Enter the bears, stage right.
October 13, 2020 2:54 PM   Subscribe

The libertarian social experiment underway in the small town of Grafton, NH was uniquely incapable of dealing with the problem. “Free Towners were finding that the situations that had been so easy to problem-solve in the abstract medium of message boards were difficult to resolve in person. ... [C]ertain libertarians who questioned whether they should do anything at all—especially since several of the town residents had taken to feeding the bears, more or less just because they could."
posted by MiraK (100 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you want to read the original article Hongoltz wrote about Grafton, which is delightful (or at least, remains delightful as long as I don't move back to NH), we discussed it previously!
posted by ChuraChura at 2:59 PM on October 13 [15 favorites]


Was going to post the same previously, ChuraChura, you beat me to it!
posted by biogeo at 3:03 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


This is so good.
posted by putzface_dickman at 3:12 PM on October 13


The true super-power of the US is it's ability to make any metaphor about it concrete and then run it to it's logical conclusion.
The whole story is amazing. It needs to be a movie.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:28 PM on October 13 [23 favorites]


Caught up in “pitched battles over who was living free, but free in the right way,” the libertarians descended into accusing one another of statism, leaving individuals and groups to do the best (or worst) they could

No true Scotsmen indeed.
posted by nubs at 3:28 PM on October 13 [8 favorites]


Libertarianism is a social pathology, a form of mass arrested development in a stage of infantile narcissism. Libertarians abandon logic and demand the world conform to their fantasies -- thus excusing them of any obligation to others and justifying any shady activity they undertake to get their way. And when it doesn't, they devolve into Gollum-like husks of bitterness and recrimination.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:34 PM on October 13 [87 favorites]


Might not Grafton, with its lack of zoning laws and low levels of civic participation, be the perfect place to create an intentional community based on Logic and Free Market Principles?
I'm not an expert by any means, but I have a suspicion that a low level of civic participation is exactly the opposite of what you want if you want to build a functioning society with minimal formal government.
posted by clawsoon at 3:34 PM on October 13 [18 favorites]


Who said anything about a "society"? FREE MARKET GULCH, BABY!
ya commie
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:36 PM on October 13 [9 favorites]


I think that line was trying to say low civic participation made Grafton the perfect place for libertarians to swoop in (with their Logic and Free Market).
posted by MiraK at 3:37 PM on October 13 [5 favorites]


lolololololol ...\o/!
posted by Horkus at 3:39 PM on October 13


All of our society's problems, writ large.

The ______ problem, in other words, is much bigger than individual ________ cranks refusing to _________. It is a problem born of years of neglect and mismanagement by legislators, and, arguably, indifference from ___________ taxpayers in general, who have proved reluctant to step up and allocate resources to __________, even as the agency’s traditional source of funding -______________ — has dwindled. Exceptions like ___________ aside, no one wants _____ in their __________, but apparently no one wants to invest sustainably in institutions doing the unglamorous work to keep them out either.

Fuck these people.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:49 PM on October 13 [37 favorites]


Late stage capitalism Mad Libs are the worst.
posted by deludingmyself at 3:51 PM on October 13 [29 favorites]


I wouldn't live there if you paid me.
I wouldn't live like that, no siree.
I wouldn't do the things the way those people do.
I wouldn't live there if you paid me to.

posted by Meatbomb at 3:52 PM on October 13 [4 favorites]


The kitty kat problem, in other words, is much bigger than individual smelly cranks refusing to eat their asparagus. It is a problem born of years of neglect and mismanagement by legislators, and, arguably, indifference from the boys' locker room at school taxpayers in general, who have proved reluctant to step up and allocate resources to Poop and Pee, even as the agency’s traditional source of funding—pictures of yer mom's boobs—has dwindled. Exceptions like Taylor Swift aside, no one wants DINOSAAAAAURS! in their Australia, but apparently no one wants to invest sustainably in institutions doing the unglamorous work to keep them out either.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:58 PM on October 13 [34 favorites]


Statewide, a perverse synergy between conservationist and austerity impulses in New Hampshire governance has translated into an approach to “bear management” policy that could accurately be described as laissez-faire.

how could you possibly leave laissez-baire on the table like that
posted by FatherDagon at 3:59 PM on October 13 [83 favorites]


“While their various platforms and bugbears were inevitably idiosyncratic, “


LOL @ Idiosyncratic Bugbears...

A. One of the less-creative 5th Edition wandering monster types

B. The actual creatures overrunning Grafton, NH

C. A dysphemism for “Libertarian”

D. Your new Shoegaze band name
posted by darkstar at 4:05 PM on October 13 [13 favorites]


OMG this is a glorious article!
posted by darkstar at 4:14 PM on October 13 [2 favorites]


I really feel like American education should spend more time talking about the many, many failed utiopias/communes/cult compounds in our history. None of this shit is new but we can't seem to stop doing it.
posted by emjaybee at 4:14 PM on October 13 [52 favorites]


At the bottom of this article, New Republic linked to this one about the origins of that bastion of respectability, The Economist:
There was no productive role for class conflict in Wilson’s worldview, nor indeed for public education, charity schools, or town sanitation. “If the pursuit of self-interest, left equally free for all, does not lead to the general welfare,” the paper declared, “no system of government can accomplish it.”
The dreams of a long-dead Anti-Corn Law activist have come alive in New Hampshire.
posted by clawsoon at 4:14 PM on October 13 [4 favorites]


One of the original masterminds of the plan, a certain Larry Pendarvis, had written of his intention to create a space honoring the freedom to “traffic organs, the right to hold duels, and the God-given, underappreciated right to organize so-called bum fights.” He had also bemoaned the persecution of the “victimless crime” that is “consensual cannibalism.” (“Logic is a strange thing,” observes Hongoltz-Hetling.)

I'm not even halfway through this article but I already have the feeling that this won't be the craziest part.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:16 PM on October 13 [12 favorites]


Excellent article.

Closing lines:

“Clearly, when it comes to certain kinds of problems, the response must be collective, supported by public effort, and dominated by something other than too-tidy-by-half invocations of market rationality and the maximization of individual personal freedom. If not, well, then we had all best get some practice in learning when and how to play dead, and hope for the best.”
posted by darkstar at 4:25 PM on October 13 [5 favorites]


A libertarian is just a librarian with ET in the middle. libErTarian. Just saying.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:36 PM on October 13 [5 favorites]


libertarian is an anagram of RETAIL BRAIN. Just saying.
posted by chavenet at 4:44 PM on October 13 [11 favorites]




Ayn Rand is just an anagram of Jeremy's Iron.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:51 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Ayn Rand really messed a lot of people up didn't she?

I read Atlas Shrugged, as many boys in their early 20s do. One of my friends (incidentally, "An' it harm none, do what ye wilt" and borderline personality disorder wrapped in one person can be...difficult...) dismissed AS pithily:
"You know it's a work of fiction. Who ever heard of that many 'philosophers' in one room without a disagreement!?!?"
posted by notsnot at 4:57 PM on October 13 [5 favorites]


I want to read this book immediately.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:57 PM on October 13 [4 favorites]


dances_with_sneetches: A libertarian is just a librarian with ET in the middle. libErTarian. Just saying.

So it involves a librarian performing consensual cannibalism on an alien?
posted by clawsoon at 5:01 PM on October 13 [7 favorites]


Well that was quite a read!
posted by supermedusa at 5:01 PM on October 13 [2 favorites]


My parents were libertarians while I was growing up, until I think they realized that they were never going to be rich enough that they wouldn’t need to rely on the public at some point. Now they’re democratic socialists which is as big a swing as you can make, but I’m happy that they were logical enough to go that route rather than doubling down on governments being the source of all evil.
posted by mikesch at 5:02 PM on October 13 [20 favorites]


Metafilter: Late stage capitalism Mad Libs
posted by Reyturner at 5:13 PM on October 13 [11 favorites]


Who is John Galt?

