Saturday, December 21, 2013

liberals and libertarians



The libertarian says that no one is my neighbor, while the liberal wishes to make the whole world my neighbor.  The former operates from an atheistic impulse, the latter’s is pantheistic.  Both converge to deny a nation or a culture, since they see either as traps.  From this, they toss around the word “fascist” like discursive chump change.
The liberal’s currency is indeed “change”, where research, white papers, reform programs, facilitators, and consultants thrive.   Due to their overrepresentation in academia, nonprofits, and the media, perfectly useless retoolings of education, social programs, and institutions form their cottage industry.  Think of it as a white-collar WPA. 
Libertarians aren’t immune to the change mantra, either.  There is the techno-rapture faction that imagines The Market as something between a Jedi Force and a kind of divine judge. 
In place of the social, both offer abstractions.  Liberals, the majority of whom are uncomfortable with prole-ish social institutions, offer an amorphous “community”, since that term lies everywhere and nowhere.  Theirs is the world of the affinity group, the ad-hoc collective, the on-line, “solidarity”, and above all, anything that generates grant money.   Libertarians have backed themselves into an ideological corner, where the commons is a prison, and the flow of capital constitutes grace.  Underlying both groups is a snarky sense of being above the customs and norms of society that you used to learn about in school, but no longer do without inflection. 
The libertarian believes in a Hobbesian state of nature, while the liberal has “evolved” to believe that there is no such thing as human nature.
They both love blank slates and zero-sum games, a fundamentally infantile obsession with the pure.  When you talk to either, you wonder if there are any adults left in the room. 
Liberals have embraced a narcissistic “all roads lead to us” historiography that castigates ancestors and hides descendants.  You, the past, are just an unenlightened preamble to me, the present. 
History for the libertarian is either a fetish or source material for a conspiracy theory.  They have no patience for the ebb and flow of events, as those detours distract from their ideology.
Liberals are the descendants of the Puritans, and are Baudrillard’s “True Latter-Day Saints of the Easy Does It Apocalypse”.  Nothing is personal anymore.  Everything- your thoughts, what food goes through your digestive system, your friendships-are political acts that damn you forever, or are markers for status whoring. 
Libertarians are frontiersmen, stripping away culture, society, moral obligations, and benevolence to some endpoint that lies over the horizon, where they will have the ultimate freedom to further defeat imaginary demons and oppressors, and like Ozymandias, erect monuments to themselves. 



After Empire

As our strange empire continues to implode, thankfully, I think it would be good for people to start thinking more about what this means and what changes it will bring.  I plan to discuss this over the course of several posts.

I don't foresee me getting all that far into the the knots and tangles of geopolitics- I've got some notions, but I'm going to confess that my ignorance of the balance of power means that I won't delve that much on, say, China.  I'm concerned about what an about-face in foreign policy means domestically, particularly since I don't think many really cover that turf.

When the sun set on the British empire, cheap products, access to shipping lanes and ports, raw materials and fuels dried up.  We can assume that the same will happen to us.