No, Libertarians Don’t Agree With Me About Some Things

LibertariansSince the “glibertarians” (that is: libertarians who call themselves glibertarians) noticed Friday’s article, I started thinking about libertarians again. There’s one thing that especially annoys me about libertarians: the claim that they agree with liberals on half the issues. That is to say, libertarians might be totally against taxes and such, but they agree on social issues. They also agree about war. This is hogwash.

Let’s discuss war first. Libertarians claim that they are against the war machine. In most ways, libertarians are stuck in the 18th century when having a voluntary militia could keep a country safe, as long as it didn’t have any major resources that a large empire wanted. That’s just not true anymore. So if libertarians ever got their utopia, they’d need a great big military to protect it.

Property Rights Lead to War

Think about how focused libertarians are on property rights. There’s pretty much no level of government that they aren’t in favor of when it comes to protecting those rights. Well, when it comes to the military, the situation is even more intense. After all, what would you not do to protect your utopia?

There is, of course, disagreement among libertarians on this point. They can be roughly divided into two camps: those who have thought about it and those who haven’t. Those who have thought about it, understand that they will have to protect their utopia and that it won’t be cheap. Those who haven’t thought about it push fantasies about how libertarianism requires a change in the way people think.

I’ve had many conversations with the latter type of libertarian. I point out that there will always be some Genghis Khans around who think that the best way to get ahead in life is to just take what they want. So libertarians have to protect against that. And if they think they can fend off such an attack with a volunteer army funded by voluntary taxes, I have a whole herd of unicorns for sale at a great price!

So libertarians may be anti-war in theory, in practice, they are very much for it. And there is no distinction because “they crossed our boarders” and “they interfered with our supply chains.”

Social Issues

Social issues is the primary idiocy of libertarians. Let’s look at this from the issue of drugs. There are a lot of people who are libertarians because they want their drug of choice (usually cannabis) to be legal. But libertarians always caucus with Republicans. Which political party has moved toward more sensible drug policy? Not the Republicans. It has been the Democrats — and not for libertarian reasons.

So on a practical level, why would these people not support the Democrats? Because the libertarians talk a good game? When a libertarian manages to get into Congress, they show themselves to not really care about the liberty of being able to put whatever substance you want in your body. That kind of liberty is way down on list. At the top of the list, it’s always the same: tax cuts — almost always highly regressive.

Libertarian Answer to Bigotry: Nothing

But let’s look the rights of different “races” and the LGBT community. These are illusory. They are much like the Republican’s new healthcare bill: you have the right to the best healthcare in the world — if you can afford it. Since there wouldn’t be laws against discrimination, all these groups would get would be platitudes like, “Racism is bad for business.”

Guess what? Racism isn’t bad for business in a country where about 30 percent of the people are explicitly racist. So libertarians don’t agree with liberals on social issues. Their ideas are just not to make any laws like, “You can’t run for president if you’re black or queer.” They don’t do anything else. In the libertarian utopia, we would have more public bigotry. Life would be harder for minority groups. How is that agreeing with liberals on social issues?

Really what libertarians are saying is, “I’m not racist!” There are a couple of issues there. One is that at this point, there is damned little difference between libertarians and neo-confederates. But the second is more important: who cares what you specifically believe; the system of government you are pushing would make bigotry worse.

Libertarians Don’t Agree With Liberals

Libertarians can live in their own little fantasy world built on top of a huge pile of unstated assumption with no concern for the practical effects of their policy prescriptions. But I do wish they would get off this arrogant kick of claiming that they are “economically conservative” and “socially liberal.” Libertarians are just conservatives who are smart enough to realize that “conservative” has been poisoned and now can be defined as “hateful bigot” for the vast majority of people.

Since libertarian policy would make intolerance toward minority groups worse, they don’t get to claim the liberal mantle when it comes to social issues.

Effects of Trump’s “Highly Successful” Yemen Raid

Yemen BoyAccording to residents of the village of al Ghayil, in Yemen’s al Bayda province, the first to die in the assault was 13-year-old Nasser al Dhahab. The house of his uncle, Sheikh Abdulraouf al Dhahab, and the building behind it, the home of 65-year-old Abdallah al Ameri and his son Mohammed al Ameri, 38, appeared to be the targets of the US forces, who called in air support as they were pinned down in a nearly hourlong firefight.

With the SEALs taking heavy fire on the lower slopes, attack helicopters swept over the hillside hamlet above. In what seemed to be blind panic, the gunships bombarded the entire village, striking more than a dozen buildings, razing stone dwellings where families slept, and wiping out more than 120 goats, sheep, and donkeys.

Three projectiles tore through the straw and timber roof of the home where Sinan slept. Cowering in a corner, Sinan’s mother, 30-year-old Fatim Saleh Mohsen, decided to flee the bombardment. Grabbing her 18-month-old son and ushering her terrified children into the narrow outdoor passageway between the tightly packed dwellings, she headed into the open. Over a week later, Sinan’s aunt Nadr al Ameri wept as she stood in the same room and recalled watching her sister run out the door into the darkness.

Nesma al Ameri, an elderly village matriarch who lost four family members in the raid, described how the attack helicopters began firing down on anything that moved. As she recounted the horror of what happened, Sinan tapped her on the arm. “No, no. The bullets were coming from behind,” the 5-year-old insisted, interrupting to demonstrate how he was shot at and his mother gunned down as they ran for their lives. “From here to here,” Sinan said, putting two fingers to the back of his head and drawing an invisible line to illustrate the direction of the bullet exiting her forehead. His mother fell to the ground next to him, still clutching his baby brother in her arms. Sinan kept running.

His mother’s body was found in the early light of dawn, the front of her head split open. The baby was wounded but alive. Sinan’s mother was one of at least six women killed in the raid, the first counterterrorism operation of the Trump administration, which also left 10 children under the age of 13 dead. “She was hit by the plane. The American plane,” explained Sinan. “She’s in heaven now,” he added with a shy smile, seemingly unaware of the enormity of what he had witnessed or, as yet, the impact of his loss. “Dog Trump,” declared Nesma, turning to the other women in the room for agreement. “Yes, the dog Trump,” they agreed.

–Iona Craig
Death in al Ghayil (The Yemen Raid)