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There's a new, and apparently virulent (at least among the right-wing brain trust), strain of conservatism in the wild: "Libertarian Populism." I'll let the New York Time's Ross Douthat tell you what it is:

[Libertarian populism is] a strain of thought that moves from the standard grassroots conservative view of Washington as an inherently corrupt realm of special interests and self-dealing elites to a broader skepticism of “bigness” in all its forms (corporate as well as governmental), that regards the Bush era as an object lesson in everything that can go wrong (at home and abroad) when conservatives set aside this skepticism, and that sees the cause of limited government as a means not only to safeguarding liberty, but to unwinding webs of privilege and rent-seeking and enabling true equality of opportunity as well.
This all sounds surprisingly lovely: "unwinding webs of privilege"—all for that; skepticism of big corporate interests—all for that, too. Indeed, if Douthat's definition of this "libertarian populism" holds, and if the phenomenon takes root and grows among in the conservative intellectual garden, I—and a good many other liberals—would likely applaud. Conservatisms problems are twofold: one is misplaced priorities; the other is intellectual dishonest. This allegedly new and different kind of conservatism would do much to remedy the latter (though, importantly, not the former).

Timothy Carney over at the Washington Examiner throws the picture into starker focus; he writes:

The new Republican populism should declare war on the cronies and special interests who use big government to rig the game in their favor and deny opportunity to those trying to climb the ladder and live the American dream.

It's time for free-market populism and a Republican Party that fights against all forms of political privilege -- a party that champions all who want to work and take risks in order to improve their lives and raise a family.

Again, here a conservative intellectual is stealing words out of my mouth. Insofar as the state has been co-opted by business interests and been "rigged" in the favor of those selfsame interests, "bigness" ought to be opposed. Political privilege, when thought of this way, is a dangerous thing, and a Republican party that fought against that would, in the eyes of many on the left, be good.

Of course, it's not good—more than that, it's the eliminationist right's wolf dressed in sheep's clothing.

From the Economist (h/t Digby):

I see two problems. First, right-wing populism in America has always amounted to white identity politics, which is why the only notable libertarian-leaning politicians to generate real excitement among conservative voters have risen to prominence through alliances with racist and nativist movements. Ron Paul's racist newsletters were not incidental to his later success, and it comes as little surprise that a man styling himself a "Southern Avenger" numbers among Rand Paul's top aides. This is what actually-existing right-wing libertarian populism looks like, and that's what it needs to look like if it is to remain popular, or right-wing. Second, political parties are coalitions of interests, and the Republican Party is the party of the rich, as well as the ideological champion of big business. A principled anti-corporatist, pro-working-class agenda stands as much chance in the GOP as a principled anti-public-sector-union stance in the Democratic Party. It simply makes no sense.
Shorter: the context of the concept—the web in which it is embedded—is inseparable from the concept itself. When you buy American libertarianism, you're generally buying a whole package of embedded concepts—chief among them a paranoid fear of the "other," which in American thought is defined as non-white and non-Christian (it used to be non-Protestant, so, progress, I guess?). And lest you protest that, in principle, one could have one without the other, I'll remind you that the world of libertarians is not a political philosophy classroom; it's the world where guns are necessary to protect against them, where the wheels of government turn to prop them up, where they are taking over our country, and we need to take it back. (Yes, I have met people who resolutely subscribe to libertarian philosophies and don't wear masks emblazoned with the Stars and Bars, but it's worth remembering that, at it's core, libertarianism is about saying a hearty "fuck you" to everyone who isn't you or yours.)

The special interests whom they want to get away from government are not big corporations—in practice anyway. They are the the people who are supported by the SNAP program (as evidenced by the "tea party"-backed house's recent vote); they are the people who get caught by our increasingly frayed social safety net. In the world of Republican politics, the idea of privilege is turned on its head. The privileged are those who receive meager government aid through entitlements, not those who feel that they are entitled to yet another tax break.

The right, even in its "pure" libertarian form, goes beyond merely wanting to deny aid to the disempowered; they embrace, at best, simply denying the injustices done to the systemically oppressed. At worst—and this populist libertarianism represents the worst—they actively argue that they are the politically privileged. To make matters worse, this kind of thinking allows entire groups of people to be the problem.

Carney writes that,

Populist movements in the past have often been ugly because they scapegoated vulnerable minorities. The new Republican populism shouldn't blame the "47 percent" of Mitt Romney's imagination, or immigrants seeking to make a better life.
And I take him at his word. Too bad that his party and his movement can't help but do otherwise.

[Crossposted at Ich Bin Ein Oberliner]

Originally posted to Shef on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 01:34 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  anti-corporate libertarians have a fatal flaw (24+ / 0-)

    The only entities on the planet that have the necessary strength to control or break up corporations are governments---and the libertarian loons are anti-government too.

    So they are just pissing in the wind.  (shrug)

    •  One government action is the test (8+ / 0-)

      ...for libertarian populists in government.  Repealing the corporation laws and the limited liability provisions.

      Not up to that? Bogus libertarian populist.

      50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

      by TarheelDem on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 03:56:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  alas, any government control of corporations MUST (7+ / 0-)

        be international.

        No national government can control the corporations--not even the big mighty US of A. Whatever law the US, France, Australia, or whoever passes, the corporados will simply move somewhere else where the law has no jurisdiction.

        The corporados are global.  Any effort to control them must be global as well.

        •  I don't doubt that that's true, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, LeftHandedMan, ichibon, native

          but I don't really understand it. In theory, at least, couldn't the US (or France, or Australia, or whatever) write a law that said, 'if you do business here, you do so under our laws. If you are found guilty of using shell corporations, corporate fronts, playing legalistic games with the intent of avoiding our laws while doing business here, we'll nationalize your ass.'

          I mean, or something. In theory.

          Obviously, if they move somewhere else entirely, that's fine. It's only like Starbucks in the UK or Apple here, when they do business and don't pay tax.

          "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

          by GussieFN on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 04:29:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Are you sure we can't control corporations? (6+ / 0-)

          The idea that corporations cannot be controlled is a largely untested premise.  Governments have police power, after all.

          The REAL problem is that corporations have utterly corrupted our political process.  I write about economics and I find there is exactly zero members of the Congress that have the economic understanding and political will of the 1920s Progressives.  For that matter, find me ONE Democrat as enlightened as Marriner Eccles—the Mormon banker who was FDR's Fed Chairman.

          The way they corrupted the government was by first corrupting our schools.  And method A was to replace economic concerns with political correctness as the primary focus of "progressives."  And so we find people who think they won a victory for progress when Obama was elected and have spent the last five years defending him in spite of the fact his economic team is comprised of right-wing crooks and loonies.

    •  Anti-corporate libertarian? No such thing. (15+ / 0-)

      Oh, I know many of them THINK they're anti-corporate, or at least want us to believe that they are.  But if you argue that big corporations are part of the problem, and then say that the best way to fix this problem is to regulate them less, well, you're either lying about your feelings toward corporations, and actually want them to have more power, or you're a moron.

      •  You are close... (7+ / 0-)

        The deal is that like the advent of the KKK by the merchant and privileged classes in order to drive a wedge between poor white people and poor black people, the strategy is effectively playing out the same way over and over again cross generations and the tools like racism are continuously employed.

