A while back I made the claim that corporate personhood was an inherently corrupt and society-destroyingly vile institution. Since I was so obviously right I didn't bother checking the facts until recently. I say I was obviously right because anyone can usually be right by the simple practice of disagreeing with whatever claim Fox News, the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh, and most Republicans make.
Anyway, after doing a lot of research into what, exactly, Libertarianism is, since it seems to be some magic word used by Tea Party candidates to immunize themselves from being seen as the fringe-politic lunatics they so obviously are.
What I found, of course, was a bottomless pit of information that the vast majority of Americans would rather, to quote one Facebook friend, run their genitals through a meat grinder than read.
So for that reason I'll be breaking the following protest-sign-unfriendly text dump with pictures of a cat I found outside of a homeless shelter next to information about Jason Mraz, who is an awful human being.
"After hearing Jason Mraz for the first time, my house is now surrounded by the howling ghost of every dead rape victim for 50 miles."
There has been a trend in recent years in the American political arena for certain far-Right protest groups and politicians to self-identify as Libertarian. With so much extreme, violent, incoherent, and blatantly one-sided rhetoric dressed in the banner of non-partisan Libertarianism it's no wonder that many Americans have an inaccurate idea of what Libertarianism actually means (Gerstein, 2009). With groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party, as well as politicians such as Allen West and Michelle Bachmann and media pundits such as Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin calling for contradictory, extreme, and even impossible measures, this should come as no surprise. These include demands to eliminate government debt while cutting taxes, or calling for less government interference in individual lives while simultaneously demanding increased criminalization of minor offenses, as well as marriage and reproduction restrictions (Teaparty.org, n.d.).
With such confusion and contradictions, such as criticizing government regulations of corporations as interfering with the free market while ignoring the fact that corporations are, by definition and design, government interference in the free market, it should come as no surprise that the average American citizen has no clear idea of what Libertarianism really is.It is important to begin by defining what Libertarianism is, as far as the globally and historically accepted definition of the ideology.
Philosophically the movement began during the Enlightenment based upon the works of philosophers like Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, William Godwin, and John Locke. Libertarians believe in a limited, minimal government that concerns itself mainly with defense and protecting the individual's liberty from coercion, exploitation, tyranny, and abuse at the hands of large concentrations of power. Individual liberty includes such ideas as voluntary association, self-sovereignty, and freedom of contract. Libertarians view a laissez-faire market, free from as much government influence as possible as the best system to conduct interpersonal business. Research shows that modern American Libertarianism, as expressed by such groups as The Tea Party and Americans For Prosperity, has little in common with the globally and historically accepted ideal of the various Libertarian schools of thought, such as self-sovereignty, voluntary association, and a limited, minimal government.
"Jason Mraz is the noise abused housewives claim to hear 24 hours a day as they slowly descend into the madness that eventually manifests with them cutting their spouse's genitals off with a steak knife."
Self-sovereignty, the belief that an individual has absolute ownership of their own life and body, cannot be practiced in a system of hierarchical, authoritative power structures, whether that power structure be a governing body or a State-sanctioned and protected private institution, such as a corporation. While the Tea Party Right, and Libertarian's themselves, may argue that government is inherently evil and is best kept away from the market, there is an important distinction that needs to be made between Modern Libertarian calls for the deregulation of the corporate marketplace and the Classical Libertarian stance, which would be to abolish the corporate market altogether. Claiming, as modern Right-Wing groups do, that deregulating corporations will encourage laissez-faire free market practices ignores several foundational factors of the American Market that impede upon self-ownership
For thousands of years any market interaction of individuals was relatively small in scale. Even successful merchants and trade barons were somewhat limited in scope, and labor was valuable as the pool of laborers was somewhat limited in relation to the amount of available work. This changed during the Industrial Revolution, which took place around the same time as the birth of what came to be known as Libertarianism. Just as some philosophers, economists, and political thinkers were realizing the importance of the concept of self-ownership, labor was being replaced by machinery on such a scale that the old system of labor and capital was being replaced by a system of huge industries helmed by unbelievably wealthy and powerful capitalists. As a consequence of this the value of labor plummeted to a point that labor was worth only the minimum amount necessary to keep the working class from entirely dying off (Engels, 1847).
"If you play Jason Mraz near a sex toy it will kill its owner exactly 13 days later, and unless exorcised by a Highpriest of Dagon, will annually murder a virgin on the Winter Solstice."
As a result of this shifting dynamic the laboring class, existing under the delusion of self-sovereignty and the illusion of a fair and competitive market were, in actuality, placed in a position arguably worse than slavery. The reason for this is that while a slave or indentured servant is normally assured subsidence and some degree of security, in this new age of capitalist empire individual laborers were and are forced into competition with each other for the privilege of toiling for subsidence at the whims of the bourgeois capitalists (Engels, 1847). This system of wage-slavery survives in modern society in such areas as the misleadingly named 'at-will' employment contract, which often provides wages far below the poverty line and demands unrealistic levels of productivity from laborers, yet also denies those same laborers the security of long-term employment, liveable wages, or any mechanism for the workers to organize and petition the corporation on their own behalf, as evidenced by the levels of corporate downsizing, outsourced jobs, increasing poverty, vanishing labor unions, and large-scale layoffs throughout America in recent years, even as those same corporations report record profits for their CEO's and shareholders.
"If date rape made a noise, it would be Jason Mraz's impossibly shallow, douchey, insincere, frat boy songs written in the key of sexual assault."
True liberty, or self-sovereignty, is further curtailed in this system, as it often forces noteworthy and exceptional individuals to either accept one of the preconceived molds of this society, or to face alienation from the society as a whole (Mill, 1859). This tendency of big industry to force remarkable people into unremarkable lives through manufactured necessity or accident of birth is antithetical to the idea of self-sovereignty, and represents a tyrannical infringement on both the individual and society as a whole, not by a publicly accountable State, but by State protected private institutions in the form of corporations. This corporatism, largely ignored by self-identified Libertarians in America, cannot exist in a society that values individual liberty
Given this evidence, that post-Industrial Revolution capitalism, particularly America's system of corporatism, promotes divisiveness, class struggle, oppression, and hierarchical tyranny, it would be folly to call for an increase in unfettered corporatism as so many modern Libertarians do. Whether it takes the form of deregulation, union-busting tactics, or privatization of public institutions such as education or infrastructure, in practice these tactics lead to an increase of centralized, private power that invariably mimic liberty-eradicating systems, such as monarchies and police states (Werhane, 2000).
"If you drop a Jason Mraz CD in a garden, no vegetation will grow on that spot. Ever. The ground will periodically shriek in agony and vomit maggots, however."
Next: Further Findings, Conclusions, Sources, and Kid Rock