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Friday, June 19, 2009

What a twit

Will wilkinson We all come across a great deal of nonsense on the web, but this post from libertarian blogger Will Wilkinson really takes the cake.

Wilkinson is opposed to all of the twitterers who are sporting green in solidarity with the Iranian people. Why you ask?  Because it plays into the hands of the evil neo-cons! No, really. Don't believe me, here's the money quote:

"The tiny, costless commitment of turning Twitter avatars green is thin edge of the persuasive edge for the neocons who would like to sell the public a war in Iran. Since I would rather not be Bill Kristol’s useful idiot, I will conspicuously leave my avatar as is, and continue hoping for the best."

You get that - according to Wilkinson, it's much better to turn your backs on the brave democrats in the streets rather than risk overthrowing the theocracy that's oppressing them.

And to think this guy is seen as the future of the libertarian movement (as well as, believe it or not, a Canadian).

(Picture: Will Wilkinson)

Posted by Craig Yirush on June 19, 2009 | Permalink


All those "brave democrats" would cut our throats just as quickly as any other Iranians. Green is for St. Patricks Day.

Posted by: dp | 2009-06-19 6:37:12 PM

You know something is wrong when Canada is more aggressive on the situation in Iran than the US. Boy do I miss Bush.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-19 7:17:05 PM

Actually his take is what one expects from the paranoid Left.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-06-19 7:37:49 PM

CNN keeps saying "hundreds of thousands of people" are taking to the streets to protest.

You know what? In a country of 65,000,000 people, even if it's 500,000 that's not even 1%

The people in the cities and the capital especially wanted the new progressivist, the rest of the country wanted the conservative, typical, VERY typical.

Then they whine about it over and over and over.

CNN is bitching because they claim that the president was announced to be re-elected 2 hours into the counting. CNN essentially does the same thing, it just has to wait for the polls to close in more states across five time zones. The official announcement was made right on schedule.

Posted by: Pete | 2009-06-19 7:45:03 PM

neoconservativism, like the liberalism which birthed it, verges on naivety in too many ways.

"all we have to do is spread democracy to these folks, stop that nasty anti-semitism and anti-Americanism, and teach everyone to play the flute 'cause given half a chance, they're gonna love us... but we'll use guns an' stuff. la lala lala".

ok, maybe that's a bit over the top (but not much).

but it's like Pollyanna with pms.

Iran is the centre for a majority of terrorism. Iraq was unfortunate (but understandable at the time, though now the US is stuck with it), and Afghanistan is a diversion (the whackjobs in Pakistan and Afghanistan are supported in large part by Iran, and bin Laden's possible capture means nothing. he will be one martyr in a long line).

i agree with Peikoff. we went into the wrong places. but now we should focus on Iran, use whatever means necessary to quickly (QUICKLY) crush it, fundamentally demoralise it like we did with Germany, and help rebuild. repeat with other nations in the area.

this would send the message (the one Obama's not giving) that we will crush the spirit out of any threat. it would be cheap and effective.

~Craig, not all libertarians are naive enough to suicidally dismiss national self interest. and those brave democrats you laud wouldn't understand democracy if you hit them over their collective head with property rights and freedom of speech.

just look at what's happening to Europe and Canada

Posted by: shel | 2009-06-19 7:56:27 PM

Craig, I personally think Wilkinson is a threat to the libertarian movement. I've tried to understand why libertarians I respect find him so thoughtful and interesting, but have come up short.

Wilkinson wrote recently that America's defining moment, it's war of secession with Britian, was "illiberal." I was stunned by this.

Wilkinson's ideas might help to make modern liberalism more tolerable, but they seem out of place generally with the libertarian movement.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-06-19 8:27:58 PM

And to think this guy is seen as the future of the libertarian movement (as well as, believe it or not, a Canadian).

I don't see him that way at all. You presume too much Craig.

Shel and dp make very good points here.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-19 8:39:14 PM

Pete, remember that in the US the counting is done by electronic means. That means that a running count is possible and that results are available as soon as the polls are closed. In Iran the voting and the counting are done by hand and that takes much longer. Much as I don't like CNN, they have a point and can't be blamed for being suspicious.

Posted by: DML | 2009-06-19 8:59:01 PM

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 405-1 to condemn the Iranian government's actions and to support free elections. The one vote against was Ron Paul. Great job, Ron! You are really promoting the spread of liberty. Man, what a dickhead!

Posted by: Arnold | 2009-06-20 12:29:54 AM

Wilkinson is making two claims. One is harder to deny, but the other is empirical and contentious:

(1) Changing one's avatar color is mostly a matter of signaling, with few or no demonstrable benefits;

(2) To the extent it's not just a signal, it makes war with Iran more likely.

An unstated claim, (3), is that war with Iran would be bad, so the signaling should be avoided, or at least criticized.

The second claim is problematic, at least to me, because it relies on a certain assumption about human psychology. The assumption itself isn't unreasonable: "Getting someone to make a big, costly commitment is best achieved by getting them to first make a tiny, costless commitment." It's just that I don't think the slope toward war is as slippery as he seems to suggest.

Also, he probably underestimates the benefit of the signal inside Iran (although we shouldn't overestimate it, either.)