        Here's the deal, cynicism about the power of the collective - cynicism about the "greater good" - amongst the regular and not so powerful people of any color works to the advantage of the powerful.

        The Libertarian notions that we are not our brother's keeper assures continued dominance of the ruling and powerful classes.

        If the Southern poor white and black people had managed to maintain their budding coalition that was threatening the elite class at the time between reconstruction and the advent of the KKK, the coalition of the masses would have won with their cooperatives and allegiance to making better lives.  But what happened was that they got picked off on both sides by the elite and merchant classes who were playing them as chess pieces.

        None of this will change until we have another Martin Luther King who could bring the collective back to the concept of humanity and dignity - to the point where the majority of people of all colors can look past the shell game that is being played on them and decide not to participate - until they decide that human dignity is the goal and that that goal pursued for others even when one has nothing themselves apparently at stake - that that goal applied universally will satisfy the real and fair instincts for self preservation even if those instincts and subsequent actions/reactions are not solely directed at the self.

        While the elite classes may seem like they are the enemy, they aren't if we don't allow them to manipulate us.  In a more balanced and fair construct of power and economic realization, they are part of the overall progress towards success.  I say this not to give them any great status, but to underscore the fact that everyone is important.  A swing so far in their favor as we have now totally screws up all of our chances.  A swing too far in the opposite direction screws up all of our chances, too.  As much as a swing away from the collective is threatening this country right now is.  It is about balance and the scales are currently sorely out of whack in this country.

        "Every man for himself" is going to destroy us as a nation if we do not wake up and rejoin the collective - and that goes for everybody.

        just my 2 cents...  ymmv

      •  Exactly (8+ / 0-)

        This is the reason I find libertarianism to be just dumb.

        Powers stripped from the government do not just POOF appear in the hands of individuals. Rather, they are seized by those with the money and the muscle.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:20:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  small, my ass (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Like in Michigan where the "small govt" GOP is imposing totalitarian tyranny. "Detroit" didn't declare bankrupcy but the flunky overseer who is trying to pave the way for corporate weasels to loot Detroit's assets. The citizens of Detroit need "stand your ground".

      •  Lying or a moron? Huh. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Perhaps there is another possibility that you have not considered.

        Many libertarians believe that corporations gain power through their influence on the government, and therefore the way to reduce corporate power is to reduce the authority of the governments they control. Or I guess you could just say they must be lying or morons.

        At any rate, it sounds like you've got it all figured out.

        •  historically, this is simply nonsense (6+ / 0-)
          Many libertarians believe that corporations gain power through their influence on the government, and therefore the way to reduce corporate power is to reduce the authority of the governments they control.
          Corporations gain power because in a capitalist economy there are winners and losers, and the winners get bigger by absorbing the losers.  That happens whether there is a government or not.  Indeed, in the US, it happened from 1870 to 1910, when the US government was almost entirely laissez faire.

          So please by all means explain to us how you intend to prevent economic winners from getting bigger by absorbing losers . . . . without government power.

          Oh, and if you want to break the corporations into little Adam Smithian mom-and-pop businesses, then please explain where these little Smithian shopkeepers will get the resources necessary to build, say, jumbo jets or global communications networks.

          If you restructure the entire economy in the terms of the 1840's, you will also return economic abilities to that of the 1840's. I doubt very many people will like that.

        •  If you seriously believe this, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          then I've clearly got it more figured out than you do.

          The idea that if there was no government regulation of corporations, they would act more ethically than they do now, or even keep up the low moral standards they have now, is ridiculous.  It's not like worker protections like child labor prohibitions, safe workplace standards, etc., popped up on their own, out of the goodness of business owners' hearts.  These things were put in place because of the government.

          So please, enlighten me as to how getting rid of regulations gives corporations less power than they have now.

          •  I never said that getting rid of (0+ / 0-)

            regulations gives corporations more power. I don't believe that's true at all.

            Seems kinda just made that up?

            It would be nice to get companies like Halliburton out of bed with the government, though.

            •  Agreed on your last sentence. (0+ / 0-)

              But no, I haven't made up what I just said.  If you haven't heard people who identify as libertarians make exactly the argument I just mentioned, then you're lucky.  Because I HAVE heard that argument made.  And it's an argument that strikes me as intellectually dishonest, and as coming about as a result of either manipulation by certain corporate-funded libertarian groups, or a willful dishonesty on the part of people putting forth such arguments.

              I apologize for mistaking you for someone who believed in such things.  I took your reply to me as a defense of this position, and clearly I was wrong to do so.

              That's assuming, of course, that by "more power" you meant "less", otherwise you're making the same argument I just accused you of :p.

            •  Or did you mean that you disagree (0+ / 0-)

              with the premise that fewer regulations equals more powerful corporations?

              •  I don't understand how you don't see it (0+ / 0-)

                Corporations will do what they like without government interference. If the govt. gets involved, corporations will do what they want, AND THEY WILL HAVE IT CODED INTO LAW.

                Example, RBGH hormones in dairy cattle.

                Big Dairy uses hormones in their dairy cattle. Govt. gets involved, now big dairy uses hormones in their cattle, and bans you from saying you do not.

          •  They ship jobs to China to avoid . . . (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            The Dude 415, caul

            being regulated and so they can escape things like our minimum wage. They pay workers there 70 cents an hour.

            Since we KNOW even now, in 2013, they seek to avoid regulation and any labor laws, why would we trust them to act ethically here, in the absence of government or government regulation?

            This isn't just about capitalism's horrid history of abuse, slavery, exploitation and oppression, as if it only happened in the past. It's happening right now. All over the world.

            It's absurd to think that they would act ethically without restraints on their powers.

    •  well they think market forces (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      would take care of things if governments stop propping up corporations.  Our food stamp program is welfare for Walmart, McDonalds, JP Morgan chase, you name it.  

      I tend to think that many of our large companies would go the way of the dodo if they had to compete without subsidies or preferential laws.

      The flipside is that other countries use their corporations as weapons (China) so we feel if we don't prop up ours, we'll get taken over by theirs.

      "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

      by sujigu on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 04:38:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you're right, many of those (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Corporations would go belly up without gov't subsidies.  But I guarantee nobody would be unaffected by, or enjoy the aftermath.

      •  No they don't. (4+ / 0-)

        Most of the grassroots Libertarian and rightwing movement would not know what a market force was if it hit them square in the nose.

        In fact, that's what happened and they were easily conned into thinking that government was the problem when the reality is that the absence of decent, democratic government policy was the problem.

        Democrats have done a piss poor job of arguing the alternate, too by the way.  The economic collapse was a great opportunity to reestablish the importance of third leg of the stool which is government.  Most Democrats including our President went to great lengths to distance themselves from the notion that government could help anyone other than the financial institutions.  I have no idea why or what they thought would happen as a result, but I remember thinking that having a lot of disgruntled unemployed people with time on their hands to watch the likes of Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich espouse lies was never going to work out well for our President or the Democratic Congress at that time.  For some reason they did not anticipate the consequences to their timidity on the need to help Main Street.

        •  The President did not understand the meltdown (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          He was a one term senator with no experience in the field and he probably just listened to the free market Democrat crowd from the Clinton years.  You see where that got him.

