II. Whenever a right wing politician declares all government wasteful, criminal, and corrupt you should pay close attention, because he is announcing his plans.
III. Anti-tax zealots are the ones who think that civilization is the only free lunch.
IV. To declare that money is speech is to ensure that only money talks.
V. To declare that corporations are persons is to ensure that actual persons are serfs.
VI. One will never go far wrong when confronted by a self-described libertarian in America simply to assume that by this term they mean to say they are just another Republican asshole, but one who also wants, sensibly enough, to smoke pot or chew some hooker's foot without fear of arrest.
VII. Gay Republicans are usually white guys who experience "homophobia" primarily as their heartbreaking exclusion from white-racist patriarchal class privileges to which they feel themselves otherwise perfectly entitled.
VIII. "Free Market" ideologues always begin as a criminal conspiracy and always end as a suicide pact.
IX. Any “big-tent” organization big enough to accommodate right-wing ideology will soon be a big tent empty of almost anybody but right-wing zealots.
X. However much they insist on their difference from conventional conservative politicians no American-style market libertarian argument will ever have any life in the actual world except to the extent that it is appropriated by conservatives for conservative ends.
XI. Staunchly "anti-war" market libertarians tend to be sublimely indifferent to the extent to which modern war-making is an essentially entrepreneurial activity.
XII. The only way to end modern wars is to make war-making unprofitable. It would be curious indeed to mistake free marketeers for allies in such a struggle.
XIII. Nobody who believes society to be a war of all against all will ever truly collaborate in the work to end all war.
XIV. Freedom is not a matter of making a selection from a menu provided by others.
XV. The difference between investment and speculation is the difference between an effort and a scheme.
XVI. Wherever the prose of pricing prevails the poetry of meaning is menaced.
XVII. It is curious the number of Republicans who claim to disdain vast corrupt soulless bureaucracies but who celebrate multinational corporations.
XVIII. The wealthiest one per cent of the world population seem to imagine themselves indispensable. One wishes they would test this article of faith by going away.
XIX. There is no such thing as a natural market.
XX. "Homo Economicus" is a mythical being, and a good thing, too. Just look at the damage done by those entities in reality that come closest to incarnating the fiction of "Homo Economicus" -- that is to say limited-liability corporations -- to see the proof of this.
XXI. Those who begin in a declared belief in "spontaneous order" end in declaring orders they believe should be obeyed spontaneously -- and immediately.
XXII. Those who would dismantle all democratic government and those who would demand good democratic government will point to many of the same instances of government abuse, corruption, malfeasance, and violence in making their separate cases, but it is only a fool who in noticing this would mistake them for allies.
XXIII. We are all beholden to accomplishments and problems we are heir to but unequal to, we are all implicated in the efforts of the diversity of peers with whom we share the world. It is delusive to imagine oneself the singular author of one's fortunes, whether good or ill. And so, only in a world in which the precarious are first insulated from the catastrophic consequences of ill-fortune in which we all play our parts can we celebrate or even tolerate the spectacle in which the successful indulge in the copious consequences of good fortune in which we all, too, have played our parts.
XXIV. It is always magical thinking to declare an outcome need only be profitable for it to be possible.
XXV. Pre-emptive war adventuring is to legitimate defense as hyperbolic financial speculation is to substantial production. It is no accident that pre-emptive war would suffuse public discourse in an epoch of bubble-economics. War hysteria and irrational exuberance are kindred pathologies.
XXVI. Those who declare taxes to be theft either forget or fail to grasp that it is taxes that pay for the maintenance of those institutions on which legitimate claims of ownership or theft depend for their intelligibility and force in the first place.
XXVII. Taxes are not, however annoying they may seem, violations of our freedom so much as indispensable enablers of freedom -- and hence they are a precondition for the constitution of the very experience of the "voluntary" on which notions of the involuntary depend in the first place.
XXVIII. Taxes pay for the administration to basic needs that ensures the scene of consent is non-duressed by deprivation, inequity, or insecurity. Those "libertarians" who declare whatever passes as a market outcome voluntary and nonviolent by definitional fiat -- whatever the conditions of relative deprivation, inequity, insecurity, ignorance, or misinformation that duress its terms in fact -- reveal themselves to be poor champions of an impoverished and profoundly uncivilized notion of "liberty."
XXIX. Ours is a world so sensibly arranged that it is only the ones who could afford to pay for everything who are assured escape from paying for anything.
XXX. The pace at which the tidal forces of supply and demand, or the correction via unprofitability of ignorance and error, or the rationalization via capital flight of panics and bubbles, or comparable market mechanisms manage to compensate for disruptive events, bad information, and irrational conduct is too different from the pace at which metabolism is maintained in human bodies and struggle is enacted in human history for these mechanisms to sustain those lives and that history in a human way, however wholesome they may be in their own inhuman term. This is the long term in which Keynes remarked we are all dead.
XXXI. The point of departure for political economy is the interminable reconciliation of infinite ends in a finite world. The point of departure for market anti-politics is the delusion that an infinite growth satisfies infinite wants, eventually if not actually. The displacement of reconciliation by aspiration in market ideology is satisfied to treat as satisfying even a ubiquitous dissatisfaction so long as it keeps promising imminent satisfaction.
XXXII. What is revolutionary about the market imaginary is its demand that we experience as revolution the interminable deferral of revolution, that we experience as satisfaction the interminable frustration of satisfaction.
XXXIII. Capitalism is everywhere, but it never arrives.
XXXIV. To those who say they would shrink government without end, who say they would deregulate enterprise without end, who say they would cut taxes without end, it must forcefully be said, in the end, that you cannot have a civilization and eat it too.
XXXV. "The free market" does not exist. It has no historical, actual, or even logically-possible reference. Utterances offered up on its behalf have no more substance than utterances on behalf of god. And as with godliness whatever flesh, whatever reality market-fundamentalist assumptions and aspirations assume are carved into the broken bodies and invested in the distressed spirits of the ones made to bear the worldly weight of the lies of the faithful.
XXXVI. So long as Congress is filled with millionaires it will never represent the interests of an America filled with non-millionaires.
XXXVII. It should go without saying that it is perfectly possible to be a member of the Republican Party without being an idiot, a bigot, a hypocrite, and an asshole. But it must also be said that it is unfortunately no longer possible at all to be a member of the Republican Party without being at least one of these and usually more than one.
XXXVIII. Market fundamentalists are pickpockets who like to decry taxes as theft to distract you when their hands are in your pocket.
XXXIX. Randian "Objectivists," "Social Darwinists," and market fundamentalists often fancy themselves supremely materialist rather than the fantasists they palpably are, just as social conservatives and Christian fundamentalists often fancy themselves supremely anti-materialist even as they jockey ferociously for bigger slices of the material pie. These ostensibly opposed factions are, of course, always only engaging in sectarian skirmishes within Movement Conservatism more generally over just which self-appointed priestly elite gets to rule the worldly toypile in the name of just which imaginary deity.
XL. There has never once been an outcome attributed to the Invisible Hand of the Market in which the Heavy Hand of the State did not play an indispensable part, and in which all too many are not sure to discern the Hidden Hand of Conspiracy.
XLI. I am not offended by the faiths of the faithful -- since we should all have the consolation of the poetry which moves us -- but I am profoundly offended by those who would peddle their faiths as evidences and so strive to steal the archive of and hope for a commonplace, commonsense, commoncause, commonwealth from the shared world, peer to peer.
XLII. To be a consumer most of all is to be a criminal first of all.
XLIII Few who have more keep more because they deserve more than most who have less.
XLIV. Anyone, even an admirable or accomplished person, can attract the momentary attention of masses of people, but to be a celebrity for long usually demands one be a profoundly ruthless, relentless, and terribly misguided sort of person, and most likely a straight-up sociopath.
XLV. Every winner is lost.
XLVI. I AM A LOSER AND I VOTE
XLVII. If you want to understand what is going on around you, all you have to do is learn who is making the money, look where the guns are pointed, and listen to the stories the losers have to tell.
XLVIII. The enabling delusion of every historical empire is that it is history's umpire.
XLIX. Nobody truly happy has any inclination while they are happy to tell you how to be happy so stop listening to those who promise you such things. There is no such thing as an earning or an accomplishing or a deserving of happiness in any case, and so it is always better simply to enjoy happiness whenever it briefly appears in life and recall it gratefully whenever it is long gone.
L. To be a civilized person is first of all to say or do what you judge to be righteous or beautiful or true in the world, and to declare things right or beautiful or true for what you take to be good reasons in the hearing of the world, come what may. Civilization is the contest and accumulation of such acts and assertions. Never forget, then, that at the heart of freedom is artistry, and at the heart of judgment is style.
LI. I do not want to smash the state, I want always to democratize it.
LII. Republicans: "Keynes is dead." Keynes: "Your Republic is dead."
LIII. An anarchist's convictions usually have little but their hypocrisy to redeem them.
LIV. Ronald Reagan was an asshole, and it’s high time liberals stopped trying quixotically to score cleverness points by declaring him a better asshole than the assholes the Republicans are now.
