Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Let's All Make Fun of Princess Pocahonanoke

So I finally saw Avatar. Eh.

I was prepared for the fact that I discovered myself--it was really, really predictable. I was also not very surprised that I left the theater thinking about the movie's politics. Granted, I was thinking about what was wrong and right about its politics as well as how the movie could've been, like, a million times better if it had approached things plot-wise any one of a billion different ways than the one it did.

It kind of irked me, though, that I was manipulate-able enough to get sucked into thinking seriously about environmentalism for the first time in a long time. But I did--the next day I got two books from the library on the environment. One had a bunch of tips from National Geographic or something about how "you" can live more environmentally conscious. I didn't look at it any longer than it took to let me know I am not in a position, at this time, to do any of their suggestions.

The second book--which I read about half of and skimmed the other half of--was by a guy from L.A. with a beard who was talking about the history of our society's rediscovery of the "enchantment" of the environment (his word). How hypnotized by the liberal media I must have been to pick up a book by an L.A. bearded guy on the environment in the first place. But actually, it was pretty interesting.

L.A. Beard traced the history of the environmental movement, with Thoreau and John Muir and Rachel Carson and the Sea Shepards and The Monkey Wrench Gang and Snail-Darter-Gate and George W. with a pitchfork and all that. My understanding of it goes a little something like-a this:

By the end of the 19th century, the Great Honkey Empire of the U.S. had sarparilla-saloon outposts from sea to shining sea, made possible because all the Indians had been corralled into concentration ca--I mean reservations. Meanwhile, the whole Industrial Revolution had the whole steampunk, dark-Satanic-mills thing going on with tuberculosis and handless orphans and Karl Marx and whatnot. Since there was no more frontier and no danger of getting scalped by Indians, people started to think that the small amount of untouched wilderness we had left was pretty cool, and they even started thinking of Indians as being a bunch of gentle forest denizens who knew the ways of Mother Earth (like those big blue cat-things from Pandora). This all got a big boost with the hippie movement, which pretty much turned to environmentalism in the '70s because the Vietnam War was winding down and, let's face it, they needed something else to complain about (Which I find oddly understandable, by the way).

Which brings us back to Avatar, and the noble savages therein.

Of course, I had some problems with the movie's message, and I knew going in I wasn't alone in having problems with it.

I didn't really care that it made distinct parallels with the Iraq/Afghan War yada yada (who hasn't done that?). I was kind of bothered, however, when it took this passion play in two directions:

1) It made it clear that the Earthicans were totally bad and the Smurwoks were totally good, which would insinuate that the terrorists fighting my friends' friends out east right now are right to kill Americans.

2) It switches those roles when it stages a 9/11 allegory with the destruction of the Keebler Elf tree, where the Earthicans act out the Muslim side.

Why don't I like this? Let me count the ways I can confuse you with more lists:

a) The whole point of anti-war movies is to say that the war you're protesting shouldn't happen because the issue is not black-and-white and/or because there are good folks on each side.

b) There is a good case to be made by people who aren't College Republican chickenhawk virgins that our current military actions in the Middle East are at least in a substantial part due to considerations other than oil. Like not getting blown up. Whether this is a smart way to deal with terrorism is maybe a related issue, but not related directly to this movie and its "unobtanium".

c) If Earthicans = Yankee Blackwater pig-dogs and Smurwoks = colonized Third World organic farmers who include the Muslim world, then the attack on Hometree should've been reversed, in the name of allegoryThat is, the Nav'i should've blown up a bunch of Earth civilians. What? It was meant to twist things up and make people think? Well, how come every other thing in the goddamn movie corresponded to its symbolic counterpart?

As I said, I know my criticisms aren't any more original that the movie itself. This is evidenced by "Dances with Smurfs", the recent South Park episode that lampooned Avatar. If I talked about pop culture on this blog more often, you'd know that South Park has way more influence on me than the Bible and Shakespeare and my parents combined. And here's where we get into other issues.

'Til next time ...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lower Taxes on Lower Incomes

It seems the Senate has passed a healthcare bill that takes back one of the president's promises. Back in February, Obama promised that families earning under $250,000 a year would not have their taxes increased. Unfortunately, the Senate healthcare bill just passed under the oversight of Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid seems to involve certain loopholes that could lead to some taxpayers in this bracket paying higher taxes.

