Note: I am not specifically arguing with some classic definition of Libertarianism here, more a few specific Libertarians I have encountered and some glaring inconsistencies amongst these same folks who claim to be Libertarians.
Oh, boy, as if my limited readership needs to be thinned by ticking off Libertarians? But, hey, I didn’t start Inspection 37 years ago to get hugs and deep throated French kisses. Besides, getting French kissed by the actual Deep Throat these days? Ewe.
I don’t know exactly what to call myself politically speaking and I admit I do tend to resist labels. Too much like bad boxes of cornflakes; they may be less than half full, or even full of something you didn’t realize was there because you’re too busy looking at the label on the box. Seems sometimes these days that’s all we see. In fact I would suggest the majority of people that’s all they ever see, sad to say. This is why labels are powerful propaganda.
I consider myself to have some libertarian tendencies. I think, for the most part, what consenting adults do is up to them…
1. When it comes to sex, I would rather not know about the sloppy pig entrails, the light tasering, the knitting needles and God knows whatever that slippery substance on them is, thank you. Very personal things like sex the Government should probably stay out of most the time. There are exceptions, of course. There always are.
2. While I’m not a legalize all drugs advocate, I think our approach to drugs needs to be closer to “what consenting adults do…” mantra and “stop encouraging those who will always profit from making something illegal” concept. That means I’m pro a mild approach to illegality concerning drugs for the most part… please remember my exceptions rule. Drugs are a personal situation, best handled by families, churches, friends, relatives… and any government intervention needs to encourage them to help each other; not be the bloodied ax/hatch job the law and enforcement is right now. These laws; fully enforced, can destroy the individual and hack apart the family by being all draconian far more than drugs themselves do. That says a lot. Drug abuse mangles all the aforementioned on its own way the hell too much, thank you. But what we have now that’s supposed to solve that problem doesn’t work. It often makes it far, far worse.
3. We should be able to believe (or not) whatever we want, like the Gods are pleased when we sacrifice all Brussels sprouts. I’ll even help. They’re disgusting.
As far as how we practice what we believe… well, different topic, but I think the exceptions rule applies here a lot.
So, as you can tell, I have a few disagreements regarding Libertarians in general and their philosophy… for the most part. But this really isn’t about me. It’s about you, Mr., Mrs., Libertarian.
Can we have some honesty here, please?
I understand Libertarian mantras about less government. I comprehend that government is often quite inefficient at best. I even agree; when it comes to the personal, individual, end of the spectrum of society that less to no regulation is often the best course.
Where Libertarianism, to me, falls flat is in almost all other applications…
For example, if we’re going to be honest about this free enterprise does it better and more efficient than government mantra some spout, then we have to stop making exceptions for the military. Now before anyone get all puffed up with anger and angst, calm the hell down. I actually don’t think we should. We probably disagree regarding how much and what we should fund, but those are really different topics.
This, as I typed, is about honesty and to add another qualifier: consistency.
Then we have the “Socialism” cry that sprouts forth like conversational poison ivy every time there’s a mere suggestion we should help the poor, keep the homeless from cluttering our streets or prevent them from jamming up our emergency rooms by providing a modicum of health care. Some of this comes under the category of “taking out the garbage.” If we didn’t have some services our streets would be lined with garbage, people would be dying needlessly and the baby boom generation might be in danger of becoming the first to be exposed to mandatory euthanasia. (I’m obviously using “garbage” and “trash” in a very wide sense. The first: trash services, in most places, we have. (Damn those Socialists.) The second is already happening. And if you don’t think the third might happen… then you haven’t been paying attention to job losses, the absence of a safety net and a younger generation who has no tolerance for a vast number of aging boomers cluttering up their lives and society. Mark my words, if we don’t do something about it, euthanasia will become not just legal, which in some cases I think it should be, but mandatory. That, I fear.
But let’s just forget all I just typed. Ignore it. Just think I’m “full of it.” Let’s get back to the military.
