An Observation

Dave Killion — May 22, 2012

We are now prepared to discuss your libertarian philosophy with you.

It is always a pleasure to discuss libertarianism with someone who knows little or nothing about it, but is open-minded and has a sincere interest in understanding. Conversations like that are rare. More typically, it only takes a few questions before the novice is so shocked or outraged that progress is impossible. As a rule, I find that there will be no headway made with anyone who supplies the suggestion of an answer along with the question. “What do you propose instead of national health insurance? Letting people die on the street?”  “How can you favour ending public schooling? Do you want poor children to grow up without learning how to read or write?”

Recognizing this has made it easier for me to decide how to proceed with a discussion. If I have an audience, I will usually carry on explaining. After all, bystanders are usually less defensive and something I say might reach one of them. On the other hand, if it’s just me and my interlocutor, more often than not I’ll find a way to wrap things up. Most important is that I’ve learned to catch myself if I do the same thing, because it demonstrates to me that I’m becoming close-minded. And if I had been close-minded, I never would have become libertarian… and that would have been a terribly sad thing.

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