          I have to take issue with populist libeterians not understanding market forces.  They do.  You just don't acquaint yourself a lot with their thought.  

          "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

          by sujigu on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 06:45:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you are talking about movement (0+ / 0-)

            populist, grassroots participants, then I whole heartedly disagree with you.

            If you are talking about leadership, we share the same view.

            But it is really important to understand and take each constituency as unique forces with their very different understandings of the situations if you want to fight the movement effectively.  You have to understand how the movement is being driven to stop it.

            The people holding signs saying, "Keep government out of my Medicare" are ignorant sods who have been captured and used to great effect by people who do indeed know better, but that doesn't mean they know anything at all about what they are protesting, voting for or working to take down.  That's the point.  They are ignorant.  Seriously.  They are pawns on a chess board.

            •  I disagree with you (0+ / 0-)

              The constituency is not the "Keep your government hands off my Medicare."  That person is a classic Republican . They want the government to take care of them, they just think too many Black people are winning in the system.  Populist Libertarians don't, and they think that the government stepping into charity, healthcare, you name it, has a detrimental effect.  Populist Libertarians are pro gay-marriage (Medicare guy isn't because of Jesus) and they usually are way more knowledge.

              Liberals don't get this.  If you visit more libertarian websites and actually interact with them, you'll find that despite their far right views they're far from idiots.  

              They're not always right and they do have a different moral standard in some cases, but writing them off as idiots is idiotic in and of itself.  

              "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

              by sujigu on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 05:18:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  They don't. They've turned it into myth. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            They talk of "the markets" as if its a deity. They actually think it's all "democratic" in nature.

            In reality, it's all top down, and based on autocratic businesses, with the biggest businesses having the most say in what "the markets" do.

            Talk to a right-wing libertarian and you'd think it was all the most egalitarian activity on the face of the planet. Everyone wins, apparently. Everyone has an equal shot and say.

            It's actually embarrassing in its naivete.

            •  It is democratic (0+ / 0-)

              if by democratic you mean majority decides.  McDonald's sales volume tells us that the majority of Americans like them and vote with their dollars.  That part is undeniable.  

              Americans also don't really care about the authoritarian structure either, because they believe that's what gets them the goods and services they want.  

              "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

              by sujigu on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 05:19:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's not democratic in the slightest. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                And what majority? Do you honestly think that a majority of Americans eat at McDonald's? That would be more than 160 million.

                Uh, no.

                No business ever has a majority shopping at its store. And none of us has a voice in what products are sold, how they are made, what they cost, what workers make, their benefits, etc. etc. We have to take what is given us, and buy what others decide we should buy. We have the illusion of choice and freedom, but billionaires give us a very small range of choices and those choices are all too similar -- in price, quality, etc. etc.

                In a sane world, we'd decide this through democratic debate. The entire economy would be democratized. Not through the massively indirect way of dollars, but through actual debate and voting.

                As in, real socialism.

                It's absurd to think that where we spend our dollars constitutes a "vote."

                •  Totally disagree (0+ / 0-)

                  When you pay money for a good you are saying you like the product and service of that business.  It's a "vote" in that it shows your support for that business over another business you could just as well have gone to.

                  You do have a voice in how a business runs.  If tomorrow Walmart wanted to literally enslave its workers, pay them nothing, and beat them if they don't work harder (obviously picking an extreme example here), then would you buy any of their products?  No, of course not.  Without customers they'd just basically nothing propping them up unless they get government rebates (which they probably do).

                  The problem is Americans choose not to let their voice be known, don't really understand what they're doing when they purchase things, or have the morality of Ayn Rand.  They just go to Walmart because it's nearer to them and cheaper and don't abstain from shopping their because purchasing Walmart goods fuels Chinese slave labor.  By purchasing Walmart goods, they are supporting that system and "vote" for it.

                  It's not a hard concept.  Even when you vote for government officials, you can only hold them accountable for what they do in office so far as you can tell.  Don't research, you won't know, and you can't hold them accountable for their behavior in office which is not totally in your control unless you MAKE it in your control.  

                  "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

                  by sujigu on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 01:40:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You leave out need, time and access. (0+ / 0-)

                    You don't always spend where you think you get the best deal or actually like the product -- if you even have the time to make a good choice. At the store level and the product level. All too often, you spend where and when it's convenient to you, within your time limits, and you're naive if you think all consumers are happy with their purchases, and purchase X instead of Y due to their delight in X.

                    Walk down the aisle in any big store and you're going to find clones, endless rows of clones. The same garbage, at the same price, with the same rotten quality.

                    Smart shoppers do their best to get the best deal, but you're kidding yourself if you think they walk away from that experience delighted and happy they "voted" the way they did, or that they had the time to make a careful, informed "vote."

                    Or that they necessarily had the money to.

                    Consumerism isn't remotely the same as voting. Not in this universe, anyway. It's a complex interaction of need, convenience, time, access and income, all in a context of limited choices.

                    Buying slightly better crap doesn't mean you endorse it.

                    Oh, and your Walmart example contradicts your premise.

                    •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

                      You're not forced to go anywhere or buy anything.  People don't have to go to their local Wallmart if they really don't want to, or if morally it's repugnant to them.  It's why I won't go to the one near me despite the fact I'd save 25 cents on many things and maybe 15 minutes of time.  You'd probably argue that there is nowhere else for them to go, but that only applies to a limited number of places and if people make a point to not go to their local Walmart, they can get another business in their to fulfill their need or find some means of leaving where they are.  No one is stuck somewhere forever.  

                      As for the clone example, that's really silly.  Again, no one forces you to buy clones of anything and just because three or four people offer the same product doesn't mean anything.  You don't buy the cheap knock-off brand at the store, knowing it's not too far off the name brand item?  I do that all the time for cereal, and a lot of other people do.  So what?    

                      Paying Walmart money makes Walmart bigger and gives a return to their investors, prompting further investment, and the cycle begins anew.   I didn't say people walked away happy from their purchase, but when they swipe that card Walmart grows more powerful.  It is a vote.  It is a sign of Walmart's importance to the market.  You don't fix that basic problem you don't get anywhere.  

                      "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

                      by sujigu on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 06:02:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  Capitalism itself would go belly up. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's the real irony.

        Since 1970, governments around the world have bailed it out more than a 100 times, to the tune of trillions. In the 90s alone, 72 times.

        Take away government supports, and capitalism dies. Its inherent contradictions won't let it keep going. It needs price and wage supports, public social safety nets, public infrastructure, R and D, etc. etc.

        If left to its own devices, it will keep reducing wages until their is no consumer base. If left to its own devices, it will keep hoovering up and concentrating wealth at the very top until there is no one left to buy its products.

    •  Is it a flaw or a feature? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      diomedes77, caul

      Feudalism:  I am bowing to the king.
      Libertarianism:  I am bowing to the king's wallet.

      Ahh yes, I see the difference.....

      To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

      by ban48 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 05:34:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's just a change in management. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's why, if we're honest about it, we don't view our own revolution as a revolution. It actually just replaced one ruling class with another, much closer to home.

        A real revolution, one that was an actual forward step in human evolution, would have done away with classes, period.

