PREFACE: I've always been irked by how Comments posted to thoughtfully prepared Articles on OpEdNews (and a zillion places elsewhere on the Internet) tend to wander far off subject. Instantly they become lightening rods for self-promotion for Commenters, and/or quickly degenerate into cat fights between commenters commenting on other's comments -- none of which relates to the original Article.
I wrote to Rob Kall about this, suggesting that Comments were "like the string of tin cans tied to the back of newlyweds' getaway vehicles. Cute for a moment, but who would (want to) drive around dragging this string of cans for the rest of their lives?" Rob wrote back he would take it up with his Editorial Board.
Meanwhile, I devised an experiment. I was hoping it might fail. Unfortunately, it proved my point, conclusively. This Preface has been added on 1 December to the Article at the point when 26 comments were posted in 3 days.
Most curious was the first Comment, posted by an unknown writer with: 0 articles, 0 quicklinks, 0 diaries, 1 comment. I posted a response to seed discussion, with no intention of inserting myself again, and just watched them grow. It was an abundant crop.
Only one directly addressed my premise: that, finally, a totally hands-off Great Experiment was tried with NO Government Regulation whatsoever, and that it proved beyond a shadow of doubt that, left to a totally free-market, such an unrealistic fantasy leads to a now proven disaster: Recession, if not to Depression.
Most comments did one of two things: debated what Libertarianism might be, or took personal pot shots at me, which I fully expected when I posted this Article.
As Commenter 26 says: "there is no clear definitive statement of what libertarianism is", which is my point exactly. The only thing I find in common with all who attach themselves to this curious Utopian Fantasy is the notion that if there were No Government Regs, The Market Place alone would produce Liberty for all.
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Tobacco Corps would have the unfettered Liberty to murder people. Food Corps would have the Liberty of selling unsafe, unhealthy, and even deadly foods. Corporations would be unrestricted by Laws and Courts to get away with whatever they can stuff into slick advertisements. It's why a majority of Americans find Libertarianism to run awfully close to Anarchy. And they show it by their votes in Elections where Libertarians place themselves on Ballots to be judged.
What I was pleased to see is that I attracted a goodly collection of night riders who don't -- or lack an ability to -- put themselves on the line by writing Articles themselves. Instead, they cruise OpEdNews looking for targets of opportunity, constantly, their itchy trigger fingers on their keyboard shotguns -- always at the ready -- frequently hiding in anonymity behind an undecipherable alias.
Like (0 articles, 0 quicklinks, 0 diaries, 14 comments). Or (0 articles, 0 quicklinks, 0 diaries, 104 comments). Better still: (0 articles, 0 quicklinks, 0 diaries, 389 comments). Best yet: (0 articles, 0 quicklinks, 0 diaries, 887 comments). No original thought hiding here.
None of these Commenters commented on my premise, appearing not able to grasp what it was about. Some of their Comments got comments. Some used my Article to advertise more irrelevant stuff elsewhere. Some were proud to be as personally insulting as possible, choosing words like "drivel" and "idiotic".
So here it is, my attempt to make a valid point. Read for yourself, below. Or not. Add a comment if you'd like. I'll likely not respond, except for one other I posted for Mr. Style. A gracious group of volunteer Commenters has proven my point, and now it's time to move on.
I'm only a wordsmith, painting pictures with Articles about what I observe in the passing scene. I write dark humor for the fun of it, sharing some of it on OpEdNews. Whether anyone agrees or not, is none of my concern. Like a kid told me in grade school: Opinions are like arseholes. Everybody's got one, and most of them stink.
Here's my last question: Why are so many Libertarians cruising a Progressive WebNews; don't they have their own sandbox to play in?
Original Article, as posted on 28 November:
If you're like most Americans, you have no idea what a Libertarian is. A few remember that they notice a Libertarian Candidate occasionally on the Ballot when they go vote. So what is a Libertarian, and what do they want?
One way to view them is this: Libertarians are to Government as Atheists are to Religion. Atheists want there to be no God. Libertarians want there to be no Government.
One of the most notorious Libertarians I first learned about was Grover Norquist. Norquist has made his fortune teaching Americans to hate their Government. Once head of the deceptively titled American Taxpayers Union, Ronnie Reagan asked him to form Americans for Tax Reform, where he continues to turn tax-haters into government-haters. He once said he wanted to reduce Government to the size of a Bathtub, then pull the plug. Cute. But it shows Grover's true colors: destruction of the American way of life. Part of the Greatness of American Democracy is that we allow believers in such fantasy to put forth their nonsense right beside anyone else's nonsense, and let voters decide.
