August, 2014

Aug 14

Libertarians, Ayn Rand, Ron Paul, and the Blinding Glow of Freedom

To Rand Paul/Ron paulians/AynRandians, libertarianism means they can do whatever they damn please, and that is the ultimate good. However they have to rationalize the social viability of complete freedom from oversight so they invoke the invisible hand of the market and lawsuits to correct abuses.

“Do you believe in freedom or not?” they ask. But really, it’s about the libertarian desire to be unimpeded whatever impulse arises. With the more up to date, hipsterish, formerly lefty libertarians– it may *start* with a not-unreasonable “I should be able to do anything I want with drugs” (for example), but they misuse the just cause of decriminalization of pot to lunge into: hence, libertarianism is good. With the Cliven Bundys it’s “I don’t want to pay taxes”, so libertarianism is good…or Sovereign exceptionalism is good. With some, “I don’t want to pay parking tickets or traffic tickets” so libertarianism is good. And everything else is just an elaborate if, ultimately, feeble system of rationale.

There is a kind of glow of the glories of freedom on libertarianism, that gives it a superficial “rightness”. Freedom, yes, is indeed good–and its goodness is a sort of social camouflage for libertarians. It’s as if the shine of freedom gets in their eyes, so they see nothing else. But simply trumpeting the genuine goodness of freedom ignores the abuse of freedom. For example, it ignores the fact that the former head of NAMBLA–an organization favoring adult sex with small boys–proudly declared himself a libertarian…and obviously he chose libertarianism because he can use it to justify child molestation. “Don’t impose your fascist rules against buggering children on me!”

If freedom should be inviolable, then I should be able to freely drive my car down the sidewalk right over crowds of people. “Oh yes–but they could sue you,” say libertarians. However, lawsuits won’t bring those people back–and anyway isn’t the lawsuit itself an imposition on my freedom?

Aug 14

The President of Everywhere?

As people become more and more vague about how the world works, as they succumb to entertainment hypnosis and social media fugue, they lose touch with basic tenets of the world’s social organization. They seem to forget such fundamentals as borders between countries and the restraints those borders imply.

It becomes clear that many Americans imagine that President Obama is in charge of Syria, is somehow President of Israel, can control the ancient Islamic rivalries in Iraq, can–should he choose–control what the Ukraine and Russia do, doesn’t have to answer to Congress, and can, through American presidential power, somehow force Iran not to make nuclear weapons. No President so far has been able to broker a satisfying deal between Israel and Palestine–but somehow Pres Obama is responsible for Israel over reaching in Gaza.

Oh and it’s probably his fault when Malaysia loses a plane, too. They seem to think he’s President of the world. So when things go awry in the world, it’s his fault and hence he had bad foreign policy. Thus his foreign policy must rate disapproval in polls.

Aug 14

Worry about THE ILLUMINATI? I say–HURRAY for the Illuminati!

Researching an article about conspiracy theorists, I looked up the history of the Illuminati. I was startled when I realized that the Illuminati were actually the Good Guys… Well–I had known this at some time but forgotten it–the general smoky blurriness generated by modern conspiracy theories about the Illuminati infected my perspective on them. I didn’t believe what I heard said about them, contemporaneously, but it tinged my recollections of their history. So several sources report as wikipedia does: the Illuminati were a force for GOOD. Read as follows: “The Illuminati … refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776. The society’s goals were to oppose superstition, prejudice, religious influence over public life and abuses of state power, and to support women’s education and gender equality. The Illuminati—along with other secret societies—were outlawed by the Bavarian ruler, Charles Theodore, with the encouragement of the Roman Catholic Church, and were permanently disbanded in 1785.[1] In the several years following, the group was vilified by conservative and religious critics…”

There you have it. They were opposed to superstition and prejudice and theocratic control; they were opposed to monarchy and tyranny; they supported gender equality. Monarchies and the Church hated them…which is a recommendation in itself. Somehow they’ve become all mixed in with anti-semitic paranoia, notions of mind control, secret puppeteering of the world…but in fact *everything* they wanted was GOOD. If they ARE puppeting the world, to those ends–opposing superstition, opposing abuses of state power, supporting women’s right–then I say let them have at it. I just wish they were MORE influential.