Vanity Fair profiles The eXile: "Gutsy...visceral...serious journalism...abusive, defamatory...poignant...paranoid...and right!"
MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Class War For Idiots / February 12, 2010
By Mark Ames

tea party1

This article first was first published in Alternet.

While Tea Party movement followers ran around Nashville last week dressed up in their Paul Revere period costumes, blathering about their heroic struggle against Obama’s Islamosocialist tyranny, the right-wing elite that nurtures them, and their paid libertarian ideologues, have been openly advocating the abolition of America’s democracy in favor of a free-market junta, because, as they say over and over, voters cannot be trusted to rule themselves.

Here, for example, is how one popular libertarian pundit summed up the attitude: “To be a libertarian in a modern democracy is to say that nearly 300 million Americans are wrong, and a handful of nay-sayers are right.” It’s a quote so common among the Republican and libertarian vanguard that it’s almost irrelevant which one of them said it — I’ll get to this guy later, but suffice to know that he’s a tenured professor, and sitting pretty in the same billionaire-funded world of think tanks, institutes, and PR machines that launched the Tea Party.

That’s the dangerously authoritarian part of the Tea Party that we’ve forgotten about lately.

It’s evident even in Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo’s shocking “Jim Crow speech” that kicked off last week’s Tea Party Convention — when the out-of-the-closet xenophobe unveiled his Big Idea on how to preserve America’s freedom, he wasn’t just advocating more bigotry, but also a plan to roll back America’s overly-free democracy, replacing it with a rule of elites that uses “civics literary tests” as the justification for denying voting rights to tens of millions of “wrong” Americans, like minorities and people with funny accents.


Tea Party activist demonstrating what “freedom” would look like under a pure free-market system.

That’s what made the whole period-costume fetish party so surreal: the sight of all these people re-enacting the Founding Fathers revolutionary fight for democracy, while at the same time cheering on a plan that overthrows American democracy and restricts power to a vanguard elite — which presumably includes the kinds of draft-dodging rednecks and bipolar government-parasites like Tancredo.*Most of the gullible rank-and-file fools at the convention who snickered gleefully at Tancredo’s “I have a dream … of denying democratic rights to poor black kids’s families and brown kids’ families…” speech didn’t understand that in all likelihood, they too would have their “irrational” voting rights canceled, because their masters despise them. And they don’t even hide it. As incredible as it seems, these Republican and “libertarian” ideologues have been arguing that the real problem in America’s democracy is that too many people have voting rights, leaving America at the mercy of “irrational” or dangerous voters who elect the wrong people. They have argued that the only way to save America is by overthrowing this democracy and replacing it with an enlightened, free-market dictatorship.

One reason you don’t hear much about this is because most of them zipped up their mouths by the middle of 2008, when there was a real fear of a populist uprising and a new New Deal. But the Republican right-wing elite wasn’t always so shy; right up through the financial collapse, many boasted as publicly as possible about their dream of overthrowing the democracy and replacing it with a free-market dictatorship.

Take one recent example: Republican ideologue Kevin Hassett, a top economic adviser to Bush and McCain and who heads the right-wing American Enterprise Institute’s economic policy department where so many brilliant free-market ideas are incubated. In 2007, Hassett boldly questioned whether democracy is really the best way to preserve America’s free-market preeminence, in a Bloomberg column headlined, “Does Economic Success Require Democracy?“:

“Dictatorships are not hamstrung by the preferences of voters for, say, a pervasive welfare state. …The unfree nations will grow so quickly that they will overwhelm free nations with their economic might. … Meanwhile, democracies may copy many of the market-friendly policies of the dictatorships, but it seems unlikely that free citizens will choose to reduce their own political freedoms.”

This is a constant meme among libertarian free-market ideologues: Americans have too much freedom to decide their own freedom. Hassett worries that time is running out for the Republican free-market elites, who are locked in a suicide pact with the boneheaded majority of American voters, a mass of idiots too short-sighted to grasp how unregulated capitalism is the best thing for them. Instead of acting in their own interests and voluntarily voting to hand power over to a Chinese-style Politburo, we idiots keep on grunting for socialist policies like Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment insurance when we’re too weak to face unemployment on our own.

You’d think Hassett would have been driven into a cave after that column, but then again, this is the same guy who co-wrote one of the biggest embarrassments in finance literature: Dow 36,000, a book released 10 years ago predicting the Dow would soar to 36,000 in no time. We’re dealing with a professional huckster here, but that’s sort of the point–selling the gullible fools one kind of snake oil in 2000, pitching them another kind of libertarian snake oil today.

From the Republican elite’s perspective, abolishing democracy is a matter of self-defense for the rightwing billionaire class, which they expect everyone to sacrifice their lives for.

Bill Archer, an old free-market colleague of Tancredo’s, let loose the Republican elite’s loathing for democracy in a Wall Street Journal article back in 2001, bleating over the fate of his billionaire sponsors:

“Politicians may find it easier and easier to raise tax rates that apply only to a minority of middle- and upper-income earners in order to finance new government spending primarily benefiting lower-income individuals. The result will be class warfare at its worst and a sort of tyranny of the majority.”

You got that? Freedom is when an elite minority pushes the tax burden down the class ladder; tyranny is when the struggling majority votes to put a cramp in the super-rich’s Marie Antoinette lifestyle. Which is pretty much what another major inspiration in the Tea Party movement, Grover Norquist, once said. A few years ago, the notorious tax-slashing Republican lobbyist who heads Americans For Tax Reform told aRepublican Log Cabin conference:

“Democracies are dangerous. Look what happens in California where they pick on the richest ten percent.”