Probably a bear. It's easier to snack on humans once you've lured them into the woods.
posted by betweenthebars at 5:21 PM on October 13 [12 favorites]


I'm going to quote the money line for me in full:

When bears show up in higher-income communities [...they...] are promptly evacuated to wildernesses in the north; poorer rural locales are left to fend for themselves, and the residents blamed for doing what they can. In other words, the “unintended natural selection of the bears that are trying to survive alongside modern humans” is unfolding along with competition among human beings amid failing infrastructure and scarce resources, a struggle with Social Darwinist dynamics of its own.

The distinction between a municipality of eccentric libertarians and a state whose response to crisis is, in so many words, “Learn to Live With It” may well be a matter of degree rather than kind.


So yes, this is schafreude-erific gotcha fuel for the social left, BUT, what do you do next? The poor right isn't getting traumatized into learning the lesson fast enough to outpace the evolving corpo-fascist messaging and would we really wish that? Even on our second worst enemy?

What's the end game? Even if you win elections the US is still a polity that is rapidly atomizing. This is well done, but not funny. (*And I'm giving the author props for keeping a wide lens on the not funny-ness)
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:29 PM on October 13 [12 favorites]


no one wants DINOSAAAAAURS! in their Australia
Trust me on this, the wildlife encroachment problems of peri-urban and rural-regional development in Australia are extremely well understood by town planners... 🐍
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:41 PM on October 13 [4 favorites]


“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world.

The other, of course, involves orcs."

John Rogers, March 19, 2009

Most libertarians I have run into have been difficult people to get along with, at best.
posted by mephron at 5:52 PM on October 13 [27 favorites]


This looks fantastic.
posted by Mchelly at 6:11 PM on October 13


Do you want ants bears? Because this is how you get ants bears.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:16 PM on October 13 [12 favorites]


It is a problem born of years of neglect and mismanagement by legislators, and, arguably, indifference from New Hampshire taxpayers in general, who have proved reluctant to step up and allocate resources to Fish and Game, even as the agency’s traditional source of funding—income from hunting licenses—has dwindled. Exceptions like Doughnut Lady aside, no one wants bears in their backyard, but apparently no one wants to invest sustainably in institutions doing the unglamorous work to keep them out either.

In other words, nobody wants to pay for...


...the bear necessities.

I'll get me coat.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:21 PM on October 13 [59 favorites]


The bears abide.
posted by gtrwolf at 6:27 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Dammit, Underpants Monster, I was just coming in to make a joke about Libertarian governments providing the bear necessities.
posted by nubs at 6:32 PM on October 13 [2 favorites]


how could you possibly leave laissez-baire on the table like that

the problem isn't baires theirs, it's ours.
posted by 20 year lurk at 6:35 PM on October 13 [9 favorites]


I posted this article half to share the delight of it and half in anticipation of all the inevitable bear puns. Y'all never disappoint.
posted by MiraK at 6:39 PM on October 13 [19 favorites]


Maybe they should claw back some services for the residents who encourage the bears? Or would that just make the town a den of inequity?
posted by nubs at 6:48 PM on October 13 [15 favorites]


Live Free (and Get Killed By Bears) or Die (But Not By Bears)
posted by Merus at 6:53 PM on October 13 [11 favorites]


Haaaa, ha ha ha hahahaha. *wipes tear*
John Babiarz, the erstwhile inaugurator of the Project, became the target of relentless vilification by his former ideological cohorts, who did not appreciate his refusal to let them enjoy unsecured blazes on high-wildfire–risk afternoons.
Hahahhahaha.

The only good thing about these sorts of pure libertarian communities is they rarely include anywhere near even sex ratios guaranteeing they'll die out eventually.
posted by Mitheral at 6:55 PM on October 13 [13 favorites]


Let the bears pay the bear tax! Also, abolish the bear tax.
posted by sysinfo at 6:57 PM on October 13 [7 favorites]


I think the thing that makes this especially delicious is that the bears really are beating the Libertarians at their own game.