LV. At this point, to be a registered Republican is to admit proudly and in public to the kind of sweeping ignorance that should send you back to High School, to the kind of sociopathy, narcissism, and anger management issues that should send you into serious counseling, and to a penchant for fraud, looting, and assault that should send you to trial with a fair prospect of incarceration. Not only can Republicans no longer be trusted to administer the state, one begins to wonder if they should all be wards of the state.
LVI. As a policy matter, austerity measures are nothing but a kind of pseudo-scientific bloodletting, treating as a treatment the weakening of the weakest. As a moral matter, austerity measures are nothing but a kind of brutal bullying, treating as a treat the weakening of the weakest.
LVII. The intolerant always demand tolerance for their intolerance. Bigots always decry as violence and as bigotry the restraint of their bigotry from the worst of its violence. Racists always declare racist the exposure and denunciation of their racism. This is all very clever, if you are very stupid.
LVIII. Mine is an anti-capitalism that will be quite content to build an environmentally sustainable social democracy in which universal healthcare, education, income, expression, recourse to law and franchise is funded by steeply progressive taxes even if everybody decides to call that outcome "capitalism" for whatever reasons perversely appeal to them.
LIX. When everything is a casino everybody loses everything.
LX. If it is usually true that control corrupts, it is absolutely true that only the corruptible covet control.
LXI. That the greedy decry all judgments of their misconduct as expressions of envy is hardly surprising, since in giving in to greed they had first of all to give leave to kindness.
LXII. "Let the Market Decide" Always Means "Let Rich People Decide."
LXIII. Movement Republicanism was born in hostility to governing and dies incapable of governing.
LXIV. Republicans are divided between the rich ones who want to pretend they are giving when they are taking, and the poor ones who want to pretend they will be rich so they are not getting taken.
LXV. When you criticize a successful thief it is not "success" that you are attacking, but thievery.
LXVI. Any institution too big to fail should either be broken into manageable portions that are not, or nationalized so that its successes will be shared as widely as its failures will.
LXVII. Gun-nuttery is the ruggedization of the individualized cyborg-protagonist in Ayn Raelian "free market" nightmare-fantasies.
LXVIII. Anarchy is a perspectival effect -- the rule of elites is always spontaneous or natural and hence no-rule from their vantage.
LXIX. It's stupid to have a big gun because you think that you and your gun can fight the state when you can't, but it's just as stupid to want a big gun when much of what the state is for is to ensure no citizen has any legitimate need of one.
LXX. Defense spending is the disavowed public face of the founding bad faith of Republican Big Government championed as "small government," just as Forced Pregnancy Zealotry is the conspicuous private face of the founding bad faith of Republican Big Government championed as "small government."
LXXI. Of course, what the GOP has always meant by "smaller government" has never been anything other than "less democracy."
LXXII. Funny how often survivalists and people around them don't survive.
LXXIII. Kennedy Rephrased for Greedheads: Brag not what you think you do for this country just by being rich, admit how much you depend on this country for being rich.
LXXIV. "The Market" without "The State" might be a fair, if it is small, or a gang, if it is bigger, and that is all. To say otherwise is not to have an interesting perspective on markets and states, but to reveal you don't know enough about either economics or politics for anybody but a good teacher to pay attention to.
LXXV. The best words to describe your average Ayn Rand fan are "government beneficiary," although occasional splashy success stories among her readership do sometimes also manage to be government employees or government contractors.
LXXVI. Is there any sweeter song in all the world than elites peddling predation and denial as "optimism"?
LXXVII. Scandal is austerity's glamour.
LXXVIII. Just as I have always found it hard to sustain any interest in the interest others have in my queerness, and yet I remain utterly fascinated by the quandaries of the diversity of desire for politics, so too I have always found it hard to sustain any interest in the interest others have in my atheism, and yet I remain utterly fascinated by the quandaries of the diversity of secularity for politics.
LXXIX. If you are an atheist who believes in free markets or who believes evolution applies to history or culture you are not an atheist after all.
LXXX. It isn't an accident that "Un-PC" is the tag always accompanying an ugly lie someone privileged uses to bully someone precarious.
LXXXI. Security without freedom is insecurity.
LXXXII. Democrats are the ones who want to get together through their government to help people, Republicans are the ones who want to get together through their government to harass people.
LXXXIII. Doctrinal "anarchism" seems to exist primarily to provide Republicans with endless rationalizations for irrepressible greed and to provide Democrats with endless rationalizations for irresponsibly not voting in mid-term elections.
LXXXIV. Corporatists are forever confusing profiteerism with patriotism, just as militarists are forever confusing patriotism with prosperity.
LXXXV. Until unemployment no longer holds out the prospect of death or dishonor every employment contract is made under duress.
