With this post I answer a friend on Twitter about a post he made in the comments section of a Glenn Greenwald post at The Guardian newspaper. After all, I started writing here to answer some of my Twitter buddies since I can not debate well at 140 characters a shot! Anyway, here is what Joe wrote:
I grew up liberal in a centrist household. Fox News grandparents on one side, head of the local teamsters on the other side. I held the progressive torch. I was dyed in wool. Chomsky, Zinn, Klein, Goodman etc were and still are my heroes. But then three things happened.
First was I had an amazing teacher in high school. Some would say his style is “tin-hatted.” But he opened my eyes to some real truths. I borrowed his books on the Kennedy assassination. Saw the autopsy photos for the first time. Daw he had been shot from multiple angles. Read about the Gulf of Tonkin and COINTEL PRO. Learned about stuff that people don’t talk about. I’ve always had a skeptical eye after seeing so many conspiracy theories later be proven as conspiracy.fact.
Second was obviously 9/11. My dad woke me up when the first plane hit. I live on the west coast and it was still pretty early. We were watching live when the second plane hit. Shit was never the same. I remember everything from that day. Sitting in class with everyone silent as news came on over the TV. It was unreal. So much changed after that, bit at the time, and to this day, I have never understood how easily that event managed to destroy our national character, if we ever had one. It was all bullshit. The whole thing stank to high hell. Everything since that has confirmed my fears. A decade of being vindicated by the stripping of my rights.
The third thing that pushed me past the edge of being a Democrat is Obama. He taught me a valuable lesson: fuck the two parties. The one-eighty he has caused otherwise reasonable progressives to do is nothing short of jaw dropping. Add to that my third party candidate support, and the way their debate played out compared to Obamney’s, and it says it all. There is little light between the two groups. They both are fucking everything up. LOTE is fucking evil. Period. I’ve liked Ron Paul since 2007. I have a shirt made in high school. Used one of those iron-on printer sheets. Has Chomsky, Steiglitz, Paul and Gandalf the White on it. On top it says “can you tell the difference between these men?” On the bottom it says e neither.” I saw all this corruption happening. People talking about tax rates and language and manufacturing consent.. it was so obvious we are being had.
My point is this… I don’t fell we have a lot of time to get shit together. I think to deal wih our progressive issues, climate change (sorry Mark, but we are fucking ma Gia up), equality, safety nets, war, etc.. we gotta chop our rotten government the fuck down. They will screw us and our effort to make change whey step of the way otherwise. All our progressive values don’t mean shit from a FEMA camp. It’s no joke. I worry about our dollar. We are absurdly in debt. Things are coming to a head.
I am a libertarian now due to tome constraints. It is not ideal, but I think such policies will position future liberals best to implement the change they want. We are selling our freedoms away right now. I see the security net getting tighter, and their list of potential enemies growing. I just don’t think we got another couple decades to play with the naive politics of the left, or the asshole ones of the right. I’m gonna go with the third way for now, that will the the least to wedge apart the people. I see this as it. The last effort at change.through traditional means. I think if we cannot find a unity party between greens and browns in the next couple election cycles, we will be forced to make ourselves heard by other means. Ruby Ridge and Occupy were previews of that.
My market anarchist friends will immediately see that Joe may be a little bit confused as to what a libertarian is, exactly, or that there are several different flavors of libertarianism these days. Modern libertarianism sprang from the philosophical well of classical liberalism and we need to know a little about where our philosophical forerunners came from as well as the prospects for achieving liberty in this modern age. I recommend that my friend Joe read an essay from 1965 called “Left and Right:The Prospects for Liberty” by Murray N. Rothbard.
A short quote from that essay:
What happened to liberalism? Why then did it decline during the nineteenth century? This question has been pondered many times, but perhaps the basic reason was an inner rot within the vitals of liberalism itself. For, with the partial success of the Liberal Revolution in the West, the Liberals increasingly abandoned their radical fervor and, therefore, their liberal goals, to rest content with a mere defense of the uninspiring and defective status quo. Two philosophical roots of this decay may be discerned. First is the abandonment of natural rights and “higher law” theory for utilitarianism, for only forms of natural or higher law theory can provide a radical base outside the existing system from which to challenge the status quo; and only such theory furnishes a sense of necessary immediacy to the libertarian struggle by focusing on the necessity of bringing existing criminal rulers to the bar of justice. Utilitarians, on the other hand, in abandoning justice for expediency, also abandon immediacy for quiet stagnation and inevitably end up as objective apologists for the existing order.
The second great philosophical influence on the decline of liberalism was evolutionism, or Social Darwinism, which put the finishing touches to liberalism as a radical force in society. For the Social Darwinist erroneously saw history and society through the peaceful, rose-colored glasses of infinitely slow, infinitely gradual social evolution. Ignoring the prime fact that no ruling caste in history has ever voluntarily surrendered its power, and that, therefore, liberalism had to break through by means of a series of revolutions, the Social Darwinists looked forward peacefully and cheerfully to thousands of years of infinitely gradual evolution to the next supposedly inevitable stage of individualism.
In 1965 when Rothbard wrote that famous essay we were in the midst of the “cold war” against the USSR and just beginning our involvement in a place few had heard of — Vietnam. Rothbard cited von Mises and foretold the coming end of the Communist countries socialism since the laissez-faire free market was the only way for a complex, industrial society to order itself and produce a wealthy, happy, and peaceful people. Sooner or later, people must come to realize that all government intervention is counter productive for the masses. Rothbard advised us that remaining ever radical in the pursuit of liberty was the path that we must take. In the long run, governmental intervention causes the breakdown of society. Government by its very existence is a violent intervention into the voluntary society of man.
My friend Joe sees that we need to fight government and that was the great legacy of Ron Paul’s two runs for the GOP nomination — he taught millions of the young worldwide about liberty and freedom; and the main objective for freedom lovers is the need to teach the philosophy of freedom. We need to become radical in our desire to see the non-aggression principle followed in society — no matter where that leads us. I welcome any “modern liberal” or “progressive” to come join us, but not if that means joining them in wanting to use the horrible force of government to do anything. Government is like Satan in the myths; any deal with the devil will destroy you. We have to achieve a great awakening among the people so that they have the beliefs of the great classical liberals of the past; and then see where the great classical liberals went wrong.
We do not want modern libertarianism to make the same error that the classical liberals did in the 19th century. We don’t want to compromise with the enemy at all. The only path to freedom is the path of reducing the government to the vanishing point. The faster the better.