Wednesday, November 3, 2010

"Libertarian" Wisdom

From Rand Paul, who was asked about repeal of the Bush tax cuts for households making $250,000 or more:
"There are no rich, there are no middle class, there are no poor; we all are
interconnected in the economy.

"You remember a few years ago when they tried to tax the yachts. That didn't
work. You know who lost their jobs? The people making the boats, the guys
making $50,000 and $60,000 a year lost their jobs.

"We all either work for rich people or we sell stuff to rich people, so just
punishing rich people is as bad for the economy as punishing anyone.

"Let's not punish anyone. Let's keep taxes low and let's cut spending."
Hmmm. So there just aren't any rich. But then it turns out that we "all either work for rich people or we sell stuff to rich people". And we shouldn't punish them, because they're holding all the cards. That's not being interconnected, bud. That's called dependence: one party is subordinated to another more powerful party who determines the terms of their interaction. I would have thought that such relationships were to the detriment of the subordinate party's freedom, autonomy, equality, etc.

But though we should tip-toe around upsetting the rich and powerful, we should ruthlessly slash public spending, thus punishing massive numbers of people and creating more unemployment. That means shredding schools, higher education, roads, bridges, public transit, libraries, parks, social services of various sorts, public workers' jobs, what measly public health institutions we have, etc. etc. If that's not punishing, I don't know what is.

Yet Paul wants to make it sound like he cares about unemployment by claiming that taxes on the rich might create layoffs, which is quite obviously false if you know even the most basic of things about economics. But even if we grant this claim, Paul's purported concern about employment seems flatly incompatible with slashing and burning the public sector, which is quite obviously the most sure-fire way to greatly expand the ranks of the unemployed.

This guy is a fucking joke. If this clip is any indication of how he operates, he's sitting at an average of like 3 contradictions every 10-seconds. That's something like an average of 18 contradictions per minute. Come to think of it, Paul should think twice about operating heavy machinery with stats like this.

I can't imagine a more confused, facile, sophistic set of political ideas than what passes as "libertarianism" in the U.S. Actually I take that back, I can. But certainly the brand of sophists coalescing around Ron Paul, et al. are particularly bone-headed.

And before anyone thinks of blaming Kentucky as a backward, Right-wing place, etc. etc. just remember that something like a third of Kentuckyeans actually turned out yesterday. Perhaps if 2/3 of the state felt that they actually had a real choice, they might have showed up at the polls. But as things stand, who can blame them?

Also- I stand by my previously made claim that the confused, right-wing Hayekians in the US that dare to call themselves "libertarians" have no real claim to the mantle. They care nothing for freedom or liberation- their fundamental fetish is capitalist property relations. Everywhere else in the world the epithet "libertarian" actually has an association with politics committed to freedom and liberation- that is to say, it is associated with some variety or other of left wing politics.

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