Yup, that’s dangerous all right. Norquist, who helped shape Gingrich’s 1994 Republican Revolution and who practically owned Washington during Bush’s first term, has always pitched himself as a radical libertarian whose goal is to “shrink the government until it’s small enough to drown in a bathtub.” Why does he want to shrink and murder government? Because government technically can be used by us — the majority — to one day threaten Grover’s rightwing billionaire circle’s monopoly on power and wealth. Kill off the American government, and the American people are left naked and powerless against the super-rich elites.

comparing wealth

Bryan Caplan, a George Mason professor, and one of the last up-and-coming libertarian ideologues before the 2008 crash, is one of the newest and most degenerate models in the libertarian cadet system. A graduate of the familiar Milton Friedman School of Hucksternomics, Caplan laid out this increasingly shrill hatred of American democracy back in 2007 in a book titled The Myth of the Rational Voter. Here’s how Caplan described his book:

The central idea is that voters are worse than ignorant; they are, in a word, irrational — and they vote accordingly. Despite their lack of knowledge, voters are not humble agnostics; instead, they confidently embrace a long list of misconceptions. Economic policy is the primary activity of the modern state. And if there is one thing that the public deeply misunderstands, it is economics. … So what remedies for voter irrationality would I propose? Above all, relying less on democracy and more on private choice and free markets… Another way to deal with voter irrationality is institutional reform. Imagine, for example, if the Council of Economic Advisers, in the spirit of the Supreme Court, had the power to invalidate legislation as “uneconomical.” Similarly, since the data show that well-educated voters hold more sensible policy views, we could emulate pre-1949 Great Britain by giving college graduates an extra vote.

But Professor Caplan also tsk-tsks his billionaire sponsors for their misguided soft-heartedness in their dealings with the rest of us: “As long as elites persist in unmerited deference to and flattery of the majority, containing the dangers of voter irrationality will be very hard. Someone has to tell the emperor when he is naked. He may not listen, but if no one speaks up, he will almost surely continue embarrassing himself and traumatizing spectators.” And just in case you’re wondering if there’s some nuance you’ve missed, Caplan drops the high theoretical mumbo-jumbo and lays it in terms any lughead could understand, during a Q&A at the Cato Institute:

Turning to Caplan, [the moderator] asked, “Bryan, is low turnout even a bad thing?” “No,” he replied to some laughter. “Low voter turnout is actually a blessing in disguise. One of the two key things that predicts turnout is actually higher education, and more educated people generally have more sensible views about policy.”

As to whether people should perhaps just be more properly informed, Caplan said, “If you can either encourage people who don’t know what they’re doing to not vote or at least not encourage them to vote, or you could have massive public education to raise the level of awareness in everyone up to the level of a Ph.D. — if there are even such resources in the universe — I think it’s better to just encourage people to be lazy. Say, ‘You know, if you don’t really know what’s going on, it would actually be the more responsible thing not to participate.'” That latter option, he said, is “much cheaper.”

And here’s what’s frightening: His ideas are celebrated as sheer genius by establishment outlets.Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times praised Caplan’s book in 2007, calling his blueprint for a Pinochet-like dictatorship, “the best political book of the year”; while the Harvard Political Review wrote, “While one may quibble with his specifics, the overall argument is convincing and applicable across a variety of fields … Forces the reader to take a second look at our nation’s unshakable faith in the wisdom of the electorate.”


Bryan Caplan: Portrait of a Waffentwerp

Caplan is the one whom I quoted at the beginning of the article, sneering at the 300 million Americans whom he’d like to disenfranchise and would if his Republican billionaire sponsors decided to pull the trigger.

This is a guy who should be chased out of town and out of our hemisphere. But instead Caplan’s what passes for “bold” and “thinking outside the box” in our degenerate era.

And besides, Caplan sits on the shoulders of giants when he talks that way — giant elitist assholes like Ronald Reagan, the hero of the Republican Party and a good part of the Tea Party movement. In a 1965 speech, he revealed his and his party elite’s loathing of American democracy, which he argued is the surest path to dictatorship and poverty:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority … always vote[s] for the candidate promising the most benefits from the treasury with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by dictatorship.”

Reagan sees us, the electorate the same way that the humans hiding in their vulnerable fortress saw the zombies in Land of the Dead: it was only a matter of time before we’d learn to use the democracy weapon, bust down the fence and pour into their hard-earned mansions, devouring and destroying everything with our socialist voting tendencies.

And the Gipper stood on the shoulders of other giants, like the crackpot midget Milton Friedman, whose free-market theories shaped the last three decades of our lives. What few people talk about is Friedman’s theory about democracy, and our fitness for it: in his mind, we majority of Americans are capable of rational behavior in the free marketplace (because he thought we behaved according to his models), but we are irrational when we act in the political marketplace (because we hadn’t always voted the way he’d like us to).

Or take Friedman’s free-market rival, Friedrich von Hayek, the Kaiser of Libertarian Crackpots, who famously praised General Pinochet: “Personally I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism.” The same Pinochet whom Friedman happily served in the 70s.

What about the $23 trillion Republican bailouts? Well, again, we’re too stupid to understand. The thing is, those bailouts had to be done their way in order to save us from the Road to Serfdom. It’s hard to explain, but basically, the anti-government conservatives in the Bush Machine saved us from that Road to Serfdom by turning us into serfs. You see, all along it was the Road that they warned us about, not serfdom — that road is really treacherous, and government funded, and just a bad place to be. We weren’t rational or strong enough to wean ourselves off of big government. So they saved us with their tough love, and stole the $23 trillion bailout for themselves before we could get our hands on it — which no doubt we would have done. In their hands, that $23 trillion debt makes us serfs, which is not as bad as the other alternative: we take the $23 trillion ourselves, leading us down the road to serfdom. Confused? If we were capable of studying economics, we’d understand the scientific logic of this reasoning.

Just as it took years for Milton Friedman’s ideas to go from the circus freakshow to respected state religion, so this budding libertarian idea of abolishing democracy to save America, given the stakes and the forces behind it, shouldn’t be dismissed. They’re thinking about it. So should the rest of us.


*Note: In 1969, when Tancredo was finishing his four-year stint as pro-war College Republican campus activist, he received a note in the mail from the Draft Board calling him up for duty in Vietnam — so the wobbly-kneed invertebrate ran screaming and crying to the draft board appealing for an exemption from the very same war told everyone else to die in. After making a total abject ass of himself squirting into his underwear before the draft board, they finally gave in and handed Tancredo the yellow-striped coward’s exemption he begged for — ruling him mentally unfit for duty due to “anxiety bouts” and “panic attacks.” It was the only government job he ever turned down — he believed that “sacrifice” meant sacrificing other people’s money and lives, not his own. After squirming out of the war, Tancredo spent the rest of his life sucking on the taxpayer teat, first as a junior high school teacher, then a state legislator, then a Department of Education federal employee (where he spent most of his time firing his colleagues), then Congressman, and finally, a Republican Party foundation-welfare queen.

This article first was first published in Alternet.

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

Click the cover & buy the book!


Add your own

  • 1. napoleonkaramazov  |  February 12th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    “but also a plan to roll back America’s overly-free democracy, replacing it with a rule of elites that uses “civics literary tests” as the justification for denying voting rights to tens of millions of “wrong” Americans, like minorities and people with funny accents.”

    Interestingly enough regarding voting rights, have you seen Yulia Latynia’s article in the Moscow Times about the election of Yanukovich in the Ukrainian elections. It is very similiar to these t-baggers

    I know you guys don’t really do Russia much anymore, but you should see this.

    It is basically the same premise. It’s very title is ‘Letting Poor People Vote Is Dangerous’. This is from supposesdly Russia’s only remaining ‘Liberal’ journalist.

    “Viktor Yanukovych’s victory in Sunday’s presidential election — not unlike the victories of former Chilean President Salvador Allende, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Adolf Hitler — once again raises doubt about the basic premise of democracy: that the people are capable of choosing their own leader. Unfortunately, only wealthy people are truly capable of electing their leaders in a responsible manner. Poor people elect politicians like Yanukovych or Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.”

    So there we go. Your crazy economists prefer Pinochet, so does she if she is comparing the election of Allende to Hitler.

    “Poor people are capable of feats of bravery and revolution. They can storm the Bastille, overthrow the tsar or stage an Orange Revolution. But impoverished people are incapable of making sober decisions and voting responsibly in a popular election. And this, unfortunately, applies to Russia as well. In the unfair presidential election of 2000, Vladimir Putin emerged the winner.”

    A complete crock of shite. This from a journalist who has a ‘freedom award’ from the US state department.

  • 2. calripson  |  February 12th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Actually the colonial era costumes are appropriate – the founding fathers were a bunch of rich elitists. No vote except for property owning white males. The word “democracy” shows up in the constitution/declaration of independence zero times. The country was founded as a republic not a democracy.

  • 3. Sublime Oblivion  |  February 12th, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    The best part of Latynina’s opus:

    Can you imagine U.S. voters putting a leader in the White House who is a puppet of the ruling elite and criminal clans?

    Fortunately for Russia, Putin knows how to put these freaks in their place. Obama on the other hand is a limp-wristed weakling.

  • 4. Pablito  |  February 12th, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Seriously, Ames, you can’t be this stupid. You must be doing this on purpose?

    Bryan Caplan, as you failed to mention, is an anarchist. He doesn’t have much to do with the GOP, or even the tea parties.

    But here’s the dumbest sentence:

    “What about the $23 trillion Republican bailouts? Well, again, we’re too stupid to understand. The thing is, those bailouts had to be done their way in order to save us from the Road to Serfdom.”

    Libertarians have been, across the board, completely critical of the bailouts. That’s half of what they talk about these days. Hayek himself attacked conservatives in The Road to Serfdom, a book you might benefit from actually reading.

  • 5. Diet Coke  |  February 12th, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Strangely enough promoting a landed aristocracy is exactly in tune with the Tea Party’s retro-revolutionary program. They would be hypocrites not to claim that this is what made America great.

  • 6. Innocent Bystander  |  February 12th, 2010 at 6:28 pm


    I think you are dragging Hayek into the wrong discussion. He would be rolling on the floor, puking his guts out if he had seen the Bush era with its loose credit, monetary expansion encouraging reckless risk taking and “irrational exuberance”, as the maestro called it. All that and other shenanigans that eventually left the country broke and millions out of work is what Hayek and Austrian economists always warned about. They are the guys who caution against encouraging economic booms in favor of saving, capital investment and steady economic growth. Unfortunately Keynesians have been running the asylum so none of the Austrian perspective has ever found its way into mainstream economic thinking.

    Essentially free market thinking says that every time a government interferes with the market for the “greater good” it turns things into a disaster. The pattern has been pretty clear starting with the new deal, culminating in Bush’s economic policy clusterfuck and ending in Obama’s disastrous bailout program.

    The precious social programs that everyone loves are built on a Ponzi scheme of 100 Trillion dollars of unfunded government obligations. Good luck paying for it when the bills come due. Of course these programs will just get bigger and problematic as politicians are trying to buy voters with their own money.

    Reagen actually had a very good point. As scary as it sounds democracies can’t work forever. Think back to the Roman Empire’s bread and circuses disaster. Once you start inflating your money supply and satisfying every need of the population through government spending, decline and collapse is sure to follow. Simply, it’s too expensive. Something’s gotta give. In America’s case, it should be her global military dominance that should give. It would be a good first step toward balancing the budget and getting back to fiscal and monetary sanity.

    The other problem is that democracies are built on a fundamental conflict of interest between the long term welfare of the country and short term career goals of politicians. A politician will sacrifice the golden goose of responsible governance and economic policy on the altar of reelection every time he gets a chance. Limiting the terms of politicians for, say, one 6-year or so sitting would probably resolve this problem but don’t look to the establishment to enact such a career-suicide.

    I could go on but I’m already getting a bit long winded.


  • 7. Allen  |  February 12th, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Superb article Ames …

    In times gone past, back in the day when Friedman’s Chicago team landed in Chile and promptly set about murdering college students, the libertarian-market fundamentalist types merely suggested that economic “development” should come before political development, and hence democracy might be tolerated “eventually”. Of course it was only a matter of time before the mask slipped, and these people would have to confess that, after all, democracy is too much of a nuisance to put up with.

  • 8. Allen  |  February 12th, 2010 at 6:51 pm


    Well actually even in Athenian Democracy, scourge of “Republic”-ans, and the so called first “democracy”, only white (specifically Greek) property owning males could vote as well.

  • 9. Allen  |  February 12th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Pablito: An Anarco-Capitalist by any other name is still … a libertarian.

    Just dumber on a few things and brighter on a couple other things.

  • 10. nampa1  |  February 12th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Isn’t the argument, that educated people vote libertarian/right-wing false? That’s where the falsehood of “democratic elite” was conjured from to describe teachers, office workers that are overwhelmingly Democratic. The truth is, the less educated, the more likely a Republican voter, eg unionists vote 40 percent Republican routinely. The exception would be high income earners, 150,000 dollars plus, which do often vote Republican. These people are in such a minority, though, that most statistical models eliminate them as outliers. This is why the Tea Party folks are s*** kickers that are functionally illiterate, a group of people I routinely do business with.
    Incidentally, the idea of ignorant voters, that’s what Leninism is based on: a vanguard party leading society into a new age, at which point it devolves power to the working class.

  • 11. Necronomic Justice  |  February 12th, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    This one goes out to my von Mises quoting friend from the last Ant-War radio entry.

    “You have the courage to tell the masses what no politician told them: you are inferior and all the improvements in your conditions which you simply take for granted you owe to the efforts of men who are better than you.”

    -Ludwig Von Mises, in a letter to Ayn Rand

  • 12. Diet Coke  |  February 12th, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    “These people are in such a minority, though, that most statistical models eliminate them as outliers. This is why the Tea Party folks are s*** kickers that are functionally illiterate, a group of people I routinely do business with.”

    Even more strangely, this would make the Tea Party base more democratic than most.

  • 13. Pablito  |  February 12th, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Allen, the apparent purpose of the article, like others that have appeared on exiled, has been to conflate libertarians with the Bush neocons. This is intellectually lazy at best, and deliberate bullshit at worst.

    The funny thing is the GOP would like to pretend the same thing, they love talking like libertarians without actually doing anything libertarian. They like the “brand” of limited government, individual liberty, etc.

    Considering Ames recently appeared on radio, a show hosted by a libertarian and affiliated with a website run by libertarians, I’m sure he knows better. Perhaps he’s just catering to his fans on the Left?

    If Ames wants to attack libertarians it’s fine with me, bring it on. But this article just makes him look stupid.

  • 14. Necrotic Brains  |  February 12th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    “Bryan Caplan, as you failed to mention, is an anarchist.”

    Ha! I knew I recognized that name from somewhere.

    An Anarchist critique of Anarcho-Statism
    Or refuting “anarcho”-capitalism by means of “anarcho”-capitalism

  • 15. Diet Coke  |  February 12th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    By the way, if you want a really hard core attack on democracy, you don’t read that nerd Bryan Caplan, you read Hans Hermann Hoppe.

    Democracy: The God that Failed.

    It’s a riot.

  • 16. Alex_C  |  February 12th, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    I remember when the teabagger thing started, it started with a call to send a tea bag, in the mail, to the White House for some reason.

    Now, I suggest we work to counter these teabaggers with…. teabags.

    Put a teabag out at 100 yards, can you hit it with a rifle? A teabag is about 2 inches on a side, 2 minutes of angle. Chances are you won’t hit it that often standing, prone or off a rest you should strive for a hit every time. Now, if you can hit a tea bag reliably, you can hit vulnerable spots on a teabagger. Say your teabagger is wearing Corpocracy-issued body armor and “fritz” helmet, no problem, vulnerable portions the size of a teabag will still be evident. Neck, face, a hand or foot, imagine the teabag on the teabagger and do what you’ve been doing in practice. Don’t let the teabaggers and their masters take away your organic farm, bomb you out like they did to MOVE, or bring in the tanks like they did in Waco. Your average teabagger will happily kill whoever its masters aim it at, for an extra $5 in pay and a ‘murican flag (made in China) to hang on their wall.

    The only way to fight them is the way the People, the Minutemen, did in our last Revolution.

  • 17. Homer Erotic  |  February 12th, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Republicans and free-market ideologues in this country do get a lot of their thinking from Ayn Rand, so this isn’t exactly surprising.

  • 18. homer  |  February 12th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Anti-War Scott isn’t going to be happy about this.

  • 19. Mike  |  February 12th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Mark makes some good points, but all think talk of libertarians and anarchists being pro-elite and pro-market is making me sick.

    Are we going to let the right wing hijack two hundred years of the most militant anti-hierarchical, anti-elite, anti-capitalist movement by stealing the words anarchist and libertarian? WTF?

  • 20. Fischbyne  |  February 12th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Love the pie chart. Now I know there are exactly 400 people who can justifiably call themselves “winners.”

  • 21. FrankMcG  |  February 13th, 2010 at 12:40 am

    “Randriod” is my favorite politcal term ever.

  • 22. FrankMcG  |  February 13th, 2010 at 12:40 am

    doh, that’s “randroid”

  • 23. Plamen Petkov  |  February 13th, 2010 at 1:18 am

    If USA is an example of what “democracy” is, I’d choose communism any time.

    Kinda long and meandering article, muddled without any clear point of view. Seems Ames is tailoring his writing depending on who is publishing it; that’s hardly being honest is it?

    Of course the average moron is irrational and not to be trusted. They overwhelmingly voted for Reagan twice, didnt they?

    Anyone still using words like “liberal” shows what a ridiculous shill he/she is. If I wanted to read crap such as this, I’d go to Ann Coultier.

  • 24. RanDomino  |  February 13th, 2010 at 1:49 am

    4. Pablito
    “Bryan Caplan, as you failed to mention, is an anarchist.”

    There is no such thing as anarcho-capitalism. Capitalism can’t exist without a non-consensual government of some sort.

  • 25. Allen  |  February 13th, 2010 at 2:54 am


    Well you raise an interesting point. Ames is right to link certain facets of libertarian thinking with the Bushites — and to point out a growing, inevitable, antipathy for democracy from this quarter. But is the Republican machine authentically libertarian? Clearly not. But there is no doubt that the Republican party draws on a whole universe of libertarian thinkers and organizations for its talking points, when convenient.

    What’s interesting is that no authentically libertarian party has ever been able to become an real political force in the U.S. — why not?

    It’s interesting to note that Grover Norquist, the man who once said the government should be bankrupted and shrunk to the point it could “drown in a bathtub” also is professed to be an ardent admirer of Richard Nixon. That’s a round about way of saying that libertarian talking points are good when the wealth class needs its taxes lowered, its employees brutalized, or some regulation dropped. But ultimately the pull of state power is inexorable.

    The U.S. is locked in as a plutocracy embedded in a national security state. The republic is long dead.

  • 26. unger  |  February 13th, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Necrotic Brains: I didn’t say Mises was right on everything. Insofar as he liked Rand, hated Christianity, thought Big Business was something you naturally get when the government leaves people alone, and defended the taking of usury as an economic necessity for coordinating time preference and capital use, he was a fool and a literary philistine. (On how many of those do you join him, I wonder?) I only said that it’s fucking batshit to try to make people equal through the State – i.e. by officially enshrining inequality – and gave you his very memorable words to that end.

