Occasionally Libertarian Home authors disagree with each other. Occasionally Libertarian Home readers disagree with Libertarian Home authors, and each other, too. As the political atmosphere becomes more divided and new forces rise and fall this is only going to happen more often.
Today two different people have been in contact. One challenging me not to retweet a former speaker because the speaker is apparently racist (a charge I accept as it pertains to the speaker). The other asking if he would be write on an issue which intersects with the private life of a member of the team. I did not recind the retweet and am exercising no prior restraint upon the article.
How do I expect the audience, community, and team to react to stuff like this?
Well, I do not expect to be told to dissociate myself with the valid positions of people who happen to hold views I disagree with. If a tweet is worthy of your attention I bring it to you. Failing to listen to the other side spreads only ignorance and division and is the strategy of the Social Justice Warrior, not the strategy of any proud libertarian.
Nor do I think it is ultimately useful for every kind of person to feel coddled and comfortable all of the time. It is likely many of us will have a turn at feeling rejected, and that very few of us deserve it. I shudder to think what must be jettisoned in order to pretend otherwise in any vibrant community. I am very sure there are things you will fail to agree on which you have every kind of reason to feel passionate about. Trying to quell those passions leads only to conformity and stagnation and denies the target of disapproval the opportunity to earn genuine respect (although in this particular case, it was already earned and I suspect it was not greatly endangered).
There are libertarians who support a Universal Basic Income and they are welcome to share their views here. If Libertarian Home somehow became a centre for the promotion of that silly and incorrect idea then I would have a problem, but I do not have a problem with the idea being aired and discussed. I have faith that the audience will not accept such silliness, and if my faith is to be broken then so be it.
Likewise if someone has a reason that a group of people ought not to be accepted and approved of; that someone ought not to be supported or ought to be ostracised for good reasons – then that too should be capable of being aired. The only standard I ask for is that unnecessary disagreements are prevented by due thoroughness. Likewise if Libertarian Home somehow becomes a centre for encouraging the hatred of innocent minorities then I would have a problem with that, but I have faith that such endeavours will fail to achieve anything anyway.
If ever I notice that a problem like this does not resolve itself naturally then I can, and I have, stepped in to set boundaries and limits, but my inclination is not to do so without compelling and serious reasons. Has this lead to bad articles on Libertarian Home, I would vote that yes it has. Has it lead people to walk away, yes it has. Is it the wrong position? I think not.
This has a few implications. Authors that are nervous of being associated with controversial views perhaps ought to consider contributing elsewhere, or anonymously, or perhaps under the team by-line. Readers also have a responsibility to understand that just because two authors are on the same website they do not necessarily agree. Regular readers should have the opposite expectation: that any two authors on this website probably do not agree about much, as is the case for libertarians generally. This is viable because this is not a political party.
So what is Libertarian Home? It is a virtual square or campus for members of one part of the libertarian community, in particular the 900 that meet regularly in London pubs. It is not a safe bubble wrapped space. Any two people on the square can have wildly different views and are united only by a desire to be involved purposefully in the effort to promote and reinforce libertarianism.
Here we will build a space that the public knows is full of activity and where the public can dip in and out of the activities they desire. Just as shops benefit from clustering themselves together in the places people can expect to find them, contributors here will benefit from being adjacent to other contributors. The more people contribute, the greater those benefits will be.
That is the total extent of the promise to readers, that we’ll agree to hold our different libertarian opinions in the same libertarian space.