Monday, January 14, 2008

With friends like these....

Do you use the social networking site 'Facebook'? If so, Have a read of this brilliant expose of the ruthless neocon ideology behind it- by Tom Hodgkinson in today's Guardian.


Charles Pooter said...


I read your stuff and like it, even if I don't agree with a lot of what you have to say.

But please do not conflate neo-conservatism with libertarianism (as the writer of this linked piece has done). You may not agree with libertarianism (Which anyway has a diversity of opinion at least as varied as Socialism. Indeed some strains even overlap with certain non-state Socialist ideas.), but to confuse it with neo-conservatism does it a great disservice.

It is true that some American and British libertarians have erroneously supported such actions as the Iraq war, but I would say that these are the minority. In many libertarians you will find allies in the fight against imperialism, you will find agreement with your support of civil liberties and with some more-enlightened libertarians (such as the mutualists) you will find sympathy with your anti-corporate views.

To be sure you will never get agreement with your pro-nationalisation stance (command economics doesn't work) or some of your more socially conservative viewpoints (we should all be allowed to go to hell in our own way), but then you already knew that. Argue with libertarians by all means, but don't label us as neo-cons.

Ib said...

Yes - there are many different kinds of libertarianism, but actually Hodgkinson mentions libertarianism three times in the article, and in all of these he seems to have hit the mark. The first time he writes of a "particular kind of neoconservative libertarianism" which undoubtedly exists, despite alternatives (and he's not conflating all libertarianism with neoconservatism at all here). The second time he writes that "Thiel is widely regarded in Silicon Valley and in the US venture capital scene as a libertarian genius" - again I don't see the problem here as it's about how Thiel is viewed in Silicon Valley. It's certainly how he views and publicises himself, as shown in the third instance, in which 'Thiel calls himself "way libertarian"'. Hard to argue with a quote, assuming it's accurate. One completely understands - and sympthasises with - the desire not to be labelled a neocon. However, and I say this as an admirer of, if not subscriber to, some libertarian views, maybe the argument is with Thiel and co rather than Hodgkinson.

Douglas said...

I was unaware of the ownership of Facebook, but I was highly aware of the difficulty of closing a Facebook account, as it took Steven Mansour 2,504 steps and internet-wide humiliation of Facebook.

Douglas said...

I put a link to the Guardian article up at Twitter.

You can see my tweets (short posts of 140 characters or less) here.

I believe you probably dislike Twitter, as an unwholesome social-fabric-wrecking influence. I heard Evan Williams (one of the founders) give a talk on Twitter in March 2007 here. Do you find the term "ambient intimacy" to be oxymoronic?