Libertarians on my facebook talking about how this should be illegal or that should be illegal.
Do I have to reach down this goddamn wire and choke a bitch out?
Now going dark until tomorrow morning.
Everyone Talks About Freedom Like They Know What It Is
And they don’t.
The nuevo-libertarians who want an increase in freedom would be severely disappointed under a libertarian regime. The absence of a government doesn’t mean the absence of governance. Somebody’s going to be running your life: if it isn’t the federal government, it’s the state government. If it isn’t the state government, it’s the local government. And if it isn’t the local government, it’s the people you rely upon for food and shelter.
Oh, so you’re going to pull a Thoreau and head out to the woods and live off the land? Well, good luck with that. H. D. made it all of, what, two years out there on Walden Pond? Just for reference, he actually spent more time on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s couch than he did on Walden Pond.
But anyway, good on you. Maybe you can make a go of it as a natural man. For me, if it wasn’t for the wonders of modern medicine, I would probably be already dead, so I don’t really have that option. You see, even more than the federal government, the state government, the local government, or even my employer, the United States healthcare industrial complex runs my life. Quit my job? Sure, between free lance writing, part time teaching, lawn care, house painting, moving heavy objects, etc., I could probably make a run of it. But, because having a steady job is the only way that I can get the healthcare necessary to keep my various (very common but somewhat expensive) chronic conditions under control, it is ultimately my insurance company that I am reporting to.
I am as annoyed with American Democracy as the next guy, but dumping government in the trash is not the answer. Fixing government is the answer, or at least part of the answer. You can’t just ignore the political and think it goes away. It’s there, whether you admit it or not. And, if you don’t grasp control of what little political power you may have, you cede it to someone else. I’m all for coloring outside the lines, pushing for non-traditional solutions, even circumventing the normal political process: as long as you fundamentally reckon with the political at some level, there is a chance (however small) that things can change.
Besides, if you think it’s hard to get your voice heard in this political system, try getting onto the board of directors at Exxon. Because that’s the system of governance you’ll be dealing with under a libertarian regime.
If that’s freedom to you, you must already be rich/invested in the elite class. That’s nothing like freedom to me.
Thaddeus Russell’s Dead Horse
Finished Thaddeus Russell’s A Renegade History of the United States. It is an interesting book … not good, but interesting, which is sometimes better. I will comment on it in more detail soon, probably in longer form at this site.
In the meantime, think about this: trace a line from Booker T. Washington up through Martin Luther King all the way to President Obama. Can we see this thread as counterrevolutionary? Add in the current push for gay rights (re: the military and gay marriage) and ask yourself the same thing. Just though these struggles may be (and they are just, so spare me your liberal indignation), they amount to normalization for larger parts of the populace; and as such, Russell shows them to be counterrevolutionary*. Here, at least, I believe he is right on the money.
It could be argued that this is the revolution, after all. Tell me: are you happy with Obama? Has he made any real changes for the better? Did Stonewall happen just to make the world safe for Log Cabin Republicans?
I think not. This point goes to Russell … but there are many more to be discussed at greater length, and trust me, he doesn’t fare as well across the board.
* Not that he would use the term “counterrevolutionary” or even talk about revolution. I can’t think of him using either term even once in the book, though surely he did at least a couple times. He did, after all, have to avoid even the faintest whiff of Marxism, lest he be savaged by his libertarian friends.
Another Myth of Libertarianism
The assumption seems to be that with the dissolution of “big government” the power wielded by government dissipates.
As they say, nature abhors a vacuum.
Weakening government does not dissipate authority (power); rather, it sends it in different directions. And if you think that the “people” get the power in this model, I’m afraid you’re mistaken.
A clear-eyed analysis of the power wielded in America today can’t help but reveal that the government only wields the power allowed it by accumulated centers of capital. Even (especially?) if the government is completely eliminated, the location of power won’t change by all that much.
To paraphrase a thought often repeated by my right-wing grandfather re: Marxism: Libertarianism may look good on paper, but in the real world? Not so much.
One Myth of Libertarianism
The chances that someone who calls self-identifies as Libertarian really is a Libertarian is slim (at best). Rand Paul showed his Libertarianism as a lie by claiming we follow and/or round up anyone listening to “seditious” speech. Ron Paul shows his Libertarianism as a lie by consistently refusing to allow legal gay marriage … and yes, I know he has a whole spiel about how that doesn’t conflict with his Libertarian views, but I’m not buying.
99.999 percent of the people who say they want a smaller government don’t want a smaller government: they just want a government that serves them, not others. Which I guess is smaller government, but still.