According to an editorial by Deroy Murdock published in today's Wooster Daily Record (from a Scripps Howard News Service distribution), this loopholes seems to apply to small-business owners who may file personal returns with earnings under $250,000, who could be paying higher taxes if they don't give health insurance coverage to every one of their employees. This may be unfair, although it is arguably not connected to the spirit of Obama's promise or pertinent to the majority of working Americans who earn less than $250K.

However, this is still a violation of Obama's promise, and it does not bode well. Apparently, this is what happened, according to Murdock's editorial:

Sen. Mike Crapo (R, Idaho) tried to enforce Obama's pledge by deleting from ObamaCare all taxes on families earning less than $250,000 and individuals making under $200,000. Every Republican supported Crapo's amendment. All but five Democrats ganged up and killed it.

There are other tax increases in the Senate bill that may cause trouble for ordinary Americans--at least according to Murdock--like taxes on medical devices or on health insurance companies themselves, which however well intentioned, probably will mean higher costs passed on to consumers as the companies being taxed jack up their prices to make up the difference. This is shitty, but it's how things work in our shitty economy. This is not my primary focus, though, since I don't actually know enough about economics to go through the arguments for and against such things in detail. I'm primarily worried about higher taxes on lower-income people directly, since this is what Obama promised would not happen.

I could go into detail about how Senate Democrats' actions apparently lend evidence to the assertion in my last post, that there is a danger that contemporary left-"liberalism" may put the government before the people in the name of using the government as a stand-in for the people. However, I don't feel like being that smug, though it is oddly interesting in a coldly detatched way. However--in part because I myself as well as most of my friends are currently in this tax bracket--I have a slightly harder time than normal looking at this issue through a detatched lens.

Murdock makes no secret of being extremely biased--justifiably or not--toward the Republicans and against the Democrats. Nationally distributed ditorials selected for my small-town paper tend to be conservatively biased. I don't know how many small-business owners file personal returns with under $250K in earnings, and I don't know how many working people will be affected by a loophole that appears to affect small-business owners.

All I know is that here is one liberal hippie-dippy Obama voter who's pissed off that Democrats can turn their back on their most...democratic values, and work to undermine a promise by a president of their party who many of them, if not most of them, claim to support.

Obama must do everything he can to make sure his promise is fulfilled, and work to quash any language in a finalized healthcare bill that would go against his promise to the taxpayers least able to pay extra (like me, for example).


Murdock, Deroy. 30 Dec. 2009. "Santa Harry's gift of new health taxes." Wooster Daily Record, A4.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Are You Sick of Me Talking about Obama Yet?

Wow. I think part of me didn't really expect him to win. Or at least not to survive assassination.

When I published the first draft of my last post, I'd just voted and nobody knew the results yet. Now we do, and I'm gonna have to put up with four years of my friends and family bellyaching about how awful my presidential pick is.

Yesterday I got my first real misgiving about voting for Hussein Osama. A Navy vet friend of mine was telling me how he heard Obama was going to reduce funding for troops in Iraq, essentially leaving them unsupported in doing their job. My friend said in effect (and this is NOT a direct quote), "They should either take the troops out of Iraq or else give them what they need to do the job."

I agree. I felt terrible that I voted for a man who would half-assedly leave American servicepeople to fight a war they didn't have the funds or wherewithal to fight properly. I didn't even have the guts to tell my friend I voted for Obama. Then I went back to the U.S. News and World Report "Ultimate Voter's Guide" to remind myself of what I'd read Obama's stance had actually been on Iraq. I have to admit to using the info in btoh U.S. News and Newsweek to make my decision last Tuesday--damn liberal media.

Anyway, here are some quotes from U.S. News and World Report about Obama's stand on Iraq, to clear up any possible misconceptions:

Afghanistan, Obama says, should be America's top priority. He says Iraq "never was" the central front in the war on terrorism and has called for withdrawing U.S. combat forces within 16 months of taking office, leaving behind up to 60,000 troops for support missions. The shift would free up more troops for Afghanistan and cut down on Iraq war expenditures--now some $10 billion a month.
Bottom line. Iraq is less violent but remains deeply unsettled. Obama will have trouble pulling out combat forces as quickly as he wants, while McCain will quickly run into the limitations of a strained U.S. military. Because U.S. troops cannot be two places at once, Americans may have to decide where the greatest threat now lies: in Iraq or in Afghanistan.

--Mulrine, Anna. "Iraq" subheading in "Where McCain and Obama Stand." U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 27, 2008. Page 50.

