Libertarianism, Communism, and the Failure of American Vigilance
This is specifically regarding Libertarian economic policy and the immaturity, naivety, and unrealistic attitudes of some towards its supposed merits, not on Libertarian social policy, most of which I agree with.
Libertarians typically decry higher taxes, particularly on the wealthy, by citing the current level of corruption in the federal government and how that tax money will simply end up wasted on things like new wars, bank bailouts, etc. And they’re right on this point – that’s what the government is now, to be sure. But it doesn’t have to be. Unfortunately, it takes a vigilant and informed society, and government and corporations both are doing a grand job of manipulating the media to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Unfortunately for Libertarians, a Libertarian economic system also takes a vigilant and informed society to prevent abuses by corporations. Potentially, Libertarian economic policy could even create more problems, as the majority of our corrupt, high-level government officials already act primarily at the behest of shady corporate lobbyists, who act on behalf of the corporations that fund the government officials’ re-elections, in an age when it requires vast amounts of money to win an election due to greedy, unethical media executives who won’t give you positive or even neutral airtime unless you’ve bribed the right people. This creates an atmosphere that virtually ensures that those who are wealthy and amoral are the majority of those who succeed in politics. It also creates a barrier that prevents the average American from entering politics at any significant level, as they cannot afford to do so financially.
The whole system of laissez-faire capitalism is flawed, with a few notable and excellent exceptions, like competition in the free market breeding innovation, for one example. That’s a good idea, as long as someone can keep watch over the biggest corporations to prevent corruption (although you get into the whole “who watches the watchmen?” issue there, so this has problems, too – see the film “Boiler Room” for examples of that, because the reality of today is that even most of the SEC officials behind the bust in the film would be corrupt these days). I get why Libertarians think how they do, but the rabbit hole goes deeper than simple laissez-faire capitalism or communism, and the solution overcomes both of their flaws.
And lest I be accused of whipping Libertarianism too harshly, Communism has its flaws, too. It is too easily taken control of by the elite, or by a vicious dictator – or both. It requires a high amount of vigilance on the part of the people – a greater understanding of Marxist ideology and a commitment to refusing to allow an individual or group to seize control of the “government.” Let us not forget, Marx advocated that no state should exist at all – he warned us of the danger of the State, every bit as much as Hayek or Rothbard did – so the Soviet and Chinese governments that hijacked the revolution are a direct contradiction of what Marx actually hoped to accomplish.
In any case, the real focus here needs to be less on which economic system works the best, and more on methods of improving our collective vigilance as a society. It’s about our minds as a society and how they’ve been influenced and manipulated by those who would keep us enslaved. It’s about our collective inability to recognize misconduct by officials, and hold them accountable. It’s about our collective failure to pay attention to the things that matter, instead being distracted by the newest shiny gadgets, or the pursuit of riches. Most importantly, we’ve failed as a society to realize that we’re all just human beings, most of us are just trying to get by, and so we ought to act accordingly – what goes around comes around.
But again, all of that takes a vigilant, thoughtful, wise society. And that’s not the society we have. If we had that society, nearly any political or economic system would work – even fascism! To initiate success, our focus must be on the education of society to be more vigilant, thoughtful and wise, rather than on which political or economic system is best – they all have their benefits and drawbacks. But none works properly unless society is held to a certain standard – not crony capitalism, not Libertarian-ism, and not Communism. “We, the People,” must take the future into our own hands.