Here Thar Be Monsters!
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Me, A Name I Call Myself
In this US political season, there are many labels being thrown around, and in fact, it is not much different than it has been for many decades. It used to be a habit to smear folks with the term 'communist.' The McCarthy era went on 'witch hunts' for Commies. Yet I daresay pure communism has rarely existed, and certainly never at the level of national political control.
Today, the media and opponents smear Ron Paul with the label of 'libertarian,' though Ron Paul is hardly a pure libertarian, nor does the body of thought called 'libertarianism' have much to do with the common perception of it.
In order for social dialogue to be effective in parsing real leaders, it is vital that the language be clear and unambiguous. For this reason, the elites relish the idea and ability to control definitions. In doing so, they control outcomes and masses. Thus, it behooves us to be absolutely clear on the definitions of political thought, so that we know exactly who we are electing and what they will do when they get there.
One of the most egregious examples of mis-definition is the word 'democracy.' Democracy is probably one of the worst forms of government ever devised, since it is absolutely dependent on the masses being educated and enlightened. Otherwise, it always devolves into the classic two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner.
The concept of America making the world 'safe for democracy' is so absurd and so wicked, as to be laughable if it weren't damaging so many lives. Nothing is safe with or for democracy. Everything is at the whim of the majority. All rights, property and wealth are subject to whether 50.1% of the masses want what you have. And if you are a reviled minority, then the majority can round you up and hang you whenever they damn well feel like it.
The elite love democracy, because they have mass mind control down to an art form. Since they can manipulate at least 50.1% of the masses, they can do pretty much anything they like and blame it on the 'majority'.
For this reason, the US founders virtually spat the word democracy from their mouths. They studied ancient Greek history and knew that any system based on it was doomed to corruption and dictatorship. Instead, they turned to a Roman concept called a 'republic'.
The idea of a republic is that there are a basket of rights that are sacrosanct and 'unalienable' (think unable to make a lien against them). These rights can not be taken away by the majority, nor can they be contracted away. In other words, a free man can not make himself a slave, but a slave has all the rights of a free man.
This is why the US Constitution dilutes the power of voting as much as possible. The House is directly elected, but they are balanced by a Senate that was supposed to be elected by the State legislators. People vote for electors, who in turn vote for the president. The vice president was supposed to be the second-highest vote-getter.
There's also a Bill of Rights in that Constitution. This was to be the basket of rights that were untouchable..."Congress shall make no law..." No majority, no matter how big, was ever to have the power to abridge, amend or rescind those rights.
Both democracy and repulicanism were supposed to be reactions to monarchy. Monarchy invests all sovereign power in a single individual, whose successor is a genetic relative. All political, social, legal, and religious power was centered in this one individual. If they happened to be good, then the masses flourished and things were peachy-keen. If the monarch was evil and corrupt, then the entire country suffered for it.
Hardly a basis for stable governance.
A very old form of governance is something called communism, from the same root as community. This form can not work on a mass scale. In fact, masses of people are anathema to the whole idea of communism. It only works on the scale of extended families, or possibly small villages. Monasteries are a form of communism merged with monarchy.
They idea is that the group of people involved work together for the common good. On the scale of a village, some folks grow food, others hunt, others are blacksmiths or leatherworkers, etc., and they pool their output for the benefit of everyone in the community. If I'm a farmer, then I put my harvest in the pool and take out a pair of shoes for the kids and a shirt for myself.
One can see that scaling that sort of lifestyle up to even the size of a city wouldn't work. Obviously, communism is unsuitable for mass society and therefore, has never existed on that scale.
So, along comes socialism. Here, the concept of communism is adapted to mass society by vesting all power in the State. Thus, the State owns and controls everything, and distributes the fruits of production to its constituents as needs arise. However, this system is susceptible to corruption. Inevitably, those who control the distribution keep the lion's share for themselves, which in turn calls for creation of vast bureaucracies of watchers to watch the watchers, all of whom become corrupt as they all try to take the cream off before passing out the dregs to the folks who actually produce the goods.
Socialism is doomed to collapse from an ever-swelling political class who become ever-more corrupt and self-centered. The collapse is exacerbated by the eventual dissatisfaction of the masses who do all the work and get none of the benefits. Like a teetering inverted pyramid, eventually the masses yank the rug out from under the system and it crashes down in a heap of ruins (see USSR).
The complete reverse of socialism is fascism, whereby all power and control is vested in corporate interests. The business elite own and control everything, including government, and set out to establish an environment that favors them at the expense of all others. This is the current state of things in the US. Corporate interests manipulate the system so that the corporate elite siphon off the wealth for themselves and throw the scraps to the masses. Fascism is an insidious form of government, because it appears to operate in the interests of all, in that everyone thinks they have an equal chance to get a piece of the pie. But, the elite control the legal system, among other things, and simply change the rules when any one group gets too close to challenging their hegemony.
