The Limits of Libertarianism

: December 19, 2017

Libertarians will attack certain harmful aspects of our society like the prison profit system, the military industrial complex and the bias towards Israel but what they will not do is point out that microeconomic forces benefit from these things.  Every time a court payment is made, someone profits. Every time we go to war, individual corporations profit. Israel lobbyists can profit from land grabs and material as well.  They profit from paranoia and loyalty.  These are microeconomics forces, not macroeconomic forces.  I am not necessarily arguing that war takes the entire economy out of recession or that the average American benefits (the opposite can occur), but I am indeed arguing that individual interests and corporations profit.

Libertarians do not critique this because they think economic liberty is a high priority and lean towards the idea of “getting the Government out.”  They do not emphasize the tendency of market capitalism to move to monopoly like leftists who read Vladimir Lenin do and they tend to focus on Government institutions like the Federal Reserve instead.

Having written all this, someone like Ron Paul (a high profile Libertarian dissident) does still antagonize the people who operate the free market forces that in abstract theory Libertarianism would oppose intervening against.  By calling out the Iraq war, by calling out the Israel lobby, by calling out the “neo-cons,” Ron Paul still essentially aims at the right target while refusing to view the target in financial terms.  Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice become simply “bad people” instead of outgrowths of a system that is promoting a profit motive.

I would absolutely support Ron Paul if it was a choice between Ron Paul, George W Bush, Hillary Clinton and John McCain.  I would consider supporting Paul over Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as well in a three way.   However it is clear that Paul’s critique of capitalism is lacking (in fact he would oppose any critique) and thus I could clearly imagine a candidate who I would support over Ron Paul.  In fact I recognize that the ability to change society through voting is limited, at some point the average person has to simply not cooperate with imperialism (the primary contradiction) in their day to day lives.

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