Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Libertarian Links

Chris at Crooked Timber links to this Flash presentation which:

[explains] why libertarianism is the most appropriate political philosophy for matchstick people who have swallowed a collection of bizarre objects ...

They look more like dunny-door people to me, but that's a minor quibble. The Flash presentation appears on the site www.jonathongullible.com, which promotes The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible:
A Free Market Odyssey
. It's a sharp, Swiftean satire, as this excerpt from Chapter 2 shows:

"Don't be alarmed," the supervisor said gruffly. "She’s under arrest. Forget her and move along, we've got work to do."

"Arrest?" said Jonathan, still huffing. "She didn't look like, uh, like a criminal." Jonathan wondered, if she was guilty, why did she cry so desperately for help? "Pardon me, sir, but what was her crime?"

"Huh?" snorted the man with irritation. "Well, if you must know, she threatened the jobs of everyone working here."

"She threatened people's jobs? How'd she do that?" asked Jonathan.

Glaring down at his ignorant questioner, the supervisor motioned for Jonathan to come over to a tree where workers busily pounded away at the trunk. Proudly, he said, "We are tree workers. We knock down trees for wood by beating them with these sticks. Sometimes a hundred people, working round-the-clock, can knock down a good-sized tree in less than a month." The man pursed his lips and carefully brushed a speck of dirt from the sleeve of his handsomely cut coat.

I think the author might be taking the piss out of the idea of ecologically sustainable development here.

You might also be interested in a couple of libertarian perspectives on Lord of the Rings. In The Free Peoples of Middle Earth, Louis James tells us:

Much has been made of Tolkien's treatment of the subject of power, and rightly so. The Lord of the Rings is a valuable illustration of Lord Acton's observations on how power corrupts. It's also a moving presentation of the libertarian argument (to those from the right and left who would seize power) that not only do the ends not justify the means, but unjust means can only lead to corrupted ends.

And in Tolkien's Message of Liberty, "Hunter" reveals the special message Tolkien had for Americans:

Liberty does not "glitter"; it often appears far less valuable to many than it really is. All too often, the unthinking trade freedom for the seductive illusion of security and stability. Just as Franklin warned us, in the end they are left with neither. Many who seem at first glance to be doing little to defend freedom may just be following their own inner guide. They seem "lost" to the rest of us, but they always understand their purpose and stay their own course. Their seemingly random and aimless wanderings may well mask some deep, hidden mission of vital importance, even if it is "only" self-discovery.

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