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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ron Paul's Libertopian Worldview Indispensably Fuels the Iraq Occupation He Simultaneously Opposes

Republican Party (and before that, Libertarian Party) Presidential hopeful Ron Paul is attracting no small amount of enthusiastic blogospheric attention these days -- and some of it from progressives -- all because he makes sensible noises opposing war while all the other dot-eyed white guys of his cohort are frothing incoherently for more blood and more torture the better to satisfy the unslakable hunger for human sacrifice so conspicuous in the curious Republican Culture of Life.

Of course it is appealing that Ron Paul has the sense to oppose the catastrophic war and ongoing murderous occupation of Iraq -- along with nearly everybody else in the country by now. Likewise, it is good that he is holding his Party's feet to the fire, reminding them of the historical Republican (at any rate, rhetorical) opposition to war. And, needless to say, I salute any concrete work he or anybody else does to end this atrocious occupation and help us resist efforts from the Killer Clown Administration to embark on further war adventures in Iran, Syria, or who knows where...

But I'll admit frustration and despair at the inevitable bumper stickers with which Ron Paul concludes his reasonable anti-war proclamations, always demanding "Less Government, Less Government, Less Government."

Even worse are "progressives" who respond to Paul's foolish but utterly predictable anti-governmentality with sympathy.

It is crucial to be clear about this. Without market fundamentalist ideology -- and its fantasy of a "natural, spontaneous order" that is always only shackled by big bad government -- the Iraq disaster would not have taken place, and certainly the ongoing occupation would not have taken its current form. (This isn't to deny the roles of racism, millenarianism, and sexist panic in play in this insanity, I'm just focusing on the corporatist dimension of our dementia brought up by Ron Paul's recent blogospheric celebrity.)

Iraq is literally a laboratory testing out idiotic never-workable "free market" economic daydreams with respect to tax policy, private contracting of social services, and so on. More concretely, it is a site of vast corruption, inequity, and criminal conflict (the condensed essence of the unregulated, and hence oligarchic, "free market" form).

What is needed in the US and elsewhere in the world, obviously, is good government, not less government. What is needed is democracy. In relatively democratic institutionalizations of government, government is the people in a truly non-negligible sense, and expressed in the context of such governments (whatever their flaws and hypocrisies) the desire for less government is always an expression of hostility for the people.

"Less Government" is always code for "all government is bad." Notice that this attitude never provides a criterion on the basis of which to determine how much less government is wanted so as to arrive at better governance.

And it will always be the case that when people who don't believe in the very possibility of good democratic government nevertheless fight to acquire power in such governments that they will, upon achieving their desired positions in these governments, go on from there to govern badly, they will be incompetent, they will be corrupt, they will loot and steal (and how better to profit from the vantage of the State than to be a war profiteer?)...

Those "progressives" who are crowing with pleasure at Paul's comments are just reflexively responding to the intuitive plausibility of anti-government rhetoric that has been relentlessly pounded into our skulls for decades, from Reagan through Clinton to the present without pause. Ron Paul has failed to learn from, and so to this day still symptomizes the worldview without which Iraq (and Katrina, as it happens) would not have taken its current disastrous form. His "opposition" to the war and ongoing occupation in Iraq must therefore be understood and judged in connection to his other stated positions in these matters. 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.

Unless we learn from the disastrous consequences of "free market" ideology we will just endlessly repeat them to the bitter end (climate catastrophe, existentially threatening warfare, planetary social collapse). 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.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it not governments that have propped up the corporate-militarists? In any case, that is moot, it is a 20th century problem.

A 20th century democratic action consists of getting a critical mass of like-minding people collaborating, who then build a regional consensus, meaning a 55% to force the remaining 45% to our way.

In the 21st century, things are different. The critical mass of like-minded people are spread throughout the world, and collaboration takes place over the globe. Region is less important. The critical mass now takes to pursuasive means as well as trade to show its influence. The people express, but in a different way.

Ron Paul is right for 21st century democracy.

Dale Carrico said...

First quick point: Intransigently nonmobile physical regions and geographical variations, vulnerable human bodies and ecosystems, indispensable physical infrastructures in need of maintenance all have a stubborn reality endlessly underestimated in worldviews that foreground intellectual factors (from Kantian cosmopolitanism to neoliberal free marketeers to digital utopianisms -- not to mention their many hybrids).

Second quick point: It is not the case that the State is the State is the State is the State: The conflict is between more versus less democratic institutionalizations of the State.

