Sunday, November 03, 2013

Fundraiser Day Last: Conservatism Triumphant


File Under:  Regression to the Meme.

The Amtrak service between Chicago and downstate Illinois ("downstate" as defined by Chicagoans is anything south of 93rd) was smooth and efficient.  And cold -- they couldn't get the heat going in our car because of a "mechanical problem" which could not be fixed for some reason while the train was moving, or standing still, or near any "people" apparently.

Still, I warmed right up when I cracked open my complimentary copy of the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch" and found that even jaunting along in chilly comfort on American passenger rail bereft of any access to teevee, radio or Teh Wifi, an America Liberal such as myself did not need to look any further than the op-ed page of a random Saturday paper to find a big, steaming pile of Both Siderism
Across much of the country, libertarianism is attracting college students and others looking for an alternative. Libertarianism is becoming especially popular among younger voters, many of whom are tired of the stalemate between Republicans and Democrats in Washington, as evidenced by the 16-day government shutdown.

“I think the congressional dysfunction … only makes people more interested in other viewpoints,” said Michael Ben-Horin, a Students For Liberty campus coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic region and president of the George Washington University College Libertarians.
Long ago, Both Siderism passed the point where it became the #1 greenhouse gas in our political atmosphere.  It's just there now, everywhere, and it's going to be there a very long time until we move aggressively to clean it up or until it kills us or drives us into becoming something dreadful.  Until then it will remain the all-purpose, go-to position for anyone on the Right who is now hiding out from the horrid, clear-light-of-day face of the monster they hooked with the night before, but who is also unwilling to give Liberals the time of day because the very same monster they are running away from has convinced them that Liberals are always as bad or worse.  Always to blame for half or all of the problems that beset them.

Both sides.

Both sides.

Always both sides.

But this Post-Dispatch article has so much more to offer than mere confirmation of the ubiquity of the Both Sider lie.  Consider why young Rebecca Coates has traded in Rick Santorum for Ayn Rand:
“For a long time I thought I was a Republican, but I was always having to add addendums like, ‘I’m Republican, but I think drugs should be legal,’ or ‘I’m Republican, but I don’t want us to be at war overseas,’ ” said Coates, a student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a member of the campus’ College Libertarians.
Also on the list of "Republican, but" addenda?
Jordyn Vogel, a biology for pre-dental major, said a key component of libertarianism is the distinction between personal and political opinions.

“Whether I personally think that homosexual people should get married doesn’t matter, because I don’t think the government should define what is and isn’t considered marriage,” Vogel said.
I'm probably not going too far out on a limb to suggest that these young Libertarian supermen -- and they are overwhelming men -- also probably don't much care for Crazy Uncle Liberty's drunken racist monologues at Thanksgiving (Moocher Day!)

So they like privacy, not waging stupid wars, weed and letting people love who they love.

Which sounds a lot like every Liberal I know.

And what do these young Libertarian supermen dislike?

They don't like deficits, which apparently none of them were ever told skyrocketed under Reagan and Bush I, came down fast under Clinton, and skyrocketed again under Bush II, who actually campaigned against surpluses because surpluses were a bad thing.

They also don't like don't they like all those mooching boomers who stole their shit!
Libertarians in the United States are predominantly male, highly critical of government and disapproving of social welfare programs, according to the Pew poll, although some libertarians find that definition stifling and inaccurate.

“There’s definitely a trend on the national basis and a significant growth in young libertarians,” said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Irvine, Calif.-based Ayn Rand Institute. “(It’s) a generation that’s being screwed by their elders. The baby boomer generation loaded themselves up with goodies at the expense of young people.”
Which makes me wonder exactly which social programs these young supermen would like to gut?

Food stamps?  Well, letting poor kids starve is certainly gratuitously inhumane enough to be considered a Randite Virtue, so you've got me there.  

What about Social Security...that program that keeps nana from dying old and poor?  

What about Medicare...that program that saved Dad's life after his heart attack

College loans?

Can these programs be tweaked to run better?  


You know who would love to have a crack at fixing these programs so that they do what they're supposed to do better and cheaper?


But Libertarians don't want them to run better or faster or cheaper.  They want them destroyed because needing help of any kind from anyone ever is proof positive of your unfitness to survive in their brave new world.

Because the arrested adolescent boys in the vanguard of the Libertarianism are really very simple mopes whose comic book reality can only accommodate the most cartoonish heroes and villains: John Galts who precipitate electricity out of thin air and never need to take time off of work to take the kids to the doc, and Moriartys who never need to worry about a mortgage. 

These children stumble out of their teens and into Conservatism's waiting arms (whatever Conservatism is calling itself this week) because for 40 years it has been possible to make a living beating your chest and regurgitating one lie after another about Liberals in order to fill in the missing pieces in every wingnut's paint-by-numbers Red Dawn dream.

