01 June 2009

In the year 2000

This seems as good an explanation as any for the extreme over-representation of libertarians in geekdom.
It goes like this: nerds spend their formative years being turned into surly loners by the taunts and abuse of their intellectual inferiors. Since they've essentially been rejected by society, they reject society right back, embracing a political philosophy which raises "the individual" (read: them) above all else. Nobody ever cared about them, after all, so why should they care about anyone else? The nerd may grow beyond this feeling in adulthood, but the sense of being outside society is likely to linger.
Then, once these newly minted teenage libertarians get older and discover the wonderful world of Technology, they start believing that the path to Utopia will come not from humanity learning to live together but through a genius scientist who will invent the cyborg body allowing us to live forever. Therefore, it's imperative that this potential genius not be encumbered by concerns about who's starving where.

You may wonder why libertarianism, which appears to be so prevalent on the internet, has been such a flameout in the real world. Partially, it is a function of this strange phenomenon. I mean, did you ever meet a Ron Paul voter in the flesh? Primarily, though, it's that many people who call themselves "libertarians" are Republicans who just want lower taxes and are a little embarrassed to be associated with social conservatives. Oh, and they might like pot to be legal. Not that anyone in their income bracket is ever getting busted.