Bush the Libertarian

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According to the New York Times, libertarianism is on its decline and has proven a failure. Most conspicuously, “President Bush is no longer talking about privatizing Social Security, and his free-market approach to rebuilding Iraq has proven disastrous. ”

How dare anyone say Bush’s reconstruction plan was a “free-market” approach? A free market doesn’t involve stealing money from taxpayers, militarily occupying another country, setting up social services there, imposing an income tax, and funneling profits to corporate friends. This is the opposite of liberty and the opposite of free enterprise. It is, indeed, fascism. Yes. That’s exactly what it is. Hitler wasn’t a libertarian, either, despite his allowance of nominal private property.

Well, well. I suppose some of this misconception can be blamed on the wonkish libertarians who have argued that corporatizing the looting known as “social security” by turning it into a boon for Wall Street and a forced-savings program for young workers — who would perversely also have to continue paying for oldsters to retire, one way or another — while also defending or at least looking the other way during the murderous and fascist war on terror.

I’m sick and tired of the left attacking Republicans for being for the free market in any sense. I am sick of the left citing Bush as some sort of smaller-government president. It would be like condemning Stalin for being too concerned with civil liberties.

To the extent libertarians contribute to this nonsense — by conflating conservatism or Republicanism with libertarianism, corporatism with free markets, welfare-state “privatization” with economic liberty, the war on the Iraqi people with liberation, business-government partnerships with freedom — you had better cut it out. That is, if you actually care about liberty. If what you want is a gigantic leviathan that murders foreigners in mass quantities and falsely imprisons hundreds of thousands but allows you the “choice” of putting some of your stolen money into a “private account” and lets big business be a crucial component of the parasitic class — well, if that’s your goal, then you are doing great work.

(Incidentally, in response to another part of this article, which criticizes Rothbard for backing Thurmond, I think there’s always a fair criticism of anyone backing any politician. However, Thurmond was running against the man who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians in the race war known as the Pacific Theater. If you’re gonna talk about institutional racism, it’s hard to be worse than Truman, who went on to apply the same LeMay-style murderousness against millions of innocent Korean civilians.)

I’d say thanks to my friend Scott Horton for the link, but I’m not exactly thankful for having read it.

4:50 pm on March 31, 2007