This is a conversation between Mad Dog and myself. The statements in italics are from Mad Dog.
I agree with you that the Libertarian Right wants to dismantle the state, although they would probably not like the results that follow.
The Libertarian Left does not want to (immediately) dismantle the state. It wants to expropriate the state. After the state has been expropriated (the power structure changed to put the people in control of it) then the state in hiearchical-form can be dismantled as a bottom-up power structure takes its place.
The Libertarian Right wants immediate dismantlement because they don’t want any bottom-up power structure at all. They want whatever power structure emerges out of the “free market”, which is the same power structure that exists right now in the United States. So I guess the Libertarian Right position is that whenever government gets too corrupt, it’s done away with, slowly forms again, gets corrupted, and then is done away with in a kind of revolutionary cycle.
In that case, where would Ron Paul fit in? He specifically said that he would want to make every possible effort to save things like social security and other benefits programs, at least for the time being, BUT give people the option of opting out, which they do not have now.
People can’t opt out of Social Security because that would kill the program. The Neocons would love to get rid of Social Security (privatize it) and you can compare that to Ron Paul’s position, which is another example of the similarity in the Neoconservative and Libertarian Right positions.
As far as where Ron Paul fits in to expropriation vs. dismantlement, seemingly fully on the dismantlement side. He talks about getting rid of a lot of government agencies. He would have a lot of fights against the corporate sector so it’s hard to say what the effect of a Paul presidency would be and since he would find it easy to implement policies that the Neocon/corporate sector liked he could certainly get through a lot of privatization of government functions.
The left is myopic in their support of Paul’s foreign policy. This is another area where he would have a lot of battles to fight but assuming he had some success the military budget would be slashed and the military would be used in strictly a defensive capacity. Although the left barely knows it (due to lack of imagination if anything) they would prefer America’s military to be used as a global peacekeeping force, in additional to having sufficient forces for defense. Meaning, lets say a genocide is taking place somewhere. The left would want to send the military to end the genocide (assuming political intervention didn’t work). Ron Paul places such a large emphasis on “military strictly for defense” that assuming he keeps his word he would not allow American troops to end the killing. If this happens I would politely remind those leftists who support Paul of their bad selection.
The most important thing about the Paul candidacy is that it’s almost entirely internet-fueled. I’m going to pay close attention to Paul’s numbers in the primaries which will tell me the baseline expectation for non-corporate candidates in 2012. If Paul can stay around 10% then maybe in 2012 with a big internet push for someone they can finish at 15%, or 20%, and maybe start to worry corporate America. Once enough momentum happens it gets a lot easier to elect someone who better represents the people.
“People can’t opt out of Social Security because that would kill the program. The Neocons would love to get rid of Social Security (privatize it) and you can compare that to Ron Paul’s position, which is another example of the similarity in the Neoconservative and Libertarian Right positions. ”
There are some important differences between what Ron Paul and the NeoConservatives feel on the matter of Social Security.
1. Bush and pals want to give the social security accounts to some corporation. Ron Paul wants Social Security to remain in the hands of government. Huge difference right there.
2. Other major difference between Neocons and Paul on Social Security: Paul would give you a choice of having or not. The Neocons have no such intention. Yes, it may seem like that there will be fewer funds. But factor in that Ron Paul would save money in other ways, as well as place holds on the collected funds, so that they would not be immediately wasted. Are you aware that Social Security was originally started as an insurance program, which was supposed to hold on to the funds? Years later, the politicians spend the money for social security immediately, effectively betraying its role as a trust.
3. May I suggest you read what Ron Paul actually wrote about social security?
You may be correct about Paul having a very difficult time against the corporate sector, but why would it be any different for Kucinich?
Foreign Policy? I strongly believe that he would have a much easier time with that, as the President is commander in chief, and has absolute power to end wars and bring troops home. The president’s power overrides anyone else’s on this matter.
“Ron Paul places such a large emphasis on “military strictly for defense” that assuming he keeps his word he would not allow American troops to end the killing. If this happens I would politely remind those leftists who support Paul of their bad selection.”
I’m not sure I know what you mean by this. Are you saying that the ‘Just War’ theory is wrong, and that we should have pre-emptive war?
On the Drug War, he may or may not be able to end it outright, but he would have the granted power to give pardons to all non-violent drug offenders, without any real obstacles in his way here.
I certainly do appreciate you considering his ideas carefully.
“You may be correct about Paul having a very difficult time against the corporate sector, but why would it be any different for Kucinich?”
It would be more difficult for Kucinich, since he doesn’t hold as many positions that align with the corporate sector (such as privatization). I’d love to see a president who spends 4 or 8 years fighting the corporate sector. That would engage the public tremendously.
With respect to social security, I don’t see that it makes much difference whether the funds are there or not. The funds can always be pulled from somewhere else. Only if the country goes effectively bankrupt will it matter, and at that point social security seems like the least of the problems.
“3. May I suggest you read what Ron Paul actually wrote about social security?”
The degree to which social security is a problem is an invented issue by the right (mostly the Neocons, or so I thought). It if ever becomes a problem the government can subsidize it. It”s not even potentially a problem until 2045, if the data produced in 2005 is still accurate. My preferred candidate’s position is to either leave social security alone or to subsidize it (find some way to extend the 2045 problem date). Anything else (choice to privatize, full privatization) is bad, since the former hastens it’s end and the latter ends it outright. I’ll take your word for what Ron Paul’s position on social security is.
