Tom Woods of The Tom Woods Show responded to an old meme of mine that has been making the rounds again.
You can read his post about the meme here:
And here is my reply:
Well, I don't.
I made an admittedly flippant joke based on a funny conversation that happened between me and my daughter. Like any of my jokes, it's meant to be a jumping off point for dialogue. I don't think quite so highly about my jokes. This is the problem with the tone of most of the current crop of critiques of this meme, assuming I'm some smug asshole and then continuing to assume the worst about me in the light of that, as I'll get to in a minute. The truth is I'm very interested in politics, have friends all over the spectrum and often engage in spirited debate with libertarian friends, we of course have many beliefs in common also.
"I’ll be a sport about this and disregard the creep factor – threatening his four-year-old with violent death, and then telling us with morbid satisfaction that she hasn’t spoken about her freedom since.
No wonder this guy loves the state. His scare tactics are pretty much the same as what the Bush Administration pulled after 9/11."
Only, you weren't a sport, and you didn't ignore it, you implied I abused my kid.
Again, this relies on you having already assumed I'm a terrible person. I talk about a lot about my relationship with my daughter in my comedy, and she is a bright, strong, awesome kid. At no point in this conversation did she think that daddy would hurt her or put her in danger. A four year old, in case you haven't known many of them, is quite capable of play and pretend and being silly. Most four year olds, certainly this one, know their father's general behavior and disposition and are used to flights of fancy. I also sometimes tell her I'm going to eat her nose. This too is a heinous threat, yes? She runs away giggling and gets a lie ready, so that she can make her nose grow back, Pinochio style. She usually goes with "I don't like cookies." In case I'm not clear, she doesn't really think I'm going to eat her nose, nor does she think lying really makes noses grow, nor did she for one moment think her extremely safety conscious and loving father would drive recklessly and endanger her life.
This meme has been around for quite some time and only this week has anyone ever saw it as my actually threatening her. As I've said already, I think you really have to decide that, because I make a flippant joke about my disagreement with your philosophy, I'm a real prick and then view it through that lens to arrives at such a ridiculous point. Unfortunately I have now had libertarians on Twitter threaten me with bodily harm, one even posting a picture of me with a spray of poorly photoshopped streams of blood in place of my head. The picture was one of me and my daughter and when I repeatedly asked that it be removed and her left out of our fight, I was told that what I did to her was worse. Now, I do know that "Two wrongs make a right" is not part of libertarian philosophy. A shame it was employed repeatedly. The irony is, Libertarians threatening me with violence really strengthens my gratitude for the protections the state provides. Two libertarians friends were very quick to tell me that this behavior is not in line with libertarianism and the non-agression principle, and this is true of course, but to my thinking it was too easy for those who threatened me to excuse it as retaliatory or justified by painting themselves as protecting my daughter from her horrible abusive father.
And where do I say we haven't spoken about freedom since? We speak about it regularly. You are projecting something on here I didn't say. "She hasn't yelled at me" doesn't mean we've stopped speaking. Yelling and speaking are two different things, a point many on both sides of this debate need to learn.
NOTE: Tom Woods did edit his post to remove the part about me being a child abuser. Sadly, he didn't apologize or note the edit on the actual post. He posted this to Twitter:
@keithlowell But I'd react angrily if someone implied any such thing about my treatment of my girls, so I've taken that portion out, FWIW.— Tom Woods (@ThomasEWoods) August 31, 2016
I won't try to quote the next part as there are many examples of how Libertarians do adhere by agreed upon rules. I know this, of course. My meme was actually about a public rule on a public road, not a private rule on a private road. Sincere question; do you, in an ideal society, see public roads existing?
What's funny is maybe a quarter of the responses I get from Libertarians tell me they do in fact disagree with traffic laws, and they often include links to articles about small towns, particularly one in Germany, where traffic signs have been completely done away with.
"On top of this, he thinks it’s valid to argue like this: my four-year-old wants to do something she shouldn’t, so therefore the government should treat all of us like four-year-olds, forever."
Yeah. Unfortunately too many of us do indeed behave like four-year-olds. Exhibit A, the people who came to threaten me with physical harm on Twitter last night. I believe their posts are still up if you'd like to go to my account and look under "Tweets and replies" to verify my claims. I think this gets at the heart of our differences. I don't have the faith in the bulk of humanity that you have, and I question what in history justifies your faith. I do also see the history of violence on the part of the state, but much like the harm done by combustion engines, I think it's unrealistic to think we'd go backwards. I look at the Scandinavian model, and I see a way forward. I see countries with a high quality of living and real liberty that isn't tread upon by the oppression of nature, starvation, predation, and other things that had our life expectancy so low before we organized into what became states.
For the record, I don't think I just successfully refuted libertarianism here anymore than I did when I made that joke. I do think I shared some of my thoughts with you, and some of you will politely share your own thoughts and we'll have a conversation, the kind of conversation that has actually changed minds, mine included. I arrived at my current beliefs through reading and having discussions, and its quite a ways from the beliefs I grew up with.
I'm not a bad guy or a smug asshole, and I won't even bother to defend the joke. I make a lot of jokes, and this isn't even one that ever made it onto one of my albums or specials. Some people like it, the meme keeps going around, some people demonize me as a child abusing know it all, it goes around some more. There is no need and no point in demonizing me.
I welcome anyone who wishes to reply here. After the harassment last night and the very disturbing use of a picture of me and my daughter, I will not engage on this matter in a forum where I don't have some controls to protect against such behavior. Threats, name calling and other ad hominem attacks will be deleted. Thanks.
More on my views regarding libertarianism can be found here: Why I'm Not a Libertarian
Here's another old meme: