The Case for Libertarian Friendliness
By Bryan Caplan
My week at the IHS seminar in Chicago returned a long-lived libertarian meme to my field of vision. The meme: Humility. If libertarians want to communicate with a broader audience, we’ve got to stop being so full of ourselves.
So the story goes. But is it true? As I’ve said before, all radical critiques of the status quo are fundamentally not humble. After all, most people oppose major changes in the status quo. So you can’t really advocate big changes unless you think “I’m right, and almost everyone else is wrong.” If you’ve got a humble way to say that, I’d like to hear it.
Now I agree that libertarians could use a public relations makeover. But what we need isn’t more humility, but greater friendliness. Smile. Laugh at yourself. Look for and enjoy the good in people who don’t agree with you. Appreciate your good fortune to be alive during the best years humanity has ever had. Live by the wisdom of The Godfather: “I believe in friendship and I am willing to show my friendship first.”
If you’ve got these traits, you don’t really need to be humble to reach a broader audience. And frankly, given the personality of the typical libertarian, friendliness will probably come more readily than humility.