Look, I have to say at the start of this rant that there are lots of things I like about libertarianism. I would have voted for Jesse Ventura if I had lived in Minnesota. I voted for Ron Paul in the primaries of ’08. Yet I also know that there are some fatal flaws in libertarianism.
The reason I could vote for Ron Paul is because I know he would have acted to end the wars and stop spying on Americans. “Restore the constitution” as it were. Yet Congress would have stopped him from getting rid of social security, Medicare and public education – thus thwarting the detestable side of libertarianism.
The fatal flaw of American-style libertarianism (assuming you think that feudalism wasn’t so great) is the exaltation of corporate interests: The idea that you can turn everything but defense and policing over to private corporations and they’ll just magically do the right thing. The other name for this philosophy is corporatism. And the other name for corporatism is fascism. Anyone who isn’t drinking the libertarian Kool-Aid knows this is a stupid idea, but the average libertarian has been sold a bill of goods for so long that they can’t tell the beef from the bullshit.
A corporation’s only loyalty is to profit; their only goal is to maximize the bottom line on the next quarterly report. If selling a product that kills lots of people accomplishes their short-term goal, it’s fine with them. Shortening the lives of customers for a 1% boost in the quarterly report; Great! Using slave labor to improve profits? Pure Heaven! Gathering the wealth of a nation into one’s own pot and into the hands of a few super rich: priceless.
My take on this is that the only thing worse than government tyranny is corporate tyranny: With a government, at least you have a chance at voting the bastards out – if you can get enough people to agree with you. With corporations, you have nothing. You are just a slave, a piece of meat, a serf. The fact that corporate bosses refer to the insurance they buy on their workers as “Peasant Insurance” should tell you what they really think of you. And this is where American-style compromised libertarianism falls apart for me. It has this poison pill that kills any of the goodness it might otherwise express.
Libertarianism doesn’t have to be like this. The general idea of individual freedom is wonderful. But American libertarianism has sold out like everything else. You fans of this evil empire, does it never give you pause to think that giant corporations fund all the Libertarian think tanks?? Do you really think those giant corporations have the interests of the average Joe and Josephine in mind?? Hmm?
All the Libertarian talking heads exalt privatization (read, corporate-ization) because they are PAID to say that. Some of them may believe in this fairy tale too, but mostly they just say it because they collect big fat checks from corporate-funded think tanks to do so – whoring themselves out and selling out America in the process.
Having everything run by corporations that only care about this month’s profit statements always leads to disaster because corporations are acting in their own short term interest with absolutely no thought to the general welfare of the country or the long-term consequences of their actions.
Thus, libertarian paradise countries are doomed to going broke in the long run as every corporation works only toward improving its next quarterly report to the detriment of everyone else. Dubai is just the latest example: Dubai Has No More Money.
Dubai—home to the future world’s tallest building, artificial islands shaped like a palm tree, and a misplaced faith in the power of wealth—is broke. The government has asked its many creditors for a six-month reprieve from debt payments.
Of course, having a broke government is part of the libertarian dream, too. Dubai, as with other libertarian paradise countries such as Somalia and Abu Dabi, shares the common libertarian features: Government is minimal to non-existent and everything is privatized, workers having no rights (after all, government is the only entity that can tell corporations that they must treat workers humanely, and government is evil). With all those “small government” features, wealth has inevitably migrated into the hands of a few super-rich while the bulk of the population has been impoverished.
What did you expect? In the absence of government (which is supposed to represent the collective will of all of the people) the power vacuum will always be filled by the richest and most powerful among us. Duh. It’s hard to believe that anyone would argue otherwise but of course libertarians have to – they can’t just say, “yeah, we want to be ruled by the iron fist of a few rich guys” because nobody would join their party. So they preach the good stuff while soft-pedaling (but never discarding) the really horrible part of their philosophy.
I believe in the part of the libertarian ideal which says government should stay off of our backs and out of our personal lives. You could have a government like that, which still does the right thing and protects the average person from the predatory nature of the rich and powerful, that eschews corporatism and protects the weak. But for American-style libertarianism that just isn’t enough. They won’t be happy until regular people are owned by Disney and GE and can only live where they are told, wear what they are told and eat what they are told by their corporate masters. That part of libertarianism makes me want to puke.
Another take on it all: Objective Error – the Faith of Libertarianism and Objectivism ~ Random Journey