Being Libertarian Faced Off Against One of Salon’s Writers

Backwordz Salon Debate

By Luke Henderson

This past Wednesday Eric July, co-founder of Being Libertarian and Jared Howe, Assistant Media Director of Being Libertarian debated Jeremy Sherman of Salon over libertarianism, government and capitalism.  

The debate was set up after July read Sherman’s article “Hey libertarians: Do you want more freedom and less government? You can’t have both” where the author argues that government is the only entity that can enforce freedom. Sherman also wrote an article for Alternet titled “Self-Indulgent Libertarian Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds” claiming that libertarians are contradictory when asked if everything should be free. So, it’s obvious that this writer has some issues with the philosophy.

The first half-hour consisted mostly of Howe and July answering questions presented by Sherman, giving lots of substance with little to no rebuttal from the Salon writer. There was a point where Howe asked about when Sherman stated in his “Hey libertarians” article that people should have the freedom to be left alone only to have it be ignored and moved on.

Mr. Sherman’s criticisms during the debate were nothing more than continued misconceptions that most people hold against libertarians. He assumed that a libertarian society would not work because no country currently uses it, that a libertarian society would just be a free-for-all of immorality, and that July and Howe were followers of the Koch brothers for being libertarian.

Conversations didn’t kick off until the group started debating on climate change and externalities. Sherman’s overall point was that gas is not at the market value that it should be and that corporations pass of their externalities as quickly as possible while July & Howe argued that the state allows these externalities to not be considered in gas prices.

While the debate may have taken some time to develop into a conversation, it was a good demonstration of what questions libertarians will need to address to supporters of a large government and Eric July and Jared Howe expressed their beliefs with lots of content and explanation.

The country needs more debates like this where people can argue and disagree and hopefully this debate will be the start of seeing more conversations between libertarians and statists.

To see the full debate, click here.

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Author: Luke Henderson

Since joining the Libertarian Party in 2016 (after discovering Gary Johnson as a disaffected Bernie Sanders supporter), Luke Henderson has been active in the liberty movement through journalism, and political activism. At the beginning of 2017, Luke had his first piece of writing published by Being Libertarian and quickly became a contributor to the libertarian news site, The Libertarian Vindicator. Through the Vindicator, Luke discovered his passion for addressing critics of the philosophy and bringing together different factions of liberty lovers which compelled him to become an editor for The Libertarian Coalition, a forum dedicated to an open-minded discussion of libertarian ideas from all walks. After many guest contributions to Being Libertarian, Luke was asked to join the website as a contributor, where he writes his column Scoring For Liberty, which discusses sports, politics, and economics from a libertarian lens, and his Educator series that seeks to strengthen libertarian’s understanding of educational techniques and policy to better arguments against public education. Luke is one of the District 1 Executive Committeemen for the Missouri Libertarian party, and the founder of the Missouri Chapter of the Libertarian Positivity Caucus. Outside of politics, Luke is a paraprofessional for the Special School District of St. Louis, a musician, composer, and a loving husband and father.

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