As a political system and ideology, Libertarianism, and its requisite laissez faire capitalism, is the ultimate expression of class war that pits a few wealthy elite against the masses in a struggle to accrue and control all the wealth in a society. In a sense, Libertarianism has as its basis the concept of survival of the fittest where fitness is measured by wealth and privilege unimpeded by ethical or moral standards necessary in a free society where every citizen has equal opportunities to prosper and fulfill Thomas Jefferson’s “immortal declaration” that “all men are created equal with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Over the past months, Vice President Joe Biden has oft-repeated that “this is not your father’s Republican party,” but he is remiss to inform audiences what many political observers have believed for some time now that the Republican Party has transformed into a libertarian bastardization of conservatism that explains nearly every policy and agenda the right has pursued for nearly three decades.
Republicans are wont to claim they are not waging class warfare on behalf of the wealthy that controls the lion’s share of wealth in this country and, instead, assail President Obama and Democrats as warriors against the so-called “job creators” with unfair taxation and burdensome regulations. It is true that the GOP historically opposes taxes and regulations, but until recently, they understood that at some juncture, to maintain a semblance of equality, it was morally and ethically right to acquiesce to Democratic belief in shared sacrifice and community conscience. It is time for all Americans to acknowledge that this new Republican Party believes that the masses exist to enrich the wealthy and that the GOP as an institution are engaging in a new civil war Fox News calls, “the makers versus the takers.”
If the makers and takers term sounds familiar, it is the Paul Ryan term he used in a speech to the Heritage Foundation in October 2011, and it is the theme of the Ayn Rand novel libertarians, and now Republicans, are using as an economic and political agenda in their drive to transfer the wealth of the nation to a select few. For the uninitiated, in Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, she expressed her disgust for average Americans and adoration of capitalists by purporting America needed to rid itself of anyone receiving government assistance from Social Security, Medicare, unemployment compensation, or any social safety net she asserted plagues and constrains “makers,” or what Republicans call “job creators.”
In the past 9 months, Republicans have floated the notion that it is high time the poor and middle class help the beleaguered wealthiest 1% by paying higher taxes to enrich “job creators” that are under an extreme burden of the weight of the “takers. In Ayn Rand’s novel, she portrayed the wealthy as demigods upon whom the burden of civilization rests and like Representative Paul Ryan’s vernacular, it is the “makers” from whom the rest are only “takers.” For example, Willard Romney proposes raising taxes on the poor 60%, Eric Cantor suggests broadening the (tax) base in a way that lowers the rates for job creators who are overly burdened with high taxes,” and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the tax code needs restructuring to make it fairer to the wealthiest Americans. One of Romney’s supporters and a former Bain Capital partner, Edward Conrad, went a step farther and said the problem with America’s economy is not that income inequality is too wide, but that it is not wide enough.
In the Libertarian philosophy, there are no regulations and no government highway system, public schools, retirement, minimum wage, or unemployment benefits in a dog-eat-dog privatized world where the wealthy control all aspects of society, and if Americans are unable to pay fees to the rich, they cannot pass on private roads, attend private schools, and are forced to work for whatever industrialists are willing to pay resulting in a less than meager existence. It is Depression-era America without labor laws, Social Security, Medicare, public police and fire protection or public assistance in case of illness or injury. It is laissez faire capitalism at its best that gives any business the right to discriminate against race, religion, or sexual preference, and although it suits the wealthy, it is the bane of a society of shared responsibility and sacrifice as well as the end of America’s storied equal opportunities for all citizens.
In the Fox News commentary titled “America’s Coming Civil War — Makers vs. Takers,” the contention is that “we’re a house divided again and another civil war is coming, with the 2012 election as its Gettysburg, pitting public employee unions, left-leaning intelligentsia, and millions of Americans dependent on government from Medicaid and Social Security to college loans and corporate bailouts against those who create wealth, America’s private sector-the very ones targeted by President Obama.” However, the article fails to mention that programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and guaranteed college loans are funded by the taxpayers, and in the case of Social Security and Medicare, the trusts are funded entirely by employee contributions throughout their entire working lives. Still, Republicans are frantic to privatize those programs and turn over trillions of dollars of employee contributions to Wall Street and investors to squander in the next economic meltdown caused by deregulation Republicans are desperate to enact by repealing the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. It is the ultimate robbery of Americans’ retirement and old-age healthcare to hand over to the wealthy that Republicans now claim require the poor and middle class to unburden by paying higher taxes.
The Republican propaganda machine has shifted the makers vs. takers meme from just the American people to public labor unions and American’s retirement accounts to engender support from unbelievably stupid Americans who cannot realize they will be victims of a libertarian agenda. It is also disingenuous, at best, to claim the extremely wealthy and private sector corporations are unduly burdened when corporate profits are at an all-time high at the same time wages hit an all-time low. One of the reasons corporate profits are at record levels is because fewer Americans are working than any time in the past three decades, and they are working longer hours with increased productivity, and for less wages that impedes economic growth. All the while, the constant refrain of libertarian Republicans is that companies are suffering from “too much regulation” and “too many taxes” and so it warrants a war of the makers against the takers.
Vice President Biden was right; this “is not your father’s Republican Party,” it is a libertarian party. The drive to privatize all areas of the government and promise by Willard Romney to eliminate entire departments portends a nation of peasants barely existing to enrich a few wealthy families. There will be no security in old-age, decent jobs, healthcare, mandatory minimum wage, public schools or consumer and labor protections and the idea of clean water will be a privilege reserved for the wealthy. Willard Romney is on record saying he will cut education, police and fire fighters, and dismantle union representation that is responsible for keeping workplaces safe and a semi-decent prevailing wage. The coming libertarian America may please Ayn Rand acolytes like Paul Ryan, but for all but the wealthy, it is a return to Depression-era America with mass hunger, 90% unemployment, and abject despair and it will be the result of the coming civil war of the cash-rich makers against the rest of the population that made the wealthy rich with their toil, sweat, and eventually, their retirement, healthcare, and life-savings.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.