Worcester Telegram: ‘Tea partiers working for Libertarians’. Ahem….

Clive McFarlane writes in the Worcester Telegram:

Now, I am no fan of Glenn Beck and the tea party movement, but it would be a lot less stressful if they tell us straight up who they really are: staunch Libertarians.

Instead of claiming that they want to restore traditional American values, they should just tell us that they want to [..] legalize prostitution, recreational drugs and suicide.

They should just say that they would like to abolish federal drug and seizure laws[..]

Instead of paying lip service to national security, why don’t they just tell us that they would like to abolish compulsory military service and dramatically reduce defense spending; end the U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid; and dramatically reduce defense spending?

Instead of trying to win an election based on the backs of illegal immigrants in Arizona and elsewhere, they should just come clean and acknowledge that immigration, like corporations and other businesses, should operate free of any government restraint.

They should tell us that political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries; and that economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I would love it if Beck, Palin and the Tea Partiers stood for these policies. But we all know they do not. So how does McFarlane come to this conclusion, so stunningly at variance with observed facts?

The problem with that message is that the tea party is being bankrolled by two billionaire Libertarians, brothers Charles and David Koch. Their company, Koch Industries of Wichita, Kan., is a conglomerate, the annual revenues of which are estimated to be a hundred billion dollars, according to a recent New Yorker article by Jane Mayer.

Here, McFarlane fails to distinguish between small-l libertarians and the big-L Libertarian Party. While it is true that David Koch ran for Vice President as a Libertarian in 1980, McFarlane conveniently skips the fact that the “Kochtopus” and its funding left the Libertarian Party in a huff in 1983 (27 years ago, but who’s counting) and are now reportedly the largest donors to the Republican Party.

As many readers note in the comments, McFarlane and other critics fail to the note the role of wealthy people all over the political map, such as George Soros, in funding organizations that advocate for their viewpoints.

The actual Libertarian Party, unlike the fictional one subsidized by billionaires that McFarlane imagines, survives on small donations from individuals and small businesses, many of them struggling economically. The actual Tea Party, although in fact having Libertarian origins (The LP of Illinois gave Rick Santelli the idea for his tea party rant that set off the current wave of protests, and the LP has been doing anti-tax protests for many years before the “Tea Parties”), has in many places turned into a Republican Party front, opposed to even allowing Libertarians and independents on the ballot, and in staunch opposition to the wise policies quoted above which McFarlane ascribes to them.

As one reader notes,

Yes. Libertarians want to end welfare, legalize drugs, and allow prostitution. All which ravage the impoverished neighborhoods of America and contribute to the disproportionate imprisonment rates of minorities for non-violent crimes.

They as well as I would indeed like to see the IRS abolished along with the majority of extra-constitutional tasks the government has assigned to itself.

What you fail to understand is the ultimate goal of libertarian ideals. Libertarians are true progressives who envision a society that is well educated and comprised of individuals that have been empowered to choose their own path in life free of force, theft, or fraud. Only then will it be possible for the size and reliance on government to dwindle away as more and more people become capable of self governance.

If I may ask, what is the end goal of your political philosophy?

posted by paulie
  • stephenv

    Yes, a lot of libertarians are in the Tea Party movement, they simply haven’t come to grips with the slow transformation and hypnotic trance being cast by Fox News and social conservatives.

    Does this make them bad people? No. Just because you can see through the fog of bullshit doesn’t mean you’re going to have an easy time cutting through it. A lot of what the Tea Partiers stand for is actually very libertarian in rhetoric, substance and style, which is why it’s so appealing.

    We’re at the point where the liberty and small government message is actually being promoted wholesale and we need to be walking a step ahead, not a step behind.

    • stephenv

      As an example, the GOP is trying to steer them towards being pro-war… so the best way of combatting that is to point out how ridiculously expensive it is to fund all these troops and bases around the world and how much cheaper it would be to put our troops on our own borders to actually secure them (many of them are immigrant unfriendly, so this works in their favor since border patrol is a joke).

      Bingo bango… you give them two arguments in one without even trying and it’s totally consistent with the smaller government ideals that they want.

      • http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/author/pauliecannoli/ paulie

        I don’t want the troops at the border. I want them to get a job in the private sector.

        • stephenv

          Make that argument once you actually can get them within the borders.

          • http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/author/pauliecannoli/ paulie

            Unfortunately, the nature of government is such that it is a lot easier to create a new government program or expand one than it is to cut or eliminate one.

            So, if you join your voice with those who want to militarize the border more in the hopes that it will at least end or ease US military presence overseas, what you are more likely to get is both a more militarized border and continued military adventurism around the globe.

          • stephenv

            That’s true. But I think this would only serve to piss off even more small-gov types, no?

          • http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/author/pauliecannoli/ paulie

            What do you mean by “this” in the above? This post? Demilitarizing the border? Both?

          • stephenv

            No, getting the worst of both options.

          • stephenv

            Man, these comments are fucked… pretty soon it’s gonna be one word per line.

          • http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/author/pauliecannoli/ paulie

            That could be a design flaw for if/when the comments get busy again.

          • http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/author/pauliecannoli/ paulie

            Still not sure what you mean.

  • stephenv

    Here’s a new comment line so I can say that not all Tea Partiers are bad, and not all libertarians are good.

    Still waiting for Glenn Beck to come out in favor of drugs and legalization of one’s own body though… he seems like he’s ready to change the name on the chains from Obama to God, not remove them.

    • http://pauliecannoli.wordpress.com/author/pauliecannoli/ paulie

      I agree – not all tea partiers are bad and not all libertarians are good. But, I’d like Tea Partiers a lot more if most of them actually did stand for the policies McFarlane claims. As it is, I think most of them come down on the other side of those.