Belle Waring comments at the appropriate level:
On "Libertarian" Bryan Caplan: I keep thinking of responding to this…and then I keep thinking, what the f---ing f---? Don’t I have better things to do, like think about greasy black marsh mud? In South Carolina where my dad lives, there are several types of mud in the saltwater marsh, one of which is a peculiarly oily blackish-gray, and not only fetid with decomposed marsh grass roots but brutally slippery, such that if you step on a patch without realizing it you are likely to fall right on your ass with your hand on a pile of oyster shells, which will give you long, shallow but jagged cuts. And the cuts get full of mud too! Damn but that smarts. I think I’ma just think about that for a while; it’s more restful than considering whether anyone, anywhere, might be this much of a godforsaken moron, even a libertarian.
And Jacob T. Levy says that Bryan Caplan is NO TRUE SCOTSMAN!!!!
This is the kind of thing that I hesitate to say in a CT comments thread lest I become the red meat, but: in my view Bryan is clearly wrong even on libertarian grounds, and even on narrowly-formal libertarian grounds (e.g. without invoking Kerry Howley’s culture-of-freedom idea).
The contortions he’s having to go through in order to deny that massive restrictions on formal, legal, individual liberties actually count--the selective invocation of extra-formal considerations like marital comity, without admitting in extra-formal considerations like a patriarchal public culture--are very telling. His mistakes (at least in this case) aren’t libertarian mistakes per se...
It may not have much to do with true libertarianism, Jacob. But it has a lot to do with really existing libertarianism. How long ago was it that people at the Cato Institute were mourning the possession of the franchise by XX chromosomed persons?