Sunday, July 15, 2007

Greens and Libertarians

In a reply to my last post John wrote:
I appreciate your analysis but it is inaccurate. Libertarians believe in the rights of the individual over the rights of the collective, whether that collective is government or corporations. In Libertarian ideology no groups have "rights". What you call Libertarianism is actually corporatism and this is very different. The reason corporations can pollute the planet and the air you breath is because in the current political system, their rights trump your rights because they buy political influence. The bigger government gets, the worse the problem becomes regardless of whether right or left is in power. Pollution is essentially a problem of the individual vs the collective. If I can prove economic or personal damage from a company polluting my property or air space then I should have recourse using the law. Libertarians oppose all initiated violence and pollution of the air is a form of violence against people.

First off, thanks for commenting John. My "reply" below may be dis-jointed. Stuff here at home is running at a whirl wind pace. Yesterday I spent the day as "Ho Ho the Clown" blowing up balloons for the Fort Mill Community Optimist Club. Nancy was in Anderson SC training her Search and Rescue dogs Cyra and Grim. Our granddaughters spent the night, my daughter and her husband are preparing to move and my mother-in-law gets home Thursday. Anyway, let's keep the conversation going readers. I think we might all benefit.

Hey John,

I am sure that you are right in your perspective. Let me make some more observations if I may.

While I realize that it may feel like pandering, and many Greens see precious little in common between Greens and Libertarians, I continue to believe that there are some shared values between our respective party supporters.

I believe that Green and Libertarian voters have much more actual respect for and expectations of our Constitution. It is not an empty, out of date nor meaningless document: It is the social contract we have collectively made and have, by our own inaction allowed to be stripped of effective meaning by Bush and his cronies.

Please forgive the invective, but what Bush & Co have done to the Constitution is only a deepening of the resolute march against the true rights of all peoples. This stinking system simply allows all of us...YES, US and U.S., to take the world's resources to build what we want all the while making the rest of the planet eat our waste and be grateful for it. Our wants or their needs?

Sustaining the Constitution and a Constitutional United States is essential if there is to be real hope for our grandchildren. With what we know today about health, and advancements being made in medicine and environmental damage and organics, micro and macro biology, and coming advances in nano technology and nutrition, there is every reason to believe that my grand daughters could live to be a healthy 115 years of age. It's not impossible to imagine that by the end of this century, such ages will not be terribly uncommon.

How will we be able to do any of the major things we want; healthy care for everyone regardless of what tool we use to get there, dramatically less violence, substantially more freedom, more ownership of our lives and citizenship in the school, workplace and community, if we don't have a Constitutional Government?

Now, I'll admit that many of the above goals are not goals of Libertarians, but we do share a passion for Constitutional Government and as such want to protect the Constitution as the guarantor of our freedom. Our only protection against being stolen away in the middle of the night, like happens in other parts of the world, is respect for and implementation of the Constitution.

If 10% of U.S. Troops were to refuse deployment, the war would end in six weeks. The military and it's Industrial Complex would have to imprison tens of thousands of America's Best and Brightest (by many's reckoning). The internal debate that such an action would bring to bear would catalyze such pressure that we would likely see mass defections of Billionaires from the nation as a bulwark against what they would likely anticipate would be a loss of ownership over the assets they own and operate.

We can debate the idea of which approaches gets the people the goods and services they need at the lowest price and with maximum freedom, but we can't seriously doubt what those needs are. Any system and political grouping that cannot deliver to the people food, clean water, education, clean air, justice, meaningful participation, adequate housing and health care (only a few), then they should be replaced by the people. The Constitution, imperfect as it is, is the best format for the people to use to seize control of the government and use it to insure the delivery of those goods, services, and freedoms as we need. As Malcolm X said, revolutions are bloody, violent conflicts in which many die, and are almost always about land.

Other things I believe Green and Libertarian voters believe is that government should not be used to pick particular companies, individuals, classes and industry/merchant groups to hand out special deals. We believe, actually believe, in clean government. I think we also both understand the problems caused by Big Government.

But I don't get the impression that Libertarians believe, as I think most Greens do, that Big Business is equally dangerous to personal freedom, and in fact stands in the way of being able to deliver to the rest of the world the benefits of the sort of freedom we enjoy here, limited as it may be.

If Wal-Wart drives all the profits from small town sales into their coffers that leaves they in the position of being a community's biggest employer and tax generator. There may be less tax revenue and less employment and less local profits and wages, but that one company is too strong to be challenged by local government.

Where we Greens go wrong is in our tendency to believe that this is the fault of the Wal Mart employee and/or shopper. Well excuuuuse me! Tell me how the fuck it's going to make a difference if I'm spending my few dollars at Wal Mart or Target? Bi-Lo or BJ's Warehouse? Food Lion or Dollar General? Be real folks. I don't freaking have access to a locally owned store.

Not only that, I don't have any choice but to take the bagger/stocker/shipper/driver job at Wal Mart (or Bi-Lo, Wendy's, Pizza Hut etc) because...well, I don't! Sorry, for some folks there are no options but to take a job that sucks and do it for a lot longer than we want.

So, where was I? Oh yeah...honest government and Constitutional Government...what else?

Maybe that's all. Maybe that is enough. But there can be no doubt that Gs & Ls will remain partisans so long as Libertarians don't see Corporate Power as anti-freedom as Government Power.

To me, the Mantra "Small is beautiful" spells out what I adore about the Green Party. Somehow I think that just believing that makes me an outsider in the Libertarian Party's eyes.

Oh yeah. On practical matters we see eye to eye pretty often. Ballot access for example. Voter rights issues, the rights of political parties, and access to debates are areas where Gs and Ls are in general agreement.
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Ballot access, TRUE freedom of speech ("I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it"), Limiting the military complex, Using our armed forces for what they were intended of American soil, these along with several others...Yes the G's and L's agree almost across the where is the problem?

According to the Libertarian platform...Only individuals and private entities have the full right to control, use dispose of, or in any manner enjoy their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes on the valid rights of others.

What are these "private entities" if not corporations??? This, I feel, is fairly straight forward language describing their attitude toward the "Corporate Collective".

And just as I replied in an earlier we expect the exploiters to control themselves as long as they are operating within the laws that are on the books at the time?

Again in a previous post I brought up the topic of public land being sold to private "entities", as they say in their platform..."All publicly owned infrastructures including dams and parks shall be returned to private ownership and all taxing authority for such public improvements shall sunset."...

Who will protect the little nature we have left, who will protect the historical sites, who will monitor "entities" engaged in "honest" enjoyment of their property???

Writing this has given me a great idea for my own I'll continue this debate there...

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