LXXXVI. Republicans are fighting for elections that are fairer... of skin.
LXXXVII. Getting Republicans to agree on anything is like herding clowns.
LXXXVIII. Libertarianism might have a chance at real world success if only libertarians were fuzzy and cute. As witness the utopia of total greed that is my cat's life.
LXXXIX. For "entitlements" you need look no further than individuals who depend for their wealth on commonwealth but think paying taxes is slavery.
XC. The formalization of an indebtedness of all to some is the forgetfulness of the ineradicable interdependence of all with all.
XCI. A Transparent Society in which indifference and distraction prevail will be opaque, in fact, to all but its elites.
XCII. In the absence of social justice, "Openness" is always emptiness.
XCIII. Every US generational cohort is described as re-discovering libertopian anti-governmentality. That is, after all, the default of insulated ignoramuses.
XCIV. Given that inequity always reveals inefficiencies, it is curious how often efficiency rationalizes inequities.
XCV. Things are so simple in the GOP. Human rights begin at conception. And unless there is a white penis present, they end at birth.
XCVI. A rising stock market is always an unmistakable indicator of economic success… of plutocrats over the vast majority of people who work for a living.
XCVII. Every second Social Security is discussed as a problem to be solved is a second lost to the necessary celebration of Social Security as the ongoing solution to the problem of poverty for our seniors.
XCVIII. Until privacy advocates absolutely refuse the assimilation of privacy politics to privatization politics we will not contribute to freedom.
XCIX. Strange the way people on the right inevitably claim "the left likes mass shootings" whenever we decry the mass shootings they endlessly enable.
C. Republicans talk about Big Government and Small Government to avoid talking about Good Government and Our Government.
CI. Precarization is a terrorism, multinational plutocracy one more terror-network.
CII. Even though more government doesn't always mean more democracy, less government always means less democracy.
CIII. A society is failing when it is only by failing at living gracefully that can one succeed in society.
CIV. You say "feckless," and I say "efficacious," let's call the war thing off.
CV. There is no natural, spontaneous, abiding reality that is either "the internet" or "the market" -- and it is no surprise that arguments presumably defending, saving, promoting "the free internet" are made so often by the same people who make arguments defending, saving, promoting "the free market" and so often in ways that re-enact the false, facile terms defending, saving, promoting "the free market."
CVI. Whenever a white dude pines for a "simpler time" -- and I am including the ones who call themselves anarchists and eco-radicals -- I assume he's got a gun pointed at me.
CVII. When "tax and spend" is reduced to a punchline, it is always plutocrats who have the last laugh.
CVIII. Anarchists on the right want a nation of guns, not laws. Anarchists on the left see a nation of guns, not laws. Both are wrong.
CIX. Open Carry aspires to be the twenty-first century lynch mob of the reactionary right, terrorism in defense of white supremacy and patriarchy.
CX. The invisible hand is the heavy hand.
CXI. Capitalism is always, like, talk to the invisible hand.
CXII. It is hard to think what apart from racism reconciles the wingnut contempt for failed states with their work to make their own state fail.
CXIII. Funny how go getters get got.
CXIV. When money is speech, words are less for making sense than for making bribes.
CXV. Republican antics are about as exciting as watching blood dry.
CXVI. Ever notice how many upward sailing risk takers turn out to be upward failing risk fakers?
CXVII. If liberalism and conservatism are a distinction, neoliberalism and neoconservatism are a loop. There is no neoliberalism without neoconservatism. Every "free" global market is maintained by the threat and reality of global arms and armies.
CXVIII. There is no article of faith more fancifully supernatural than belief in a natural free market.
CXIX. The market has spoken. It hates markets.
CXX. When we say "let the market decide" we are deciding to forget that markets are nothing but our decisions, the better to let others make for us the decisions we should be making for ourselves.
CXXI. The expectation of privacy is not a refusal of scrutiny but a refusal to be reduced to any authority's profile of us. The expectation of publicity is that we are made more capacious in our responsiveness to scrutiny than we can know from our present profile of ourselves.
CXXII. Initial regressive distributions of wealth are no less the product of government intervention than are subsequent progressive redistributions of wealth.
CXXIII. People love calling libertarians "Idea Guys." It pays to remember that every single libertarian "Idea" is an ad campaign to peddle plutocracy to majorities it harms.
CXXIV. The liberty of the libertarian right is an empty deception: its figure is empty space, its impossible project a control to compensate bottomless fear. The freedom of the democratic left is a public work: its figure is assembly, its interminable project enabling equity-in-diversity as an expression of love.
If you enjoy these bits and pieces of anti-libertopian and hence anti-authoritarian snark, you may also enjoy my Futurological Brickbats anthology, epigrammatically dissecting and deriding corporate-militarist "futurology" and Robot Cultists.