Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Libertarian Trap

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Ron Paul and Louis Farrakhan.  Here.

This is easily the best thing I've read about Paul and why his some of his supporters need to take a deep breath and think for a minute.

There is a reall brouhaha over at Balloon Juice and elsewhere over Glenn Greenwald and some things he said and what did it mean and blah blah blah.

Look, Greenwald is a Libertarian.  He's a left leaning Libertarian, whereas as Paul is a rightist Libertarian, but they are both Libertarians.

Libertarians live in a world untrammeled by actual governance.  They live in a dream world where compromises don't have to be made, where everyone behaves in a certain way that will make the state irrelevant.  And like most Libertarians, they are infused with a certain strain of narcissism that is unique to their subculture.

Greenwald and Paul are both radiant lights, pure and undimmed by the messy realities of governing.  But they also faintly reek of the demagogue.  They exalt high ideals, while not considering the real world applications of those ideals.  They fetishize their ideas with a sort of intellectual OCD that makes them rigid and unbending.  Pure and uncompromising to their acolytes, ideological and fanatical to their enemies.

I thought there were some very good Libertarian critiques of the Bush Administration by Greenwald (and Paul).  But to not recognize the differences between the Bush and Obama administrations is to be more in love with the ideals you fight for than with the nuance of the real world.

And for the most part, Libertarianism is a crankish idea.  I hope those Silicon Valley nutcakes create their offshore Libertarian paradise.  I want the world to see first hand what an unworkable system it is.

Until then, we are stuck with demagogues and ideologues.  We are stuck with Paul and Greenwald.

No comments: