On Fusionism

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Sancho asks:

Why do you think self-identified libertarians skew so much to the right?

I’m in Australia, where political-ish people tend to grab leftover ideology from the dominant superpower and treat it like original thought (I’m probably as guilty as anyone), and where “libertarian” means, in almost all cases, far-right wing beliefs including support for massive government intervention in pursuit of traditional conservative ideals. It’s the classic case of conservatives who like pot choosing to repackage themselves as iconoclasts.

I don’t know much about libertarians in Australia, but some American libertarian history seems in order. I hope Sancho can offer more of his own experiences to help complete the conversation.

In the 1950s, fascism was all but dead, and communism was by far the biggest worldwide threat to liberty. Many in the American left either currently were or else had recently been sympathetic to foreign communist governments, including Stalin’s. The right may have made too much of it at the time, but this was a fact. Radical leftists would sympathize with communism well beyond the 1950s, often hoping that Mao would do better than Stalin. (He didn’t.)

The friend of an enemy is an enemy, of course, so the fledgling libertarian movement was unlikely to side with the left. But is the enemy of an enemy a friend? That’s more complicated.

Eisenhower mostly reconciled Republicans to the New Deal, and this was a problem, but there were a few from the so-called Old Right still around. The Old Right opposed the New Deal and remained skeptical about American involvement abroad. Eisenhower’s farewell address was a welcome nod to their views. It was also spot-on accurate, as later events would prove.

The members of the Old Right were unquestionably anti-communist, but they weren’t about to blow up the world to prove it. Many of them — people like Robert A. Taft and Rose Wilder Lane — thought that the Soviet Union, while evil, was a paper tiger militarily.

Clearly one can argue with this; if anything, the Soviets did more to beat the Nazis than we did. But in any case, an alliance was born. The name for it was “fusionism,” and there’s a very good book laying out some of the primary documents from this never-entirely-cordial alliance. (For one, Russell Kirk despised libertarians.)

It’s important to remember, too, that the libertarian movement was still barely formed. A lot of things could have gone differently (contingency again, a favorite theme of mine). The Road to Serfdom appeared in 1944. It was a very strange book for its time, and contemporary reviewers seem not to have understood it. Human Action came in 1949, and Atlas Shrugged only in 1957. Milton Friedman was a respected economist but not yet a significant public intellectual; his Newsweek column began in 1966.

It’s interesting to speculate on how the libertarian movement might have proceeded if fascism had won in Europe, and if communism were defeated instead. In that world, the American right would have looked a lot more fascist — think Charles Lindbergh and Father Coughlin — and the left would have looked much less communist. My intellectual ancestors might even have tried a left-fusionism, like the one that may be happening today. We were, after all, the original liberals.

What does this have to do with today? Libertarianism’s alliance with the Old Right would remain long after it was tactically useful, and long after “Old Right” ceased to have any functional meaning. In particular, I can’t understand how right-fusionism could have survived Nixon. But somehow it did, and far-right elements seeking a home have often come to libertarian groups — who are, alas, often starved for members and resources.

To this day, many far-right authoritarians still try to claim the libertarian label, which they absolutely do not deserve. Some of these recommend stoning homosexuals and heretics. Others would align libertarianism with the neo-Confederate movement. And some would even align us with monarchism and the neo-Nazis.

To put it mildly, this isn’t what I signed up for. What I believe is very well expressed in Virginia Postrel’s The Future and Its Enemies. There are really two social principles acting in the world: One consists of stasis, authority, and central control; the other, of dynamism, autonomy, and letting-go. Those are the only real choices for me.

Stasis and dynamism do not map onto left and right. Stasist conservatives would return to authority structures from the past; stasist liberals would set up new ones. But whenever we can possibly do so, I believe that we should choose dynamism instead.

We’re not going to recreate the past, nor should we want to. And the centralized, technocratic futures of the left are equally misguided. The future I look forward to is free, peaceful, decentralized, market-oriented, and constantly improving. I don’t think that either left or right fully does it justice.

Libertarianism as I conceive of it is the heir to the Enlightenment and to its project of universal human freedom and betterment. The victories that we should claim as our own include the great battles for the freedom of conscience and the press, the abolition of slavery, the promotion of worldwide free trade, and the defeat of communism. And fascism.

We may not know exactly our destination; we may disagree on the particulars, even — but to the last of us, libertarians ought to say — “More of this, please.” Every single time that we have abolished some type of coercion, some type of arbitrary power of one person over another, humanity has had cause to rejoice, and never once to regret.

by Jason Kuznicki

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71 Responses to “On Fusionism”

  1. #1 |  James | 

    Sheldon Richman: Libertarianism: Left or Right?

  2. #2 |  Adrian Ratnapala | 

    Thanks for the this explanation, I learned a lot from it. But to me it seems too America-centric. The basic thesis is that the Lib-Right fusion was a reaction to (a) the strength of communism and (b) the freindship between communism and softer left-wing forces.

    Both of these were much stronger in Europe and even Australia than in the U.S. And this did indeed have the effect of making “Classical Liberalism” a right-wing phenomenon. Australia’s main conservative party is called the “Liberals”, and is inspired in large part by this speech: http://www.liberals.net/theforgottenpeople.htm. That’s a straighforwardly conservative document but its easy to see the libertarian connection.

    Sancho nothwistanding, I doubt anybody involved in that fusion had hard a damn thing about Ayn Rand or Murray Rothbard.

  3. #3 |  Meister574 | 

    I also think it has something to due with the right at least paying lip service to cutting the size and scope of government. You just don’t hear this from anyone on the left.

  4. #4 |  Mattocracy | 

    Libertarians and conservatives share a lot of terminology as well. In my experience, the latter seems to define their terminology differently once you get down to the nitty gritty, and make exceptions to the rules much more often.

    The other issue with the Libertarian Party is that we are a predominately white, male party. While we support civil liberties and curse our poorly executed legal system, the demographic that makes up the LP is generally not getting the short end of the stick when compared to minorities. The bad things the government does that affects us for the most fit into the economic categories more often than not. Hence we spend more time complaining about taxes and regulations.

    Although, in my opinion, I think the LP is preaching about civil liberties much more since 9/11.

  5. #5 |  Steve Horwitz | 

    Jason,

    As usual with your stuff, I love this piece. I am, however, going to pick one nit. I think Father Coughlin’s views are a little more complicated than you imply by putting him on the right. In fact, many of his criticisms of FDR were from the left – accusing him of not being socialist enough. Certainly Coughlin had a number of characteristics, and positions, of a fascist, but he was not so obviously on the “right” as history seems to have put him.

  6. #6 |  TFG | 

    Left libertarian, right libertarian, progressive, conservative.

    They’re each dangerously idealistic in their own way, so what’s it matter?

  7. #7 |  James | 

    One reason a lot of libertarians appear to be “on the right” is because of conflationism.

  8. #8 |  Graham Shevlin | 

    Meister, I don’t know who you have been hanging out with or reading recently, but in my circle there are a number of people who you would probably describe as “left” who are definitely in favour of reducing the size and scope of government. They happen to want the USA to stop funding national offense and participating in half-baked non-war wars overseas, and they also want to cut back on massive corporate and religious subsidy programs. So, in their own way, they are in favour of smaller government. Now, that may not be the kind of smaller government that you want, but to say that all left-leaning people want to to is to continually increase the size of government is a gross over-generalization.

  9. #9 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @1

    I love that Sheldon Richman piece, but I think it’s a little overdrawn. There is no fundamental reality to the terms “left” and “right”; we might as well call the factions “odds” and “evens” for all the descriptive power it brings. Karl Hess is aiming at something like Postrel’s stasis-dynamism continuum, but I don’t think he’s helped by superimposing it on the political spectrum.

    @2

    I’m guilty as charged. This post is America-centric. That’s in part because I was asked to write about America, and in part because in the 1950s and 1960s, all of the very best libertarian thinkers were here. Many were immigrants, but all were Americans, wrote in English, and addressed an American audience with American concerns in mind.

    @3 & @4

    Yes! Without a doubt. The numbers would never lead you to guess the two parties’ rhetoric, if the numbers were all you had to go on.

    @5

    Fair enough. The 1930s-40s were one of those weird times in political life where people can be hard to classify, and lots of things were in flux.

    @6

    I try to be pragmatic. Honestly I do.

    @7

    Yes. Readers should also see this.

    @8

    Yet they oddly don’t take pride in their small-government credentials. And while the Republicans talk a good game, the one thing they never want to cut is the military.

  10. #10 |  el coronado | 

    @#8 –

    Lefties desiring a reduction in the size & scope of government? Hmm. Well, I suppose it’s not technically *impossible*, but…..

    I gotta agree with Meister. While driving around yesterday, I was listening to the news on the radio because the music stations were all doing that ‘synchronized commercials block’ thing they do so well. This is an almost verbatim quote from “AP radio news” of 1 August: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House John Boehner announced they had come to an agreement to keep the government funded through September by keeping Federal spending at current levels. Republicans had sought as much as $14 Billion in spending cuts – $14 billion out of more than a *trillion*. My God…The Horror… – BUT DEMOCRATS INSISTED THAT NO CUTS OF ANY KIND BE MADE.”

    That’s from AP, not currently known as a bastion of conservatism. So that being the case, and it is & has been many times over many years, I understand perfectly why someone might get the idea that liberals detest the very *idea* of a government that’s even 1% smaller.

  11. #11 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @10

    I think it’s important to distinguish between the rank and file and the leadership. I know lots of reliable Democratic voters who would immediately slash defense spending, end the War on Drugs, uproot the noxious surveillance state, and shut down our secretive foreign prisons.

    One might fairly ask why they vote the way they do. But they’re sincere about the policy outcomes that they want, and I agree very much with each of the ones I just mentioned.

  12. #12 |  M. Simon | 

    Go back to 1914 for a better view. Te Republican Party opposed the Harrison Narcotics act. Because the Federal government didn’t have the power. The Party of that era would be a libertarian party today.

    If you watch the ideology, the Progressives split into the Democrat and the Christian Democrat (Republican) Parties. The libertarians were the rump. All that is left of the original Republicans is the “smaller government” slogan. And some Libertarian Republicans.

    There are a few of us trying to change that. We will allow as how America has become a world power and needs to act like it. Otherwise – smaller government. But there are a lot of other libertarian factions with different views (isolationism for instance – the Ron Paul crowd). We shall see how it plays out with the TEAs making serious inroads.

  13. #13 |  M. Simon | 

    Post 1919 America shirked being a world power. We got 1940 to ’45 as a result. Current American “Defense” posture is designed to prevent a repeat. We are forgetting those lessons. I expect a world war within 10 years.

  14. #14 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @12

    Going back before the 1950s is very risky.

    Smoot-Hawley was a Republican tariff bill. Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican and absolutely no one’s idea of a libertarian. Grover Cleveland, on the other hand, was both a Democrat and very good on a lot of libertarian issues. As was Calvin Coolidge, a Republican.

    But Hoover was awful, and even FDR first ran on — but didn’t implement — a lot of smaller-government rhetoric. True, most Democrats loved Jim Crow and Prohibition, but Al Smith didn’t.

    By our way of thinking, things were tremendously confused in the prewar era. I hesitate to champion anyone; even H.L. Mencken can really disturb at times.

  15. #15 |  el coronado | 

    Wait….a guy who earlier introduced himself as a “hayekian thick libertarian”, whatever that is, soft-pedals claims of ‘democrats/liberals as the party of bigger govt’? (‘It’s the _leadership_, see….’) Then fails to mention Wilson and sorta blips over FDR in a quick look back at the most UN-libertarian Presidents of the 20th century? (which president is responsible for our de facto ‘national identification number’? Sure as shit ain’t *Hoover*, is it.)

    Maybe the correct answer to “why do self-identified Libertarians skew right?” can be found in Occam’s Razor. Of the 2 major ideologies, right and left, which one is friendlier to the notion of “I just want to be left alone to live my life as I see fit”? Neither side thinks that way, true, but which one comes *closest*?

  16. #16 |  M. Simon | 

    This explains the split between the leadership of the Dems and the rank and file.

    http://classicalvalues.com/2012/08/terrorists-dealing-drugs/

    Especially read the Lame Cherry link. The prose at Lame Cherry is somewhat difficult but well worth the effort.

  17. #17 |  M. Simon | 

    @14,

    Yes back before ’50 things were very confused. The reason for that is the transition from a libertarian oriented Republican party and the transitional absorption of the Progressive right.

    In any case where we are today – another change is coming – is Democrats and Christian Democrats.

  18. #18 |  M. Simon | 

    Or to put it more clearly – Moral Socialists and Economic Socialists.

  19. #19 |  Chris Mallory | 

    We got 1933-1989 (end of the cold war) due to Wilson’s idiotic meddling in WW1. If we had minded our own business we would not have had the European half of WW2 and the Soviet mess might have been completely avoided.

  20. #20 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    Please don’t misunderstand me. Woodrow Wilson was an atrocious imperialist who thought everything would have been better run out of Washington. No secret sympathies for him on my part. The man was irredeemable.

