Of government, liberty, and libertarians 8

It seems tragically probable that the Left has won. Socialism – or call it statism, or collectivism – has won. All over the Western world it has won. There are no political parties in Europe or the New World that have any chance of coming to power that are not socialist. Those parties that call themselves conservative are no more likely to dismantle the welfare state that every Western nation has become than are the self-declared collectivist parties.

The Left, we repeat, has won throughout the West. And having allied itself with Islam, it is helping that savage force to replace our civilization and its outposts and defenders throughout the whole world.

It is too late to reverse the accumulating consequences of its victory. Sentiment has defeated Reason by achieving political power and using it to coerce conformity.

For all its claims to be rational, Socialism is the political expression of sentiment: the sentiment of egalitarianism, to appease the base emotion of envy.

In its claims to act in the name of compassion; in its determination to humble the more gifted and more accomplished; in its vision of a High Government as lord, father, judge, director, enforcer, provider, punisher; in its mystical doctrine of an ideal existence somewhere in the hereafter that will justify suffering and sacrifice; in its striving for total control; in all this Socialism closely resembles Christianity. Socialism can fairly be called “secular Christianity”.

Though the Enlightenment destroyed the power of the Christian Churches, and to a large extent drained Europe of religious belief, Christianity has its revenge. It has crept back through the romantic idealism of Marxism and its daughter, the welfare state, until once again popes and primates – the ideology’s elite – command obedience. The punishments they will inflict on you for not conforming are not now the rack, the wheel, or the stake. (Or not yet.) Rather, they will tax away your wealth. They will actively seek ways to incriminate and imprison you. They will surreptitiously deny you your rights under the law.

In America, agencies of oppression are now most notoriously the IRS, the EPA, the TSA (see here, here, and here.). Among the government departments which have arrogantly assumed dictatorial powers are those of Justice, Health, and Education. We have been told by a source we have no cause to doubt that law-enforcement agencies throughout the country have been instructed by the socialist administration to investigate, humiliate, accuse, and whenever possible condemn and imprison “the Rich”, and – it seems from some cases we know of – to fine them to the limit of the law. Rich or not , you will find that there’s no aspect of your life that the long fingers of despotism cannot or will not probe and re-direct.

For this calamitous system a growing majority, it seems, will cast their votes time and time again. Democracy itself has brought the one country which was founded on the idea of personal liberty to this condition.

The Left has won in America; it  has won in Europe; it has won throughout the West. It prevails in the schools and academies where dissent is discouraged and even penalized. It is enthusiastically supported by the mass media. And those who should oppose it, the Republicans, far from standing for liberty, talk passionately about trivial issues, apparently seeing its mission as a holy crusade to keep people from making their own choices in matters of personal – especially sexual – relations. They would have us all conform to busy-body moral rules laid down by Christians. For in America the old Christianity still holds the minds of millions in thrall. The sacerdotal Christianity of the puritan Right will not be liberty’s champion against the secular Christianity of the tyrannous Left.    

The Left thinks in terms of achieving an ideal society. It has ends and goals. The leftist government steers the nation towards a vague vision. The people must be carried on forever towards it, whether they like it or not, while every effort is made to persuade them that the end, the goal, the destination is a paradise. But history tells us that socialism leads only to impoverishment at best and unmitigated hell at worst.

Governments should not have “ends”. They should only have functions. Or rather, one function: to protect the liberty of the people. Government should serve us, not reign over us. With the only other political party likely to gain power in America too feeble to fight, is there no other force that we can look to for taking up the cause of liberty?

The answer ought to be the libertarian movement. If the libertarian movement were genuinely for liberty above all else, for defeating the Left by upholding the Constitution, shrinking government, keeping the state from interfering in the economy, and defending the nation, there would be hope for a future victory of Reason and Freedom.

But the libertarian movement is not a force bringing hope.

Derek Hunter writes at Townhall on The Problem With Libertarians:

There was a time I called myself a Libertarian. And there was a time I was a Libertarian. I just wanted to get government to leave me alone, to leave people alone and to go all crazy and limit itself to doing only that which is spelled out clearly in the Constitution. That was what a Libertarian was. But it’s not anymore.

The word no longer has any meaning, no definition or parameters, certainly no coherent philosophy to speak of. And there’s no one to blame for that except Libertarians themselves.

So what happened?

By not even loosely defining the parameters of a set of beliefs, Libertarians allowed their brand – as it was – to be hijacked by anyone willing to wear the label. They went from the movement for individual responsibility, small government and free markets to a gaggle of misfits who want pot and prostitution legalized and a total non-interventionist foreign policy. …

We have no objection to pot and prostitution being legalized. Why were they ever illegalized? But we hear libertarians defending child pornography; preaching historical revisionism; pretending liberty can dispense with the rule of law. And we object to all that. As for their non-interventionist foreign policy, they seem to think that we need not stir ourselves in our own defense unless America is invaded militarily by a hostile power. It makes us wonder if such libertarians are at all aware of what’s going on in the outer world. Do they think about what it will mean for us when Iran becomes a nuclear power – which it soon will?  Have they thought what will happen to this country if there is nuclear war anywhere on the globe? We doubt it.

The great Reason magazine is a wonderful publication filled with great articles, solid journalism you won’t find elsewhere … and a voice that does little more than complain.

