This has been a tough spring for Libertarian politicos. Ron Paul’s campaign has collapsed, and Rand Paul – after reportedly telling his father only 30 minutes beforehand, has endorsed the power-hungry neocon poster boy, Mitt Romney.
Romney’s politics reach a level of banal corruption only possible in the “small government big market” Republican party. After appeasing his home-state voters with Obamacare Massachusetts’s style, he then campaigns against the real thing, claiming that his only moral beef with fascist medicine is geography. “State’s rights” is a yawn-inducing moral horror, the brain-twisting claim that it is perfectly moral for governments to drive you out of your State if you hate their laws, but to drive you out of the country is just plain wrong.
Bashing the Fed – Government or Reserve – is a time-honored tradition among conservative politicians – it’s typically political and tragically believable among libertarians. Everyone who wants to be the boss claims to hate the boss; governors do their nasty business in their own states, and then defend their actions with the ridiculous appeal to “State’s rights.” States are not people, they don’t have rights; the immorality of violence is not zip code specific – the objections are all too obvious to bother pointing out. Also, States both need and drive the power of the Federal government – State A bribes its population with some goodie, thus making it less attractive to businesses, and so bribes business to set up shop with tax holidays and regulatory exemptions – and if these don’t work, it pushes the Federal government to mirror its own corruption across the country, so it does not lose out to other states.
Theories flourish as to why Rand Paul endorsed Romney. Some say he was threatened, which is perfectly believable (remember Ross Perot dropping out of the presidential race in 1992 after threats against his family?) some say he is angling for a VP spot. Some say he is laying the groundwork for a 2016 presidential bid (which really means that some people still can’t give up their fantasy of a political solution).
A VP spot would be the perfect banishment to obscurity. VPs rarely become presidents, and are perfect whipping boys for any fact or truth, as Dan Quayle found when he dared to mention the social problems caused by single motherhood. Those in the crosshairs are made VPs, in the age old commandment to keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
Threats are the very essence of politics – and with a vicious and hysterical media always ready to stroke and provoke the Christ-taunting mob, nothing factual need get in the way of the modern print lynching. Libertarians know this most of all – the moment that Ron Paul started to really gain in the polls, and the media was chided by Jon Stewart for ignoring him, they just started calling him a racist, and were done with him. All Ron Paul’s education and eloquence and obvious passion for libertarian solutions meant nothing. Floating reason and evidence in mainstream society is like trying to teach Latin to a sugar-crashing toddler. All you do is insult teaching.
Read any mainstream article on Ayn Rand – do you see any actual criticisms of her arguments? Hell no, you just read a steady pee-stream of bitter invective and cowardly insults. She’s had tens of millions of readers, sixty years of accumulating evidence – governments grow, the West collapses, Europe goes first – and you still cannot read two sensible words written about her. Look at your own life. When you make sensible arguments against the State, do you get any kind of semi-intelligent rebuttal? Of course not. You’re just a hater, man, you hate the poor and the sick, yer unpatriotic – and prolly a racist too!
Politicians in the past used schools to breed fools, knaves and scoundrels, to easier rule and bribe them. We are all left with the legacy of these hollow-headed indoctrinations. People who cannot think join mobs, in the fantasy that an aggregate of vacuity can produce gravity. They surge back and forth across the cultural wasteland like the zombies they are, sniffing for and feeding on any stray brains that cross their path. The broken attack the whole for exposing their brokenness; the rational strive to reason with the mob, the bored Borg, the haters who fear the only knowledge that really counts: self knowledge.
The goal of political action has been to try to appeal to self-interest of the mob. But the mob has no self-interest, for its members have no self – if they did, they would have fled the zombie army when it came to eat them. Libertarians say: “Freedom brings benefits to the collective” – as if there is any such thing as a collective. The moment a libertarian says that we should judge an idea by its value to individuals, he only feeds the State, since the State provides so many heady benefits to those seeking power. What kind of power would Obama have in a free, rational – but I repeat myself – society? None, because his empty rhetoric would be about as appealing as a gas station serving sugar water. His slogans would be laughed at – “the audacity of hope” makes about as much sense as mechanically repeating “the ricochet of profits” during a business meeting, or “the mobility of empiricism” at a physics conference. Zen headlines without reason and evidence would be such an obvious con that people like Obama would end up slithering through the underworld of petty confidence schemes, i.e. the Constitution.
So Obama loves the State. George Bush, Romney, Stalin, Pol Pot – they all love politics and power, because it gives their empty words violent form; from syllables to subjugation in the tick of a ballot box, how heady and addictive! Humanity has long been fascinated by magic spells, by the manipulation of physical reality through language alone – usually to ill effect – this is just an unconscious metaphor for political rhetoric, which starts fires and mobs and wars by stoking the emptiness it both breeds and feeds on.
So when Libertarians say: “we will all be better off when we are free” – this is a case that can only be made to each individual, and particular individuals – political individuals – are far better off with state power. Corrupt and lazy businessmen; charismatic and useless sophists; torpid and offensive artists; priests – the ultimate magicians in many ways – and those teachers whose heavy self-hatred gives them nimble fingers to disassemble the minds of the young – all worship the State. All benefit from the State, and all will oppose political solutions.
Stefan Molynuex, is the host of Freedomain Radio (www.freedomainradio.com), the most popular philosophy site on the Internet, and a "Top 10" Finalist in the 2007-2010 Podcast Awards.