Libertarian Affirmative Action

Matt DiGeronimoThursday’s Majority Report was really good. It provided a great contrast. Seder had on the reclusive Digby for about an hour and that was fun. I’ve embedded the video below, so you can check it out if you are so inclined. But what is really interesting is what happened in the second hour. He had a debate with Matt DiGeronimo, who is a libertarian radio talk show host in Hawaii. I was just overwhelmed with the segment because DiGeronimo is yet another conservative affirmative action recipient. This guy is a professional. He gets paid to do his show. He’s aired on AM 760, the “Wall Street Business Network.” That doesn’t sound like a some fly-by-night operation with a bunch of volunteers to me.

As soon as his appearance was announced, I checked out his website, The Matt DiGeronimo Show. I’m always amazed at the websites people put together. What do they do, have their unemployed uncles put together websites for them? I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even want to talk to potential clients about websites. The truth is that you can get something that is at least not embarrassing for $500. And if you want to have a blog, well, you’re gonna have to pony up at least a grand. His website? I could knock it out in a couple of hours, including images. A half hour without the images. It’s just a really ugly Word Press skin after all.

That doesn’t really matter. I’ve known a lot of people who do good work who have horrible websites. But DiGeronimo is the “Managing Director of Hawaii’s largest and most prominent Mergers & Acquisitions company, ‘Smith Floyd Hawaii’.” So you would think he would be willing to pony up a bit of cash for his website. You would think he would deal with a lot of other people who understand that having a website that looks like it crawled out of 1995, is a bad thing. But whatever. The website did not bode well for the man.

The conversation he had with Sam Seder started right out the gate with an absurd discussion of the difference between a gay person coming out of the closet and German grunts during World War II being afraid to speak out against the Nazi regime. But he didn’t put it that way. He said, “Nazi grunts.” What he was trying say is the same thing Tolstoy said (although not in English), “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” He was trying to argue that a lot (I would argue most) of the German people didn’t like what the Nazis were doing at all, but they were afraid to say anything. And as with gay people coming out of the closet, if all the good Germans had spoken up, they could have won. But they didn’t, because it’s hard when you assume you are alone. I could tell that was what he meant to say.

But he never did. He talked in circles and ended up sounding like a Nazi apologist. Eventually, Sam Seder took pity on him and they moved onto the whether Christians are under attack. Well, there’s something you should know about the “Managing Director of Hawaii’s largest blah blah blah”: he’s also a Christian. But he’s apparently a non-judgmental one. He thinks he shouldn’t say anything against homosexuality, because it’s God’s place to make them burn in hell, not his. But he did have a problem with people who have a problem with a Ten Commandments monument on government property. Again: vague and confused about what he thinks and why.

They went on to talk about the minimum wage which I thought would be a slam dunk. It’s a classic: “I am against the minimum wage because it hurts workers since businesses won’t hire people if they have to pay more.” But that isn’t really the argument he makes. He says, more or less, “A $15 minimum wage would hurt people because they would just go to work at Burger King instead of maybe taking a job at IBM for $3 where they could gain skills.” I swear, that’s what he said. His thinking is totally a mess. He really hasn’t thought about any of this stuff other than perhaps reading Reason Magazine from time to time. And the big bad leftist Sam Seder clearly understands the libertarian arguments better than DiGeronimo does.

It’s interest to contrast with Digby. Seder mentioned that if Digby were a conservative, some foundation would by now have set something up for her to get millions of dollars per year to do what she does. Instead, she is dependent upon reader donations. And here is the other side of that. Matt DiGeronimo is a mushy-headed libertarian who can’t think his way out of a folded paper towel. Yet he is paid to host an hour-long radio show every weekday. It boggles my mind.

Having been a libertarian, I know I can outdo these people. If all I wanted to do was to make money, I’d start a libertarian blog and start arguing everything from that perspective. I even own the URL FlamingRhetoric.com. So it wouldn’t be hard and before long some of the gobs of conservative money would come rolling in. Unfortunately for my bank account, even when I was a libertarian, I thought the system would work better for everyone—I wasn’t an apologist for the rich. So explicitly selling my soul isn’t what I do. But this fool with a radio show doesn’t even understand the basics. Perhaps some day I will set myself a task to write the best libertarian argument for the minimum wage. It isn’t hard. Libertarianism is a ridiculously simple (and simplistic) ideology. Of course, I’d also write the counter argument, because the libertarian argument against the minimum wage is (as always) fine in theory, terrible in practice.

But it really bugs me that the left has all the good ideas, all the best writers, and none of the money. It’s December and every reasonable sized blog has been begging the whole month for donations. You don’t see that on Red State or the other conservative blogs. It’s part of what’s wrong with this nation. Relatively stupid and ignorant conservatives get huge piles of cash to come up with ideas that support the power elite, and another group of relatively stupid and ignorant conservatives gets huge piles of money to market those “ideas.” It isn’t that there aren’t rich liberals, but when it comes to economic ideas, they too are mostly conservative. As for me, I’m happy if a couple of people buy something from Amazon through this site every month.

The world ain’t fair, but at least we liberals know what we believe and why.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

2 thoughts on “Libertarian Affirmative Action

  1. A line we read/hear from conservatives all the time is that liberals are obsessed with outcomes, where conservatives care about opportunities. AKA, since racism and class privilege in America are dead, and anyone can make it if they try (which is what conservatives have been saying for about 100 years), the fact that poor people and people in minority groups tend to have more difficult lives than rich white kids is Not Worth Caring About. I mean, we’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into making some token changes to how power perpetuates itself! How much more do you want from us?

    To be serious, I’d like to ask whether this "outcomes/opportunities" mantra deserves to be taken seriously. I think it doesn’t. It assumes a whole lot; it assumes that society is fair, it assumes that we believe suffering is acceptable if society is fair, and it assumes that inequality, if fair, is good for the winners. All of those assumptions are highly debatable.

    Libertarianism and conservatism share a belief that One Essential Principle is magically good and magically wise. The market. Freedom. Of course, these things are much more complex than true believers like to think. But the belief holds.

    And that’s why I think the "liberals are obsessed with outcomes" attempt at a slur is actually quite accurate. We don’t have a fixed solution for solving every problem. I’m a union guy, myself, but it may be that unions aren’t the most effective way of curtailing corporate power nowadays. Maybe restoring them would help, maybe not. Let’s try it. Let’s try other ideas. And let’s see what works, and what needs to be improved.

    You’d think, from what they say, that the Ayn Rands, Rand Pauls, and Paul Ryans of America would be perfectly happy if their morally upright ideal system resulted in one man and one woman surviving global apocalypse, so long as they were the last standard bearers of the faith. Maybe that’s, in fact, what they wish for, like Rapture-hoping fundamentalists. Human history has been too messy; let’s press "restart," and everything will be gravy. Exterminate all the brutes!

  2. @JMF – I think it is quite funny the way that conservatives run from term "Social Darwin." That [i]is[/i] what they believe. The whole "equality of opportunity" claim is just a good sounding excuse for doing nothing. The truth is that we have nothing like equality of opportunity and that is mostly because the conservatives won’t have it. Unions are one of the ways that to help equality of opportunity, yet almost all conservatives are against them.

    Most recently, Avik Roy has argued that all "equality of opportunity" means is that there are not laws stopping people from doing things. In other words, as long as we don’t have classes dictated by law, there is equality of opportunity. In that case, Elizabethan England had equality of opportunity.

    And I think you are right about what they want in the end. They can’t come right out and call for genocide, so they want to get it by other means. These are vile, vile people.

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