[Ron Paul's] "opposition" to the war and ongoing occupation in Iraq must… be understood and judged in connection to his other stated positions…. And this is certainly true as well for other market libertarians who like to make "anti-war" arguments in an era when the specific institutions of corporate-militarist globalization define what is meant by "free trade" and "markets" in the first place…. If the lesson you learn from Iraq is "Less Government!" you may as well simply intone to the corporate-militarists who are alone in profiting from these bloodsoaked conflicts, "Please, Sir, can I have another?" Be assured, they will cheerfully oblige you.
There is just no arguing, it seems, with market fundamentalists when they are in the full froth of self-congratulatory fervor. In this they appear, after all, pretty much as bad as any other fundamentalists you care to meet when the pet slogans of their faith are up for discussion. And I suppose I should have expected a barking dog brigade would find their way to my posts yesterday via search engines attuned to the radioactive glow of words like "Libertarian" and "Ayn Rand" and "War." Needless to say, it is ultimately quixotic to try to talk sense to people who think feudalism is rendered freedom through the expedient word magic of redescribing it as a "free market."
No doubt, the Libertopian True Believers will bug their eyes at this and proclaim me (again) hopelessly confused, stupid, ignorant, and so on. And I daresay I will simply have to leave them for now to their consoling fairy tales and hope that Iraq, Katrina, Blackwater, Social Security privatization, and the rest of the Killer Clown College's domestic debacles will have discredited the right wing "politics" of privatization and crony capitalism and deregulation without end enough that the online Libertopian Noise Boys will be too tainted with the stink of conspicuous failure to do much more for a while in the way of damage. Meanwhile, a truly progressive anti-corporate-militarist left, invigorated by new peer-to-peer media formations, may just have the breathing space we need in which to re-educate Americans about the Four Freedoms, and about the emancipatory promise of an informed, nonduressed, consensual, technoscientifically literate democratic civilization.
My only real regret is that in tossing off my little Sunday morning editorial yesterday I failed to provide any links to other writers considerably more respectable than myself who have made complementary arguments. There are actually any number of them, but I will insist (and not for the first time) that everybody should have read by now the essay Baghdad Year Zero, by Naomi Klein, published in Harper's, September, 2004. A short article, "Bush aiming to remake Iraq as a free-market paradise," published in The Chicago Sun-Times by William O'Rourke, April 3, 2005, complements the point the following year. And Joshua Holland's Bush's Iraq: A Bloodbath Economy, published in AlterNet the next year on July 27, 2006, continues the theme. Google provides countless supplementary readings to lead one on from there, for any who are truly curious about this argument.
The basic point I made yesterday was that as a ferocious critic of the Iraq war and present occupation myself of course I support Ron Paul and every other public figure who opposes the catastrophic occupation of Iraq, but that my support for his anti-war position has to be a qualified one since it is my view that Ron Paul and other market libertarians frame their own anti-war positions in a way that simultaneously supports a false and already dangerously widely accepted "free market" ideology that has a crucial share in the responsibility for the concrete form the Iraq debacle took and continued acceptance of which assures comparable atrocities in the future.
This argument seems to have been regarded by many of my interlocutors as a contradiction revealing my deep incapacity as a thinker worthy of a hearing. Since I still cannot discern a contradiction here, I daresay maybe that is so.
I expected to hear proper criticisms that my focus on free market ideology backburners too much the ugly racism, scary millenarianism, and anxious patriarchy likewise spectacularly on display in America's planetary War Machine. That would have been a useful discussion. Instead, I was informed that I do not understand how dreamy free markets will be on that glorious day when we "finally" let them loose unfettered upon the world. I'm hoping this stunning stupidity was some kind of awful ugly idiotic fluke. But I will say I have never been more convinced that there are few things more crucial for champions of democracy to do right here and right now than to educate Americans and other privileged people that the "free market" moonshine they've been slurping for decades literally constitutes a hostile corporate takeover of the institutions of popular democracy by a minute minority of incument interests driven by short-sighted and sociopathic competitive calculations that are turning the world we live in to shit.