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    The Will to Create

    Entries in libertarians (101)


    A partial surrender for the time being

    As Big Government flounders and spins in incompetency and corruption, libertarian thought has received a temporary boost. As I've written previously, both Left and Right have taken issue with the current popularity of some libertarian ideas, while others appear to be opening up to libertarianism. The centrists are also getting in on the controversy, but as no-labels mediators when extremes appear. Let's drop Left and Right labels, and let's all get along, they say, but only if we agree on some absolutes, like the State must maintain control over safety nets and education and some troubling parts of the economy and other stuff.

    Those conservatives and liberals who are attacking libertarian ideas are likely more honest than those giving lip service to libertarian ideas because they can't currently justify the sad condition of the State. The libertarian-friendly statists are not serious, though, because they're still holding onto the few justifications they have left for "partial" statism, and as soon as a better government pops up that hits a streak of wins and appears efficient and competent, they'll all be back in the fold rallying for State action and their pet causes.

    Statism must be eliminated entirely, and that means leaving assistance for the unfortunate, education, the economy, and everything except the protection of rights, to the private sector -- and even the protection of rights can be accomplished without what we now have in Washington Dc. No, the liberal-tarians are not ready for that type of innovation and freedom -- they're just having a hard time justifying some of the government's actions -- it's a short-term fling with libertarianism, nothing serious. 


    The efficient government

    Although I'm happy to see young students taking up the cause of liberty, Givens sounds much like the modern liberals decades ago who rationalized moving away from classical liberalism because of the harshness of a free market and the social injustice inherent in capitalism. This is always the movement that suppresses libertarianism -- capitulation to the politically correct narrative.

    I would say that efficiency is only important once there are strict limitations placed on the power of government, otherwise you have your trains running on time, but, otherwise...well, you know the rest.

    Perhaps Mr. Givens will realize that being consistent and passionate isn't necessarily being hateful or unhappy or arrogant -- happiness is in the fire and resistance, and, believe me, statists are masters of hate and marginalization of those who want to limit power. Givens has obviously accepted how the statists frame libertarians and therefore wants to present a new, friendly and humble version open to woking hand in hand with reasonable people to make government more efficient -- good luck with that. Just don't let them know what you really believe, although it sounds like owning a belief is also uncool, so that won't be a problem.

    All this "post" stuff has run its course.


    Conservatives opposing libertarians

    As usual, when an election approaches the opposition to libertarianism is as robust from the Right as it is from the Left. Libertarians look at issues like immigration, foreign intervention and the War on Drugs and they evaluate the government response, plus they apply principles. With immigration, can the government response so far be more confusing and incompetent? In many ways, when people blame "Mexicans" for the immigration problem, they are missing the fundamental problems -- both government and American businesses have created the situation we have today, and the "Mexicans" have simply responded, driven by their need to make money. If America didn't manufacture immigrant magnets, the immigrants wouldn't be as attracted. Even the natural attraction of America as a land of more opportunity than they have at home doesn't cause problems with illegal immigration if there aren't the other incentives offered by businesses and government. No matter where you are, you have to support yourself in order to live, and if businesses weren't breaking laws to take advantage of immigrant's willingness to work for low pay, thus using the situation to coerce the immigrants and treat them unfairly, and if government didn't have so many confusing regulations, and didn't deal with immigration politically with incompetence, and didn't have a welfare state ripe for corruption and abuse, the illegal immigration problem wouldn't be what it is. We need innovative answers, and Williamson is obviously challenged that way.

    As for foreign intervention, I don't think it's necessary to say much, just look at our interventions over the last 80 or so years, and then look at the real situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, then ask yourself if we need a new foreign relations/war doctrine. Our interventions are collossally misguided and counter-productive and wasteful. For God's sake, any intelligent person who can't see the folly of our foreign interventions is delusional. Our Founders warned against foreign entanglements, and a conservative ought to appreciate that. The excuse that the times are more complex and dangerous doesn't fly -- it only makes non-intervention and strong  national defense more reasonable. But the principle is that we shouldn't be a coercive force in international affairs unless we are threatened with attack, or have been attacked.

    The War on Drugs has filled up prisons and wasted billions of dollars, and people continue to use drugs. I think the problem with Williamson and those like him is that they're not good at micro-modeling, thinking about things in a new way. Why are we ruining the lives of millions who merely used drugs and harmed no one? I agree with pounishment is someone under the influence breaks a rational law, but the law is irrational when it comes to drugs, and the consequences of using law enforcement to deal with drug use have been horrendous and terribly wasteful. We should begin thinking about fundamental solutions and alternatives to government social engineering.

    I at least know that what government is doing is not working, so why not come up with new ideas, and why not question the wisdom of allowing government to intervene in so many areas of our lives and to reign with a too-free hand overseas?