Reason is great at highlighting abuses by every level of government, stories ignored by other media outlets. But you won’t find much in the way of philosophy or solutions. …

I love the Cato Institute and have a lot of good friends who work there, and they do offer some good solutions. They just refuse to do anything about them. Cato has a deserved reputation for refusing to play nice with anyone else. When was the last legislative “victory” spearheaded or introduced by Cato? …

On election night 2008, I was at a Reason/America’s Future Foundation (another Libertarian group) election night party in a Chinatown bar in DC. The results of the election were a forgone conclusion, so what better way to mark the night than with a few drinks and friends. Hell, the band played as the Titanic sank, so why not imbibe a bit as the nation hit the iceberg?

It’s not like anyone was thrilled to vote for John McCain that day. But as bad as McCain was (and still is), he was better than Barack Obama. At least that’s a conclusion you’d expect anyone who supported liberty to draw.

Yet that night, as each state was declared for Obama, cheers rose from the crowd. When Obama won Ohio, you would’ve thought you were in a bar in Green Bay and the Packers had just won the Super Bowl. High-fives and laughter filled the room.

It wasn’t as though these self-described Libertarians wanted Obama to win. Well, actually, many of them did. But the majority of them wanted McCain to lose. They wanted Republicans to lose. Their victory was to let the country lose, to get that smug sense of self-satisfaction they were feeling. …

Libertarians have devolved from the pro-liberty wing of the right side of the ledger to the annoying kid who, when he doesn’t get 100 percent of what he wants, takes his ball and goes home. The team he agrees with more than half the time loses to the team he barely agrees with at all, and he cheers …

David Horowitz, writing at the National Review, argues for a united front to be formed against the Left; all factions of Republicans, libertarians, conservatives, coming together under the banner of liberty. But he does not expect the idea to win instant favor.

Naturally, the first reaction of conservatives to this advice will be to reject it. Conservatives do not want to behave like leftists, who see politics and government as a means for transforming the world and the people in it. Temperamentally, conservatives are cautious because they know that the problems the world faces are caused by human beings, not by the social institutions that progressives plan to change. …

Fortunately, the objections of conservatives are not an obstacle to getting behind a unifying idea. The conservative cause already has a moral core; it is just not currently a political theme, the way equality is for Democrats and progressives. But it can be made into one.

Conservatism … is about protecting the constitutional system created by the Founders. But the creation of this constitutional arrangement was a revolutionary act. It provided a political framework to maximize individual freedom and allow citizens to exercise their talents and enjoy the best possible lives.

What conservatism is about is freedom, and this is its natural unifying idea.

Individual freedom and ordered liberty made possible by the imposition of limits on government is the idea that unites conservatives and Republicans, and should be their rallying cry. The idea is fundamentally opposed to the “equality” that is the goal of progressives and Democrats. …

The equality proposed by progressives and Democrats is a declaration of war on individual freedom, and therefore on the American constitutional framework. The steady erosion of that freedom is the consequence of progressives’ political successes. This is the war that divides Left and Right. Conservatives must recognize that it is a war, and prosecute it as a war to defend individual freedom. That should be the unifying idea of the conservative cause. …

The very struggle that inspired the Right in the Cold War era — the battle between tyranny and freedom — is once again staring us in the face, but we are reluctant to name it. We have gone almost silent instead. The silence must end. It is time to connect the battle for individual freedom at home and the defense of our free society abroad, and to make them one. That is the way to advance the conservative message and unify the political forces on which the future of our nation depends.

He warns:

If conservatives continue to ignore the fact that their opponents approach politics as a religious war, if they fail to organize their own resistance as a moral cause, they will eventually lose the war and everything that depends on it.

Eventually? We fear “eventually” is now.

  • FBastiat

    Capitalism does not lead to anarchy the way socialism leads to tyranny:

    http://ABCDunlimited.com/ideas/anarchism.html

    • True enough.

      And thanks for the link.

      You have chosen a very distinguished pen name. Or is it your own? Are you a descendant of the great man?

      • FBastiat

        Identity theft!

  • Tatiana Covington

    The real reason statism has won is simple: entropy. Also called the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    • Jillian Becker

      Please explain a little more, Tatiana Covington.

      • Don L

        I think she means everyone/anyone who cares has pooped out! LOL. In a sense she’s right…election-cycle-after-election-cycle the fallacy is the next election will bring in the change toward conservativism – the return to something akin to the Founders’ vision. And it never does…it brings about the “what’s the point” attitude…’give up’ as it were. A desire for change without any force/energy for action behind it. After all, have you been voting for America to be broke facing unfathomable generational debt? Sure didn’t matter what party was “in”…the destination was the same.

        Mark Levin has a new book out “The Liberty Amendments” which brings a new (highlights a Founder idea) notion: go around the entrenched career politicians and amend the Constitution through State initiated conventions. Sans full discussion, many of his amendment suggestions are locked into a central-planning economics mindset but the 2 terms and out and repealing the 17th amendments go a long way toward ending lifetime career politics. Now if folks could be educated to END THE FED…financing the left and duplicitous politics can be ended too.

        • liz

          AMEN. Term limits, ending the Fed and about 50 other government departments, including the IRS.

  • liz

    Yes, “eventually” is already here. After two terms of Leftists in power, they’re just tying up loose ends at this point. They’ve entrenched themselves.
    There are a lot of people who want to resist them, but every time an attempt is made, it is somehow sabotaged, for example by the “annoying kids” Derek Hunter described, who, since they didn’t get 100% of what they wanted, refused to play. These idiots are as much to blame for the tragic destruction of the Republic as the leftist traitors they handed the election to.