I love and long for liberty, but I’m not always in love with libertarianism. I don’t mean libertarians themselves. I love libertarians. I just find the subject of liberty doesn’t sustain me, and there’s so much else in the world of ideas worth thinking about.

But once you’re educated in even just a little bit of economic theory and a bit of the thinking of our tradition, it becomes very difficult to talk to non-libertarians, because almost any topic will lead to their saying something shallow or ignorant about the problems of the world or, worse, what they imagine the solutions to be.

When Liberty.me was launching, I saw criticism and accusations of it being an “echo chamber,” where we would all spend our time agreeing with each other, learning nothing, and persuading no one new. There are so many problems with that criticism, it’s hard to know know where to begin.

First of all, there’s nothing wrong with finding a safe place to socialize with likeminded people. To suggest otherwise is to make a virtue out of incessant combat and a vice out of anything recuperative.

Second, not everyone in the liberty movement knows the same things or believes the same things. To agree on some basic principles is not enough make everyone echo each other. There’s plenty left to learn and plenty to debate.

Finally, as I indicated at the opening of this post, believing in individual liberty does not turn us all into johnny one notes. Not all libertarians like science fiction, for example, but plenty of us do and may want to hang out with our fellow enthusiasts, even if we spend more time talking about rockets and robots than we do about the political economy of future societies. Murray Rothbard liked to watch soap operas and debate the quality of different forms of jazz. I am, as my Skybar interview indicates, an avid bookworm, and 99% of what I read is written by non-libertarians. I like finding fellow bookworms to hangout with, but I’m also aware of a vast generation of newcomers to the movement who don’t read books. They’d rather talk about TV shows and movies I don’t watch, or online articles and flamewars that I ignore.

The movement is large enough for a diversity of ages, backgrounds, and interests. On the other hand, having a basic foundation of economics and history in common allows us to avoid the constant need to debate and educate on well-established topics.