Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 21, 2007 – Whom Do You Trust?

I’ve been getting some criticism lately from people I respect that my views are “too left-wing” (whatever that means), because I oppose oppressive actions taken by private entities (i.e., religious groups, business interests, political parties) rather than confining my criticism only to oppressive action by state entities.

As if. A boot on your neck hurts no less when it’s held there by a soldier or cop because of some governmental conflict or by the same soldier or cop acting on behalf some private interest who has convinced the state to enforce their notions of proper conduct. The boot is the same, the cop is the same, and the gun to your head is the same. Being sued by the IRS is really no different in cause or effect than being sued by the RIAA, Microsoft, the Brady Campaign or any number of other private entities that use their privileged position with the state to dominate you for their own gain or benefit. And yet many alleged libertarians claim to see a moral distinction between the two forms of oppression. Well I don’t.

Most of the SDS members that I know fall into the political category called “anarcho-socialist” or “anarcho-syndicalist.” They desire a “no controlling authority” condition of liberty that allows them to run their own workplace and set their own conditions of labor. This program may not be classical laissez-faire political economy, but so what? Leave ‘em alone and they’ll succeed, fail, or muddle along on their own and on their own terms. The rest of us don’t have to worry that they’ll impose their (horror of horrors) “socialist views” and practices on the rest of us, because they don’t believe in state authority and forming a state is the only way that they could do so.

And yet many, many, (most even) "libertarians” that I know or have known over the years can and do easily shift right back into the deep-red Republican base that most emerged from originally with just a few simple compromises in the GOP’s platform. Look at the highly touted GOP maverick Representative Ron Paul. Now he’s a Republican. But in 1988 he was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president and even had a fundraiser hosted by LSD guru Timothy Leary. And Paul didn’t have any trouble moving back into the GOP afterwards either. And note the newly minted Libertarian big shot and ex-GOP U.S. Representative Bob Barr. Now he’s an LP member when just a few short years ago he was a U.S. Attorney and was happily and quite successfully prosecuting people on behalf of Leviathan. The LP even spent what little funding it had to get him defeated for re-election in 2002. And now he’s one of their own. Go figure?

Some late night comedian (I think it was Bill Maher) said that libertarians were just: “Republicans who like to be able to get high, look at porn, and blow off church without feeling like hypocrites.” And consider how well these authoritarian types slip back forth into and out of the Republican base where they started. And I just don’t see that kind of kind of thing from the SDS types, those dreaded socialists. And I know a few, too.

So if and when the chips are down, I trust my anarcho-socialist/anarcho-syndicalist SDS comrades to keep the faith about seizing liberty when and where they can way more than I ever will the LP types who seem to be able to morph back and forth between the LP and the GOP right-wing without any troubling thoughts about moral or ideological consistency.


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