If you’re a vocal libertarian – or even just someone who regularly voices their opinion about just about anything – you may be familiar with some of the following phrases:
“You always have to be right!”
“Well I guess you just know everything, don’t you?”.
In more sophist circles, you might hear something like “you libertarians are so dogmatic!”
Those who are not confident in their views often use the above tactics as a way to deflect a legitimate conversation, to distract from the actual content being discussed. In effect, it is often an effort to flee from intellectual debate while the fleer holds his or her head up high.
But we must consider an alternate possibility: maybe they are right. Whether or not the critic in the above examples is accurate in their criticism depends largely on the intent of whomever it is they are having the verbal spout with.
The question one must ask themselves when encountering this line of attack is, “Am I being principled, or dogmatic?”