    But I didn’t mention him for a very simple reason. This was already a pretty long post, and the question prompt was about right-libertarian fusionism. In Wilson’s time there were still a few classical liberals around, but the modern figures we think of as libertarians either weren’t active or weren’t even born yet. Much less making alliances with Republicans.

  21. #21 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    Also, the guy at Lame Cherry is a conspiracy theorist nutter. No thanks.

  22. #22 |  albatross | 

    el coronado:

    I don’t really see much difference at all in terms of how they govern. Relative to their rhetoric, the two big parties’ actions, and correspondingly how liberalism and conservativism are implemented by elected officials bearing those labels, are extraordinarily close.

    Suppose I want an end to the war on drugs, blowing up foreigners without a formal declaration of war, secret hit lists and death squads and flying killer robots sent after US citizens, massive domestic spying, endless deficit spending, affirmative action, broken immigration policy optimized for keeping wages down, aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers, impunity for the powerful, bailouts for the biggest and most politically connected oligarchs, militarization of local police forces. Which party would I vote for, again?

    Some liberals talk a good game about some of that stuff, notably including the current occupant of the white house. Some conservatives talk a good game about that stuff, too. But when they get into power, they virtually never do any of it. The very moment the Republicans get control of congress and the white house, all concerns with deficits will evaporate, and we’ll hear more of the old “deficits don’t matter” talk we heard during W’s time in office. It will be the mirror image of Obama’s deep concern with war on terror excesses and illegal domestic surveillance, which more-or-less evaporated as soon as he got into power.

  23. #23 |  Danny | 

    I think there is a simpler explanation for all this:

    [A.] Over on “the Right,” Conservatives agree with Libertarians on a few things (lower taxes, lighter regulation, 2nd Amendment), and the Republican Party agrees with Libertarians on those same few things. Conservatives are in firm control of their own American political party, so the GOP is a reliable vehicle for a handful of Libertarian priorities in this country.

    [B.] Over on “the Left,” Liberals agree with Libertarians on several things (end the drug war, wind down the “War on Terror,” legalize medical marijuana, decriminalize sex work, reduce the prison system, stop foreign wars of choice) but the Democratic Party emphatically does not agree with Libertarians on any of those things. Liberals are not in firm control of their own American political party. Police unions, guard unions, retro-feminists, “centrist hawks”, and other narrow constituencies are able to trump Liberals on many key issues in the Democratic Party.

    The overlaps between Liberals, Libertarians and the Democratic Party (abortion rights, gay rights) are so narrow and peripheral that they could never support a strong “fusionism” like we see with the GOP. Until Liberals get enough power inside the Democratic Party to make meaningful policy reforms to the prison-industrial complex, the drug war, and the nation’s excessive military commitments, there will not be a Liberal-Libertarian fusionism to match what the GOP has.

  24. #24 |  Duracomm | 

    Because the political left /democrats / liberals stand in clear opposition to pretty much every element of libertarian philosophy.

    Humorously pointed out in this comment at volokh conspiracy

    “”The idea tends to be that while liberals want to tell you what insurance to buy, how much salt, fat, and what kinds of fat you can use in cooking, what kinds of lightbulbs you can use, how much water you can use each time you flush, how much carbon you can exhale, and at what point you’ve made enough money and need to have it spread around, conservatives don’t want you to have sex with other men.

    So the two sides are basically the same, you see.””

    http://www.volokh.com/2010/08/24/the-cato-institutes-supposed-purge-of-the-liberaltarians/#comment-920552

  25. #25 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @24 – “Only MY particular brand is really libertarian!”

    @23 – I find it funny that you think the right’s proposals to raise tax on the poor is “low tax”

  26. #26 |  el coronado | 

    I like Danny’s take on it. Sounds about right to me.

  27. #27 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    “The idea tends to be that while liberals want to tell you what insurance to buy, how much salt, fat, and what kinds of fat you can use in cooking, what kinds of lightbulbs you can use, how much water you can use each time you flush, how much carbon you can exhale, and at what point you’ve made enough money and need to have it spread around, conservatives don’t want you to have sex with other men.”

    He left out “embroil us in foreign wars, spy on us, torture, deliver big subsidies to banks and insurance companies, and grow the welfare state just like the left.”

    I’m sure it was just an oversight.

  28. #28 |  albatross | 

    Duracomm:

    Well, the conservatives also seem to want to tell you what drugs you can take, what sexual acts you can do with members of the opposite sex, what books and movies and magazines and websites you can look at, etc. The two sides look rather similar from where I sit.

  29. #29 |  Duracomm | 

    Jason,

    It is true that obama and the democrats embroil us in foreign wars, spy on us, torture, deliver big subsidies to banks and insurance companies, and grow the welfare state.

    That does not detract from the point of the comment I posted.

    I would add that republicans are better for civil liberties also.

    At least the media will report on abuse of civil liberties if republicans are in power.

    On the other hand crickets chirping is the predominant media sound when democrats abuse civil liberties.

  30. #30 |  Duracomm | 

    albatross,

    My question is why support liberals / democrats who provide no benefit on civil liberties and have much worse policies on economic freedom?

  31. #31 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Why do you think self-identified libertarians skew so much to the right?’

    Well this is mostly a U.S. phenomenon. In Europe, Latin America and other places, a person that describes themselves as libertarian is most likely telling you that they are anarchists (or damn close) that support some form of voluntary socialist arrangement. Early anarchists from P.J. Proudhon to Benjamin Tucker to Kropotikin discussed various models of such libertarian societies that would be free from state coercion as well as the coercion inherent in wage labor. There were also many kinds of libertarian socialist communities that existed during the Spanish Civil War.

    The use of the term “libertarian” by supporters of capitalism mostly surfaced in the post world war II era in the United States. Personally, I think that the historically-correct term for such a person would be classical liberal or just liberal (as used in Europe), but people may call themselves whatever they wish. OK, I’ve harped on these issues quite a bit lately, so I’ll leave it at that.

  32. #32 |  GT | 

    So have we worked out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin yet?

    Honestly, Americans and their “Which pigeon-hole am *I* in?” mentality (where political affiliation is akin to membership of a Byzantine deme… unsurprisingly, the demes started as supporter-groups for chariot raceers – the NASCAR of its day).

    There is only one question that need be asked: “Do You Hate The State?”. If you don’t answer “Yes” (or something even more affirmative) then you don’t give a fuck about liberty – because the State is founded in, and persists via, direct coercive encroachment on liberty.

    Force, fraud, waste and war – all supposedly justified by the presence of ‘market failure’. By pretending to exist to remedy Harberger’s little triangles (the deadweight losses than exist in markets where there are externalities), the State gulls soft-hearted people into supporting it… and from there, War, Always War – because the sort of people attracted to parasitism (“public life”) are the sort of people who will set the world on fire if it means an increase in their share of the post-war pie. (Oddly, Public Finance theory spends plenty of time discussing Harberger Triangles, but never in the context of how many triangles get obliterated during a period of ‘precision’ bombing).

