We have now reached peak Libertarianism - and it is literally killing us

Thom plus logo We have now reached peak Libertarianism, and this bizarre experiment that has been promoted by the billionaire class for over 40 years is literally killing us.

Back in the years before Reagan, a real estate lobbying group called the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) came up with the idea of creating a political party to justify deregulating the real estate and finance industries so they could make more money. The party would give them ideological and political cover, and they developed an elaborate theology around it.

It was called the Libertarian Party, and their principal argument was that if everybody acted separately and independently, in all cases with maximum selfishness, that that would benefit society. There would be no government needed beyond an army and a police force, and a court system to defend the rights of property owners.

In 1980, billionaire David Koch ran for vice president on the newly formed Libertarian Party ticket. His platform was to privatize the Post Office, shut down all public schools, privatize Medicare and Medicaid, end food stamps and all other forms of "welfare," deregulate all corporate oversight, and sell off much of the federal government's land and other assets to billionaires and big corporations.

Since then, Libertarian billionaires and right-wing media have been working hard to get Americans to agree with Ronald Reagan's statement from his first inaugural address that, "[G]overnment is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

And Trump is getting us there now.

Every federal agency of any consequence is now run by a lobbyist or former industry insider.

The Labor Department is trying to destroy organized labor; the Interior Department is selling off our public lands; the EPA is promoting deadly pesticides and allowing more and more pollution; the FCC is dancing to the tune of giant telecom companies; the Education Department is actively working to shut down and privatize our public school systems; the USDA is shutting down food inspections; the Defense Department is run by a former weapons lobbyist; even the IRS and Social Security agencies have been gutted, with tens of thousands of their employees offered early retirement or laid off so that very, very wealthy people are no longer being audited and the wait time for a Social Security disability claim is now over two years.

The guy Trump put in charge of the Post Office is actively destroying the Post Office, and the bonus for Trump might be that this will throw a huge monkey wrench in any effort to vote by mail in November.

Trump has removed the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, and fossil fuel lobbyists now control America's response to global warming.

Our nation's response to the coronavirus has been turned over to private testing and drug companies, and the Trump administration refuses to implement any official government policy, with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar saying that it's all up to "individual responsibility."

The result is more than 140,000 dead Americans and 3 million infected, with many fearing for their lives.

While the Libertarian ideas and policies promoted by that real estate lobbying group that invented the Libertarian Party have made CEOs and billionaire investors very, very rich, it's killing the rest of us.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt put America back together after the Republican Great Depression and built the largest and wealthiest middle class in the history of the world at the time.

Now, 40 years of libertarian Reaganomics have gutted the middle class, made a handful of oligarchs wealthier than anybody in the history of the world, and brought an entire generation of hustlers and grifters into public office via the GOP.

When America was still coasting on FDR's success in rebuilding our government and institutions, nobody took very seriously the crackpot efforts to tear it all down.

Now that they've had 40 years to make their project work, we're hitting peak Libertarianism and it's tearing our country apart, pitting Americans against each other, and literally killing hundreds of people every day.

If America is to survive as a functioning democratic republic, we must repudiate the "greed is good" ideology of Libertarianism, get billionaires and their money out of politics, and rebuild our civil institutions.

That starts with waking Americans up to the incredible damage that 40 years of libertarian Reaganism has done to this country.

Pass it on.



hillsofwisc's picture
hillsofwisc 2 years 45 weeks ago

When you listed the federal agencies run by lobbists you forgot to mention the entire money system which is the operating system for all the rest. And this system has been run by lobbyists and special interests (pun intended) since back to the Roman Empire according to my understanding of David Graeber's work on the subject. When the operating system of accounting for/annotating of the economic activity of the populace is done with accounting units that are themselves a creation of and by and for the very special interest folk at the top, it makes little sense to say we must get billionaires and their money out of politics unless you are also calling for an entirely different way of doing this thing called money.

