How Drudge, Assange, Greenwald and the Pauls Are Unifying Under a Libertarian Banner

My Wednesday column that feels like a Tuesday column because of the three-day weekend:

Tuesday afternoon, Matt Drudge, the notorious paleoconservative fire-eater and former mentor to Andrew Breitbart, tweeted, “It’s now Authoritarian vs. Libertarian. Since Democrats vs. Republicans has been obliterated, no real difference between parties…” He rapidly followed it up by tweeting, “Why would anyone vote Republican? Please give reason. Raised taxes; marching us off to war again; approved more NSA snooping. WHO ARE THEY?!”

Since the late 1990s, The Drudge Report has been the go-to news destination for the Republican Party and the conservative movement, not to mention some of the more hackish members of the news media. While Fox News Channel was still in its infancy, Drudge was already the standard-bearer for a blossoming right-wing answer to the so-called “liberal news media.” He was one of the primary cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq, as well as an apologist for every bungled scheme and trespass of the Bush administration, including such issue areas as waterboarding, warrantless eavesdropping, climate crisis debunking and so forth. For Drudge to so publicly and resoundingly reject the Republican Party, and to do so in a way that sounded eerily similar to something Glenn Greenwald or David Sirota would blurt (minus the “raised taxes” gripe of course) was shocking to observe.

It should be clear by now exactly what’s going on.

As the far-right and the far-left grow increasingly pissy about their respective stations, and, more importantly, the fact that the two major parties are rightfully taking them less seriously by the day, these two seemingly disparate factions are converging under the banner of libertarianism. Strange given how libertarianism has been historically associated with the far-right, but these groups, having moved so far to the extremities of the political spectrum, have clearly found enough common ground to join forces… [CONTINUE READING]

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  • CygnusX1isaHole

    The real Libertarian is Barack “Ayn Rand” Obama, Crusader of “Free Market” Utopia obsessively paying fealty to the Libertarian God of “Free Markets”

    “So I believe deeply that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history.”

    - April 3, 2012 – http://tinyurl.com/7kyuxgw

    “I believe that the free market is one of the greatest forces for progress in human history, and that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not the government,”

    - October 27, 2012 – http://tinyurl.com/lvejp9h

    “We believe in the free market [and] a light touch when it comes to regulations.”

    - June 6, 2012 – http://tinyurl.com/lj3r9hw

    “The free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history. It’s led to a prosperity and standard of living unmatched by the rest of the world,”

    - December 6, 2011 – http://tinyurl.com/k2rnjdx

    • drsquid

      Not everyone who says the words “free market” is a Randroid, kook.

      • CygnusX1isaHole

        Why would Obama repeat his deep belief in the “Free Market” over and over and over and over and over again like an Ayn Rand cultist?

        Here’s another admission from Obama that he’s a Libertarian:

        “We are fierce advocates for a thriving, dynamic free market.

        - February 11, 2011 – http://tinyurl.com/yf75m52

        (I bet Obama has a life-size Ayn Rand poster over his bed! Perhaps a Rand Paul poster too!)

        • GrafZeppelin127

          Because every time he says something like this, he always adds something like:

          But I also share the belief of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln — a belief that, through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.

          - April 3, 2012 – http://tinyurl.com/7kyuxgw

          “But I also believe that the free market has never been about taking whatever you want, however you can get it,” he goes on. “Alongside our innovative spirit, America only prospers when we meet certain obligations to one another, and when we all play by the same set of rules.”

          - October 27, 2012 – http://tinyurl.com/lvejp9h

          “But…the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you want from whoever you can. It only works when there are rules of the road to ensure that competition is fair, and open, and honest.”

          - December 6, 2011 – http://tinyurl.com/k2rnjdx

          Like most liberals and progressives (or at least liberal and progressive pragmatists), President Obama understands that we can have both free markets and regulations; both public and private sectors; both personal responsibility and social justice; both individual initiative and collective action, and that none of these things negates any of the others.

          Why tell only half the story to validate a narrative, when only a moment’s investigation of the full context belies that narrative? Why is validation more important than understanding?

          • Kitty Smith

            Because nothing matters more than making other people hate President Obama. For… reasons.

        • D_C_Wilson

          What Graf said. Pulling remarks out context is something Foxbots do. You might as well be screaming, “You didn’t build that!”

        • drsquid

          Right. Quote mining. You’re as pathetic as the creationists who dig up quotes to “prove” that proper scientists are really young-earth creationists.

    • Scopedog

      What. The. Hell.

      Nah, I got nothing. Except a realization that for some, reality just flipped upside down–black is white, up is down, and Obama’s just like Bush and has got Ayn Rand quotes tattooed on his biceps.

      I need a drink.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    One of the many, many things about “libertarians” that I find amusing and depressing at the same time, is that they actually believe that if there were no government, no laws, no regulations, no infringements on individual autonomy whatsoever, that either (a.) no one would be able to exert power over them, (b.) that no one would want to exert power over them, or (c.) that no one actually would exert power over them.

    Are they even remotely familiar with human history?

    If the existence of homo sapiens on this planet teaches us anything, it’s that it has been driven by little other than some homo sapiens exerting power over other homo sapiens, by virtue of everything from brute force to rule of law and everything in between.

    “Libertarians” like to pretend that humanity has two choices: Have a government and be subjected and subordinated to its power, or don’t have a government and be “free.” In reality, if there are indeed only two choices (which I would dispute), they are either: Have a government and have a say in who gets to exert power over you and how, or don’t have a government and have no say in who gets to exert power over you and how.

    I know there are some “libertarians” who may think that they’d be the ones exerting power over others if only there were no government to appropriate and deprive them of that power-wielding ability. But regardless of whether they see themselves as unjustly oppressed or unjustly-neutered oppressors, the whole thing is an absurd fantasy.

    And let’s leave aside all those fair-weather libertarians, who are totally fine with having a government to wield power over them as long as it’s controlled by Republicans.

    What is it about losing elections that drives so many people to feel opposed to and victimized by the whole concept of civilization? When the Mets lost the NLCS in 2006 (thank you, Tom Glavine, Aaron Heilman and Carlos Beltran), I didn’t call for the entire game of baseball to be abolished.

    I wish I could take libertarians seriously, but I can’t. They admire themselves too much. They’re the heroes of their own private mythology. It becomes insufferable after a while.

    • Kerry Reid

      Hell, WINNING elections (j.e., the White House twice in a row) has turned some pseudo-lefties into feeling oppressed and victimized because That Mean Uppity Black Man acts like he’s the president of the entire United States, rather than their personal vicarious vengeance-machine/puppet who will say exactly what they want when they want him to do it..

      I think there’s a good reason why people like AOLrianna, Cenk “Armenian Genocide Denial” Uygur, Ed “Dems should stay home in 2010″ Schmidt, etc., etc. all have backgrounds as Republicans. It’s not progress they really want — their Manichean (and money-grubbing) world view doesn’t allow for nuance. All heroes and villains, all the time. So if ANY part of government or an administration has let them down, then ALL of it is bad.

      I seriously wonder how some of the people who think like that manage to ever hold down jobs or have adult relationships, since they live in a world where they are BETRAYED by evil forces constantly.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        Right- and left-wingers share two common traits, in my observation:

        1. They both really enjoy feeling victimized, wronged, betrayed, oppressed, put-upon, &c., by elected Democrats; and

        2. They both believe that the best way to achieve their policy preferences and their respective ideological utopiae, is for Republicans to win the next election.

        • Kerry Reid

          Because then there will be a REAL revolution! Ask them “So — you gonna lead it? You gonna get out in the streets (and no, the right-to-camp OWS thing doesn’t count)? Your arms painted on? Go for it, Bub! Start that revolution!”

          Of course they won’t — just as when they talk about how things have to get “bad enough,” they don’t mean for THEM personally. So kill-the-bill leftie idiots could talk about “collateral damage” in the healthcare debate (i.e., letting people die without insurance rather than settle for anything less than public option or immediate single-payer — never mind it took Canada 30 years to get their system fully in place). Because hey — they had insurance so what was most important was kicking sand in the faces of those BIG BAD CORPORATIONS!!! (You know — the ones a lot of them work for, the ones who provide the products on which they craft their screeds, etc., etc.)

          So they were okay with letting Americans go uninsured rather than settle for anything less than the full “victory” to which they were entitled. Despite the fact that they were unable to elect single-payer advocates to Congress in sufficient numbers to make that happen. Now, before our friend here chimes in with his/her usual “but polls show Americans want single payer!,” talking point, let me remind everyone that opinion polls pass two kinds of legislation — Jack and Shit. And Jack left town.

          Yet even after cold-bloodedly demanding “Kill the Bill!,” these sociopaths could STILL feel “victimized” by the notion that their metadata was being collected..They are Manichean narcissists and I do not want them in my foxhole, thanks.

        • Scopedog

          Which will ultimately lead to the reverse. And yet, since 1968, they STILL haven’t figured this one out yet. You’d also think that the years from 2001 through 2009 would make things absofuckinglutely clear as glass, but as 2010 showed us–and how things are going in 2013–it hasn’t made a dent.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Never ask a libertarian how their utopia would actually work in the real world. Their answer is always, “It just will! And you’re a socialist!”

      There are basically two kinds of libertarian uptopias. One involves everyone living in their own private, fortified bunkers as autonomous, self-sufficient islands. No one ever has to be worried about being attacked by a superior force because organizing an army requires cooperation and that just won’t happen in this utopia.

      The other one is the world of Mad Max where they’re the leader of the biggest gang and everyone differs to them because of their obvious superior qualities.

      Needless to say, if any Randroid ever had his dream come true and found himself in his favority uptopia, they’d shit their pants and run to the nearest place that’s protected by a government in less time than Atlas Shrugged Part 1 spent in theaters.

      • Brooke

        I once asked a libertarian to name one single libertarian society that was successful. He stated that America 1776 was the only one he knew of. Imagine that, the making of our own Democratic Republic 237 years ago was the only libertarian society he could come up with. These folks are crazy.

        • GrafZeppelin127

          Usually at that point I ask them to name one that actually had things like electricity, indoor plumbing, motorized transportation, and real-time telecommunications.

        • drsquid

          It was so “successful” they had to junk it and come up with a constitution.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        I think they’d call me a “statist” before they call me a “socialist.” From some conversations I’ve had, anyone who believes that we ought to have any laws at all, or that the word “government” could mean or be taken to refer to anything other than abject, arbitrary, unjustifiable, oppressive tyranny.

        I once wrote on Daily Kos that “government tyranny” was a contradiction in terms, because “government” — in its strictest, non-count-noun sense — implies legitimate, lawful authority, and the other implies the arbitrary exertion of power; rule, not law. [When I taught Lord of the Flies I always spent time distinguishing authority from power when discussing the symbolism of the conch shell; it symbolizes the former, not the latter.] I got the proverbial sh** kicked out of me by libertarians who insisted up and down that the words “government” and “tyranny” were, in all possible contexts and usages, interchangeable synonyms.

      • muselet

        Yeah, they really don’t like that question.

        –alopecia

      • Scopedog

        Or you could just ask them to play BIOSHOCK….Honestly, I give that game credit for having the stones to show the libertarian “utopia” for what it is–a complete farce, only benefiting the anointed few.

    • Scopedog

      “I wish I could take libertarians seriously, but I can’t. They admire themselves too much. They’re the heroes of their own private mythology. It becomes insufferable after a while.”

      Well said. God forbid they actually get to form a little fiefdom of their own to try out their, er, _ideas_. It won’t be pretty.

      (But to get a hint, you can play the first BIOSHOCK!)

      • GrafZeppelin127

        It’ll be pretty for about 5 minutes. Then it will get decidedly and increasingly un-pretty. When it does, they’ll abandon their “ideas” as they come to realize they’re unworkable — just like every other civilization in the history of the world.