Libertarianism is a philosophy of might makes right. The natural philosophy for the age of neoliberalism, as well demonstrated by the Koch brothers, but also, it would appear, a justification for the ugliest elements of United States history.
When libertarian leaders talk about “freedom,” what is really meant is freedom for the holders of capital to pursue profit maximization without limits. The cult of the market is a logical expression of the extreme individualism embodied in libertarianism.
One of the most influential articulators of that was Friedrich Hayek. The Austrian School economist asserted that solidarity, benevolence and a desire to work for the betterment of one’s community are “primitive instincts” and that human civilization consists of a long struggle against those ideals. “The discipline of the market” is the provider of civilization and progress, he wrote.
Thus, unregulated capitalism is “civilization” and anything else is a product of “primitive” group instincts that have survived from our prehistoric hunter/gatherer ancestors in the Hayekian worldview.
From these ideas, it is a small step to the concepts of “money equals speech” and “corporations are people” promulgated by the U.S. Supreme Court. This is an extension of “shareholder rights” to the political sphere — the more you own, the more say you have. A form of conquest and domination for the age of financialization.
If there is no community, no common interest, then why can’t someone, anyone, take whatever they want from the less strong? Give Ayn Rand credit for one thing: She stripped away all the accretions of individualist verbiage, all the rarefied theory of orthodox economics, and enunciated with unusual clarity what lies at the core of capitalist triumphalism. It hasn’t served the world very well.
Freedom for Capital, Not People: A Philosophy of Greed by Pete Dolack (via dialecticsof)
“Another time, Jack took a call. A voice on the other end said, ‘There are three of us down here in the lobby. We want to see the guy who does this disgusting comic book and show him what real Nazis would do to his Captain America’. To the horror of others in the office, Kirby rolled up his sleeves and headed downstairs. The callers, however, were gone by the time he arrived.”—
Mark Evanier, Kirby: King of Comics (via nerdhapley)
It’s Jack Kirby’s birthday, so here’s that story of him being bad ass all of the time.
“As N.P.R. reported in May, services that “were once free, including those that are constitutionally required,” are now frequently billed to offenders: the cost of a public defender, room and board when jailed, probation and parole supervision, electronic monitoring devices, arrest warrants, drug and alcohol testing, and D.N.A. sampling. This can go to extraordinary lengths: in Washington state, N.P.R. found, offenders even “get charged a fee for a jury trial — with a 12-person jury costing $250, twice the fee for a six-person jury.””—The Expanding World of Poverty Capitalism (via disabilityhistory)
After she came up to me and said, “I’ve been with my partner for 20 years… We would never get married because he’s on social security income, and because my daughter is disabled I have secondary income from the state to support my daughter. If I got married, both my benefits and his benefits would be reduced because we would become a double income family.”
She was explaining that marriage doesn’t work for poor people, and that it doesn’t work for disabled people. Having really simple examples like hers are important.