Democrats vs. Aristocrats.

Third quick point: Just because self-appointed neoliberal corporate-militarist aristocrats think they are a "meritocracy" rather than a hereditary aristocracy doesn't mean they are right, or that this constitutes a difference that makes much of a difference from the vantage that takes the key conflict to be one between democracy and incumbency.

Fourth quick point (Axioms that constitute a point of departure for thinking politically in the first place): Humanity is ineradicably plural in its capacities, accomplishments, aspirations; some plurality yields structural advantages; the advantaged struggle to retain their advantages come what may; from the perspective of advantage, the advantaged are always capable of retroactively clothing any conduct in the language of moral righteousness.

Institutions claiming a legitimate monopoly on the use of force to "maintain order" arise from these facts and however "different" you think the 21st century is, where these foundational matters are concerned things are exactly the Same As It Ever Was.

The fight that matters, then, once again, is between those who would democratize government as opposed to those who would use government to maintain incumbent elites.

A quick conclusion: The world right now is perishing from the waste, ignorance, and eager aggression of a minute fraction of the population (most of whom like to think they represent the "force of civilization" even even as they loot, rape, and destroy everything in sight). If things look "new" to you, it may be that you just aren't looking very hard, since this looks to me like a very old and ugly story, and if you aren't looking very hard this may be because you are (for now) a beneficiary of the bloodbath.

Don't take offense, I'm a beneficiary of this war machine, too, and I am to this day still too much a dupe and an ignoramus to fully resist the murderous machineries that support me. But everybody, including me, including you, can get ever more of a clue and fight ever more against the tide of incumbent aggression and for the tide of democratization.

And agree with you that some things are different. Peer to peer formations like the critical blogosphere, small campaign donation aggregation, and rapid resopnse online organization have discomfited the last half-century of coporate mass-mediation and manufacture of "consent" and now threaten the corporate party machines (of both parties in the United States and elsewhere), thus creating a key opening for democratization and popular government. But this is an inkling not an accomplishment, and its vulnerability is breathtaking.

I simply have to disagree with you: Ron Paul looks to me like the oldest story in the book, another libertopian who believes civil libertarianism is compatible with corporate capitalism. If that is the new "21 Century Democracy" then the facile "friendly fascism" peddled to the privileged by Ayn Rand ("America's persucted minority: Big Business"), Ronald Reagan ("Government Is the Problem"), Bush I ("New World Order"), Clinton ("The Era of Big Government Is Over," NAFTA, workfare, deregulation), Bush II ("Our MBA President," the Unitary Executive) then the new 21st Century democracy looks an awful lot like the old Robber Baron democracy to me.

All hail the digital retrofuturists!

Nicholai said...

What is "friendly fascism", and what does fascism have to do with libertarianism? Libertarians want more freedom while facists hate all freedom.

Andrew said...

You're confusing capitalism (completely free market) with corporatism (what we've had in America for at least the last 70 years). In a free market, no one can use the government as a tool or a weapon. If you give the government the power to regulate business, you also give the government the power to grant favors to business. You can't have it only one way. When the government no longer has the power to grant favors then corporations can no longer buy favors.

Travis Blog said...

Most of Ron Pauls support comes from Republicans and Independants who favor limited government, not progressives. I have tried for over a year to get progressives to support Ron Paul and they just will not do it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the author understands what he is taking about. He seems very confused on why corporations exist and what exactly a free market is.

Government exists for only one reason. To protect your rights form those that would take them away. That may be from a foreign nation, from a criminal or from the government itself. They do not exist to provide for us, they do not exist to make us happy, they do not exist to make us safe.

The only reason its there.. is for when I back over you mailbox and you try to beat my brains out with a baseball bat. Government is there to say.. "whoa.. guys, we can find a better way!" Direct harm, thats it.

Anonymous said...

First quick point: Intransigently nonmobile physical regions and geographical variations, vulnerable human bodies and ecosystems, indispensable physical infrastructures in need of maintenance all have a stubborn reality endlessly underestimated in worldviews that foreground intellectual factors (from Kantian cosmopolitanism to neoliberal free marketeers to digital utopianisms -- not to mention their many hybrids). etc..

..... This comment of your is ..really, really cute.. but ya wana know what. heh.. I can rip it apart with the answer to one question.

Who put the Baron in Robber Baron?

;)

Eric said...

"Friendly fascism" is where you get screwed by corporations instead of a government.