        To me, right-wing libertarianism is just a call for yet another change in management, at the top, without the slightest concern for the inequities and inequality rampant in the system.

        •  Changing the management from the king to his (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          wallet isn't much of a change....

          (hint:  the king still controls the wallet)

          (double-hint: if you move the wallet from person to person, it is still feudalism, just with a new face)

          To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

          by ban48 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:34:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Gee (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If only the government that was large enough to control and break up corporations wasn't wholly fucking owned by said corporations.

      Libertarians have this naive view that without government corporations wouldn't have as much power.

      Liberals have the naive view that a large government will be used against corporations and by them.

      •  I'm not a liberal, but . . . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, Free Jazz at High Noon

        liberals don't believe that. They believe they can "fix" government so that it will put actual restraints on corporate power. They realize that corporations own government, but they remember a time when it wasn't nearly as bad as it is today.

        Roughly, 1947-1973. Our one and only middle class boom.

        Before and after that boom, we have/had capitalism unhinged, massively oppressive, in total control, and grabbing for more and more power, including owning government.

        I think the problem with liberals is that they see that small window in time as a possible norm. In reality, it was an historical accident, an anomaly, shaped by unique forces primarily having to do with WWII and its aftermath.

        The naive part is to believe that capitalism itself is salvageable, capable of being reformed. That's where liberals fall and fail, IMO. Which is why I moved left from liberal after a great deal of observation, soul searching and research.

      •  *and NOT by them (1+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        Hidden by:
    •  Ironically, their stance requires egalitarian (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      starting points.

      It only works if we're already pretty much equal. If we all can start on the same point in the race, with the same basic tools, it may just work.

      But not if we live in the real world, which is massively unequal. In that case, their vision just helps those already rich and powerful even more, and makes it all the easier for the rich and power to preserve and protect their advantages -- and extend them.

      And libertarians are stridently opposed to actions take to even up the playing field, so that's out of the picture. Their beliefs can't help but result in more inequality and more oppression for the non-rich and the non-powerful.

  •  in a previous diary, I talked a bit about (19+ / 0-)

    the schizophrenic libertarian attitude towards corporations:

    The libertarians have always had an ambivalence towards the supra-national corporations. On the one hand, they preach a doctrine of individual liberty, freedom from arbitrary authority, and unrestricted free market economics. On the other hand, they live in an economy that is dominated by huge supra-national corporations which are larger, richer, and more powerful than national governments, and which often have more direct power over people’s lives and livelihoods than any government—without being responsible or accountable in any way to those people.

    That leaves the libertarians in a quandary, and those who do not simply ignore the matter entirely are led into one of two directions. One group openly advocates that the corporations be broken up into small businesses. The other group simply considers the                mega-corporations as no different, in principle, than small businesses—in this view, the corporations are the same, economically, as a corner grocery store or family fruit stand, and they should all be free to operate equally in the market.

    Both of these viewpoints, however, ultimately rest on an illusion—the pretense that we still can live in an Adam-Smithian world of small independent English shopkeepers. That world, of course, ended over a century ago—the corporations killed it. The inevitable effect of economic competition is to produce monopoly, and the very purpose of a corporation is to eliminate competition.

    In the ideal world of the free-market libertarians, the economy consists of a large number of Lilliputian small businesses, none of which is large or strong enough to dominate the others—the theoretical basis of neoliberal classical economics. In this economy of small competitors, however, there are inevitably winners and losers. In the ideal Smithian world, the losers are quickly replaced by new competitors. In the real world, however, as the losers are absorbed by the winners, the winners get bigger and more powerful, and the number of players slowly shrinks. As the number of players gets smaller through competition, moreover, the winners continue to get bigger and bigger—particularly when large numbers of small players agree to improve their power by banding together into one player, the joint stock corporation. This not only greatly reduces the number of players, but the huge amount of money that is now necessary to allow newcomers to enter the field, limits and eventually eliminates the possibility of new players. Therefore, as competition between the small number of huge corporations carries on, the winners continue to absorb the losers and get even bigger, while the number of players continues to decline as they absorb each other. If the process is allowed to continue naturally, through the free market, the inevitable result is oligopoly, where a tiny number of players own everything—and then leading to monopoly, in which one ultimate winner stands supreme.

    That is why the libertarian free-market philosophy fails. The inevitable result of competition is monopoly, and the only way to prevent that is to prevent economic winners from growing larger through absorbing losers—i.e., by massive government interference in the natural process of the “free market”. Which makes the free-market ideology itself utterly irrelevant. We simply do not live in an Adam Smithian economy. The free-market fundamentalists are defending a world that no longer exists—and indeed in their ideological fervor, most of them refuse to even acknowledge that it no longer exists.

    In every industry, there are a small handful of huge                supra-national corporations who run everything. What is new, however, is the internationalization of those oligarchs.  Up until the 80’s, corporations tended to stay within their own national or regional areas, and each market area was dominated by a tiny number of huge companies.  What has happened in the past 30 years, however, since the time of the Multinational Wars, is that those huge corporations began going international, invading each other's turf and setting off a global economic war that has still not yet ended. As the regional corporate powers killed each other off globally, instead of having four or five major companies dominating each region, now we have four or five huge companies dominating the entire world market. So now we have global oligopoly instead of regional. The globalized economic structure set up by the supra-nationals has not ended that competitive conflict; what it has done is impose an agreed-upon set of “rules of war” on everyone so that the warfare does not pull the entire system into collapse.

    Economically, the whole philosophy of “free market” is a waste of breath. There simply is no “free market”, and there hasn’t been for decades. There is only oligopoly everywhere we look—whether it’s electronics, automobiles, energy, transportation, food distribution, retail, or any other industry. A tiny handful of supra-national      mega-corporations owns everything. Worldwide.

    A small number of libertarians have indeed acknowledged this, but their proposed solution—breaking up the mega-corporations and returning the economy to “small business” under the sway of the free market—is a non-solution. Not only is such a plan politically impossible (the libertarians are never very clear about how they intend to break up the largest and most powerful organizations on the planet, particularly without a massive and forcible government intervention in their sacred “free market”), but it is, in our modern world, economically impossible as well (mom-and-pop small businesses simply cannot build oil refineries or jet airliners or global communications networks, so breaking the mega-corporations into small businesses would only return economic conditions back to the 18th century—and begin the inevitable process all over again).
    •  thats really well said Lenny, I appreciate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the thought that when into the commentary

      "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens.................... Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

      by Auburn Parks on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 04:03:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So is it your opinion that we have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Traveled so far down the neoliberal path that, absent a global cataclysm, there is no other path available?

       I think you've nailed this pretty well.  Now what?

      •  problem with corporations is not that they exist (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The problem is that they are undemocratic. They are now quasi-governmental, but are unelected and not responsible to anyone.

        The solution is to democratize them. That will, by the very nature of the global economy, need to be done internationally. I.e, by a global government body.

        •  techno, above, asked, (0+ / 0-)
          So they move to China (1+ / 0-)
          They must still sell here to profit here.
          what I thought a good question.
          Corporations would still need to have stores and sell their products here.
          Why not deny them access to our markets if they move offshore?

