The Spectacle Blog

Never Trust a Babysitter Who Wears a Bob Barr Button

By on 2.11.09 | 9:08PM

It’s no secret that libertarians are bit, well, different. As my libertarian friend and co-author John Coleman once said:

On the negative side, Libertarians are crazy. Most became libertarians because they have some social quirk that disallows them from participation in normal society --picture excessive drug use, Dungeons and Dragons play, or fascination with the word "metrosexual" for instance. They are strange. You can't take them home to your parents, unless, of course, your parents are members of some druid cult. They frighten small children.

Indeed, it turns out that toddlers (and small animals) may have reason to wary of libertarians:

According to the study (pdf), published this Spring in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, conservatives are likely to feel more strongly about social taboos revolving around purity, authority and ingroup loyalty, while liberals feel a stronger sense of obligation around issues of harm to animals and other people. Libertarians, those rootless individualists, scored lower in every moral category.

The researchers selected over 1,500 politically committed volunteers, and subjected them to a range of questions exploring their attitudes to different taboos and trangressions. Asked about impaling a child’s hand, 78 per cent of the conservatives responded that they would refuse to do this “for any amount of money,” compared with 70 per cent of liberals and just 59 per cent of libertarians.

In fact, more of the liberal respondents felt strongly about kicking a dog than about harming a child (75 per cent versus 70 per cent refusal for any amount of money), while fifty per cent of the libertarians would agree to surgery giving them a prosthetic tail if they were paid enough to do so.

Question for our libertarian readers: How much fiat currency would it require for you to punch a baby, slap a puppy, and sew on a tail?

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