Dale Carrico said...

It's a little disheartening to see the self-assured dumbasses of the libertopian Reich-Wing are, as always, out in force, drawn via Google to Ron Paul's name like flies to shit. I wonder how many times the bright eyed boys of the Randroid Right will have to get pounded by the Man before it occurs to any of them that their stainless steel worldview has an edge just as apt to slice them as the rest of us....

Be that as it may, a few responses, for the peanut gallery:

Q: What is "friendly fascism", and what does fascism have to do with libertarianism? Libertarians want more freedom while facists hate all freedom.

A: Friendly Fascism is the name of a (flawed but prescient) popular book published in 1982 by Bertram Gross which diagnosed a number of the authoritarian undercurrents in corporate American society. There are, of course, any number of authors who make such a case now, from Frank Rich to David Sirota to Thom Hartmann. It's also the title of a funny, funky CD released in 1991 by the band Consolidated, which I liked very much in the day.

As for Libertarians wanting more freedom -- I daresay many do. Unfortunately, the facile market fundamentalist mantras that constitute the market libertopian worldview have never, nor in my view will they ever, succeed in facilitating the goal to which they claim to be dedicated.

Q: You're confusing capitalism (completely free market) with corporatism (what we've had in America for at least the last 70 years).

A: On the contrary, you are confusing the never-existing and never-to-arrive fantasy of an ideal "completely free market" with the always oligarchic actually-existing market formations (of which global corporate-militarism in the neoliberal "Washington Consensus" mode is the contemporary form) of which capitalism always consists in the real world.

Q: In a free market, no one can use the government as a tool or a weapon.

A: And in Cloud Cuckoo Land no one can use government except as a non fattening sweetener for my delicious coffee.

Q: If you give the government the power to regulate business, you also give the government the power to grant favors to business. You can't have it only one way. When the government no longer has the power to grant favors then corporations can no longer buy favors.

A: Quite so. And it is only by democratizing governance (eg, no taxation without representation), constraining it by means of clever expedients such as division of powers, making it accountable by means of an autonomous popular press, anti-secrecy provisions, and widespread education that one can circumvent the abuses inhering in such governing powers.

There is no way to wish away the inevitability of institutions that will take up the legitimate recourse to coercion. Certainly a sensible person doesn't throw away the baby with the bathwater, proclaiming the government's vulnerability to abuse on behalf of powerful interests justifies a pre-emptive surrender of government altogether to oligarchic rule by those very interests. Since public coercion is ineradicable, it is always an oligarchy assuring you of its identity with the "natural order" that you'll end up with once you relinquish democracy for its "statist" taint. You don't have the choice of a world without state coercion. You have the choice of more versus less democratic states. No doubt, it is just my "confusion" which leads me to fail so stubbornly to see the easy solutions that have seduced my libertopian interlocutors, however.

Q: Most of Ron Pauls support comes from Republicans and Independants who favor limited government, not progressives. I have tried for over a year to get progressives to support Ron Paul and they just will not do it.

A: I still wonder at the conceptual incoherence of the rhetoric of "limited government" here. Is my own demand for more democratic government somehow a rhetoric of unlimited government? Government to turn back the tides, to repeal gravitation, to give the libertopians the free lunch they crave when they sell of the infrastructure on which their rugged individualist commerce nonetheless depends...

Why not specify the limits and propose thereby an account of good governance in debate with alternate accounts? Instead, one gets the endlessly reiterated call for "less" and "smaller" government, as if diminution is inherently good, when obviously this can only really be true if government as such is bad and so less and less of it is always only a good thing.

Of course, this kind of specification would demand that libertopians actually admit that their viewpoint amounts to an advocacy of lawlessness (which is also how it always plays out on the ground, exactly in proportion to the extent of its implementation), which few libertopians, even, will swallow when they're sober.

As for my good reader's sigh of resignation at failing thus far to convince "progressives" to embrace Ron Paul's market fundamentalist religion, I daresay you should keep at it. This is America, after all, and one should remember there are always a goodly number of folks all too eager to be told that swallowing yet again the hook of received bourgeois opinions they have been peddled all their lives somehow constitutes this time a daring and new "solution" to the problems they suffer in consequence of the last generation of idiots who believed exactly the same self-congratulatory line of crap.

Q: I don't think the author understands what he is taking about. He seems very confused on why corporations exist and what exactly a free market is.

A: Indeed, I can't tell you how many's the day I've woken to the new dawn in a haze of befuddlement, tragically unable to grasp the subtle genius of Ayn Rand's earthshattering pronouncement that "A is A," or to fully take up the faith in the robust pieties of Austrian and neoclassical economics, none of which has ever yet managed to account for human conduct except at its most stupidly short-sighted and avaricious, nor to provide guidance for global development without imposing ruin on all but the very richest of the rich, Saints and Gods among men every last one of them, one can be well assured. Oh, what a sad thing it is indeed to be confused like me.

Captain Mike said...

OK, let's get a grip here.
First, Ayn Rand has nothing to do with any of this. Yes, Rand's writings are sometimes the path that leads people to libertarian ideas, but she is very, very, very far from representing the ideals Ron Paul believes in.
Ron Paul follows Austrian economic ideas. It was the "Austrians" (Carl Menger, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, Frederick Heyek (nobel prise winner) and others) who discovered the true relationship between political freedom and economic freedom.
The author of this article obviously has no clue regarding Austrian theory and therefor nothing he has to say is of any relevance whatsoever.

Dale Carrico said...

"First, Ayn Rand has nothing to do with any of this. Yes, Rand's writings are sometimes the path that leads people to libertarian ideas..."

Indeed, the fact that libertopians from Rand to the Austrians constitute a tight circuit of self-reinforcing faith-based wingnut pronouncements, however contrary to sense and consequence otherwise has nothing to do with anything here.

"It was the "Austrians" (Carl Menger, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, Frederick Heyek (nobel prise winner) and others) who discovered the true relationship between political freedom and economic freedom."

Gee, he won the Nobel Prize? You don't say! Do you feel comparable enthusiasm for all the Nobel winners, or only for those few who support your libertopian daydreams? I must say, I especially enjoy your earnest declamation about the discovery by the Austrians of "the true relationship between political freedom and economic freedom." You sound a bit like some Scientologist or somebody's odd bespectacled uncle who swears he's got a weather machine he's invented up in his garage.

"The author of this article obviously has no clue regarding Austrian theory and therefor nothing he has to say is of any relevance whatsoever."

The author of this article has come to a different conclusion than you regarding the usefulness of many of the theories of the authors' you seem to be taken with yourself. Now, you can pretend that this must mean I haven't read them, or that I'm too stupid to understand them, or that I'm too suffused with envy to admit to their general fabulosity, or whatever, but I'm afraid that just makes you a sad clown.

Dale Carrico said...

I can see now it was foolish to answer any of these dimwits. Yes, yes, I'm "confused" and "ill-informed" and the genius of the market will sort everything out in due course. Forgive me, quick, my Mickey-eared free marketeers (how blinding bright your sharp filed teeth and slick black insect eyes!). Where oh where's the corporate teat I can genuflect to prior to taking a long soul shattering slurp? Surely it has not forsaken me simply because I pined for some fleet moment for something more like democracy? Oh, my betters, my betters, bringers of the wholesome safe cigarette and the sound science of climate change denial, worthy holders of multimillion dollar no-bid contracts and demanders of market discipline for the precarious billions, fountainheads of endless innovations like the no-pour spout and the Big Grab bag of chips, what was I thinking? Please, rain down upon us all your sweet deathdealing genius, how I long for your gentle motherly embrace! Ron Paul for President, man! Yeah, woo-hoo! What this country needs now is a President who supports Amurican business at long last! These librul socialists in the Bush Administration are just too much!

JayDee said...

Do you even know the difference between the Free Market and Mercantilism? A mercantile system is what creates the need for an empire not the free market.

Dale Carrico said...

Do you even know the difference between pinto beans and magic beans? Magic beans don't actually exist.

Eric Dondero said...

You've got this whole thing Bass Ackwards.

Ron Paul's views on foreign policy are horrendouse. He's Pro-Surrender to Islamo-Fascism. He thinks if we just pull-out the Islamo-Fascists will just go away and leave us alone. How absurd.

But his views on domestic issues - cutting government to the bone - are right on.

Dale Carrico said...

Thanks for dropping by, Eric Dondero. Your foreign policy looks to be well described in a single word: Racism. Your domestic policy looks to be well described in a single word: Feudalism. Yet another proud giant speaks from the podium of the libertopian brain trust.

JayDee said...

Alright Dale, I get it, corporations are bad.. hella hella bad. Bad like green cottage cheese. Bad like underwear that say "Home of the Whopper". Boo all corporations.

Why oh why can't we just have the government run every business just like they run the DMV? A bunch of un-motivated bureaucrats who wouldn't loose there job even if they smoked so much rock they forgot where work was.

Your so right, Government ROCKS like NINJA!

Dale Carrico said...

So, those are your options JayDee? Corporate Feudalism or Big Brother? That's honestly the best you can do? Read the words of the argument. Democratize the state, don't sell it to corporations, don't smash it into feudal prehistory, democratize it. Use your brain, think for yourself, crawl out of the cartoon you've mistaken for the world.

Dale Carrico said...

Jay Dee wrote: The option is simple. STOP using force on other people! It's not a hard concept to grasp. Till you do I don't care WHAT you call it I'll be against it.

Certainly, we do have the option to avoid force, fraud, and criminality as individuals. But we do not have the option to wish away the fact that human plurality will generate structural conditions that produce a set of institutions that will claim legimitimate recourse to coercion to preserve order. Pouting and stamping your foot at this reality doesn't actually constitute an insight or a political philosophy, it constitutes a refusal to take politics seriously in the most basic way. Those who truly love freedom and consensual relations between people (and I assume that includes you), must strive to democratize government so as to restrain its inherent vulnerability to oligarchy. In my opinion, that is the best option on offer for freedom loving people. I don't say this because I know less than you or am less devoted to freedom than you or am less hopeful than you, but simply because I disagree with you about how best to politically sustain a free, fair, nonduressed, consensual social order.

JayDee continues: BTW I noticed you deleted the links to Michael Badnarik's Constitution class, and to Ruwart's book.

Maybe you don't want your readers to find our your an absolute joke? You don't want people to actually become educated about liberty.. because your socialist idea of having everyone live YOUR way wont work then, will it?

Here I'll drop the philosophy of liberty just to add to the pile.


You can argue with me directly all you want, but if you post links to libertopian cult crap expect me to delete you. Amor Mundi doesn't exist to provide a conduit through which libertopians proselytize for their facile fundamentalist faith. As you see, however, everything else you posted to me is retained in this response to you.

Dale Carrico said...

JayDee wrote:Democracy is a BAD THING. Democracy lead to George Bush and the Iraq War. Democracy is tyranny of the majority. Its absolutely impossible to truly ever have a representative government. How do you equally represent people who disagree?

George Bush did not win the popular vote in 2000, George Bush was unconstitutionally "selected" by the Supreme Court that year in a palpably partisan order that truncated an ongoing actually democratic process that would have yielded a different and democratic result, and Bush benefited decisively from anti-democratic voter disenfranchisement in 2004, meanwhile the Iraq War and Occupation is opposed by a supermajority of America citizens. How democracy gets the blame for anti-democratic forces undermining our republic is quite beyond me.

Be that as it may, you raise a few genuinely argumentative points, and that means I can actually talk to you. Now, democracy is the idea that people should have a say in the public decisions that affect them. There are indefinitely many possible implementations of this idea and people of good will and good sense can easily debate about and experiment with these implementations. To say that democracy is always only tantamount to mob rule is a familiar criticism one finds in the mouths of self-appointed aristocratic elites who think they deserve the power to dictate the public terms under which others live. Presumably, you find such notions offensive since, for one thing, you are a member of the mob, and for another opposing this sort of thing seems to be at the heart of your own anti-statist anti-authoritarian rhetoric.

Unfortunately, the choice you have is either a government making legitimate recourse to force beholden always only to incumbent elites or one more beholden to the diversity of people it governs.

It is true as you say that there are ineradicable differences in the circumstances and aspirations of people in a given society, and that in a world of finite resources this means that not everybody can get exactly what they want. Democratic politics struggles (in its flawed way) to reconcile the diverse aspirations of the citizen-stakeholders in society in ways that reflect their interests as they themselves testify to these. The point is not the perfect satisfaction of every aspiration (an obvious impossibility) but a compromise sufficiently satisfying to all to offer up a nonviolent alternative for the adjudication of disputes.

Stop trying to peddle the facile libertopian catechisms here, and you will find I am quite happy to discuss ideas with thoughtful people.

JayDee said...

I'm sorry, I don't think you are dumb enough to believe what you wrote in your article and I think your just upset that democrats are listening to Ron Paul and his message of liberty. It scares you terribly that you wont be able to force people around with laws anymore. My god!!! People might smoke!! Oh the humanity! thats BAD for you.. NO, children nooo!