Bears, of course, are not troubled by the laws of man. Those bears are *free*! They're doing what they want, when they want, however they want! They don't have to answer to anyone! And if they're bigger and more powerful than those measly people, and scare the living daylights out of them, take their stuff and leave some humans and their livestock/pets maimed while going about their business, as is their God-given right, well that's just the nature of competition and you humans knew what you were getting into from the get-go. It's not the bears' fault that they were gifted with those advantages and they shouldn't be penalized for making the most of them.
posted by Sublimity at 7:00 PM on October 13 [96 favorites]


I grew up in another small NH town without a stoplight or real grocery store that shares a bit of border with Grafton and is part of the same school district. I have good friends from Grafton and still know people living there, cleaning up various messes left by the libertarians.

I ended up attending Dartmouth College, in nearby Hanover, the much wealthier town referenced in the article where a problem bear was 'evacuated to wildernesses in the north'. 'Mink', the bear in question, was recently found dead in the area after trekking thousands of miles to be back in her home range.

During my senior year at Dartmouth, I lived on the outskirts of Hanover next to Mink Brook, the stream from which this 'problem bear' got their name (they denned somewhere nearby). I rented a room in a small cabin heated by woodstove, part of a complex of shacks, shipping containers, and small tarp covered homes owned (and built) by a libertarian leaning guy and populated by a motley crew of people looking for cheap housing. I felt more comfortable there then I did on campus, but it wasn't the safest or nicest place to live.

I've also spent time with Ben Kilham (the 'Jane Goodall of bears' mentioned in the previous article), and am one of the few people that's been inside his bear cub sanctuary, where baby bears climbed me like a jungle gym.

As you may imagine I have many feelings about this article and the previous, and I'm looking forward to reading the book. I could write a novel of my own (or screenplay) set in this region and featuring the variety of awesome people, racist assholes, and other assorted folks in between that live there; maybe someday I will. For now I'll leave it at this: please secure your household trash and don't leave out food for bears or other wild animals near your home.
posted by soy bean at 7:25 PM on October 13 [36 favorites]


Libeartarians, surely?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:27 PM on October 13 [9 favorites]


Ayn Rand really messed a lot of people up didn't she?

...only those people who are nowhere near as smart as they think they are, despite how often they may make pronouncements regarding their intellect.
posted by aramaic at 8:03 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


This new Coen Brothers movie sounds fantastic!
posted by sexyrobot at 8:34 PM on October 13 [22 favorites]


The Libertarenstain Bears
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:36 PM on October 13 [15 favorites]


Bear break: Black bear cubs eat apples and purr in contentment.

Libertarians are just people who are impressed with themselves because they think they are good at tic-tac-toe.
posted by Anoplura at 9:01 PM on October 13 [6 favorites]


the problem isn't baires theirs, it's ours.


Now THAT is a world class play on words — I tip my chapeau to you!


Who is John Galt?

Probably a bear. It's easier to snack on humans once you've lured them into the woods.



Galt’s Cromch
posted by darkstar at 9:10 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Libertarian Bear:

He protecc

He attacc

But first...

...he seek to maximize autonomy and political freedom, emphasizing free association, freedom of choice, individualism and the elimination of taxes

And then he snacc
posted by darkstar at 9:13 PM on October 13 [33 favorites]


It's a free country (bear jamboree).
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:03 PM on October 13 [4 favorites]


no one wants DINOSAAAAAURS! in their Australia

Actually we totally do, because they attract tourists.
posted by flabdablet at 10:11 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Herzog might have some thoughts about how the battle between Libertarianism and the cold harshness and overwhelming indifference of nature would turn out. (Not that Libertarians don't lack said characteristics, but compared to nature...) Especially once the bears start to get involved. (Warning: dead animals in clip)
posted by gtrwolf at 11:02 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