This form of government is doomed to collapse for many of the same reasons as socialism. In fact, there's little that distinguishes the two, other than who ultimately benefits at the top. Socialism and fascism are like Ismael and Isaac. They are half-brothers but doomed to hate each other for all time, since the controllers at the top differ by degree and title.
There are a couple dozen variations on all this. There's constitutional monarchies, and capitalist socialism, and democratic republics (talk about juxtapositions). But all result in the same thing: a corrupt few controlling the masses by manipulating symbols of power to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else.
Here's where libertarianism stepped in. Now, to hear the US mass media tell it, libertarianism is like Reaganomics on steroids. The gist of it is that the philosophy is presented as unleashing corporations from any pretense of government control and letting them run amok in a capitalist orgy of rape and pillage. This is why Ron Paul is painted as crazy and libertarianism is slandered as lunatic fringe.
Nothing could be further from the truth. First of all, Ron Paul is not a pure libertarian, and second, libertarianism has nothing to do with unfettered corporate greed.
In its purest form, libertarianism is the concept that all people, everywhere, are completely sovereign within themselves and their property. In other words, every man is a king and every woman a queen, and within the confines of their proptery, they are ultimate rulers over all they survey. The more property you own, the bigger your kingdom. And within that property, you are the ultimate law and order. Whatever you say, goes. Period.
Where it gets a little sticky is outside of your property. Here, the Biblical axiom takes over: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, your rights stop at the self and property of another. Any attempt to enforce your beliefs or exercize your rights over another is a literal act of war.
The only means of interaction with others is by contract, which literally works much like treaties between nations. You are allowed to take or give as much as you like, as long as you abide by the terms of the contract you make. Thus, every employee becomes a contractor. All public works are performed by groups of people acting under contract. Each contract becomes a form of Constitution, limiting and defining the powers of the parties involved within the scope of work in the contract.
It's an interesting and exciting political philosophy. You can run your oil company, but the minute you spill some and cause a mess on my property, then you - personally - are liable for it, as is everyone under contract with your company. If you want to run a meth lab in your house, more power to you. But if your operation blows up and damages my property, you are liable, as are the folks working with you.
Libertarianism is the ultimate form of personal responsibility. You are absolute monarch within the limits of your property, which includes your body. But if any of your actions impair the property or rights of anyone else, then you lose your wealth making them whole again.
What makes libertarianism so appealing, at least to me, is that it completely decentralizes power. Instead of small bodies of elites governing the thoughts, actions and wealth of the many, there are seven billion governments all acting organically with each other. There is no public property, only that which isn't owned by someone. There are no forced innoculations or militarized police or even lawyers, such as we know of them now.
Instead, there are only people. No strawman entities like corporations. No governmental bodies with power to force you to do anything you don't want.
The concept is so foreign to most people's thinking that they can't conceive of such things. No welfare? No subsidies? No taxes? How would we survive? No armies? No drug/terror/poverty wars? How would we make anyone follow our ways?
Once you start looking seriously at it, though, you find that Ron Paul is pretty darned far from being libertarian. Sure he espouses a lot of the ideas, but the basis of his rhetoric is really just a return to the founding ideals of the US, which is a damn sight closer to libertarianism than currently exists, but it is NOT libertarianism. In pure libertarianism, there could be no central authority or power to tax or presidency to run for. It wouldn't exist.
It's important in this election season to clarify the terms being thrown around. America is not a democracy, nor has it every been one. Ron Paul is NOT a libertarian, nor has he ever been one. Liberals and conservatives are neither. Democrats and Republicans are neither.
America is a fascist state. Granted, it is not the most severe example...yet. But it is important to both realize that fact and decide where you stand on the issue. It would help if you look up the history of fascism (dating back to the Roman period) and see how they always end. Look up democracy, while your at it. Notice that you don't live in one, first, and second, that you don't want to.
Finally, examine pure libertarianism. It's a scary concept for many folks, since they can't imagine being personally responsible for their lives. However, I find it most appealing in many ways. Though Indonesia has a socialist repulic form of government, at the street/practical level, the people have a strong libertarian impulse that I find refreshing.
Freedom is a scary thing. Having only yourself and your family and friends to rely on is terrifying for a lot of folks. They would rather use the guns and force of government to take your property and wealth to support them, or at least give them the illusion of security. The problem is, the more power you give to government to make you secure, the more the government will become your worst enemy.
Ultimately, the fairest and most egalitarian social order is libertarianism, but the world is not ready for it. Our ancestors used to live that way, but we have become so socialized and dependent on some form of authority structure that the very idea of personal responsibility causes cold sweat and trembling knees.
Makes me want to run over to the bookshelf and take down Emerson and Thoreau!