Monday, June 11, 2007

Libertarians for U.S. President

One can say that U.S Presidential candidates Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul have a lot in common. They are both opposed to the war in Iraq. They are both contenders for their parties nomination for U.S. Presidential candidate in 2008. And they are both libertarians. While Ron Paul is seen as such, Kucinich actually advocates for the Libertarian Left in many of his positions.

I have mentioned it here that the two share much in common. However the debate over these two 'third tier' candidates is going on hot and heavy in the political blogosphere, since they both confront the establishment in their respective parties. Much more so than any outsider candidate like Ralph Nader ever could.

A number of articles appeared after the 2006 election sweep that saw a new Libertarianism in the grass roots movement that led to Democratic victories. In fact at least one article suggested that since only the Democratic Party represented the anti-war vote Libertarians should vote Democratic.

The ideal candidates for Libertarians in either party are Kucinich and Paul, and they should be on a joint ticket when they lose their bids to be their parties nominee.

As these two articles show, it is not so much Paul and Kucinich that are the real impetus for a genuine libertarian rebirth, rather it is the Libertarian Left coming from conservative and liberal traditions in the U.S. talking to each other that really reflects the libertarianism that calls itself socialism.

They need to talk to each other not just at each other. In the same way that I am able to converse with those who come from the Rothbard right, individualists,and mutualists as a socialist libertarian.

This is the Libertarian Left, not your usual left or right.

A Libertarianism that does not toady to existing political parties and ideologies calling themselves Liberal or Conservative nor even Social Democratic.


I discern in this thread what I have observed elsewhere, a tremendous infatuation by Libertarians with Rep. Ron Paul. That certainly strikes me as logical: Paul is one of your own. The point of divergence, however, is equally simple. The reasons and personal qualities you adduce for elevating Mr. Paul to the status of national saviour are matched, and in many dimensions clearly exceeded, by another political figure, Dennis Kucinich. What is the reason then for this partiality? I don't want to get ahead of myself here but just let me say the following: the only conceivable reason I can find for your complete disregard of Rep. Kucinich as a serious candidate and his clear and courageous stands is that he is not a Libertarian in political philosophy, that is, he does not worship individualism at the expense of the commonwealth.

In this context, first let me remind everyone here, once again, that it was Dennis Kucinich who filed papers to impeach Dick Cheney in order to get the ball rolling to go after the whole Bush mafia, well before Ron Paul made statements to this effect, so in light of that fact, may I ask what are you all talking about by placing all the adoration on Paul and ignoring Kucinich's obvious contributions? If we follow your logic, Kucinich bested Ron Paul because he is already (with little support from his own party of opportunistic cowards, or the media) actively seeking impeachment of those responsible in the Bush administration.

I guess the central question is this: what kind of broad social change do you Libertarians really advocate?

With all due respect, what is libertarianism if not an anarchic, passionately ahistorical form of laissez-faire capitalism? The cowboy, frontier capitalism still embraced by inordinate numbers of people in the US (especially the Southwest and Texas), Australia, Alaska, and other places where the vastness of the land confuses the superficial thinker into believing that vastness equals infinity? With no Democratic strings attached to control the destructive power of markets and monopolies, a libertarian regime, just as its older sibling, the Victorian-style capitalist regime, would drive wages into the ground worse than they are doing now, eviscerate workers' protection, make the workday longer to boost profits, while busy destroying what's left of the environment—all in the name of sacred property rights. Would you privatize the EPA as well? Fact is, it is ahistoricalism that truly characterizes all bourgeois conceptions of history and reality, but in the case of Libertarians only more so, because here we witness a total disregard for the lessons of history, or the similarly obvious evolution of economic institutions.

Have we forgotten already the long list of abuses in the name of free enterprise, before the system was moderately tamed by social corrective action? Considering your rather brutal philosophy, the fact that so many in your ranks decry social security, employment compensation, and other buffers against personal disasters, may we ask again what is your opinion on child Labor? After all, a true Libertarian would argue that it is a child's right to work and that's that.

The answer to this complex question of what should be the goal of a true revolution is plain: Socialism, American style, but true socialism, no more welfare capitalisms, or phony Democratic DLC/Blairite/Clintonite "Third Ways."

Socialism, having been viciously slandered for more than a century in this nation would and does entail a long road of understanding and political organizing. A road that will require deprogramming your mind away from the imbecilic and self-serving (to the plutocracy) indoctrination you have all received. There are no shortcuts to this kind of work. But once you join this monumental effort, you'll find yourself in truly distinguished company. Yes, friends, socialism, not libertarianism, is the answer.

Ron Paul vs Kucinich

This is a response to a bulletin post titled “An Open Letter to Libertarian Activists (Paul; Kucinich)”. This post is encouraging Ron Paul supporters to take another look at Kucinich because Kucinich seems to advocate more policy to protect the labor market. I am glad for this post because it is good to see intelligent reasonings on both sides of the issues.

I am mostly a libertarian myself, though not the hardest of the hard core. I’m more like a populist Constitutionalist than anything I suppose. I believe in free market, but I also believe we must have strong anti-trust laws. I don’t agree with the ultimate libertarians who oppose anti-trust laws. If we don’t have anti-trust laws, then monopolies will take over and then we’d have no free market. I argue often with other libertarians that if they love their precious free market so much then they should advocate anti-trust laws or else they’ll lose their free market. That usually shuts them up.

