Major Threat?

August 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m sure some will be outraged by the cover of this week’s New York Times magazine which borrows its inspiration from DC’s 80’s hardcore scene and in particular Minor Threat for the story on Rand Paul and libertarianism.

It’s not 2005 Nike rip; rather it uses a clever pun along with the look of those D.I.Y. fliers which were so abundant then (even the circle “A” is a nice touch).

And the article is interesting too, to see the efforts to reconcile libertarian ideas of freedom while allowing for the state to regulate and enforce those same libertarian views.

It’s a funny thing how the question of the state looms in different political philosophies. The “right” is considered the party of small government, while the “left” is the party of big government. Yet, rightist parties seem to love the state in thier own ways (It’s significant that right-wing politicians who decry government subsidies are the largest recipients). Similarly, I did not become a socialist, a communist, or whatever label you choose to promote the growth of government control over lives. Socialism if it is anything is exerting control over life.

In the article, libertarian activist Nick Gillispie, brings a variety of different flavoured pop tart boxes to a meeting to prove perhaps – tongue in cheek  that “individualism was flourishing and choice was abundant. ”  Is freedom only the opportunity to choose between twenty version of the same type of toothpaste at the drug store? What was it Dauve said, that for those who think the concentration camps were hell, heaven is the supermarket?

When I was in the first year of university, I read, for a course, Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. In the introduction, Friedman recounts a debate in the sixties where his opponent painted him as a reactionary. Friedman pointed out that as a libertarian, he opposed the draft in peacetime as an example of unjustified government activity. It won him the debate.  It seems striking though that Friedman’s introduction was written in 1982 several years after his followers in the Chicago school had braintrusted several extremely authoritarian regimes in South America who engaged in quite a few “unjustified government” activities.

And that’s it, isn’t it? It seems for some, the line is “The state has no business in society except to enforce my views on social issues, and of course to maintain my profit margins” . Have a read of the article to see a libertarian defence of traditional marriage.

And then go and listen to Minor Threat.

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