“Many years ago on a television network far, far away”, there was a show called “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher“. I was a big fan, rarely missed watching and was sorry to see the show cancelled, though I have to admit that the comment which led to its demise went beyond politically incorrect to politically just plain dumb. See Note 1 below.
I do not subscribe to HBO, so have not had the opportunity to watch Maher’s current show, “Real Time with Bill Maher“. Thanks to a Facebook post by “Can this poodle wearing a tinfoil hat get more fans than Glenn Beck?“, however, I became aware of this “New Rules” segment by Maher regarding libertarians:
One of the reasons I liked Maher was that he was a self-professed supporter of libertarianism. As a libertarian myself, I usually found his “politically incorrect” commentary in tune with my political philosophy. Apparently, however, as demonstrated by his “New Rules” on libertarians, Maher has deserted some of his libertarian ideals, no longer understands what drives the libertarian philosophy and/or simply can no longer recognize a libertarian when he sees one (or doesn’t).
As examples of “libertarians” who are ruining libertarianism, Maher cites Wisconsin republican congressman Paul Ryan and Kentucky republican senator Rand Paul.
Sorry, Bill, but Paul Ryan is mostly a flat out right wing conservative and not a libertarian at all — see this Mother Jones webpage for a 2012 venn diagram showing just how little overlap there is between modern libertarian ideals and Paul Ryan’s political positions:
And Rand Paul is no Ron Paul; nor is he anything like real libertarians like two-time Libertarin Party presidential candidate Harry Browne or Judge Andrew Napolitano. See Note 2 below.
In his monologue, Maher says he once supported libertarianism because he didn’t want “big government in my bedroom, my medicine chest and especially not in the second drawer of the night stand on the left side of my bed”. (Exactly what do you keep there, anyway, Bill?) Though professing to still believe in those ideals, Maher charged that libertarianism has “morphed into this creepy obsession with free market capitalism based on an Ayn Rand novel called ‘Atlas Shrugged'”.
Sorry again, Bill, but those of us who are still truly libertarians base our political beliefs on such foundational documents as the Declaration of Independence and (especially) the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution, not “Atlas Shrugged” (or any other work of fiction). Ayn Rand, by the way, in “Atlas Shrugged” or otherwise, was no libertarian (and, contrary to appearances, Rand Paul was not named in honor of Ayn Rand — his first name is actually Randal).
Ayn Rand in her time was extremely critical of libertarians, and once explained that she disapproved of them because they are “a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people” and “perhaps the worst political group today”. See note 3 below.
Anyone who wants to learn what modern libertarianism is really about can do so by going to the Libertarian Party website here:
… or by visiting the Facebook page of The Advocates for Self-Government here:
The Advocates for Self-Government publish a libertarian newsletter, The Liberator Online, the most recent edition of which is available online here:
The Liberator Online is also distributed by email, for which you can sign up on this page.
And, to see if you are a libertarian, go here and take “The World’s Smallest Political Quiz“:
It’s just 10 questions (5 on personal issues and 5 on economic issues) and can be completed in a few minutes. Perhaps Bill Maher should take it as a refresher course on what libertarianism really is.
Note 1: For a brief explanation of how and why “Politically Incorrect” crossed over into “Politically Stupid” and got cancelled, see:
Note 2: For more on Judge Andrew Napolitano, see this earlier “Free Legal Advice” blog:
and his own website:
Note 3: For a detailed explication of Ayn Rand’s views on libertarianism, see this Q&A page on the Ayn Rand Institute website: