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Why the "Left" should reject Ron Paul

The article below by Sherry Wolf explains (in a way that everyone can understand) why being "anti-war" or supposedly "anti-fascist" should not be in an of itself a good enough reason to support Ron Paul.

The following excerpt challenges those who are considering supporting Paul to look a little deeper into the latest internet phenomenon.

"Supporters of Ron Paul who show up to protests should have their reactionary conclusions challenged, not embraced. Those of his supporters who are wholly ignorant of his broader politics beyond the war, should be educated about them. And those who advocate his noxious politics, should be attacked for their racism, immigrant bashing, and hostility to the values a genuine Left champions. The sort of Left-Right alliance Frank advocates is not only opportunistic, but is also a repellent to creating the multiracial working-class movement that is sorely needed of we are to end this war. What Arabs, Blacks, Latinos-and antiracist whites, for that matter-would ever join a movement that accommodates to this know-nothing brand of politics?"
The Freedom to Starve
Why the Left Should Reject Ron Paul
By SHERRY WOLF

"POLITICS, LIKE nature, abhors a vacuum," goes the revamped aphorism. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's surprising stature among a small but vocal layer of antiwar activists and leftist bloggers appears to bear this out.

At the October 27, 2007, antiwar protests in dozens of cities noticeable contingents of supporters carried his campaign placards and circulated sign-up sheets. The Web site antiwar.com features a weekly Ron Paul column. Some even dream of a Left-Right gadfly alliance for the 2008 ticket. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, liberal maverick and Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich told supporters in late November he was thinking of making Ron Paul his running mate if he were to get the nomination.

No doubt, the hawkish and calculating Hillary Rodham Clinton and flaccid murmurings of Barack Obama, in addition to the uninspiring state of the antiwar movement that backed a prowar candidate in 2004, help fuel the desperation many activists feel. But leftists must unequivocally reject the reactionary libertarianism of this longtime Texas congressman and 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate.

Ron Paul's own campaign Web site reads like the objectivist rantings of Ayn Rand, one of his theoretical mentors. As with the Atlas Shrugged author's other acolytes, neocon guru Milton Friedman and former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan, Paul argues, "Liberty means free-market capitalism." He opposes "big government" and in the isolationist fashion of the nation's Pat Buchanans, he decries intervention in foreign nation's affairs and believes membership in the United Nations undermines U.S. sovereignty.

Naturally, it is not Ron Paul's paeans to the free market that some progressives find so appealing, but his unwavering opposition to the war in Iraq and consistent voting record against all funding for the war. His straightforward speaking style, refusal to accept the financial perks of office, and his repeated calls for repealing the Patriot Act distinguish him from the snakeoil salesmen who populate Congress.

Paul is no power-hungry, poll-tested shyster. Even the liberalish chat show hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar on "The View" gave a friendly reception to Paul's folksy presentation, despite his paleoconservative views on abortion, which he-a practicing obstetrician-argues is murder.

Though Paul is unlikely to triumph in the primaries, it is worth taking stock not only of his actual positions, but more importantly the libertarian underpinnings that have wooed so many self-described leftists and progressives. Because at its core, the fetishism of individualism that underlies libertarianism leads to the denial of rights to the very people most radicals aim to champion-workers, immigrants, Blacks, women, gays, and any group that lacks the economic power to impose their individual rights on others.


Ron Paul's positions

A cursory look at Paul's positions, beyond his opposition to the war and the Patriot Act, would make any leftist cringe.

Put simply, he is a racist. Not the cross-burning, hood-wearing kind to be sure, but the flat Earth society brand that imagines a colorblind world where 500 years of colonial history and slavery are dismissed out of hand and institutional racism and policies under capitalism are imagined away. As his campaign Web site reads:

"The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims. Liberty means free-market capitalism, which rewards individual achievement and competence-not skin color, gender, or ethnicity."

Paul was more blunt writing in his independent political newsletter distributed to thousands of supporters in 1992. Citing statistics from a study that year produced by the National Center on Incarceration and Alternatives, Paul concluded: "Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal." Reporting on gang crime in Los Angeles, Paul commented: "If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be."

His six-point immigration plan appears to have been cribbed from the gun-toting vigilante Minutemen at the border. "A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked," reads his site. And he advocates cutting off all social services to undocumented immigrants, including hospitals, schools, clinics, and even roads (how would that work?).

"The public correctly perceives that neither political party has the courage to do what is necessary to prevent further erosion of both our border security and our national identity," he wrote in a 2005 article. "Unfortunately, the federal government seems more intent upon guarding the borders of other nations than our own." The article argues that, "Our current welfare system also encourages illegal immigration by discouraging American citizens from taking low-wage jobs." The solution: end welfare so that everyone will be forced to work at slave wages. In order that immigrants not culturally dilute the nation, he proposes that "All federal government business should be conducted in English."

Though he rants about his commitment to the Constitution, he introduced an amendment altering the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing citizenship to anyone born in the United States, saying in a 2006 article: "Birthright citizenship, originating in the 14th amendment, has become a serious cultural and economic dilemma for our nation. We must end the perverse incentives that encourage immigrants to come here illegally, including the anchor baby incentive."

Here we come up against the limits of libertarianism-Paul wants a strong state to secure the borders, but he wants all social welfare expenditures eliminated for those within them.

Paul is quite vocal these days about his rank opposition to abortion-"life begins at conception," he argues. He promotes a "states' rights" position on abortion-that decades old hobgoblin of civil rights opponents. And he has long opposed sexual harassment legislation, writing in his 1988 book Freedom Under Siege (available online), "Why don't they quit once the so-called harassment starts?" In keeping with his small government worldview, he goes on to argue against the government's right "to tell an airline it must hire unattractive women if it does not want to."

In that same book, written as the AIDS crisis was laying waste to the American gay male population prompting the rise of activist groups demanding research and drugs, Paul attacked AIDS sufferers as "victims of their own lifestyle." And in a statement that gives a glimpse of the ruling-class tyranny of individualism he asserts that AIDS victims demanding rushed drug trials were impinging on "the rights of insurance company owners."

Paul wants to abolish the Department of Education and, in his words, "end the federal education monopoly" by eliminating all taxes that go toward public education and "giving educational control back to parents." Which parents would those be? Only those with the leisure time, educational training, and temperament commensurate with home schooling! Whatever real problems the U.S. education system suffers from-and there are many-eliminating 99 percent literacy rates that generations of public education has achieved and tossing the children of working parents out of the schools is not an appealing or viable option.

Paul also opposes equal pay for equal work, a minimum wage, and, naturally, trade unions. In 2007, he voted against restricting employers' rights to interfere in union drives and against raising the federal minimum wage to $7.25. In 2001, he voted for zero-funding for OSHA's Ergonomics Rules, instead of the $4.5 billion. At least he's consistent.

Libertarians like Paul are for removing any legislative barriers that may restrict business owners' profits, but are openly hostile to alleviating economic restrictions that oppress most workers. Only a boss could embrace this perverse concept of "freedom."

Individualism versus collectivism

There is a scene in Monty Python's satire Life of Brian where Brian, not wanting to be the messiah, calls out to the crowd: "You are all individuals." The crowd responds in unison: "We are all individuals."

Libertarians, using pseudo-iconoclastic logic, transform this comical send-up of religious conformity into their own secular dogma in which we are all just atomized beings. "Only an individual has rights," not groups such as workers, Blacks, gays, women, and minorities, Ron Paul argues. True, we are all individuals, but we didn't just bump into one another. Human beings by nature are social beings who live in a collective, a society. Under capitalism, society is broken down into classes in which some individuals-bosses, for example-wield considerably more power than others-workers.

To advocate for society to be organized on the basis of strict individualism, as libertarians do, is to argue that everyone has the right to do whatever he or she wants. Sounds nice in the abstract, perhaps. But what happens when the desires of one individual infringe on the desires of another? Libertarians like Paul don't shy away from the logical ramifications of their argument. "The dictatorial power of a majority" he argues ought to be replaced by the unencumbered power of individuals-in other words, the dictatorial power of a minority.

So if the chairman of Dow Chemical wants to flush his company's toxic effluence into rivers and streams, so be it. If General Motors wants to pay its employees starvation wages, that's their right too. Right-wing libertarians often appear to not want to grapple with meddlesome things like economic and social power. As the bourgeois radical Abraham Lincoln observed of secessionist slaveowners, "The perfect liberty they seek is the liberty of making slaves of other people."

Too much government?

Unwavering hostility to government and its collection of taxes is another hallmark of libertarianism. Given the odious practices of governments under capitalism, their repugnant financial priorities, and bilking of the lower classes through taxation it's hardly surprising that libertarians get a hearing.

But the conclusion that the problem is "big government" strips the content from the form. Can any working-class perspective seriously assert that we have too much government involvement in providing health care? Too much oversight of the environment, food production, and workplace safety? Would anyone seriously consider hopping a flight without the certainty of national, in fact international, air traffic control? Of course not. The problem doesn't lie with some abstract construct, "government," the problem is that the actual class dynamics of governments under capitalism amount to taxing workers and the poor in lieu of the rich and powerful corporations and spending those resources on wars, environmental devastation, and the enrichment of a tiny swath of society at the expense of the rest of us.

Ron Paul argues, "Government by majority rule has replaced strict protection of the individual from government abuse. Right of property ownership has been replaced with the forced redistribution of wealth and property" Few folks likely to be reading this publication will agree that we actually live in a society where wealth and property are expropriated from the rich and given to workers and the poor. Even the corporate media admit that there has been a wholesale redistribution of wealth in the opposite direction. But Paul exposes here the class nature of libertarianism-it is the provincial political outlook of the middle-class business owner obsessed with guarding his lot. As online anti-libertarian writer Ernest Partridge puts it in "Liberty for some":

"Complaints against "big government" and "over-regulation," though often justified, also issue from the privileged who are frustrated at finding that their quest for still greater privileges at the expense of their community are curtailed by a government which, ideally, represents that community. Pure food and drug laws curtail profits and mandate tests as they protect the general public."

In fact, the libertarians' opposition to the government, or the state if you will, is less out of hostility to what the state actually does than who is running it. Perhaps this explains Paul's own clear contradiction when it comes to abortion, since his opposition to government intervention stops at a woman's uterus. But freedom for socialists has always been about more than the right to choose masters. Likewise, Paul appears to be for "small government" except when it comes to using its power to restrict immigration. His personal right to not have any undocumented immigrants in the U.S. seems to trump the right of free movement of individuals, but not capital, across borders.

Right-wing libertarians, quite simply, oppose the state only insofar as it infringes the right of property owners.

Left-Right alliance?

Some antiwar activists and leftists desperate to revitalize a flagging antiwar movement make appeals to the Left to form a Left-Right bloc with Ron Paul supporters. Even environmental activist and left-wing author Joshua Frank, who writes insightful and often scathing attacks on liberal Democrats' capitulations to reactionary policies, recently penned an article citing-though not endorsing-Paul's campaign in calling for leftist antiwar activists to reach out to form a sort of Left-Right antiwar alliance. He argues, "Whether we're beer swilling rednecks from Knoxville or mushroom eatin' hippies from Eugene, we need to come together," ("Embracing a new antiwar movement").

Supporters of Ron Paul who show up to protests should have their reactionary conclusions challenged, not embraced. Those of his supporters who are wholly ignorant of his broader politics beyond the war, should be educated about them. And those who advocate his noxious politics, should be attacked for their racism, immigrant bashing, and hostility to the values a genuine Left champions. The sort of Left-Right alliance Frank advocates is not only opportunistic, but is also a repellent to creating the multiracial working-class movement that is sorely needed of we are to end this war. What Arabs, Blacks, Latinos-and antiracist whites, for that matter-would ever join a movement that accommodates to this know-nothing brand of politics?

Discontent with the status quo and the drumbeat of electoralism is driving many activists and progressives to seek out political alternatives. But libertarianism is no radical political solution to inequality, violence, and misery. When the likes of Paul shout: "We need freedom to choose!" we need to ask, "Yes, but freedom for whom?" Because the freedom to starve to death is the most dubious freedom of all.

Important point that deserves more attention! 27.Dec.2007 13:30

Sephiroth

Yup, you hit the nail on the head.

A lot of antiwar progressives could fall for the libertarian appeal. It promises to get the troops out, but not much more than that. What about class division? Worker oppression and unions? Civil rights? Climate change? Health care? Education?

On all of these other issues Paul would call for a dramatic shift - in exactly the OPPOSITE direction that most progressives advocate. Beware!

Trying to figure it out 27.Dec.2007 15:16

Brian the Green

While I clearly don't think individualism is the answer, I really have to question people who think that a collective of 300 million people is the answer. Why are these are only two choices?

I appreciate many libertarian positions but must also acknowledge and determine ways to address the problems associated with cumulative privilege and the unfair and unjust distribution of resources. Ron Paul has a number of positions I would support and a number I find problematic.

Because I think the answer to our problem lies in independent, decentralized groups/tribes/collectives/cooperatives, I sincerely appreciate the libertarian philosophy that would allow citizens the freedom to experiment with new ways of living and organizing. Our success depends upon us inventing new ways of being and we shouldn't underestimate the value of this freedom. Adopting a rigid, top-down system designed to make everyone equal would be a Orwellian nightmare in my opinion.

Regardless, I am a Green and could care less about Republican Ron Paul. I wish "progressives" supporting Paul would put their energy and resources into creating a strong, sustainable alternative like the Green Party. I have a friend who is a current "Paulie" and can't figure out for the life of me what the long-term impact of his efforts will be. Building the Green Party provides a viable alternative. Pushing Paul builds nothing.

hmmm 27.Dec.2007 16:05

Jason

That is not all. Congressman Paul not only promises to get the troops out of Iraq, but to not attack Iran, to get the troops out of Afghanistan, stop interfering in Venezuela. To stop empire building altogether. That is huge.

And you mention that civil rights would go backwards, but he promises to rescind the Patriot Act, government spying on citizens, return habeas corpus etc. That seems very significant as well.

. 27.Dec.2007 16:16

.

The Green Party already killed itself. It is history. It is dimming, not getting brighter. Progressives failed when they could not unite around Nader. Now it is the turn of Libertarians. They are doing a better job of working together. Maybe they can get somewhere.

adam 27.Dec.2007 18:14

adam

One of the biggest contributions that Ron Paul has given to the current political landscape is the recognition that the control exerted by the CFR and Federal Reserve system are not conspiracy theories strictly reserved for fringe elements.

The fact that the ultra-rich seek control of the world through manipulation of "free" markets can no longer be ignored.

jason.. 27.Dec.2007 19:30

promises

you believe his promises? you listed a couple of them above. and electoral promises mean something? can you give me an example of a presidential candidate who kept his promises? these promises are nonsense.

thanks for posting this 27.Dec.2007 19:51

dex

Whatever it takes to jar "progressives" out of their adulation for Paul is a step in the right direction.

Here's something 'Libertarians' never stop to consider: they are for unbridled, free-wheeling capitalism, but against 'imperialism' -- this is a blatant contradiction.

The rich capitalist countries HAVE to be imperialist due to the huge reserves of wealth that cannot find a profitable investment in the domestic market. They MUST go overseas to find investment where raw materials, labor, and puppet politicians are dirt cheap. After they invest their precious money in these markets, they must protect their investment; not by crossing their fingers but by sending in the troops. This is the reality of capitalism, but libertarians are never concerned with reality. They cling to their constitution and preach about how things SHOULD be like, when Jefferson was around and there were no giant corporations with their giant global reach and giant reserves of wealth.

yes reality hurts. But just because we shouldn't let the capitalist libertarians fool us, doesn't mean we should let the capitalist Green party do the foolin. The two in fact have a lot in common: they are against corporate capitalism, against imperialism, etc, but offer no concrete solution out of the mess, leading us in circles back...to the same old system of course.

To defeat capitalism you need to defeat individuals owning the 'commanding heights' of the economy; the answer lies in a democratic socialist society-- and no, for the hundredth time, this is not Stalinism, but its opposite.

hmmm 27.Dec.2007 23:16

Jason

"you believe his promises? you listed a couple of them above."

I believe he will honestly try to implement them. It is my opinion that he is honest. Can he succeed? Seems unlikely even if he were elected and managed to get sworn in without being assassinated.

Ron Paul is not my choice. I would much rather see Cynthia McKinney as the candidate who was challenging the status quo with a non-corporate grassroots campaign. But it happens to be Paul.

an 28.Dec.2007 00:25

activist

The who would the world vote for website is an interesting peruse. Ron Paul is the only candidate with some small chance of electoral success who is saying he will bring US troops home immediately. And not just from Iraq. So it is interesting to see all the votes for Ron Paul in other countries. You can be sure that the people of Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Afghanistan etc would all vote for Ron Paul. He is the only one who is saying he is not going to be sending US troops to kill people in their countries or aggressively meddling in their country.

For this point alone, I am supporting the Paul campaign. I disagree with Ron Paul on numerous things, but those are our internal challenges as a nation to grapple with. I am so offended and sorrowed by the knowledge of the millions of people this nation kills around the world. Ron Paul says no more empire building. No more military interventions in the homes of other peoples around the world. On this point alone I will vote for him.

The Green party has not even begun to emerge, let alone die 28.Dec.2007 08:52

StevetheGreen

The anonymous person (who refused to sign their name) claimed the Green party was dead because it refused to unite around Nader is ignorant of the facts or is simply ignoring the facts. They are probably a Libertarian. Libertarians live in a different utopian world than the rest of us. A world that thinks a truly free market will solve all the world's ills.
LOL

I live in the world where the Green party is the largest and fastest growing global party.
It's called reality.

The fact that Americans are a little slow to evolve beyond voting with fear instead of acting for change only means that the global green movement will be a little slower in the United States because of our corrupt perverted version of a capitalist "representative" democracy. The "powers that be" have been very efficient as it relates to preventing the rise of minor parties and have done everything in their power to maintain the dominance of the duopoly (including the misinformation and spreading of fear that makes people think they have to continue to vote for the "lesser of two evils").

Ralph Nader is a man.
An older man whose time passed.
The Green party is a movement.

A movement that continues to grow and get stronger across the world.

Green Parties in Europe
The first green parties were founded in Europe in the late 1970s, following the rise of environmental awareness and the development of new social movements. The first Green Party member to be elected to office was Petra Kelly, one of the founders of Die Grünen, the German Green Party. One of the strongest Green parties in Europe is the Alliance '90/The Greens, which founded in 1980. This party has played an important role in the formation of national-level Green parties in other countries such as Spain.

In 2004 the European Green Party (EGP) was founded, it is a pan-European party that unites most European Green parties. The Greens are a relatively small party in the European parliament with only 34 seats (out of 732). More than a third of these MEPs come from Germany. It has a long standing alliance with the European Free Alliance (EFA), an alliance of "stateless nations", such as the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru. Together with three independents EFA-EGP have 42 seats and they are the fourth largest party in the European Parliament.

While on many issues European Greens practice the same policies, one issue divides European Green parties: the European Union. Some Green parties, like the Dutch GreenLeft, the Swiss Green party, the Irish Green Party/Comhaontas Glas and the German Alliance '90/The Greens, are Pro-European, the Green parties in Sweden and England and Wales are Eurosceptic.

Some Green parties have been part of governing coalitions. The first one was the Finnish Green League that entered government in 1995. The Italian Federation of the Greens, the French Greens, the German Alliance '90/The Greens and both Belgian Green parties, the French-speaking Ecolo and the Dutch-speaking Agalev were part of government during the late 1990s. Most successful was the Latvian Green party, who supplied the Prime Minister of Latvia in 2004. The Swedish Green party was a long term supporter of the social-democratic minority government until the election 2006 when the social-democratic party lost. Recently, on 13 June 2007, the Irish Green Party / Comhaontas Glas agreed to enter coalition government.

In Scandinavia, left-wing socialist parties have formed the Nordic Green Left Alliance. These parties have the same ideals as European Greens. However, they do not cooperate with the Global Greens or European Greens, but instead form a combined parliamentary group with the Party of the European Left, which unites communists and post-communists. There is one exception, in 2004 the MEP for Danish Socialist People's Party has left the Nordic Green Left parliamentary group and has joined the Green parliamentary group in the European parliament. The Socialist People's Party is currently an observer at the European Green Party and the Global Greens. In the Estonia 2007 parliamentary elections, the Estonian Green Party won 7 percent of the vote, and a mandate for six seats in the country's parliament, the Riigikogu.

In some countries Greens have been unable to win any representation in the national parliament. Three reasons can be found for this. It includes countries with a first past the post electoral system, such as the United Kingdom (although the Scottish Green Party has had success in the devolved Scottish Parliament). In countries where a party with similar ideals is stronger, such as Norway and Denmark, Green parties tend to perform worse. In some Eastern European countries, like Romania and Poland, Green parties are still in the process of formation and have therefore not gained enough support. The Green Party of Bulgaria is a part of the ruling left-wing Coalition for Bulgaria. It has no parliamentary representation but it does supply one Deputy Minister in the government of Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev.

The European Green Party has worked to support weak Green Parties in European countries. Until recently, they were giving support to Green Parties in the Mediterranean countries. These Green Parties are now making electoral gains, e.g. in Spain and Republic of Cyprus, or getting organized to do so, e.g. in Greece and Malta. Therefore the EGP is now turning its attention to Eastern Europe -- all these countries have Green Parties, but in materially-poor Eastern Europe the success of Green Parties is very patchy.


Green Parties in North America and Oceania
In most of North America and Oceania, Green parties face electoral systems that have traditionally disadvantaged smaller parties. Nevertheless, they have achieved national or state parliamentary representation in New Zealand and Australia. In New Zealand the Green Party of New Zealand currently holds six seats in the New Zealand House of Representatives. The Australian Greens hold seats in the Australian Senate and in the state parliaments of five states and one territory. Greens also hold representative positions in local government across the United States, New Zealand and Australia (where a number of local government authorities are controlled by Green councilors).

Two provinces of Canada, British Columbia and Ontario, have strong provincial Green Parties. The Green Party of Canada is currently growing - it received 4.3% of the popular vote in the 2004 federal election and its support and influence continues to rise, largely due to new Canadian laws that are more favorable to the growth and funding of smaller parties (political parties receive $1.75 per vote per year of federal funding, as long as they achieve minimum 2% of the popular vote). Its support solidified in the 2006 federal election when it captured 4.5% of the popular vote. According to poll results released November 12, 2007 by the Globe and Mail and CTV, the Green Party of Canada had surpassed both the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Quebecois to become the third strongest party with 13% of the federal vote.

In the United States, the Green Party of the U.S. have not been elected to the federal level. However, Greens have claimed electoral victories within the state and municipal levels, with elections to the California State Assembly in 1999, the Maine House of Representatives in 2002 and a party switch in the New Jersey General Assembly in 2003. Subsequent party defections and electoral defeats have currently left no Greens in U.S. state legislatures as of 2007. At least 226 Green Party members hold elected positions at the municipal level as of June 2007, including 55 in California (according to [1]).

Proportional representation has strengthened the position of the Australian Greens and the Green Party of New Zealand and enabled them to participate directly in legislatures and policy-making committees. In countries following British-style 'first past the post' electoral rules, Green parties face barriers to gaining federal or provincial/regional/state seats. As of the end of 2002, there were no Greens in the elected houses of the federal legislatures of the United States or Canada. Accordingly, in these countries, Green parties focus on electoral reform.

Green Parties in the developing world
Green Parties in the developing world are often organized with help from those in other nations. As of 2002, most notably in Africa.

Other than hosting the first Afghanistan peace conference as part of the German government, Green Parties in the developed world have made few concrete moves to spread their values using the diplomatic channels. This is usually seen as one of the responsibilities of the Green Movement — allowing parties concentrate on their voters. However, the leader of the Kenyan Green Party, Wangari Maathai recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, enhancing the image of Green parties across the third world.

In the greater Middle East region, a few Green political parties have been created, such as the Green Party of Pakistan since 2002, Green Party of Iran and the Green Party of Saudi Arabia, but many of these Green political parties are underground organizations due to the fact that they often conflict with Islamic law.

The Libertarian party can not even be a fringe factor in the United States and has less than half of the Green parties elected officials across the nation. The Libs are nowhere globally. They are not a movement.

Talk about dead and dieing!

Oh well!
At least the libs have something to get together and talk about.
I.E. How the world would be a much better place if we abandoned all social programs, including education and every single safeguard against corporate power that has not yet been undermined by the alliance of corporate power and government.

What they don't want to talk about his how their free market ideology will prevent corporations running roughshod over us even more than they do today.

If Monsanto wants to poison us, that's OK cause the "free market" will save us.
If PGE wants to fuck us, that's OK cause the "free market" will save us.
If Dow Chemical wants to poison our water and our air, that's OK cause the "free market" will save us.
If multi-national media conglomerates try to continue to monopolize the media and oppose net neutrality, that's OK cause the "free market" will save us.
If China wants to send us poison toys for our kids or poison food for our pets, that's OK cause the "free market" will save us.
If Weyerhaeuser wants to chop down the last pockets of connectivity in our forests, that's OK cause the "free market" will save us.

Privatize Social security!
Privatize our water rights!
Privatize our school system!
Privatize our power companies!
Privatize our public mail system!
Privatize our police!

The ironic part of this silliness is that these are the same people who want government to increase the police state by expanding ICE and build walls to keep people out and keep people in.

Freedom indeed.

Jason, you still haven't answered dex, but I'll answer you 28.Dec.2007 15:05

Observer

Dex made clear points about how capitalism works, along with how Libertarianism is not only no answer to smashing capitalism, but is also a recipe for screwing it up even further. You still haven't responded to that.