I actually see strong labor unions as part of the free market phenomenon. It is a natural formation in the labor market, hence it is actually part of the free market system. The phenomenon of workers bonding together to make themselves into a strong unified force that must be reckoned with by employers places the employers in the position of being forced to negotiate and make concessions or else they won’t have a workforce. I see this as pretty much falling under the basic principles of supply and demand. Supply = labor, demand = employer needs workers. If the employer wants his need of a labor force to be met, then he will have to deal with the market of the workforce which will place certain requirements on the employer if he wants to get his need of a workforce to be met.

I think that the workers themselves through strong labor unions can be greatly more effective at protecting themselves through this kind of heavy leverage by making specific demands that they deem necessary for their industry, rather than some kind of blanket government protective legislation that may or may not be able to be enforced. An employer may break a labor protection law, but it could take a long time to get anything done about it, if ever. But if the employer is facing losing all his employees if he doesn’t make his workplace safe for them however, that is where the enforcement and incentive comes in. The employer has to comply with the requirements the workforce is placing on him, and he has to comply IMMEDIATELY or else his business will go bankrupt in a big hurry due to strikes. This is why labor unions actually are part of the free market system because there is incentive for the employer to comply with the unions or else suffer a loss.

I believe that until we can get rid of the fraud of fiat currency there probably should be some safety-net type legislation to protect workers because not all businesses or industries are big enough to naturally develop labor unions in their markets, and with the currency having no intrinsic value, there is little leverage or bargaining power for those who hold that currency. But the real protections are going to come from the workers themselves banding together into a strong force that must be reckoned with by the employers. The main thing the government needs to do at this point would just simply be to prohibit employers from intimidating workers, discriminating against them, or firing them or threatening to fire them for being in the labor union, and to very strongly enforce labor union protections with heavy jail time and fines. The government also should protect unions by legislating to never interfere with strikes or any other actions by unions even if the unions consist of workers who work for the government, like transportation workers. Remember the subway workers in New York? The government ordered them to end their strike. This is wrong. Those workers got screwed.

I see employers undermining labor unions by threatening or firing workers as actually being akin to violating an anti-trust law. The employer would be making maneuvers to control or “monopolize” the labor market for his own purposes. Strong labor union protection laws would mean that if an employer does this kind of thing then he would not only be committing a felony but also could get his pants sued off. This way the power is in the hands of the PEOPLE where it belongs, rather than handing over the power to law-makers and depending on them to pass oodles and oodles of legislation to protect us when those laws may or may not be enforced.

The current situation appears to me that we don’t really have a free market. What we have right now is corporate welfare. The government is not protecting a free market. They won’t enforce anti-trust laws, they won’t protect labor unions, there are no-bid government contracts with private corporations on a daily basis. These no-bid private-public partnerships violate free market because there is no competition, monopolies are formed, and it undermines our Republic because taxpayers have no say in how our money is spent. I hear some people bashing free market a lot because workers get ripped off and taken advantage of, but those people don’t have an understanding of what free market really means. If we had free market the labor unions would keep employers in their place and the government would protect the free market by protecting labor unions.

I’m for Ron Paul because he’s not really a true hard core libertarian. He’s more of a populist constitutionalist and paleo-conservative. He’s the only one who is really advocating following the Constitution. I have looked at others’ philosophies like Kucinich, and the reason I still advocate Ron Paul is because I believe that he has by far the best and most thorough understanding of the fiscal and economic situation we are facing as a nation.


Ron Paul

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MrvnMouse said...

Have you actually read Ron Paul's views on his candidate's website?

He may look like a libertarian, but he also believes in a lot of strongly conservative policies. No matter what facade he puts on for the public.

cxx_guy said...

To say that socialism = libertarianism is to say that slavery = freedom. Very Orwellian.

Capitalism is economic freedom. Socialism is economic slavery. It impoverishes all (except the commissars) and makes one dependent on complete subservience either to his Union or his Government, (depending on the form) for survival, which have the power to prevent him from working.

eugene plawiuk said...

Capitalism is NOT a free market, it actually dominates the market and market forces which are based on potlatch or gift economies.

Mike said...

Eugene has it right, cxx_guy. The current "capitalism" we have is state-capitalism and mercantilism. It is a market, but it is anything but free. Don't believe me, I would suggest reading Murray N Rothbard, that crazy socialist, who says the same thing.

But since we last had this same argument a month ago at Werner's (shagya) you appear not to have even tried to read anything or educate yourself. You are still attacking a cartoon, strawman version of "socialism"

Larry Gambone said...

Cxx-guy is definitely wrong. Capitalism = wage slavery. Socialism = workers owning and running the economy. He confuses socialism with state capitalism. He should check out Kevin Carson's blog and learn something.

Anyway, excellent posting, Eugene.

eugene plawiuk said...

And I would contest the idea that capitalism is the market as Mike says, rather as Karl Polanyi pointed out in his refutation of the Austrian School, in his book The Great Transformation, the market has always existed in human society, however capitalism dominates and transforms the market, ultimately it dominates human community rather than the community interests dominating the market has was the case in the past with the gift economy.

Mike said...

"the market has always existed in human society, however capitalism dominates and transforms the market, ultimately it dominates human community rather than the community interests dominating the market"

Well, I am, of course, not so eleoquent as Polanyi, but I think I quite agree with that. And I think Rothbard and a few other Austrians like Roderick Long would also agree.

And yeah, Kevin Carson as well.