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Libertarian; So Full Of Shit

We’re all familiar with the basic ideas behind libertarianism. They really boil down to two words; freedom and responsibility. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? It sounds great, until you grow up and experience life. But I’m not going to take apart the ideology again (see my past posts).

In this post, I’m going to point out how libertarians are massively full of shit, particularly when it comes to the “responsibility” part of their equation. Let me begin with the granddaddy of all libertarians; their messiah, Ron Paul. We’re all familiar with his incredibly racist newsletters (if you’re not, click here). You know, the ones that bore his name, but that he didn’t write and had no idea how they happened, even though they helped raise enough money to get him out of 3/4 of a million dollars worth of debt in the 80s? How a “responsible” person racks up that kind of debt (it would be equivalent to around $2 million today), I don’t know, but I digress. So the newsletters wrote themselves and had the happy side effect of paying Paul’s bills? Really? What happened to taking responsibility? When your name appears on something, isn’t it purely your responsibility? Not when you’re the grand poobah of libertarianism, apparently. I can’t tell you how many times a libertarian has replied to my posts about the newsletters by using the “it wasn’t his fault” defense.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we saw the grand poobah’s miscreant son follow in his father’s footsteps. Rand Paul was caught plagiarising lots of shit. What did Mr Freedom and Responsibility do? Did he take responsibility and apologize profusely? Not even remotely. He blamed the media who exposed him, calling them “hacks and haters”. I couldn’t help but notice that he never called them liars. Even he couldn’t, with a straight face, say they were lying. No, they were hacks and haters for telling the truth. He still hasn’t really taken responsibility for his own actions. Responsibility is the annoying and inconvenient half of the libertarian formula. And how did libertarians react to this information about their demigod? They mostly obfuscated by pointing at someone else, who they claim did something worse. When they addressed what he did, they dismissed it as a “footnoting” problem.

Now we have another asshat libertarian who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Yesterday on Facebook, I posted a story on Mark Patterson. He’s a state representative in Idaho who was pissed that conceal/ carry application was denied because he failed to disclose a rape conviction that was on his record. It was a conviction because he plead guilty. This guy is a staunch libertarian acolyte of the grand poobah, so you would naturally expect that he would apologize for not disclosing the rape conviction, take responsibility for it, and move on his merry way, right? You won’t be shocked to hear that he didn’t do that. In the (now) libertarian tradition, he didn’t take any responsibility for the fraudulent application, claiming that the Men in Black guys erased his memory, or something. Maddow did a segment on this asshat last night. She turned up another rape trial (no conviction that time) and a whole bunch of other gratuitous lying. In addition to dodging that whole responsibility thing by claiming amnesia, this libertarian acolyte decided to follow the grand poobah and his miscreant son’s path by attacking the sheriff who denied him the permit. He’s rantings include claiming, “[the sheriff] ….a bare-knuckled campaign to intimidate me from serving the people of Idaho.” So the sheriff is trying to intimidate you by denying you a permit that you’re not legally entitled to have because of what you admitted you did? I Googled, and Googled, and Googled, but I never managed to find the part of his statement wherein he took responsibility for what he did.

I’m starting to see an epidemic among libertarians. One in which they cast off the “responsibility” part of libertarianism whenever it becomes inconvenient for them. Now keep in mind that this is a group of people who love to point the finger of hypocrisy at everyone else. Let me be clear, I’m not accusing all libertarians of being full of shit. But I am accusing all libertarians who support the Pauls, and anyone who behaves the way they do of being full of shit. If you support and bolster people who champion libertarianism without taking responsibility for themselves, you’re full of shit.

And you’re seriously undermining your ideology. You are why libertarianism is a joke that I thoroughly enjoy mocking mercilessly.  And you know what? When I point at you and laugh, it’s not my fault. I take no responsibility (you should all appreciate that). It’s your fault for not making an effort to be less full of shit and less laughable. Seriously, you should focus making the case for why your ideology is so brilliant, instead of constantly demonstrating you’re full of shit. Take responsibility for yourself. Hold your leaders responsible for what they’ve done, and show me why you have it right, and I have it wrong. But until you do that; I laugh, oh how I laugh!

 

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You Are NOT A Libertarian

Libertarianism is the new black. Or if you’re Rand Paul, libertarianism is a way to screw blacks, but I digress. It feels as if more and more people every day are proclaiming their libertarianism. If libertarianism were female, she would be the new “it” girl.

