Why do So Many Libertarians Blog?

A few weeks ago, in an interview about blogging, I was asked "why are there so many libertarian bloggers?"  My answer didn't make the final cut for the article, but I thought it was worth repeating here**:

First, I am tempted to answer with a variation of the argument that the left uses to justify why so many academics
are liberal "“ ie, that we bloggers are all smarter and therefore libertarians.  I will eschew that one though, because I think the real reason is that libertarians have never had a really good outlet for our opinions and it is a relief to have a channel to be able to express our views without distortion. 

Part of this is because there are few good organized outlets for libertarians.  In the past, libertarians could perhaps find a voice in one of the two major parties, but that tends to just end in frustration as about the 50% of what either party espouses is inconsistent with a true respect for individual liberties.  At the same time, the formal libertarian party has often been a joke, fielding some pretty bizarre candidates with some pretty niche priorities.

However, a major part of the problem is that libertarianism resists organization.  Libertarianism tends to be a big tent that attracts everything from anarcho-capitalists to Cheech-and-chong-esque hempfest organizers to Larry-Flint style pornographers.  For this reason, libertarianism defies efforts to brand it, which is a critical shortcoming since the two major political parties nowadays are much closer to brands than ideologically consistent philosophical alternatives. 

Libertarians revel in differences and being different.  Almost by definition, none of us have the same message, or even believe that we all should have the same message. Many of us are suspicious of top-down organization in and of itself.  Blogging is therefore tailor made for us "“ many diverse bottom-up messages rather than one official top-down one.

Finally, since libertarianism is really about celebrating dynamism and going in a thousand different directions as each individual chooses, in some sense the Internet and blogging are not only useful tools for us libertarians, but in and of themselves are inherently libertarian vehicles.  Certainly libertarian hero F. A. Hayek would recognize the chaos of the Internet and the blogosphere immediately.  For a good libertarian, chaos is beautiful, and certainly the blogosphere qualifies as chaotic.   The Internet today is perhaps the single most libertarian institution on the planet.  It is utterly without heirarchy, being essentially just one layer deep and a billion URL's wide.  Even those who try to impose order, such as Google, do so with no mandate beyond their utility to individual users.

When people are uncomfortable with the blog phenomenon, they tend to be the same people who are
uncomfortable with anything chaotic.  I have written several times, particularly here and here, that people across the political spectrum, from left to right, are united by an innate fear of and need to control chaos.  Conservatives don't like the chaos of themes and messages found in movies and media.  Liberals insist on a unified public education system with unified messaging rather than the chaos of school choice and home schooling.  Socialists hate the chaos and uncertainty of the job market, and long for guaranteed jobs and pensions.  Technocrats hate the chaos of the market, and seek to impose standardization.  Everyone in the established media hates blogs, which threaten to upset the comfortable order of how-we-have-always-done-things.

** Which just demonstrates another reason why we all blog- no editors!  There is a saying that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.  It may well be that we bloggers are in the process of proving a parallel adage about being our own editors.



  1. Ceteris Paribus:

    Why do so many Libertarians Blog?

    All this adds up to a lot of libertarian blogs. So the question is, why? The Coyote takes a stab at it:

  2. RichL:

    They blog because (unfortunately) they are ignored everywhere else, especially Washington DC.

  3. Michael H.:

    "The Internet today is perhaps the single most libertarian institution on the planet. It is utterly without heirarchy, being essentially just one layer deep and a billion URL's wide."
    I liked this, I made it my Aphorism of the Day.

  4. Half Sigma:

    "First, I am tempted to answer with a variation of the argument that the left uses to justify why so many academics are liberal – ie, that we bloggers are all smarter and therefore libertarians."

    I wouldn't necessarily dismiss this. I am sure that libertarians are smarter than average. But the Pew Research study (which I blogged about yesterday) tells us that Liberals are smarter than average too.

    I am certain that believing in a highly theoretical idealogy is correlated with higher intelligence, even if the idealogies are completely opposed to each other.

    btw, excellent post, very interesting.

  5. Nerve Endings Firing Away:

    Linking Park and a Hiatus

    I am taking a week-long break and visiting my brother, Havoc in New York. Blogging will resume next Friday or the following Monday. Enjoy these links until then: Why do so many Libertarians blog? Times of India does it again!

  6. The Unrepentant Individual:

    Why do so many libertarians blog?

    Coyote Blog has asked this question, and given a very reasonable answer. Check it out.

  7. Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave:

    More on Bloggers and Pamphleteers

    A quote from "British Pamphleteers", George Orwell and Reginald Reynolds, and continuing in the vein of my entry Bloggers: The New Pamphleteers.

  8. News, the Universe, and Everything:

    Why do So Many Libertarians Blog?

    A darn good answer to a very interesting question. Definitely worth a read...

  9. Blog Business World:

    Carnival of the Vanities 141

    Welcome one and all to the oldest and longest running blog Carnival on the internet.

    Yes, it's Carnival of the Vanities time once again.

    This is my very first hosting of the Carnival of the Vanities here at Blog Business World.

  10. PlaidBerry:

    A Grab Bag of Goodies

    Coyote Blog asks a good question (one that I’ve been wondering myself): “Why do So Many Libertarians Blog?” He offers a few interesting theories as to why that might be so. This one in particular seemed to makes sense: For a good libertarian, chaos is ...

  11. Catallarchy:

    The Blogosphere's Chaos

    In answering why so many libertarians blog, Warren Meyer of the Coyote Blog writes about the chaos of the blogosphere where libertarians are intuitively comfortable, and why the same quality makes others uncomfortable.

    Finally, since libertarianism ...

  12. Ideoblog:

    I think (libertarian) and therefore I blog

    So says this post, linked by Econlog.

  13. La Hora de Todos:

    ¿Porqué tantos bloggers liberales?

    Eso es lo que se pregunta uno de nosotros, el Coyote, y a lo que intenta responder. Comienza por bromear diciendo que, al igual que los progresistas se explican su preeminencia en la universidad en que son más listos, nosotros somos más en la blogosfe...

  14. Duane Gran:

    I tend to think blogging is an equal access sort of thing that gives a megaphone of sorts to all points of view, including those on the left. Libertarians and Socialists alike are basking in a digital group hug as they feel a certain vindication that comes from reading like-minded articles. It will be interesting to see how our perception of this evolves as we become more used to the common person-as-publisher concept.

  15. Brian Blazevic:

    .....or it could be that libertarians are unemployed or underemployed at higher rates than the Dems and Repubs. It is, after all, their country.

  16. GalaTime - Where Time is Money!:

    Carnival of the Capitalists - June 6th Edition - Hosted by GalaTime

    As your host, let me first share how I've compiled this CotC. I started out with Brian Gongol's template, but noticed that several posts (e.g. topics related to blogging, environment, etc.) didn't fall into any of the typical CotC...

  17. Michael H.:

    Hi Coyote
    The best comment on this post was from Arnold Kling of Econlog. He quoted Marshall McLuhan: "The medium is the message."

  18. Owlish Mutterings:


    Puttering around, found various things that seem to be converging: Via Instapundit: This article in Wired which might be summarized by - now that we've got computers and communications that make Information Age type jobs too expensive for Americans to...

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