Here this link is good, its about you. http://bbs.freetalklive.com/index.php?topic=14017.0

JayDee said...

Democracy would have caused the war because the people supported the war after 9/11. Screw the president in a democracy the people rule right?? That mean we go to war and bomb the piss our of innocent nations if the majority agrees?

Dale, I'm not part of your society, and I'm not a member of the mob. I signed no agreement, I gave the government no authority to rule over me. Where do they think they get it?

Your government is no different than a gang of thugs, and I follow their laws out of fear. The very notion that something such as government exists is a fallacy. It's a fictional concept that everyone just goes along with, in the end its just men stealing and using force on other men.

Nonviolent alternative? How about this.. If I don't want to follow your little rules.. just how long will it be before you shoot me? The governments ONLY tool is violence or the threat of violence. They can force you to do something, force you not to do something, or force you to pay for something.. if you don't like that they will force you into a cage and if you still want to argue with the government when government comes to put you in a cage they will shoot you.

Nonviolent alternative? hah! Get real.

JayDee said...

I know, some questions are just too hard to answer with a worldview like yours. They don't fit, you can't justify it, so your just going to ignore it.

Someday this wonderful thing you call government will turn its teeth on you.. and you will find yourself powerless to resist its terrible nature.. It's happening RIGHT NOW (REAL ID, NAU, Patriot Act, military tribunals, suspending habeas corpus, and on and on..)

Meanwhile.. what's the so called opposition doing? YOUR Democrats are all too happy to support it! They could end it today and they don't. They smile and vote themselves the very powers of an oppressive government.. one more powerful than the world has ever seen before.

Like any other, they want to keep there own unjust criminal syndicate afloat..

Anonymous said...

It was not clear, do you realize that libertarians oppose corporations? These are legal fictions creates by government wherein **the government** protects people from liability, from being responsible for there harmful actions.

The vast majority of Americans were for the Iraq war when it started so we understand Democracy leads to War.

"When goods don't cross borders, soldiers will."
– Fredric Bastiat

"Democracy says it is acceptable to take money or property (or rights) from a nonconsenting individual because he is outnumbered."
– Unknown

"Democracy has proved only that the best way to gain power over people is to assure the people that they are ruling themselves. Once they believe that, they make wonderfully submissive slaves."
– Joseph Sobran

"In order to prevent democracy from becoming a tyranny over minorities, individual rights must supersede all democratic voting and all regulations. Rights must come first. Laws should come second, and only to protect those rights; nothing more."
– Stuart K. Hayashi

"In a democracy, two wolves and a sheep take a majority vote on what's for supper."
– Anonymous

"Democracy – A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meeting or any form of direct expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic – negating property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it is based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard for consequences. Results in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy."
– 1928 U.S. Army Training Manual

"A democracy is a place where numerous elections are held, at great cost, without issues, and with interchangeable candidates."
– Gore Vidal

"Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance."
– H.L. Mencken

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury."
– Alexander Tytler

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
– John Adams (1814)

Wow, 10 quotes and no Rand, how did I do it? ;)

Dale Carrico said...

At least you have the good sense to quote Gore Vidal. It should go without saying that to champion democracy as I do is hardly to defend the status quo. The link at the top of my blog is to Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! By all means, listen in a few mornings in a row and educate yourself.

As for libertarians opposing corporations, you're not going to drag me into a terminological squabble about just which market fundamentalist pamphleteer gets to describe his particular wingnut manifesto as the Holy Grail that speaks the really and for truly true libertarian platform. It's true that in Europe the term has (or had) a more respectable anarcho-syndicalist connotation before the Randroid-types started dumbing down the discourse there as they have long since done hereabouts.

But in the USA the word libertarian unquestionably shorthands for a constellation of market fundamentalist viewpoints: Some of these are marginally more interesting and economically literate than others, for all I know maybe yours included -- Most of which are cheerful cheerleaders for the neoliberal "free market" politics of the immiserating septic "Washington Consensus" -- But every one of which contributes to be the overall degenerating tide of the anti-democratic Right, even when some versions qualify their positions here or there out of a modicum of decency or sense. I'll make an exception for some of the copyfight libertarians, though. They're good on their issues and most of them are educable more generally.

Congratulations on failing to quote the terminally awful romance novelist cum Amway salesman Ayn Rand, tho. Perhaps for you there's hope.