I cringe every time someone tells me they’re a libertarian. I cringe because I know they’re not. Most people want government where they want it, and don’t want it where they don’t want it. That’s not libertarianism. Those lines are usually drawn by a predisposition to either liberalism or conservatism.

So let’s run through a series of questions that will demonstrate why you’re not a libertarian.

1 – Do you have an example of a libertarian government that you would like to model our government after? If you can’t name a successful example of your political ideology, then it’s not an ideology. It’s a fantasy. So unless you can come up with an example of a society that functions with no government intervention other than Somalia (which is mine), you’re NOT a libertarian.

2 – Can you name twenty things that the federal government does for you, off the top of your head? If you can’t describe all of the things that the federal government does, then you definitely haven’t put any meaningful consideration into how to better do those things.

3 – Can you name a successful financial system that includes no government intervention whatsoever? Again if you can’t do this, then you have a hallucination, not an ideology or a hypothesis.

4 – Can you name an instance when an oppressed minority achieved equality without government intervention? If you can’t, you’re living in an unrealistic Utopian fantasy where the unprecedented is possible. Or, you don’t give a shit about civil rights. Or worse yet, you’re a straight up racist because you’re happy oppressing the rights of minorities. Hey, wait a minute – maybe the teabaggers ARE true libertarians!

5 – Are you prepared to legalize all drugs and drug related activities? If you’re not fine with your neighbor cooking crystal meth in their bathtub, you’re not a libertarian. You should also be prepared to not be bothered by that neighbor peddling their goods on your street. Embrace their lovely clientele meandering through your neighborhood, because you’re a libertarian.

6 – Are you prepared to accept any and all social behavior such as prostitution, dog fighting, and voyeurism, to name a few? If you feel compelled to legislate any aspect of how people choose to live their lives, then you’re not a libertarian.

I find that most “libertarians” can’t get through questions 1 – 4. I suspect that they would have “exceptions” that they would want enforced in questions 5 and 6.

The wheels are falling off the Rand Paul wagon because he’s having a hard time getting through questions 1 – 4. Libertarianism, in its pure and sincere form is insane. It can’t stand up to even minor scrutiny because it’s wildly unpopular to anyone that isn’t emotionally invested in the ideology. Most people know in their hearts, that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the right thing to do. Most people understand that if you remove protections for the disabled, you’ll have a slew of disabled people panhandling you on the street, rather than earning the living that they’re capable of earning. Rand Paul is falling apart because libertarianism is a fundamentally indefensible fantasy.

In order to buy into libertarianism, you have to believe that people will do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do. Does anyone actually believe this? When you start to take it apart, libertarianism is no more viable than the tooth fairy is. This is an ideology that can only stand the test of time, as long it’s never put to a test.

And because it’s never has been (nor will it ever be) put to a test, it’s a perfect little dream world to take refuge in when everything else has gone to shit.

When your government is 100% bought and paid for by corporate interests, and therefore useless in protecting your interests, there’s always the libertarianism magic pony to jump on. When you hate government and need to blame it for Wall Street fucking you in your small government delusion, there’s always the libertarian Utopia to fall back on.

Libertarianism isn’t something that people actually believe in. It’s a mythical land that you can run to in your mind when everything is falling apart before your very eyes.

Stop acting like a fucking child, retreating into your “happy place” when the world is falling apart around you. Work to fix what went wrong with the system. Dreaming isn’t going to fix anything. Educate yourself, and get proactive.

You are NOT a libertarian. Please stop telling me that you are. I’m tired of taking this delusion apart one person at a time.

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The Apple Did Not Fall Far From The Tree

I’m referring to Rand Paul. It’s barely been thirty six hours since he won the republican primary for the open senate seat in Kentucky. Since his victory, he’s said some things that make him seem a little bit racist.

Before I can share my opinions on Rand, I must first begin with Ron Paul. I do have to preface all of this by telling you that I do not believe in blaming the son for the sins of the father. I believe that doing so is unfair, and generally unfounded. When I bring up Ron Paul, I do so because I believe that it’s important to understand the ideology under which Rand Paul was raised.

Ron Paul first registered on my radar during the first debate for the republican primary in 2008. It became very clear in the first ten minutes of that debate, that Ron Paul was not your typical republican. He said a lot of things that made sense. I felt as if he was the republican counterpart to Dennis Kucinich in that, he was a conservative truth teller, impervious to party talking points and corporate interests. There were many points in which I vehemently disagreed with Ron Paul, but I definitely felt that he merited a closer look.

