Spontaneous Combustion

Dale Franks has a post up on some of the differences between various strains of conservative. I get amused, as always, when the guys at Q&O try to explain their views of libertarians and libertarianism in general. It’s especially amusing in the context of discussing the various flavors of conservatism. The part that I really find funny is the bold statement:

Libertarians will also probably spontaneously burst into flames when I say that Libertarianism is essentially anti-state conservatism
So there are various flavors of conservative, but only one kind of libertarian? This is the kind of comment that make other folks wonder if the gentlemen at Q&O understand libertarianism as a political philosophy. Yes, you could probably put some (not anywhere close to all) libertarians under this banner. It hews pretty closely to the political philosophy at Q&O, but fails to adequately address the entire spectrum of libertarian thought. Conservatism is not the defining libertarian thought, guys. Take the implied hint from the name. The emphasis with libertarians is on individual liberty. Oddly enough, this leads directly to an anti-authoritarian worldview, the state being included. What, if anything, is conservative about this viewpoint? Individual liberty is not now, nor has it ever been, the status quo that one supposes conservatives would aspire to protect. The things that conservatism wants to protect are simply diffuse authorities that stifle individual liberty. Some individual libertarians may be okay with the weight of tradition and history serving as a means to keep man's baser impulses under control, but many would not.

I don’t think the comment is going to make anyone spontaneously combust. It might make them spontaneously erupt in laughter, though.


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