Why are Libertarians so hard to understand? Why do they all sound alike?
Why do they all get into arguments over everything?
It all comes down to communication style.
Most people active in politics and the largest segment of society are concrete communicators. Here is how Dr. David Keirsey describes this type of communication. “Some people talk primarily about the external, concrete world of everyday reality: facts and figures, work and play, home and family, news, sports and weather — all the who-what-when-where-and how much’s of life.”
They are also cooperative in action, “they try to do the right thing, in keeping with agreed upon social rules, conventions, and codes of conduct, and only later do they concern themselves with the effectiveness of their actions.”
“As Concrete Cooperators, Guardians speak mostly of their duties and responsibilities, of what they can keep an eye on and take good care of, and they’re careful to obey the laws, follow the rules, and respect the rights of others.” They make up 40-45% of the population.
Most Libertarians are abstract communicators: “This group of people talk primarily about the internal, abstract world of ideas: theories and conjectures, dreams and philosophies, beliefs and fantasies –all the why’s, if’s, and what-might-be’s of life.”
They are often Utilitarian in action: “act primarily in a utilitarian or pragmatic manner, that is, they do what gets results, what achieves their objectives as effectively or efficiently as possible, and only afterwards do they check to see if they are observing the rules or going through proper channels.”
As Abstract Utilitarians, Rationals speak mostly of what new problems intrigue them and what new solutions they envision, and always pragmatic, they act as efficiently as possible to achieve their objectives, ignoring arbitrary rules and conventions if need be.
This group makes up 5-10% of the population, yet they are the vast majority of Libertarians.
How does this work out in a typical political conversation?
Libertarian: “We need to cut government by 50%”
Now in their thought process they are thinking abstract and tangentially, they see millions of forks in the road. Paths leading to various solutions, ideas abound in their vision of this simple statement. All of the benefits of the various liberty oriented ideas are wrapped up in that statement.
Guardian: “What!!? You want chaos in the streets and people dying?”
Their thought process is concrete, they “hear” cut government and they immediately envision the removal of things they feel help (police, Fire, defense, etc.). No forks, no alternative paths or solutions, just an immediate thought to the worst case scenario.
Unfortunately few rational will look into this stuff being that they think it isn’t scientific but more like astrology. It is ironic considering that for the most part “they do what gets results, what achieves their objectives as effectively or efficiently as possible.” Maybe more of them will realize that they are not being effective or getting results.
This must be why I am an idealist.
“As Abstract Cooperators, Idealists speak mostly of what they hope for and imagine might be possible for people, and they want to act in good conscience, always trying to reach their goals without compromising their personal code of ethics.”
Mark Hilgenberg is currently exercising his Idealist views in the Utah Libertarian Party. He’s currently Vice Chair there. He also spent some time previously in the California LP.