That illustration is everything. OMG those poor kitties! Grrom-nom-nom-nom!
posted by sexyrobot at 11:04 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Sounds like the situation became unbearable.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:16 PM on October 13 [4 favorites]


Or maybe Herzog would just start planning his next documentary instead (though unlike Grizzly Man, Black Bear Community doesn't seem to have the right ring to it)
posted by gtrwolf at 12:15 AM on October 14




A simple mistake to make. It's free as in speech, not free as in bear.
posted by anzen-dai-ichi at 12:38 AM on October 14 [15 favorites]


ils sont fous ces romains américains
posted by mumimor at 2:27 AM on October 14 [2 favorites]


From the “previously” article: The survivalists were used to catching sight of the hulking intruders emerging from the darkened woods of rural New Hampshire to damage property, steal food, and deposit huge piles of excrement.

So apparently these bears don’t shit in the woods.
posted by TedW at 2:31 AM on October 14 [9 favorites]


If there is a bear.
posted by Wet Spot at 5:34 AM on October 14


It's free as in speech, not free as in bear.

Aaaaaaand /thread.
posted by MiraK at 5:37 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


My wife, halfway through the article:
"Oh right, the bears! I'd forgotten about the bears!"
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:14 AM on October 14 [11 favorites]


Ok I have two more bear anecdotes that I need to get out of my brain so I guess I can't just leave it at "don't feed the bears".

When I was growing up, my grandparents lived on an isolated hill in Springfield NH, another town that borders Grafton. On their bedroom floor lay a large black bear skin, complete with preserved head. My sister and I would always rush up there when we visited to run our fingers across the imposing teeth, rub our faces in its bristly fur, and marvel at the jaws frozen in a menacing snarl. The story we were told, and I have no reason to doubt it, was that years before we were born my grandmother had shot the bear because it was eating apples from the tree in their front yard.

A few years ago, driving on the interstate in NH, I came upon a recent accident scene. A couple of vehicles were parked on the median, and in the middle of the road lay a maimed black bear. It was very much alive, but twisted strangely in half and struggling to move its immense body without the use of its rear legs. As I slowed down and carefully passed, the bear pivoted on its broken hindquarters and lifted its head to face me. We locked eyes for what felt like minutes though could only have been a second or so. It literally took me months to fully process that brief contact with this dying animal.

The article quotes someone who says “If you look at their eyes, you understand... they are completely alien to us.” I've looked at the eyes of bears, and though they certainly aren't human I'm pretty sure bears can feel emotions akin to terror, confusion, and rage.
posted by soy bean at 6:38 AM on October 14 [33 favorites]


Also a good libertarians-in-the-wild story with a predictable ending, the not so lovable community of Galt’s Gulch Chile.
posted by Harry Caul at 7:03 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


Harry Caul, that was a wild ride. It links to the "Dollar Vigilante" guy's blog, and while he's apparently deleted his post on GGC, he's a full-bore COVID truther, of course.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:29 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


soy bean: "...in the middle of the road lay a maimed black bear."

My uncle in northern Minnesota used to bow-hunt, until the time he got a bear in the spine with an arrow.

Its hind legs were paralyzed, but it dragged itself off into the brush. He's a good guy and a responsible hunter, so he knew that he had to follow it. Of course, as a bow hunter, he had...a bow & arrows, and a .45, I think. *gulp* So, down the ladder he went and into the woods.

He found the bear and finished it off, but he never went bow-hunting again -- or bear hunting, AFAIK. (Some older relations got a key ring with one of the bear claws on it; as a squirt too young to drive, I was quite jealous!)
posted by wenestvedt at 9:16 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


ActingTheGoat: One of the original masterminds of the plan, a certain Larry Pendarvis, had written of his intention to create a space honoring the freedom to “traffic organs, the right to hold duels, and the God-given, underappreciated right to organize so-called bum fights.” He had also bemoaned the persecution of the “victimless crime” that is “consensual cannibalism.” (“Logic is a strange thing,” observes Hongoltz-Hetling.)