    But “my party’s guy is better/more noble/killed more gooks/got better grades/has a better line of bullshit than your party’s guy” remains the dominant paradigm. And year by year, the ‘public’ (parasitic) sector of the economy lurches further from any stable intertemporal manifold as high-functioning sociopaths use the political means to funnel money to OTHER high-functioning sociopaths. There is now no feasible terminal condition – either slope or level – for debt: thanks to fuckwits trying to live at each others’ expense (much like the Real Estate numpties who thought that everyone could get rich by selling houses to one another at increasing prices in perpetuity).

    But by all means, let’s all waffle about how a Libertarian PARTY makes sense. Because of course you can change the cancer from within (I swear, if I need to write /sarc I will fucking explode).

    Oh, and Australia’s libertarian (and anarchist) movements have been alive and kicking since the 1880s – the Melbourne Anarchist Club has existed non-stop since 1886. It’s a bit wet (ansoc rather than ancap/voluntaryist), but it’s fucking there, yo.

    Want liberty? Dismantle the fucking State.

    (inb4 some retard says “There will be roving bands of Soprano-like marauders taking all our shit” or nonsense of equal vapidity)

    It doesn’t mean there will be no security (people can purchase private-market security – you need to do that NOW if you’re remotely interested in keeping your shit safe); it doesn’t mean there will be no education; it doesn’t mean there will be no welfare transfer payments. It just means that all these things will occur on a scale consistent with the most efficient use of resources – and firms who offer these services will do so in a way that provides value for money, or they will go out of business (par contre – if the State fucks something up, it means the budget must INcrease).

  33. #33 |  el coronado | 

    uh…dude….by making the blanket declarative statement “There is only one question that need be asked”, you pretty much made null & void the rest of your anti-pigeonholing comment.

  34. #34 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @31 – The Spanish societies in question strongly self-identified as anarchist rather than libertarian. It’s…something of a misnomer to apply that label to them, especially since many were strongly collectivist in various way.

    @32 – No, it means that anyone trying to those things will soon have nothing themselves. Your point? You’re a typical far right libertarian, not an anarchist, as can be seen by your “companies will do it all” comment – the rich will buy security, AND the poor.

  35. #35 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @29

    Have we not reached peak hackery here? In what world can we trot out Woodrow Wilson to bash Team Blue… but then conveniently forget all about the most recent Republican president?

  36. #36 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @34

    I’m perfectly fine with collectivist anarchists, incidentally, as long as they are peaceful about it. Collectives don’t always fail, and no one who looks at the empirical evidence can say otherwise. But they work best when the groups are small and voluntary, and when each member is very personally motivated toward success. Think monasteries or kibbutzim, not Stalinist collective farms or labor camps.

  37. #37 |  Sancho | 

    Thanks for the lengthy response, Jason.

    I made the reference to leftover ideas because libertarianism is underpinned by centuries of philosophy and debate (even though it’s still in flux), but Australian libertarians seem to have made nothing of that, and simply adopted the title as a way of promoting neoconservative ideas while evading scrutiny of conservatism’s historical failures.

    Basically, the local variety is deeply suspicious of libertarian intellectualism, but very taken with the Tea Party.

    Australian libertarians will rail against minority rights, science and anything to do with the state, but when pointed to conservatism’s weaknesses on those subjects, claim that their views are entirely modern and independent, for they are free-thinking libertarians, not right-wing reactionaries.

    Not to mention that the libertarian community in Australia is absolutely crawling with hardline Catholics, who slip all sorts of religious dogma into their ideas of libertarianism.

    I should point out that the Australian institutions labelling themselves libertarian are publicly more progressive than their supporters in the community, but tend to frame their arguments along the lines of, “can’t we just get cannabis and gay marriage out of the way and concentrate on the outrageous fact that we can’t trade the poor like cattle and corporations are still slightly beholden to the citizenry?”

    I’d also say that, contrary to Helmut and GT’s observations (#31 & #32), any Australian calling themselves an anarchist will be instantly and relentlessly attacked by the local libertarians.

    To leftists like myself, the libertarianism Jason is describing sounds very similar to what we thought leftism is and/or should be, so it’s odd that a philosophy which reveres freedom of choice, conscience and association has become synonymous with support for authoritarianism and aristocracy.

  38. #38 |  rmv | 

    @ 34 Leon Wolfeson

    Good job.

    Nice to know on the one hand, you can make fun of the No True Scotsman arguments wrt Libertarians, but then step right into it with the, “You’re a typical far right libertarian, not an anarchist…” nonsense

    If you’re incapable of acknowledging the AnCap position, then your comments on anarchism are as clueless as your comments on price controls.

  39. #39 |  Mattocracy | 

    Another aspect of human nature that colors our view of politics is this:

    Everyone assumes that the other team is showing a biased support to their voting base at the expense of their team’s voting base. The idea that a political philosophy is neutral is a very hard to believe for the cynical masses. We’re all pretty cynical no matter how we vote.

  40. #40 |  Glenn Reynolds | 

    The only good thing about Australia is that it’s one of the last bastions crudiness. I mean where else can you flip off cops without having to be afraid of getting bracelets slapped on you? America definitely doesn’t afford it’s citizens this right: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2012/07/25/middle-finger-arrest-leads-manhattan-lawsuit/

    Though at the very least, you don’t have to worry about a beating afterward here in the States.

  41. #41 |  M. Simon | 

    Jason,

    I have links here to a former Bush 1 HUD undersecretary – Catherine Austin Fitts who corroborates Cherry:

    http://classicalvalues.com/2012/08/terrorists-dealing-drugs/

    There is also Alfred McCoy “The Politics of Heroin”. The book “Air America”. Garry Webb’s “Dark Alliance”. Also look up the drug connection in the war between Mao and the Kuomintang. You might also want to look up what cargoes the Clipper Ships carried to China – opiates.

    And what I find interesting is that the history is fairly well documented and everyone who brings it up is a “conspiracy nut”. It is an excellent way to keep people from looking at open sources.

    “The Politics of Heroin” is free on line. You might want to give it a read. Cherry is a reprise of the sources I mentioned. And yes. If you haven’t studied the material it does sound fantastic. But think about it – if you are an intel agency and needed a large black budget how could you earn it. And don’t forget – intel agencies like to maintain connections with criminal organizations for various purposes. For that look up Lucky Luciano in WW2. What better way to maintain those connections than to have a product criminals want to sell.

