Libertarians Against the Regime

Screw you, Mark Ames! (Oh, and happy Thanksgiving!)

by , November 26, 2010

We should all give thanks, this Thanksgiving holiday, for the fact that we are not – yet – living under a dictatorship. Although if you’re going through an airport on your way to celebrate the season, you are indeed living in a dictatorship, subject to search and the seizure of your personal effects, as well as being "porno-scanned" and felt up by some TSA Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron

No, we aren’t yet living under a dictatorship, but I can’t say I’m all that optimistic that we won’t be come next Thanksgiving. The odds of another terrorist attack are quite good, and our ineffective means of preventing it are just a way of reassuring the public that all is "normal." But we are so far from normalcy, these days, that I despair of our ever returning to that lost world of innocence into which I was born. The America of my youth is gone forever, together with youth itself, and while this latter cannot be prevented, the loss of the former is a reversible tragedy – although it seems much less reversible than ever, sad to say. 

That golden age – we didn’t know it was golden at the time, of course – was an America in which the idea of being searched before getting on a plane was incomprehensible, impossible, the product of someone’s dystopian imagination: today it is a reality. It was an America in which the idea that the government could read our communicationsspy on our lawful activities, and declare anyone – even an American citizen – an "enemy combatant," and hold them indefinitely or even kill them, was utterly inconceivable, a paranoid’s fever dream: today it is all too real. 

And even though I grew up in the cold war era, when we went through air raid "duck-and-cover" drills at school, the possibility that we might someday be engaged in a perpetual war against a shadowy "enemy" living in a dank cave somewhere, was the stuff of some implausible fiction. 

Speaking of implausible fiction, The Nation recently ran a piece by Mark "I spit on libertarians" Ames and Yasha Levine, which determined that the anti-TSA movement — that seems to have sprung up like a last gasp of life from the old America – is really a front for the Koch brothers, two formerly libertarian billionaires who have become the deus ex machina of clueless "progressive" commentators who cannot otherwise explain the explosion of anti-government anti-authoritarian populism currently upending politics. Glenn Greenwald seems to have taken care of the Ames-Levine fantasists, putting them in their proper place as apologists for the Obama regime and all its works, but one more thing needs to be said: 

If Ames and Levine are going to become the "go to" team for the dirt on libertarians, such as it is, they ought to learn their subject. Because the very idea of Charles and David Koch leading a national resistance movement involving civil disobedience on a massive scale is laughable: to anyone who knows them, or knows of them in more than a glancing way, this can only provoke gales of unrestrained laughter. It is sheer laziness to believe this. Indeed, if only the Brothers Koch, and the plethora of organizations their money has funded, were that radical! Unfortunately, they are not: a stodgy, boring conservatism marks both their methods and their politics, and always has. 

Ames and Levine need to do some real research. It was the anti-Koch wing of the libertarian movement, centered around LewRockwell.com, that first gave John Tyner’s act of defiance the publicity and velocity that made it go viral. And if LRC is a front for the Koch brothers, then we have truly entered Bizarro World. In that case, so too is Antiwar.com a Koch front – and so why have we been doing this fundraising campaign for the past two weeks, begging our readers to save us from oblivion? 

Gee, it seems like that check from the Kochs got lost in the mail! Charles, could you please look into that? Thanks. 

Speaking of our fundraising campaign – it’s not over until it’s over! That’s right, we still need $20,000 to make our $100,000 goal. 

This has been the roughest fundraiser we’ve ever faced, and that it isn’t yet over fills me with despair – especially when I read articles, like the Ames-Levine piece, claiming that we libertarians are just the pawns of a couple of billionaires in Kansas, who own us and half the country. Well, nobody owns us, and we don’t get money from big donors – at least on the scale of the Kochs – and so we are reduced to begging. Yes, begging – it’s undignified, it’s repetitive, and it’s absolutely necessary to our survival, and, indeed, to the survival of a viable antiwar movement. 

