This is from Roderick Long:
[L]ibertarians, and especially left-libertarians, need to focus more on simply getting our position recognised. Getting it recognised is of course not enough – one then has to argue that the position is correct – but I think such argument and defense are to a large extent pointless if people can’t see what the position being defended even is.
Our vital task, then, is to get the word out that there is a position out there that includes the following theses:
1. Big business and big government are (for the most part) natural allies.
2. Although conservative politicians pretend to hate big government, and liberal politicians pretend to hate big business, most mainstream policies – both liberal and conservative – involve (slightly different versions of) massive intervention on behalf of the big-business/big-government elite at the expense of ordinary people.
3. Liberal politicians cloak their intervention on behalf of the strong in the rhetoric of intervention on behalf of the weak; conservative politicians cloak their intervention on behalf of the strong in the rhetoric of non-intervention and free markets – but in both cases the rhetoric is belied by the reality.
4. A genuine policy of intervention on behalf of the weak, if liberals actually tried it, wouldn’t work either, since the nature of government power would automatically warp it toward the interests of the elite.
5. A genuine policy of non-intervention and free markets, if conservatives actually tried it, would work, since free competition would empower ordinary people at the expense of the elite.
6. Since conservative policies, despite their associated free-market rhetoric, are mostly the diametrical opposite of free-market policies, the failures of conservative policies do not constitute an objection to (but rather, if anything, a vindication of) free-market policies.
Of course we should be prepared to defend these theses through economic reasoning and historical evidence, but the main goal at this point, I think, should be not so much to defend them as simply to advertise their existence.
My only qualm is the inclusion in the beginning of "left" libertarian -- I think it's unnecessary and misleading.
The progressive media doesn't seem to know whether they should attack conservatives or libertarians, so they lump them together as rightwing kooks. Everyone who protests progressive over-reach gets thrown in the rightwing kook bin.
The 912 protest is definitely not libertarian-based, but many of the ideas coming out of the protest are libertarian-influenced. Here I'll make a distinction between libertarian philosophy and libertarian sentiment. To be more specific, a large part of the 912 protest could be called a re-emergence of classical liberalism with Reagan conservatism thrown in to make it something distinct from libertarianism proper.
Then there are the fringe elements involved -- the rightwing, conspiracy, militia crowd -- but they seem to be of marginal importance. I imagine there's many reasons why people attended, but I think it's safe to say that many, if not most, are dissatisfied with too much state power. This was bound to happen after the bailouts, the stimulus, the auto company takeovers, the loss of wealth in investments and home values, and the healthcare reform efforts which have frightened the baby boomers going into retirement and the elderly firmly fixed in their retirement.
So, although there is a libertarian influence regarding some of the ideas, such as limiting government and a return to the free market, there is also the fact that practical financial and security issues motivate many protesters. Most of the protesters aren't wild-eyed libertarian revolutionaries, or conservative plants to reestablish the Republican Party -- they are people concerned about their retirement and their childrens' future.
Too much has happened in too short of a time frame, and people are concerned that government is out of control and is bankrupting the country. They see unions being protected and big banks getting billions of dollars, then they hear about cap and trade, healthcare reform, and they begin to reevaluate what type of country we are -- they begin thinking about political principles, and they begin to think something must be done before it's too late. When they raised their voices in town halls, they were called an angry mob and un-american.
Government was not responsive to legitimate concerns, but that's to be expected -- everyone seems to know how arrogant our representatives have become -- and now there is evidence that corruption is out of control. People begin thinking about government and they ask questions, the conversation starts, they remember the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the dormant American love of freedom rises to the top -- so, they protest.
Yes, it is still mainly about Medicare and SS, programs people accepted and paid into, but now they are re-evaluating all the government efforts which they accepted before without much fuss. It's the extent to which the nation is changing, not that they are being hypocritical about accepting Medicare then complaining about "socialism". It now seems that rather than a mixed economy, we might actually be heading toward a European socialism. People might have slid into the populist trap of criticizing capitalism and the fatcat rich bastards, but that was just frustration with the struggle of middle class concerns -- I don't think they ever wanted capitalism to be completely destroyed.
