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Friday, June 09, 2006

Libertarian Democrats

First, the statists kidnapped and raped the word liberal, destroying its true meaning, and now they are coming after libertarian as well. Keep your socialist hands off my lexicon!!!

In this instance, Kos claims to identify a strain of "libertarian democrats" whom he lauds as the wave of the future. He also claims the mantle for himself, natch. Of course, what this essay really is is the one millionth attempt to dress up leftist authoritarian urges with the language of true liberty, but redefined into total nonsense.
[Blah blah]
Traditional "libertarianism" holds that government is evil and thus must be minimized. Any and all government intrusion is bad. While practical libertarians (as opposed to those who waste their votes on the Libertarian Party) have traditionally aligned themselves with the Republicans, it's clear that the modern GOP has no qualms about trampling on personal liberties. Heck, it's become their raison d' etre.
Fair enough start.
The problem with this form of libertarianism is that it assumes that only two forces can infringe on liberty -- the government and other individuals.
The Libertarian Democrat understands that there is a third danger to personal liberty -- the corporation. The Libertarian Dem understands that corporations, left unchecked, can be huge dangers to our personal liberties.
The problem with this, is that it is retarded. Business simply does not have the coercive power that he ascribes to it. If a meter maid writes Bill Gates a ticket, she can compel him to pay it, and he cannot compel her to tear it up because she has the coercive power of government in her pen, and he is a mere titan of industry.

There are instances where it might appear that business has coerced individuals, such as the forced sale of private property to the New London Development Corporation, made famous in the Kelo case in 2005. It is true that the forced sale was reprehensible. However, the NLDC is controlled by the New London city government. The government was the defendant in the case (Susette Kelo vs. City of New London), and it was the Supreme Court that forced the sale. No matter how much business wanted or supported the decision, it was entirely the government that forced the sales. This is absolutely a case of government abusing individual freedoms.

[Blah blah]
In other words, government can protect our liberties from those who would infringe upon them -- corporations and other individuals.
Whoa! A paragraph ago, there were three threats to liberty. Now there are two? If Kos weren't such a weasel, this would say "government can protect our liberties from government infringement," which is not such an easy case. The $2 trillion government has decided against you, John Q Citizen, and now you are supposed to appeal to... the government. A real libertarian would be shivering at this point.
So in practical terms, what does a Libertarian Dem look like? A Libertarian Dem rejects government efforts to intrude in our bedrooms and churches. A Libertarian Dem rejects government "Big Brother" efforts, such as the NSA spying of tens of millions of Americans. A Libertarian Dem rejects efforts to strip away rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights -- from the First Amendment to the 10th. And yes, that includes the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms.
Close enough. Now let the doublespeak commence:
So far, this isn't much different than what a traditional libertarian believes. Here is where it begins to differ (and it shouldn't).
A Libertarian Dem believes that true liberty requires freedom of movement -- we need roads and public transportation to give people freedom to travel wherever they might want. A Libertarian Dem believes that we should have the freedom to enjoy the outdoor without getting poisoned; that corporate polluters infringe on our rights and should be checked. A Libertarian Dem believes that people should have the freedom to make a living without being unduly exploited by employers. A Libertarian Dem understands that no one enjoys true liberty if they constantly fear for their lives, so strong crime and poverty prevention programs can create a safe environment for the pursuit of happiness. A Libertarian Dem gets that no one is truly free if they fear for their health, so social net programs are important to allow individuals to continue to live happily into their old age. Same with health care. And so on.
In the previous paragraph, he started with actual freedoms: freedom from coercion, the right to be left alone and to make your own decisions. Then he cooly transition to the "freedom" to make claims on others. I have the "freedom" to demand that you pay for stuff I want, and the state will back me up with force if needed. How do you like them "freedoms"? Obviously, I am using quotes because this is an out and out perversion of the actual definition of the word.

Kos seems to think this is an insight or smart or something, but this crap has been widespread at least since Roosevelt's Four Freedoms. (I'm sure Roosevelt was not the first, but it doesn't matter.) How is Kos's "freedom" to job protection, a social net, and health care anything but a retread of FDR's "Freedom from Want"? And FDR's "Freedom from Fear" predates Kos's freedom to crime and poverty prevention programs by a fair bit. And both are perversions of freedom.
[Blah blah]
The key here isn't universal liberty from government intrusion, but policies that maximize individual freedom, and who can protect those individual freedoms best from those who would infringe.
Well, this statement is useless after he has redefined "freedom" into oblivion, made up imagined corporate infringements, and rather dishonestly excluded the very real government infringements. I will mention, though, that the reference to "maximizing" freedom reveals the Utilitarian roots of statism. This invidious "greater good" argument is exactly how the Supreme Court justified its Kelo decision.
I am very much a Libertarian Dem, and this is exactly what my next book will be about. It's progressivism for a new century. And that's what this new breed of Democrat is building in the Mountain West and Virginia and Ohio.
Translation: I'm a douche.

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