The thing is that the very way that we are doing money cannot stop creating instability, and it cannot stop enabling the creation of imperialist billionaires and all that goes with that. It simply is Not Possible that the way we are doing the thing called money can produce any different results. The system itself creates instability. It is built right into the structure of the system. So moral indignation will not effect change unless that indignation motivates people to get out of the insanity of the current way we do money and we envision a way to do accounting using a definition of money that is not authoritarian and imperialistic. There really is a simle way of looking at this thing called money that literally takes the power away from the special interests. Money is just an abstract representational device to keep track of something else - not itself!
Narayana Kocherlakota, former President of the Minneapolis Fed puts it in these words:
“My argument demonstrates the vacuity of the three standard explanations of the role of fiat money in an economy: money acts as a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account....The traditional explanations for the presence of money in an economy are more descriptive of its functions than explanatory. The true explanation for money’s presence is that money is a record-keeping device.”
https://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/qr/qr2231.pdf (pages 2-3)

Once we come to know that that is the role of money then lots of other stuff falls out. No magical imperial money creator. No interest on the creation of or fees for the use of the accounting unit. No 'precreation' of the accounting unit ahead of and apart from the economic activity that it is an abstract representation of.

The libertarian folk like to suggest that the market is what rules everything - but the market cannot even take its rightful place within human interactivity so long as the control over the creation of the abstract accounting unit is a separate function from all the rest of the economic activity and so long as the accounting unit is itself bought and sold as one of the commodities in that same market! THAT is an absurdity and lies at the heart of the way to address all this insanity.

We already know that the illegitimate claim of superiority of one class over another in feudal class based systems or caste systems is bogus. But we seem oblivious to the illegitimate superiority claims and ill-gotten gains in status when applying math acumen to abstract insanities like usury, fractional reserve money creation, increases from derivatives of make believe systems of “value” all created out of thin air!

Marc Gauvin of the MSTA puts it like this:
"All we can do is share knowledge and make it as easy as possible for as many as possible to understand how money cannot be both a record of value and a tradable commodity and why that legally invalidates current practices that are only assumed to be valid but are proven not to be.

We along with other leading experts such Naryana Kocherlakota Towsend et al have considered everything you discuss and more and have concluded that money's only technological role is that of a record-keeping device.
Our approach uses formal (decidable) semantic analysis, information theory and dynamic systems control and stability theory to arrive unequivocally at the same conclusion Kocherlokato does but adding what the record is of i.e. value.

What has never been done so far is to make the link between the fact of a complete lack of formal definition and specification of money, the "vacuousness" of common notions of money and universally stated legal requirements for validity of money contracts. See:


Our purpose now is to make this common knowledge and focus on these facts before the current unconscionable transfer of the majority of key life support assets and infrastructure culminates and is made practically irreversible.

The idea being that once the deeds to the controlling shares of life support on the planet have been transferred via such contracts and under the hitherto unchallenged cursory assumption of their validity, then the legal argument to reverse them becomes practically irreversible because of the inability to disprove the presumption of having operated in good faith under said practices, that failed to be adequately proven invalid or even challenged at the time of their auspicious execution. All this being a systemic effect of the incongruence of the logic underlying money, irrespective of the wishes of any agents acting under its yoke."

vetinla's picture
vetinla 2 years 44 weeks ago

As Thom, and many others have said; If Libertarianism is such a great system, why has no such system been established in human history? Outside of individual belief , or has it?

avn013's picture
avn013 2 years 44 weeks ago

Feb 12, 2013, Thom Hartmann Program, "Giri and Gimu - Where Money REALLY Came From": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ru7mYEippY

GoingPostal's picture
GoingPostal 2 years 44 weeks ago

I just noticed this deceptive article from Thomas Knapp of The Garrison Center in Florida. A local paper has started carrying his articles and he's really horrible. He does a Standard Data Dump with virtually every one of his articles, hoping to snow the ignorant while heaping on the snide comments and innuendo to serve his larger tactic: Divert and Distract his readers from the very facts that he's pretending to dispute. He never addresses any of your arguments.

Do you respond to professional detractors, or just let them go their own way? Source: https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/24/peak-libertarianism-no-thom-hart...

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