From the same issue:

THE FLIP: In January 2007, Obama introduced a bill that would have removed all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of March 2008. During the campaign, he has pledged to remove combat forces within 16 months of taking office. THE FLOP: Over time, he has said he might "refine" that pledge based on advice from commanders and the situation on the ground. THE BOTTOM LINE: His original proposal allowed for some flexibility on the timetable, and his aides say that Obama would keep up to 60,000 support troops in Iraq past the deadline. Either way, new qualifiers keep emerging.

--Reske, Henry J. "Measuring the Candidates' Flip-Flops." U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 27, 2008. Page 53.

There is the possibility that tjose 60,000 support troops could be the type of under-supported Vietnam-type troops that military-boosting opponents of Obama fear. I can't prove that it isn't

It should be noted, however, that even McCain, in saying he could keep troops in Iraq a hundred years, qualified his remarks by saying that would only be "as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed" --U.S. News said he was "comparing it to Japan or Korea."

[see U.S. News, Oct. 27, 2008, page 54, author unknown--I have to admit this is from an article on both candidates' spins, including Obama's.]

So all in all, I think Obama isn't going to pull a Vietnam on us, at least so far as he's able. Maybe it's the wrong decision tactically or strategically or whatever, and I really, really, really hope that such a tactical miscalculation won't result in more American body bags, but based on the info I have now, I think it's as good a decision as we have the option of.

Ideally, I don't want any of our boys and girls (especially not my one other friend still in the Army National Guard) to die in Afghanistan either. However, considering that the war on terror is probably not being staged in a Hollywood studio the way the moon landing was, we might have to stay there, and if we're going to stay in Afghanistan, that's all the more reason for us to ease out of Iraq if we can. And remember: Obama said he'll listen to his generals as far as Iraq goes, and if he does, they won't let him repeat Vietnam.

And if I'm wrong, I apologize for the blood on my hands.

By the way, I just saw this: http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Politics/13056.htm I don't know if it's real, and if it is, I don't know if it was some kind of mistake, and if it's not--well, I dunno.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Fried Fetuses and Watermelon

Well, I did it. I voted for Obama. God help us all.

If he gets elected, it's obvious that anything bad that will happen during his presidency would not have happened during a McCain presidency, because that's how it works.

It's too late now to try to talk about why people should vote a certain way (if I even wanted to talk about that). Instead, we can talk about how people did vote and why. Well, we don't know the results yet, but you know what I mean.

It's strange. In '04, liberals didn't vote for Kerry so much as they voted against Bush: they hated Bush (as they still do) but couldn't get excited about Kerry. This time around, however, liberals seem to be voting for Obama instead of simply against McCain--there doesn't seem to be much in the way of outright hatred toward McCain from the liberals that I have seen, and Obama has, needless to say, excited liberals quite a bit.

For my part, McCain seemed a bit like my dad: a good guy you can respect, but with some ideas about how to run things that ultimately aren't good for the country.

Now there are good reasons and bad reasons to vote a certain way. I'm sure there are plenty of people who voted for McCain--or declined to vote at all--either because they support McCain or because they have serious misgivings about Obama. Of course, many people have misgivings about Obama, but not all of these are what I'd call serious drawbacks as much as Republican scare tactics.

Here are some of the reasons I voted for Obama, which I consider to be good reasons:

* supporting his desire to draw out combat troops in Iraq, and fight terrorism smarter
* prefering his healthcare plan to McCain's (as far as I can tell)
* thinking he seems to have good temperment and intelligence
* supporting his desire to cut taxes on the lower end of the economic spectrum (where I am!) and on basically concentrating on "bottom up" economic strategies

I have to admit--in the back of my mind I thought there was a chance that maybe electing half-Kenyan Barack Hussein Obama might increase our standing somewhat among people in other countries, specifically people who might be pursuaded by other people to support killing us. Giving Obama brownie points for his father's background essentially means giving him points for his race, which I do not think would be a good idea by itself (see below). However, I consider this possibility of raised foreign esteem to be a side benefit. If I hadn't thought his policies and leadership were good for the country, I would not consider the chance for some slight uptick in foreign people liking us to be worth it.

