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Re: MS libertarians
In reply to Louis Proyect's message sent 11/20/97 8:05 AM:
>In a sense this encapsulates the deep irony that MS represents. While Gates
>and his minions purport to represent entrepreneurialism at its best, the
>truth is that they have done everything they can to defeat true
>competition. This, of course, is characteristic of 20th century
>libertarianism philosophy as a whole. It is ahistorical. It posits an ideal
>capitalist who has no countepart in history. The rise of the capitalist
>class is intimately associated with government intervention on its behalf.
Springing to the defense of our libertarian friends (to the best of my
ability), I think what you are talking about here is not true
libertarianism at all, but what I call "crypto-libertarianism." People
who adhere to this philosophy are little more than unreconstructed social
darwinists. They uncritically admire -- even worship -- the accumulation
of money and those who accumulate it, as though acquisitiveness was in
itself a value to cultivate -- perhaps even the only value worth
cultivating. To them, market forces achieve a kind of mystical stature, a
kabal. Nothing in their philosophy counter-balances this view. Nothing.
One of the weirdest characteristics of crypo-libertarianism is their
highly sentimentalized, almost dreamy, view of the 19th century. They
want to reclaim this century in a way it never existed. They studiously
ignore all efforts at education.
You can identify these people as they drive around with little statues of
Ayn Rand on their dashboards. (The irony, of course, is that Rand
despised libertarians -- she called them the "hippies of the right." But
then, Rand apparently despised nearly everyone.)
I'd venture that true libertarians can, among other things, identify
threats to their liberty deriving from amok capitalism, whereas
crypo-libertarians can only see this danger in government. One of the
conference speakers, John Perry Barlow, alluded to this. I suspect he is
a true libertarian, and the kind of libertarian with which we non-libs
can find common cause -- if not in the solution, at least in the
identification of the problem.
There are people who don't like capitalism, and there
are people who don't like PCs, but there's no one who
likes the PC who doesn't like Microsoft.
-- Bill Gates
Boycott Microsoft ** http://www.vcnet.com/bms