Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

by Matt Wood
Harvard Law Record, October 20, 2000

I was surfing the Internet really late the other night in search of more ammunition for my personal (or Quixotic, in this day and age) battle to save big government. Isn't that what everyone is looking for on the Internet in the wee hours of the morning?

During the session, I was lucky enough to stumble across a diversion called "Liberty Personals," a Website that bills itself as "a free service for free minds." I wouldn't bore you with all the details in this chain of events if there weren't so very few links in the chain. One minute I'm trying to track down Thomas Jefferson quotes, and two clicks later: presto! Libertarian personal ads, right there in the comfort of my own apartment.

At first, I couldn't decide what to do. Should I publicize this site for the benefit of the HLS community -- yes, Dimple, there is a Santa Claus -- or keep it to myself? Fearing a swift and certain reprisal, I was somewhat hesitant to lampoon this right-wing cyber-singles bar. With a little research of his own, for example, some other columnist could probably smoke out a similarly-silly personals page devoted to bureaucrats and the people who love them. I've no doubt that some would hold out the classifieds of the Washington Post as prime evidence for the existence of such a service already.

I hadn't yet given up on my quest for more traditional political guidance, but didn't know where to turn. Then suddenly, while staring at Liberty Personals' front page, I had the sort of pseudo-intellectual revelation so often inspired by Libertarian thinking. Watching the little computerized cartoon hearts twinkle and dance around the portrait of Jefferson on the screen, I decided to blaze my own trail. Who needs the Founding Fathers when we have modern fountainheads of wisdom? Jefferson, Schmefferson, right? We want to know what makes "Aristophanes," age 26 to 32, tick. (Note: It later turned out, to my disappointment, that Aristophanes was not this gentleman's real name.)

Why dwell on the past? As Liberty Personals says: "Sometimes it seems there is NO ONE who understands the free-thinking perspective these days where paternalistic views are often the norm. It can get downright depressing." In other words, take your slavish devotion to history and shove it! Now that's just my own interpretation of "free thinking," but who are you to tell me any different?

Therefore, in the spirit of liberty, I present for your consideration this smattering of outtakes from Liberty Personals. These snippets advance the debate by opening a window on the soul of the modern, government-hating American male. I say male because the vast majority of people advertising their wares at this site are, just like most other great Libertarian thinkers, men. Big surprise, huh?

Don't worry about invading these poor souls' privacy though -- because there is no right to privacy in this country. Take that, Blackmun!

Just kidding. You needn't worry about privacy because I have omitted the names of those who posted the material used below, in order to protect the innocent. And who knows? That may even protect some of these guys in the process.

"I am a Christian man looking for the same in a woman. I enjoy almost anything. I've done many different things in my life, and like trying new ones."

A devout Christian, but he believes in reincarnation too. How worldly! The only problem, of course, is that we aren't all the same. Sure, it might be nice if a woman could be the same as a man, or if there were no differences in the opportunities available to white males and those available to everyone else. Yet, we still need government because "freedom" and "liberty" for a guy like me often means the same old prejudices, obstacles and slammed doors for people from different backgrounds. You can pretend that the Constitution is color-blind, but you can't pretend that police departments engaging in racial profiling are.

"Anarcho-capitalist . . . I like music, books, skiing, golfing, hiking, Montana."

Don't let the Montana part scare you. I'm sure that there are literally a couple thousand people in Big Sky country who aren't anarcho-anything. What scares me is this particular hybrid. What, pray tell, is anarchistic capital? Remember, it's the federal government that prints your money -- the very same government that sends the black helicopters to monitor your cell's movements. So what're we after here? A return to the glory days of state-backed currency? The barter system? What?

"I'm 28, 5'10" . . . 190 lbs. My physical self is a direct consequence of my intellectual beliefs."

Fabulous. How does that help the rest of us? You see, some of our physical selves are not direct consequences of our beliefs. Some of us have to deal with exogenous influences, like an addiction to cigarettes, for instance. Why are big tobacco companies free to put their product on the open market without any interference from those liberty-hindering party poopers at the FDA? If government should leave us alone when we're not hurting anybody else, that might explain why we shouldn't ban smoking. It doesn't explain why the companies marketing this product to the next generation of Marlboro Men get off the hook.

"[Anonymous], 24, Law student. Philosophy, politics, music, athletics. Libertarian warrior, scholar, with high earning potential and political ambition."

Even more fabulous. There's nothing better than a warrior with a good 401(k) plan and excellent dental insurance. One can only hope that this gentleman's political ambition is based on something more than that simplistic "government-that-governs-least" junk so popular with self-styled compassionate conservatives right now. If you don't think government is good at anything, do me a favor: Stay in Texas, and don't run for President.

"It would be nice to meet someone who doesn't ask: 'Who's Ayn Rand?'"

True enough; but wouldn't it be even nicer to meet someone who'd admit that she was wrong?

(See my response here.)

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