I voted for Obama, but I almost didn't. Here are what I consider some good reasons to vote against Obama:

* lack of experience
* disagreement with him on some issue(s), such as (in my case) abortion
* similarly, wariness about the ballooning deficit and whether his proposals may increase it

I can understand, as someone who almost didn't vote for Obama, why someone would oppose Obama being president on those grounds. Now here are what I'm sure you'll agree are some bad reasons for voting against Obama:

* because he's black (though of course no one's doing that)
* because you think he's a Muslim
* because you think he's some kind of super-socialist caricature intent on getting our kindergarteners to fornicate while formenting "class warfare" and also somehow managing to be an ultraconservative Muslim at the same time (I consider this different than merely having a disagreement, ideological or otherwise, about his platform)

Frankly, I think class warfare is a good idea, inasmuch as it's already going on. I think a lot of Reverend Wright's words were taken out of context and I personally can't get too excited even if they weren't, I don't quite know why. I think it's a good thing that Obama has ties to students of Saul Alinsky--Saul was the man.

A lot of this discussion rests on whether Obama actually is a "closet radical" like his enemies fear and many of his supporters hope. This only time will tell. While I personally have mixed feelings about socialism in general, I kind of doubt he is a closet radical, what with all those capitalist economic advisors. And whether you have good reasons or stupid rich-person reasons for opposing socialism, I think we can all agree there probably isn't going to be the dawning of the People's Republic of Barackistan if he gets elected.

But even if you don't agree with me on the coolness of class warfare, you still should repeat these magic words:

"Barack Obama is not a Muslim."

Whether it would matter if he were Muslim is moot. He's not. That's it.

Which leads us to talk about people voting against Obama because he's black. Or anyway it would if people had done that, because we all know that nobody would ever think of such a thing, certainly not anyone we know, and we are insulted that anyone would stoop to such accusations.

But if people were to oppose Obama because of his race (how silly of me to even consider!), the race factor would be closely tied to thinking he's Muslim and thinking he's Fidel Castro. Race in America, any pundit can tell you, is waaay too fuckin' complicated. Those kind of associations (non-white/Muslim terrorist, non-white/socialist) tend to crop up in us crackers' minds. Heck, I voted for Obama's black ass like a good college-y liberal, and I can't even say I don't have some racist thoughts and tendencies somewhere back in the cobwebby attic of my brain.

Just letting you know I'm not being self-righteous about my vote.

Seriously, though, I actually think (as of this morning, the fourth) that I've made the right decision. It's not normal for me to think I've made the right decision about anything, so that's saying something. Of course he could be the antichrist and bring the world to destruction in December 2012, but I guess that's meant to be.



Back to contents:


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

God Help Me, I'm Thinking of Voting for Obama

Yes, you read that title right. On Nov. 8, there's a big chance that I -- who voted for W. in 2000 entirely on the basis of abortion, and who chose not to decide between my old mistake and his Skull-and-Bones brother in 2004; I who like to babble about anarchism when I'm drunk and call it being an anarchist -- yes, I might just possibly maybe perhaps kinda sorta go into that voting booth and make my mark -- a little tiny eensy weensy mark -- for Barack Obama.

Back in my church-going paranoid-guilt days, I always knew I would end up supporting the antichrist.

But before I go any further into why I might commit this heinous crime, let me waste some Internet bandwidth talking about why I think I might be stupid for thinking of doing this. Here are some happy fun quotes:

'The credit crisis in the last two weeks of September raised an issue that has, so far at least, helped Obama. McCain railed against Wall Street and called for the firing of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox. Obama argued that the crisis showed the failure of Reaganite deregulation. The roots of the crisis lie in both parties' encouragement of greater homeownership. But at critical points, notably in 2005, some Republicans, including McCain, called for tighter regulation of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This was resisted by Democrats, with no demur from Obama.'
[emphasis mine]

- Barone, Michael. "The Year of Campaign Chaos." The National Interest column, U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 13-20, 2008. Page 46.

Also this:

'McCain tried to gain traction by accusing Obama of being too passive in the first days of the financial crisis, while McCain returned to Washington to help round of votes for the "rescue" package ... Both Obama and McCain ended up voting for a modified version of Bush's plan in the Senate, which approved it 74 to 25 on October 1.'

- Walsh, Kenneth T. "Swing-State Showdown." U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 13-20, 2008. Page 34.

So are the Democrats (and Obama) more to blame for the current crisis--which started with the whole mortgage thing--than the Republicans?

Even worse, is Obama, chillingly, in the pocket of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

Okay, so at least as far as those bleeding-heart lefties at the Washington Post know, Obama has not received any advisory input from Fannie or Freddie. But what about that even more important form of electoral iput--the monetary kind? I'm sure by now you've read letters to the editor at your daily paper saying that Obama received, like, the second-highest donation out of whoever from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Normally the things said in letters to the editor in the Wooster Daily Record don't strike me as necessarily having anything to do with reality, but apparently this time around, Opensecrets.org agrees.

