Friday, October 8, 2010

A Third Party Option: Part II

The main paradox of the Libertarian movement in this country is that in their quest for freedom from authority, Libertarians plunge straight into the arms of the Republicans whose desire to control people's bodies and sexualities is their main defining feature. Bringing up these contradictions to the newly-minted Libertarians is a royal waste of time. When I brought the Tea Party's hatred of abortion to a young female Libertarian, her response was, "Yeah, that sucks, but so what? At least they support all other kinds of freedom."
It is quite useless, of course, to try to explain to a Libertarian that without the most basic freedom of all - the freedom to control one's own body - there are no other freedoms. A young woman saddled with a crowd of unwanted children can tug on her bootstraps until the cows come home to absolutely no avail. It is equally impossible to explain to them that the only freedoms their support of their fanatical leaders Sarah Palin and Rand Paul will bring them are the freedom to die needlessly in an unwinnable war, accumulate insane amounts of debt, work themselves into the ground to pay off that debt, and still consider themselves the most fortunate people on Earth.
It has become obvious to all but the most ignorant that there are very few actual differences between the only two political parties we have in this country. Behind the Democratic and the Republican slogans lies the sad reality that they serve the same economic interests. No matter which party comes to power, all we - the regular voters - can expect is more wars, more debt, more unemployment, and more pride in our great good fortune to enjoy these things.
It is not surprising that people are tired to death of choosing the lesser of two evils (and failing every time because evil knows no gradations). The yearning for a third (fourth, fifith, etc.) party option is very easy to understand. It is also very easy to exploit, which the Republicans are doing so well with this Libertarian chimera.
Sarah Palin - the Libertarian commander-in-chief - recently declared that the main focus of attention for the Republicans (who, with the help of Libertarian supporters, will take both the Congress and the Senate) next year should be abortion. These people don't care about unemployment (if you are out of a job, that's your own fault), about the recession that keeps deepening (the markets know what they're doing, so let's just allow them to keep doing it), about the education crisis (the comprehensive public education system is an assault on the individual freedom to be as ignorant as one wants, anyways), about the lack of legitimate life options for the young people (let them make their own options and be more like us, who walked barefoot in the snow to find a grizzly bear we could skin alive), about racism (an individual has a right to be as racist as they want), and so on.
Since all these problems are solved so easily in the Tea Party mentality, they can turn all their energy to the only issue that matters - abortion. Given that they need more and more soldiers to die in unwinnable wars overseas, a surplus of unwanted children will come in very useful. And who cares if the ban on abortion brings the crime rates back to their pre-Roe levels? You can always hire your own army of bodyguards. And if you can't afford it, go do some more bootstrap pulling.
The main thing to remember about the Libertarian movement in this country is that it doesn't exist. It's nothing but a ploy hatched by the Republicans to make some naïve voters believe that there is a legitimate third party alternative.

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Snarky Writer said...

I generally agree. Hence why I call myself a libertarian rather than a Libertarian. The very nature of true libertarianness keeps it from organizing, as it shares so many traits with anarchy. At heart, it's really a controlled sort of anarchy; you take care of you and I'll take care of me, and as long as you're not hurting anyone else, I don't have the right from stopping you from doing whatever your little heart desires.

Neither party is conducive to that idea; politics is all about control, after all, and libertarianness is about freedom from control. It's a social contract instead of a hard-core government, and hence unfortunately does not really work as a system of government. But, then, the republican (not Republican) model isn't working all that well lately, either, is it?

I think that, in general, most forms of government work in theory and in really small groups, but our groups are too big for any one form of government anymore.

Sue Alteza Real said...

I agree with most of what you said, although you still lack a complete and accurate understanding of what true libertarianism is and who identifies as "libertarian". Take it from someone who has been involved in the libertarian movement for over three decades in the U.S., Mexico, and internationally to a certain extent.

As I mentioned below in my latest response on your post about Vargas Llosa, there are marxist-anarchists in Latin America that apply the term "libertario" to themselves even though it is not an honest application.

Likewise in the U.S., there are paleoconservatives like Ron and Rand Paul, Glen Beck, and Alex Jones to name a few who are dishonestly labeled as "libertarian" just because there are a few issues that paleoconservatives and libertarians agree upon. And in 2008, the Libertarian Party USA was taken over by paleoconservatives, making it no longer "libertarian" in the true, principled sense.

Like with most other political movements, libertarianism also has its "wings". Center-right libertarians in the U.S. tend to think of Republicans as the lesser of two evils when compared to Democrats, and tend to place more emphasis on economic freedom than social freedoms. Center-left libertarians on the other hand tend to place just as much priority on social freedoms as economic freedom, if not more, and don't consider the authoritarian Right to be any less of an evil than the authoritarian Left.

A good example of a very "center" and consistant Libertarian is John Stossel. An example of a Left Libertarian is Bill Maher.

The blogger of Classically Liberal has blogged considerably about the Tea Party movement and how un-libertarian most of its activists are, and how pseudo-libertarian those claiming to be "libertarian" are.

Principled libertarians, including myself, are completely pro-choice on abortion and oppose the government, state or federal, from regulating women's wombs. And the last time I looked, even the Libertaian Party USA platform is still pro-choice on abortion.

Paleoconservatives like those I mentioned favor "states rights" over individual rights, and have no problem with individual states regulating abortion to whatever extent.

Clarissa said...

What I do understand is that the Tea Party fascists are about to take over the power in this country. And they will do this because of some people's badly-digested Libertarianism. I don't care about these minute shades of completely academic difference that you describe. Not a single Libertarian in this country has taken a public and vocal stand against religious fanatics. Not a single one. You people are all ecstatic to fall in bed with the fundamentalists. As a result, we will all go down the drain together.

If your movement has been hijacked against your will, then do something about it instead of offering tacit support to fascists.

Sue Alteza Real said...

"Not a single Libertarian in this country has taken a public and vocal stand against religious fanatics. Not a single one. You people are all ecstatic to fall in bed with the fundamentalists."

That is absolutely not true. We are constantly attacking the "Theopublicans" and religious fanatics who try to impose their moral values on the rest of us through the force of government. I constantly criticize the Catholic Church in Mexico in particular on my blog and Classically Liberal has attacked the religious right bigots endlessly. Even prominent libertarians like John Stossel have countered them. Any "libertarian" you have encountered that rubs elbows with the religious right is really a paleoconservative when scratched.

You just need to have your libertarian horizons expanded resource-wise. Here is a link to a blog with some good resources:

Clarissa said...

Ok, I'm always willing to educate myself. I will do so as soon as you tell me who all these true Us Libertarian will vote for in the November elections.

Anonymous said...

Spot-on, Clarissa! This is one question the libertarians can never answer honestly. If they had the courage of their opinions they could at least admit that they will support the Republicans. All this talk of how they are so completely different but a simple question about voting shuts them up fast.