  42. #42 |  M. Simon | 

    Also “Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press” by Alexander Cockburn & Jeffrey St. Clair

    Another one:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/archive/gunsdrugscia.html

    Another avenue:

    One big problem in Mexico is how many government officals are related to relatives that are in the drug trade.

    “The Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic” by former DEA agent Michael Levine

    And how about Ron Paul?

    http://rt.com/usa/news/paul-cia-drug-government-053/

    Is all the information presented true? Doubtful. Is a lot of it? Try cross checking with what ever you consider legit sources.

  43. #43 |  Jim Fryar | 

    “Sancho” needs to do a closer examination of what constitutes a libertarian here, which admittedly is somewhat confused by the tendency of the left to use the term as a swear word. Contrary to ideas expressed by the media, ALP, the Greens and others, Tony Abbott, John Howard, Barnaby Joyce and company are not libertarians, although on some occasions they may make the odd statement that is approved of by us.

    Libertarian views in Australia are best represented politically by the Liberal Democratic Party (ldp.org) although that tends to be contested by ‘the only 26 pure libertarians in Australia.’

    Pure libertarians are best represented by The Australian Libertarian Society, (libertarian.org.au) and economics.org.au both of which are excellent sites.

  44. #44 |  Sancho | 

    Thanks Jim (#41).

    And Catallaxy Files? Menzies House? How about the Institute of Public Affairs?

    The ALS and LDP are among many groups claiming to represent Australian libertarians, and far from the most prominent. Catallaxy in particular is packed with Australians who declare their libertarianism in the same breath that they denounce same sex marriage, scientific enquiry and rights for women and racial minorities.

    On that note, I took the opportunity to review the LDP’s position on same sex marriage, which usually gives you an idea of how much an organisation values freedom.

    The page is remarkably even-handed today, because the last time I checked it was composed almost exclusively of biblical arguments for permitting SSM – hardly indicative of a group that believes it doesn’t belong well to the right of centre – and still contains a great deal of religious justification for a document that ends on the premise that SSM is a simple requirement of freedom.

    In any case, international observers might want to decide from themselves. Here are a few samples from the ALS:

    Using taxes to subsidise insurance purchasers is libertarian and nothing like state welfare:

    http://blog.libertarian.org.au/2012/02/19/is-the-medicare-rebate-middle-class-welfare/

    Anders Breivik’s wisdom has been understated and he was correct to fight back against “the Marxist-Islamic partnership”:

    http://blog.libertarian.org.au/2011/12/12/shooting-the-messenger-and-perverting-the-message/

    And, naturally, failing to be unconditionally supportive of fraud and mismanagement makes one unforgivably stupid:

    http://blog.libertarian.org.au/2011/12/13/the-unforgivable-stupidity-of-the-anti-banking-libertarians/

    Of course, if you want to know what rank-and-file Australian libertarians think, make sure to read the comments as well, where you will find that science of all sorts – particularly climate science and evolution – are socialist conspiracies.

    This is the libertarianism Jim Fryar is referring to, and not at all connected to the sort of paranoid Tea Party conservatism I described.

  45. #45 |  Sancho | 

    Incidentally, can HTML tags be used in these comments?

  46. #46 |  Sancho | 

    This may be boring the pants off non-Australians, but since we’re on the topic, I want to highlight some of Jim Fryar’s own contributions to libertarianism.

    Daniel Pipes is right about middle eastern wars being a great idea (which Jim alternates with praise for Ron Paul):

    http://blog.libertarian.org.au/2011/11/09/good-analysis-of-the-middle-east-situation/

    And this deserves special mention simply for its subject:

    http://blog.libertarian.org.au/2011/08/02/convoy-of-no-confidence-releases-its-routes/

    The Convoy of No Confidence was a direct imitation of a Tea Party event in which Australian conservatives and their families took a couple of weeks off work to drive 18-wheeler trucks across the continent, buying food, fuel and accomodation the whole way, so that they could stand around in the capital complaining about how the government’s response to the economic crash was harming them financially.

    Separate to the question of libertarianism, that should give you an idea of the Australian right’s understanding of global economics and what constitutes hardship, which Jim has written in support of.

  47. #47 |  Other Sean | 

    I’m kind of surprised no one mentioned what to me is the obvious advantage of right-fusion over left: we lean toward the side that is willing to let us speak.

    Since the left controls nearly all of academia and still has massive influence over traditional media, it is easily able to market its ideas as the product of a calm, respectable consensus, while branding any opposition as the crazy, stupid, and evil raving of unlettered rubes. And the left these days bitterly hates dissent. By current standards, a gracious leftist is one who waits until you’ve left the room before labeling you a homophobic, racist, Koch-sucker who hates the poor.

    Even if they do sometimes win elections, conservatives are outsiders vis-a-vis the cultural establishment. They’re used to being called lunatics, so what does it matter to them if they give a platform to some outrageous madman who wants to end BOTH the drug war AND the minimum wage.

    When FBN invites a genuinely radical libertarian to appear on one of its shows, they’ve got nothing to lose. What are people like Martha Nussbaum and Rachel Maddow gonna do? Put Fox on double secret probation? Angrily rescind Rupert Murdoch’s invitation to the U of C Fall Colloquium on Gender Justice? I’m sure he would be devastated, except he’s already been called every name in the book and there wasn’t the slightest chance of his being invited in the first place.

    Of course, we weren’t invited to that party either, so it’s only natural that we – who are equally locked out of the subsidized factories where “knowledge” is made and then distributed – should find common cause with even a distasteful character like him.

  48. #48 |  Sancho | 

    That’s a big leap, Other Sean (#45).

    In recent history, the left’s major struggles have been to win women, blacks, gays, drug users, environmentalists, and the poor the same rights to free speech and agency that elites have traditionally enjoyed and sought to keep exclusive to themselves.

    Meanwhile, the right – in the form of the parties and intellectuals that so many libertarians align themselves with – has fought tooth and nail to ensure that those groups remained marginalised while the elites with the most money and power made choices for them.

    It’s hard to say how you reach the conclusion that the left hates dissent when, above all else, it’s built on dissent. You could shout “communism!”, but I hope it doesn’t have to be pointed out that you don’t live in a communist society.

    Keep in mind that the thread author is a man married to man, who is raising a child and loves all things French. Are you saying that if the left would just shut up and not interfere, that the right would allow Jason Kuznicki every freedom that it permits heterosexual nationalists?

  49. #49 |  Other Sean | 

    Sancho,

    I’m known around here as a guy who always feeds his trolls. I usually can’t help myself. I’ll take a thread up to 157 comments, with just me and one other person goading me on. I once had a debate with Leon that lasted two weeks.

    But even with that deservedly bad reputation, I have my standards…and you, sir, left way too much hook showing through your worm.