To quote a comment posted by a reader at the bottom of the Opensecrets page:

October 7, 2008 6:40 PM | EngrCharlie said:
This is the nature of the supposedly clean, certainly dubious "individual contributions" to Obama. McCain has released the names of his contributors under $200, why won't Obama do the same? Couldn't be the same Obama who used the rules to exploit the caucus system to ridiculous advantage could it?

Hmm. This could be a problem for my new savior.

To play devil's avocado to this argument, here's another comment posted by another reader at the bottom of the Opensecrets page:

September 20, 2008 2:18 PM | CeeCee said:
Right wing sites are linking to this to suggest that Obama was in the pocket of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because he is the second highest recipient of donations on the list of Senators and Congressman.

This is an absurd assertion on so many levels. Seeing as how his presidential campaign has raised more money from everywhere than any other in history makes a comparison of his figures to lawmakers raising money for a House or Senate race on its face ludicrous.

And notice how 95% of his contributions came from INDIVIDUALS that work at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These are not the policy makers of the company. These are just employees that reflect America.

Everybody works somewhere. I happen to work for an oil company. My contributions to Obama will show up under the name of an oil company, as will my co-workers'. We support Obama's positions because they're good for America, regardless of whether they may or may not be good for the executives of our company.

So the contributions from individuals in a company do not mean that that company has influence over the candidate.

Well, for what it's worth. I'm kind of leaning toward that as an excuse.

Of course, there's also the allegations leveled at Obama in this book. Not that I trust the Townhall people farther than I can throw them--the question is, can I really trust the idea that I can't trust them--or that I can trust Obama? What I mean is, maybe the Townhall people are right after all.

Then there's Fareed Zakaria. I learned not to trust Zak when I read a book of his-- I forget the title--where he basically subordinated all freedom to the economic "freedom" of corporations to do whatever they want--and said that democracy (surprise!) could often be antithetical to this freedom. However, I've since read a lot of his writings for Newsweek and stuff, and I found myself liking a lot of what he has to say. So I was only a little bit paranoid he might be involved in an international conspiracy of rich people when I read that Zakaria had endorsed Obama. It's silly of me, but for a while at least, I felt a whole lot more confident about voting for BO after I read Zakaria's article. Then I remembered Zak's a capitalist tool and now I'm back to not knowing what to think, which some may say is my natural state.

So even though I'd earlier decided I couldn't trust Zakaria, I've ended up wanting very much to trust his judgment on a guy I wouldn't have voted for for anything eight years ago. Life is funny.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Leo Strauss


Friday, August 29, 2008

A Libertarian Labor Party?

If it's possible for political parties to actually accomplish anything, I'm starting to think there should be a Libertarian Labor Party. The "libertarianism" that the current Libertarian Party talks about makes assumptions that make them biased toward the nonproductive, wealthier classes instead of the working class, who are the real producers.

What would a libertarian party--or even just a libertarian movement--look like if it focused on the needs of blue-collar workers? I don't know--but here are some vague ideas:

Taxes: I hate to look at my paycheck and see how much goes out in taxes. Much like unicorns who grant wishes, everyone would love a flat tax if such a thing could be proven to exist. However, failing a class-neutral flat tax (and putting aside for the moment the image of a world without taxes), which would you rather have: a regressive tax that falls more heavily on those with less money, or a progressive tax that falls more heavily on those with more money. If you said you'd prefer a regressive tax, you can go shove The Wall Street Journal up your ass. If you said progressive tax, well, I do too, if you hadn't guessed.

But it's not just about the amount of money you have--otherwise every tiny raise a hardworking person earned would get frittered away in taxes, which often happens now. More importantly, it's how you get the money. In my humble opinion, we should reduce or at least keep steady the taxes on income earned through work--payroll taxes and income tax on people who work for a living and earn no "investment" income. So far as we need revenue for our libertarian "night watchman state", we should concentrate on taking as large a percentage of what we need to to take in taxes on stuff not connected to working--our old friend the estate tax, for example, and taxes on income from stock-market speculation.

