Monday, May 12, 2014

Ideological jujitsu

On Facebook, I encountered someone claiming that anyone who did not place liberty above all other values was not a "true libertarian."

I noted that recognizing the multiplicity of human values, and the fact that we must balance one against the other in acting, is a sign of sanity, and that elevating one value above all others is a mark of monomania.

In response, the original poster told me that what I said was merely a cover for wanting to "impose" my "plan" on a large number of people who are not interested in it, through initiating aggression against innocents.

This is what I would refer to as "ideological jujitsu." I did not suggest any "plan," but merely pointed out an aspect of our moral life that has been noted by many others, such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas. I am not attempting to "impose" this reality on anyone: it is simply a fact about our moral life.

Actually, it is my conversation partner who has a plan: anarcho-capitalism, or the rule of the propertied. It is he who is willing to impose this plan on an populace that is not interested in it (since only about... what, .1%?... of the public subscribes to anarcho-capitalism). And imposing this rule of property would be an act of aggression against all non-property owners.

This is a typical ideological maneuver: project the ideologue's own traits onto anyone who calls into question his ideological vision. We see it in neoconservatives labeling as "moral relativism" any call to hold the United States to the same moral standards as other nations, or progressives calling those who won't help them stamp out disapproved ideas "intolerant."


  1. I don't really have anything to add, but I just wanted to say I your posts on ideology and ideologues are really interesting and helpful. I got into Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism a few years ago, and reading these types of posts on your blog was largely what got me out of it.


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