At Boston Review, Claude S. Fischer struggles to understand Libertarianism and, particularly, its appeal to a certain segment of geeks.
What difference does this history and anthropology make to libertarian arguments about the good life? Plenty. If libertarians would move real-world policy in their direction, then their premises about humans and human society should be at least remotely plausible; we are not playing SimCity here. Instead, libertarian premises arise from a worldview that was strange at its origin and is strange now, after the global triumph of liberalism.
If you wish to understand the strange contemporary revival of Ayn Rand’s fever dream, this article is a good place to start.
Intellectually, Libertarianism is a fancy impressive-sounding rationale for justifying heedless, craven selfishness. Practically, it’s camouflage for Republicans who are ashamed to admit it.