Last week columnist Michael Lind wrote an essay for Salon.com in which he asked why there are no libertarian countries. Libertarians–including yours truly—answered him, pointing out that his question was based on a profound misunderstanding of libertarian ideas.
Despite the fact that libertarians have answered “the question libertarians just can’t answer,” Lind has changed tracks and now accuses libertarians of being cult members, using as evidence their “enraged, hysterical response” to his original essay. (Although he doesn’t offer any examples of these “enraged” or “hysterical” responses.)
Needless to say, almost all definitions of the term “cult” require some kind of religious or spiritual beliefs and/or veneration of a particular person (the “cult leader”) or thing. Since Libertarianism does not address metaphysical concerns and lacks a single leader or spokesperson, it does not meet any useful definition of the word.
Lind goes on to suggest that most (if not all) libertarians are paid shills of the Koch brothers and other large corporations–which could not be further from the truth.
When Lind finally gets around to addressing libertarian criticism that he misunderstands the philosophy, he says only that:
“[I]f the libertarian ideal is a stateless society, then libertarianism is merely a different name for utopian anarchism and deserves to be similarly ignored.”
It’s awfully easy to dismiss a political philosophy by tacking the word “utopian” in front of it (e.g. Michael Lind is advocating utopian centrism and therefore should be ignored).
So instead of acknowledging that official libertarianism would seem to conflict with the goals of any nation-state, Lind merely dismisses libertarians as a bunch of utopian cultists. (He seems to be confusing libertarians with Randians.)
When it comes down to it, libertarians are not utopists. We do not believe that a libertarian society would be perfect, or even necessarily that a libertarian society is achievable. We simply oppose coercion, no matter who is doing it. If that makes libertarianism a cult, then pass the Kool-Aid.