Saturday, October 12, 2013

Are libertarians right about anything?

Maybe, but, since they are likely philosophically inclined, I find it useful to push back on every single assertion - factual or historical - they might make. [citation needed]

As Ronald Reagan once said, despite being a paragon of un-facts himself, "Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so. " How much more our libertarian friends? Or enemies, as the case may be. I find every conversation with a libertarian is generally filled with elementary falsehoods with respect to either the historical record or the economic literature (as poorly as I am acquainted with it - mind you, I'm not saying "OMG they contradict Krugman" or some other banal response, but, rather, "No, the economic consensus does not indicate decreasing taxes will increase revenue."). And, this is not as objective as the other measures, but they often contradict the basics of patriotism and civic religion - eg, opposing Lincoln and supporting the treasonous South and slavery.

Never mind, by the way, how nutty the speech that came from actually is. Never mind that Barry Goldwater, it is universally agreed, would probably have been the worst possible president.

And I would just say that the 49 years since that speech have looked rather fondly on the welfare state as compared to the alternative he was promoting in that speech.

Anyway, I digress.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

If I identify myself positively, of course...

...I am a social democrat and an Orthodox Christian.

If I had to identify myself "apophatically"... terms of politics, I would be "not libertarian" and then perhaps "not Communist". At the moment, that would be a distant second thing that comes to mind as, contrary to some rhetoric, communism is not the present danger.

Religiously, first and foremost, that would be "not Protestant", for better or for worse. Fortunately, I don't identify myself "apophatically", at least religiously, though I am very close to doing so politically.

As much as I dislike the current activity of the Republican Party - and what it's done since the Gingrich era - I don't have a strong animus to them historically. Whether or not I would have voted for Bush père, I do have an appreciation for him and the old brand of Eisenhower Republicans. So I identify myself as "not libertarian" and, inasmuch as the GOP starts leaning that way, they earn my contempt and pity. I do find the mental and verbal gymnastics of anybody who holds that the shutdown and budget ceiling showdown are anything but crazy obstructionist antics solely on the part of the GOP that are completely contrary to the spirit and meaning of the rule of law and the Constitution to be rather amusing to watch. They're nihilists, Donny.

It reminds me, in small part, of the same sort of bomb-throwing anarchy a certain faction of the OCA displayed a couple years ago. Shockingly, from a certain popular voice in national conservative movement (Rod Dreher), though, to his credit, he was (in a startling ethical lapse) doing so completely anonymously. Of course, it is no secret to readers of this web-log that I believe Rod Dreher acted unethically, nor is it any secret that I do not make those accusations lightly, but, anyway. Is it an amusing coincidence that these methods of grassroots institutional nihilism, tearing down the Temple despite yourself, both came from the Right?

EDIT: Adding that I am also emphatically "not Confederate". Union forever, baby.

Monday, October 07, 2013

I don't think...

...a certain political party gets to complain about job-killing wastes of money while threatening to default on debt obligations - which would plunge the world into a terrible recession, violate the Constitution, and kill tons of jobs.