  50. #50 |  Duracomm | 

    Sancho,

    Obama and the democrats are providing,

    1. Medical marijuana clinic raids (started on Clinton continued by Obama)
    2. Vast expansion of security state
    3. Unprecedented attack on whistle blowers
    4. Continual attacks on privacy
    5. Continual push for expanded regulation of the internet
    5. Vastly expanded security state
    6. Continued existence of Guantanamo
    7. The killing of american citizens without trial

    The idea that the left loves dissent is completely laughable.

    The left has provided us left wing campus speech codes, attacks on freedom of speech by the left wing Canadian human rights commission, and left wing attacks on the free speech rights of groups like ALEC who disagree with them.

    The left provides all of the civil liberties abuses of the right and often expands the abusive practices.

    On top of that they have an unquestioned and ongoing hostility to the very concept of economic liberty.

    That is why libertarians are associated with the right, because in action the left is hostile to all of the core principles of libertarians.

  51. #51 |  Duracomm | 

    Other Sean,

    When it comes to the democrat’s bad record on civil liberties it is difficult to sort the trolls from the the sincere but utterly clueless true believers.

  52. #52 |  Jesse Walker | 

    I don’t know where this idea came from that the libertarian/conservative alliance was a product of 1950s anti-communism. I hear it a lot but I see no evidence for it at all. Classical liberals started to ally themselves with the right in substantial numbers in the 1930s, not the 1950s. The cause wasn’t the Cold War; it was the New Deal.

    Meanwhile, a great many libertarians opposed the Cold War. This was one of the great sources of tension between libs and cons. It was libertarian support for draft resistance and opposition to the Vietnam War that led to the big YAF split in 1969, which arguably gave birth to the modern libertarian movement. Virtually all of the major libertarian institutions that emerged from the ’60s on — leaving aside those groups that simply didn’t deal with foreign policy as a part of their mission, such as IJ — opposed the Cold War. The Cato Institute, the Mises Institute, the Libertarian Party…really, the only significant exception that I can think of is Reason, and even then the pages of the magazine were open to anti-Cold Warriors. If you look at conservative attacks on libertarians in that period, they were at least as likely to center on foreign policy issues as they were on, say, drug policy. It was the end of the Cold War that allowed oddities like the “paleo” alliance to appear, precisely because people like Murray Rothbard and people like Pat Buchanan no longer had the issue of communism dividing them.

    Yes, you had Cold Warriors like Frank Meyer arguing that libertarians should join forces with conservatives. But the people who followed that advice were a part of the conservative movement, not the libertarian movement; they didn’t ally themselves, they subsumed themselves. And for part of the period when they were subsuming themselves — during the 1960s and ’70s — libertarian/left fusionism was resurgent. A big reason for that libertarian/left alliance was, naturally, opposition to the Cold War. The main thing that killed it off was the rise of Reagan. I don’t mean to suggest that most people considered libertarian “left-wing” in this period, of course — just that left fusionism was not any less peculiar than right fusionism.

    In the 1970s and ’80s, libertarianism was widely perceived as a third way between left and right, in part because the libertarian group that got the most coverage was the Libertarian Party, which presented itself as an alternative to both Democrats and Republicans. The LP is such a shadow of its former self these days that’s it’s hard for people to remember that in, say, 1983, if you read the word “libertarian” in the newspaper, it was most likely to be in reference to a group that was trying very hard to distinguish itself from the Reagan Republicans.

    As for why libertarians are more likely to lean right these days, I give you this non-exhaustive list:

    1. Because there are a lot of economically focused institutions that allow libertarians and free-market conservatives to work together, and not as many (or not as big) civil liberties and anti-imperial groups where it is similarly easy for libertarians to work together with anti-authoritarians of the left. The chief exception to this is groups dedicated to ending the drug war.

    2. Because in that environment, a conservative who is 80% libertarian is fairly likely to identify himself as a libertarian while a leftist or liberal who is 80% libertarian is not. (The one place I can think of where this generalization about the left isn’t true is — surprise! — among activists opposed to the drug war. See #1, above.) I know plenty of Whole Earth Catalog types who are basically in our corner, but when they hear “libertarian” they think “Randroid.”

    3. Because Randroids. Not all Randians, mind you. Just…well, you know the kind I’m talking about.

  53. #53 |  Jesse Walker | 

    Note: all of the above is in reference to the United States. I know that things played out differently elsewhere.

  54. #54 |  Tam | 

    @31 “…free from state coercion as well as the coercion inherent in wage labor.

    I know, right?

    I hate it when someone puts a gun to may head and coerces me into voluntarily exchanging my time and/or skill for valuable cash and prizes…

  55. #55 |  Sancho | 

    I’m happy to discuss the subjects raised in posts #49 to #51, but my question remains conspicuously unanswered.

    Again: if leftists relinquished their supposed control over academia and the media, retired from activism and debate altogether, and allowed the right to order the developed world as it sees fit, would Jason enjoy the same freedoms as a heterosexual American nationalist?

  56. #56 |  Jason Kuznicki | 

    @52

    I definitely neglected the elements of the libertarian movement that have tilted leftward. I wasn’t trying to build the case for left-fusionism, only to explain the roots of right-fusionism. As I see them, anyway.

    I probably should have said something about Barry Goldwater. Rothbard wasn’t a fan, but plenty of other libertarians were and are. If we consider him and Reagan, I can’t think of a single Democratic presidential candidate in the postwar era that commanded similar libertarian support. And I think a lot of it had to do with their vocal defense of free markets against socialism and communism.

    I’m not going to deny any of your facts, but I still think anti-communism was a very important factor in associating libertarians more with the right than the left.

  57. #57 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #54 Tam:
    “I know, right?
    I hate it when someone puts a gun to may head and coerces me into voluntarily exchanging my time and/or skill for valuable cash and prizes…”

    Huh huh, huh huh. Bet you got high fives from the boys at the hedge fund for spewing that old slogan. Jesus Titty Fucking Christ I hate that god damn cliche. I can’t even believe I’m responding to this intellectually lazy turd of a post, but you caught me in a bad mood. Just got back from work, in fact.

    The “gun to the head” argument is evidence of the rather limited view of freedom that most “libertarians” have. If you really think that any transaction not conducted at gunpoint is totally voluntary then I would suggest that you are not the rebel that you think you are. Yours is the ideology of the corporate yes man, not the radical.

    You’re comment also suggests that you have never been a wage worker or you are brainwashed by ideas from neo-classical economics. Or maybe you’ve been a desk jockey for so long that you don’t remember the days of punching the clock.

