Another part of the essay is devoted to worrying about the fact that the practice of good aesthetics seems to be dominated by the political left, which is a problem for the author because of her libertarian sympathies (I have to admit it was hard for me to get past my own political biases against libertarianism here).
The system more or less in which we are enmeshed and live our lives. Kind of a tired word, and the system may be in the process of destroying itself, but it's still the main engine. One reason libertarianism seems so ridiculous is that it fetishizes the already-existing powers, pretending to be revolutionary in the service of that which has already won.
28 Jan 2021 06:19 - 07 Feb 2022 09:50
I used to spend a good deal of time arguing with libertarians on the internet. For instance, I spent a whole summer in a flaming discussion with Eric Raymond, the canonical internet libertarian blowhard, on the long-defunct anarchy-list email group. I suppose I got something out of this. At minimum, it gave me some practice investigating my own beliefs and the reasoning and emotions behind them. There's also plenty of that sort of thing at my old blog.
At one point I got so tired of focusing on that that I started.a new microblog with a politically-incorrect name to contain my mockery. I am not proud of this. I'm not the only one with this hobby; Mike Huben has been arguing with libertarians for at least as long as me and with a lot more thoroughness and has a large website devoted to it.
In the Trump era, all of this stuff looks positively quaint. There is no longer any question that libertarianism is usually a thin veneer over the standard Republicans, which is in turn a thin veneer over outright fascism. ESR has gone full fash to nobody's surprise.
Rationalism tends toward libertarianism, although it's not universal. And I really do think that their libertarianism is motivated more by a fondness for elegant distributed mechanisms than by a desire to slaughter leftists. Whatever the motivation, the ideas are deeply intertwined, and probably my objections to them are intertwined as well.
One of the standard dumb arguments for libertarianism and untrammeled capitalism is that we owe them for our technological marvels like the iPhone and internet. This is nonsense to anybody who knows anything, but if you don't, watch this: