A MATTER OF DEFINITION June 16, 2006Posted by Administrator in : Politics , trackback
By L. Neil Smith <email@example.com>
For “L. Neil Smith At Random” on www.BigHeadPress.com
I couldn’t really tell you why I read LewRockwell.com — when Lew himself is a self-described born-again Roman Catholic, and therefore a mystic, which renders the quality of his reasoning processes highly suspect.
Lew also seems hell-bent on erasing Ayn Rand from the history of libertarianism — one of the silliest, most ungrateful undertakings I could possibly imagine — and elevating that nasty little troll Murray Rothbard to sainthood in her place. Rand may not have been any kind of paragon (I’m sure I wouldn’t have liked her), but historically, we’re stuck with her. I knew Murray, and he was no saint, libertarian or otherwise.
He always reminded me of Burgess Meredith on Batman, playing The Penguin.
Lew is one of a small handful of my contemporaries in the movement who appear positively embarrassed to be seen in my presence. I don’t know why. For my part, I find it embarrassing to hang around anyone who childishly continues to resent the fact of evolution by natural selection, but I’m more libertarian — or at least better at polite dissimulation — than he is. He’s also made it absolutely clear on more than one occasion that he has no interest whatever in anything I write.
Be that as it may, this morning when my Chock full o’ Nuts finally kicked in, I discovered that I was reading an article on Lew’s site by one of several writers who make the effort worthwhile, in this case, my old friend Vin Suprynowicz (who apparently does not mind being seen in my otherwise highly embarrassing company) entitled “Why I Am Not A ‘Conservative’”.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable article, in which Vin demonstrated why the miserable specimens who call themselves “liberals” are really conservatives: they’re desperately — even hysterically — defending a welfare-warfare kleptocracy that is now at least four generations old, against growing numbers of us (unlike Republicans, who seem to become more ignorant with every passing year) who have actually managed to learn something from history and are struggling to dismantle said kleptocracy.
The one trouble with this analysis, as Vin himself acknowledges, is: what does that make of the miserable specimens who call themselves “conservatives”. For rhetorical purposes, Vin didn’t even venture a guess.
But I will.
A long time ago, in a Wichita far away, I met Robert LeFevre for the first time at a week-long seminar in the basement of the Ramada Inn. I learned a lot from him in that week, and over the years that followed. For example, as Americans, each of us has the right to vote as our individual conscience may dictate — for the socialist of our choice. LeFevre referred, as I have myself ever since, to so-called liberals as “left wing socialists” and to so-called conservatives as “right wing socialists”, pointing out that there isn’t any other option on the conventional political spectrum, or on the ballot at the polls.
Vote for the socialist of your choice, but vote.
Now if you’re not a libertarian, have spent the last twenty years hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall’s porch, and still believe that conservatives or Republicans are the champions of minimal government, minimal regulation, and minimal taxation (all of which seem a lot to me like minimal torture and minimal execution), it may strike you as odd that somebody would refer to these worthies as socialists.
After I read Vin’s article, I immediately went to Wikipedia for a usable definition of “socialist”. Unfortunately, the article was a highly technical one and immediately dived into a detailed catalog of the minute differences and meaningless distinctions between thugs who all basically want to kill me and eat me (and you, too) that reminded me of the arguments between the People’s Palestinian Liberation Front and the Front for the Liberation of Palestinian People in The Life of Brian.
So I sought enlightenment, instead, in yet another of Wikipedia’s handy-dandy definitions: “COLLECTIVISM is a term used to describe any doctrine that stresses the importance of a collective, rather than the importance of the individual. Collectivists believe the individual should be subordinate to the collective, which may be a group of individuals, a whole society, a state, a nation, a race, or a social class.
“Thus, collectivism contrasts with individualism.”
The simple fact, of course, is that there’s no such thing as a collective. There’s no such thing as a group. It’s only a bunch of individuals temporarily clumped together, pooling their incompetence. Socialism is nothing more than the political manifestation — several rival competing brands, actually — of the cannibalistic philosophy of collectivism.
At this point, then, it becomes appropriate to ask what all of the following phrases have in common: national security; war on terrorism; nation-building; democratization; common decency; and the seat of all virtues.
Simple: they are all excuses for sacrificing the lives, property, and rights of the individual to some collective or another. Only in this case, it’s a collective approved by specimens who call themselves conservatives.
Or as Bob put it, right wing socialists — the kind who steal your home or business only to hand it over to cronies who can pay higher taxes, a corrupt practice, I believe, that Vin was the first to write about.
For at least 35 years — and in truth, for a great deal longer than that — there has existed a sort of history of sympathy, a sense of fellow travellership, between conservatives and libertarians. It has to do mostly with origins, I guess. Most of the libertians I know blossomed from the manure pile of conservatism. Now, three and a half generations — and a million Iraqi corpses — later, it’s time to scrub that vile affiliation from our souls and march on, alone, but cleaner.
For those poor, confused entities who claim to value individual liberty above all things, but still cling to the political company of Lincoln the Megalomaniac Mass-murderer and his retarded protege Bush the Butcher of Baghdad, it’s time to comb the contradictions out of your conscience. All your lives you have condemned Germans who looked the other way when Hitler came to power. Now you are repeating their sins.
The difference is, thanks to history, you know better.