Because we are the only people challenging the tired red-blue, left-right politics of the past in an effort to build a genuine, united, and massive movement against the Empire. The Nation may have a vested interest in maintaining the left-right divide, which goes far to explain why they published their apologia for the Warfare State and defended the Bush-founded TSA against us "subversive" libertarians: now, at least, we know where they stand. With the status quo, with the State, with the Obama-led "war on terrorism" that represents a direct threat to all we cherish about America. This is just more confirmation of my many recent jeremiads against the collaboration of the "official" Left with the War Party. 

Now that President Obama has taken the reins of power, this phony "Left" has taken up the cudgels on his behalf, reflexively defending every action by an administration just as devoted to the concept of perpetual war as its predecessor. The dissolution of the "left"-led antiwar movement is the fastest, most ignominious retreat since the Communist-led peace movement of the 1930s turned pro-war on the eve of Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. 

The Ames-Levine "article" – really just a hash of half-baked assertions and warmed over atmospherics – underscores the enormous betrayal of the pro-Obama fake-"left." Defend civil liberties? Forget it, if it means criticizing the Messiah! March against war? No way, not if it’s Obama’s war! Protest crony-capitalism and corporate welfare? Not if it means coming out against Obama-care — a "healthcare" program that guarantees profits for the big corporations by forcing everyone to "buy" insurance. 

You must buy health insurance! You must allow yourself to be felt up by some government goon! You must allow yourself to be irradiated whenever you go to the airport! You must obey! That’s the America we live in today, the America the Ames-Levine tag team are defending, albeit not very well. And if you don’t obey, and learn to love it, then you just one of those subversive libertarians, who, as Senor Ames wrote elsewhere, deserve to be spat on: "Anytime anyone says anything libertarian," wrote Ames on his web site, "spit on them. Libertarians are by definition enemies of the state: they are against promoting American citizens’ general welfare and against policies that create a perfect union. Like Communists before them, they are actively subverting the Constitution and the American Dream." 

To which one can only reply: yes, we are enemies of the State, not only this State but all States. Why, I even wrote an entire book entitled "An Enemy of the State," an admiring biography of the great libertarian philosopherMurray Rothbard, who surely must be smiling down on me at this moment. As he taught, States are mass-murdering machines without souls, without conscience, without any means or motive to interpret the "general welfare" as anything other than the welfare of those who wield power backed up by force. And as for that "perfect union" you long for, Ames, I would suggest you try to achieve it on a one to one basis, with the partner of your choice, and not with the body politic at large. Because I, for one, don’t want any "union," perfect or imperfect, with the sorry likes of you. 

The old Republic of my youth is gone, wilted on the vine: in its place stands the Regime, a word Chris Matthews thinks, when used to describe the Obama administration, borders on sedition. He and Mark Ames and Yasha Levine and the editors of The Nation – good "progressives" all, no doubt – have a new and dangerous concept of treason, one that has targeted libertarians as the Enemy Within in a new version of the cold war hysteria that once targeted alleged communists and anarchists an alleged “progressive” — or, indeed, anyone — as the worms in the American apple. And that, my dear readers, is the highest compliment an alleged “progressive” — or, indeed, anyone — has ever paid our movement, one I hope we come to fully deserve. 

NOTES IN THE MARGIN 

Okay, I’ve vented my Thanksgiving spleen, and now on to the business at hand: yes, you read me right, above – we still haven’t made our fundraising goal of $100,000. And if we don’t make it, I promise you you’ll know about it rather immediately: you’ll notice the cutbacks in our coverage, including right here in this space, right from the get-go. 

So please – help put us over the top. No, we aren’t funded by billionaires, or even millionaires, unlike Ames and his crew over at The Nation. Somehow, both George Soros and the Koch brothers seem to have left us off their Christmas list, and they will be no presents from them under the tree. That’s because the average donation to Antiwar.com is around fifty bucks: we depend on lots of little presents from our engaged and committed albeit generally poor-to-middle-class readers, rather than great big gift-wrapped bundles of cash from bored billionaires. 

Make sure you ring in the New Year with a reliable source of news and commentary from an unapologetically anti-authoritarian voice for peace and liberty: give to Antiwar.com today!

Read more by Justin Raimondo