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Libertarianism’s finite definition of “liberty”…

Ron Paul’s presidential campaign has put his libertarianism philosophy in the spotlight and led to some healthy debate regarding its actual effectiveness as policy. By definition, it claims to hold individual liberty as the “basic moral principle in society” but yet Paul has expressed his repudiation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the basis of preserving rights of property owners, which is arguably a version of the same reasoning that led to the Civil War

OK, Paul is pro-life, so presumably he’d oppose slavery because of the act of aggression against a living being.

Or not:

Sure, Paul is opposed to slavery but is cavalier — in the libertarian style — regarding ending it. He bemoans the loss of 600,000 Americans during the war. According to the 1860 census, there were 3,950,528 slaves. Slavery is a living death — in the sense that you work for free until you die and with minimum coffee breaks.

The proposal of the U.S. “buying out” slaves from the South would violate Paul’s respect for property ownership by compelling slaveowners to sell their property. That would be a terrible precedent unless it’s based in the logic that slaves aren’t property. If that’s the case, then why are you paying slaveowners for them? The slaves would still receive nothing for their years of free labor, but their owners would essentially get ransom money. Lincoln could have dropped off the briefcase containing the unmarked bills in a deserted alley in Montgomery, Alabama.

Paul seems to forget that the entire Southern economy was based on slave labor. If I paid you $1 million for your entire labor force, which worked for free, you would still need to replace them and with people who’d expect wages. It wouldn’t take long for you to go bankrupt. The South would never agree to this. Though maybe they would be forward thinking and accept the terms, as the freed slaves would have nowhere to go and would conceivably wind up working for them for ridiculously low pay. The plantation owners might even be so kind as to rent them their old quarters back at ridiculously high rates. So, essentially, slaves in all but name. Everyone’s happy!

Come on, Paul, your philosophy can’t be this awful.

Let’s go back to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Segregation and racial discrimination in this country made life almost unbearable for blacks. Surely, Paul recognized this and believed the government needed to resolve it to protect individual rights?

Or not:

Chris Matthews and Ron Paul together are hard to understand but here’s what I gather: Paul believes it’s fine for private businesses to racially discriminate — even though such behavior is an expression of collectivism, which he claims to reject. He seems to live in an alternate reality where the racial discrimination Matthews describes (“whites only” at a laundromat and at a local bar) wasn’t effective. The “free market” would not have ended segregation and racial discrimination in the U.S.

For good or for ill, people are greatly influenced by social and legal convention. If racial discrimination is unlawful, then only a few fanatics would risk their own liberty by violating the law. The illegality of racial discrimination then makes it socially unacceptable, which results in significant alteration of behavior among the mainstream.

It’s one thing if we were talking about how to maintain individual rights in a country without racist, sexist, homophobic baggage. It’s quite another if we’re talking about the United States, which has so much of this baggage, even the largest plane would have trouble taking off with it all. It’s not enough to stop beating someone with a tire iron. You can’t just shake hands, suggest a game of touch football, and then expect a fair result.

I’ve only been to 1955 briefly after an incident in which I was escaping Libyans but Paul lived through it. He is either fooling himself or us if he does not acknowledge that not only was segregation the law of the land, it was a social norm. Businesses in the south that did not serve blacks would not have “gone out of business,” as he speculated. Quite the reverse: It would have been the businesses that dared serve blacks that would have faced financial repercussions.

Oh well, my father might have been sober and dirty in Paul’s libertarian utopia of the 1960s, but at least the rights of property owners are upheld. Those with power (“property”) can wield it however they choose over those without power (“property”). In essence, there are no individual rights because you only have the freedom that comes from the property you own.

When Dr. Paul prescribes the “free market” as a cure, he is promoting collectivism, which he claims to reject. If a restaurant won’t serve blacks, then they should have the right to do so and the individual has the right to go someplace else. Your “right” to eat in a restaurant or rent a hotel room regardless of your race is now based on the “free market” and whether the collective agrees. The individual is now Blanche Dubois dependent on the kindness of strangers who are willing to sacrifice their own meals or accomodations on her behalf.

Let’s see how Paul does with women’s rights. If he’s for individual rights, he certainly would oppose businesses treating women in a less than professsional manner based solely on their gender.

Or not:

Paul’s statements on sexual harassment are more of the same: Women are free to choose to leave an “environment” they don’t like. He doesn’t recognize that this is a burden that would fall on women more often than men, which would limit their careers greatly. No, he seems to think a woman not wanting to work in some “Mad Men” office where her male colleagues make offensive comments is about as frivolous a decision as her not wanting to work someplace that didn’t have Flavia coffee machines. He is at least against the workplace turning into the bar from “The Accused,” which is generous of him, I suppose.