So I started to do some research. A few hours into my research, I came across the newsletters that Ron Paul published monthly from 1978 to 1999. I found this article about the newsletters from a January 2008 story in the New Republic. Let me short hand the article for you with some quotes from the newsletters;


“opinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions,”

“if you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be,”

He claimed that black representative Barbara Jordan is “the archetypical half-educated victimologist” whose “race and sex protect her from criticism.”

“Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for that pro-communist philanderer, Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day”

One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that “Welfaria,” “Zooville,” “Rapetown,” “Dirtburg,” and “Lazyopolis” were better alternatives.

But don’t worry blacks, you’re not alone in Ron Paul’s world of the unworthy;

In 1990, one newsletter mentioned a reporter from a gay magazine “who certainly had an axe to grind, and that’s not easy with a limp wrist.”

In an item titled, “The Pink House?” the author of a newsletter–again, presumably Paul–complained about President George H.W. Bush’s decision to sign a hate crimes bill and invite “the heads of homosexual lobbying groups to the White House for the ceremony,” adding, “I miss the closet.” “Homosexuals,” it said, “not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

“Homosexuals, if admitted, should be put in a special category and not allowed in close physical contact with heterosexuals.”

Feeling left out, Jews? Don’t worry;

A 1987 issue of Paul’s Investment Letter called Israel “an aggressive, national socialist state,”

Of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newsletter said, “Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.”

I could go on and on, but you get the point. Being the skeptic that I am, I had to assume that the reporter on the New Republic story might have had an axe to grind with Ron Paul so I kept looking until I found actual copies of the newsletters. You can look at them here, here, and you can download one here.

I don’t want to keep going on and on about Ron because this post is about Rand, but if you want to know more about how Ron reacted to these revelations, just Google “Ron Paul” + newsletters.

Back to Rand. Here’s an interview that he did with Rachel Maddow last night;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_FDPZJlaOc[/youtube]

And here’s part 2;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS_qya7w0hs[/youtube]

A few things struck me about Rand after having watched this interview.

The first thing is Paul’s cowardice. He lacks the courage of his convictions. If you truly believe something, it’s presumably because you think that your belief is the right thing. If that’s the case, there should be no need to evade directly answering questions about what you believe. The way he evaded answering the question tells me that he KNOWS that his views should be suppressed. If you know that you’re right or righteous, there’s no reason to obfuscate. You should believe that your correctness has the power to persuade others.

The next thing that struck me is his intellectual dishonesty in the gun example he brought up. A gun is something that you CARRY. You have the option of leaving it at home, and doing so won’t prevent you from going to a lunch counter.  You can’t leave your “blackness” home. It’s WHAT you are, not what you do. That equivocation was absurd.

There was also a comment on Wednesday. A reporter asked Rand if he was concerned that holding his victory party at a private country club would “send mixed messages”. Rand responded by saying, ““I think at one time people used to think of golf and golf courses and golf clubs as being exclusive. But I think in recent years now you see a lot of people playing golf. I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that in the sense that he’s brought golf to a lot of the cities and to city youth, and so no, I don’t think it’s nearly as exclusive as people once considered it to be.”

I thought that it was a little bit unusual that he interpreted the question to be about race. My interpretation would have been that the question was about populism, since he ran as an allegedly populist tea party candidate. The mixed message lies in having your victory party in a venue that appears to be elitist.

I am not a person that feels comfortable labeling people as racists. I have lived in the most liberal parts of this country so racism is not a natural concept for me to wrap my mind around. So when Rand made the Tiger Woods comment, I didn’t jump to a racist conclusion even though I knew how he was raised. I was not willing to combine a seemingly innocuous comment with the sins of the father to conclude that Rand Paul has racist views. When I look at the Maddow interview and silo it apart from everything else, my inclination is to view his comments as staunchly libertarian rather than inherently bigoted. His platform is after all, one of libertarianism.

But when I put the totality of the information about Rand Paul together, I can’t avoid the conclusion that he is a racist.

Here’s the problem with racism today; it’s subtle because it isn’t tolerated in mainstream society anymore. Overt racism isn’t socially acceptable anymore so racists have to go undercover. They have to be subtle. A great example of this is the birthers. Clinging onto the belief that our black president wasn’t born in America, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, is just a subtle way of saying that he’s not one of us.

I really resisted concluding that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to Rand Paul, but I can’t avoid it any longer.

