Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Libertarians and Progressives join hands and let's save this country
Libertarians and progressives have a lot in common, currently. Let's have a Coffee Party (http://www.coffeepartyusa.com/) and Tea Party (http://www.teapartypatriots.org/) party! I think there's a lot to talk about.
I recently watched the documentary "Ayn Rand and the prophecy of Atlas Shrugged" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1989454/). As a recovering libertarian, I had some difficulty with the ideas in this film. Much of the rhetoric in the current interviews was very focused on the government-- there's too much regulation, we need limited government, the tax collectors and bureaucrats take away from productivity, etc. On a philosophical level, I have a hard time disagreeing with this actually. Nevertheless, I found the film extremely short-sighted as it relates to our current political situation.
I've also recently watched "The Corporation" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225/). Having watched this before the Ayn Rand piece, I noticed this aspect of politics stunningly absent from the Libertarian/Objectivist commentary. They blame government for just about everything, but the blame seems to be that it's the nature of government to be this way, which *on some level* (philosophically) I believe too. This laser beam focus on just the government as being uniquely the problem and thus "reducing it" being the solution is the wrong answer, right now. How does limited government and regulation account for crony capitalism? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crony_capitalism) It doesn't! (As far as I can tell)
We have industries regulated by their own insiders. We have politicians bought and directed by donors and lobbyists. We have a banking system that apparently is untouchable. We have a health care bill written by the health insurance companies. We have a drug war that benefits no one except the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, big pharma, the textile industry, soy producers, ethanol producers, the logging industry, and corrupt politicians / law enforcement. (I don't even know where to start on our foreign policy.) Our rampant and under-regulated crony capitalism has subverted our democracy. In an ideal world, corporations would be good citizens, but that clearly can't be further from the truth. (There must be some, but the bad ones are ruining it for the rest.)
So, can a libertarian explain to me how less regulation and free markets solve this problem? Please don't think I'm entirely discrediting this philosophy or suggesting massive regulation or even communism. We the people are being laissez faire with our government at the worst possible time. I know that most libertarians wouldn't support having absolutely no regulations, so I hope we could agree that the "right regulations" would make sense here. What we need, even more than the right regulations, is transparency.
"When government disappears, it's not as if paradise will take its place. When governments are gone, other interests will take their place." - Lawrence Lessig
Surely some people will disagree with me, and I encourage that. I also encourage critical thinking, so I'd love to see someone explain to me how voting on a fiscal conservative track, specifically in this election, would handle crony capitalism, or if you don't actually think crony capitalism is a problem (please explain). If you don't think we're facing massive tyranny right now, then please be kind and let me know your source of Kool-Aid.
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