“Foreign Policy? I strongly believe that he would have a much easier time with that, as the President is commander in chief, and has absolute power to end wars and bring troops home. The president’s power overrides anyone else’s on this matter.”
Most American wars America does not fight. America sells the weapons and others do the killing. Without the weapons from the U.S. there would be many fewer weapons, much less killing, and then the U.S. could apply international pressure on whatever seller (Britain for example) stepped up as the weapons supplier. Instead of the U.S. supplying Israel with billions of dollars a year in arms it fights against the sale of all types of arms for all countries in the Middle East (as well as everywhere else in the world) and requires through international pressure enforced by a true global peacekeeping force (one backed up by military force, unlike what the UN has at the moment) that all governments in the world use their militaries for strictly defensive purposes. Once the role of the U.S. becomes a promoter of bottom-up democracy around the world, it becomes easy for militaries to be used in that fashion, since the people of the world nearly always want their militaries used strictly defensively.
The issue is not “bringing the troops home”, although avoiding the further destruction of an entire generation of young Americans is undoubtedly an excellent thing. We’ve already shattered the future of the country as it is. The issue is the size of the militarized part of the American corporate sector (militarized private industry) as well as the size of the militarized part of the American public sector (taxpayer dollars for militarization). The most important issue is not the effect of war on American troops but the effect of war on the world. Ron Paul talks about not using taxpayer dollars to fund wars of empire, a statement that most everyone, including everyone on the left, fully supports. I have not heard him breathe a single word however about the private funding of wars of empire. The American empire is not an empire of government, but one of the elite, which is a composite of the rich, the well-connected, the corporate, as well as the government.
As you’re aware (because I told you if for no other reason) half of the troops under the direction of the U.S. government in Iraq are private contractors. So if we “bring the troops home” by which is meant the troops being paid by taxpayers, what happens to the private contractors? What happens to the militaries of other countries who with American arms can slaughter people just as easily as American troops, and with a lot less objection by a propagandized domestic population that cares only about “bringing the troops home”?
This is the effect of propaganda once again, and why “bringing the troops home” is a propaganda tool. The elite set “bringing the troops home” as the alternative to the present state of affairs because they know that wars, whether the one in Iraq or any other, can easily continue after the troops are brought home. So the idea (if it comes to that) is that they make a big show of “bringing the troops home”, hopefully silence the “anti-war” American population, and the wars can continue (albeit somewhat less aggressively, since troops directly under the control of the US government are taken out of the equation).
So to conclude on this issue, there are two budgets that are important. The taxpayer budget for military purposes, and the private sector “budget” for military purposes. Both of them need to be severely reduced, and apply to only defensive purposes as well as defending other people in the world (true defense, not destroying some country because it might at some point in some future embark on some war of aggression).
“I’m not sure I know what you mean by this. Are you saying that the ‘Just War’ theory is wrong, and that we should have pre-emptive war?”
‘Just War’ is propaganda designed to make it easier for empires to conduct wars of aggression and genocide. It’s like when the West imposes cultural genocide through “missionaries spreading the Christian faith”. That’s called “just” because it brings the West to “the primitives”.
Where Ron Paul and the left differ is on the use of taxpayer troops outside of the country. Ron Paul, at least if his words are to be taken seriously, would not send American troops to stop genocides or other killings as long as those killings do not involve Americans. Much of the left supports using the power of the American economy (a power that is dwindling) to take part in an international effort (including the military) to stop oppression and violence worldwide.
“On the Drug War, he may or may not be able to end it outright, but he would have the granted power to give pardons to all non-violent drug offenders, without any real obstacles in his way here.”
We need a complete overhaul of the prison system and a close examination of the justice system.
“I certainly do appreciate you considering his ideas carefully.”
It’s not very relevant to me. The Libertarian Right has no significant power base, no real potential for such. Ron Paul only looks appealing to people who detest the corporatist candidates and who think of themselves as responsible citizens unlike “those leftists”.
As America’s economy collapses, the population will shift to the left (even further than they already are, like what happened in South America following terroristic neoliberal rule), and America will either become a police state (a more oppressive one than currently) or a democracy (or perhaps more likely, a police state and then a democracy). Either way, the Libertarian Right has no future in America, at least until the country stabilizes and gains some measure of economic well-being for it’s citizens. That’s going to take quite a while, given the interests of the people running this country (into the ground). This is partially why I say that the Neoconservatives are socialists – just look at what a few decades of Milton Friedman’s ideology did to the people of South America – it turned them all into leftists (except the few who profit from the ideology). The best way to make someone oppose an ideology is to offer them some bad rulership using that ideology. Every capitalist in the world should have been outraged at neoliberalism and fighting against it – instead almost noone was and that’s why capitalism itself is in such danger today. Why didn’t they fight against it? is the big question. Some think it was out of tremendous devotion to capitalism… I think it was out of devotion to socialism, such devotion that they would run capitalism into the ground in order to arrive there. Or maybe capitalism itself breeds such selfishness that it’s impossible for a capitalist to support capitalism, so like a machine with no engineer it eventually grinds itself into dust.
Here’s a nice catchphrase: the Libertarian Right is justice for the middle class. What do you think is going to happen to the Libertarian Right when there is no more middle class in America?
If you really want to promote the Libertarian Right, you support policies that increase the size of the middle class in America. I agree with people who believe that Ron Paul will have a much more beneficial effect on the middle class than any corporatist candidate. A Kucinich presidency would have an even better effect economically on the middle class, although the middle class (largely white) prefers Paul’s positions on immigration, abortion, etc. hence making him “their candidate”.