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Bitchy Dictionary

Every time I have a conversation with a republican, I’m struck by the fact that we don’t appear to be speaking the same language. This makes the conversation much more cumbersome than it needs to be because I find myself in the position of having to combine a history lesson with a lesson on what English words mean. So I’ve concluded that it’s about time to publish a dictionary that may be useful in any political debate, since I can’t be the only person running into this language barrier. I would first like to start with defining what I like to call "Bitchy’s Words". REPUBLICAN – A person that still approves of George W Bush, happily voted for McCain, fell in love with Sarah Palin, and believes everything that John Boehner tells them. These people are batshit crazy. They have no use for facts and they exist in some bizarre alternate reality. They cannot and should not be spoken to under any circumstances. Do NOT bother using this dictionary on them, as they won’t understand the big words. CONSERVATIVE – A person that believes in small government and fiscal responsibility, REALLY believes it. They believe in fiscal responsibility when it comes to matters of spending on social programs OR defense programs. They believe in small government when it applies ALL matters including; reproductive rights, federal taxes, states’ rights, gun rights, and a myriad of other issues. This is a person that hasn’t had a party that they can believe in for nearly 40 years. They used to identify themselves as republicans, but were forced out of the republican party due to ideological differences. Conservatives generally refer to themselves as independents, members of the Ron Paul revolution, and in some instances, tea partiers. These are people that can be reasoned with! You may engage them in productive conversation. Minds may not be changed, but meaningful ideas will be shared. DEMOCRAT – These are people that inexplicably believe that the democratic party is the party that stands up for the people. They are happy with all of their democratic leaders, and are happy to accept incompetence as an excuse for why their democratic representatives haven’t delivered any legislation that actually improves their lives. Unlike republicans, democrats don’t necessarily buy the entire democratic party package, but are easily placated with implausible excuses for why their legislators can’t deliver on promises that are made. PROGRESSIVE – (Sometimes also referred to as socialist or liberal). This is a person is a sunny optimist that believes in 2 basic concepts; good government can be achieved, and we are only as strong as the weakest among us. Progressives generally like to take wholistic approaches to problem solving and aren’t afraid of sweeping change. Progressives believe in creating a society where each citizen has the same opportunities for success. Progressives identify themselves with democrats but are so unsatisfied with the party that they are actively working on changing it, which is why the current Chief of Staff to the President refers to them as "retards". TEA PARTIERS – The original modern day tea partiers were known as libertarians. They were disciples of Ron Paul that would if given a choice, dismantle the government entirely. They are proponents of privatizing everything from the postal service, to the FDA, to fire departments and police forces. Tea partiers have morphed into ignorant racists, easily duped into protesting against their own best interests by Dick Army. You cannot communicate with these people since they don’t even have a clue as to why they’re protesting, or who paid for the bus to get them to the protest. LIBERTARIANS – These are people that have no use for government. They believe in "shrinking government down so that it fits in a bathtub". A true libertarian would allow government to exist only for the purposes of defense. Libertarianism sounds cute in theory but it’s a unicorn, in that there has never been a country governed by this particular tenet. Libertarians generally cling onto their beliefs, despite being unable to come up with an example of a successful libertarian government. I can think of an example; Somalia. Okay, now on to the English dictionary. SOCIALISM – A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole. This is closely related to (but not the same as) communism. An example of a socialist program in the US would be the veteran’s administration. This is a government run, government dispensed system of delivering health care to veterans. Everyone involved in dispensing health care through the VA receives a paycheck from the government. This includes doctors, nurses, administrators, etc. FASCISM – A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. Fascism is a system of governance in which the lines between government and corporation are nonexistent. Nazi Germany is a great example of fascism because the state, military, and commerce were all under the dictatorial rule of one body. THEOCRASY – A governmental system ruled by religious tenets. The Vatican is an example of a theocrasy. If Al Qaeda had a country, they would be considered a theocrasy. Okay now that we have the words, let’s practice using them properly! Ready? A socialist government takeover of health care could be accomplished by extending the the VA system to all Americans. This would be socialist because physicians, nurses, and administrators would all be receiving paychecks from the government, which would have total control over the dispensation of health care in America. A system in which the government creates a marketplace of private insurance companies that must adhere to specific regulations  in order to participate is NOT socialism because the insurance is not dispensed by the government. Doctors and their practices would not be taken over by the government since they would be paid through a private insurance system. Fascists would NEVER advocate for a socialist program because a socialist program would eliminate corporate entities entirely. Fascists want to CONTROL commerce, not decimate it. An "islamofascist" is a person that can’t exist because an Islamic extremist is driven by theocratic beliefs, thereby making them anathema to fascists, who believe in a corporate takeover of governance. Now that we have a mutually understood vocabulary, I hope that we can all go forth and have more productive political discourse. I hope you all find this helpful!

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