    Going forward

    The more I think about Left and Right in politics, the more I believe that another label is needed to make room for libertarians, limited government conservatives and independent liberals who haven't sold their souls to the State. A political coalition is possible that could challenge both parties, but time will tell if this is possible. One more term of Democrat intervention and Republican capitulation ought to make it clear that the status quo is not changing without extreme pressure.

    Among statists, it's been popular to address anti-statists by proclaiming that we are government, so if there is criticism against government, it's against ourselves, but this is not a valid claim. Politicians promise one way of governing, then when in office use their power to do the opposite of what they promised. The public is responsible to blame for demanding that representatives bring home the bacon, but we no longer have control over how individual representatives act in the statist system -- if you vote one out, another comes in and does the same thing. Plus, government is made up of a huge, bloated bureacracy which is on auto-pilot and is outside public control.

    The public's becoming more informed in the Information Age, but we've got a long way to go -- we'll see how people react to the marketing blitz on the Left to re-elect Obama and a Democrat congress, and we'll see how the Republicans act, or fail to act, to limit government and implement a free market. The current hoopla surrounding the bin Laden killing is not a good sign -- if our nation can get caught up in manufactured military glory and ignore the serious problems caused by our statist system, then there's been little change.

    The road forward for those who atttempt to limit government power might be a lonely road. I don't feel good about what's happening right now -- the nation's being led by manipulators, and there's nothing they won't say or do to stay in power -- they'll even paint themselves in the colors of the flag and pretend to be selfless servants.


    Radical Right

    I started this off a few days ago writing about the Old Right which was mostly libertarian. The Old Right came about from around 1920 to 1950 and was mostly an opposition movement fighting against American intervention in Europe, then opposition to the growing statism which culminated in the New Deal. Albert Jay Nock was probably considered the father of the Old Right, although at first Nock was considered on the Left, before the Left embraced the State and war as the progressive routes to equality and social justice, and as a reaction to the Depression which was erroneously blamed on a non-existent free market.

    I said in the first post that we need radicals for freedom. The current political fashion is to dull differences and pretend that we're not that far off in our political beliefs, and that compromise and unity can create the world the technocrats intended. The far Left understands the differences between their agenda and the agenda of proponents for limited government and a free market, but the liberals on the Left are pushing for compromise now that statism has shown the serious flaws of which many of us have warned. The far Left honestly wants to destroy capitalism and redistribute the wealth in an American-style statist system.  The liberals cannot let go of their worldview built on the platform of the Democrat Party, but they realize that the libertarian Right has been correct about many economic matters. So, now, revisionists are busy at work blaming the extremes for upsetting the modern liberal vision of technocratic, genteel, polite management from smart, progressive and compassionate leaders. 

    Liberals and moderates are still convinced that the technocrats can do it right if the extremes don't pressure their representatives into battles and stand-offs. This is basically what the Old Right fought against to start with when the Left and many who before fought against State power then capitulated after WWI when the vision of Great Accomplishments in social engineering and central planning got their attention. They knew that Hitler and Stalin were extremists and did it all wrong, but they embraced the idea of central control and social engineering done with American style intelligence and compassion.

    The fascist ideas were especially pushed behind the scenes by Big Business, because industry captains knew the value of protection from competition. It was the intellectuals, though, who made fascism respectable by giving it another name and claiming grand societal benefits. Almost everyone who realized the benefits of using State power for influence, prestige and protection jumped on board, and, of course, they all had virtuous reasons for doing so.

    Many of the liberals going forward were successful upper middle class whites who sincerely saw social engineering and central planning as a way to attain social justice and help those blocked from opportunity. What the liberals didn't realize is it was statism that blocked opportunity, and that statism had been creeping forward since the beginning of America. However, the political class succeeded in framing capitalism as the culprit for inequality and injustice. During the early American years of capital formation, there were many problems in the market, and most of these problems were worsened by government intervention, yet a "free" market received the blame. This path led to the idea of a mixed economy and everyone accepted it as the normal progression of a civilized society -- Europe told them so.

    It has only been the Old Right, the libertarians, and limited government conservatives today who've consistently pushed for a limited government and a truly free market. It's been libertarians fighting against overseas interventions, the Fed, monster creations like Fannie and Freddie, regulations which cripple small and medium size businesses while protecting the corporate behemoths like GE and GM.

    We don't need luke-warm compromisers and another round of libertarian capitulation, as the liberals want in order to cover up the damage -- no, we need radicals for limited government and a free market. We need to make whatever changes are necessary to destroy statism once and for all, because all that's left is power protection, and efforts to maintain State power are savaging this country's economy and spirit.

    Liberals have to return to their roots in classical liberalism and realize they've been mistaken. Many liberals claim we've come too far with statist practices to turn back time, so we have to make small, incremental changes and tweak the system through smart compromises. Even if this is a sincere position, it's impossible, because it's been tried over and over, and all that happens is that the State grows in power, the private sector becomes weaker, and the un-connected lose more freedom.

    Whether the libertarian Right loses or not, there should be an opposition, and it should not waver on principles.

    More later