    You would argue that I voluntarily accepted my position. Really, so unemployment sounds like a viable option to you? What about dumpster diving? Yummy! Have you seen too many old hobo movies? And after being hired would you claim that my employer (a large healthcare organization) and I have equal bargaining power. Well, hopefully you aren’t THAT delusional, because I sure as fuck am not on equal footing with my employer. Ah, you sense the hostility I have for my employer, don’t you. The typical right-wing response would be, “well, if you don’t like your job you can quit.” No shit. I COULD quit. Actually, I am trying to move on as we speak. But quitting before I have the chance to rent my services to another master, err, employer, would mean eating up my savings. Does that sound like a viable option? How would you like to try it?

    Newsflash Tam. I put up with my job so that I can pay my debts. So don’t give me that fucking fairy land “voluntary exchange” nonsense.
    Libertarians like you are defending an indefensible system and siding with the powerful. You aren’t fooling me and most working people would see right through a glib motherfucker like you. So when I get the old paternalistic “nobody puts a gun to your head” speech I think of the following story from Malcom X:

    “There was two kind of slaves. There was the house negro and the field negro. The house negro, they lived in the house, with master. They
    dressed pretty good. They ate good, cause they ate his food, what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near their
    master, and they loved their master, more than their master loved
    himself. They would give their life to save their masters house quicker
    than their master would. The house negro, if the master said “we got a
    good house here” the house negro say “yeah, we got a good house here”.
    Whenever the master would said we, he’d say we. That’s how you can
    tell a house negro. If the master’s house caught on fire, the house negro
    would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the
    master got sick, the house negro would say “What’s the matter, boss, we
    sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master, more than the
    master identified with himself. And if you came to the house negro and
    said “Let’s run away, Let’s escape, Let’s separate” the house negro would
    look at you and say “Man, you crazy. What you mean separate? Where
    is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than
    this? Where can I eat better food than this?” There was that house
    negro.

    Hey Tam, sounds like you’ve been living in the house a little too long! Now go wipe the boss man’s gizz off your upper lip.

  58. #58 |  Cynical in New York | 

    I once supported fusionism but that came to end when conservatives showed their true colors which is that they love government jackboots as long as they’re in charge of them. The TEA Party movement is an excellent example on how once a libertarian movement started getting steam in the national discussions, conservatives (both Neo and Paleo) worked their damm hardest to drive us out. There is a book titled Tea-O-Conned: The Hijacking of Liberty in America: Exposing the Neoconservative Infiltration and Takeover of the 21st Century Tea Party Movement.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1453797440/theagitator-20/

    http://libertarianpeacenik.blogspot.com/2012/05/tea-o-conned-exposes-neocon.html

    At the very least Buchanan and his Paleos flat admit they hate us (which I personally love). Personally I rather be viewed as enemy of CONservativism than be their lap dog which they’ve viewed us for years.

  59. #59 |  CyniCAl | 

    “I hope it doesn’t have to be pointed out that you don’t live in a communist society.”

    ROFLMAO! Of course we live in a communist society! It’s just not totalitarian.

    http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2012/01/kiss-stalin-was-feeling-extremely-gay.html

    “America has only one problem: America is a communist country. And has been since before you were born. And probably before your mother was born. Earl Browder was right: communism is as American as apple pie.”

  60. #60 |  Roberta X | 

    Hooboy, Helmut, you didn’t do your homework. Tam is a freelance writer, former manager, former clock-punching wage slave.

    …And you’re just as free as any other critter. The ant and squirrel must work or die, too. And you could buy a patch and scratch out a living, too — you just don’t want to go live where land is cheap, the hospital and supermarket are a long distance away, and the work is hard. Nobody is coercing you to enjoy the benefits of civilization; you can go be nasty, brutish and short if you really object to “wage slavery.”

    Sancho: If Jason had enough money, the Right would let him be. That’s one of of the ways the Right beats the Left: you can usually get them to leave you alone if the price is right. –It is easier to get around most kinds of Right-wing asshattery than Left-wing asshattery.

  61. #61 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #59 Roberta X: “Tam is a freelance writer, former manager, former clock-punching wage slave.”

    Well how nice for Tam. I am all for self-employment. It keeps the bosses away! If he is a freelance writer, then he should have been able to come up with something better than a cliche. And I would suggest you put emphasis on “former clock-puncing wage slave,” because it sounds like he may have forgotten his roots.

    ” The ant and squirrel must work or die, too. And you could buy a patch and scratch out a living, too — you just don’t want to go live where land is cheap, the hospital and supermarket are a long distance away, and the work is hard.”

    Well no, I’m not a primitivist. I do enjoy some modern conveniences and I won’t apologize for that. Should we all have to be poor if we want to be free? I hope not! If I wanted everyone to be poor I’d advocate State Socialism instead of libertarian socialism (I look forward to Tam replyhing, “dude that’s like a total oxymoron cuz someone on Mises.org told me it was!”).

    Look, Tam set me into full rant mode because I just get tired of hearing those throw away phrases. Conservative libertarians like you and Tam offer substandard options and you just act like its completely natural. Like wage employment dropped from heaven and things like the enclosure movement, corporatism and other historical developments had nothing to do with it pushing people into the factories. Again, you want people to believe “there is no alternative.” All I’m doing is calling bullshit, but I usually do it in a more diplomatic manner than I did today.

    I advocate a gradual end to states and capitalism (the two systems feed off each other, course). If this scenario came about, I would not interfere if you wanted to set up a capitalist community. I just don’t think people would be interested in wage employment in such a society. Meanwhile, I would be happy working for myself or in some kind of worker-managed organization. This would be a truly voluntary scenario, unlike wage work.

  62. #62 |  Tam | 

    Helmutted Gherkin,

    You’re comment also suggests that you have never been a wage worker…

    Pretty much all my life you campus-infestin’ armchair radical.

    Well how nice for Tam. I am all for self-employment. It keeps the bosses away!

    What, you think those freelance writing checks come signed “The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune”?

    Not that I’m expecting an answer, but what of value do you contribute to society in exchange for the roof over your head? (Or is your mom vacuuming the other side of said roof as we speak?)

  63. #63 |  Jesse Walker | 

    I probably should have said something about Barry Goldwater. Rothbard wasn’t a fan, but plenty of other libertarians were and are. If we consider him and Reagan, I can’t think of a single Democratic presidential candidate in the postwar era that commanded similar libertarian support.

    There isn’t. Goldwater inspired a lot of young people who later left conservatism for the libertarian movement; and Reagan reabsorbed a lot of libertarians into the GOP. It’s not for nothing that the glory years of modern left/libertarian fusionism is 1965-1980.

    But my point isn’t that left fusionism was a big thing. It’s that the independent libertarian movement that perceived itself as being beyond left and right was a big thing, and that one of the most important gaps between it and the conservative movement was the Cold War.

