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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Libertarian Shutdown and The Decline of American Sovereignty

(If you don't like reading very much, I've italicized the most important parts of this rant for your convenience.)

On October 1st, 2013, the United States government shut down thanks to the goals of Tea Party Republicans–those Republicans who ascribe to libertarian philosophy (while also terribly misinterpreting that same philosophy, which is understandable, because the libertarian philosophy is fairly well nonsensical—GASP a personal opinion—caution, this is full of them). These folks were elected in November of 2010 and were sworn in January of 2011. In two and a half years, the Tea Party Republicans have done more than any other entity or movement in America to degrade the national sovereignty and lower the United States' hegemonic role in the world (this Superpower-dom of the United States is not a good thing, so don't get all 'you're an exceptionalist!' on me).  Thanks to Tea Party libertarians, who call themselves Republicans, we have moved one-step closer to a nice, smooth, homogenous blanket of economic opportunity for multinational corporations and the world's wealthiest few.  But let me explain.

US Sovereignty

There are a few things which are inherent in the rights of any sovereign nation, according to the theories which support the organization of the world by the nation-state, among which is the right to tax the citizenry.  This view has been upheld by the framers of the Constitution of the United States and affirmed by the Supreme Court.  I feel that this concept is so basic that it needs no further explaining.  If I am incorrect in that feeling, open a new tab and Google the hell out of it.

US Hegemony

As you learned earlier if you clicked the link above, hegemony is superpower status.  The hegemonic nation-state is the leader of all the rest economically, militarily and (supposedly) morally. That's what justified the US intervention in Bosnia-Kosovo. It's what lead to the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.  You know that whole idea about world police? That's the role of the hegemonic state.  And, in order for that state's hegemony to make a real appearance, the nation-state has to demonstrate that it is, indeed, the mightiest nation on Earth.  The whole US is going to bomb Syria threat was an example of this hegemonic status.

All That and the Tea Party

This brings me back to the Tea Party libertarians, a group of xenophobic, largely "Christian", "libertarians" who call themselves Republicans.  They see the government, The United States, as the fundamental problem in society, aside from homosexuals, transgender individuals, people of color, and scary socialists.  Government's expansive advances  of measures to fix the failures (although Tea Party Republicans would not call them failures; they would, of course, say that the areas in which the market has failed are in such a state because of a lack of demand) of the market system represent the demise of the American spirit.  Many Tea Party Republicans are against forced integration laws, they are against labor unions, and they are against any government oversight of industry. Further still, the Tea Party Republican hates taxes.  Taxes are a way to steal money from the wealthy and redistribute it to other things such as building roads, schools, funding the police force, anti-poverty programs, public transit, museums, art, science, etc.  This is a bad thing, according the the Tea Party Republicans, because it diminishes the role of the free market.  Environmental oversight, for instance, limits the oil refinery's ability to make the highest amount of profits and to govern they way their business is run.  Because the oil refinery's shareholders are not going to willingly take a dip in profits, environmental regulation, which decreases profits, prohibits the oil refinery from hiring workers and it also increases the cost of oil for consumers.  The private market will supply a response to environmental catastrophes, or so the theory goes.

So, when the Tea Party Republicans ousted their (slightly) more rational foes in Republican primaries, they vowed to put their deluded philosophy into action by way of a government shut down. Don't believe me?

In September 2010, Representative Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) told the Faith and Freedom Conference to brace (and support) a shutdown if Republicans were to gain majority of the House of Representatives. See Rachel Maddow discuss this conversation here.

Here's Joe Walsh, former Representative of Illinois on the subject:

Ron Paul in 2010 (at 2:39):

This may make it look like it's just the same old GOP from the Clinton years when Newt Gingrich forced a government shut-down and Clinton bargained like a limp noodle negotiating with a blender. It's not.

The 2010 election brought in a new breed of Republicans, the Tea Party!  The Tea Party Republicans would have voted to close national museums, parks, etc. with or without Obamacare.  They want limited government, meaning a large military, a robust police force and plenty of social control.  Gay marriage? It's the government's responsibility to prevent it. Muslims building community centers? Government should shut it down.  A corporation spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico? Let the market take care of it.

