Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stange Bedfellows . . .

Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. One of the difficulties with holding views that are not considered "mainstream" is that, at a superficial level, people will find various ways in which the views that you hold correspond or overlap with people who are widely vilified. If you are critical the State of Israel, for example, people will quickly attempt to align you with racists or anti-Semites in order to smear or marginalize you. If you hold any sorts of socialist beliefs you will quickly be painted with the brush of Stalinistic communism.

And of course, radicals of all stripes will take advantage of people's ignorance. It is easy to attack taxes or some abstract government waste to get a few people onside while also holding all sorts of distasteful views. The fact is that I think that the majority of people simply don't understand the important connection between modern government programs and the modern quality of life. Without massive public health programs, education programs, food regulations, labor laws, etc., we would simply not have the standard of living that we presently enjoy.

This is why I find politicians like Ron Paul particularly frustrating. Ron Paul is critical of Israel, and has been willing to criticize large aspects of US foreign policy, but for none of the same reasons that people on the left would do. Meanwhile he holds what he claims are Libertarian views which many ignorant schmucks mistake for so-called 'free-market' ideas. In reality, Paul's ideas, like many so-called Tea-Party types, will lead to greater concentrations of corporate power and eventually to social catastrophe in which people are once again at the mercy of employers as they have been, and still are, in the worst kinds of capitalist conditions.  Modern rightwingers from Friedman and Hayek onward have claimed to be concerned with the concentration of power which is why, they claim, they are critical of any kind of socialist effort. However, what they are always silent about is the fact that the modern corporations are the greatest single concentrations of power in history. And whether the rightwingers come with a flag of 'libertarianism' like Ron Paul, or a more centralizing ideology like many European rightwingers, or a strange combination of both like Stephen Harper, we must expose them for what they really are - peddlers of an age-old ideology of the rich getting richer, the poor getting screwed, and corporations doing pretty much anything they want.


Anonymous said...

Ron Paul is anti-American Empire. Assuming that the Americans are going to have corporate lapdogs that will turn the country into a hellhole either way, it's best that they go with the one not interested in foreign conquest unlike the last two.

thwap said...

Good post.

All I can say though is that I'd love to hear Obama debate Ron Paul, rather than Obama debate Mitt Romney.

Obama vs. Romney: battle of the mannequins!