But yes, I'd like to respond to this from you:

"People from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds recognize and are frightened of the growing police state. So you tell me observer, if you think those people are served by finding some common cause to oppose fascism, or whether they should dismiss each other over long held ideological divisions? Hey, maybe people on both sides of those divisions have things to learn, but what do I know, I'm just a fool."

I disagree with the first sentence. If that were the case, the social agreement that props up the growing police state would be in serious jeopardy, and maybe even the industrial capitalist state itself would be assailed from all sides. I see no such cracks in the armor. I see mostly acceptance/resignation on the part of us frogs as the water comes closer and closer to a boil. (Yeah, I also see lots of people, myself included, typing away on web sites like this one. Big whoop.)

Yes, I think all people would be served by opposing fascism, along with all other forms of authoritarianism. Therein lies the problem. Institutionalized power is like the mercury on the table: squish it any ole way you like, and there it still is. If I pay attention to the analysis of power that rings true for me (that is, the state is organized violence that enforces private property and perpetuates imposed disparity for the profit of the few), I have to recognize that Libertarianism wouldn't make any fundamental change in the set-up. Things would look quite different under Libertarianism - orders of magnitudes worse, in my opinion - but let's be sure to note that Ron Paul is nowhere near proposing eliminating federal enforcement of laws that make it safe for capital to operate.

Far fucking from it. His platform proposes to unfetter the rich beyond their wildest dreams. Deregulate everything, get out of the way, and let God (or "the free market") sort out the winners and losers. Yeah man, sign me up for an even more streamlined capitalism. If you think things are bad now...

So no, I don't believe people should find some common cause to oppose fascism if said common cause is transparently a further entrenchment of the institutionalized power that is state capitalism (or any other kind). In other words, ideologies matter. They mean things. They define approaches to the socio-political problems in which we are mired. The disagreements matter. I don't want to wake up after a putative revolution - or worse yet, after some ostensible radical "reform" like electing a Libertarian - to find myself and my planet in the same or worse shape.

Let's go a little further: Ron Paul is a disingenuous lying sack of shit. I believe this is easy to see for people who haunt a somewhat anti-authoritarian web site. How about that great Ronald Reagan quote he used to open his latest piece of written propaganda?

"... man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."

I guess Reagan is a hero to this fellow Ron Paul. How seriously did Reagan take limiting government and expanding my liberty as a human being? I hope I don't need to answer such a ridiculous rhetorical question. But I cannot forget that Reagan did indeed charge himself with leading an unprecedented expansion of *corporate* power. How does that recent bit of history square with Ron Paul's championing of my individual liberties?

Let's look at one more bizarre issue in Paul's latest rant. This man who, last I checked, was running for the office of president of the USA, actually disparagingly called Democrats and Republicans "statists." Huh? If someone who has been a US congressman three times over 18 years is not a "statist," I have no idea what one might look like.

We could move on to look at racism, "protecting our borders," and so on. But what's the point?

Ron Paul is an authoritarian. He's not someone I can find common cause with. I'll find common cause with people who understand what a nation state is for; with people who want it dismantled, not protected; with people who don't want a "free market" - or any other kind of capitalism; with people who understand that the USA is reprehensible - and was from its extremely ugly beginnings. Is Ron Paul saying we should make reparations to the human beings upon whose back and blood this country was built? Natives? Africans? Women? Nah, that was the "free market" working its magic.

And we haven't even addressed dex's excellent challenge of how Paul would make capitalism work amidst his proposed isolationism.

So he's against the war. He's against taking away our alleged civil liberties. Yahoo. Guess what? If the state has to grant you your freedoms, you never had them in the first place (paraphrasing Utah Phillips.) Those freedoms exist at the whim of the state. If you don't believe it, then just who is it that's supposedly taking them away?

So that's my two cents' worth, Jason. By the way, as you noted, we all have plenty to learn. If we had it all figured out, we wouldn't be having internecine arguments on the internet. Take care, I wish you well.

Jason, you still haven't answered dex, but I'll answer you 28.Dec.2007 19:10

Observer

Dex made clear points about how capitalism works, along with how Libertarianism is not only no answer to smashing capitalism, but is also a recipe for screwing it up even further. You still haven't responded to that.

