Ever stumble on an exchange between a self-professed "free market supporter" (henceforth, FMS) and one or more normal human beings (henceforth NHB)? I did recently. I was startled, though I should not have been, by how quickly FMS resorted to throwing about such words as "caricature", "non-sequitur", "evasion" and "straw man".
As in, "you're caricaturing my argument and beating up a straw man and that's a non-sequitur and by the way, you're also indulging in evasion."
Whatever the NHB offered, however diligently they spelled out their views on free markets and asked the FMS to respond, they were met with this wall of words.
Now I know plenty of FMS who take the time to respond to questions, to explain their positions and how they see things differently. That's why they earn the respect of NHB. That's how they persuade people of their beliefs.
But that must be too hard for some other FMS.
And why shouldn't I have been startled? Because I've seen it plenty of times, often with "non-sequitur" helpfully linked to the Wikipedia definition, thank you so much. So many times, that I'm beginning to think what FMS -- one strain of them -- have in common is not free markets, not substance in their arguments, but a mastery of empty argumentative tricks. And a great reluctance to acknowledge that the other guys have points of view they have reasoned through.
Which is a pity, because issues with free markets are so complex and interesting, and people have such strong opinions, that they deserve debate and discussion. Not empty words.