          Severely Socialist 47283

          by ichibon on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 08:12:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  because we can't (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            native, wasatch

            That would violate WTO rules, and WTO has veto power, by treaty, over any US policy.

            The US likes to talk all big and tough as if it were a superpower, but the brutal reality is that every time we have tried to defy the WTO, we ended up surrendering abjectly shortly later.  Just as every other nation that has tried, did.

            We no longer set our own trade policies.  No nation does.

        •  Yep. The solution is to democratize the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          economy. Short of that, we're only nibbling at the edges while corporations extend their monopolies and control over our daily lives.

          It's always amazed me when I hear righties talk about how "government" is supposedly taking over every aspect of our lives.

          Naww. That's capitalism. It's everywhere. No economic system has ever had its tentacles into everything in this way before. There is no escape.

  •  This is another attempt at repackaging, to try to (15+ / 0-)

    escape the oncoming demographic doom of the Republican Party.  It is dangerous, imo, largely because it could appeal to the many youths who were new to politics and have been disappointed by the lack of progress since Obama's election.

    (Lets avoid the obvious pie fight here, please.)

    The 2008 election was a transformative one with the potential to usher in 30 years or so of Democratic dominance.  The saner Repubs know this and are terrified.  What to do?

    Push Libertarianism.  Pretend to give in on the social issues and adopt a little anti-corporate, anti-empire language, and they might capture a whole demographic cohort of dissatisfied, inexperienced, idealistic youths.  Take a few positions popular with these folks -- pot legalization, anti-empire, anti-corporate, etc.  Never mind that (possibly except for legalization) it's all just cheap talk.

    It could be an appealing mix of faux postiions, wrapped in an also faux speaking-truth-to-power style.  Remember how many colleges were Ron Paul hotbeds last year?

    The Dems wold be smart to get on the legaization bandwagon pronto, or at least decriminalization.  Imo that'd take some of the steam out of these fakers' boilers.  The other areas obviously need attention too but will be much more difficult to change.  

  •  It's word salad to distract attention (15+ / 0-)

    from the reality of the Libertarian premise:  I've got mine, fuck you.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 02:52:30 PM PDT

  •  "What is Libertarian Populism?" (9+ / 0-)

    an oxymoron.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 03:27:18 PM PDT

  •  The "New" populist Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Can't declare war on the cronies and corrupt special interests without admitting that the OLD republicans were largely responsible for supporting those cronies and special interests that led to the system we have today that they object to.  This they will never admit.  I think What they really want is to dial everything back to zero and start again, doing exactly the same thing.  Because shit, it sure did make a bunch of lucky bastards rich the first time around!  

    Libertarianism, no matter how great it sounds to individuals who still live in their mothers basement and have no idea what electricity costs or how to do a load of laundry without turning all their underwear pink, can never work.  Why?  Because of all the characteristics I just listed.

  •  Tea Party 2.0 (6+ / 0-)

    I'll believe it's anti-corporate when Douthat does two weeks of screeds in a row against Wall Street institutions, the Heritage Foundation, ALEC, and American Enterprise Institute.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 03:54:56 PM PDT

    •  What Is -Liberal- Populism? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Strikes me as a more interesting question.

      (I'm only replying to you, TD, instead of to the diary in general, to urge you to write  diary based on your 'pyromaniac' comment the other day...)

      "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

      by GussieFN on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 04:24:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's what FDR had (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LeftHandedMan, GussieFN

        ...and the Democratic Farmer-Labor parties in the midwest.

        And partially in the South with politicians like Olin Johnston and LBJ and Luther Hodges

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 05:31:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And today? (0+ / 0-)

          "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

          by GussieFN on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 06:25:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's the problem (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Isn't it.  And it is because the Democratiic Party politicians copied the Republican use of marketing and tight message control and no longer talk at length with ordinary constituents who are farmers, laborers, or any other form of middle class.  The emphasis on media, marketing, and consultants requires the raising of big bucks which takes away from the talking-to-constituents time.

            Consequently there is no way for constituents to have the give-and-take that they use to have at different barbecues and other events.  And no fan-out as the people who talk to members of Congress tell their personal network about what was going on.

            50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

            by TarheelDem on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:34:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's what happens when you chase after the (0+ / 0-)

              campaign money and don't chase for votes by listening to and working for the constituents you seek to win over.

              Is it courageous to propose tax cuts but not identify a single tax expenditure to rein in? Is it courageous to target your deepest cuts on the poorest Americans, who vote in lower numbers and provide little in campaign contributions?

              by caul on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 12:08:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  It's a shell game... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Major Kong, LeftHandedMan

    You're free to pick whichever shell you want!  Just like the guy running the game.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 04:12:46 PM PDT

    •  And A Revenge Fantasy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      About how their horde of gold coins and silver and survivalist nicknacks will make them king of the cul-de-sac after the "inevitable collapse of fiat currency."

      Men are so necessarily mad that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness -Pascal

      by bernardpliers on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 11:31:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's the Klan. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Always was.  It's just that there are less down home White Citizens Council types explaining it to us now.

  •  There is a book on this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    conniptionfit, LeftHandedMan, native

    I forgot what the name of it was, but it explained how essentially if the government stops making preferential laws for Nestle, McDonald's, PepsiCo, etc. then their business model would change and market forces would enter the equation and "fix" things.  There also wouldn't be any government agencies for corporations to infiltrate.  Look at how many diplomats spy for Monsanto.  Of course, that was revealed in Wikileaks, and we shouldn't care because Manning.  Yeah.  

    I tend to think they're partially right.  Liberals are in the streets trying to maintain the SNAP program despite the fact it's welfare for Nestle and McDonald's.  Many liberal programs end up becoming infiltrated by large corporations who take their rent seeking check.  So we end up helping people somewhat, but at a price.

    "Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."

    by sujigu on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 04:42:10 PM PDT

  •  What is it? An illusion... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shef, conniptionfit, LeftHandedMan

    of smoke and mirrors designed to hide the fact that their platform can be summed up as: Every man, woman and child should fend for themselves.

  •  Want to see the "libertarian future?" Here you go: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftHandedMan, native

    Nice place to visit, if you are John Galt. Most of us wouldn't, couldn't live there.

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 05:15:37 PM PDT

    •  The Dittmer/Pilkington material (0+ / 0-)

      is believed by many libertarians to be some sort of a hoax. We aren't sure which one.

      Yes, I am a Libertarian.

      Restore the Fourth! Save America!

      by phillies on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 06:44:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, libertarians believe a lot of shit. (0+ / 0-)

        It's still shit. I note that there's not really a lot of refutation, of the usual jesuitical "logic" type, of that "hoax" that sure seems to capture the essence of what libertarian behaviors and beliefs have in store for us. In the real world, that is...

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:27:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let me try that again (0+ / 0-)

          There is an actual hoax in there.  Someone who cares about it can find the details.  The representation of libertarianism by Pilkington seemed not to resemble real libertarianism a great deal.  The question in many libertarian minds was whether Pilkington fell for a hoax or whether he made these things up to see what he could get away with.  I do not have an opinion on whether either of these interpretations was true, but the rose fertilizer you reference is the nakedcapitalism article itself.

          Incidentally Yves spends much of her time discussing bankster fraud, mostly not sympathetically.

