ETFsRule's December Walk of Shame: Libertarians!
Libertarians are an interesting bunch. In real life they are sort of like Bigfoot or the Chupacabra - you hear stories about them, but you never actually see one walking around. In the last presidential election, the Libertarian party recieved a measly 0.4% of the popular vote. But online it's a different story - the internet is absolutely CRAWLING with libertarians, especially on sites like The Motley Fool.
So what exactly is a Libertarian? Well, it's a person who puts a high value on freedom. And by "freedom", they basically mean "independence from government interference". They don't want the government to touch their money (or their guns). They want lower taxes and fewer social programs, they oppose any form of economic stimulus, and for some reason they often deny the existance of global warming - despite overwhelming scientific evidence. Many Libertarians even have the audacity to say that they "hope Obama fails", regardless of how catastrophic the results would be for the United States.
Many prominant Libertarians are also opposed to a lot of civil-rights era legislation. For example, they want employers to have the "freedom" to discriminate against their customers and employees however they want - whether it's based on race, religion, gender, etc. After all, the government has no place telling them how to run their business, right? Or maybe they just feel a certain sense of nostalgia for those old signs that read, "negroes need not apply".
You may think that these ideas sound like something you would hear from Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck... and you would be correct. Although they would never admit it, Libertarians have a lot in common with your standard, run of the mill Fox News Republican. Whenever an economic problem arises, they both have the same answer: do nothing, and let the free market take care of everything!
Why do they believe that this is the optimal approach to any economic problem? Because they just do, that's why. So you can just forget about stupid things like historical trends, economic models, or numerical analysis - leave that stuff to the Keynesians and the other "intellectual elites".
Republicans and Libertarians just KNOW that government spending is ALWAYS a bad thing - because their gut tells them so!
It doesn't make any difference if their positions are supported by facts, or just pulled out of thin air. Republicans are going to shout their beliefs at you until they're blue in the face... and Libertarians are going to type their opinions into the blogosphere until they get carpal tunnel syndrome. Why are they so adamant in their positions? Easy: because their belief in the free market is like a religious dogma to these people.
Both groups speak in absolutes and axioms... so when a new issue arises, they can pretty much make up their mind within the first 2 seconds of hearing about it. This is a very efficient way to make decisions, but it comes in sharp contrast to Keynesian economists, who realize that the real world is a very complex place requiring diligent research and analysis BEFORE a conclusion can be reached.
Government regulation is ALWAYS a bad thing, right? So let's just ignore the fact that de-regulation was a major cause of the current financial crisis. Minor details!
Lastly, Libertarians will invariably refer you to Mises.org, where other Libertarians will spew the same opinions at you, over and over again.
There are usually no facts or figures to support these opinions, because Libertarians tend to avoid any form of quantitative analysis - in much the same way that vampires avoid sunlight.
Since they are so enamored with Mises, let's take a look at some quotes from the founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Mr. Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr:
"I never liked Martin Luther King, Jr. I thought he was a fraud and a tool."
"Did they hit him too many times? Sure, but that’s not the issue. It’s safe streets versus urban terror, and why we have moved from one to the other." (referring to the Rodney King incident)
And last but certainly not least:
"Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks"
That's enough for now. I hope we can all make a very "Foolish" decision - and stop listening to these pesky Libertarians once and for all!
Fool on, and have a happy holiday season!