Why do you think libertarianism has had so many unfriendly people? Same with socialism? Here are some possibilities:

(1) SELECTION EFFECT 1: libertarianism, in virtue of its doctrines, attracts unfriendly people. Though libertarianism has some doctrines that are prima facie friendly (e.g., open borders), it also has some doctrines that are prima facie unfriendly (e.g., eliminate the welfare state). Since lots of people on the left support open borders (or something close enough), whereas few people on the right accept full elimination of the welfare state, libertarianism's distinctiveness lies in its unfriendly doctrines. Since what makes any ideology stand out is what is distinct about it, to the extent that libertarianism's unfriendly doctrines are what make it distinct, it attracts unfriendly people.

(2) SELECTION EFFECT 2: libertarianism, in virtue of its systematicity, attracts autistic people. Though autistic people are not ipso facto unfriendly, they strike many non-autistic people as unfriendly, simply because they're more wedded to logical argumentation and less wedded to (because less able to understand) the social dissimulation you're supposed to adorn your doctrines with.

(3) TREATMENT EFFECT: it's not about who libertarianism attracts, it's about what it does to the people it attracts. Once you become a libertarian, you notice how far the world is from your ideals. This is bothersome; it makes you either despondent or frustrated. This is exacerbated by the fact that so many people hostile to libertarianism seem to think that libertarianism is much more successful than it is. In addition, if you're in an ideological superminority (like you are if you're a libertarian), then you feel pressure to have a theory about why so few people agree with you. The most obvious theories that tend to come to people's minds are: (a) people are just not as smart as I am; (b) people are just not as moral as I am; (c) people are just not as sane as I am. All of these theories tend to make you unfriendly to your interlocutors.

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A very obvious thought: shouldn't people just be friendly, not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself?

Faking a persona to pursue an ulterior motive is exhausting. Just being a generally nice person, by contrast, is quite freeing.

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Since mormons are mentioned and i happen to be an ex mormon, i thought that i might have some useful insights

So first my background: Im 27 year old swedish guy, and an ex-mormon since 5 years back, for several reasons. I’m culturally very mormon except for being Gay and a bit sexually open. Belief wise, i had a hard time believing the doctrines even as a teen, despite constant attempts from myself to read the book of mormon once a month. I actually have a lot of personal history of depression, anxiety and self doubts around mormonism, in part due to the churchs policys around LGBT issues.

Despite all that, i give the mormonism a thumbs up and endorse it. If someone told me that they had to become a believer in a religion and asked me what religion they should pick, i would recommend the mormon church. I actually still go to church meetings and events, and i try to be a socially constructive member, although i don’t say much about some aspects about my social life.

Honestly, if it wasnt for the fact that the church doesn’t permit same sex marriage withing the church, i would still go along with it all, even though i havn’t had a smidge of belief since i was 18. If they had allowed it, i would just shrug my shoulders on the weird parts.

What gives?

Well, i think it’s because the Mormon church is exceptionally friendly, and prosocial .

(disclaimer: i am just 27, and so have no experience of the church before 2004. I also live in sweden, so my cultural experience may be different than a US ex mormon, though i dont think its too different. keep all of that in mind)

One way they are super friendly:

While the Chuch has anti-LGBT policys internally, externally they have (in my view) historically been far kinder to LGBT people than other religions have. Its only recently that they are Anti-LGBT compared to other religions.

While the church condemns acts of homosexuality, It has also gone to pretty remarkable lengths to either condemn discrimination, or parents throwing out their LGBT kids. While the church has in my eyes had weird and condradictory beliefs on LGBT issues (and a good amount of homophobic beliefs an actions historically, but everyone was basically homophobic back in the day), as far as i can remember, it has always championed being kind and tolerant toward LGBT people, viewing them as people with deep personal challenges rather then just deviants or sinners.

This is saintly patience, given that mormons believe in the importance of heterosexual marriages and the eternal family: imagine that you thought something holy was being transgressed by someone, and your response was “they have issues but are human just like me”. Thats an insane amount of friendliness! So i think its only fair for me to be forgiving back, and recommend anyone curious to look into the church.

Some other ways they are friendly:

Growing up, there was plenty of lessons and emphasis of the importance of advocating the church by being FRIENDLY.

In many of those lessons and discussions, there were frequent mention about how while mormonism beliefs are true and you might be temped to talk indefinitely about it, what ultimately convinces people is being a positive example. We were encouraged to first and foremost be helpful, warm and kindhearted, and forgiving. If someone insulted Mormons at a social meet, we would politely correct them and say that they are being unkind, but we were never to shout back at them and have righteous fury. That was saved for the most extreme circumstances.

A large part of mormonism missionary strategy IS actually to just literally be friendly and helpful (within common sense of course)

Mormon missionaries regularly help church members, and even non believers, out of the philosophy of leaving a good impression. When people notices the friendliness and get interested, that’s when missionaries start talking about church beliefs, jesus christ, and the book of mormon.

Actually, despite me being open about not believing in the church, the missionaries ask me if they can come over and help with gardening, cleaning the house with me, or just being friendly. I don’t even have to ask! Extremely remarkable. Of course i have to be friendly back!

Some final thoughts:

i don’t think ive ever met someone that HATES mormons: while i’ve met plenty of critics, they empasize policy and beliefs, while mentioning that mormons are still a very friendly bunch.

Also, when it comes to Ayn rand: I only started reading Ayn rand a bit 2 years ago, even though i had known about her and objectivism since i was 10 (due to the fountain head being in my familys library)

I actually tried to read her books and read about her when i was a teen, but i was always immediately put of by my impression that she seemed like an extremely unfriendly person, and from that, antisocial in my eyes. I only gave her ideas a shot after being interested in libertarianism for several years and having her recommended several times. And due to her unfriendliness, it was still really hard for me to like her ideas!

If she had just been a normal amount of friendliness, the likelihood of me actually reading her ideas for more than 10 minutes as a teen would have gone up greatly.

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I suspect the unfriendliness is more a product of intellectual philosophers who have high conviction in their ideas, combined with a high conviction in their own intellectual capabilities. Since libertarians tend to have a high proportion of high IQ well educated intellectual philosophers, I suspect that may explain the high percentage of them who are less than friendly, especially when explaining their ideas. Libertarians haven't cornered the market on high IQ individuals, but the philosophy just appears to be unappealing to others. (Charts I've seen with IQ distributions of libertarians are actually barbell distributions, but I suspect the low IQ libertarians may hold to a very different type of libertarianism).

While the world is certainly more classically liberal today than 200 years ago, I suspect libertarianism's failure to capture the imagination of the world stems from three sources: 1. It is counter-intuitive, which means it will tend to appeal only to those with the IQ and personality trait that tends non-conformist; 2. It challenges powerful incumbents and established hierarchies, who use their power block its adoption; 3. it appears on the surface to be uncaring and anti-social, opening up adherents to charges that they are uncaring and anti-social.

Socialism checks one of those three boxes, but otherwise is mostly intuitive and appears superficially to be caring and pro-social. So incumbents prefer to coopt it rather than block it.

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Tom Szasz was unfailingly civil and cordial, but he's not even influential among today's libertarians. It has a great deal to do with acceptance of ideas, and little to do with civility. If someone is labeled "mentally ill," the great majority of libertarians believe he can be justly deprived of his rights.

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Libertarian friendliness: like communism, has never been tried! :)

I will say this - I am not a libertarian, rather I am a pretty strongly conservative conservative. But I have been a libertarian in the past, and I still have strong resonance with the philosophy, and it's because of a series of (at least initially) friendly books by Richard Maybury called the "Uncle Eric" books, starting with "Whatever Happened to Penny Candy" and "Whatever Happened to Justice". I would still recommend them today, even though I don't agree with them in some key aspects.

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To make a friend, be a friend. It’s much easier to talk to and perhaps convince a friend than a stranger. Or an “enemy”

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I agree with everything you've written here Bryan.

I think the OP just has a really bad model of how the world works.

If you want to see how friendly libertarianism works I'd look at libertarian art such as done by Mike Judge. It's probably a bit more small L small C then academic libertarianism, but the heart is there.

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Thought provoking ..... If people follow Jesus, a perfect human, we'd have a whole lot less of a need for this rhetoric. Would you mind so much?

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Friendliness worked for me. I called myself conservative, not libertarian, because most of the libertarians I met were deeply immoral and sometimes even absolute nutcases. Furthermore, when I’d ask reasonable questions, the answers would be based on huge untested assumptions. “We can fund defense through voluntary contributions!” “If people could sue polluters, we wouldn’t need any regulations!”

It was only when I started reading people like Caplan and Huemer that I reexamined libertarianism and learned that there was solid data behind it. These thinkers presented arguments in a friendly way. They invited questions and didn’t talk down to the audience. Furthermore, both have written a great deal about morality and how to treat people well.

Another thinker that influenced me was Alex Taberrok. What came through on all his work on Covid was that he cared most of all about saving lives. He was pushing for fast distribution of the vaccines and the data was on his side. The opposing side seemed to have a need to defend the FDA and CDC and not even engage in dialogue on the lives being lost by unnecessary delays. Libertarians showed they were the most humane on the big issue at that time.

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I don't know if anyone else has said this but Christianity used to be friendly according to a certain historical reconstruction. I forgot the name of the author but one 19th century historian claimed that most Christians were universalists for the first 500 years of the church. High moral standards with kindness apparently worked.

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Putting the Quran quote in blockquote was a bit confusing. I'm presuming that's you quoting it?

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I'm going to try to steelman unfriendliness though I agree with Bryans take.

An example of when I wish people were more unfriendly was during COVID. If resistance to COVID policies had been more unfriendly and more violent, it's possible that enforcement would have broken down. I found libertarians, especially of the academic variety, too friendly. The Great Barrington Declaration is nice and all but words weren't enough to change policy.

There are probably other emergencies where this might be the case too.

That said unfriendliness doesn't seem to be a great strategy for achieving positive long run policy goals in non emergencies. Maybe it can achieve short term gains that reverse, and maybe it can achieve destructive policy, but its not very useful for improving things in the long run.

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“being the embodiment of love and friendliness cannot redeem the sheer absurdity and unlikeliness of their stupid dogmas.”

Don’t be too quick to call them stupid, some pretty interesting stuff there.


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