          Restore the Fourth! Save America!

          by phillies on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 08:00:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  it's the party of limbaugh and there's no breaking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    away from that as long as as we let them keep that talk radio monopoly.

    many new 'libertarians' are republicans who can't admit they were wrong and don't want to be associated with their old party.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 05:27:44 PM PDT

  •  Movement Conservatism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shef, native

    keeps a firewall between itself and the Republican Party for a very important reason.

    Conservatism Cannot Fail, It Can Only Be Failed.
    When the GOP fails and goes down in flames, Movement Conservatism abides. It is the syringe the poison is delivered in, not the poison itself.

    I would like to put forward another theory about Libertarian Populism, that it is, a part from being a reflection of the actual systemic racism of white nationalism and corporate/Big Government disconnect by the rank and file base, also a grand marketing and branding scam.

    Another way of having your Movement Conservative cake, and eating it too. The GOP passes the unpopular and the epic fail, and Movement Conservatism never takes the rap, the GOP does.

    "Don't blame me, I'm a libertarian. I have nothing to do with those GOP RINO hacks in DC. Sure. I voted for all of them. Sure, I supported everything they did. But. But I've been betrayed. Bamboozled. Lied to. We need to gut the whole GOP leadership and start over with more of us in charge."

    It's genius.

    No matter how bad Movement Conservatism fails, somebody or something else always takes the rap.

    Not even a catastrophic war of choice, after the lessons of Viet-nam no less, nor the near destruction of the American economy as a direct result of Movement Conservative policy, pols, and practices, was enough to penetrate the engineered divide between failed party, failed policy, and its architects and wealthy patrons.

    I don't doubt that there are, in fact, actual libertarians out there. I don't doubt that there are, in fact, actual rightwing libertarians out there. But not enough to drive a party or control a movement. But lots of people who are really Movement Conservatives call themselves libertarians. From Teahadi to Paulites to America Firsters in the woods. What the biggest of the big little brains in the RW thinktankers union of the Movement Conservative Right is really doing is recognizing that a lot of GOP voters call themselves libertarians for the same reason a lot of Democrats call and have called themselves 'independent' when they are really straight ticket Democratic voters the vast majority of the time.

    So, use it to draw another line between the GOP and Movement Conservatism at a time when the GOP is facing existential level problems in terms of dire to catastrophic performance results and the threat of demographic-induced irrelevancy.

    You want to be able to crow when you win, and feel like losing is somebody else's failure, responsibility, and problem when you lose.

    Ultimately, if the GOP brand is so damaged or rendered so irrelevant by demographic changes, it can be abandoned for a new organizational syringe.

    The syringe can be replaced, the poison in the bottle is what is important.

    Libertarian populism is another brick in the firewall.

    It's another way for a Movement Conservative Republican to both be a hack AND magically divorce Movement Conservatism from the Republican Party and from the results and performance of the Republican Party at all levels at the same time.

    Bonus, the Village media is run by useful idiots and spokemodeled by an army of overpaid vapid tools afraid of being attacked as 'liberally biased' who will puke up the inside the beltway conventional wisdom about any Movement Conservative gimmick or gag on cue.

    You have to be able to step out of the plane when it is falling from the sky on fire epic failing to pull the parachute ripcord and survive. This is how you epic fail and epic fail and epic fail dozens of times and still remain credible and serious. The GOP, and I, are not one and the same, but two separate things. Everything awesome is Conservatism, and everything that fails is the GOP, crippled by RINOS and hacks corrupted by DC. Just like the Tea Party acting as if it was not an arm of the Republican Party grassroots by design of those rich Republican donors who underwrote it always intended.

    If Libertarian Populism fails to stick, or is successful and runs its course, it will be replaced by some other scam or gimmick to keep the poison separate from the delivery device.

    You have to attack Movement Conservatism itself to damage it. Shooting the GOP and expecting Movement Conservatism to drop dead is like shooting the patsy or destroying the escape vehicle that can be replaced and expending the bank robberies to stop.

    I am a Loco-Foco. I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party.

    by LeftHandedMan on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 05:52:02 PM PDT

  •  I don't think you understand libertarianism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, Sparhawk

    (which comes in many shapes and flavors, so that's okay) and I doubt, but I'm less certain, that you understand what libertarian populism is today, either.

    We keep getting these diaries that have the laudable (to me) goal of demonizing other parties' beliefs.  I really am for that!  My preferred method for that is snark.  When we start pretending to educate people about something and seem to actually misunderstand the material, that disturbs me, because I see no benefit in being deliberately ignorant about what other parties are people do or think.

    There was a similar diary on July 12 about Krugman's NY Times take on libertarian populism.  I think that what may have spurred the recent discussions about it.  Teacher Ken wrote a not bad diary about it, Krugman on "libertarian populism," which tried to flesh out and support what Krugman was saying.  Krugman's position, to make it VERY short, is that libertarian populism, as it is being defined on the right now, is just another pathetic and false rebranding tool based on the Republican's incorrect hope that they can mobilize a sliver more disaffected white voters to the polls next time by using Paul Ryan rhetoric.  Which really is ludicrous.

    But the attempt to define "libertarian populism" really is on the one hand, a cynical Republican play on their side, and a totally confused mashup on the left.  Over here, we have trouble telling the difference between the guys with "OBAMA IS A MORRON" signs and rank and file libertarians.  

    I posted this in Teacherken's diary.  Should save me some time:

    I suppose that's what libertarian populism (1+ / 0-)

    is today.  I'm not involved in the movement anymore, haven't been for decades.  But I can tell you that back when I was, libertarian "populism," if such a thing existed, was about distrust of the government, not about laissez-faire capitalism.  There was that, too, of course, but it never had any visceral appeal like worrying about whether the government was spying on your household.  The NSA scandal, for example, would have had the average, less well-read libertarians absolutely frothing at the mouth that it was a prelude to a coup d'etat.  Libertarianism back then (and I suspect, still) attracted conspiracy-theory types, people who thought the government invented AIDS, that the crack epidemic was the work of the CIA, that the US assassinated Madelyn Murray O'Hare, that they were covering up Area 51. etc.

    So the diarist is spot on about one thing at least.  Libertarianism at the rank and file level is and has always been a bit paranoid.  I havent' seen a poll on it, but I bet you that if they did a demographic breakdown of where liberals, conservatives, and libertarians break down, that even today, the libertarians would be the ones more likely to believe in alien abductions and government coverups.  The guys more involved in the intellectual end of the libertarian spectrum would NOT believe that, but the stoners and bikers and lifestyle dominant end of the movement spectrum would.

    So the most interesting paragraph in the whole diary, to me, was this one:

    Shorter: the context of the concept—the web in which it is embedded—is inseparable from the concept itself. When you buy American libertarianism, you're generally buying a whole package of embedded concepts—chief among them a paranoid fear of the "other," which in American thought is defined as non-white and non-Christian (it used to be non-Protestant, so, progress, I guess?). And lest you protest that, in principle, one could have one without the other, I'll remind you that the world of libertarians is not a political philosophy classroom; it's the world where guns are necessary to protect against them, where the wheels of government turn to prop them up, where they are taking over our country, and we need to take it back. (Yes, I have met people who resolutely subscribe to libertarian philosophies and don't wear masks emblazoned with the Stars and Bars, but it's worth remembering that, at it's core, libertarianism is about saying a hearty "fuck you" to everyone who isn't you or yours.)
    I totally agree with everything after "the world of libertarians is..."  That's spot on with my experience, back in the 70s and 80s, when I was up to my eyeballs in the movement.  

    Before anybody jumps on to batter me about that, let me just point out the huge twenty-five yea gap between then and now during which my political beliefs have seasoned.  Dumbo in his 20s wasn't politically the same as Dumbo in his 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Personally, I suspect people who don't change their views over the years are shallow and have never actually digested their own belief systems.

    But I disagree with the first part of the paragraph, that: "When you buy American libertarianism, you're generally buying a whole package of embedded concepts."  That's not true at EITHER end of the libertarian spectrum.  Libertarians, intellectually, are like a roomful of cats.  Republicans and Democrats have packages of embedded concepts.  Libertarians don't.

    And let's think about who libertarians are, again.  There are two standard off the shelf parties in this country, Brand A and Brand B, i.e., the Democrats and the Republicans.  Libertarians and independents in general decide not to buy either Brand A or Brand B.  In their very first decision, they are rejecting the establishment options.  If you talk to people like that, and you probably have, you'll hear something like that:

    "Oh, I think both parties are the same.  They're both trying to get rich off our backs in some weird way I can't explain coherently.  Well, I'm not going to be a sheep!  I'm going to make my own mind about things like that!"

    That kind of sentiment, by itself, could be either one of the right or the left.  There's no embedded package there.  It's distrust of the establishment, and that could be targeted against either party, depending on circumstances.  

    For instance, notice how many on the right went berserk about the corporate bailouts of 2008/2009.  Some of them were by Bush, some by Obama.  You may have been one of the people here in 2008 screaming bloody murder about the 700 billion dollar no-strings-attached bailout that Bush wanted.  I know I was horrified by it.  I didn't want to trust him with that kind of money without some kind of strings attached.

    And then Obama came into office in 2009, and even more of the same kind of bailouts proceeded.  Now it was the tea party times screaming bloody murder.  Jane Hamsher, at the time, pointed out that WE should be the Tea Party!  Why hell are we being so quiet about this now?  We liberals are supposed to be against big corporations getting rich off the backs of the average American.  Can't we at least have SOME strings?

    So what was the embedded package of concepts here?  Being opposed to the bailouts at the intellectual level was anathema to the intellectual libertarians for reasons that could be enumerated very succinctly.  

    The average libertarian, though (and this is whom I would think of as the "libertarian populists") were horrified because the government was surely, once again, screwing them in some way they couldn't precisely finger, and any paranoid theory that came along to explain it was better than nothing and good enough for them.  I think Hamsher was right.  The people Freedomworks swept up into the tea Party could have been OURS if he had reached for them.

    I guess I'm describing libertarian populism as a non-intellectual popular sentiment that will always be part of the American popular makeup, one that is distrustful of the establishment, and that can work to the advantage of either party if they are clever enough.

    •  I think you could have just stopped with Krugman (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and IMO he is right that the current version of this anyway is just a bunch of tripe peddled by 1%-ers like the Kochs to unsuspecting people who will be screwed if the the actual policies being proposed are ever implemented. But hey, they are anti some of what you are anti, so people go along.

      "When you buy American libertarianism, you're generally buying a whole package of embedded concepts."  I think this is partly true in that a fair number of people are attracted by the libertarian take on social issues (anti drug war for example) w/o wanting the whole dismantle the government part of it. But if you are in that camp I think you are just a social liberal, not a libertarian. Nor IMO is libertarianism just a healthy distrust of government. Libertarians don't just distrust the government, they want it impotent in many respects. They want to shut it down. And in this respect the current Tea Party politicians in Congress are real libertarians.

    •  Interesting critique (0+ / 0-)

      And, obviously, you have had experience in that movement and I haven't. That said, I don't think you can strip any movement out of its historical and intellectual context.

      Nevertheless, thank you for your comment; it's given me a lot to think about.

      "Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something." -the last words of Pancho Villa

      by Shef on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:06:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's historical and intellectual context (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is an even bigger mash up.  The libertarian socialists of the late 19th century, like Oscar Wilde, hated capitalism and thought it was an impediment to liberty.  Yet the Ayn Rand of the Fountainhead is probably closer to Nietszche and Wilde than Milton Friedman.  (In fact, for all her writing, I don't think she ever really understood capitalism as anything more than a theoretical model for her utopia).  Then you have the pragmatic banker-friendly libertarianism of the late 20th century of people like Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan.  Toss it all in a blender, put it on max, and whatever comes out isn't exactly a coherent philosophy with a big following.

  •  Libertarianism, capitalism, and feudalism are not (0+ / 0-)

    mutually exclusive.  I'm beginning to think feudalism has been the goal for quite some time and that capitalism and libertarianism are periodic re-branding efforts.

    To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

    by ban48 on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 06:26:38 PM PDT

  •  we’ve never experienced free market (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dude 415, ukit, native

    Chomsky and Zinn both make this argument. They contend that economic history shows not a single developed nation in the world has ever followed the rules of free market capitalism.  Every single industrialized nation rose out of protectionism.  Free market capitalism is something 1st world countries prefer to preach to developing nations as opposed to practice.

    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin

    by martinjedlicka on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 06:27:48 PM PDT

    •  that is mostly because the "free market" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Dude 415

      doesn't work as advertised.  (shrug)

    •  Free markets (or at least, freer markets) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      do exist, within the context of larger economies. For instance, if I decide to go drive to a retailer to buy something, my options are pretty limited in many parts of the country - maybe just Kmart, Walmart or Target in some small American towns. If I buy online, on the other hand, where barriers to setting up and running a business are fairly low, there are pretty much an unlimited number of sellers to choose from. So I don't think it's fair to say that the free market can't exist or doesn't exist - it exists to varying degrees in different industries and different parts of the world depending on legal, economic and technological constraints.

      •  nonsense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Every industry you can name is dominated by a handful of global corporations.

        Nearly everything you buy online, is made by one of those corporations.

        And those small businesses you are in love with, nearly all die within five years. They only exist because the big boys who really matter haven't yet bought them out or driven them under.

        The Adam Smithian world you are defending, doesn't exist.  The corporados killed it over a century ago.

        •  I think the overall picture is more complex (0+ / 0-)

          than you're making it out to be. I do agree with a lot of what you wrote above, and there's definitely a trend towards ever-greater consolidation here in the U.S. But I disagree that's it's an inevitable trend, or that it's accurate to say that "every industry is dominated by a handful of global corporations." Instead, what you see is varying degrees of competition in each sector, which are influenced by public policy, economic realities and other factors.

          There's also still a lot of regional variation. If you spend any time overseas, you'll quickly see that there are still many local businesses and other large businesses that are limited to certain parts of the world. The products you can buy in France are not same as the ones you can buy in China, or Russia, or the U.S.

          I'm not claiming that any kind of ideal Adam Smithian world exists, just that the reality is more nuanced and multi-faceted than saying that a handful of giant mega-corps control everything, in very sector. To the extent that greater competition is desirable, it might be worthwhile taking an honest look at what policies actually do bring that about (they almost certainly aren't the policies pushed by Reaganite conservatives).