  • 27. adolphhitler  |  February 13th, 2010 at 6:01 am

    @16..dude, you are my man. modern body armor has made the traditional chest shot obsolete with s handgun. Precision shooting is the only thing that will save us when the storm troopers come. just like when the serfs used stillettos to find the gaps in the knights armor after pulling him off his horse

  • 28. Dr. Luny  |  February 13th, 2010 at 6:57 am

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury. From that moment on the majority … always vote[s] for the candidate promising the most benefits from the treasury with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, always to be followed by dictatorship.”

    The hilarious thing is that this is exactly what happened, only instead of the majority robbing the treasury, it’s been a rich minority that has hijacked the political and economic system of this country to grant themselves largess, and it is almost certainly going to be followed by fiscal collapse and dictatorship, if that hasn’t already happened.

  • 29. ACCER  |  February 13th, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Once again Mark Ames use insults to explain to the “filthy masses” (whom he really despises) that it’s good for them to be taxed. Elitism at it’s finest.

  • 30. socialist  |  February 13th, 2010 at 8:12 am

    To make it simple, libertarians hate the good things about government, and love the bad things.

    libertarians hate:

    public schools, public transportation, jobs programs, aid to the needy

    libertarians love:

    the military, troops on the border with Mexico, the Patriot Act, military commissions

  • 31. brian  |  February 13th, 2010 at 8:52 am

    .*Most of the gullible rank-and-file fools at the convention who snickered gleefully at Tancredo’s “I have a dream … of denying democratic rights to poor black kids’s families and brown kids’ families…” speech didn’t understand that in all likelihood, they too would have their “irrational” voting rights canceled, because their masters despise them.”

    Beginning to smell like Germany in the 30’s around here

  • 32. Ghost of eXiles Past  |  February 13th, 2010 at 10:28 am

    @26 “Insofar as he [Mieses] […] hated Christianity”

    Oh, I’m sure he did…

    And as for his love for Rand, well, “birds of a feather stick together”.

  • 33. General Foods  |  February 13th, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Libertarians are not Republicans. They are ideological arm-candy for the Republicans: good for sound bites and blow jobs, and not much else. Libertarians do share a key characteristic of Liberals: the will to impotence. This is because most people with Libertarian or Liberal tendencies are doing pretty well in today’s America, and have no great desire for the status quo to change.

    I do credit Libertarians with one of the funniest political slogans of the 20th Century: “The Party of Principle.”

  • 34. mish  |  February 13th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    What the shit is this? Since when is Ames pro-democracy?

  • 35. BlottoBonVismarck  |  February 13th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    The ladies of The Exiled Gardening Club are taught to deal with captured Neocon Tea Baggers, at Progressive Central HQ, somewhere in the Republic of Berkeley. –

    The (very) British ladies of The Exiled and the lone Tea Bagger. Be afraid, be very afraid of British ladies pushed too far. @4:02 –

    We are _all_ infected by the mass psychosis of the Neocons and the Cheney junta’s slide to madness. “Two cases I am now treating are both outspoken anti-Neocons, and yet their dreams show that behind all the decency the most pronounced Neocon psychology is still alive with all its violence and savagery.” CG Jung, paraphrased.

    Dr. Stephen Bezruchka – Is America Making You Crazy –

  • 36. Diet Coke  |  February 13th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    “Beginning to smell like Germany in the 30’s around here”

    James Kunstler calls the Tea Party the “corn-pone Nazis”.

  • 37. wengler  |  February 13th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I’ve never understood American libertarianism. It really is economic fundamentalism at its worst, and just like religious fundamentalism is envisions some Golden Age of American capitalism.

    Liberty for the wealthy and freedom for the rich.

  • 38. Matt  |  February 13th, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Haha who the fuck called Caplan an anarchist?!?! That asshole has nothing to do with anarchism; it’s terrifying that people try to hijack an anti-capitalist political philosophy like anarchism with people who call themselves “anarcho-capitalists.” The term is not only an oxymoron, it’s just a synonym for right-libertarianism which gets off on exploiting other people for profit.

  • 39. geo8rge  |  February 13th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    The point you miss about the Teabaggers is they mostly depend on government income to get by. Next time you attend one of those things ask the people there where their money comes from. My guess is government pensions of one sort or another. They are not people who live off the free market, or for that matter people who live off capital.

  • 40. unger  |  February 13th, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    @30: You can’t have one without the other. Those good things aren’t free, and the police power is what makes people pony up for them. And monopolies – of which the police power is one – always tend towards abuse.

  • 41. Pons Seclorum  |  February 13th, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    “Actually the colonial era costumes are appropriate–the founding fathers were a bunch of rich elitists. No vote except for property owning white males. The word “democracy” shows up in the constitution/declaration of independence zero times. The country was founded as a republic not a democracy.”

    Why is there so much bemoaning of elitism here at the eXiled? Did not Ames himself write glowingly about Russia’s “elitny”? Did he not encourage the left to give up the pretense, admit their elitism and “start facing an uncomfortable fact: not only are we an elite, but we don’t like the People and they don’t like us”? So it is clear that those who identify with Ames do not oppose all elitism per se but if that is indeed the case, distinctions must be made (as Ames does between the “Tweedy Left” elite and the vampiric right-wing plutocrats)when discussing elitism. Case in point, the Founding Fathers had nothing in common with today’s neoliberal and neoconservative internationalists. So when they critique democracy, you listen and refrain from condemning them as “property-owning white males”.

    “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide”–John Adams

  • 42. Pablito  |  February 13th, 2010 at 4:55 pm


    I agree with your analysis 100%, and you’ll find that thinking very common among libertarians. Ames is certainly aware of this, and obviously knows a lot about libertarianism judging by the article. But he must be catering to the folks at Alternet.

    It’s also funny how my post has driven all the “left” anarchists in the woodwork in to a rage. Hey guys, why not actually read the history of American anarchism, or even anarchism in Europe. Look up Benjamin Tucker or Lysander Spooner. Individualist anarchism is a long tradition, and that’s all “anarcho-capitalism” really is, though there’s been some attempts to turn it in to a sort of neo-fascist philosophy by the likes of Hans Hermman Hoppe. But I digress…

  • 43. Diet Coke  |  February 13th, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Let’s not get our libertarians mixed up. The Randians are the neo-fascists, since they combine elitism and utopianism with ultra-violence and homoeroticism.

