15 years ago from cancer if i hadn't already died in pregnancy.

then i bring up the prevalence of VD back then, and the painful cures...

Linkmeister

Fairfax, I think the latest destination for the ultimate in libertarian paradise is actually Somalia. In Afghanistan you gotta pay bribes to get anything done, which essentially means you have to follow somebody's rules.

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