If we’re going to get into all this abusive “Socialism is a curse word” blather, what do you think the economic model the military is run on? It goes beyond mere Socialism. We often clothe them, feed them, house them, tell them what to think… well, perhaps “not to think” is the best descriptive sometimes… where to go…
Hell, that’s not “Socialism,” it’s more like the worst forms of Communism, but there’s a reason why we do this: like picking up the “trash,” in all its metaphorical and literal: less than metaphorical, forms: we also need to protect ourselves. The Capitalism/representative/democratic models are not good models for the military. Just like allowing anyone to not pay for garbage pickup and then do whatever with their trash is a bad idea. On a small scale no services like fire, police, garbage, water: etc., works “OK,” but as a rule for cities and all of humanity… not so well. And if your pro-free enterprise, what do you call a system that forces people to purchase a service? Certainly not “free.”
So… back to the military as one example of where some Libertarians fall short on honesty.
If some of you have any desire to be honest about this “government sucks at everything and business doesn’t” mantra: defund the military. Let them have bake sales, force states to pay for their own protection if they must rather than just hand everything over to “We Kill For Profit, Inc.” Any states that don’t fund it or give it all to The Bomb Whomever You Pay Us To Company… hell, I’m sure Osama might not mind a new base of operation. Just let him have it. Of course the states would have to do all this without taxing. Get all entrepreneurial. Be creative! Make soldiers pay for everything; even their weapons, their planes, their grenades, the ships they float around the world in. Sell a few states if they won’t cooperate. Hey, Florida has some prime beach property. DC has great buildings. And who the hell wants Toledo anyway?
Or maybe we could go slow and build up to free market defense. We have KBR/Halliburton and Blackwater do it until some other nation or entity pays them more: since that’s what mercenaries do. Admittedly this will be just a rough beginning before turning all over to the wonders of a supposedly “free” market. It worked so well so far, you know. If Osama, or some other whack job, offers more, well… them’s the breaks. Makes it all better eventually. All evens out in the long run, right?
And also consider the marvelous no bid “free” enterprise system! Soldiers got all they needed in a timely fashion and on the cheap, just like they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. No electrocuted in showers soldiers due to shoddy workmanship. And Blackwater’s image in Iraq is part Santa, part Jesus. These saintly messengers of mercenary-based “free” enterprise have turned even the insurgents into flag waving, beer guzzling American wannabes.
Just like having a mega store who can undersell everyone and use unfair business practices. Hey, since the advent of Wally Mart downtowns are thriving all over America!
Now let’s move on to the commons. What an incredible nirvana where prosecutors prosecute only for the money and who pays more, defendants get defended only when they’re rich enough, and defended well when they’re even richer and well known. Hey, we’ve almost arrived at that specific part of nirvana already.
Wait. Almost everything I just typed beyond…
“Let them have bake sales…”
…is total litter box droppings. Pretty much 180 degrees opposite of what will actually happen, and in far too many cases has happened. So if you think all of that was a little bit of a Swiftian proposal, well, I would only argue with the modifying phrase “little bit of a.”
Or, if you’d rather approach it more honestly, you could admit that a supposedly free, unregulated, market doesn’t always serve everything well. Stop claiming that business regulates itself; naturally: without any “interference.” That’s about as irrational as claiming public servants always have our best interests at heart. Predatory capitalism does exist, just like Reagan’s predatory “I’m here to help you” government bureaucrats do. Neither is “all predatory, all the time.”
You’d also admit that government in bed with business all the time is as bad as government always viewing business as an adversary. Just like people, sometimes business needs a helping hand. Sometimes it needs a watchful eye and even a firm stick.
Yes, we really do need to have an open, honest, non-“but that’s Socialism” blather discussion in this society. There are some endeavors that do well mostly unregulated, some that are best well regulated and and more than one or two that are best left mostly to government. And, as you may have notice, all those qualifiers I just used mean pretty much nothing in society is best all government controlled, or best all business run, or always better totally unregulated, or… yes… regulated to death. This is true honesty, Mr. and Mrs. Libertarian, not this “government is never the answer and business always is” tripe. Such reasoning is as much snake oil as “government is always the answer” would be.
Yes, this is a better path to honest Libertarianism. Can we take it, together? I hope so. Because some of you who just spout this mindless “government does nothing well and business does everything better” nonsense are beyond annoying.
You’re acting as if you’re incredibly stupid.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
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