What about the importance of investing in creating new jobs, and how taxing investment stifles job growth? Well, I'm in no position to argue against that old corporatist saw. However, let's say we compromise with the bourgeois enemy by doing the libertarian-ly unspeakable: making the tax code more complicated by giving tax breaks. I mean tax breaks for corporations and other investment actors who actually invest specifically in creating new jobs. If your investment creates new jobs, you get a tax break. If your investment does nothing but get you richer, I'm sure you won't mind sharing some of your casino winnings with the people who don't have jobs--because after all you didn't create any jobs for them.

Employee Ownership: Even today's lefties mainly admit that capitalism is an engine of prosperity and blah blah blah. But who says capitalism has to be controlled by capitalists? Employee ownership of the companies they work for--although currently a way for those who are really in charge of a company to get good PR--but it has definite possibilities. And even some business types like it for business-y reasons, which may not be cool in the same way a Che Guevara beret is cool, but could make for a smoother transition to La Revolucion.

The Welfare State: Whether working people benefit from the welfare state depends on both what you call working people and what you call the welfare state (God, I sound like a Democrat). Suffice to say I think that a lot of working people would have a slightly easier job of making it without the welfare state if they didn't pay so much in taxes (Ha ha! Now I sound like a Republican!). I only took one course in economics at my namby-pamby liberal-arts college, so I can't prove this--I just know I've calculated with my bad math skills, that I could make ends meet on my current nonskilled wage rate without eating into my savings (or doing my laundry at Mom's) if I actually took home what I'm earning, at least most weeks.

Anyway, in my utopia, whatever welfare state we would need would, as I discussed above, be financed as much as possible through taxes on non-working sources. According to the Republican conventional wisdom, less taxes on the workers + more jobs because of tax breaks for corporate job investment = less need for welfare programs, according to the Republican conventional wisdom. And according to the more-or-less current Democratic conventional wisdom, more taxes on the rich = less need for taxes on the workers, which feeds back into the Republican schema. How dare I blindly follow the conventional wisdom? Hey, I only said these were vague ideas--everything suggested here could use tweaking.

Affirmative Action: For my all-too-fallible opinion on affirmative action--which is relavant to the whole blue-collar thing--please direct yourself to my post here

Guns: No need to change the traditional libertarian position here, as far as I can see. More on this below.

Abortion: Too complex to get into here. I want to write a separate post dealing with this, but I'm not making any promises. Suffice to say I don't like it personally, whatever importance that has for either libertarianism or the working class.

Other Social Issues: Since the working class is essentially an economic grouping, it'd be hard to make a case for a blue-collar libertarianism that would differ from corporatist libertarianism on most non-economic issues. Although I don't have poll results in from of me, it doesn't take a pollster to realize that a notable number of blue-collar workers--especially in rural areas--are conservative (read: non-libertarian) on social issues like gay marriage, flag-burning, and whatever new wedge issue rich Republicans come up with next month to convince working people they're one of them.

Of course, even a pro-lifer like me can see abortion is one of these wedge issues--just because it's a wedge issue doesn't necessarily mean it's not important, or even that the Republican platform isn't right about it (for the usual wrong reasons). This is what makes social issues in general so hard--even if there were a Libertarian Labor Party whose economic program working people could get behind 100 percent, there'd still be a lot of them who'd see their projected prosperity under that program as "blood money", to quote a friend of mine, because of abortion in particular. However, I already said I was leaving the abortion issue for the moment.

Frankly, though, all other wedge issues really pale in comparison to two: abortion and gun control. I don't mean to stereotype the rural working class, but I'm sure many political scientists would agree that huge hunks of red-state America would vote Democrat rapidly as long as the Democrats let people keep their guns and made people keep their unborn kids. I know we're not talking about Democrats, which only makes my point about the hypothetical Labor Libertarians even stronger: you don't have to imagine how much more rabidly red-state Americans would vote a ban on abortion, a broad Second Amendment and lower taxes for themselves, because they already think they are by voting Republican. Only instead of focusing most tax cuts on the rich while basically ignoring abortion, the heroic new party of my imagination would focus tax cuts on the working class and poor and would--well, again, I said I'd leave off on abortion for now, but you get the picture.

I should stress that neither my stance on the labor-libertarian idea nor my stance opposing abortion is meant only for the sake of votes. I don't plan to run for office and I'd definitely lose if for some reason I did. Getting votes is an important part of populism, so I can't say votes mean nothing, but I support what I do because I think it's right (I think).

So here you have it. None of this is guaranteed to work, largely because party politics is not guaranteed to work. Heck, the state isn't guaranteed to work, which is the whole point of both libertarian "minarchism" (as small as state as possible) and anarchism.



Back to contents: