Thursday, October 25, 2007

Conservatism and Punk

goldberg.jpg moby.jpg

Two data points do not constitute a trend — my whole day job is built around that insight — but I’m still pleased to encounter two very different public figures, two days in a row, who may have grown more sympathetic to libertarianism.

The literary journal Opium celebrated the release of its fifth issue Tuesday, and musician Moby was there. He didn’t say anything about libertarianism himself, but departing Opium editor Elizabeth Koch said she’d been corresponding with him on the topic for many months and that he seemed to be growing more sympathetic (John Kerry fundraising concert and veganism and so forth notwithstanding). I should also acknowledge that he’s not a punk, mainly a techno guy, but since he mentioned helping to get that movie about Joy Division off the ground, once performed Joy Division songs live with New Order, lamented being booed by Mission of Burma fans when he surprised them by performing with that band on stage, and did a great cover of their song “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver,” I’m shoehorning him into my “conservatism for punks” trope/philosophy just for today.

He also — in his very cautious, tentative, unassuming way — expressed some skepticism about the official story about the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. I’m not sure if a willingness to listen to libertarian and conspiracist ideas makes him a natural Ron Paul voter (not that I’m saying Paul claims it was an inside job, but some people who do claim that like his anti-establishment tone, for good or ill), but it at least means Moby should attend our Nov. 7 Debate at Lolita Bar between Sander Hicks and Karol Sheinin on the question “Did the Government Know in Advance About 9/11?” (though I imagine that will focus more on the World Trade Center — hometown pride and all).

The other trending-libertarian note for the week is less surprising: I spoke briefly to National Review’s Jonah Goldberg at the International Policy Network awards event where he took third prize (for the year’s best market-oriented columns), and he said writing his upcoming book, Liberal Fascism, did make him a bit more libertarian. I’ve seen an advance copy of the book and will write about it more as my Book Selection of the Month for December, but for now I’ll just say that it’s probably going to surprise a lot of people with the breadth of its condemnation of statism across the modern political spectrum. It’s not going to be just an Ann Coulter-type left-as-punching-bag book (vegan-bashing subtitle and so forth notwithstanding).


Jonah Goldberg said...

Hey Todd – Thanks. It was nice seeing you last night. I will try to join in the Book Selection of the Month discussion if I can. But, just for everyone’s edification, the book’s ironclad pubdate is Jan 8.

Cheers — Jonah Goldberg

MikeTee said...

Joy Division punk.


MikeTee said...

does not equal.

Todd Seavey said...

When nine hundred years old you reach

Todd Seavey said...

sound as punk you will not.

Ned Lilly said...

FWIW, I also saw Moby do a solo cover of “I Wanna Be Sedated” at a show while the rest of his band (and machines) were taking a break – just the little bald guy and his guitar … and I understand that Ramones covers are a standard part of his repertoire. I really don’t agree with him on much (politically), but boy, I’ve got to say he puts on a great show.

Steve said...

1. Calling the 9/11 truth movement (someone needs to find a more dismissive name for these people) a “Libertarian conspiracy” movement is sort of strange. You can find “truthers” all over the comment section of “daily kos,” but don’t see them at “Reason” (which doesn’t censor the comments section). Libertarian distrust of state elements is irrelevant in this case–most (if not all) Libertarians would never believe that the Federal government would be competent enough to pull off a hoax of that magnitude.

2. In my experience, it seems that “truthers” come in 4 categories: college leftists, aging-hippies, microchips-hidden-in-my-soup paranoids, and celebrities. Ron Paul may draw some supporters from these groups, but that doesn’t make them Libertarians.

Nevermind. I read “libertarian and conspiracist” as “libertarian conspiracist.”

Posting anyway just to stick it to the man.