After much soul searching I have come to a harsh realization. Please no snickering, catcalls or rotten tomatoes as I confess. This one hurts deep.
I am… wait… I must compose myself… Ok. My name is Tom Chartier and I am a Bad Libertarian.
Phew… That was tough. Now you know. I’m sure some of you suspected and comments were made in hushed voices during back alley cigarette breaks. Tom Chartier is a poseur. He’s a fake! A fraud! The Elmer Gantry of Libertarianism! Well… I never achieved Elmer’s success.
Please Gentle Readers forgive me. Lord knows I’ve tried. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men usually get all uh… FUBAR. Where did I go wrong? Well, maybe I need to examine the main criterion for a good Libertarian.
First, a good Libertarian is anti-war. Hm… I did play with toy soldiers when I was a kid. I built plastic models of fighter planes, bomber planes, tanks, battleships and submarines. Could this have been my downfall? Well… maybe, but as much as I was fascinated by the machinery, the fact is I’m not too keen on what it is used for. What’s that you say? I disapprove of "freedom?" Hell no! And that’s the point. A baby with its head blown off by US-made ordinance is beyond criminal regardless of whose baby it was. And that my friends is what the great US Military-Industrial Complex does all in the name of "freedom" when really it’s all about power and war profiteering.
Nope. Don’t like wars. So I guess I meet that Libertarian criterion.
How about being anti-state? Yikes… I sense trouble here. As a rule I have more than a healthy distrust of government. Okay, I concede, there needs to be some order and governance. As an old punk I should be all gung-ho for anarchy but anarchy is what "governs" Iraq. Maybe Iraq is somebody’s ideal society but it ain’t mine! Nevertheless a whole Bandini Mountain of laws and programs run by the state for our welfare, security and benefit makes me smell Ricky Rat and all his vermin offspring.
What does it take to get elected to office in a democracy? Qualifications? Bovine biscuits! All that’s required is glitz, glitter and a heaping spoonful of balderdash. Wrap up the RNC edition of your Senatorial SUX 2010 in a flashy ad campaign and all too many will clamor for one… or two… or three! And these "elected" nimrods are going to make laws to control our lives?
Putain de merde de vache!
Okay… I guess I qualify as a Libertarian on the anti-state issue.
How about the Free Market? This may have been my downfall. I know diddly-squat about economics. But then let’s be honest here, who does? The geniuses on Wall Street? Congress? The chairman of the Federal Reserve? Alan Greenspan? The Bush Family Dynasty? Don’t make me laugh! None of these de-evolved cretins knows any more than I on the matter of economics. If they did, the US would still be on the gold standard and not taking out Chinese loans hand over fists of furry with no intention or ability to pay them off.
Do you have the money to afford that new Lockheed Martin laser-guided Scooter of Mass Destruction, Bart? No? Well then you can’t buy it. Gosh, maybe I know more about economics than I thought. I certainly know more than all too many of the experts.
But alas… I have not read Ludwig von Mises or Murray Rothbard. Jumpin’ Jiminy! That is a sin as far as the good Libertarian is concerned. Austrian economics? Uh… well… I can find Austria on the map and know all about the Anschluss. Guess that doesn’t really count though.
The other problem I have with the Libertarian Free Market is this. I loathe Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buys, MacDonald’s and even Piggly Wiggly. The problem there is corporations result when the market is totally free. With corporations we enjoy… offshore outsourcing of manufacturing. That means some guy in Asia who will work for next to nothing gets jobs that should go to Americans. It also means the death penalty to the mom and pop businesses. How can they compete? Usually they can’t. What happened to Uncle Bill’s hardware and Fishing Supplies? Oh, Home Depot and Sports Chalet replaced that. Bill now works the floor of the Lowe’s in the plumbing department at $9 per hour. He’s surly, doesn’t care and pounds down a six-pack a night. Joe the Plumber didn’t have any openings on his staff for Bill.
I guess I have trouble with the totally free market, not that I have a better solution. But I’m none too thrilled by the strip malls all looking the same and owned by nameless faceless corporations. They have destroyed the American dream and replaced service, adventure and good neighborly shops with Pop Tarts.
Now, at this point I’d say I’m safe with two out of three requirements. And the third is debatable. After all, on this I do agree… State meddling with the Free Market infringes on all our freedoms. Maybe when the State decided to toss out the gold standard in favor of “petrodollars” also known as “fiat money” that killed the Free Market? Dunno. I’ll leave that debate for the minds of people who have not spent three decades playing punk rock.
Am I cool with three out of three now?
Okay… now this one really scares me. I think this is the stumbling block over which I have slipped and busted my nose. I have not… and I shudder at the humiliation… gotten around to those two Ayn Rand books, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I have them. I just haven’t been able to squeeze them in between such crowd pleasers as Robert Fisk’s Pity The Nation, Patrick Cockburn’s Muqtada and Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.
However, I admit the error of my ways. The shame I feel I cannot put into words. I swear I’ll read Ayn Rand! Soon!
And possibly the worst offense of all is that I have been AWOL two years in a row from the Future Freedom Foundation conference… and I was even conscripted! No excuse. I’ll admit to being a tad fearful that FFF founder Jacob Hornberger demanded my attendance as a ruse for some devious scheme of indoctrination. He promised me room 101 and that makes me very uncomfortable. There’s something about room 101 that strikes me as double plus un-good but I just can’t seem to recall what it is. Anyway, now I’m on the run and laying low.
My name is Tom Chartier and I am a Bad Libertarian.
November 26, 2008
Tom Chartier [send him mail] played lead guitar in legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until their final appearance in January of 2004. He has lived in Tokyo and Los Angeles. Currently he resides somewhere in the Caribbean.