Conservatives may have spent a generation wrecking everything touched and they be as scattered and factional as they have ever been, but on the marketing front they and their mainstream media enablers have been absolutely united and disciplined in selling Both Siderism every day and in every venue.

It has become Big Lie that makes all the little lies possible.  And no forward progress can be made until it is destroyed.


Anonymous said...

I always wonder: how does a libertarian build roads?

Unsalted Sinner said...

"The baby boomer generation loaded themselves up with goodies at the expense of young people."

And that's so unfair, because it's not like the boomers ever spent a single cent on their children and grandchildren. These brave young randroids sprang fully formed from the womb, pulled themselves up by their umbilical cords and started working for a living right away, pausing only to pay their mother nine months rent for the use of her uterus. And they have been completely self-sufficient ever since, and will never grow so old and sick that they need anybody's help.

steeve said...

It's still very easy to separate liberals from conservatives, smart people from libertarians, sane from insane. Just ask about tax cuts for the rich.

The evidence is so overwhelming that it is now insane to be on the wrong side of that issue. So that, as I hope we all know, the "moderate" republicans are just as insane as the rest.

amspirnational said...

Antiwar,anti-NSA, anti-Patriot Act coalitions with libertarians should still be effected when possible, as the majority of commentors on sites like Ian Welsh agree.
However, today Rand Paul said he will not return criticism from Ted Cruz, Cruz having edged him out for
"star" of the conservative wing of the GOP, and Cruz claiming Paul is unelectable being too much like his father.
Rand Paul is himself a watered down version of his admirable father. Paul's refusal to out Cruz's hawkish big spending on war positions--he has never repudiated the Iraq War as far as I can tell, shows "mainstream" libertarianism's weakness.
On the other side there are many libprogs prepared to look the other way on droning, overthrowing Khadaffi, surging in Afghanistan, overthrowing Assad-if they get their way on National Health Care.
Both sides are wrong.

n1ck said...

Beautiful piece of writing, DG.

aka The cheese eater said...

A Libertarian and WallStreet loving capitalist stooge mounts a Randite critique of America and Barack "both sides don"t" Obama. To hear the both sides, false equivalence claims of Oliver Stone simply copy and paste:

bowtiejack said...

"Libertarians in the United States are predominantly male, highly critical of government and disapproving of social welfare programs, , , ,"

Uh, they left out "white".

But they know who those people are who are living big off those social welfare programs with their Cadillacs and sirloin steaks.

Anonymous said...

@unsalted sinner

Nail meet head...

paminaK620 said...

Brilliant as usual, DG. As Adolph Reed, Jr. observes:

Libertarianism is a shuck, more an aesthetics than a politics. Libertarians don’t want the state to do anything other than what they want the state to do. And, as its founding icons understood, it is fundamentally about property rights ├╝ber alles. Mises and Hayek made clear in theory, and Thatcher and Friedman as Pinochet’s muse in Chile did in practice, that a libertarian society requires an anti-popular, authoritarian government to make sure that property rights are kept sacrosanct. That’s why it’s so common that a few bad days, some sweet nothings, and a couple of snazzy epaulets will turn a libertarian into an open fascist.


And its more than just our media peddling this "big, steaming pile of Both Siderism". All of our culture is devoted to the neoliberal con. If oppressed people can't liberate themselves just like the the heroes in the movies then, in the words of the Wise One, they should just f*** off and die.

Yastreblyansky said...

Luckily, guess what? Those boys will turn out to be a decided minority, and since as it turns out there are also girls in this generation, who spent their entire school and college careers volunteering for this and that, Objectivist boys who think that is a stupid waste of time are never going to get laid. Indeed, some of that resentful tone may be traceable to a phenomenon of the kind.

blader said...

I was reading, and rejecting, Ayn Rand back in the days of Nixon and Watergate.

I mean, it was a pretty f-ed up time, politically. But I've just assumed the reason people adopt a hollow, selfish philosophy is because they are hollow and selfish people. Duh.

Anonymous said...

** Both sides are wrong.**

Yes, but not equally.

Anonymous said...

Second that.

mahakal said...

Really, don't lump free energy in with right wing ideology. I won't even discuss it further, but point out that a pulsed battery is an electrolytic cell which obtains energy endothermically, i.e., from environmental heat. Here is a java simulation of a 1.5W 1V source (easily obtained from a piece of aluminum foil and a piece of copper tape glued with some alum and salt bridges, or from putting a couple metal spikes in the ground) charging a 12V battery with 30W impulses:

The circuit is also supplying some extra energy for a pulsed resistive load. Have a lovely day.

mahakal said...

Another thing is that nobody would have to worry about a mortgage if it were not for the incumbent banking system control of our nation and its usury based money. However some of us do think about alternatives to debt slavery.

Hypothecated usury is a contract for default and destruction of the individual and the planet, the cause of poverty and the root of slavery.

So, you know, we can't keep going on the present trajectory anyhow. The earth will not sustain it.