It's like when you criticize a family member, but then defend them when others attack and they are in danger. The rich are still our family -- we don't want a bunch of paternalistic technocrats to actually destroy them -- well, maybe the ones who have used government to gain favors and are part of the problem -- but not Fred who owns the town's largest car dealership and made a bundle -- hell, Fred's okay, just a little snooty.
Yes, a lot of these concerns are plain old American concerns and people who've never done this type of thing before did it -- but all the hoopla has made people reconsider what they want America to be -- this is where the libertarian influence has helped people understand the need for limits and the perseverance it takes to safeguard freedom.
It's time to ask if the government and major media sources are creating a racial divide in this country. First, let's admit that racism exists, among all races, but also admit that racism is not the problem it once was in our country, not by a long shot.
Government policies since LBJ's Great Society have created a dependence on federal and state welfare programs among minorities, although many African-Americans and hispanics have moved into the middle class and many have become wealthy. Race relations have greatly improved among the American people, but outdated government poverty efforts are holding minorities back.
The 912 protest in D.C. was about government spending and over-reach, yet many in the media are already framing the event in terms of race because most of the participants were white. Was the almost total lack of minority support for McCain in the last election due to racism?
The fact is that most minorities supported Obama, so they are not going to show up at a protest which would harm his administration. But, the problem is not Obama, it's progressivism. It appears most minorities support progressive policies because these policies, in part, ostensibly help the poor through the redistribution of wealth.
Redistribution of wealth hurts the economy by taking money from those who produce the most which could be used for economic expansion and job creation, and it makes investing in the economy a risky practice.
Progressive policies and government intervention in general have created high unemployment and have put a strain on government social programs because government revenues are shrinking -- this means the government has less money to spend on welfare.
The American economy is becoming technology-dependent, so most of the high-paying jobs require special knowledge of the new technologies. Public schools are getting worse and are not preparing minorities for the job market which demands specialization in technology.
Minorities should be demanding that government get out of the way and allow free market solutions to create better education opportunites and a more vibrant economy which is creating all kinds of jobs. There would be a bridge necessary for a number of years to help minorities break their dependence on government social programs, but it must begin now -- and progressives are not going to start the transition.
Minorities should have been at the 912 protest in large numbers -- progressives are doing them no favors. This is not about racism -- it's about economic growth, limited government and freedom for all -- government paternalism is an insult and a danger to all races. We don't need a Big Daddy -- we need a free economy and education which prepares all people for the present challenges.
I just finished watching a CNN segment in which more than one pundit, and the host, called racism the background noise in the 912 protest and the elephant in the room.
I won't deny that there are racists who dislike Obama, but to claim that the gathering of over a million people (I'm going by reported numbers) is motivated by racism is desperation on the part of Democrat partisans.
I don't believe it will be too long before many African-Americans come around to the understanding that the government is doing them no favors. What many people need, including minorities, especially minorities, is jobs and a vibrant economy, not more social programs. Government over-reach and spending is holding the economy back, and minorities will figure this out before too long and realize that capitalism is the route to escape from poverty, or the advancement to prosperity -- small businesses being a major route to prosperity.
Just by our government ending corporate welfare, this would help minority entrepreneurs who have good ideas for small, innovative companies. Plus, the more stable the economy the more venture capital will be available for these minority entrepreneurs to launch their businesses. Minorities will never get ahead depending on government to resolve the problem of economic malaise and corporate favoritism -- so, they will need to join the effort to fight progressive policies which use minority problems to further progressive power grabs. Minorities should be fighting for voucher programs and school choice, and they should be fighting for the end of progressive policies which are killing the market and killing jobs.