I am giving this three stars because it is a good, useful overview of the tenets of Libertarianism or Marketism, which has become the standard dogma and pseudo-science of the American right. I hope young people will listen to it and recognize it for the pernicious twaddle that it is. Like most Libertarians, Boaz concocts an Orwellian mishmash of half truths, selective readings, simplifications, and outright fairy tales. Even Locke and Adam Smith must be twisted to fit the party line. Locke's assumptions of biblical precedent, utopian abundance, his versions of eminent domain (or highest use), and his ambiguous allowance of slavery are all conveniently overlooked, as is Smith's clear distrust of the limited liability corporation, the very basis of modern capitalism. The classical labor theory of value which both thinkers shared with Marx is buried. Weirdest of all is the up-side-down Libertarian view of American history, where such a clear record of evolving property rights exists. Sheltering in their dark think tanks, Libertarians avoid research libraries as vampires avoid sunshine. Indian treaties, seizures of loyalist properties, the Dawes Act, the Homestead Acts, the Mexican War, Texas annexation, the patent monopolies, the bank trusts, the Hamiltonian system, the infant industries theory, and Calhoun's "libertarian" defense of slave markets...these are only a tiny sampling of the historical realities Libertarians must cover up in their "Little House on the Prairie" version of American property rights. In the modern era the enormous state foundations of scientific research, the state securing of agricultural production, the role of national currencies, and military industrial planning are likewise stinted. The think tank Libertarian is a paid propagandist pure and simple. They could never survive real academic scrutiny. Popularizing this dogma by means of Fox News and the Tea Party fosters not "liberty" but a political power vacuum waiting to be filled.
Sorry, but I must take issue with the positive reviews. First, I would rather see the original "Empire of Debt" offered in audio. This is a scenario taken from the documentary. It is a worthy topic and all involved are to be praised for their efforts. But it adds up to sketchy primer on our abysmal debt problems. Worse, the audio makes every effort to be bipartisan by seeking a midpoint between extremes. This is like inviting Bin Laden to help with our security planning.
The audio makes no mention of the "Starve the Beast" doctrine administered by Reagan, Bush, Cheney, and the Norquist radical libertarians. It is now indisputable that running up deficits in an effort to break the U.S. entitlement programs has been one of the GOP-right's only ideologically consistent policies.
Since the days of FDR a radical contingent in the U.S. has regarded Social Security and Medicare as an outright theft of private capital. This cadre favors massive debt, which has the long-term effect of collapsing and privatizing government functions. This political wing of the GOP is personally and financially unaffected by such a collapse. Indeed, they may benefit from it by shorting the dollar, etc. Nor do they personally rely on most government services, apart from the military, law enforcement, and international trade contracts.
It is a tragic error for well-meaning pundits today to make the mistake of assuming "we" are a "nation" with a unified set of interests. Americans must begin to view fiscal policy in terms of economic class instead of nationality if we want a clear view of the choices.
We are not "all in this together." The honorable attempt to remain bipartisan had been outmoded by those powerful interests who benefit by running the nation into default. I am accordingly forced to withhold a positive rating.
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