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View Diary: "Overkill": Protecting and Serving? Or Terrorizing and Killing? (145 comments)

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  •  The problem with "Libertarians" (1+ / 0-)
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    Coherent Viewpoint

    .. is that they apparently believe that all dangers to liberty come from the government.  Thus, an orgnaization like the CATO Institute is on target with it's drug policy, criminal justice policy, and civil liberty policy stuff, but they are totally clueless about the threat of corporate power to personal liberty, thus, they oppose anyhting that curbs the power of the private sector.

    This is philosophically foolish, becuase there's no reason why private power can't be as much a threat to personal liberty as government power. Thus, a thoughtful libertarian would undertstand the need for a balance of powers, with the private sector having enough power to protect individuals from government tyraanny and government sectors powerful enough to protect individuals from private tyraany. And becuase private power is derived from excessive concentration of wealth in private hands, a real libertarian would have to think about ways to ensure resdistribution of wealth and the prevention of excessive contribution of wealth in a few hands.

    The problem is that many of the "Libertarian" institutions are merely corporate-funded astroturf to promote policies that have short-term financial benefit to the funding organizations.  CATO, for example, is funded heavily by the tobacco interests, who use the civil libertioes angle to fight off necessary tegulation of a dangerous product.  I don't know as much a bout the "Libertarian Party," but I suspect that their approach to libertarianism is equally unbalanced and favoring of corporate power.

    Local Stores, local schools, local work

    by Menachem Mavet on Sun Sep 10, 2006 at 12:01:12 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely. Have said this for years. (0+ / 0-)

      Threats to liberty come from those with Power.  The Fortune 50-100 have, in their way, as much or more power to wreck lives as the U.S. Government.



      We're working on many levels here. Ken Kesey

      by BenGoshi on Sun Sep 10, 2006 at 12:57:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  libertarians against corporations (1+ / 0-)
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      Coherent Viewpoint

      There are a number of libertarians who are generally distrustful of corporations. However, there's no need to distinguish between "government power" and "corporate power" because there is no reason to distinguish between the government and the corporations/'s all the same power.

      Many people got rich by using the government to steal from everyone else. If you are interested in reading up on this, check out "the conservative nanny state" or "the movement of the libertarian left".

      •  Yes, you have ti distinguish... (1+ / 0-)
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        Coherent Viewpoint

        However, there's no need to distinguish between "government power" and "corporate power" because there is no reason to distinguish between the government and the corporations/'s all the same power.

        That's not totally true.  

        A government bureaucrat can be made to move very quickly in the right direction if an angry contituent can get a hold of the right Member of Congress. I know becuase I'm a staff-level bureaucrat, and I've seen it happen. On the other hnad, unless you're a corporate raider with a reasonable size chunk of the outstanding stock, you might as well be talking to a wall when dealing with corporate management.  The recent fiasco with the 9/11 Mock-udrama and Disney shows that all too well.  Sometimes mass direct action works, but that's only for big issues.

        It's government that finally ended Jim Crow and ensured that minorities could vote effectively.  The corporate world might have though Jim Crow was silly and inefficient, but it wasn't worth their while to put the squeeze on the southern states that practiced it.

        It's the Feds and state governments that have enacted effective enviropnmental laws.  The Libertatian Party's position on this is silly -- They would basically rely on torts to ensure the people don't pollute.  Read any number of relevant court decisions from the 1890's when they did just that, and you can see how silly that is.  

        The government, through its legal system, is the agency that sets up the ground rules by which markets operate.  That makes it pretty obvious that  the government is an essentially player in ensuring personal liberty, even as it's the same time the major threat to liberty.  On the other hand, I can't think of a single instance where rich and powerful proivate interests have used thier power to protect the liberty of the people.

        And remember it might seem like it's always been that  there's no difference bwteen the government and the rich and corporations.  That wasn't always the case, it certainly wasn't the case in the world I grew up in 30-40 years ago.  It was the case in the world my granparents grew up in, but they didn't whine about, they voted for FDR.  

        Maybe we don't have FDR today, but I suspect that progressives back in the Coolidge/Hoover era didn't think there was much hope, either. (And I think that many of them didn't think that FDR, that lightweight rich-boy governor of New York, was going to be the one to transfor America.

        We need to fight the tryanny of private power as well as that of public power, while at the same time, supporting public power when it works to promote liberty.

        The Zionists back in 1940 had a quandary when the British government issued an anti-Zionist white Paper at the same time that Britain was about the only Power who was actually fighting the Nazis.  The slogan went something like:  "We will help the British fight the war as if there was no White paper; we will fight the White Paper and British policy as if there was no war."

        We need to have the same attitude toawrd government power.  As to corporate power, unless someone can show me how these corporations ever really have the inetrests of their stakeholders in mind (without being forced to), I say that's power that should be curbed.

        Local Stores, local schools, local work

        by Menachem Mavet on Sun Sep 10, 2006 at 01:27:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  power is power (1+ / 0-)
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          Coherent Viewpoint

          Sorry, but I don't really see how your several examples addressed my point.

          Unfortunatley, I don't have time to go into this, but I'll just say these two things.

          Jim Crow is not a good example for your case -- Jim Crow was government policy, so of course only the government could stop it.

          Also, I don't think that the FDR situation is a good example either; first FDR was a member of the moneyed elite, who had the support of the other elites; second, the moneyed elites only decided to support FDR's policies because the country was heading towards rebellion.

      •  libertarian critique of corporate personhood (1+ / 0-)
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        Jay Elias

        Here's a good discussion of libertarian critiques of corporate personhood, based on articles written for "the Journal of LIbertarian Studies" published by the Von Misses Institute.

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