Every single one of you who identifies as a Libertarian should be jumping in your seats: the shut-down government is essentially a field day for the Tea Party Republican crowd, and the larger crowd of so-called libertarians who want to see the government reduced as much as possible, so that business can fill in the void and profits can skyrocket.

I have some friends who say that it's stupid to compare these Tea Party Republicans to Republicans in general, but they are all lined up behind the mantra of 'limited government'.  They will do whatever they can to get as limited a government as possible. And the effect is this: Republicans are degrading the US credit rating and are hurting the possibility of pushing up industry at home, in favor of pushing up industry on the homogenous plane of global capitalism.  The further the United States economy is harmed, the more drastic the situation becomes for individuals and the less reliable the United States looks to 'job creators' or the bastions of industry.  Even American industry will push against protective tariffs in order to acquire cheap labor and lack of regulation.

The Tea Party goal, or so it seems, is to put America in the same labor-pool as third-world nations without adequate oversight over industry; to homogenize the labor force, globally. 

By shutting down the government, Tea Party Republicans are doing two things: 1) They are accomplishing budget cuts, and 2) they are degrading US sovereignty. 

As to the first point, they are shutting down the museums and parks and any service that is considered nonessential and is funded by the government.  Over 800,000 jobs furloughed in one day.  This is the ideal state for Tea Party Republicans, and they are doing it to show their base that a life with minimal government is possible.

As to the second point, you have to combine a couple of factors. First, Tea Party Republicans have all taken an oath to their overlord, Grover Norquist, who demands that taxes will never be raised on a single American.  This is directly an attempt to undermine the sovereignty of the United States by taking away its ability to tax individuals and corporations.  Combine this with budget cuts, and you've got an ideal situation for the flourishing of capital.  Budget cuts mean less oversight.  Lower taxes and less oversight is the Businessman's wetdream.  Additionally, because workers can no longer suckle off the government, they are more desperate for work and are more likely to work in whatever conditions in order to survive, thereby allowing a continually declining real wage for workers, less benefits, and especially less control of unions.  This will become further realized when Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling, again.

What this could very well be is the dawning of the age where the sovereignty of the nation-state is subservient to the absolute sovereignty of the dollar bill.  Don't buy it?

The dollar bill is a symbol of natural right.  Because humans labor to acquire capital, they have a right to the fruits of their labor.  Because labor has been reorganized into wage-labor, the dollar bill has become the fruit of our labor, and therefore, possessing the dollar bill is a right, if you earned it. Whereas governments were instituted to protect the rights of man, governments will soon exist to serve the rights of mankind to their property in the capitalist system.  Further still, the idea that the nation-state is sovereign is undermined because the state is limiting capitalist (property) expansion.  The sovereign reign of governments is harming the ability of capitalism to distribute work to the places with the cheapest labor, it is harming the ability of corporations to work internationally, and it is harming competition as a whole, since each nation-state is organized in such a way as to try to benefit its residents before it benefits the larger world community.  As corporations become more like nation-states and hire their own mercenary security forces (see Exxon), the necessity of the nation-state is declining, or even contradicting the rise of the proliferated global capitalist market. 

The Tea Party Republicans are not anarchists, they are minarchists with a solemn will to enact God's law on the planet, which they believe is as such: if you're poor, you deserve it; if you're gay, you're subhuman; if you're a woman and pregnant, you will have that baby; if you have money, you earned it; if you earned it, you deserve to keep earning it, and all obstacles to your personal aggrandizement are to be demolished.

While it may hurt your pride to admit that the Tea Party Republicans are just holier-than-thou libertarians, my libertarian friends, you are contributing to the successful rhetoric of these fools whose only goals are to make society appear moral under their quasi-Christian framework and to enrich their friends every other step of the way.

While your anti-government, pro-business rhetoric seems nice, you have to remember that if the United States had ever had a libertarian government, we'd still get into wars, on the basis of "whatever we say they did is bad and it hurts us, it violates the nonaggression principle and therefor we must act" and we'd still have slavery—it is not the business of government to get involved in the governance of business.

Stop pretending that the Republicans of today are not self-avowed libertarians.  Ron and Rand Paul both caucus with Republicans. Why is that? Idaho's governor, Butch Otter, is a libertarian who runs under the Republican Party.  Face it, folks, libertarianism is either a branch of, or has been absorbed into the Republican Party, and it is even worse. 

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