Monday, May 24, 2010

no one knows what libertarianism is: one of the many reasons why libertarianism is stupid

So libertarianism is still being talked about because Rand Paul is still saying stuff. (I know, calm down people.) The latest thing he said was some racist bullshit about the Civil Rights Act. Read this on how Rand and his supporters don't actually care about staying true to liberatarian philosophy (O RLY!!!). Read this on how we should never be surprised when it turns out that libertarians are shallow people who don't actually have any convictions. Finally, read this on how it sounds when libertarians desperately want to be accepted by liberals (not to mention non-crazy people):
The basic libertarian position on civil rights is as follows: (1) Private discrimination should, in general, be legal (this includes affirmative action preferences, btw). Many libertarians would make exceptions for cases of monopoly power, and most would ban private discrimination when the government itself ensured the monopoly by law, as with common carriers like trains; (2) The government may not discriminate. If necessary, the federal government should step in to prevent state and local governments from discriminating; (3) The government may not force private parties to discriminate, and the federal government should, if necessary, step in to prevent state and local governments from forcing private parties to discriminate; (4) The government must protect members of minority groups and those who seek to associate with them from private violence. If the state and local government won’t do so, the federal government should step in; and (5) As part of the ban on government discrimination, and to prevent rent-seeking voters from taking advantage of the disenfranchised, members of all racial groups should be treated as individuals for voting purposes, and thus members of all groups should have equal voting rights. If state and local governments don’t guarantee such rights, the federal government should step in.
Well shit, if it were not for point (1), I would be a libertarian. Too bad point (1) is the sum totality of everything that is wrong and stupid about libertarianism. The reason that (1) is everything is that libertarians want everything privatized. Also, the modern corporation can be just as oppressive as government. Just ask people who work as slaves in the third world. Do you think they care whether their government or a multinational corporation (often in collusion with their government) is oppressing them? No. The result is the same: oppression.

But just because I'm thorough, let me deal with points 2 through 5 as well. First of all, the notion that the federal government must step in to uphold civil liberties and due process protections is called liberalism. That's our turf, damnit. If you want to act as though 2 through 5 are your thing, then awesome, but don't write it down in a blog and claim that it's your thing. It's a liberal thing. I seem to remember the Democrats taking great political risk in passing the Civil Rights Act, officially making it our thing. Back off of our thing.

Lastly (damn you thoroughness!), points 2 through 5 violate a central tenet of libertarianism (at least the sort of libertarianism that conservatives associate with, which is the only sort that matters politically): smaller government is more accountable to voters than bigger government, so federal government should not interfere (unless of course the GDHs legalize weed, then Big Brother should kill said GDHs). Is that about right? I mean, are libertarians going to violate this central tenet just because the darkies have a problem with the locals? See, to me, this gets to the heart of the matter. Libertarianism is too filled with contradicttion to make any sense. Either civil liberties are protected, or they are not. There are few gray areas-- and certainly not the gray chasm of "state's rights". The problem is that the vast majority of libertarians hold the "state's rights" view or at least associate with the "state's rights" crowd. The "state's rights" argument, since slavery, has almost exclusively been evoked in order to limit civil liberties, not expand them.

The conclusion here is always the same when the subject is libertarianism. As tristero at Hulaballoo says, "Everything good about libertarianism is already part-and-parcel of liberalism." Everything else about it is stupid or dangerous.

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