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Why Libertarians Are Basically Cult Members
[bold]Simply note libertarianism's fatal flaw and you'll get an enraged, hysterical response. They still don't get it[/bold]
My previous Salon essay, in which I asked why there are not any libertarian countries, if libertarianism is a sound political philosophy, has infuriated members of the tiny but noisy libertarian sect, as criticisms of cults by outsiders usually do. The weak logic and bad scholarship that suffuse libertarian responses to my article tend to reinforce me in my view that, if they were not paid so well to churn out anti-government propaganda by plutocrats like the Koch brothers and various self-interested corporations, libertarians would play no greater role in public debate than do the followers of Lyndon LaRouche or L. Ron Hubbard.
An unscientific survey of the blogosphere turns up a number of libertarians claiming in response to my essay that, because libertarianism is anti-statist, to ask for an example of a real-world libertarian state shows a failure to understand libertarianism. But if the libertarian ideal is a stateless society, then libertarianism is merely a different name for utopian anarchism and deserves to be similarly ignored.
Another response to my essay has been to claim that a libertarian country really did exist once in the real world, in the form of the United States between Reconstruction and the New Deal. Robert Tracinski writes that I am “astonishingly ignorant of history” for failing to note that the “libertarian utopia, or the closest we’ve come to it, is America itself, up to about 100 years ago. It was a country with no income tax and no central bank. (It was on the gold standard, for crying out loud. You can’t get more libertarian than that.) It had few economic regulations and was still in the Lochner era, when such regulations were routinely struck down by the Supreme Court. There was no federal welfare state, no Social Security, no Medicare.”
It is Tracinski who is astonishingly ignorant of history. To begin with, the majority of the countries that adopted the “libertarian” gold standard were authoritarian monarchies or military dictatorships. With the exception of Imperial Britain, an authoritarian government outside of the home islands, where most Britons were denied the vote for most of this period, most of the independent countries of the pre-World War I gold standard epoch, including the U.S., Germany, France, Russia and many Latin American republics, rejected free trade in favor of varying degrees of economic protectionism.
For its part, the U.S. between Lincoln and FDR was hardly laissez-faire. Ever since colonial times, states had engaged in public poor relief and sometimes created public hospitals and asylums. Tracinski to the contrary, there were also two massive federal welfare programs before the New Deal: the Homestead Act, a colossal redistribution of government land to farmers, and generous pension benefits for Union veterans of the Civil War and their families. Much earlier, the 1798 act that taxed sailors to fund a small system of government-run sailors’ hospitals was supported by Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton alike.
State and local licensing rules and trade laws governed economic life in detail, down to the size of spigots in wine casks, in some cases.
It was precisely these state and local regulations that the Supreme Court struck down, in Lochner v. New York (1905) and other cases, to promote the goal of creating a single national market. At the same time, sharing their racism with most white Americans, federal judges in Tracinski’s “libertarian” America permitted the most massive system of labor market distortion of all: racial segregation, which artificially boosted the incomes and property values of whites.
- The single national market that Lochner-era courts sought to protect from being Balkanized by state and local regulations (other than racial segregation) was walled off by the highest protective tariffs of any major industrial nation. The U.S. government between Lincoln and FDR engaged in a version of modern East Asian-style mercantilism, protecting American industrial corporations from import competition, while showering subsidies including land grants on railroad companies and using federal troops to crush protesting workers. This government-business mercantilism was anti-worker but it was hardly libertarian.
High tariffs to protect American companies in Tracinski’s alleged Golden Age of American libertarianism were joined by racist immigration restrictions that further boosted the incomes of white workers already boosted by de jure or de facto racial segregation. The 1790 Naturalization Act barred immigrants from becoming citizens unless they were “free white persons” and had to be amended by the 1870 Naturalization Act to bestow citizenship on former slaves of “African nativity” and “African descent.” Although the Supreme Court in 1898 ruled that the children of Asians born in the U.S. were citizens by birth, Tracinski’s libertarian utopia was characterized by increasingly restrictive immigration laws which curtailed first Asian immigration and then, after World War I, most European immigration.
Calvin Coolidge, the subject of a hero-worshiping new biography by the libertarian conservative Amity Shlaes, defended both high tariffs and restrictive immigration. Here is an excerpt from President Coolidge’s second annual address in 1924:
[quote]Two very important policies have been adopted by this country which, while extending their benefits also in other directions, have been of the utmost importance to the wage earners. One of these is the protective tariff, which enables our people to live according to a better standard and receive a better rate of compensation than any people, any time, anywhere on earth, ever enjoyed. This saves the American market for the products of the American workmen. The other is a policy of more recent origin and seeks to shield our wage earners from the disastrous competition of a great influx of foreign peoples. This has been done by the restrictive immigration law. This saves the American job for the American workmen.
In 1921 then vice-president Coolidge wrote an article entitled “Whose Country is This?” inGood Housekeeping, in which he declared:
“Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. The Nordics propagate themselves successfully. With other races, the outcome shows deterioration on both sides.” (Amity Shlaes’s hero evidently believed racist pseudoscience about dangerous and inferior “half-breeds”).
Protectionist, nativist paleoconservatives of the Patrick Buchanan school might have reason to idealize the U.S. as it existed between 1865 and 1932. But libertarians who want to prove that a country based on libertarian ideology can exist in the real world cannot point to the United States at any period in its history from the Founding to the present.
- Here's a better argument:
Libertarians are sociopaths.
- Thanks, OP.
Libertarian Fucktard, where are yoooooo...?
- For decades, American citizens have been presented with an illusion of political choice through the instrument of a, “One party, Two faction” political system. Faction #1 presents peace, human rights, human welfare and the environment along with immense social spending as the main points of its debate. Faction #2 presents the need for imparting freedom, capitalism and democracy throughout the third world by means of, preemptive wars, nation-building and vast militarism, and all while espousing Judeo-Christian values as the cornerstone of its debate. Ten of the most significant characteristics that each of these factions have in common are,
1.) They are both committed to limiting the public debate (one way they do this is to exclude third parties from the presidential debates) (they also prevent third parties from appearing on ballots in key states and from receiving equal coverage in the media) The only thing we get to hear on TV is the same Republican vs. Democrat debate we’ve been listening to for decades. Ron Paul was successful in enlarging the public debate, but only through the media coverage he received by running on a GOP ticket. Even then Ron Paul was treated horribly by the GOP and the mainstream media.
2.) No one other than a Democrat or a Republican has been elected president in the last 160 years
3.) Both parties are private, non-profit corporations and in no way part of the U.S. government nor is either found in the U.S Constitution.
4.) Both Republicans and Democrats stay relatively quiet about and are generally supportive of U.S. reliance on fiat money, fractional reserve lending and our debt based monetary policy.
5.) The Democratic and Republican convention committees each received nearly $17.7 million dollars from the U.S. Treasury for their conventions in 2012 and an additional $600,000 to cover the cost of inflation. (NO THIRD PARTY HAS ACCESS TO THESE FUNDS) (Ron Paul would never have been able to get his word out had he not run on the GOP ticket.)
6.) Both factions accept millions upon millions of dollars from big banks and Wall Street Corporations and are largely backed by the same corporate contributors and interest groups.
7.) Republicans and Democrats are the only so-called political parties given validity and equal coverage by the main-stream media. (Isn’t obvious that the purpose of our media is to perpetuate one agenda?)
8.) The Democrats and Republicans for the most part support continuing the “War on Terror” in which Bush Administration policies have been continued and expanded by the Obama Administration.
9.) Republicans and Democrats each spent over 1 billion dollars on their 2012 campaigns
10.) Both Republicans & Democrats believe that voting for a third party is the equivalent to throwing away your vote while in reality, if everyone voted their conscience and avoided voting for the “lesser of two evils,” (which, by the way just under half of Americans polled said they would be doing this last election), the “One party / Two faction” stranglehold might actually be broken and we as a nation might get to experience a bonafide political event.
In the year 2001 we witnessed the most impactful and most publicized False Flag operation in recorded military history. This event shook the consciousness of the American people to its foundations and provided the pretext for waging multiple & unlimited protracted wars in the Middle East (all in the name of vengeance, security and freedom for the American people). Since this event, too many Americans have been content merely with waving flags and tying ribbons while willingly renouncing their constitutional rights. Like oxen to the slaughter we walk as our freedoms and liberties are being vaporized right under our very noses. Since 2001 the tightening noose has become increasingly apparent through the enactment of the Homeland Security Act, the USA Patriot Act, and the expansion of the Transportation Safety Act (TSA). Additionally we have seen the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which allows for the elimination of Due Process, the assassination of U.S. citizens, indefinite detentions, and warrantless searches for all who are deemed to be enemies of the state. Then we have the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 which calls for the operation of up to 30,000 drones in U.S. airspace. Our ability to have an unrestricted free press on the internet is now under siege through the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Internet Protocol Act (PIPA) not to mention our right to bear arms under the 2nd amendment through a relentless media “spin -up” of gun violence. Nearly all of these initiatives have been or will be accomplished with bipartisan support. Republicans and Democrats may sound different but they are leading us to the same place….broke, scared, defenseless, dependent and enslaved.
- Anyone quoting the tin-hat conspiracy site "infowars" run by the certifiably insane guy... is a moron. More proof of the cult-like nature of libertarians.
- Says the same person posting something from "salon.com".
- Libertaraian, republican, democrat.... you're all stupid. Capitalism, communism, socialism, all just different ways to control the idiot electorate. Vote for whoever. The results will be the same. The rich prosper and the poor get screwed.
- No, r8.
- [quote]Says the same person posting something from "salon.com".
Um... as if there isn't a huge gulf between the two. Please. Lewrockwell is a crackpot site. Salon.com isn't.
[quote]Libertaraian, republican, democrat.... you're all stupid.
- When are Libertarians going to be banned from this site? Can't DL make them a little side-forum then remove them like they did for soap fans and LotR peole?
- You want to see cult-like behavior?
Get a libertarian to start talking about the gold standard.
- I had a long convo with a Ron Paul supporting Libertarian. He made the same 10 points made upthread, then trotted out the long, sad ballad of false equivalence. I asked him the same question: if Libertarianism is so great, why doesn't a Libertarian state exist? He responded that it did exist in the early days of the American republic and I replied "Oh, I see- it's a nostalgia trip."
That one burned him.
- My lord, you as a democrat condemn someone for being in a cult????
- We already tried libertarianism - it was called Feudalism.
- R14: you do know that "I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I??" isn't a rebuttal, right?
- "The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers."
"What I want to do is repeal Roe v. Wade."
"I think that marriages should be between a single man and a single woman."
- I've noticed on YouTube, a sizable portion of the people writing comments complaining of pop singers colluding with the NWO and sending out secret messages in their music videos, or lizard people running world governments, or whatever other crazy shit, often have user names like RonPaul2012.
- [quote]My lord, you as a democrat condemn someone for being in a cult????
That's as stupid an exclamation as "My lord, you as a union member accuse someone else of liking pie????"
It's a completely nonsensical, irrelevant, stupid statement. There is nothing "cult-like" about Democrats, and everything "cult-like" about libertarians.
- [quote]"The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers."
Like most shit Ron Paul says, this isn't even remotely true.
- What is a libertarian? 50-100 words will suffice, thank you.
- Nothing cult-like about democrats? HAHAHAHA!
That's why they blindly worship Obama who is nothing more than Bush but black.
Democrats defend Obama for pulling the same moves that they judged Bush for.
Bush goes to war= democrats riot the streets demanding he be charged with war crimes.
Obama goes to war= nobel peace prize of course!
Bush abuses privacy= he's a power hungry tyrant who can't be trusted.
Obama abuses privacy= he's doing it for our good!
Same thing with republicans. Now that's it's Obama and not Bush doing all those things, NOW they suddenly have a problems with it.
And don't get me started on libertarians... that's another group of delusional idiots.
- [quote]That's why they blindly worship Obama who is nothing more than Bush but black.
Not even close to true. But thanks for sharing your ignorant delusions with us.
I love a good false equivalency in the morning.
- Dumb fags who don't know anything about political philosophy shouldn't post on DL. You are only embarrassing yourselves.
- [quote]Simply note libertarianism's fatal flaw and you'll get an enraged, hysterical response. They still don't get it
Can someone point to these "enraged, hysterical response(s)"?
- Here's one!
Only it's not exactly enraged or hysterical. Sorry.
- Anytime for a definition of a libertarian.
- R27, have you not been paying attention to our resident Libertarian Troll?
- [quote]Dumb fags who don't know anything about political philosophy shouldn't post on DL. You are only embarrassing yourselves.
Ignoring the homophobic slur for a moment (don't worry, I hit F&F on your asinine post)... it's true, Libertarians shouldn't post on DL. They only embarrass themselves.
- They're basically selfish, immature, naïve/clueless assholes, imho.
- [quote]My previous Salon essay, in which I asked why there are not any libertarian countries...
There is. It's called Somalia.
- Libertarians are CUNT members
- Last week Ron Paul endorsed Ken Cuccinelli for the Virginia gubernatorial election.
The Libertarians are Republicans. A particular breed, and nothing more.
- R4 is blowing smoke up your ass since NATIONAL DEFENSE is admitted by most libertarians to be a legitimate government function and therefore they would not do anything to take down the military industrial complex if they were in power.
- Libertarians were hardly among the first 50 million people to see through 9.11.