  •  Looks like lemmings to me (0+ / 0-)

    look! there's a cliff! let's be libertarian populists and follow the crowd and drown ourselves

    The populist part is following the crowd

    The libertarian part is self-destruction

  •  "Libertarian Populism" appears to be a hoax (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit, native, Sparhawk

    But not the one you think.  And certainly the diary author is not a  part of it.

    First, my credentials: I am a long time Libertarian Party Activist, former state chair, and have written three books on Libertarian politics.  That's doing politics, not platform arguments.  You can find my books via Amazon under my name "George Phillies".

    What appears to me to be happening is that modern conservatives, the folks who marched the Republican party from the conservative corner of the Nolan Chart to the authoritarian corner, have noticed that they do not get libertarian support the way the used to.  There are a few faux libertarian conservatives like Ron Paul, who if you watch his recent stands is an antiabortionist, a homophobic bigot, a christian dominionist, and a two-faced liar (see his statements on his newsletters, the racist ones). Even these faux libertarians are not popular with Republican conservatives. The Republicans made up libertarian populism to sucker libertarians into voting for them.

    However, out of the mouths of the Republicans have started coming nonsense about re-uniting the "conservative" Republicans (these are the warmongering torture-loving girl-killer-via-abortion-bans drug warriors) and the libertarian conservatives, as Barry Goldwater is said in some whig histories to have done. (Goldwater brought planned parenthood to Arizona and said the Christian right should be booted out of the party).

    "Libertarian populism" is one of these hoaxes by the Republicans to steal libertarian votes.  

    I have found it easy to chase out conservatives masquerading as libertarians, namely "We will buy into your issues if you will buy into ours:
          end foreign wars.  Cut the military 80%.
          legalize all abortions.
          legalize all drugs
          shut down draft registration
          try the waterboarders for war crimes.
          end the national security state.

    Their response is the sound of stampeding elephants fleeing from my modest proposals.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:00:56 PM PDT

    •  of course liberals have no gripe with these things (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Dude 415, native


      end foreign wars.  Cut the military 80%.
            legalize all abortions.
            legalize all drugs
            shut down draft registration
            try the waterboarders for war crimes.
            end the national security state.
      It's all the idiotic free market/no government fantasies where the libertarians lose us.  (shrug)
  •  Oh, I should have included (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Legalize all marriages.  That includes polyamory as well as the GLBT issues currently in a state of improvement.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Sun Jul 21, 2013 at 07:02:00 PM PDT

  •  Strictly speaking, Libertarianism is... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ukit, native

    ...the opposite of Authoritarianism.
    For that reason, it holds appeal to me. In practice, it is only a theory espoused by right wingers who feel the Republican party is too restrictive on their rights to continue to stockplie weapons, hunt negros, and overturn every law passed since 1865.

    •  in its original usage, "libertarian" referred to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ukit, native

      the socialist/communist/anarchist anti-capitalist leftists who rejected the Leninist idea of the centralized state/party.

      Today, of course, the term has been appropriated largely by the free-market/no-government kookers.

      •  The word is stull used (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in the original sense, just not so much in the U.S.

        Anarchists (real ones, not right wing) who first used the term back in the 1800s still use the term in writings, and the term is still used in Europe to mean libertarian socialism/libertarian communism.

        And of course, the word is used to mean a more generic support of civil liberties and sociopolitical freedom, as opposed to authoritarianism.

        It's a good word. I really don't see the need to cede the various meanings to the right wing Orwellian usage. And speaking of Orwell, who had sympathies for anarchism and socialism, but despised Stalinism and authoritarian communism as well as fascism, would have loathed the US right wing usage.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 11:10:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The irony is that the current (0+ / 0-)

      incarnation of libertarianism would replace the "authoritarianism" of government with the authoritarianism of corporations.

    •  But it is not. Libertarianism holds money and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      property dear.  By virtue of that, it is authoritarian because the person who holds the money and property makes all of the calls.  There is no difference between inherited wealth and feudal title.  There is no difference between debt-servitude and peasantry.  You might remark that you aren't a debt-slave yet, but there are millions working paycheck-to-paycheck at McJobs that are no better off (and in many ways worse off) than feudal peasants.  

      And the only thing holding the 'yet' in place is not your remarkableness but the thin limits still in-place restraining the concentration of wealth.

      To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

      by ban48 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 04:51:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right wing libertarianism (0+ / 0-)

        is an oxymoron. The original meaning of the term came from libertarian socialists/communists (anarchists), who are against private ownership of the means of production, which is considered to lead to authoritarian control over workers.

        In that light, anarchists (libertarian socialists) prefer to call right wing "libertarians" propertarians, since protection of private property rights is paramount in that ideology.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 11:31:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  All the libertarians I know are propertarians. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          All the ones that are not call themselves anarchists.

          Like I commented elsewhere, 'libertarianism' is a simple re-branding of the status-quo.

          To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

          by ban48 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 12:32:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No problem (0+ / 0-)

            But anyone familiar with anarchist literature, and I mean anyone, would know the origins of the term. The phrase Libertarian Socialism has been used widely among anarchists (Chomsky is a good example of a known anarchist who uses that term).

            And it is widely known in Europe to mean anarchism (real anarchism, which is anti-capitalistic).

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 01:53:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  libertarianism = bullshit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The reason that you get so much nonsense from people who claim tp be libertarian is that they are full of shit.  It's all about being greedy and that's about the size of it.  Heck if there is anything honest about it at least they worship that greedy jerk ayn rand.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 04:26:14 AM PDT

  •  Great diary Shef, but allow me to add a few points (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shef, native, Temmoku, caul

    There is no such thing as a free market. We saw that in the 1870s. Unregulated markets lead to monopolies and cartels. We were not founded on free markets. We practiced protectionism from start to only quite recently when we embraced free trade after we had established our industry and shifted away from manufactoring. We tried free markets after the Civil War with tariff barriers keeping out foreign competitiion. Yes it is an oxymoron but we did that as a manner of policy.

    What we actually have is a system that protects large corporations. The last serious anti-trust case was AT&T decaeds ago. Nobody really wants free markets unless they are allowed to cartelize the living hell out of the economy. We manage our economy today but we manage it in favor of the wealthy and powerful. The difference between todays economy and socialism is that in our economy today there is no care or concern for the bottom 90%. No concern for consumers. And no concern for the future. We are in the process of gleefully burning our bridges. The enviornment, education, health care, infrastructure and our civic life. We live as if the world is ending tomorrow so tomorrow does not matter.

  •  "The Jewish Problem In America"Libertarianism 1941 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The first half of this diary summarizes the origins of Libertarian thought.  Spoiler alert - it has always been procorporate and a tool of wealthy sponsors.

    The second half is about how a notable figure (Alfred Nock) went down the antisemitic rabbit hole.

    Men are so necessarily mad that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Mon Jul 22, 2013 at 11:29:36 AM PDT

  •  Excellent article by Corey Robin on . . . (0+ / 0-)

    libertarianism. Well sourced and it opens up into other discussions among libertarians themselves:

    The Confederacy and History Memory

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