Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Straw-Man 'Libertarianism'

Presumably in its attempt to be comical, this picture-text misrepresents (intentionally or unintentionally) philosophical libertarianism.

On one minimalist construal, philosophical libertarianism is simply a theory of justice which advances the idea that what is “just” is that “persons” (whatever those are) do not “interfere” (whatever that cashes out to be) with one another.[1]

A person barreling through intersections ignoring stop signs interferes with the liberty of whoever is unfortunate enough to be in the way. Hence, (a plausible articulation of) philosophical libertarianism does not license the behavior that the author envisions.

The version of “libertarianism” being attacked is neither the strongest version available nor the version that is typically defended in the relevant political-philosophy literature. However humorous it may be, then, the post commits the straw-man fallacy (in the language of informal logic).

Without affirming or denying philosophical libertarianism, one may - and should - condemn such fallacious polemics.

See also:

Noam Chomsky Reminds: Clintons Are Republicans

Let’s Throw Our Brains and Our Guns Into the Toilet at the Same Time (Parody)

ISIS: The US-CIA Connection

A Few Words on the Second Amendment's Historical Meaning

[1] For more information on this sort of libertarianism, see the discussion of “Spencerian Libertarianism” here: Peter Vallentyne and Bas van der Vossen, “Libertarianism,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2014 Ed., Edward N. Zalta, ed., <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2014/entries/libertarianism/>.