I'm not even halfway through this article but I already have the feeling that this won't be the craziest part.


Live Free or Die in a Duel or a Bum Fight.
posted by hanov3r at 9:37 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


For years we lived about 80 miles from New Hampshire, in Vermont. Black bears were certainly a thing for us.

Once one bounded across our road (dirt, of course, about 1 1/2 lanes wide) while I drove my son home from school.

Another time our silly dog (Hestia: very loving, not very bright) managed to tree a bear cub with great excitement. We had to haul her home before mama bear returned.

Several times I had to holler at the big critters when they tromped through our back yard day or night, checking out the gardens, garbage, and - I'm convinced - the hammock.

The best bear time, though, happened one morning. I was in the kitchen, doing dishes, and our dog was lazing on the front porch. Suddenly she started growling, a very deep, menacing rrrRRRRRrrrRRRRR. I put down the dishes and stepped outside.

The front of our house was mostly an upward slope, thickly wooded, and running to the road. Across the street was more forest, and few humans for miles. Bears hung out there.

One was making his or her way downslope, making a beeline for our main chicken coop. The dumb birds were starting to realize this and were issuing tentative squawks. Hestia improved her growling into a stentorian bark. I realized I didn't have a weapon and just shouted: "Bear! GET! Go home!"

She or he skidded to a stop, considered, then rotated to amble back upslope. I swore the bear was thinking "sorry! sorry to bother you!" S/he kept going to the road and vanished in the woods.

Hestia really loved running around in those woods. Good times.
posted by doctornemo at 9:57 AM on October 14 [7 favorites]


One woman, who prudently chose to remain anonymous save for the sobriquet “Doughnut Lady,” revealed to Hongoltz-Hetling that she had taken to welcoming bears on her property for regular feasts of grain topped with sugared doughnuts. If those same bears showed up on someone else’s lawn expecting similar treatment, that wasn’t her problem.
Libertarianism, and much of American politics, in a nutshell.
posted by star gentle uterus at 10:24 AM on October 14 [24 favorites]


I can't believe no one has mentioned:
There’s Richard Angell, an anti-circumcision activist known as “Dick Angel.”
posted by mmascolino at 10:36 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


One of the Galt's Gulch Chile marks tells her story:

(CW: pure unfiltered anarcho-capitalism)
"I suppose there is some comfort in being fleeced in good company, in being in the company of some of the smartest businessmen in the movement."
posted by Sauce Trough at 10:59 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


Ha, yeah, Wendy McElroy was quoted in an old Gawker article on the mess. Here's the real treasure in there:
I had the opportunity to ask a question of the salesman who showed my husband and me "our property." I claimed it because I fell head over heels for the most beautiful tree I've ever seen. I felt an instant connection as though the two of us were old souls who had found each other. I could believe it, I could see it… waking up each morning and having coffee under that tree, telling it about my plans for the day. Months later, in a Skype conference, I asked the then-GGC-alienated salesman, "When you 'sold' us the property, when you printed out a photo from your phone that read 'Wendy's tree,' did you know you could not legally sell us the lot you were offering?" He said, "That is correct."
Unsaid is whether McElroy ever intended to contract with the tree for its time and companionship.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:18 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


The proper libertarian solution for this is a bear market.
posted by TheHuntForBlueMonday at 12:21 PM on October 14 [18 favorites]


My parents have a trailer house in a place somewhat like this, except instead of bears its overrun with deer, who travel in herds of 50 and more. The eat every plant, block the roads, and yeah, they hang out on porches. They don't eat trash, because the private trash company installed bear-proof dumpsters. They also have a similar libertarian way of dealing with this issue: issuing proclamations against "non-tethered RVs and travel trailers bringing down property value", ie, not much at all.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:34 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


The statist approach, with taxes...(slyt)

This is one of my favorite sequences from Golden Age Simpsons. Edited from the original version of this clip: when the mob is chanting “We’re here! We’re Queer! We don’t want anymore bears!”, Lenny originally asks Homer where he learned that chant. Homer tells him he heard it from “the annual moustache parade.”
posted by darkstar at 1:37 PM on October 14 [6 favorites]


