Posts Tagged: libertarians

Jun 17

Do Conservatives Fear Complexity?

One of the problems with Democrats and progressives standing up to conservatives (and “conservatives” as in Trump, who actually believes in nothing but Trump), is that progressive people recognize truth in *complexity*. The other side usually rejects complexity as if it were a kind of amoral smokescreen. It’s much easier to say, “a fifteen dollar national minimum wage is a giveaway to people who don’t want to work harder for more money” than to explain that 1) it’s not that much money, it’s an expensive society to live in 2) the money stimulates the economy overall because the average person will have more money to spend, and they’ll spend it 3) the evidence is that low-wage laborers work as hard as anyone else does, often harder. There are also four and five and six in the ever-more-complex but convincing list of considerations.

Same goes for food stamps/SNAP programs, and other safety nets–most people who get them *are* working already, and under tough circumstances, but it’s easier to say they’re loafers. It’s simply easier to say that single-payer healthcare, medicaid, and so on, are “only needed by people who haven’t worked hard enough” than it is to explain that medical problems can come out of nowhere and be overwhelming even for hard working, wage-earning people, and many working people have become homeless because of medical bills, and it actually helps the economy when we don’t have to rescue them with emergency rooms and special housing and we’ve allowed medical costs to get out of control in this country…and more.

It’s easier to say, “the free market will eventually end pollution” than to explain how the history of regulations and how they are not harmful to the marketplace.

It’s not that Republicans are (ironically) intellectually lazy, in particular, it’s just that they feel safer with simpler explanations, with echoing some parental homily, than with the uneven, challenging ground of complexity…Simplification offers simple emotional satisfaction.


Jun 16

Your Next Nasty Political Surprise

Many were surprised Donald Trump could be taken seriously as a candidate–could win over so many people. What will be the next political horror to surprise us? How about the fact that *libertarians* are now being taken more seriously because they got a tiny little increase of support in reaction to Trump? Their candidates are being covered on CNN. But the only thing libertarians actually have going for them is the word “liberty”–which for libertarians actually means liberty for whoever controls the marketplace–and their general, theoretical opposition to war. I can appreciate people desperately supporting a party supposedly opposed to going to war. But it’s just as much a mistake as succumbing to Trump’s appealing simplicity.

Libertarians are isolationist, and they don’t want taxes and war induces taxation to pay for it so they’re “against war”. However–if there was a resurgence of communism threatening their business interests, you’d probably see libertarians calling out for an “exception”: a war for…liberty. Libertarianism is the right masquerading as the left.

Like Trump, libertarians have the attraction of being a simple answer. With Trump it’s, “just trust Trump, turn it over to him, he’ll fix it, and, don’t forget, he despises dark skinned foreigners”. With the libertarians it’s, “the unregulated free market will solve all problems, trust us, and by the way we’re against war and we’re all for marijuana”. (Never mind that marijuana is already being legalized in state after state, no thanks to libertarians.)

When libertarians are losing an argument–eg when you point out that real economic science and history demonstrate that regulations and reasonable taxation and federal economic stimulus all are shown to promote prosperity–they call you a *statist*. They don’t actually call for no state at all, as real anarchists at least have the balls to do. They call for libertarian government–and, inexplicably, the libertarian government is supposedly not a *state*. Only, of course, it would be a state. It would be a shitty, polluting state ceding control to corporate power. But it would still be a state.

And when did *state* in itself become pejorative? To pretend *state* is a pejorative, insulting term is poor usage–and it is childish. It’s early adolescent, really. And that, actually, is a state, so to speak, that has always gone with libertarianism. It’s the jeering, childish, “just because” political theory.