Dear Antiwar Progressives: We Are With You
Look. It’s no secret most of us at Antiwar.com are libertarians and/or anarchists (a Venn diagram of the two labels would only have a few of us outside the overlapping part…). But it’s never enough for some progressives that we are against every war, everywhere. They are affected by a Naomi Klein-like hysteria about libertarians — Milton Friedman’s followers run the world! The Koch brothers own and fund everything! — that still make them see us as an enemy. This is partly a misunderstanding of real libertarianism, a lack of knowledge of correct economics, or possibly just suspicion of our motivations.
“This should surprise no one. But those crazy Libertarians will still vote Republican no matter what because they hate taxes and corporate regulations more than they hate war.”
Now, I don’t know if he means Libertarian Party member-types, or those of us here at Antiwar.com. If he means the former — and I highly doubt it, otherwise it wouldn’t have come up — he’s more or less right. If he means the latter, he’s a liar. Not merely wrong, a liar. Because aside from an obvious affinity for a certain Ron Paul, we not only don’t vote for Republicans, most of us don’t vote. Further, we specifically cite war as the VERY REASON for America’s onerous rate of taxation and regulation — you can’t finance a war without privileging certain entities and taxing the crap out of everyone else: the classic give-take of state-corporate mercantilism. So really, it is an utter lie that we “vote Republican no matter what” because we hate taxes and regulations more than war. And it’s one I have personally seen repeated over the years by our various leftist detractors who don’t realize we are on the same side.
To further illustrate, I should bring attention to a piece by the fabulous progressive David Bromwich from last week. Everyone in Antiwar.com’s universe ran this piece, and normally we also would have. But as the on-duty editor on Friday, I decided not to. Why?
The article is entitled “George W. Obama?” and details the officials with whom Obama chose to surround himself. I have no issue at all with most of the list, including such odious punks as the career climber Bob Gates, vicious goon Rahm Emanuel, paternalist Cass Sunstein, and spineless Eric Holder; Bromwich also notes those whom Obama jettisoned apparently to burnish his centrist image. But the main one, and the first one Bromwich cites, is Larry Summers.
Summers is no libertarian, and frankly, not much of an economist. I am not offended that he is included in the list. Rather, I am offended that Bromwich is repeating the boring and hackneyed “Glass-Steagall” myth. That is, that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which prevented the commercial banks that hold the savings of ordinary Americans from engaging in speculative investment, was the reason for the 2008 crash. This is only true in the narrowest of senses — you have to ignore the entire body of US regulation and the actions of the various financial authorities to come to this conclusion with a straight face.
This is why I declined to run this piece. It does not go far enough by miles to explain the reason for the current economic disaster that continues to unfold. We live under a massive, overarching system built to favor gigantic connected corporations over ordinary people. This is NOT a free market, it is a heavily commanded one. It is one that purposely undermines the plans of ordinary citizens in favor of the plans of the few lucky enough to have the ear of the politburo. It’s called “fiscal policy,” and it is that for which “liberal” “economist” Paul Krugman gets paid to propagandize. Sadly, progressives unwittingly agitate for MORE of this evil system, thinking they will ever hold the reins. They will not.
To say, as many progressives did after the crash, that “everything was deregulated” is to fall into the trap of the power elite. The world’s biggest corporations love regulation — after all, they write it, someone else enforces it, and their alleged enemies on the left cheer this system on as they are taxed to pay for it. It’s insane. And it ignores all the other crashes of the last 200 years, all due to some intervention by the ruling rich into the voluntary economic affairs of everyone else.
So, no, anti-Antiwar.com progressives, we are not Republicans. We do not favor lower taxes over ending war — ending war lowers taxes! And what good is a healthy economy anyway when your government rampages over the world creating enemies who plot to destroy your wealth?
If you oppose war and its concomitant monopolistic control over the economy by connected elites, we are with you. But if you just want a D in front of the murderer-in-chief, it’s best if you left the real opposition to violence and institutional control to those of us who actually care about human freedom.
UPDATE: I wish this had been written and sent to me before I posted this — “Quantum Tuba” writes Don’t Tax the Rich, Smash Their Privilege: A Response to Warren Buffett, on all the ways a minuscule tax hike on the elites will do NOTHING if we don’t throw off the very system that would make theatrical motions of taxing them to keep us contently within this system. So to preempt a lot of commenters who still don’t understand what I mean: read this. Your precious state is the very entity shoring up the evil actors you hate.