Lies, Damn Lies, and Libertarianism

Don’t get me wrong, libertarianism in the sense of a policy of promoting individual liberty is an attractive and worthwhile philosophy.

But Libertarianism in the sense of a political movement has very little to do with that concept, though it does bow toward it as if it were a big, black lodestone that fell from the sky. Libertarian philosophers talk a lot about personal freedom but what is meant by that phrase in political terms is the freedom for the large bulk of people to be bullied, coerced, cheated, killed and ignored by those who happen to have power in society through the accidents of birth, location or precedence.

When it’s at home, Libertarianism is a belief in a natural aristocracy; a conviction that those that are advanced over others got there by the superiority of their moral character. Any third grader who has ever been bullied by a middle schooler knows this is hogwash.

At the end, Libertarianism is simply a lie. A manipulative lie when told by those in power, a hopeful lie when told by those who refuse to examine the consequences of such a foundation to morality, an ignorant lie when repeated by the victims of the first and second classes of liars.

To illuminate the lie, one has only to ask a Libertarian what a government constructed according to Libertarian principles would do when faced with a widespread natural or manmade disaster like Hurricane Katrina, Deep Water Horizon, Fukushima Dai-Ichi, Japanese 9.0 Earthquake, or the recent tornado cluster in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.

For a follow-up, ask who would build an effective, integrated highway system with bridges and stoplights and enforce safety measures on such a highway system. Try to find out how a Libertarian government would organize the defense of the Nation against an invading army from a country not organized by Libertarians. Ask who funds education and the effective response to widespread epidemics and pandemics.

There are a lot of questions and all the answers are lies or silence or a horrifying abandonment of even the pretense of morality.

Culture Warriors and Economic Truths

The Republican candidates and leadership will do anything right now to try to distract voters from economic truths. The culture war they have re-ignited is proof of this; most of these battles they are trying to re-fight were won by legislation and judicial action decades ago.

But the whole point of this war on people is NOT to roll back laws on contraception, homosexuality, drug use or even abortion; the point of these distractions is to get a slate of candidates elected who will do the political dirty work to keep the economics of big money as profitable for those in control of it as possible.

Mitt Romney just announced that he will balance the budget if elected. He’s going to do this by cutting funding to Public Broadcasting and Amtrak. This economic weak tea is probably Mitt’s desperate effort to stay out of the culture wars because his heart is not in the bashing of humanist policies required. He is at heart a moderate and a bit of a wonk and he has to know that there is no way of balancing the budget without increasing revenues.

Rick Santorum meanwhile has escalated things again, attacking President Obama’s efforts to make college affordable for the middle-class as an attempt to get more people into institutions where they can become brain-washed liberals. There has probably never been such a Know Nothing Manifesto by a significant candidate for American President before, even in a primary. It is part of the culture war, the idea that some intellectual elite rules America and common people must unite around shared traditional values to defeat the would-be aristocrats.

Why has it come to this?

Because the economic message of cut the budget, cut taxes for the rich, cut programs for the poor and middle class and throw people out of work in order to save — Godzilla knows what — has failed.

The economy is recovering, no thanks to the radical right at all whose every effort for the last four years has gone into making things worse in hopes of dis-electing a black Democrat, however moderate he may be.

Hence, the culture war in an attempt to fire up the base and distract people from the abysmal failures of enacted, proposed and repeatedly failed Republican economic policies.

Never mind that the culture wars are driving away moderates and independents, the Republicans must keep the party together until the Fall someway. Who knows, maybe something will upset the economic apple cart and they will stand a chance of beating Obama with the same old schtick.

Republicans Plan to Occupy Tampa

Just learned that the Republican Movement is planning a mass gathering in some place called the Tampa Bay Times Forum this summer. There’ll be thousands of them showing up with their bedrolls and bongs to demonstrate in favor of their ideas of good government.

Tampa police and authorities are making plans to keep order, including forcing the demonstrators to confine most of their activity to one venue. Supplies of tear gas and rubber bullets are being increased in case the Occupants get rowdy. Clashes are expected between factions in the disorganized national group.

There’s some talk that the gathering is being called to select a paramount leader but others say that any such attempt would just deepen the divisions in the movement, leading perhaps to permanent ruptures and mass hernias of all involved.

If you’re going to be in Tampa this August 29, drive by and give the Occupants the official Occupy Tampa salute. That’s where you old up your left hand in the OK sign and with the right hand make another gesture and stick your right middle finger as the upright of the ‘t’ through the center of the ‘o’ made by left thumb and forefinger.

They’ll understand and likely make several gestures right back at you.

The Relentless Dumbnation of Republican Politics

Among people for whom belief replaces knowledge, the Republican Party has carved out a colony of know-nothings who despise science, education and intelligence as being tools of the elite. These colonials vote in truly frightening numbers.

Their minions inhabit school boards across the country, blaming teachers for the failure of schools while cutting budgets to the bone. The governing councils of large cities seem more resistant to this sort of seat-packing but rural counties from Maine to Hawaii have to deal with their influence.

Several state governments, the next level up, have been taken over by these anti-intellectual, anti-humanist, anti-compromise candidates and their take-no-prisoners, scorched-earth politics.

Their influence in the U.S. House of Representatives is undeniable. Their presence in the Senate is just enough to make obstruction to legislation, any legislation just about, effective and nearly constant. The benches of Federal courts grow emptier and emptier as they block confirmation of appointees for no other reason than that they can and it causes trouble for those they see as their enemies.

Their enemies are the rest of us, those for whom facts matter.

But take heart, their very success breeds their downfall. Emboldened by a few gains, they assume that the rulership of the world is within their grasp at the same time that they complain that the other side is picking on them. They can’t see the inevitable push back coming, they think any win is a win forever and any win is worth any risk to secure.

Their leaders keep getting dumber and dumber in their policies, their actions and their strident posturing on the public stage. It’s only a matter of time until they tilt their heads back to look at the gray clouds they have seeded rolling in — and drown in a downpour of reason and understanding like the turkeys they are.

Speaking Political Volumes

Honesty compels me to admit that I am a Republican and consider myself a conservative. But that’s a conservative in an old sense that makes me a bit left of center in today’s politics. This baffles me.

Most of the people screaming — and I use the word ‘screaming’¬†as a purely descriptive term — screaming about being conservatives today are in truth reactionaries and no more conservative than a cat that insists on pissing where the catbox used to be.

Liberal government policy holds that when the government can do something that will benefit a large number of citizens while harming few or none, then that thing should be done.

Conservative government policy holds that when government can refrain from doing something and thereby benefit citizens while allowing little or no harm, the government should refrain from doing that thing.

Reactionaries believe that GAHDDAMMITT THINGS WERE BETTER BEFORE!

See what I mean about the screaming?