Re: Libertarian==Throwback?

From: Olga Bourlin (
Date: Sat Aug 11 2001 - 00:36:09 MDT

From: "Michael M. Butler" <>

> I'd like to start a separate thread for this topic.
> Olga Bourlin wrote:
> > Even in the best light, libertarianism seems like such a throwback.

> I'd like to know more about this from your POV (point of view), Olga. >
What do you mean? For instance, what's "the best light", as far as you can
tell? > I have my guesses, but rather than put words in your mouth, I'll

I quoted myself from a couple of months ago in that "Even in the best light"
sentence. Since then, I've been trying to learn about libertarianism but
have yet to read anything that impresses me. For instance, I'm reading "The
Origins of Virtue" by Matt Ridley now (I'm only at Chapter 2). You'd think
the author would have put his best foot forward in the Prologue, where
Ridley begins with the story of Prince Kropotkin's discovery that the world
really is a good place where -- not shit, but -- mutual aid happens.
Escaping from prison, Kropotkin was inspired by the courage and help he
received from several of his fellow human beings - and so was inspired to
develop his anarchistic ideas further.

Well, I will continue reading the book with an open mind, but I have to
confess I feel as if the boat has sprung a leak at the outset of the voyage.
You see, I know Russians. There are many things in the world I don't know -
but I know Russians. Russians - even Russian Jews - in the 1800s may indeed
have helped Kropotkin. But the problem with the story of Kropotkin is that
Kropotkin was not a Jew. Had Kropotkin been a Jew, he may not have gotten
the kind of help he got back then - in Czarist Russia. That's the missing
key, and that gives a subjective - not a real-world - perspective to
Kropotkin's story. And that's why my boat is listing.

Someone a week or so ago posted something to me about Ayn Rand, saying that
she was Russian, too. Yes, I would have called her a Russian (let's not
bicker about whether she was really an American once she became an American
citizen), but most "Russians" (of the Christian variety) from the Russia she
came out of would have called her a Jew. Even though Ayn was an atheist -
she would have been called a Jew. Even during the "Soviet Union" phase of
Russia I've heard - I don't know if this is true - that Russian Jews had to
put down that they were Jews on their passports or something (even in
atheistic Russia ... interesting if true). Maybe things have changed now in
Russia - I don't know. But I know several Russian Jewish emigres now (who
came to the U.S. a few years ago), and they've told me stories that confirm
to me that most "Russians" are still up to their old tricks.

I'll let you know how the book turns out, and maybe we'll talk further.
Throwback to me, of course, means "been there, done that, didn't work out
too well the first time ..." I wish I knew of one glorious libertarian
"victory" that changed the U.S. society for the better, the way I've seen
some democratic victories change all our lives.


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