I really cannot let this amazing bit of shade-throwing go by unheralded.
The bears, for their part, were left to navigate the mixed messages sent by humans who alternately threw firecrackers and pastries at them. Such are the paradoxes of Freedom. Some people just “don’t get the responsibility side of being libertarians,” Rosalie Babiarz tells Hongoltz-Hetling, which is certainly one way of framing the problem.
posted by hanov3r at 2:26 PM on October 14 [13 favorites]


Dropping in to mention that book mentioned has a very excellent review article in the recent issue of Washington Monthly, which is a good companion piece (even if it did appear first).
posted by General Malaise at 3:01 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


A libertarian is an anarchist who wants to be protected from their slaves.

Libertarianism is a Trojan horse for sneaking bad ideas past intellectuals.

“Socially liberal, but fiscally conservative” == “I like to smoke weed, but I’m a dick to poor people”
posted by panama joe at 4:10 PM on October 14 [12 favorites]


"I suppose there is some comfort in being fleeced in good company, in being in the company of some of the smartest businessmen in the movement."

Sure reads like somebody who prefers to pay in Dunning-Krugerrands.
posted by flabdablet at 5:53 PM on October 14 [5 favorites]


The only thing I remember from taking Gad Horowitz's political theory course many years ago is that libertarians live under the delusion that all of life is a fixed-size pie. Any freedom they give up will result in someone else's gain in that freedom, but no expectation that the overall size of the pie can ever expand if we cooperate. The rude accompaniment to that mini-lecture was Reagan's recent election to the presidency (I told you this was some time ago), and too many Americans have labored under that delusion all these years since.
posted by morspin at 10:56 PM on October 14 [4 favorites]


Main deficiency I perceive in libertarianism is that all its arguments appear to conceive of liberty as consisting entirely of freedoms to.

Freedoms from - from, say, oppression or hunger or crippling debt - just never seem to appear on the conceptual radar.

No surprise to me at all to learn of a bunch of libertarians being blindsided by a sudden need for freedom from bear attacks.
posted by flabdablet at 12:54 AM on October 15 [10 favorites]


Thus, seasteading, which combines the headaches of dealing with home-ownership, boat-ownership, the ocean itself, other libertarians, and possibly the Thai navy, but at least there's no bears.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:58 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


Not a single comment on the misunderstanding regarding rights and bear arms.

Or are they all legs?
posted by RhysPenbras at 5:45 AM on October 15 [5 favorites]


So has no one here ever heard of Vince Shute and his amateur bear encounter --- a.k.a., people just walking around his mobile home, among the bears who showed up in his yard for day-old baked goods?

My parents tell me that back in the day, you would just drive into his yard and the bears would come up to the car, begging for carbohydrates. You could get out, but in later years the bears became pretty demanding. Vince had since put bars over the windows of his mobile home. It was safer to just roll down the window a little and slide some sliced bread out.

Since Vince died it's very official and safe now, with a raised platform and photography permits and whatnot: The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary

When it started, though, it was something else:
Shute wasn't a sophisticated man, but he had a heart.

"In 1942, Vince Shute had a logging camp, and it had a cookshack,'' says Bill Lea of the American Bear Association. "The bears would smell those good smells and break into the shack. Now, Vince and his men were afraid of bears, and every time one came, they'd shoot it. He said that over the next 10 years, he killed scores of bears.

"So finally, Vince came up with another plan. He thought, 'Maybe if I put food outside the cabin, they won't break in.' Well, it worked. What Vince didn't count on is that he would end up feeding these bears for nearly 50 years.''

Every day, some of the 80 bears in the forest near Orr, just south of Voyageurs National Park, would drop by for a snack, depending on what else they could find in the woods.

As Shute aged, volunteers began helping him at his homestead, and in 1996, they built a raised wooden observation deck for the thousands of people who showed up to watch him feed the bears.
And also this incredibly optimistic line:
“Bears are smart, so we have a rule,’’ he said. “We always feed them from green buckets, so they don’t associate food with people; they associate it with green buckets.’’
(source)

This two-minute clip from1988 show the man himself sharing wisdom like, "He's a nice bear. When they got the ears forward, they won't attack." And then hand-feeding toast to a bear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSz4Y-LVk4I
posted by wenestvedt at 6:22 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]



One of the Galt's Gulch Chile marks tells her story:


I really need to learn to read more carefully.

I wanted a story about a libertarian chili recipe and its consequences.
posted by srboisvert at 7:44 AM on October 15 [5 favorites]


So the takeaway message from the FPP and links in the thread is that people who view selfishness as a virtue aren’t very good at coming together and forming a community. Who would have guessed?
posted by TedW at 8:18 AM on October 15 [7 favorites]


I'll repeat something that I said before: libertarians aren't necessarily against government per se, they're against government that doesn't benefit them. They want precisely the type and level of government services that they can use.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:57 AM on October 15 [7 favorites]


I used to have conversations with my Grandma who was in her 80s and 90s back in the 1990s when the Libertarians really started to take off; she had an interesting take on American Libertarianism.

She was from a generation that saw the transition from horse and plow to tractors and the innovations of the early 20th century. Her take on Libertarians that moved out to the country in the 70s and 80s had to do with the 20th century re-writing and myth making of American history. She would talk about the community that *had* to exist in rural communities at the time. The random rugged individualist was a crank who lived in a cabin in the woods - and they existed - but functional working farms and agricultural operations required teams (and tons) of people. They required the daily labor of larger families, but also the unpaid labor of neighbors and friends throughout the year. You don't slaughter pigs, train horses, sheer sheep, our plant fields by hand without help.

The idea that you can do all this as some kind of rugged individual à la Rand is going to make your life substantially more difficult than it both needs to be and than it actually was for the people who are being mythologized.
posted by Tchad at 9:19 AM on October 15 [15 favorites]


> I wanted a story about a libertarian chili recipe and its consequences.

The main consequence is persecution, as per:
He had also bemoaned the persecution of the “victimless crime” that is “consensual cannibalism.”
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:46 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


I passed this around and nobody here believes the kitten story. Everyone believed the people stories.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:49 AM on October 15 [2 favorites]


Her take on Libertarians that moved out to the country in the 70s and 80s had to do with the 20th century re-writing and myth making of American history.

One of the big takeaways from Caroline Fraser's Prairie Fires was that Rose Wilder Lane -- daughter-cum-editor in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie books and occasionally called one of the three Founding Mothers of Libertarianism (Isabel Patterson and Ayn Rand are the other two) -- shaped a lot of the mythmaking in the Little House books specifically to further the myth and bolster libertarianism. She edited out a lot of inconvenient facts.

Pa Ingalls and family relied on government aid and broke the law on multiple occasions when following it was too inconvenient. Laura and Almanzo Wilder never made a living off any of their farms; even the farm in Missouri was something they did on the side -- Laura actually had a government job for several years and Almanzo worked in town too.

Libertarianism is built on lies, the myth-making has been deliberately false from day one, and it is astonishing to think of the suffering that could have been prevented if people weren't either falling for the scam or deluding themselves into thinking the factual lies don't matter because the greater principle is somehow "true." The fact that Libertarians managed to run one small town into the ground even before the bears arrived is just the logical endpoint for a political movement that is at its heart both intellectually dishonest and deeply deluded.
posted by sobell at 8:23 AM on October 16 [14 favorites]


"they are more sleep-deprived, more anxious, more desperate, and more twitchy than the bear that nature produced."

Is this a pandemic joke? Because it sounds like a pandemic joke.
posted by Tehhund at 7:58 PM on October 16


Da Bearss.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:47 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


I support the right to arm bears
posted by abuckamoon at 4:10 AM on October 17 [4 favorites]


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