Like many college students, I am a huge fan of Cracked.com.  Their credibility is sometimes lacking, but their articles are usually hysterical.  Recently, I have noticed a trend in Cracked lists of anti-liberty humor.  I fully understand that everyone is sometimes a target for jokes and I appreciate the fact that the liberty movement is even given notice on such a popular site.  However, most of the references to libertarianism seem to be not only negative but also inaccurate.

1.    “The 6 Most Horrifying Ways Anyone Ever Got Rich”

Summary
This article by Danny Harkins details the most gruesome, disgusting, and corrupt ways that people have made incredible amounts of money throughout history.  To put it plainly, these stories sound like the plots of bad horror movies just waiting to happen.

So how do libertarians come into play?
Number four on this list describes Marcus Licinius Crassus, a Roman general who created the first “fire department.”  Whenever there was a fire, Crassus would arrive and buy the buildings while they were still burning.  Through his extortion, he gained property for incredibly low rates that he then had rebuilt so it could be sold for a considerable profit.

No, this isn’t just related because of the torch logo.

Harkins describes Crassus’s techniques as “how a fire department would work under the Libertarians.”  The thought that privatized fire departments would function simply upon coercion just isn’t the case.  This can be proved otherwise by the numerous privatized fire brigades in the United States.  In this article, the mayor of a city with a privatized fire department describes the lower costs to the citizens, as well as the heightened focus on prevention, rather than merely response.  The president and CEO of the fire company goes on to say “‘We are forced to be more economical but at the same time provide excellent service, since the private citizen has other options.’”  By removing the monopoly that government-run fire departments create, the public benefits, rather than suffering.

 

2.    The 4 Stupidest Things People Love Getting Offended About”

Summary
Ian Fortey chose to write about topics the American public almost always has issues with due to the seemingly constant attempts to be politically correct.  This list includes the nonstop fighting over the names of sports teams and of course, health care.

So how do libertarians come into play?
While trying to pretend that he’s not speaking about ObamaCare, Fortey starts off by stating, “Health care is a thing that protects you from dying. But…some people really want to see some death.”  He talks about those with chronic conditions who may not have the means to get treatment but seems to forget all about the private charities that exist for that exact purpose.

Later, Fortey tries to dismiss pro-liberty view points by stating that Libertarian-leaning people don’t like the government stepping in and giving them insurance because they like to be difficult.  In reality, libertarians don’t agree with health care because we believe in personal responsibility and private charity.  One shouldn’t have to pay taxes for someone else’s health care, retirement, or protection.  ObamaCare means to control and mandate yet another aspect of our lives.  Personally, I would like to know where the constitution gives the federal government the right to control how we manage and choose to take care of our bodies.  Libertarians aren’t being difficult just because they are staying true to their beliefs.

 

3.    “The 8 Most Common Sci-Fi Visions of the Future (And Why They’ll Never Happen)”

Summary
Many Sci-Fi movies are anything but original, and this article by Michael Swaim discusses the settings and plots that are typical in movies that predict the future.  Swaim’s list includes a robot uprising, alien invasions, and a “spacefaring intergalactic megasociety.”

So how do libertarians come into play?
The article’s eighth futuristic idea is that of “An Oppressive Totalitarian State,” as seen in V for Vendetta, Soylent Green, and Fahrenheit 451.  Swaim doesn’t believe this idea is a possibility because “the president would probably like to make himself Lord Protectorate and live in a giant crystal tower, but these days he would have to ask permission of several multinational corporations first.”  While I am not disagreeing that the president would have some people to answer to if he did try to become an all-out dictator, I would just like to point out the fact that presidents have the power of executive order.  Barack Obama has signed over 130 of these into action during his presidency so far.

As unlikely as Swaim thinks a totalitarian nation is, he still believes that it’s “what gets the ACLU and Libertarians out of bed in the morning.”  Most libertarians don’t believe that tomorrow the United States will be a scene out of George Orwell’s 1984, but we do believe that any infringement upon our rights by the government should not be taken lightly.  By protesting the government’s abusive acts we are merely trying to make this country a better place-not because we believe that the worst is coming, but because we believe that liberty is not only possible, but essential in our world.

 

Where does this leave us?
Everyone is entitled to their personal opinions, but the fact that this ridicule is based merely on stereotypes and not reality is what I have a problem with.  I’m not encouraging anyone to stop reading cracked.com (I certainly don’t plan to boycott it).  However, I urge the website’s audience to read with caution or one might become confused over what is truly pro-liberty.