or, progressive socialism is not the greater evil.
After years of trying to make sense of how the world works, economically and politically, and how, according to some, it ought to work, I have increasingly come to the realization that the libertarian political-philosophical persuasion is the only one consistent with justice. A just society must necessarily be a free society. Specifically, one that is founded on libertarian principles -- private property, NAP, non-initiation of violence, easement & homesteading rights, etc. In fact, the “justness” (righteousness) of a society will increase in concert with and to the degree to which a society moves from totalitarian statism to democratic statism (of the neo-conservative or neo-liberal varieties) to minarchism to anarchism.
After spending a few zealous but misguided and ignorantly happy years occupied with mainstream GOP politics, including loyally and foolishly supporting the Bush-Cheney-Rove regime, despite serious moral misgivings, I encountered the Tea Party anti-establishment movement. The Tea Party started out as a populist, conservative revulsion at the Wall St.-run rigged market system and the desire of people to see Constitutionally-limited government and freer markets. It grew to bring under its wing other right-wing groups, such as the Patriot movement and isolationist economic nationalists.
Through the Tea Party movement, I discovered and read about the ideas of laissez faire, free markets and liberty. Through these, I discovered the life, writings and political career of Ron Paul.
If the Tea Party movement was my gateway drug, liberty and libertarianism became my crack. And the venerable senior Paul, my main pusher!
If the Tea Party movement was my gateway drug,
liberty and libertarianism became my crack.
Thus began a long period of discovering libertarianism, the Austrian school and great thinkers writers like Bastiat, von Mises, Read, Hayek, Rand and Rothbard.
This period also coincided with the financial crisis and the bailouts of the big banks, the Federal reserve’s QE programs and the rise of the Occupy movement, the democratic socialist and populist response analogous, politically, to the Tea Party movement on the right. I say analogous, in a political sense only. Their concomitant and public rejection of the Judeo-Christian foundations of American society and lack of common decency in demonstrations and protests alienated them from potential political allies on the Tea-Party right, who shared many of the same political goals.
Throughout my intellectual journey, I have come to love libertarian thought as it applies broadly to the political economy and, specifically, to the idea of a just society. Simultaneously, I have come to despise the progressive left-wing, as a festering cancer, responsible for injustice and suffering the world over. The progressives’ abandonment and vilification of traditional social values only served to reinforce my prejudicial abhorrence of all things left-wing, strengthening, for me, my belief that evil of one kind (progressive socialism) begets evil of another kind (murder of children), and vice versa. However, I also realized increasingly that my anger burned not against the greater evil.
the neo-conservative/neo-liberal statist establishment, constituted by the so-called moderate/centrist wings of both parties, form a political class that is more morally repugnant, reprehensible, bankrupt, corrupt and evil than the ideologically progressive (and, socialistic) left-wing could, in principle, ever be!
I came, at last, to the following realization : the neo-conservative/neo-liberal statist establishment, constituted by the so-called moderate/centrist wings of both parties, form a political class that is more morally repugnant, reprehensible, bankrupt, corrupt and evil than the ideologically progressive (and, socialistic) left-wing could, in principle, ever be!
Comparison of Modern Political Philosophies
For the following discussion it useful to highlight some political categories along an approximate left-right spectrum:
democratic socialism ↔ social democracy (neo-Keynesianism) ↔ neo-liberalism ↔ neo-conservatism ↔ libertarianism
Neo-conservatism, neo-liberalism and neo-Keynesianism share in common the fact that they attempt to mix laissez-faire classical liberal principles with government intervention, differing mainly in degree. Neo-conservatives favor strong military posturing, strength projection and adventurism in the name of building secular democratic nations. Neo-liberals believe in regulating the market for the good of the public and the commons. The recent corporate bailouts of businesses deemed too-big-to-fail, as well as heavy central-bank based monetarist interventionism (in the form of money-printing and artificial suppression of the interest rate) also arise from neo-liberal thought. Neo-Keynesianism promotes the idea of debt-fueled government spending on social welfare and public works and economic stimulus.
The first point I would like to make is this : neo-conservative statism is a greater moral evil than neo-Keynesian welfare statism!
The immorality of the welfare state pales in comparison to the immorality of the warfare state. The warfare state is propped up by the politico-military-industrial complex and is espoused by the establishment right and “moderate” Democrats. It consists of expansionary, interventionist, militaristic, imperialistic, hawkish foreign policy and the funding of continuous war through increased growing indebtedness. Furthermore, in the name of “national security”, it has overseen the gradual and now complete transference of war powers from the people (the legislature) to the President (the executive). This has led to a rapid erosion of civil liberties at home and abroad over the last few years -- e.g. NSA warrantless surveillance, bulk collection of metadata, indefinite detention without trial, CIA extrajudicial drone strikes and killings of American citizens, extraordinary rendition, etc.
The immorality of the welfare state pales in comparison to the immorality of the warfare state.
Compare this to the welfare state - à la Roosevelt, New Deal, Great Society, Friedmanian monetarism, Keynesian fiscal stimulus, Krugman (gasp!) - characterized by borrowing money to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects, public health and education and social safety nets.
It is claimed by libertarians that growing the government debt impoverishes future generations and also that government is an uneconomic actor when it comes to resource allocation and public investment. All of this is true. However, while a debt-fueled welfare state at least makes a feeble, well-intentioned (though, ultimately, inefficient) attempt to safeguard the dignity of human life, a debt-fueled warfare state feeds on wanton bloodletting. The moral comparison is self-evident.
Next, we move on, leftward on the spectrum, to compare democratic socialism (progressive socialism) à la Sanders and the Occupy movement with neo-Keynesianism, that characterizes the statist establishment.
It is said that democratic (progressive) socialism can be boiled down to the following principle : steal from the rich to give to the poor.
If one finds this morally abhorrent, how much more must one take issue with stealing from the poor and giving to the rich! For this is exactly the essence of the current neo-Keynesian regime.
If stealing from the rich to give to the poor is morally abhorrent, how much more so is stealing from the poor to give to the rich?
The current neo-liberalregime, under the aegis and diktat of the Federal Reserve, consisting of monetary expansion, QE, ZIRP/NIRP, asset price inflation and bubble creation, easy credit for the wealthy, well-connected 1% leading to entrenching of capital and prevention of creative destruction and the moving of capital from productive sectors to the financial sector, inordinately rewards those in power and those with money with more of it at the expense of the average Joe. And, none of this is free-market laissez-faire capitalism. No wonder then the recent populist anger regarding tax cuts for corporations, which sit on piles of cash, intending mainly to do stock buybacks to enrich the suits in power.
It should be clear that neo-conservative warfarism and neo-liberal monetarism, individually, and esp., in combination, form a morally repugnant and vile political statist nexus, which cannot be matched for by the democratic (progressive) socialists, in terms of sheer evil. Perhaps, libertarians would do well to direct their rage to the willfully evil as opposed to those who are, merely, willfully ignorant.
progressive socialism is not the greater evil
It should be clear indeed that progressive socialism is not the greater evil.
#QE = #easycredit = #monetaryexpansionism = #assetpriceinflation = #financialbubble = #inequality