Perhaps it is this one by Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic. The piece is technically about how the MSM blew it in their coverage of Rand Paul, but Friedersdorf captures something important about libertarians and those that cover/discuss us that non-libertarians largely miss.
Here is just one interesting little section of the piece, but I give it my highest recommendation (so to borrow from Friedersdorf, “Seriously, read the whole thing“).
Revisiting this coverage is important because it helps to clarify the flaws in the way that many journalists cover libertarianism generally — even if you think, as I do, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was extremely important legislation that ought to be celebrated by all Americans for the good it did; and that, if better executed, covering Paul’s position on the subject would have been legitimate. Unfortunately, the actual coverage unfolded in a way that left the audience ill-informed.
The particulars won’t surprise anyone familiar with the template the political press uses to cover libertarians. As Chris Beam wrote in 2010, “For all the talk about casting off government shackles, libertarianism is still considered the crazy uncle of American politics: loud and cocky and occasionally profound but always a bit unhinged.” He nailed the perception among journalists.
One consequence is something I call reductio ad libertarium.
On a given issue, a journalist confronted with the libertarian position, like legalizing drugs, objects by pointing out the most extreme possible consequence: “So I could go buy heroin at the store?” Fair enough, except that there are no analogous challenges to the establishment positions. A candidate whose stance is that drugs must remain illegal is never asked, “So you’re okay with imprisoning millions of people, empowering violent street gangs, destabilizing multiple foreign countries, militarizing municipal police forces, and still having ubiquitous drug use?”
Thanks to status quo bias, libertarians are labeled “crazy” and “kooky,” even as the establishment makes historic blunders for which they are never pilloried and that many libertarians opposed.
(Take the Iraq War.)
So, if you are tempted to use the reductio ad libertarium, make sure you are willing to challenge (or be challenged about) the logical extensions of your own priors – or admit that a principled position may lead you into some uncomfortable avenues that demand reconsideration of the principle, consideration of what deviations from that principle are justified and under what conditions (particularly certain given historical factors), or whether the principle should be guiding even under the difficult case (especially in order to avoid erosion of the principle).
UPDATE: I changed the original title since I don’t want to engage, today, the debate about what is a libertarian and whether Friedersdorf fits. I mostly don’t have enough data about the latter issue.