Racial discrimination and sexual harassment are both crimes of collectivism — treating a person as an extension of a group rather than an individual. If Paul supports “individual rights,” then he would support laws that prevent this type of collectivist behavior. However, he always supports “property” rights — the rights of the powerful — first. If the government does not exist to protect individual rights, then it serves no viable function. The powerful don’t need help unless the actual goal is to make it easier for them to score a touchdown after beating you with a tire iron.

 
 

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Cain and Obama: Thrilla in D.C….

The latest polls show Herman Cain beating Barack Obama in the 2012 general election. This is based on a complex, scientific process of predicting how people will vote a year from now (i.e. “guessing”).

This is exciting: Two blacks fighting for the title for the amusement of a mostly white audience and it’s not Ali vs. Frazier. Let’s hope the build-up to the big bout is at least as entertaining.

Unfortunately, if Cain does win, he doesn’t get to be the first black president. Sure, the second black president is sort of impressive — he probably still gets to make a speech, kind of like the salutatorian at high school graduation, but few people listen. This is probably why Cain supporter Laura Ingraham claims that he would in fact be the first black president.

INGRAHAM: And what happened with Obama is that he gets this job that he’s not qualified for… OK, so [Obama is] Constitutionally qualified for but he’s not really qualified for. And guess who pays the price? All of us. Because we had such a yearning for history.

Well I have a question. Herman Cain, if he became president, he would be the first black president, when you measure it by — because he doesn’t — does he have a white mother, white father, grandparents, no, right? So Herman Cain, he could say that he’s — he’s — he’s the first, uh — he could make the claim to be the first — yeah, the first Main Street black Republican to be the president of the United States. Right? He’s historic too.

See, Obama, who was a U.S. Senator, was not qualified to be president and only won because we wanted to have a black president (it was on everyone’s wish list in 2008, along with the iPhone) but Obama has white relatives so isn’t really black in which case, if we act quickly before our warranty expires, we should be able to exchange him for Cain, CEO of a profitable pizza company and thus perfectly qualified to be president, who does not have any white relatives because obviously Ingraham would have researched something like that and not just talk out of her ass.

I’m not sure how far back in the family tree Ingraham is willing to go, but Cain is from Georgia and it was pretty hard for blacks to get through the antebellum South sexually unscathed. Slave masters weren’t that picky. They couldn’t have been because — putting it bluntly — having sex with a slave was probably like having sex with a homeless person. I’m sorry. Hate me all you want but you’ve been watching too many movies with Halle Berry or Jasmine Guy if you think otherwise. Slaves didn’t get access to the quality deodorant, moisturizers, and bath soaps. You think they got to shave their legs? Take all that away from even Beyonce and you’ve got something nasty in a weave. Now take away the weave: Scary, isn’t it?

Even the house slaves were probably legally required to be sufficiently less attractive than the mistress of the house. And the mistresses weren’t Vivien Leigh, either. Look at some paintings from the period. We’re talking about 4s or 5s to be kind, so Mammy is probably a 2 at best and the slave master is still putting on some Rolling Stones and violating her because the guy owns human beings, you expect rationality?

I know this implies that it was predominately Southern men going after slave women. I’m sure some bored antebellum housewives fooled around with male slaves but in a more sexist period, it was certainly risky. If she gives birth to a kid who looks like Obama, maybe she can pass him off as the master’s kid with a suntan and curly hair. If she gives birth to a kid who looks like Cain, it’s her ass unless she then claims that she was assaulted because she wouldn’t willingly have sex with a slave, she’s a good Christian woman, after all. So, her husband rounds up all the male slaves and orders her to identify the guilty one. She goes down the line, winking surreptitiously at the Shemar Moore-looking slave and then points at one of my ancestors, Jebediah Robinson.

Mistress: Yes, darling, that’s the one! I’ll never forget. It was horrible.

Jebediah: Really? Oh come on! (turns to Shemar Moore-looking slave). Dude, I thought we were friends. Look, when I said I’d be your wingman, I didn’t think I’d wind up in actual wings.

However, let’s say Ingraham’s correct and Cain is 100% black — much like the lady who flipped out on Jeffrey Dahmer in court. This would mean that the United States had gone “all in” on a black president. It’s like the guy who is bisexual in college but when you meet him a few years later, he’s dating men exclusively. If we elect Cain, we’re not pussy-footing around. We’ve gone all the way.

And it’s not even about skintone: As Cain says, Obama’s never been part of the “black experience.” Obama, after all, cowardly chose to not even be born when Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus, whereas Cain bravely followed his father’s advice to “not start trouble” and sit in the back of the bus.

“…If I had been a college student I probably would have been participating.” (Cain) said that, as a high school student, “it was not prudent” for him to be involved.

“Not prudent”? Well, if Cain’s elected, Dana Carvey can stage a comeback by impersonating him. Apparently, Cain’s father advised him to keep his focus on education and presumably the promising career in janitorial services he would have had without the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement.

“Did you expect every black student and every black college in America to be out there?” Cain said. “…You didn’t know, Lawrence, what I was doing…maybe, just maybe, I had a sick relative!”

If the Civil Rights Movement was the black Vietnam — although blacks fought in Vietnam, as well, but just try to follow me on this  — then Cain marched not in Martin Luther King’s path but Dick Cheney‘s and avoided service with, maybe, just maybe, a lame excuse.

But that’s all in the past. Let’s see who winds up king of the U.S. empire when Cain and Obama step in the ring! If my analogy holds, this means that we’ll probably wind up with a brain-damaged president regardless of who wins but we’ve been there before.

 

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Why your children will have English accents…

Conservative group backtracks on marriage pledge slavery language – Maggie Haberman – POLITICO.com.

It’s becoming a bit of an exhausting proposition to keep up with every idiotic statement or action Michele Bachmann makes during her campaign to insult every group to which she does not belong and to embarrass the ones to which she does.

The GOP has made it clear that our imploding financial situation is the most critical problem facing the United States so it seems appropriate in a Bizarro World manner that the party’s most high-profile candidates for president are focusing on private social issues, such as marriage equality, and the apparent pornography epidemic (I shudder to think what would happen to our economy if that were ever banned) and outbreak of Sharia law.

In her almost fanatical zeal to offend, Bachmann rushed to sign a “marriage vow” from the conservative Family Leader group without realizing that the only other person to do so was Rick Santorum. This is like showing up to a party and the only other guest is the host’s maiden aunt.

The pledge itself was mostly a pro forma effort with the expected anti-gay, anti-any-social-progress-from-the past-100 years sentiments. Sort of the right-wing version of a “Best of the ’80s” CD. There’s “Come On, Eileen,” “Take On Me,” and “Don’t You Want Me,” the lyrics to which (“You were working as a waitress at a cocktail bar”) most accurately describe what Bachmann should be doing with her time.

However, it turns out there was a surprise, “hidden track” to this pledge. Let me slow it down and play it backwards for you:

“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”

I would dispute the use of the word “household” to describe a one-room shack on a plantation, but I’m more surprised by the blatant racism of tying Obama’s ethnicity into this. I presume the Family Leader believes the white family situation has declined in the 21st Century, as well. No one blames Bush for “The Bachelor.”

A young Michele Bachmann (l) with a family friend.

This statement is mired in the faulty logic that “traditional values” trumps everything else. So, a child born in slavery right before one of the most volatile periods in U.S. history is in a better situation because he is in a two-parent household with a mother and a father (not a husband and wife, as that was not legal — the United States has a long history of depriving individuals of the right to marry who they choose.).

This historical myopia extends beyond race. There was also less divorce in the 19th Century, which is expected when you remove any need to compromise from the husband or any real independence from the wife. This is a social clockwork orange — looks nice on the outside but it’s not ideal upon examination.

The Family Leader appears to have derived its knowledge of black families during slavery from bootleg copies of “Song of the South.” There was some attempt to preserve a family unit but that was to prevent slaves from trying to escape. I tend to view that as encouraging the creation of hostages rather than building a strong, traditional family. The ultimate goal was to produce more slaves and the slave owners were not the Dr. Neil Warren of their day. If it were ever in their financial interest to divide up the families, they would do so with arguably less consideration than someone sells off a litter of puppies.

Bachmann has since claimed this “hidden track” wasn’t in the pledge she signed. She is proudly a post-modern bigot, not a more antiquated bigot found in a vintage store.

Meanwhile, she continues to surge in the polls. The upside is that this could be a replay, viewed through a fun house mirror, of Howard Dean’s candidacy in 2004. She’ll flame out quickly as conservative primary voters realize they actually want to win this thing. Republicans, though, tend not to settle as quickly as Democrats, so she could wind up with the nomination. The colossal blunder of her actually winning the presidency would trigger a little-known clause in the Treaty of Paris, which would revert ownership of the United States back to the British, which is probably for the best.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Political Theatre

 

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