Is there a Contrarian Trap?

In a Bleeding Heart Libertarian post

The Contrarian Trap: The Source of the Liberty Movement’s Dark Side

Kevin Vallier sites some of Hans Hermann Hoppe’s recent attack on all left-libertarians. then explains that the liberty movement is vulnerable to nonsense because of the contrarian trap. Here is a digest of his blog post.

Libertarianism is an unpopular view. And it takes particular personality types to be open to taking unpopular views. Some of these personality types are people who are open to new experience, love the world of ideas and have a disposition for independent thought. However, some of these personality types simply enjoy holding outrageous and provocative views, who like to argue and fight with others, who like insult and  shock. The contrarian is someone of the latter type.
Vallier’s suspicion is that there are a sub-group of individuals who are more naturally disposed to take up minority, unpopular positions. If most people say x, the contrarian says not-x, but if most people say y, the contrarian also wants to say not-y. The danger is reflexive and global contrarianism.
We should expect to find relatively large populations of contrarian personality types in any unpopular or minority ideological movement. And we should expect to find linkages between different radical, contrarian positions. It is no surprise that many libertarians are also atheists (unpopular), climate change deniers (unpopular), paleo dieters (unpopular), anti-psychiatry (unpopular), conspiracy theorists (unpopular), transhumanists (unpopular), cryonics-supporters (unpopular) and hardcore nativists about intelligence (unpopular). Think of some popular libertarian book titles, “Atheism, Ayn Rand and Other Heresies” and “Defending the Undefendible.” The liberty movement trades in “Gotchas!”.
Global contrarianism is an easy thing to fall into. After all, if you have rationally decided that millions and millions of people are completely wrong about something, it is natural to think they might be wrong about lots of other things.
The worst flaw in the contrarian trap is that it makes libertarians open to views that deserve to be unpopular and despised, including the thinly-veiled racism of the sort that Hans Hermann Hoppe trades. The social democratic left can’t just be wrong about the state, they have to be wrong about everything.
As long as the movement is small, we will attract a disproportionate number of contrarians, and that means we will probably find ourselves stuck with unsavory nuts and bigots having outsized influence.
A long-term strategy is to grow the movement and make sure we aren’t growing the movement with more and more contrarians, and so shrink the influence of cult leaders, trolls and racists.

Oppose Estero Incorporation

The following letter to the editor was published in the Fort Myers News-Press

Vote against more laws

All registered voters living in Estero should vote against incorporation on Nov. 4.

Incorporation adds another layer of government to control residential and commercial development. A village can only impose more restrictions to those already on the books.

The Estero Council of Community Leaders (ECCL) has done a good job, using the power of persuasion to guide development of Estero. Now is not the time to give a small group the force of government to establish more laws.

The ECCL has concerns about Bonita Springs’ annexation. The voters defeated annexation by Bonita Springs. Other than abutters to Bonita Springs, it will take a vote of the registered voters of Estero to approve further annexation.

Some claim Estero is without a central gathering place for people to live, work and shop. What about Coconut Point and Miromar? People chose and continue to choose to live in Estero as is. But now the leaders of Estero want to get into the development business with other people’s money.

Voters should be fearful of what a city manager and staff will do all day to justify their jobs.

Ben Bachrach, Estero