  • 44. captain america  |  February 13th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    @30: i have yet to meet anyone who calls himself a libertarian and supports the patriot act. i’m a registered and (until recently) active libertarian, and the patriot act is right up there with the drug war and the war in iraq on the list of things every libertarian i’ve ever met despises.

  • 45. Necronomic.Justice  |  February 13th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    @42 I am not in a rage over anything so silly. It sucks that “anarcho”capitalist do nothing but make it even more confusing than it already is for people to understand what I mean when I call myself an anarchist.

    Anyhoo, I am pretty sure Tucker and Spooner were both opposed to wage slavery, and other forms of usury. They advocated a very useless praxis, but whatever. It’s just that no matter how much as the “anarcho” capitalists like Caplin, Rothbard, etc, want to graft themselves into the anarchist tendency, they are not part of it, they just aren’t.

    I do not understand why people who is not a part of such a misunderstood and despised tendency would have such a hard on for co-opting the name? Help me out here.

    But in the end it’s cool. Whatever. The statists stole the words communist and socialist from us, I guess it’s only fair for the capitalist to steal the words libertarian and anarchist.

  • 46. calripson  |  February 14th, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Let’s get this straight – everyone with the ambition/IQ to get to a position of power or wealth is an elitist. I don’t care if you are fat cat American “republicans”, vanguard of the proletariat intelligentsia, or soft and fuzzy euro social democrats. The average person is a moron. Ames knows this, I know this, Lenin knew it, and you know it too. If you want to study a desriptive political theory study a theory of politics of the elite like Gaetano Mosca. Ames is against the plutocrats not because he loves the people, he is against them because he is a poor journalist who went to Berkley for liberal arts, not Wharton for finance. His motivation is pure and simple: envy and revenge…and he’s right. The wealthy are by and large bastards, and if Ames ever found a way to cash in he would fit in well..look how much he enjoyed Malibu !

  • 47. Diet Coke  |  February 14th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Really what’s so bizarre about this story is not that the Tea Party are elitists, it’s that they are morons who believe they are elites.

  • 48. Pons Seclorum  |  February 14th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    “The average person is a moron. Ames knows this, I know this, Lenin knew it, and you know it too.”

    You think the Founders knew this as well and therefore took the needful steps to safeguard the republic from democracy? Why condemn them then, Cal?

    “The wealthy are by and large bastards, and if Ames ever found a way to cash in he would fit in well..look how much he enjoyed Malibu!”

    Perhaps, but Ames would enjoy it only if his wealth were genuine and not the upshot of an inflated, elastic currency.

  • 49. calripson  |  February 14th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Hey, I never condemned them for it…more power and props to the Founders, Jefferson et al pulled it off and got to live out their days as top dogs nailing all the mulatto slave tail they could handle. As for Ames, he doesn’t give a damn how he gets wealthy (genuine or not) as long as it allows him to get “elastic” in old age with 21 year olds and grants him the ability to visit the golden triangle when the urge strikes.

  • 50. Necronomic.Justice  |  February 14th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    “The average person is a moron.”

    I am going to have to play the Carlo M. Cipolla’s Basic Laws of Human Stupidity card now,

  • 51. Pons Seclorum  |  February 14th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    “Ames is against the plutocrats not because he loves the people, he is against them because he is a poor journalist who went to Berkley for liberal arts, not Wharton for finance. His motivation is pure and simple: envy and revenge…and he’s right.”

    But why is Ames right in his resentment when he knows that the plutocrats made their fortunes by dubious means, i.e the parsitism of the bailout schemes? Most, if not all, of their wealth is a chimera.

  • 52. destouches  |  February 15th, 2010 at 3:51 am

    the schizoid screaming mess of your country reflects perfectly in this article, like most of your others btw. no line of thought leading anywhere, just self contradictions ad nauseaum and feeble conclusions if any. the fact is, usa is today a mostly jewish selfdestructive oligarchy devoid of center and direction, thus giving way to the new, more quiet and resolute kids on the block, china and russia, that will eventually stop this unbearable cacophony coming from your side of the atlantic. quite an entertaining distraction to have amidst the solemn tranquilty of the austrian alps.

  • 53. ACCER  |  February 15th, 2010 at 6:44 am

    Once again Mark Ames use insults to explain to the “filthy masses” (whom he really despises) that it’s good for them to be taxed. Elitism at it’s finest.

    That chart of how wealth is distributed is also interesting. It fails to mention that USA is richer than most countries and that even if you have low income in USA you still have more than most middle class people in other countries where “wealth is more evenly distributed” (which is just another way of saying you want to make everyone equally poorer so no one gets jealous and everyone’s life suck equally much).

    I bet Mark Ames would love it in prison. Everyone is poor and miserable, and everyone gets raped in the ass everyday. Equality for all! Hoooraay!

  • 54. Josephus P. Franks  |  February 15th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    True, Friedrich von Hayek was an idiot. But he was a boatload less stupid than his self-styled latter day followers. If they were to read his Road to Serfdom with a few functioning neurons to assist them, they’d recoil in shock from his advocacy for massive estate taxes (oops, sorry, “death taxes”) to even out opportunity; massive government intervention in the economy to eliminate pervasive externalities, government regulation in labor, health and safety matters, etc., etc.

    But what should one expect from such ideologically lobotomized fools?

  • 55. Christo  |  February 15th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Nice post, Mark. Can’t the neocon comment trolls come up with anything better than ad hominem replies?

    For those who are still catching up, ad hominem:

    “an argument which links the validity of a premise to an irrelevant characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.”

  • 56. SK  |  February 15th, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    We should expand government and its powers to regulate, so we can protect ourselves from wealthy parasites. This will work because individuals involved in government never collude with private businesses, respect their constituents and always follow their own rules.

    Come on, Mark.

  • 57. meistergedanken  |  February 15th, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Oh boo-hoo, those nasty billionaires are funding the Tea Parties – you mean like GEORGE SOROS FUNDS MOVEON.ORG??!!?? Where’s the article on that, douchebag?

  • 58. Chris  |  February 15th, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Most people lack the analytical ability to competently think through their political ideologies.

