Tuesday, 20 December 2011

In the name of Freedom

George Moonbat has kicked off to attack Libertarians in the Gruaniad. Time to put on my fisking gloves.

Freedom: who could object? Yet this word is now used to justify a thousand forms of exploitation. Throughout the rightwing press and blogosphere, among thinktanks and governments, the word excuses every assault on the lives of the poor, every form of inequality and intrusion to which the 1% subject us. How did libertarianism, once a noble impulse, become synonymous with injustice?
In the name of freedom – freedom from regulation – the banks were permitted to wreck the economy.

In the name of freedom, taxes for the super-rich are cut. In the name of freedom, companies lobby to drop the minimum wage and raise working hours. In the same cause, US insurers lobby Congress to thwart effective public healthcare; the government rips up our planning laws; big business trashes the biosphere. This is the freedom of the powerful to exploit the weak, the rich to exploit the poor.
Well George, here's the rub. Freedom also includes the freedom to earn money and the freedom to do nothing. It's the freedom of choice. Ugly as it is, it means the freedom to sell your labour at the price YOU dictate, not the power of the State to force you not to work because your labour is only worth £5.99 an hour. Banks didn't wreck the economy. Saving the banks with our money has wrecked the economy. Politicians demanding that, in the name of equality, a worker on minimum wage *must* have what the rich have has wrecked our economy. Demanding banks lend to unemployed black men in string vests who could never afford to pay it back has wrecked the economy, not Libertarians. The powerful who have exploited the weak are not Libertarians, George, they are the Politicians.

Rightwing libertarianism recognises few legitimate constraints on the power to act, regardless of the impact on the lives of others. In the UK it is forcefully promoted by groups like the TaxPayers' Alliance, the Adam Smith Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, and Policy Exchange. Their concept of freedom looks to me like nothing but a justification for greed.
Libertarians do not adversely affect the lives of others. It is our core principle. We seek freedom FROM others, not the power to act on the behalf of, or to the detriment of others. It's why we aren't Tories. We do not have the right to interfere in the lives of others and kindly request they grant us the same. If wanting wealth achieved through creating things that people want to buy, rather than being forced to buy is "greed", so be it.

Modern libertarianism is the disguise adopted by those who wish to exploit without restraint. It pretends that only the state intrudes on our liberties. It ignores the role of banks, corporations and the rich in making us less free. It denies the need for the state to curb them in order to protect the freedoms of weaker people. This bastardised, one-eyed philosophy is a con trick, whose promoters attempt to wrongfoot justice by pitching it against liberty. By this means they have turned "freedom" into an instrument of oppression.

No, George. I do not exploit anyone. It is not Libertarians ripping half the wages out of the hands of the poor every week to hand back to them in tax credits and aircraft carriers. It is not Libertarians carpet bombing the poor of Iraq or telling people they may not buy whiskey at 5pm on a Sunday. It is not Libertarians buying up bankrupt financial institutions at a loss with money forcibly extracted from those on minimum wage. That, my dear George, is the all powerful State. The greatest instrument of oppression yet known to man.

It is the poor who need the most protection FROM the State. Ask the citizens of North Korea.

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