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10/22/13 @ 07:47 pm   
Against Libertariansm
Current mood: ranterrific
Music: don't know because shazam won't connect, but it's good

overnmental overreach and the "nanny state" are as big a concern for me as anyone, have been for a long time. I think that people will generally rise or fall to meet expectations, and treating a population like children teaches them to be childlike. I do think if things like that little story about the school lunch (which, if you research, turns out to be the claim of two 4 years olds on one single day at one single kindergarten, and not even conclusively shown to really have happened; hardly representative of this nation, more like a puff of hot air repeated breathlessly across the right wing blogosphere) were any more than just outliers being exploited for political gain, we'd be in a lot of trouble.

At the same time, libertarianism is just a gateway drug to the very tyranny libertarians claim to want to avoid. Well, almost the same: under a libertarian state, runaway privatization would insure that our constitutional rights, which protect us only from governmental tyranny, are rendered totally useless. Freedom of speech only applies in public spaces... once all space is privatized, and all media is privately owned, all speech can be legally suppressed at will of the owners. The Constitution becomes simply irrelevant. Which is exactly what the folks behind popularizing "libertarianism" want. Power abhors a vacuum, and once the government of the people, by the people, and for the people has been successfully neutered, there is nothing left but the corporate chiefs, stomping on whoever they want with impunity.

The central fallacy of free-market mythology is that a chaotic system, left on its own, will settle towards the most equitable mean. That's a very nice theory, and a total mistake when misapplied. In actual reality - you can do the experiments yourselves that show this - individual multivariate chaotic systems tend towards extremes over time, not towards the median. In libertarianism, you would end up at one of the two extremes: power would get concentrated in the hands of an ever-diminishing group of the most ruthless winners; or, alternatively, society would be reduced to uniform savagery, with nobody coming out on top at all.

I firmly believe that if we lived in a true Libertarian state, nobody would have time to kick their heels up and talk about how great being a libertarian is. They'd be too busy fighting to survive.

The best thing I've ever read about libertarianism is from John Scalzi: "I really don’t know what you do about the 'taxes are theft' crowd, except possibly enter a gambling pool regarding just how long after their no-tax utopia comes true that their generally white, generally entitled, generally soft and pudgy asses are turned into thin strips of Objectivist Jerky by the sort of pitiless sociopath who is actually prepped and ready to live in the world that logically follows these people’s fondest desires. Sorry, guys. I know you all thought you were going to be one of those paying a nickel for your cigarettes in Galt Gulch. That’ll be a fine last thought for you as the starving remnants of the society of takers closes in with their flensing tools."

He really nails it for me. As I said up top, I agree with some of the very basics of libertarianism, but the problem is it's a fantasist's political philosophy. I like the "Rent Is Too Damn High!" guy, also, but I'm not going to vote for him, either. He's right, but he's a crackpot, too.

Speculation aside, we've already seen corporate moves to stifle speech that they don't agree with; there have been several court cases at this point over telecom companies blocking messages that conflict with their interests, because they were successful in arguing early on that email and digital phone calls are "information" rather than "communication". As the public square is reduced, look for those sorts of erosions of our rights to become much more common. There are no checks and balances on privatized power, none.

I'm not saying the government hasn't gotten equally tyrannical. It has, I think everyone here knows it. Bush and Obama have been despots, and it's only getting worse. We're instituting programs that become their own reason for being, and suck up trillions of dollars in tax money to go directly to defense contractors, agribusiness, the media conglomerates, etc.

But we have a lot of protections from government tyranny. And as I said, power abhors a vacuum. So who would you rather have in power, making the decisions that affect your life? Someone you can elect and/or vote out of office, and whom the Constitution guarantees you limits on their power; or someone whose name you don't even know, hidden behind some boardroom door, ensconced there for life, to whom you have no appeal whatsoever if they are acting against your interests?

I do disagree, by the way, with treating government as some sort of oppressive "other". The paper said we have "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." If that's not true anymore, do something to fix it. But don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.
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Date:October 25th, 2013 03:29 am (UTC)
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The point is, we have constitutional protections from governmental dystopia, and if anyone tries to overturn those, they'd better get it done in one term, because we can vote the fuckers out. Privatized oppression we have no protections from or power over.
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