Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

Good news for Libertarians; we don’t have to win the argument

Rand Paul’s implosion has made it cool to make fun of libertarianism this week, as this tone-deaf idiot decides to “champion freedom” by defending one of the most despicable companies on Earth (British Petroleum) and by attacking one of the most popular pieces of legislation ever passed (the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)

Libertarianism is an easy target in today’s climate. Rand’s decline shows just how absurd it is to try and defend abstract political principles in a world that is hopelessly dependent on government and willfully ignorant about economics.

Rand Paul’s implosion, and the gleeful reaction to it, has convinced me of something I’ve known for a while but never quite put into words. The Libertarians are never going to win this argument.

We’re never going to gain a foothold in the culture, we’re never going to move the hearts of the electorate, and we’re never going to elevate the level of discourse on economic issues.

Politically and culturally we are impotent. The left dominates the hearts and minds of the young, the old, the rich, and the poor. The right appeals to a narrow band of disaffected rednecks and angry senior citizens, but these voters aren’t really doing anything but rebelling against tax increases.

Culturally, the Tea Party people are a joke. They’ve been written off as a band of angry Southern racists, and they can’t be taken seriously, even when they win elections.

There is no credible force fighting for free markets and smaller government today. The Democrats are locked in battle with the Republicans of course, but these are Republicans who bailed out the banks and created a new Medicare entitlement.

Greece is rioting. The European economies are about to collapse under their own debt. The American debt to GDP ratio is approaching critical mass. Our economic “recovery” is based on a nested series of lies and accounting tricks. And no one is really talking about it.

Certainly no politicians are running on it. No one in the mainstream media is taking this seriously. And the best the free market champions can muster is a bumbling idiot who wants to kick MLK out of his lunch counter.

I’ve had to accept that no matter how bad the economy gets, the libertarians (of whatever party) are never going to win the argument. But it doesn’t matter. Because the opposition isn’t at war with “us” the opposition is at war with reality, and reality is going to happen anyway.

Arguments, theories, philosophies, and debates are all irrelevant. We’re out of money and no amount of rhetoric can make it come back. The only question remaining is how long we can shift the bad debt around, and who is going to suffer the consequences first.

These pensions, welfare benefits and health care schemes are not sustainable. Somebody’s going to have to cut them. And most of the cutting will be done by Democrats. Republicans are assumed to be heartless bastards who want to kill off the elderly and starve the poor.

We’ll probably give them the ball first. Some hard-assed Republican will cut spending by a meager amount and take the political heat for it. The Democrats will crucify him and kick him out in one term. Then they’ll take the White House and realize the situation is even WORSE than the Republicans said it was.

The Democrats will end up cutting more programs more deeply than the Republican did, but they’re Democrats so they can hide behind the notion that however bad their cuts are, the Republican cuts would have been worse.

The cultural deck is stacked so that libertarians will never have power and the electorate won’t tolerate cuts from Republicans so the most severe cutbacks in American history will be sponsored by Democrats. Because no one else can do it.

It’s possible no one will do it, of course. We might go the way of California and just keep denying reality until the checks bounce, but that seems unlikely.

Europe will give us a crystal-clear preview of the disaster to come and the American media will demand a response. Cuts that would seem cruel coming from a Republican will be praised as “brave” when they come from a Democrat, and tons of moderate voters would cross the line to vote for a conservative Democrat.

So no, the coming crisis won’t change any fundamental assumptions in the electorate. It won’t lead to a Libertarian Renaissance. But it will set the stage for the Second Coming of Bill Clinton, a Democrat who can cut spending and make you like it.

We don’t need a libertarian messiah. We need a Democrat who can lie — a Democrat who will break every campaign promise and sell out every constituency until the job is done.

We need a new FDR. FDR ran right and governed left, and the people made him a god. What will people think of a Democrat who runs like Obama and cuts like Reagan? Angel or devil, his day is coming.

And in the meantime, we can all make fun of Rand Paul.

Written by Michael B. Duff

May 23, 2010 at 15:36

Posted in Politics

3 Responses

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  1. Rand’s made it fun to point out the obvious lunacy of a libertarian system. Only two types of people agree with libertarianism: those that were born with a silver spoon and have no idea what difficulty really is, and those that are so mind-numbingly dumb that they ignore all reality completely. I don’t mean that they don’t see what is around them, they just can’t seem to understand the repercussions of having no regulation.

    At least Libertarians think that both businesses and individuals should be regulation free (which I still think is crazy) instead of the F***ing Republicans that want to deregulate all businesses/industries but want to regulate the hell out of individuals.

    Godless American

    May 23, 2010 at 18:25

  2. “Only two types of people agree with libertarianism: those that were born with a silver spoon and have no idea what difficulty really is, and those that are so mind-numbingly dumb that they ignore all reality completely. ”

    Well, at least we’re still able to boil down all that inconvenient reality into two discrete alternatives! I’d hate to find out that there was some sort of “spectrum of opinion” or something, you know?

    Randall Randall

    May 23, 2010 at 21:32

  3. Awesome entry! Nothing to add but, yeah, Second Coming of WJC is sure sounding like a most realistic best case scenario…


    May 25, 2010 at 00:28

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