Libertarians know they are so extreme that they often travel incognito, hoping to have greater affect if their twisted philosophy masquerades as something else. Grover hides behind taxpayers. Same for Neo-conservatives, or NeoCONs. NeoCONs are either Libertarians or sociopaths or both. Many who claim to be Republican Conservatives are actually Libertarians, but they could never get elected to office calling themselves Libertarians. So they masquerade.
Actually, a TRUE Libertarian could never run for Office, because that would support Government.
In terms of Governmental Philosophy: no regulation is a good regulation.
In terms of Business Philosophy, think: Ayn Rand, the weird Russian immigrant who never practiced what she preached, author of such classics of business barbarism as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.
In terms of Social Philosophy: if you can't make it on your own, too bad. Drop dead. Leave more room for winners.
In terms of Economic Philosophy, they have a corner of support from laissez-faire Economics. Libertarian Economists collected themselves onto the faculty of the University of Chicago. They were several, but the most well known is Milton Friedman, who is often blamed for Ronnie Reagan's Trickle-Down Theory of Economics. Actually, Trickle-Down was a PR term invented to sell Ronnie's hands-off approach to Government. The problem with Republican Presidents claiming their goal is to reduce the size of Government is that they always increase it. While they promise no new taxes, they increase taxes and the National Debt on Taxpayers.
So Libertarians cry foul, proclaiming why their whacky philosophy doesn't work is because it has never been truly tried. "If you would just get rid of everything but us, our philosophy would work!" they claim. Who can argue with that logic?
Underlying ALL Libertarian notions is this fundamental tenant: Greed is Good.
If Greed could be left to it's own devices, without Government interference, then The Marketplace would decide everything to the advantage of everyone. Left on their own, without intervention of evil Government, everyone would be guided by their own self-interests, and Liberty would be achieved across America. Especially for those already rich.
Sound like Alan Greenspan? Youbetcha. Former Federal Reserve Bank Chair Greenspan told Congress recently that he had no idea the Economy could Meltdown if Government kept it's hands off. But that is exactly what happened. The Greatest Libertarian Experiment ever tried, failed.
The Grand Libertarian Experiment started with the invention of Derivatives by Wall $treet Bankers, such as our current Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson when he was CEO of Goldman $achs. NeoCON Libertarian Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX), shilling for Bankers on Wall $treet, snuck in a Rider on a Senate Appropriations Bill at the last minute before adjournment of a Session.
And with that, the Experiment was launched. Phill's Rider said that sales of Derivatives, whatever they were, would NOT be regulated like stocks and bonds. They were to be sold "over the counter" by private agreements. Government Regulatory Agencies were to keep their hands off. Derivatives were to be left to the will of a totally Free-Market Economy. This was also to apply to any derivative of a Derivative, including the now infamous credit default swaps.
Derivatives were sold with glee by Wall $treet, all round the World, to every form of bank, government, and investment institution, including insurance companies. When empty and worthless credit default swaps brought on the collapse of the entire World Economy, not one single Libertarian would lay claim to having invented them.
Largely because NeoCON Republican Libertarianism failed on such a cataclysmic scale Worldwide, Obama is in the White House and Congress is solidly in control of Democrats. Now we can finally see some Change Across America!
Libertarians are like wind-up dolls. They keep repeating their same failed message until their springs run down. But because of the failure of their Grand Libertarian Experiment, they are gone forever from influence on Government. Or are they? As expert masqueraders, Libertarians are notorious for morphing into some other form.
When Robert Rubin was Bill Clinton's 2-term Treasury Secretary, he advocated deregulating financial institutions. Sound familiar? Now, we face the collision of two Rubin caused trains. First, Rubin is now CEO of Citibank, which has been holding it's hand out for over $300 Billion in Government Rescue Funds. Says Rubin, "Meltdown? What Meltdown?" He's clueless except where scarfing up as much Government money as CitiBank can is concerned.
The 2nd engine of this oncoming train wreck is this: ALL THREE of Obama's top picks for his Economic Team are Rubin Retreads, products of Rubinomics: Summers, Geitner and Orzag. NY FED Bank Chair Tim Geithner to replace Hank Paulson as Treasury Secretary is particularly troublesome. Geithner has been hanging out with GwB's FED Chair Ben Bernanke and Paulson right at the center of the massive coverup of Derivatives that Paulson has been engineering.
These THREE still have to be approved by Congress. But will Congress, in the panic of the moment, and with desires to accelerate Obama's aid to our failing Economy, rush through approval of more Libertarians, this time masquerading as Democrats?
We've seen the disastrous consequences of Congress going along with GwB's mistakes. Are we now in another round of more of the same, from a Congress which has never learned it's lesson about NeoCON sociopathic Libertarians?
Hey, guys. They tried it, fair and square. They got the total Freedom they asked for, with NO Government regulations. And the results of the Grand Libertarian Experiment was dismal, catastrophic, horrific failure. Duh!