But I don't see what's so objectionable about his post if you accept the three claims. And I've been following #Iranelection closely for days now.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2009-06-20 12:46:20 AM

Great job, Ron! You are really promoting the spread of liberty. Man, what a dickhead!

Posted by: Arnold | 2009-06-20 12:29:54 AM

Well unless you feel we have an inherent right to meddle in foreign affairs and that we need to "look" PC...then it might be said that he is sticking to principle. What exactly was meant by support? More tax money? Another invasion?
You have a right to your opinion Arnold, but what is the big picture? Perhaps he's not interested in seeing more young Americans die for nothing more than sand...oh wait!...and oil.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-20 5:33:23 AM

You know, some people just can't learn. Thirty years ago, I watched the same mob, screaming the same slogans, burning the same flags, beating the crap out of the same women, and probably ending up with the same results. A new dictatorship in Iran.

Why were they the bad guys 30 years ago, and heroes today? They're the same people. They despise everyone, and everything that is not part of the Islamic world. They want our heads on poles. They want our laws and customs wiped out. They want our human rights abolished.

The last thing we should be doing right now, is pinning our hopes on another group of screaching Persians. It always ends in dissappointment. There are other sources of oil. For that matter, there are other sources of energy.

What those screaching Persians need to understand, is, we are their window to modern food production, technology, medicine, and so on. They hit the lottery when "we" struck oil under their land, but like most lottery winners, they've squandered their winnings. This latest screaching mob is as much about low oil prices as it is about denocracy. Persians will never understand democracy, and why should we care?

Posted by: dp | 2009-06-20 2:41:13 PM

Terence - I think #2 is much weaker than you allow. The idea that the colour of avatars will somehow empower neo-cons in a D.C. now controlled by the Dems is, to put it mildly, nutty.

Also, don't you think as libertarians we should be showing some sort of solidarity with people who simply want to have a modicum of political freedom?

Posted by: Craig | 2009-06-20 4:58:28 PM

Mathew - do you have a link to WW's statement about the revolution being illiberal?

Posted by: Craig | 2009-06-20 6:07:25 PM

30 years ago they overthrew the Shah so they could be an "islamic" republic. You reap what you sow. Were it not for oil nobody would give a shit about Iran.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-20 8:43:51 PM

I gotta side with Ron Paul on this one. Why does the US feel the need to interfere in other countries politics? And not just once in awhile, but all the time? I think they are just getting us conditioned for a war against Iran.

Posted by: HerpieTheLoveBug | 2009-06-20 10:41:57 PM

A murdering regime uses violence and libertarians say don't get involved. Did you feel this way about Rwanada too? Was it also right not to back Hungary up in 1956 when they rose up against communism? What kind of people are you? If you see a man beating a woman in the mall, do you people get involved or is it none of your business? If your neighbor is being raped, do you guys just say "Sucks to be you" and turn up the volume on the remote. I didn't know that being a libertarian meant removing all traces of humanity and become a cold hearted s.o.b. I believe that when people are in danger, you have an obligation to protect them. Obviously this means nothing to you! Fair enough! The next time that one of you starts choking in a restaurant or has a heart attack in the street, I'll respect your independence and not intervene.

Posted by: Jerry | 2009-06-21 3:43:04 PM

A murdering regime uses violence and libertarians say don't get involved.
Posted by: Jerry | 2009-06-21 3:43:04 PM

Jerry you are an idiot. Don't confuse helping those in need with being against a "policy of intervention". There's been way too much meddling in the false name of "help". When the real goal is ultimate control of foreign nations Libertarians object. Chew on that for a while.
As for the rest of your rant...Libertarians also believe in the right to carry guns and God help the rapist I catch in the act. Its called morality...get some.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-21 4:56:52 PM

The Iranian people have only themselves to blame for their current government. So, screw them! I hope the two sides exterminate each other. Intervention is not necessary in the third world. Most of these people have no real concept of democracy, freedom, tolerance, or respect for the rule of law. My only fear is that more of them will try to immigrate to Canada. Hungary is a different case. Under the Austrian Hungary Empire, Hungary had limited autonomy(where individual rights were restricted but did exist). After World War 1, there was an unsuccessful attempt at establishing democracy. Ultimately, they lost control to a fascist dictator but they at least had a base from which ideas like freedom and democracy could emerge. Also, the Soviets had the goal of world rule. So, they did pose an immediate threat to ever democratic government in the world. Another reason why they are a specific case.

Posted by: Arnold | 2009-06-21 6:46:36 PM

Jerry- These aren't neighbours, or women in the mall, or people who need our help. These are Iranians, our sworn enemies. It simply isn't about one group struggling against another for democracy. The policies of the two candidates are not so different. In the end, no matter who is in power, it will still be an anti-American dictatorship.

Posted by: dp | 2009-06-21 9:57:05 PM

"I gotta side with Ron Paul on this one. Why does the US feel the need to interfere in other countries politics? And not just once in awhile, but all the time?"

You should ask that to Richard H. Haass...

"In the twenty-first century, the principal aim of American foreign policy is
to integrate other countries and organizations into arrangements that will sustain a world
consistent with U.S. interests and values, and thereby promote peace, prosperity, and justice
as widely as possible."

...And draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: Marc | 2009-06-22 4:12:40 AM

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