STIGMERGY: The C4SS Blog
Yet Another Article Attacking Libertarianism

Alternet just can’t stop publishing attacks on libertarianism. The article is titled “10 Reasons Americans Should be Wary of Rand Paul’s Libertarianism, Especially Young People“. It mistakenly labels Rand Paul a libertarian. He has stated he isn’t one:

They thought all along that they could call me a libertarian and hang that label around my neck like an albatross, but I’m not a libertarian.

He has also displayed a less than libertarian attitude on the War on Drugs:

“He made it very clear that he does not support legalization of drugs like marijuana and that he supports traditional marriage,” [said Brad Sherman of the Solid Rock Christian Church in Coralville, Iowa].

Let us address several of the most important points in this piece. The author writes:

Rand Paul’s brand of libertarian believes that “liberty” is freedom from an oppressive government. But in a democracy the government is us. The real oppressors in today’s economic and political system are the corporations which increasingly dominate all aspects of our public and private lives

One need not choose between opposing government power or corporate power, both deserve our condemnation. They also tend to work together as the author acknowledges in her mention of the corporate state. The author also repeats the tired old fallacy of the government being us. If this were true, when the government kills us it would be suicide rather than murder. It also ignores that there is never total agreement about government policies. Elections always contain a minority that doesn’t get its way. In what meaningful sense are they part of the government? It also supposes a singular social super organism.

The author also contends:

Said Paul, “I would introduce and support legislation to send Roe v. Wade back to the states.”

Why? So that decisions about what a woman does with her body can be made by politicians like that guy in Virginia wanted mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds for any woman who wanted to terminate a pregnancy?

The author is wrong to implicitly ascribe this position to libertarianism. Libertarianism is about individual rights and not states rights, No government has rights; only individuals do. On this issue, I agree with the criticism, but it has nothing to do with libertarian principle.

The final contention we address goes as follows:

Those of us who are fighting for jobs programs and infrastructure investment—two things that would help the millennial generation significantly—have a fierce opponent in Rand Paul. Paul believes government spending is inherently bad, and tax cuts are inherently good. There are jobs proposals that target millennials for assistance. Rand Paul is against them.

The author apparently thinks jobs are something that should be handed down by a governing class. We left-libertarians seek to create our own workplace. As far as infrastructure goes, state funded infrastructure is a way to externalize costs of business onto the general taxpayer. An example is roads used predominantly by corporations engaged in long distance shipping. We bear the costs of their business model. Let us work to put an end to this.

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