But yes, I'd like to respond to this from you:

"People from all walks of life and ideological backgrounds recognize and are frightened of the growing police state. So you tell me observer, if you think those people are served by finding some common cause to oppose fascism, or whether they should dismiss each other over long held ideological divisions? Hey, maybe people on both sides of those divisions have things to learn, but what do I know, I'm just a fool."

I disagree with the first sentence. If that were the case, the social agreement that props up the growing police state would be in serious jeopardy, and maybe even the industrial capitalist state itself would be assailed from all sides. I see no such cracks in the armor. I see mostly acceptance/resignation on the part of us frogs as the water comes closer and closer to a boil. (Yeah, I also see lots of people, myself included, typing away on web sites like this one. Big whoop.)

Yes, I think all people would be served by opposing fascism, along with all other forms of authoritarianism. Therein lies the problem. Institutionalized power is like the mercury on the table: squish it any ole way you like, and there it still is. If I pay attention to the analysis of power that rings true for me (that is, the state is organized violence that enforces private property and perpetuates imposed disparity for the profit of the few), I have to recognize that Libertarianism wouldn't make any fundamental change in the set-up. Things would look quite different under Libertarianism - orders of magnitudes worse, in my opinion - but let's be sure to note that Ron Paul is nowhere near proposing eliminating federal enforcement of laws that make it safe for capital to operate.

Far fucking from it. His platform proposes to unfetter the rich beyond their wildest dreams. Deregulate everything, get out of the way, and let God (or "the free market") sort out the winners and losers. Yeah man, sign me up for an even more streamlined capitalism. If you think things are bad now...

So no, I don't believe people should find some common cause to oppose fascism if said common cause is transparently a further entrenchment of the institutionalized power that is state capitalism (or any other kind). In other words, ideologies matter. They mean things. They define approaches to the socio-political problems in which we are mired. The disagreements matter. I don't want to wake up after a putative revolution - or worse yet, after some ostensible radical "reform" like electing a Libertarian - to find myself and my planet in the same or worse shape.

Let's go a little further: Ron Paul is a disingenuous lying sack of shit. I believe this is easy to see for people who haunt a somewhat anti-authoritarian web site. How about that great Ronald Reagan quote he used to open his latest piece of written propaganda?

"... man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."

I guess Reagan is a hero to this fellow Ron Paul. How seriously did Reagan take limiting government and expanding my liberty as a human being? I hope I don't need to answer such a ridiculous rhetorical question. But I cannot forget that Reagan did indeed charge himself with leading an unprecedented expansion of *corporate* power. How does that recent bit of history square with Ron Paul's championing of my individual liberties?

Let's look at one more bizarre issue in Paul's latest rant. This man who, last I checked, was running for the office of president of the USA, actually disparagingly called Democrats and Republicans "statists." Huh? If someone who has been a US congressman three times over 18 years is not a "statist," I have no idea what one might look like.

We could move on to look at racism, "protecting our borders," and so on. But what's the point?

Ron Paul is an authoritarian. He's not someone I can find common cause with. I'll find common cause with people who understand what a nation state is for; with people who want it dismantled, not protected; with people who don't want a "free market" - or any other kind of capitalism; with people who understand that the USA is reprehensible - and was from its extremely ugly beginnings. Is Ron Paul saying we should make reparations to the human beings upon whose back and blood this country was built? Natives? Africans? Women? Nah, that was the "free market" working its magic.

And we haven't even addressed dex's excellent challenge of how Paul would make capitalism work amidst his proposed isolationism.

So he's against the war. He's against taking away our alleged civil liberties. Yahoo. Guess what? If the state has to grant you your freedoms, you never had them in the first place (paraphrasing Utah Phillips.) Those freedoms exist at the whim of the state. If you don't believe it, then just who is it that's supposedly taking them away?

So that's my two cents' worth, Jason. By the way, as you noted, we all have plenty to learn. If we had it all figured out, we wouldn't be having internecine arguments on the internet. Take care, I wish you well.

Two quotes from Ron Paul 31.Dec.2007 17:26

Brian the Green

"Ron Paul: an absolute faith in free markets and less government"

"The 10-term congressman from Texas has been a strict Constitutionalist since he came into public life some 30 years ago."

Christian Science Monitor, 1/02/08

To have absolute faith in free markets shows a complete ignorance of capitalism at best, or worse, a heart of stone.

I wonder if being a strict Constitutionalist denies women the right to vote or considers black people 1/6th of a human?