Atlas did the dishes, then watched the news
Here’s the biggest scare headline I can remember since 1983’s TIME cover: Herpes the New Scarlet Letter*.
Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived?
Robert Draper / New York Times
“Let’s say Ron Paul is Nirvana,” said Kennedy, the television personality and former MTV host, by way of explaining the sort of politician who excites libertarians like herself. “Like, the coolest, most amazing thing to come along in years, and the songs are nebulous but somehow meaningful, and the lead singer kills himself to preserve the band’s legacy….
[* From back when Maureen Dowd was an even bigger hack.]
Libertarian’s just another word for no brain cells left to lose. Libertarianism is based on a fundamental misperception about the nature of human nature and society, and we come back to the frustration I had when I was in college: I wanted to really deconstruct the whole Ayn Rand “philosophy” but the philosophy profs were too busy sneering at it to worry about it as influential or NEEDING refutation.
And, lo, these forty years later, that festering boil has spilled its pus-ridden contents onto the front page of the New York (we now do “native advertising”) Times.
Let us chronicle the idiocy:
Libertarians, who long have relished their role as acerbic sideline critics of American political theater, now find themselves and their movement thrust into the middle of it. For decades their ideas have had serious backing financially (most prominently by the Koch brothers, one of whom, David H., ran as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian Party ticket), intellectually (by way of policy shops like the Cato Institute and C.E.I.) and in the media (through platforms like Reason and, as of last year, “The Independents”).
But today, for perhaps the first time, the libertarian movement appears to have genuine political momentum on its side. An estimated 54 percent of Americans now favor extending marriage rights to gay couples. Decriminalizing marijuana has become a mainstream position, while the drive to reduce sentences for minor drug offenders has led to the wondrous spectacle of Rick Perry — the governor of Texas, where more inmates are executed than in any other state — telling a Washington audience: “You want to talk about real conservative governance? Shut prisons down. Save that money.”
The appetite for foreign intervention is at low ebb, with calls by Republicans to rein in federal profligacy now increasingly extending to the once-sacrosanct military budget. And deep concern over government surveillance looms as one of the few bipartisan sentiments in Washington, which is somewhat unanticipated given that the surveiller in chief, the former constitutional-law professor Barack Obama, had been described in a 2008 Times Op-Ed by the legal commentator Jeffrey Rosen as potentially “our first president who is a civil libertarian.”
Neo-‘libertarianism’ on the road – principles espoused
but not particularly understood by these exponents
Yes, Virginia: because of their hidebound and antediluvian views, the simple truths that Prohibition didn’t work the first time, and Vietnam didn’t work and Iraq didn’t work and our prisons are overstuffed have finally found a party to embody them. No big whoop.
But the UNDERLYING notion as to WHY is, in fact, the lunacy. No one doubts that we have bad laws, but, as Henry David Thoreau points out, only the ones that are EGREGIOUS and LUNATIC demand that we disobey them. The new, unedumacated Libertarian fringe (as noted above) believe that ALL laws ought to be ignored, because, ultimately, we are all “sovereign.” No serious thinker has ever come to this conclusion.
Libertarianism’s natural corollary on Parade
The opening of the Declaration of Independence, while noting certain laws are unalienable, notes ALSO that, unless the form of governance we live under becomes inimicable to those rights, we really have a duty to operate UNDER that form of governance:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
That, kiddies, is America in a nutshell: not a nation, but a notion. And the NOTION of self-governance requires two indispensable elements lacking in libertarianism: the responsibility to take part in that self-governance (creating the laws) and to accede to the will of the People (obeying the laws) in all cases, not respecting persons, The Rule of Law*.
Howard Rich, Nick Gillespie, Andrea Rich honoring Thomas Szasz
(see below) hard-core “movement” libertarians
Shoving “freedom” down your throat (see here for how)
[* I know that this seems confusing, only being invoked when Republicans Confederates don’t like the sitting Democratic president and want to “impeach” him. This is a misuse of the term, as are nearly all words that spew from their vomitous cake holes.]
Here’s a short version of unalienable rights from Wikipedia:
The idea that certain rights are natural or inalienable also has a history dating back at least to the Stoics of late Antiquity and Catholic law of the early Middle Ages, and descending through the Protestant Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment to today. The existence of natural rights has been asserted by different individuals on different premises, such as a priori philosophical reasoning or religious principles.
For example, Immanuel Kant claimed to derive natural rights through reason alone. The Declaration of Independence, meanwhile, is based upon the “self-evident” truth that “all men are … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”. Likewise, different philosophers and statesmen have designed different lists of what they believe to be natural rights; almost all include the right to life and liberty as the two highest priorities. H. L. A. Hart argued that if there are any rights at all, there must be the right to liberty, for all the others would depend upon this.
T. H. Green argued that “if there are such things as rights at all, then, there must be a right to life and liberty, or, to put it more properly to free life.”John Locke emphasized “life, liberty and property” as primary. However, despite Locke’s influential defense of the right of revolution, Thomas Jefferson substituted “pursuit of happiness” in place of “property” in the United States Declaration of Independence.
Ron Paul speaking at Tea Party Patriots wing-ding in Phoenix, 2011
Not much noted is that he ran as Libertarian candidate for President
in 1988, on a platform that embraced Secession as a right. Paul’s
neo-confederate leanings are not coincidental: Confederate and
Libertarian philosophy are deeply intertwined. See Rand Paul’s
infamous wriggling on the right of private business owners to
discriminate against “persons of color” on private property.
Stephen Kinzer, a veteran journalist for The New York Times and the author of the book All The Shah’s Men, writes in the latter that:
The Zoroastrian religion taught Iranians that citizens have an inalienable right to enlightened leadership and that the duty of subjects is not simply to obey wise kings but also to rise up against those who are wicked. Leaders are seen as representative of God on earth, but they deserve allegiance only as long as they have farr, a kind of divine blessing that they must earn by moral behavior.
The Stoics held that no one was a slave by nature; slavery was an external condition juxtaposed to the internal freedom of the soul (sui juris). Seneca the Younger wrote:
It is a mistake to imagine that slavery pervades a man’s whole being; the better part of him is exempt from it: the body indeed is subjected and in the power of a master, but the mind is independent, and indeed is so free and wild, that it cannot be restrained even by this prison of the body, wherein it is confined.
Centuries later, the Stoic doctrine that the “inner part cannot be delivered into bondage” re-emerged in the Reformation doctrine of liberty of conscience….
The notion of inherent liberties is, as you can see, nothing new. It is deeply ingrained into the Civilization of the West. But a radical bunch of “anti-commies” appeared in the Forties and Fifties and horrifically perverted the notion of liberty into license and, beyond that, into licentiousness.
There is not much difference between libertarian and libertine, but a vast gulf separates both from “liberty” which contains the quaint (and rejected by the former) notion of “responsibility.” In practice, this is absent, no matter what the flowery words.
Alas, our “new” libertarians are actually libertines, and not “classical liberals” as they love to style themselves while masturbating to their own image in a convenient mirror, propped up by three or four stout paperback copies of Atlas Shrugged.
And a good dose of LSD, while you’re at it. Makes better sense that way.
It makes sense to tout the article with an opening about “Kennedy” an MTV host and “youth” person.
Because “libertarianism” is (as expounded in Atlas Shrugged and other Ayn Rand works) really just a form of adolescent revenge fantasy: I can do anything I want, and anybody who stops me is a fascist pig.
Bring me my latté, bitches!
Her two best known protagonists, Howard Roark and John Galt, are terrorists. Roark blows up entire blocks of housing with dynamity, Galt engages in a massive conspiracy to do nothing less than take down the machinery of Western Civilization itself: to bring the nation to a crashing halt, no matter how much misery, starvation, illness, death by hypothermia or heat stroke take place.
Because they were “mean” to him supergeniusness.
Wile E. Coyote, Ayn Rand Supergenius.
Libertarianism tends to be the ultimate expression of undiluted racism: I am a race of one. All other races are inferior.
And, as noted above, law and the rule of law (the essence of any civil society as known since well before the time of Hammurabi) are oppressive of this Race of One (“the Sovereign Individual”) and shouldn’t be obeyed.
We don’t need no laws. We don’t need no government.
GREED will solve all problems. Er… I mean “the invisible hand of the market.” Sorry not to euphemize.
Why, to listen to any libertarian would be to believe that he/she was born in a log cabin that he/she built him/herself.
born in a log cabin they built themselves
Which is, of course, absurd.
But, really, to get back to my years as a philosophy major at TCU: I proposed to write a serious paper (for my junior honors philosophy seminar) deconstructing this morass of purblind selfishness that believes if you get rid of all laws and regulations you end up with Utopia and not Somalia or Chicago in the 1930s.
The TCU Student Center
Libertarianism undoubtedly works perfectly unless you happen to be a homo sapiens.
Really, this subject is too deep to go into detail here. Why, one could write a book on said subject.
Somebody already did:
I TOLD you what it led to, and then Ted Cruz
and his Tea Partiers SHOWED you
exactly why I was correct in my assessment.
Only $2.99 to save America from these creeps.
This toxic philosophy is destroying our nation and our future, and you OWE it to yourself to both understand it, and what makes it so dangerous and poisonous. The government shutdown was just a taste of the Galtian strain of madness.
(Amazon has a free app for any platform you own to read it on. I am a writer who HATES killing trees, so don’t ask for a paper copy, please.)
It is NOT “deep” technical philosophy (although that underpins it). It is NOT humorless pedantry, but is, in fact, rather hilarious.
Oh no! Is this a commercial? you might ask.
OK: sure. Yes it is.
No salesman will call.
My original video on Gillespie. Watch on YouTube
[Nick] Gillespie, Kennedy and virtually every other libertarian leader I met told me that their philosophy was unique for its “consistency.”* And yet determining what it consistently looks like in practice can be a frustrating exercise. Foreign policy is the easiest place to start. With rare exceptions, libertarian leaders have recently advocated staying out of Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Nigeria.
Informing their reluctance to intervene overseas is the recent experience of post-9/11 neoconservatism. Gillespie, smirking, told me: “Sarah Palin doesn’t deserve credit for anything, but she wasn’t the only one who didn’t understand what the Bush Doctrine meant. And Obama’s been as bad as Bush, but with less of an excuse. We don’t have to pretend anymore that radical Islam is an existential threat to the West. It’s herpes, but it’s not AIDS. It’s a chronic condition, but it won’t kill us. Just keep the attacks to a minimum.” Gillespie and others maintain that theirs is a posture of restraint, not isolationism…
[* And one thing that pragmatists like myself all agree on: logical consistency and the real world do not ever perfectly intermesh. It is a hallmark of pragmatism to note such AND to act in a world in which perfect consistency appears impossible — I am pro-choice/abortion and anti Death penalty, for example. Most of those on the other side would reverse this inconsistency, exactly. It is the hallmark of blind ideology to have perfect consistency, however.]
Yes, and if we ARE attacked, we shall ride forth on our flying pigs to defend our Freedom.
And no taxes neither!