• Libertarians project. Actually, this is a list of criticisms of myself. I think these flaws are not uncommon among libertarians. I am trying to improve my own character, so I made this list.
  • Libertarians reveal ourselves as all too human. We are not immune to cognitive biases, mistakes, and fallacies. Our skepticism is selective. We notice that the state is a puppet show and respond by latching on to various new beliefs just as fiercely as we used to believe in state legitimacy. I hope to moderate my skepticism with empiricism, and apply it more broadly, including applying some skepticism to my own pet theories.
  • Libertarians tend toward absolutism, certainty, and overconfidence. Sometimes even arrogance. I want to take a more skeptical, empiricist, humble, Bayesian approach. The market is a discovery procedure. Use the market, Luke.
  • Libertarians focus too much on the end point: I have learned to be skeptical of confident predictions of the outcome of complex processes, yet I love to argue about what the ideal society looks like. I want to think more about what the next step is, and the step after that. We are a long way from utopia. I want to pull out my compass and start moving in the right direction. How do we make progress? This question matters more than the specifics of the destination. Use a good process and worry less about the product. Anything voluntary.
  • Libertarians unrealistically expect everyone to play: Even less ambitious and paradigm-breaking political movements of the past never have recruited a majority into activism. Usually they achieve some influence and then compromise with the powerful, allowing themselves to be co-opted in return for mainstream political success. This path denies us passage, so we need to think more indirectly, like viral marketers. We need a subtle strategy, something that feels more like buying an iPhone than joining a movement.
  • Libertarians are negative, critical, and lack creativity. Criticism does not inspire, usually. We will succeed if we inspire each other. 
  • Libertarians are not organized, but not properly disorganized either. We love spontaneous order and resist regimentation, but we haven’t taken sufficient advantage of our options. What is the sound of organizing without an organization?
  • Libertarians tend to sit on the sidelines, giving color commentary while no one listens. Yeah, that guy on Facebook. I need to make something happen.
    Libertarians love analysis, abstraction, and showing off our cleverness. Why don’t people listen?

I’ve been guilty of all these sins from time to time, and I’ve noticed some others doing the same thing. I want to change. How can I break these bad habits?