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Real Capitalists Don't Die

Patri Friedman, Milton “Whoops” Friedman’s grandson, has published a manifesto over at the Cato Institute about how good Libertarians should fuck off from a society that I’m sure will be sad to see them go and form capitalist paradises on private islands. PayPal founder/libertarian nutjob Peter Thiel wrote a companion piece agreeing with the so-called “Seasteading Initiative”.

It’s pretty goofy, but nothing we haven’t heard before: the pouty individualism of Ayn Rand with a hefty dose of the economic hoodoo of Grandpa Milt, all splashed with the sci-fi wankery of Glenn “Professor Poopypants” Reynolds and the loathing of democracy and the He-Man Girl Haters Club misogyny of every conservative ever. If, like me, you routinely follow the gibberings of these right-wing howler monkeys, nothing here comes as a surprise...

...except one thing.

Thiel’s column begins by listing all the reasons he’s been a Libertarian since he was, ahem, a teenager, and one of them is this (emphasis mine):

I stand against confiscatory taxes, totalitarian collectives, and the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual...



So, according to this dude’s interpretation of libertarianism, the mortality of man is not an ineluctable fact of life borne out by the death of every human that has ever lived. It’s an ideology! Probably dreamed up by those stinking liberals, for that matter. And everyone in history only died, I guess, because they lacked the sheer force of will, possessed by only the purest of Objectivists (why, even Rand succumbed to this alien ideology), to not buy into it.

It’s like they say: you learn something new every day, even if the thing you learn is totally fucking idiotic.


Apr. 28th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Every time someone dies, the terrorists win?
Apr. 28th, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
mayor of weed 'n guns island
Isn't Peter Thiel a big name in head-freezing / gene-splicing / life-extension stuff, too? That's my only explanation for why he finds the inevitability of death so galling.

Also, let's be fair - Peter Thiel's misogyny is infinitely more insane than most conservatives' misogyny. Can you imagine Kathryn Jean Lopez saying:

"Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron."
Apr. 28th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
Re: mayor of weed 'n guns island
That's what it seemd like to me too. He sounds as if he's in the "belief in the singularity" crowd, or at least that portion of the crowd that sees a certain number of humans joining the correct side of The Event.

They don't call the singularity "rapture for geeks" for nothing.
Apr. 28th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
I guess he's saying that ideology is the reason we haven't become immortal via medical science yet?

Whatever the case, there's just no "sane reading" for that sentence.
Apr. 28th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
maybe he thinks that if he can find a way to manipulate capitalism to sustain human life forever then he should have the right to do so.

Apr. 28th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
I just read this over on Salon and I was just — forget the insanity, the stupidity, the untrammeled narcissism of it. It’s the pure nerve; the unmitigated fucking gall of these rich, bloated, tantrum-tossing, greed-sucking infants who believe themselves entitled to all the luxuries of living in a democracy, but somehow exempt from all of its most basic responsibilities. And I am probably the least political person on your friends list. I’m a nice, benign, middle-class, middle-of-the-road capitalist, for the most part, but at this point I am frankly ITCHING for the Revolution to come, just so these douchebags can be the ones first up against the wall in my lifetime.

Oh, and, oh yeah. The nutjob who wants to make everyone (well, everyone he approves of) live forever as a matter of policy. Sigh. Kinda takes the steam out of a perfectly good rant, doesn’t it?
Apr. 28th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
Death and taxes - can't just be against one....

But it all seems very familiar - ah yes: Welcome to Sealand. Now Bugger Off (Wired, 2000).
Apr. 28th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
Having exposed myself to The Fountainhead all too recently (and way, WAY too late in life for it to be anything other than a subject of open mockery), I would have to assume that "the death of the individual" is a reference to subjecting one's individualism to the demands of societal / governmental control.

This kind of semantic sleight of hand was all over the place: e.g., her interpretation of "selflessness" was tantamount to "the sacrifice of oneself". It's the sort of thing that made me scream out loud in traffic while I was listening to the audiobook.
Apr. 28th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
See: Bioshock.
Apr. 29th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
WTF does the inevitability of death, or lack thereof, have to do with libertarianism anyway? How would the possibility of immortality affect in any way the plausibility of the Objectivist philosophy?


flavored with age
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
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Leonard Pierce is a freelance writer wandering around Texas with no sleep or sense of direction. If you give him money he will write something for you. If you are nice to him he may come to your house and get drunk.

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