Saturday, December 31, 2011

Glenn Greenwald Shows What Progressives Fear Most of All in the Election

It’s themselves.

Paul’s candidacy forces progressives to face the hideous positions and actions of their candidate, of the person they want to empower for another four years. If [Ron] Paul were not in the race or were not receiving attention, none of these issues would receive any attention because all the other major GOP candidates either agree with Obama on these matters or hold even worse views….

Paul scrambles the comfortable ideological and partisan categories and forces progressives to confront and account for the policies they are working to protect. His nomination would mean that it is the Republican candidate — not the Democrat — who would be the anti-war, pro-due-process, pro-transparency, anti-Fed, anti-Wall-Street-bailout, anti-Drug-War advocate (which is why some neocons are expressly arguing they’d vote for Obama over Paul). Is it really hard to see why Democrats hate his candidacy and anyone who touts its benefits?

Read it all here.


BCM said...

If nothing else comes of Ron Paul's breakthrough in this election cycle*, I hope it at least prompts a revision of our basic political classifications. It's long overdue. The reigning framework -- "left/right," "progressive/conservative," etc. -- is deeply lacking. It gums up the gears and impedes the debate. A more accurate shorthand would make everything more efficient.

(* I certainly hope there's something more to result from Paul's rise. But even just recasting the categories would be a helpful start.)

dennis said...

The best thing about Paul's candidacies is that it has drawn more people into libertarianism and forced the establishment to try to deal with many of our ideas. Granted they fight straw men, I don't know if this is out of ignorance or the knowledge that we are right and they are wrong, but the libertarian cat is out of the bag and attempts to silence us won't work the way they used to, and everyone in the libertarian universe, even those, like me, who disagree with Paul on some important issues, owe him a debt of gratitude. I have no idea how a libertarian could govern, I know that minarchism would be better than what we have now and that libertarian anarchy, while not a utopia, would be the best possible socio-political arrangement, but given the constraints imposed by the existence of the modern state, it is doubtful a libertarian President could do much to advance a libertarian platform. Certainly a libertarian could enact a more humane foreign policy and civil liberties regime and maybe even marginally reduce the size and scope of the state, but the path to a free society won't be through the electoral process. If there are politicians who can and will mitigate the harm the state does, that is certainly a good thing, but ultimately it is for us to reclaim our freedom and dignity.

BCM said...

The best thing about Paul's candidacies is that it has drawn more people into libertarianism and forced the establishment to try to deal with many of our ideas.

As Anthony Gregory noted a few months ago in this piece, the left is starting to realize that its real foe is not "conservatism" -- which is merely statism with a few different floral accents -- but rather libertarianism.

For the left, libertarianism is the real threat because it presents the genuine philosophical challenge. The left's battle with conservatism has been relatively easy, because ultimately it's just a bunch of quibbling over some surface details. But libertarianism requires the left to drill down and confront first principles -- premises that many leftists have never even bothered to examine, let alone justify or defend.

The left's cultural and political domination during the past century has made it easy for folks to hop into the game at second or third base, where the question is simply, "Which result do we want as we choreograph society through force?" A libertarian makes the leftist start back at home plate, where the question is, "Should humans initiate force?"

Most today are not equipped to grapple with that fundamental moral question. And so as the libertarian presence grows, we get the accompanying flustered, knee-jerk dismissals of "selfish!" and "loony!" mushrooming across the political discourse.

The American left is accustomed to battles that are just some variation or another of "Footloose." Libertarianism brings a far more daunting challenge.

ToryII said...

Socialism (Left or Right) makes the poor more poor, or keeps them poor, and makes others poor. It's used by the slickest capitalists to exploit capitalism via the govt. And other Socialists use socialism to perpetuate their govt positions.

dennis said...

A way too oversimplified way of explaining democratic socialism is that the state gives an inner city youth free breakfast in the morning in order to better enable the police to beat him with a baton for no good reason in the evening. Every "good" thing the government does, it does to lessen the resistance to the bad things it does. Would imperialism and indefinite detention fly in a country where the poor were provided for through mutual aid? Not too bloody likely. In the same way an abusive partner attempts to isolate their victim in order to make them entirely dependent the state takes away our ability to care for ourselves and each other.