  64. #64 |  Other Sean | 

    Speaking only for this particular libertarian…the main effect of the Cold War wasn’t to make conservatives look like potential friends, it was to make leftists look like confirmed enemies.

    Anyone who remembers the apologist misadventures of “liberals” in the 1970s and 1980s can be forgiven for refusing to ever forgive them. It wasn’t just a question of Che shirts and Mao posters, although those were disgusting enough. There really was a determined effort to obscure the truth of history’s greatest democide, and to deny the suffering endured by millions of Soviet and Chinese slaves.

    I remember one of my teachers saying: “The kids in East Germany have certain freedoms you don’t, and you have certain freedoms they don’t. Some people like Coke, some like Pepsi. It’s not a question of right and wrong.”

    If I live a thousand years, I’ll still hate that guy. Fuck him, and everyone like him. They can all feel free to go fuse themselves with eternity.

  65. #65 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #62 Tam:

    Dear William F. Buckley ghost,

    Q: “Pretty much all my life you campus-infestin’ armchair radical.”

    A: Ooh good one Rush Jr. Or were you making your squinty Sean Hannity face when you typed that. I’ve clearly touched a nerve. You obviously didn’t like my suggestion that you’d forgotten where you came from. Perhaps there’s hope for you! FYI, I’ve been out of college and gainfully employed for 10 years, massa Tam. Can’t send the vagrancy POlice after me!

    Q: “What, you think those freelance writing checks come signed “The Anarcho-Syndicalist Commune”?

    A: Nope. From the sound of it, I’d say they come from Fox News, The National Review or The Weekly Standard.

    Q: “Not that I’m expecting an answer, but what of value do you contribute to society in exchange for the roof over your head? (Or is your mom vacuuming the other side of said roof as we speak?)”

    A: Here’s your unexpected answer: I am a healthcare security officer at a large medical center. On any given day I might be assisting a stranded motorist in the freezing cold (or blazing heat), responding to fire or panic alarms, wrestling with a combative drunk or just walking around wearing off shoe leather and chatting with people. Not as cool as being a freelance writer, I’m sure, but in spite of the headaches it’s been decent experience. Aside from that I am married and my wife and I rent an apartment that is getting too expensive. And my mother doesn’t vaccum for us because she’s dead, but thanks so much for asking. For such a radical I lead kind of a conservative existence, don’t I.

    Hope that clears up your questions, such as they were. If you would like to have an actual debate on my views and why I hold them, I’d be open to that. As a regular commenter on The Agitator, I do that pretty regularly. But if you just want to throw Ted Nugent-esque slogans around I don’t think we’ll have much to discuss.

    In solidarity (HA!),
    Helmut

    P.S. It was nice of Roberta X to go to bat for you earlier. She did a better job of speaking for you than you did speaking for yourself. If you were her puppet we would get along much better.

  66. #66 |  Roberta X | 

    Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Capitalism overthrown by Internet flame war!

    Helmut, just as soon as you work out a better system than exchanging value tor value, using some stable token(s) to mediate the process, you let everybody know, mmmkay?

    In the meantime, look up “merchantilism.” Compare and contrast with “capitalism.”

  67. #67 |  Duracomm | 

    Liberals / democrats absolutely positively refuse to acknowledge the plain fact that bad regulations exist and these regulations cause harm.

    This is another reason libertarians tend to lean right.

    http://www.dynamist.com/2277/liberals-libertarians-and-the-cpsia

    “”Contemporary liberals will say, as someone did at dinner in DC, that they are against stupid regulations like the controls on trucking abolished in the late 1970s. And I’m glad for that.

    But finding liberals who oppose any new regulation is almost impossible–no matter what the perverse consequences.

    Unfortunately, once you are ideologically committed to the idea of regulation, you can’t say that a given regulation is bad–or, worse, that maybe doing nothing new would have been the best course.””

  68. #68 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #66 Roberta X
    Actually I don”t have a problem w/ mediums of exchange. I tend to disagree w/ anarcho-communist notions of a “moneyless society” People may certainly barter if they wish, but I think many people would still want some form of currency to eliminate confusion and minimize arguments over value. This is essentially why people speak common languages, so it seems perfectly natural.

    I will follow your advice and explore mercantilism v. Capitalism more than I have before. It could be that our argument is more over semantics than I have realized. Without the state, the differences in economic approaches may be more about personal preference than anything else.

    Today is a new day, Roberta. The flame war is over now. I’m not interested in being angry and slinging mud anymore. Now I will attempt to learn from you. If you have time I would recommend reading about cooperatives and the idea of worker managed firms. These ideas interest me and I think society would benefit if these firms were more prevalent. I don’t want to force people into anything, I just want them to know that their are alternatives out there. Thanks.

  69. #69 |  Richard | 

    I think it important to distinguish between Fascism of the militaristic kind and Fascism of the economic kind. Three books not mentioned come to mind: “As We Go Marching” (1944) by John T. Flynn; “Americas Emerging Fascist Economy” (1975) by professor Charlotte Twight; and “Dependent on DC the Rise of Federal Control Over the Lives of Ordinary Americans” (2002) by professor Charlotte Twight. These books show that economic Fascism is alive and well in America and that it is not restricted to the political left but has been the policy of both major political parties.

  70. #70 |  Roberta X | 

    Gracefully put!

    Most such disagreements come down to semantics — and worse, the subtle shadings of connotation and denotation.

    I would suggest that very large, low-skill worker-managed businesses frequently suffer the same problem that trips up many traditional, quarterly-performance driven enterprises: an inability to take the long view. (There are striking exceptions, like the lunch delivery co-ops in India; determining why would be a useful effort, I think.)

  71. #71 |  el coronado | 

    Saaay, Speaking of Aussies,who’s up for a subtle and sophisticated Aussie joke, courtesy of P.J. O’Rourke? (clears throat)

    Ladies and Gentlemen, an Anecdote Illustrating Something of the Australian Character:

    An Australian asks his girlfriend to fight, but she says she doesn’t want to because she isn’t feeling well.
    “Whattya mean, not feeling well?”, he asks.
    “You know”, she says, “I’ve got my time of the month”.
    “Whattaya mean, time of the month?”, he says.
    “You know”, she say. “I’ve got me period.”
    “Whattaya mean, ‘period’?”, he says.
    “You know”, she says. “I’m bleeding down here.” And she opens her pants to show him.
    “Jaysus Chroist!”, he says. “They’ve gone and cut your cock off!!”

    An interesting country, Oz. _Excellent_ people, despite all of the native wildlife being deadly poisonous & are fearless death machines that have up to 7000 teeth and nine assholes. Would move there in a *second*.

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