Sunday, April 17, 2005

An unholy alliance?

The world as we know it is under attack by a growing alliance between religious extremists and libertarian extremists. The religious extremists (calling themselves "social conservatives") want to turn America into a Christian fundamentalist state, while the libertarian extremists want to undo sixty-odd years of social programs and government regulation. Put them together and you have a vision of America in the dark ages.

I've spoken before of the dangers posed by the religious right (who seldom are), but it's important to note how deeply they've infiltrated the Republican party and, by inference, the halls of government. As current party dictator Tom DeLay and potential presidential candidate Bill Frist continue to bind themselves to the extremist agenda, we are in very real danger of becoming the kind of fundamentalist religious state so common in the Middle East. It's worth repeating that while our country was founded on religious tolerance, fundamentalists tend to be extremely intolerant of all religious views except their own. If you value being able to believe as you believe -- if you value the religious freedom on which this country was founded -- you'll stand up to put these potential religious dictators in their place.

A less-known but growing threat is the group of libertarian extremists who worship at the alter of the "Constitution in Exile." In essence, these seemingly well-read and well-spoken nutjobs (compared to the religo-fascists, that is) want to declare unconstitutional virtually all the laws underpinning the creation of our current welfare state. That means doing away with social programs like Social Security, as well as all government regulatory agencies (and their resulting regulations). This would return us to the capitalistic free-for-all that was the first three decades of the twentieth century, and we all know where that led. It's a very scary movement, up until recently somewhat fringish, but gaining momentum thanks to some of the recidivist judicial nominees that President Bush keeps pushing on Congress. (Read more about the Constitution in Exile movement in this New York Times article -- subscription necessary, sorry.)

As I've said before, I'm that rare beast that might be called a libertarian socialist. I think there are far too many government regulations in some areas, and too few in others. (For example, I believe that air travel needs to be re-regulated, and I'm a big fan of taking the business out of the health care business.) I don't believe that the average American wants the last sixty-odd years of social progress negated and reversed by these religious and judicial despots. We have to do something to wake the people up so we can stand up to this growing threat to our liberties and our way of life. If these crazies have their way, the U.S. will be turned into the most backward nation in the civilized world -- just one step above third-world status, in terms of civil liberties and social services. These zealots must be stopped.

But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.

1 comment:

torporific said...

Yes, most libertarians are really greedy Propertarians.