Monday, July 23, 2007

it’s like looking in a mirror. . .

OK, it’s not really like looking in a mirror—it’s more like listening to myself on tape. . .or, maybe it’s just like reading my own diary. . . except that I don’t keep a diary.

Whatever! When I finally got around to reading the out-of-sight, oh so right, just-for-spite, Saturday night pie fight of a post by Hunter, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming need to share it with my “community.”

By way of preamble, I have been saying for some unfathomable time now to anyone that dare raise the subject that I have little patience for self-proclaimed political “libertarians.” “Republicans without guts,” I’d call them, meaning not that I don’t find many out-of-the-closet Republicans to be cowards, too, but that those that insist they are not Republicans, but, instead, Libertarians are nothing more than people with all the beliefs of your average, run-of-the-mill Republican, but without the courage of their convictions to actually admit it.

I guess I originally formed this equation before the rise of the Christian Right within the Republican party (god, that seems like a long time ago), so I am sure that there are now those who will use the example of “social conservatives” to differentiate themselves from Republicans. There might be a teeny, tiny bit of something there, but just like I never used to believe those that claimed that they “wore their hearts on the left and their wallets on the right,” I feel that those who believe you can just let the “free market” reign in a well-organized and vocal minority of evangelical bigots—because they (the libertarians) don’t agree but wouldn’t want to impose—are basically consigning the disadvantaged to a tyranny of, by, and for the fanatics.

Hunter finds spectral similarities not so much on the right as the left (libertarianism is “anarchism, but with crappier music”), but otherwise details the problem pretty much exactly as I see it:

There are many political -isms that I am distinctly not a fan of, and I am wary of all of them. . . . But libertarianism I will freely admit I do not understand -- at least, not in any way that libertarians might like -- and I confess I find it hard to credit what I can decipher only as glorified, self-centered apathy as an -ism at all. From my own experiences and conversations, it has always seemed that modern libertarianism is the political philosophy you tie yourself to if you are too lazy and politically uninterested to come up with any concrete justifications for anything better. It wears well on cynics, especially young cynics that are bitter enough to become conservatives but not willing to thereby subject themselves to a lifetime of being isolated and un-hip, and on old, isolated-by-decades-of-choice cynics that don't give a crap anymore.

Libertarians seem deaf to the cries of the individual (assuming that individual is not him or herself) and disinterested in the health of the community. The markets will police themselves, they tend to argue, better than any “big brother,” and people will look after their own interests better than any “nanny state.” These jargon-laden aphorisms are not only ignorant of pretty much the entire history of the industrialized world, they are usually spoken by individuals who have already enjoyed the benefits of an unfairly weighted marketplace. . . or are maybe just pissed off that the marketplace hasn’t yet been unfairly weighted enough to benefit them. . . and, no matter the economic circumstance, individuals who don’t seem to care much about other people.

But, Hunter pretty much says all that, and more, and says it in a pretty lively fashion—so I recommend you take a look. And, take a look at the comments, too (warning: there are over 600), if you are interested in even more discussion on the matter. . . or if you just like pie.

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Blogger cxx_guy said...

Actually, the problem is that every government intervention into the market, whether it's stealing land and giving it to WalMart, or stealing money and giving it to Haliburtin, or stealing your right to compete and giving it to established business in general creates a more slanted and less fair market. The only way to have a fair market is to have a free market, which is exactly what we have not tried.

As for you issue with "the market policing itself", pick up any basic text on economics, so you know what you're writing about. It's important to understand the world around you if you want to understand Libertarianism.

9:46 AM  

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