54 Libertarians Tell Their Stories
By Arnold Kling
The book is Why Liberty, compiled by Marc Guttman. The 54th chapter comes from Vince Miller, a Canadian, who writes,
My own experience suggests maybe an innate sense of justice is required.
What makes some people take action when they see an act of injustice while others stand idly by and watch–seemingly disconnected?
Sounds like what a progressive might say. In fact, my chapter in the book is entitled “From Far Left to Libertarian.” Like a number of others in the book, I started on the left, and my chapter briefly explains my journey.
When you read the book, you will perhaps be surprised by the number of women and the number of non-American libertarians. There are only a couple of stereotypical think-tank types. Instead, most are ordinary civilians.
I think that the most common trait is a willingness to go one’s own way politically. In terms of the Five-Factor personality theory, I continue to believe that a necessary condition to be a libertarian is to be low on agreeableness. This trait could be compartmentalized (you might be agreeable in other areas, but not in politics), but it is more likely to be a more pervasive part of your personality.
It took Marc a long time to get this book from concept to final publication. I can feel his pain there. Three out of my five books came out long after I had put them into near-final format. But the result is a book that may help explain some of the current political ferment. Most of these libertarians are people that I had never heard of, but they all are quite articulate. If the book had not supplied biographical information, it would be pretty hard to tell the Ph.D’s from the dropouts. Although many of the 54 are self-taught, they are better read than someone who considers himself an intellectual because he has a fancy degree and goes to the New York Times web site every day.