The old saying goes “you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”
Its a pretty straightforward admonition to be careful with whom you associate, lest you be tarred by their behaviour and judged by your association with them. It is for this reason I want to appeal to those of us in the libertarian movement – left or right, miniarchist or anarchist – to studiously and strictly avoid associating with Alex Jones.
Jones is, to put it bluntly, a paranoid conspiracy theorist whose grasp on reality surely needs to be questioned. He has in the past attempted to rebuild the Branch Davidian compound, to infiltrate the Bilderberger Group and Bohemian Grove. Lately he is the loudest purveyor of New World Order idiocy and 9-11 Truth.
His latest pronouncement was that the swine flu outbreak in Mexico “was cooked up in a lab”, created by the government as a weapon. Of course, as Brad Spangler points out, if you know even a minimal amount about virology and how labs search for virii, then the pronouncements are not nefarious at all. They merely tell us matter of factly how a lab determines what strain of influenza we are dealing with. It is the same process that has been used to determine every new flu strain for the last 50 years.
This incident show just how deluded and paranoid Jones is. And clearly how stupid.
And yet, I see that people like Ron Paul, Peter Schiff and Judge Napolitano are regulars on his radio show. These respected libertarians even glad hand with Jones. And when those of us who are trying to use logic and reason to advocate for libertarianism and market anarchy try to present the excellent arguments of these men, we have to try to explain away why they associate with a madman like Jones.
I understand, strategically, that his radio show reaches a large number of people. But is it worth it? Does libertarianism really need the kind of “help” that people who believe Jones’ paranoid delusions would offer? Ask Sheldon Richman how productive his appearance on the Glenn Beck show went (a show only slightly less paranoid than Jones’ but paranoid nonetheless).
Jones, Beck and others like them are not libertarians. They do not have our interests at heart. They wish only to use our anti-government message to further their ends. That could be money-making self-promotion (as is likely the case with Beck) or it could be pure paranoid conspiracy nonsense (as is exactly the case with Jones).
I am an anarchist, a libertarian, an Austrian economics follower and a devout skeptic dedicated to reason and evidence. It was this devotion to reason and evidence that lead me to become a libertarian in the first place. Why then would I condone appealing to conspiracy nuts with no critical thinking faculties in order to promote libertarianism?
I am asking that folks like Peter Schiff, Ron Paul, Judge Napolitano and others avoid giving credibility to people like Alex Jones at the cost of their own. I am asking that they actually be more critical of these people and to actively call them on their nonsense.
As long as the genral public think we are finge and fanatics like Jones, they will never consider out message in any serious way. And they will think we are fringe so long as we keep associating with them.
Don’t lay down with those dogs.