Libertarians do not like being confused with conservatives. To be fair, they are not. Conservatism is about a reaction against the movement towards freedom and equality in protecting, as best it can, the status quo; libertarianism isn’t concerned about the status quo and focuses on freedom – for some. A very small subgroup of already privileged people. Almost all white. Almost all male. Practical serfdom for everybody else. Libertarianism is tied into Classic Liberalism in vying for the liberation of the individual – particularly the individual with the means to advance. It sees government as an intrusion on that individual, especially when the government regulates with such pesky things as workplace or environmental safety, and when and how much that government taxes. Libertarians and their anti-government allies (such as anarcho-capitalists and Ayn Randians) view taxes as a form of violence upon the individual and opt for voluntary taxation. (No. Seriously. Because you will gladly give away 10-40% of your income for public consumption.) Public services aren’t really needed, they argue. School should be at home or provided by corporations. Parks and roads should be owned by companies because, the argument is, private companies and corporations know how to be cost effective.
It all sounds really awesome if you imagine that uninhibited person could be you, and the only things getting in your way are those pesky poor people and their enabler: the government. Or if you don’t think hard about the fundamental difference between infrastructure-providing governmental services and the fundamental role of business: to make a profit. Pro-business folks will always argue that the role of business is to offer a product of value to the consumer, but that is not the first order of business. Every business exists to make money. Government takes a portion of that in order to make a functioning system for businesses to run. Most business leaders with a keen insight know this – even evil ones, which is why so many multi-millionaires/billionaires have said they’re willing to put more into taxes. It doesn’t necessarily mean Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, etc. are good, moral people; it just means they’re not blind fools and understand that upsetting public services will upset the social order – and thus they won’t be on top anymore. (As an added bonus, they would rather you support their businesses than boycott them.) It’d also be a lot sweeter for them than mass insurrection or mass starvation – whereupon the poor and middle class won’t be able to funnel into their portfolios anymore.
So, it takes a certain kind of evil to say that not only is social order a bad thing, but only a few, select, privileged people should be in mountainous mansions separated by the serfs via moats and dragons and dogs with lasers shooting out of their eyes. The Matrix, Monty Burns, and Dr. Evil have real life counterparts in the Koch Bros.
As far as politicians go, it doesn’t get much more odd than the dynasty of Paul & Son. And it is here, with these two, where we see time and again the type of racist, classist, sexist white-washing that their type of order favors. Chaos is the ultimate goal – a type of chaos that leaves the privileged few to take advantage and cast off the yoke of the poor, people of color, everybody else who isn’t them – libertarian chaos is tied into a brutal form of sexism, racism, and anti-poor antipathy. I’ve talked about Rand Paul’s overt racism and sexism here, here and here, and about Ron Paul’s overt racism here and here. Particularly, the link on Ron Paul’s Southern Apologism may give some much needed background in light of current events in his son’s office.
Rand Paul, a Republican United States Senator – sometimes the darling of anti-war leftists – has had an unabashed racist and Southern Apologist (iow, Slavery Apologist) as a high-ranking, close aide. Jack Hunt, social media director and co-author of Rand Paul’s 2011 book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington (notice again the language about the necessity of upsetting the status quo. Remember, again, that it is not for the betterment of those at the bottom, but a select few who are near the top to go further top), went by the name “The Southern Avenger” in what he now calls “years ago.” Years being a euphemism for “six years ago,” which is when his radio show ended (starting in 1999). Hunter is 39 now, so his railing against “Hitler Lincoln” and praise for John Wilkes Booth were not the actions of his child self – they were the actions of a childish dudebro who still refuses to realize how racist he is, preferring to call it “politically incorrect” and trying to draw a distinction between actual racism and being identified as a racist.
Southern Apologism’s agent, the Lost Cause myth, is a widely accepted part of popular American consciousness. We see it in classic, ingrained movies from the Birth of a Nation, Gone With the Wind and Buster Keaton’s The General to contemporary movies like John Carter of Mars and even Lincoln. We read it, very likely, in our high school textbooks and in much accepted history about the Civil War. It is this prevailing notion that the bloodshed between whites in the North and South could have and should have been avoided as the South was just trying to go about its business before that interlocutor Lincoln got in the way and violently forced them to stay. This myth ignores the plunging, raving evil of slavery, the much larger violence being committed everyday on Black people throughout the land to engender a picture of White brotherhood. As long as the South’s intentions looked noble, White people throughout the land could be reunited as a family – even as massive, perpetual violence was being systemically, socially, financially and politically enacted again upon and against Black people.
But Southern Apologism, or ennobling the Lost Cause Myth, is simply White Supremacist racism at its most naked and desperate. The justification and glorification of an entire culture thriving on and distinguishing itself by the enslavement of human beings is the face of White Supremacy and allows for anti-People-of-Color racism to thrive in all its forms. Be careful, for if one can justify the demonic system of Southern slavery, one can justify any type of oppression against any human being.
If most of the US still accepts the Lost Cause of the Slave-running South and its attendant culture built upon the backs of enslavement and mass murder (as much as the US is often accepted as a Great Nation without consideration of both enslaved black people and the erasure of First Nations peoples) and even LL Cool J gives a pass to “Accidental Racism,” the Pauls and Hunters of the political and social worlds will continue to get a pass on their evil. Consequently, misanthropic “philosophies” like libertarianism can continue to flourish. As its base is built on Male and White Supremacy, it continues to attract Male and White Supremacists to its core.
See how this works? Libertarianism is a giant sucking machine of misanthropy and antagonism built on white, male and class privilege. And it is successful in as much as the US is unwilling to interrogate the roots of its racism, sexism and nationalism.
Latest posts by jasdye (see all)
- Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech Is More than One Sentence Long - January 18, 2015
- 5 Predictions for the Progressive Movement in 2015 - January 3, 2015
- What the Best Movies of the Past Year Taught Me about Politics - December 31, 2014