19 October 2010

For 40 years

libertarians have been an impotent drop of oil in the conservative gallon bucket. One is almost tempted to say that libertarians pinning their hopes on tea-party triumph deserve what they've got coming to them...

There are reasons why I've always been relatively hostile to conservatives, especially social conservatives. Morally I look vastly differently at the world around me. Much more of a mind to live and let live than to want to meddle in our private worlds and lives. Some of our economic lives have external effects and benefits, but even here, meddling too much or too obviously strikes me as fraught with dangerous uncertainties far too often to throw in my lot with progressives all the way. So I've been stuck in a political exile most of the time, arbitrarily tossing my weight behind those fights which seem better aligned with my own interests and discarding those that don't. The tea party movement, for all the media's hype and publication of this as a libertarian movement, isn't an interest that I can throw my weight behind. It is largely a movement born of ignorance and social conservativism perceiving itself as being out of power and influence. A last gasp as it were on some issues. These have not shown themselves because the economic weights are so heavy and burdensome on most Americans that they can confine their interests to a set of vague economic ideas about deficits and trade. But even here, I find myself far too often in disagreement over what must be done and when I try to ask questions specific to these topics, which one may assume these would be people who are agitated enough to trouble themselves to learn about, they are too often profoundly ignorant of what they are saying and express themselves in political platitudes about "government fraud and waste" and "taking their country back". Whatever that means, which, in practice I find far too often it means something about evil brown people getting money (with open biases toward immigrants and Muslims mostly, gays being somewhere in there, and some animus occasioned by the features of a black President with a funny name that has to be acknowledged even if it is not a driving feature as these others can be).

If this was a real grown up movement, I'd be impressed, perhaps even interested in marching to its beat sometimes. But it has not a wit of answers behind its rage. So I stay home. I am not a populist. And I'm not concerned that the country has taken some radical change in direction, and is continuing to do so if there are not drastic political steps taken to put "new blood" in office. It's been moving this way for a long time for one. And for another, electing a few nutcases at the extremes is not going to change Washington. The same moron Republicans who've been running their own show for a couple decades now would simply have more power and influence to screw things up their way (or try to) rather than the same moron Democrats doing their thing. This is not enough of a sea change for me to become motivated to political activism.

I'm sort of waiting for something like this to happen instead. Even if I know it won't: "For forty years, your fathers before you and your older brothers played this game and played it well. But today the game is different. We have the advantage."

More likely something like this is needed instead: "When he reached the New World, Cortez burned his ships. As a result his men were well motivated." Burn those bridges people. We're not getting anywhere riding someone else's coattails as they do what they want and calling it "our" revolution.
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