Political libertarianism and the libertarian political movement were once considered (along with holy rollers, neocon warmongers, and the legions of greed) as one of the four indispensable components of the Republican Party. But now, as the Republican Party begins breaking up over the issue of Trump, the libertarians face an existential crisis. The Ron Paul-Rand Paul Dynasty, which has provided the central focus of libertarian political activism, is in big trouble. Ron Paul has retired from politics, and spends his time as the stock salesman, urging gullible retirees to put their money under the control of his new employers. Rand Paul, despite a robust and sustained campaign of media hype (including a Time Magazine cover story announcing that he was the most interesting politician of the age), has failed as a presidential candidate and has now retreated to Kentucky, where he still hopes to hold onto his Senate seat.
At the same time, a significant array of libertarian broadcasters and bloggers who functioned as satellites of the Paul family axis (and doubtless of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite Freemasons) are now in the process of crudely jettisoning their ideological baggage of the past 20 years, tossing overboard most of their alleged principles about limited government, opposition to centralized tyranny, and a backward Jeffersonian reading of the US Constitution.
In a maneuver of shocking cynicism, these libertarian media are marching direct into the fascist-authoritarian camp of the aspiring dictator, Donald Trump. This suggests strongly that the Austrian or libertarian ideology was never sincere and simply represented a smokescreen for austerity, union busting, and above all for the ambition and greed of the unprincipled libertarian practitioners.
Ron Paul had started out as a rather obscure Texas Congressman who vacillated between the lunatic fringe of the GOP and the Libertarian ticket. Ron Paul’s most successful original scam was to pretend that he was interested in further investigation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This was a mendacious bait and switch, as Ron Paul later confessed. His method was to hint that he was an opponent of the official account of these events, and that he needed more money and support to get anything accomplished. Paul successfully carried out this scam in his presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012, when he assembled a formidable fundraising network among those he had duped into believing he was a truther.
In both 2008 and 2012, Paul was asked in the course of national Republican presidential debates if he had any objections to the government story about 9/11. In both cases, he vigorously denied any truth or tendencies, except to the extent that he never gave credence to government reports or publications. Paul was extremely lucky that his followers were so dense that they could not understand the plain language of these denials. This is the same tendency exhibited by the libertarian dupes of Trump, who cannot understand the dictatorial and tyrannical plans he outlines in plain English.
In late 2011, Ron Paul, very unwisely published a proposed budget for his first year in office, which called for the elimination of $1 trillion of federal government spending. This would have been one of the most brutal and indeed genocidal austerity campaigns ever experienced by any modern nation. Instead of taxing Wall Street speculators, Paul attacked the weakest and most defenseless in our society. With 50 million Americans depending on Food Stamps for their day-to-day survival, Ron Paul wanted to cut the average benefit by just short of two thirds, meaning that the food stamp allowance would immediately decline from $1.50 per person per meal to about $.50 per person per meal, a guarantee of vitamin deficiency diseases, cognitive impairment, and other tragically, unnecessary suffering. And for all of Paul’s incessant babbling about the military budget, his own spending plan did not cut Pentagon spending by one penny more than the reductions that were already baked in the cake by the bipartisan budget sequester, and by Obama’s additional proposals to cut outlays.
If we look for the roots of the Trump phenomenon, and in particular of the savage immorality of a candidate whose supporters applaud when he calls for expanding the use and severity of torture, mass deportations and mass killings of the families of his targets, we should not forget the tremendous degradation introduced by a figure like Ron Paul. Paul wanted to abolish all US emergency food aid, needing that about 60% of the emergency nourishment usually available worldwide in a given year would have disappeared, leading once again to genocide.
Ron Paul’s ideas about abolishing all trade unions and eliminating the minimum wage would in previous decades have been met with cries of “Nazi Go Home!” Alternatively, Paul might have been considered a danger to himself and others, fitted out with the straitjacket, and consigned to a padded cell.
Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign represented a transparent attempt to accumulate enough delegates to be able to barter them against a place on the ticket for his mediocre, racist son Rand as vice presidential candidate. Ron Paul also functioned as the right wing man for Romney, making sure that candidates to his right – essentially Santorum as it turned out – could never get enough traction to pose a serious threat to Mitt. (For a detailed account of this, see Webster G Tarpley, Just Too Weird.)
The Ron Paul-Rand Paul clan was noted primarily for its nepotism, with dozens of family members and close relatives on the payroll. This finally blew up over a case involving the bribery of an Iowa State Senator who had been working before the Bachmann campaign. The bribery was done by part of this nepotistic apparatus. Even here, we can see that the intended beneficiary was most likely Romney, who had to fear Congresswoman Bachmann as the only native daughter of the state where the first caucuses were to be held.
Now, little Rand Paul will be lucky if he hangs on to his Senate seat. It is the libertarian broadcasters and bloggers who deserve some more attention.
The institution of the talk show host who was also a right-wing extremist began in the late 1980s , following the model of Rush Limbaugh, who was himself a creature of William F Buckley, a figure in the orbit of the right wing CIA. During the 1990s, as the world of libertarian extremist broadcasting was coming into existence, the principal fare being dished up often included alternative accounts of profoundly tragic events like the Waco massacre. There was also coverage of the scandals of the Clinton administration, but these often veered into the realms of right-wing fantasy. At the same time, the libertarians ignored the really big crimes of Clinton like the total deregulation of toxic derivatives and the NAFTA free trade sellout.
During the 1990s, libertarian propaganda was relatively marginalized compared to what it is today. It operated to a significant degree as a conduit for this information used to advance the cause of partisan reactionary Republicans. Typical themes included why the mere governor Bill Clinton needed to be blamed for Iran contra due to the role played by the airport in Mena, Arkansas, despite the fact that the entire operation had been directed by Reagan’s covert action czar, George H. W. Bush. Arcane theories of how the Clinton White House had orchestrated the deaths of presidential aide Vince Foster were a staple offering, despite the fact that killing Vince Foster was far more likely to have been an effort by Wall Street financier forces to discipline the new administration, coming as it did as part of a pattern of acts of violence.
In the spring of 2001, Ron Paul gave a speech to the House where he reassured his colleagues that: “There is nothing to fear from globalism, free trade, and a single world-wide currency.” Only if the single currency is a fiat currency could there occur a collapse followed by protectionism managed by resurgent nationalism. Some people might see in that statement a foreshadowing of Trump, except for the fact that Trump is no nationalist at all, but rather a doughface nativist and fascist. Trump wants to attack forty percent of the United States population and cause chaos. This is not nationalism.
Wherever Paul might have been going with that speech, the libertarian bloggers and broadcasters were saved from it by the events of September 11, 2001. It was 9/11, which set the stage for the most positive phase of activity by these libertarians.
2001-2008 TIME FRAME MOST POSITIVE FOR LIBERTARIANS
The 9/11 truth movement was fundamentally the most intelligent part of the peace movement opposing the Afghan war, the Iraq war, and the openly trumpeted plans for an early attack on Iran. 9/11 truth activists realized that ceding the premise of the official 9/11 story meant that it would be impossible to avoid the bloody consequences implicit in this story. This connection was repeatedly made clear by the use of the 9/11 myth by Bush and Rove in 2002 and 2004; 9/11 became the official reason for the foreign wars, to say nothing of domestic repression and austerity. It was therefore very healthy to attack the 9/11 myth, and libertarians made some important contributions.
The other advantage of those years between 2001 and late 2007 was that a very partisan Republican administration was in power. If the libertarians wanted to hold on to their opposition to the 9/11 story, which was in turn the key to their opposition to foreign wars and domestic dictatorship, then they had to get accustomed to attacking the Republican Party. Since many of the libertarians were culturally and traditionally right-wing reactionaries closer to the Republicans than to any other party, this required some effort. But for a while, the libertarians managed to see George W. Bush and especially Dick Cheney as their main enemies. The nature of the situation also required the libertarians to be less culturally sectarian than they usually would have, since they needed to cooperate with leftists and pacifists as well.
The high point of the pushback against foreign wars came in 2006, when the Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress.
But after 2006, things began to go downhill. As Ron Paul began to roll out his 2008 presidential campaign of nepotism, libertarian bloggers and broadcasters began to subordinate their political line to the needs of the duplicitous Leprechaun. And since Ron Paul took contributions for 9/11 truth, and then refused to say anything about it, this resulted in a large net detraction from public agitation about issues of false flag terrorism and the activities of the secret government. This is also the time when the Obama campaign began to drain the oxygen or from any left-wing activism on these fronts, since he like Paul was interested in using people as campaign volunteers.
Between 2008 and early 2015, the libertarian bloggers or broadcasters were in a state of accelerating decline, especially in terms of the moral honesty and ideological quality of their output. They were usually willing to subordinate themselves to efforts like the Ron Paul for President campaign in 2012, and then the beginnings of the Ron Paul for President campaign in 2014 and 2015.
But now the sinister figures began to gather. Ron Paul’s alliance with Romney in 2012 meant that all manner of Mormon operatives crowded onto the stage, expounding lunatic theories, according to which Mitt was feared by the establishment, because they did not control him.
Intelligence community veterans (sometimes implicated in the overseas crimes of the CIA) and special forces alumni also came forward in force, often spinning tales which were completely in contradiction to the important anti-police state insights which had been developed during the 2001 – 2008 timeframe.
LIBERTARIANS GO TOTALLY ROTTEN, ALIGN WITH TRUMP: LATE 2015
An index of the increasing moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the libertarians was their right wing sectarian response to the Occupy movement of late 2011. The libertarians responded with crude red baiting and crass insults, more or less, on the level of Sean Hannity the terms of degradation from the 2008-2015 timeframe cannot even be enumerated here.
The 2008 to 2015 phase of degeneracy was bad, but it tended to maintain certain coherence because of the general understanding that libertarians were going to remain shills for the Paul family, and specifically for the hollow and baseless presidential ambitions of Rand Paul. But during the second half of 2015, it began to dawn on the libertarians that their favorite little nepotist was not going to be a successful candidate, his thunder, having been stolen by Trump. Rand Paul took a long time dropping out, and during that phase, the leading libertarian bloggers and broadcasters began reorienting towards the bombastic figure of Trump. In the meantime, they began praising Ronald Reagan as their transitional saint, just as a banal Republican would.
Another factor that helped speed the deterioration of the libertarian broadcasters and bloggers towards Trumpian fascism was their pre-existing fascination with rural rebellions against the authority of the federal government carried out by armed survivalist militias. The relevant names here are that of Cloven Bundy, the rich Mormon whose minions threatened federal officers with loaded rifles in April 2015, and of his son Amon Bundy, who led a small gaggle of armed survivalists in occupying the Malheur bird sanctuary in Oregon in support of their demand that US public lands be given away for free to groups of hoodlums like themselves. Rousseau’s Noble Savage comes in many forms, and many garbs, but it is the armed cowboy survivalist who seems to strike the most responsive chord among the reactionary-romantic libertarians of today. What the world needs today is unabashed defenders of civilization. We need scientists, artists, engineers and teachers, not right wing anarchists. Civilization is better than the savagery advocated by some libertarians.
LIBERTARIANISM IS NOT OPPOSITE OF FASCISM, BUT ITS FRONT DOOR
It was once assumed that libertarianism represented the antithesis of fascism and totalitarianism. This quaint belief has turned out to be a very serious mistake. What we see in actual historical practice is that libertarianism represents the prelude to fascism, the antechamber to fascism, the entryway to fascism. This is because the doctrines of libertarianism, if they acquire significant influence in a society, tend to destroy the political and economic systems of that society to a point of anarchy and social breakdown where fascism becomes the most likely alternative.
Thus, in Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic, we see that more than two years of the extreme austerity imposed by the Hunger Chancellor Heinrich Brüning between the spring of 1930, and the summer of 1932, were necessary to destroy German political and economic institutions to the point where Hitler’s January 1933 seizure of power became possible. These austerity policies were based on the economic doctrines of the London School of Economics, where Brüning had studied. (It is worth noting that these killer austerity policies were also supported by the right-wing social Democrat Hilferding of the SPD and his faction.) The austerity tirades heard on libertarian radio these days are identical to the catastrophic Austrian School policies implemented on the eve of Hilter.
Many libertarians are admirers of the panic, crash, and depression of 1920, which they claim ended quickly, because the reactionary administration of Republican President Warren G. Harding did little or nothing to stop it. The depression was allowed to burn itself out, as they would say. The problem with this mythology is that the 1920 depression was a worldwide phenomenon, and was especially acute in Italy. It was in the aftermath of the 1920 that the world’s first fascist regime came to power in Italy, with Mussolini’s March on Rome in October 1922.
In our own time, we are watching the astounding ease with which veteran, doctrinaire libertarians blithely throw their doctrine and principles overboard and rush like lemmings to join the bandwagon of the fascist Trump, whose dictatorial and authoritarian tendencies could hardly be more blatant.
As of late March 2016, the leading libertarian broadcasters and bloggers appear to be in an unenviable predicament. On the one hand, their many years of support for the Paul Dynasty as national political figures have vanished into dust and ashes. Many of their supporters are bitterly disappointed, and are wondering whether they’ve been sold a bill of goods.
At the same time, many of these prominent libertarians have been much too quick to enter into Trump’s lethal embrace, since this fascist bullies emphasis on authoritarianism, dictatorial methods, surveillance (including electronic surveillance), contempt for the Congress, disregard for the Constitution, plans to demolish the First Amendment (by expanding the use of libel laws with exorbitant fines to muzzle the political opposition) and the Fifth Amendment (denial of due process to alleged illegal aliens, which is required before they can be expelled).
So the leading libertarian broadcasters and bloggers are now attempting to totally reverse their field. Even with the benefits of Orwellian doublethink, this will not be possible. People who have learned the libertarian answers to the main political issues cannot start spouting the opposite views at short notice. Already, various signs of pushback are becoming evident, with comical zigzags between bootlicking for Trump if he is willing to be interviewed, followed by an earnest discussion about why he might be dangerous. The libertarian spokespeople don’t know which way to go. They are scrambling to cover themselves and maintain relevance while maintaining credibility and keeping their carreers afloat.
There are also questions of institutional support, which may emerge more clearly over time. One is that the Mormon Church of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City has been allied with the libertarians over recent years. Note again that Cloven Bundy and his sons are all communicants of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, a somewhat more doctrinaire version of the LDS. But the fact that Donald Trump got a meager 15% of the votes in Utah is an unmistakable signal that the Saints do not like Trump and have decided to back Cruz. Cruz’s lopsided victory over Trump in the recent Idaho caucus would seem to reflect the same forces at work. This evidently puts some libertarians in a bind, since they cannot get money from Mormons and Trump at the same time.
Remember the Amero, the Trans-Texas corridor, and Jade Helm 2015? How many libertarian listeners lost their retirement savings by speculating on silver and gold? How many are stuck isolated in worthless survivalist cabins in the woods far from jobs, communities and the civilization that is so important for the human spirit?
These themes and others like them have represented the raw materials for innumerable hours of a libertarian broadcasting. This is the stuff of which fear porn is made – offering the suggestible audience the intense experience of fearing an imminent catastrophe. Each one was supposed to represent the end of human civilization, the end of the world, or the coming of the apocalypse. Psychologists tell us that these types of themes often attract those who feel burned out and dead inside their own minds (and have lost any connection to genuinely meaningful work, art, and civilization). These individuals sometimes experience a kind of imminent death of their own psyche and then defend themselves by projecting that death out of their own mental space and into the broad expanses of the universe. The consequence is that not only are their own lives marginalized and ruined both financially and spiritually, as is the society around them. They have reduced their concept of human existence to an endless tirade about death and destruction, while totally neglecting art, culture, philosophy and architecture.
Since the suppression of the American System of Political Economy more than 100 years ago, economics, certainly qualifies as one of the most corrupt and sinister branches of the academic establishment. Economics is where ideological decadence is sometimes the most pronounced.
The American System is the American tradition in economics, and this is based on protectionism, mercantilism, and dirigism. Henry Clay had the most sustained formulation of the American System when he called for a protective tariff, a Hamiltonian national bank, and an ambitious program of national infrastructure and scientific research paid for by the federal government for the general welfare. In the years after 1870, the American system was much admired and imitated because of the overwhelming success of the US economy operating on a dirigistic basis.
The roots of libertarianism and Austrianism are not in the United States at all, but rather derive from an attempt by the Habsburg Empire to fight the influence of the American school in countries like Germany and Russia.
This painting shows the late Archduke Otto von Hapsburg at the age of 4 as he attended the coronation of his parents Emperor Karl and Empress Zita as King and Queen of Hungary in Budapest in 1916.
Members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta attend the funeral of Otto von Hapsburg in July 2011.
After Germany had been unified under Bismarck, the government in Berlin began noticing the great success of dirigism in the United States, especially compared to the unsatisfactory results initially obtained in Germany. A desire to upgrade German economic performance led to the formation of the German or historical school of economics.
During the 1870s, out of the decadent and oppressive Hapsburg Empire then came Carl Menger and his Austrian School, also called the psychological school because of the radical subjectivism of its method. The theoretical vantage point of the Austrian school is always the individual predatory speculator, and very seldom the producer. (Compare this to Keynesianism, where the theoretical vantage point is generally that of the central banker. This is bad, of course, but the Austrian school is far worse.) Austrian is an ideology suitable for economic parasites who intend to prey on the productive activities of others. Under the Austrian school, the Habsburg Empire became so weak and fragile that it was smashed into pieces by World War I. The Austrian school has very few supporters in Austria today.
The American school and the German school have much in common, and are united by a leading figure shared by both. This is the celebrated Friedrich List, who designed the customs union (Zollverein), which fostered German unification, and who was a key figure in the building of railroads in the Habsburg territories before the time of Carl Menger. List also refuted the self-serving British free trade/free market ideology, showing that these ideas served the City of London banks, but were of no use to countries seeking industrial, agricultural, and infrastructural development around the world.
Much of the first half of the 20th century was taken up with governments operating with the methods of war economy, or else with communist regimes. During the 1920s, the Austrian school developed an important base at the London School of Economics, Particularly around Sir Lionel Robbins, who promoted the careers of Austrian school crackpots, namely von Hayek and von Mises. The latter two were brought to the United States by David Rockefeller, who appears to have paid von Hayek to write his term papers for him at the London School of Economics.
The Austrian school became bitterly hated during the 1930s because of its claim that the world economic depression of those years could not be fought and should not be fought, but had to be allowed to burn itself out, whatever the consequences in lives, poverty, and dictatorships leading to world war. The spirit of the Austrian school was summed up aptly by US oligarch and Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon, the man who actually ran the Harding and Coolidge administrations from behind the scenes. Andrew Mellon’s approach to the Great Depression was to liquidate stocks, liquidate bonds, liquidate real estate, liquidate the farmer, in short – to liquidate all economic interests until, at some unknown future point, a recovery would kick in.
This idea represents perhaps the most fundamental obsession of the Austrian school libertarians of all times and places: their answer to virtually any economic crisis is to bring about an immediate and total deflationary crash, so that the values of all asset classes get as close to zero as possible. The secret is obviously that libertarianism appeals to rich people, to people who have money (although a large contingent of dupes whose interests are not being served is now also present). These people with money believe that they will continue to have money after the all-out deflationary crash, and that they will then begin to buy up masses of valuable assets at the lowest of low bargain-basement prices. This includes labor – it includes you!
The libertarian Peter Schiff, while running for U.S. Senate from Connecticut, unwisely revealed the basis of this libertarian belief when he said that the Connecticut economy would have been better if unemployment had been significantly higher. This is the old Andrew Mellon dictum that the depression has to bottom out or burn itself out – and, to bad if you died. Many of those who came near to dying remembered the criminality of the Austrian school and resolve to fight it as long as they lived.
The other libertarian fixation is that government is evil, since government interferes with the economic activities of the Nietzsche supermen as they carry out their speculative and parasitical mission. They therefore demand that every individual in society be directly exposed to the full fury of the world economic depression, and be subject to the torments of the “market,” meaning in practice the Wall Street predators, speculators and asset strippers.
When the infamous Mont Pelerin Conference was held in Switzerland in 1947, shortly after the end of World War II for the purpose of reviving ANTI-New Deal reactionary economics, it was attended by Otto von Hapsburg, a descendent of the original sponsors of Carl Menger. There was also William F. Buckley for the right wing of the CIA, and a selection of other plutocratic ideologues.
Austrian Economics was so widely hated at this point that a multi-decade rehabilitation program had to be embarked upon. The idea was to get rich businessmen of the type who had financed the Mont Pelerin gathering to create invalid chairs for professors of Austrian school doctrine in major universities. In this way, the doctrine could be transmitted directly to privileged youth and given a new patina of respectability.
After some decades of this effort, the libertarians were joined by many movement conservatives, themselves the leftovers from the Robert Taft the wing of the Republican Party. Here a figure like Murray Rothbard was important in appealing to a whole stratum of academic and petty bourgeois sociopaths. Now the modern so-called alternative media broadcasters sell this doctrine to isolated and backward individuals and confused teenagers.
When the ideological current we have just been describing came together with the Paul family, the Southern Jurisdiction Scottish Rite Freemasons, and the libertarian broadcasters and bloggers, the modern form of political libertarianism was assembled. Now, after about 20 years, this entire cartel of forces is being called to account for its cultural barbarism, its cruel reactionary ideology, its bankrupt political scheming, and its increasingly strident anti-Americanism. Make no mistake: Natural Law is not mocked, but returns with furies and nemesis to punish its violators. Any positive role has long since been exhausted, and the libertarians – like their GOP mothership – are headed for a much deserved Last Roundup.