I’d prodded the libertarians again, so they poked back en masse, and it was hilarious. The arguments were so familiar and so inane and so wrong that I had to say it: in any discussion about libertarians, the comments by libertarians will invariably make the stupidity of libertarianism clear (yes, I stole it with a twist from Lewis’ Law).
There was the usual knee-jerk attempt to associate me with that liberal socialist, Obama —
because it doesn’t abide by the laws of PZ’s god Obama. Class warfare, confiscate and redistribute… — followed by sneering comments that I’m a political naif and therefore ought to shut up about it. Look, Obama is not my god: as far as I’m concerned, he’s been a colossal disappointment, occasionally able to say a few good things, but a failure at doing them. He’s a center-right politician, a relatively conservative Democrat, who has expanded the surveillance state and maintained programs like Gitmo and the drone war that can only be described as villainous. He only looks good when compared to the circus full of clowns that the Republicans and Libertarians fielded in the last election.
So don’t call me politically inept when you think Obama is a socialist.
The other thing these libertarians did, so predictably and at least a little more productively, is try to tout the virtues of their political philosophy.
Freedom, no initiation of force, no corporate welfare, no censorship, no drug war, peace…no initiation of force, individual liberty, live and let live, no corporate welfare, no drug war, etc. Yes? So? Those are things progressive liberals are all for, too, and we do it without the destructive baggage of unfettered capitalism, which they all neatly leave off their laundry list.
You cannot call yourself pro-liberty, even including the word in your name, if you are unwilling to recognize that the greatest oppressive force opposing freedom in America is unregulated greed. Libertarianism is a philosophy for the well-off, the privileged, and those who dream someday of being a wealthy boss with power over the peons. When capital is the measure of success, those who have it thrive at the expense of those who don’t; when we don’t have redistribution of wealth, we do not have equality of opportunity.
The US is already a libertarian paradise, and look what it gets us: a widening gap between rich and poor, a rotting infrastructure as the exploiters look for short term gains while neglecting services vital to those who can’t afford a limousine service, a corrupt and decadent privileged class, and thriving new political parties that are simply nuts. To use one of Ayn Rand’s favorite words, this country is infested with looters: only they’re not the poor, they’re not the mythical “welfare queens”, they’re bankers and obscenely overpaid executives and corporations that demand the right to buy elections.
And there stand the libertarians, the useful idiots who cheer them on.