    This ranges from the average and plentiful non-thinking american morons who are told by the media, using emotional, religious and patriotic psychological triggers, what opinion they should form/club they should be in, to the people who have the potential to think for themselves, but most often fall short with a conclusion that emotionally feels “good enough” for them but is either based on incomplete logic, a desire to be associated with an economic class higher than their own, or an outright self serving mercenary philosophy to their lot in life regardless of their realistic ability to attain what they desire in a purely competitive society.

    What I just described encompasses 99.9% of any countries population, and is also why almost any population, in a democratic country, can be mostly manipulated to vote for whoever the elite deems their favorite for power.

    This is why that scumbag Reagan’s statement, and more accurately Churchill’s similar statements, about the dangers of democracy hold reasonably true. The statements need not be in the context of preserving the..ahem.. “free market”, but are more accurately applied to todays situation of the people actively supporting and participating in the diminishment of their individual civil rights and social welfare. A democracy of idiots can lead to despotism, when voter opinion is actively controlled by corporate media and a mostly unregulated campaign finance policy. But the conclusion of “taking away” the voting rights of the many is an ironic example of the incompetent thinking of the very type of person that such a suggestion is meant to limit. Fucking idiots. We are truly a nation of intellectually limited children. As Ames suggests, that move would lead to the loss of all rights faster than anything else. The segregation/elimination of any persons rights endangers the rights of all. And no, I do not agree with the legal philosophy that corporations are persons.

    But I digress…

    Most people would be well served to analyze the conflicting “principles” of their individual political affiliations in the context of an exponentially expanding population.

    You cant be a neocon, support the anti-contraception agendas of the religious right, and profess libertarian ideals at the same time. The increase in population directly hinders the practicality of libertarianism, and increases the mandate toward socialism.

    You cant be a Neocon politician who secretly supports a porous Mexican border, to undercut the Native labor market to the benefit of business, and still expect the country not to fall into turmoil when the population explodes with no social programs to prop it up.

    In short, libertarianism works in smaller populations relative to land and resources. Socialism is required as population rises to prevent a serious degradation in the quality of life for most people. You cant have a large population, a free market with limited socialist policies, and social order (The Neocon agenda – except they dont care about social order). That only leads to hell/debt slavery for the many, and insane wealth for the very, very few. That is why 99% of Neocon supporting middle class republicans are absolute morons. They vote against their own welfare more than any other type of voter.

    A libertarian (lack of) government is a long lost and impossible dream with todays population numbers. Although, in low population countries, it would be a reasonable ideal.

    We need to look to the very functional governments of the Scandinavian countries, which have the highest level of effective democracy in the world, combined with the highest levels of social egalitarianism. Until the vast majority of voters start caring about themselves enough to learn and think, they will be continuously fucked.

  • 59. Jyp  |  February 15th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Libertarianism is a religion. As you can see from the above comments. The USA has been a deregulated nightmare since Reagan and the result is unmitigated disaster.. but the kooks, well they want more deregulation. They want to kill the state. Why? Well.. some guy in Austria said it was a good thing to do. If we only sacrifice all the workers and give all the wealth to a few super oligarchs, why then, everything will be perfect! Peace at last. It’ll be just like those nice stories mummy used to read ’em at bedtime.. the prince in his castle.. the happy serfs.. the birds atwitter.. the deers bounding in the forest.. blah blah blah.

    These people are certifiable. THESE are the people who seriously should lose the right to vote. Look at the mug on that retard Caplan. I wouldn’t let that fucking idiot play with matches.

    When people believe insane antisocial shit, we lock ’em up for their own good. Medicate ’em so they don’t hurt others. These idiots want to hurt EVERYBODY! Why? Oh, because some fucking AUSTRIAN said so. Some evil immoral Russian bitch said so. We got to chop holes in the bottom of the boat.. TO LET THE WATER OUT!!

    Alice Rosenbaum was a fucking communist plant, part of Kojeve’s Synarchist gang. Her project to destroy capitalism from within has worked ONLY TOO WELL!

  • 60. unger  |  February 16th, 2010 at 2:03 am

    Jyp: Must you make it so painfully obvious that all you know about ‘dudes from Austria’ and this country’s wholly nonexistent ‘deregulation’ came from television soundbites?

  • 61. Tommy Jefferson  |  February 16th, 2010 at 7:59 am

    This article is an incoherent mess.

    I thought I hear Mark on

    If so, he would know the difference between libertarians, anarchists, and Republicans.
    I thought he knew.

  • 62. ACCER  |  February 16th, 2010 at 8:28 am

    “Libertarianism is a religion.”

    No, statism and the belief that the government can fix anything is a religion.

    You talk about some people shouldn’t be allowed to vote, how about taking voting away from the left whom after seeing collectivism thoroughly and repeatedly fail spend most of their time making up excuses for the fail left wing nations.

    And those oligarchs you talk about are put in power by the LEFT.

    Every time a major US corporation is about to go out of business the left lobbies, protest and demands that the government give bail outs and money to the corporations. They talk about 6000 or 10 000 jobs being at risk and use it as an excuse to make the oligarchs more and more powerful.

    No company is to big to fail, the bigger they are the harder they fall. The only problem is that the unions, the left wingers and other mentally retarded people don’t want big corporations to fail, it’s too much of a hassle to start new corporations that perform better.

    Here is a list of ways the oligarchs persuade you to give them more money:

    1. Be patriotic, buy American cars/steel even though it really is cheaper and better for you to buy non-American.

    2. Bail us out, just look how these poor American workers are risking their jobs. Give us your money.

    3. Protect us, we can’t survive on our own, so we need you to stop international completion, even though the international market offers better and cheaper products since it has been subjected to more competition.

    So after you retarded left wingers have given the oligarchs your money, sworn to buy their shitty products and stand obedient with a gun at the harbor protecting them from the evil foreign goods, after you’ve done all those things you cry about libertarians being to nice to the wealthy oligarchs.

    There is a word for people like that LUNATICS.

  • 63. nampa1  |  February 16th, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Why would “the left” vote for bailouts to unregulated, non-producing elite banks? I think most of the left wanted a jobs program, a la FDR, direct mortgage bailouts, single-payer health care.

    I think libertarianism is a nice idea, but in today’s complex, capital intensive world, it would inevitably lead to monopolies and all that goes with them (i.e. it already happened).

  • 64. Myf  |  February 16th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Very nice piece Mark, I wish every media outlet wasn’t owned by corporations and sponsored by people who are firmly against the public knowing these things.

