DC’s libertarian think-tank (how about dink-tank?) the Cato Institute ran the following full-page ad in today’s Washington Post:
Now, I watched President Obama‘s press conference on health care last night, and I thought he did a fine job of explaining the need for reform in a manner in which a majority of “Real Americans” can understand. (See, I might despise them, but I still think they deserve a shot at being healthy.) Sure, the Prez seemed a bit detatched, if not fatigued, but you try negotiating with a bunch of Blue Dog Dems worried about keeping their seats in mouth-breather districts while simultaneously dealing with international crises and a tanking global economy. By and large, I thought Obama sent all the right messages: a willingness to compromise up to a point, but not at the expense of already-struggling American families.
Cato seems to have tuned out, which is entirely unsurprising.
Lest you think I’m simply engaging in another round of libertarian bashing, know that I regularly read the academic drivel that this so-called “institution” publishes. Trust me when I tell you that they have done nothing to convince me that the libertarian party isn’t about as useful as a full-service resort on the moon.
Like Doctor Cox (who is a real MD, I might add), I also despise Ayn Rand and the cult of personality her glassy-eyed followers call Objectivism. Yet even Rand — with her masochistic, anti-feminist, pro-corporate, laissez-fascist worldview — loathed libertarians. Here’s some cool quotes stolen without permission from some internet shrine to this intellectually poisonous witch:
All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies, except that they’re anarchists instead of collectivists. But of course, anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet they want to combine capitalism and anarchism. That is worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism, because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. The anarchist is the scum of the intellectual world of the left, which has given them up. So the right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the Libertarian movement.
Libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people: they plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose, and they denounce me in a more vicious manner than any communist publication, when that fits their purpose. They are lower than any pragmatists, and what they hold against Objectivism is morality. They’d like to have an amoral political program.
They are perhaps the worst political group today, because they can do the most harm to capitalism, by making it disreputable.
Further, their leadership consists of men of every of persuasion, from religious conservatives to anarchists. Moreover, most of them are my enemies: they spend their time denouncing me, while plagiarizing my ideas. Now, I think it’s a bad beginning for an allegedly pro-capitalist party to start by stealing ideas.
And those are the words of the ideological progenitor from whom they “borrowed” their political/economic philosophies!
Having recently driven through the country (well, the American South, anyway), I was struck by the appalling living conditions of so many Americans who have voted against their self interests based on the fairytales told to them by rich white men relentlessly pursuing their own. The deregulatory, laissez-faire approach to governance has hollowed out a once-productive American workforce and provided them with nothing but the teat of intolerance upon which to suckle for dwindling nourishment. There are countless communities in this country with little to show for themselves but liquor stores, baptist churches and gun shops. Fuck, if there was a school for every church, America might have a shot at leadership in the 21st century.
The squalor I saw is NOT a failure of people or personal responsibility — it’s a failure of public policy. This is the true legacy of Ronald Reagan and his impish free-marketeering guru Milton Friedman (whose economic “advice,” I might add, directly led to genocide and permanent poverty in several formerly democratic Latin American countries).
But the libertarians like to pretend that their policies stop at self-governance. Well, if you take away all opportunity and choice except for those lucky enough to be the scions of Titans of Industry (see the Bush clan), who benefits? Certainly not the average freedom-loving American. But save me from Spooky Uncle Sam and his oppressive government-option health insurance!
And so I say to all libertarians, Objectivists and other creatures of fancy: it’s on, motherfuckers.
PS: if you want a truly balanced look at Obama’s health care plan, its strengths, weaknesses and political liabilities, check out this article.