|Every couple of years, mainstream media hacks pretend to have just discovered libertarianism as some sort of radical, new and dynamic force in American politics. It’s a rehash that goes back decades, and hacks love it because it’s easy to write, and because it’s such a non-threatening “radical” politics (unlike radical left politics, which threatens the rich). The latest version involves a summer-long pundit debate in the pages of the New York Times, Reasonmagazine and elsewhere over so-called “libertarian populism.” It doesn’t really matter whose arguments prevail, so long as no one questions where libertarianism came from or why we’re defining libertarianism as anything but a big business public relations campaign, the winner in this debate is Libertarianism.
Pull up libertarianism’s floorboards, look beneath the surface into the big business PR campaign’s early years, and there you’ll start to get a sense of its purpose, its funders, and the PR hucksters who brought the peculiar political strain of American libertarianism into being — beginning with the libertarian movement’s founding father, Milton Friedman. Back in 1950, the House of Representatives held hearings on illegal lobbying activities and exposed both Friedman and the earliest libertarian think-tank outfit as a front for business lobbyists. Those hearings have been largely forgotten, in part because we’re too busy arguing over the finer points of “libertarian populism.”
Milton Friedman. In his early days, before millions were spent on burnishing his reputation, Friedman worked as a business lobby shill, a propagandist who would say whatever he was paid to say. That's the story we need to revisit to get to the bottom of the modern American libertarian "movement," to see what it's really all about. We need to take a trip back to the post-war years, and to the largely forgotten Buchanan Committee hearings on illegal lobbying activities, led by a pro-labor Democrat from Pennsylvania, Frank Buchanan.
What the Buchanan Committee discovered was that in 1946, Milton Friedman and his U Chicago cohort George Stigler arranged an under-the-table deal with a Washington lobbying executive to pump out covert propaganda for the national real estate lobby in exchange for a hefty payout, the terms of which were never meant to be released to the public. They also discovered that a lobbying outfit which is today credited by libertarians as the movement’s first think-tank — the Foundation for Economic Education — was itself a big business PR project backed by the largest corporations and lobbying fronts in the country.
It starts just after the end of World War Two, when America’s industrial and financial giants, fattened up from war profits, established a new lobbying front group called the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) that focused on promoting a new pro-business ideology—which it called “libertarianism”— to supplement other business lobbying groups which focused on specific policies and legislation. […]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2012—Powerful women took center stage:
|As I looked at the faces of women, so many women, on the stage and in the hall at the Democratic National Convention this last week, I cheered through my tears—filled with emotions that are hard to put into words.
Change has been a long time coming. Lest we forget, this year we celebrated the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women in the United States the right to vote.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Syria's on all our minds today, and as usual we differ from the framing we're offered by the punditry. Greg Dworkin rounds up the home stretch of the NYC elections, the choosing up of sides on Syria, and how Marco Rubio is writing himself out of 2016. CNN on the new hotness in recreational shooting: exploding targets. #GunFAIL in Yellowstone. Thanks, Sen. Coburn! An exploration of the meme that a no vote on Syria in Congress dooms Obama's 2nd term. Discussions of Nicholas Kristof's "Pulling the Curtain Back on Syria," and David Cay Johnston's "Failed Policy — The 401(k) Shrinks In A Growing Economy."