    I don’t understand any libertarian older than college age. Libertarianism is an ideology for people who realize the system is wrong but are too naive and uninformed to understand why. A half balked ideology like nazbols but without enough mass appeal (I wonder why a party full of bearded fat guys who think everyone else is stupider than them isn’t popular) to be barred from election.

    The points about the government empowering corporations is true, but libertarianism becomes a sprint to the bottom in any implementation other an utter 100% total libertarian everything, as we’ve witnessed in the us since the late 70s.

    I really hate people who talk about people being stupid and irrational, as if simply disagreeing with their enlightened views makes them no better than a farm animal. This amazing capitalism that manages to do its best to destroy capitalist economies every 10 years. Praise its glory

    The ideal system is an economic democracy with publicly controlled commons in the framework of an Islamic communism (the labor theory of value appears in the Quran 1000 years before Marx) where submission to God replaces submission to head of state. let’s get started

  • 65. proletariat  |  February 17th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    The saddest thing about these articles is not that they are true, but that not a single reader will do a single thing to make them untrue, even though they have ample power to do so.

    There was a time when working people thought they had nothing to lose but their chains, now they love the chains too much to even struggle against them.

  • 66. ACCER  |  February 17th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    nampa1: Maybe you’ve missed the part about Obama giving bailouts? The left wing politicians never say they give money to the elite, they say they give “to the worker” so the worker can keep his job.

    Have you ever wondered why the owner of a major corporation needs government money when he has a luxury house and millions in assets? If his company is doing so bad he shouldn’t be rich anymore…

    Myf: The system is wrong, but it’s wrong because we don’t allow companies that should fail to do so.

  • 67. proletariat  |  February 17th, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Obama isn’t a left wing politician, ACCER. A left wing politician would have nationalized the offending companies and put them into worker trusts.

    In the case of the bankers, the leftist would have simply put them up against the wall, outlawed speculation and moved on.

    Only in the narrow spectrum of America can Obama be considered to be even near the left.

  • 68. Necronomic.Justice  |  February 17th, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    @64. Myf

    Are you saying the Koran has some kind of relevant critique of industrial capitalism?

    Fascinating, go on, tell us some more.

  • 69. nampa1  |  February 18th, 2010 at 12:35 am

    I think my point still stands. Though the purported reason for the bailouts was to prevent economic collapse and save jobs, this was probably for popular consumption.
    Nationalization and running the banks for the benefit of economic development would have been better, but was politically unviable.
    No one can disagree that the deregulation of the banks (Glass-Steilgall, et al) was the cause of all these bubbles.
    Obama was a bigger dud then even this site predicted.

  • 70. Palmer Eldritch  |  February 18th, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Hey ACCER,

    Are you pathetically old?

  • 71. klauposius  |  February 18th, 2010 at 5:18 am

    Hm. So what you are saying is the Tee Pees are basically shooting for the kind of system they have in china with out the overt government ownership of corporations. In China the government owns the corporations. In the US the corporations own the government. In practice there is probably no difference. If only Hitler had been alive. If only Franco had been a little more creative. If only Mousilini had been more fortunate. They would have understood.

    Corporatisim is slightly left of fascism. Tea partiers are slightly right of fascism. As things rise, they converge.

  • 72. klauposius  |  February 18th, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Forces the reader to take a second look at our nation’s unshakable faith in the wisdom of the electorate.

    Me: Who ever believed in wisdom of the electorate? I do not think I have ever heard voters called rational. We don’t have democracy because voters are rational. We have democracy because whether we are crazy or not, the government belongs to us. Rational thought is not a condition of democracy and it never will be. If it was democracy would disappear overnight. Rational thinking is certainly welcome but you will grow old waiting for it.

  • 73. ACCER  |  February 18th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I am the first to admit that it’s incredibly difficult to make a libertarian state that doesn’t end up being taken over by corporations, but I still think it’s possible. Generally corporations lobby, persuade and manipulate politicians to get privileges that other citizens doesn’t have and it’s precisely that we need to stop from happening. The solution is to have no money to lobby for too begin with. Reduce the size of government and how much budget the government have and will be pointless to lobby.

    Palmer Eldritch: I know you have sex-fantasies about older men, but I don’t swing that way.

  • 74. unger  |  February 18th, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    @65: Well, there’s Joe Stack, may he rest in peace…

    @Necronomic Justice: Obviously one shouldn’t look to Islam for any great smashing of authority…but it does take a very, very hard line against usury, so in that respect, yes. Google ‘sharia finance’, sift out the reich wing ‘o noes it funds terrists’ sites (there are a lot of them), and …well, you’d find it interesting, anyway.

  • 75. Jim Vail  |  February 20th, 2010 at 2:10 pm has got pretty good stuff, is libertarian, and their radio station interviewed Mark. Mark said it could be worse without Obama, and the reporter had to push Mark to rethink that statement. What is Mr. Obama not continuing from the Bush Doctrine – unlimited war, neoliberalism, imperialism to the hilt, banker bailouts, screw the unwashed masses. But Mark was spot on when he spoofed a Libertarian view of the Holocaust (the markets will work things out). Stick to the specifics – Obama and Bush are one and the same, or did you also vote for change.

  • 76. tim  |  February 21st, 2010 at 6:54 am

    @60: About Sweden, and how it should be emulated… Let’s not forget that Sweden enjoys a pretty special position. It is right next to oil-rich Norway, for one, which it gains part of its wealth from by trading with them, and it has high population density.
    Think of when the USSR was founded- there was low population density, Russia was a rural country, and the new government forced people to come to cities, because the it recognised that building a zillion hospitals, one in each tiny little nowhere town, was impractical.
    Setting up a social welfare network in the US would take a lot of resources, because the distances are so great. And if, during a boom period you have the means to set it up, doesn’t mean the entire mechanism will resists the shock of a hard economic downturn, which would challenge society’s ability to keep providing the same level of services in the many ten-thousand person towns all over the country.
    I do think it is doable, and worth doing, but very difficult. An obvious way of funding the effort would be to make military cuts, but if that even went through, if for example the US closed a lot of overseas bases, then what would happen to pro-US regimes in those countries? And if those regimes fell, what would happen to the US businesses there? And if they fell, what would happen to the profits that would help fund our hypothetical social welfare network?

Leave a Comment

(Open to all. Comments can and will be censored at whim and without warning.)


Required, hidden

Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed