Bill Maher called out Paul Ryan and Rand Paul along with other Libertarians for being selfish pricks who are intellectually stuck in their teenage years.
Libertarians have to stop ruining Libertarianism, or at least do a better job of explaining the difference between today’s Libertarian, and just being a selfish prick. Now many years ago on a television network far, far away, I expressed support for Libertarianism because back then it meant that I didn’t big government in by bedroom, in my medicine chest, and especially not in second drawer of the nightstand on the left side of my bed.
And I still believe that but somewhere along the way, Libertarianism morphed into this creepy obsession with free market capitalism based on an Ayn Rand novel called Atlas Shrugged. A book that has never been read all the way through by anyone with a girlfriend. Paul Ryan once said Ayn Rand taught him what my value systems are, and believe him, because her book has a strange appeal to people who are kind of smart, but not really. She wrote things like, “Money is the barometer of society’s virtue,” and “the question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” OOH, sounds like something a Batman villain says.
Yeah, it’s all stuff that seems very deep when you’re 19 years old, about how government is a dirty trick played by the weak on the strong. And I can see how if you’re a privileged college you can read that and think, “Yeah, that’s right I don’t need anything, so shut up Dad, and pay my tuition.” And then one day you graduate and pack up your things and realize that your copy of Atlas Shrugged belongs in the same crate as your beer helmet and your t-shirt that looks like a tuxedo. And you move on, unless you are Paul Ryan or Rand Paul.
Now I know conservatives are saying, “C’mon Bill, you’re not really implying that the most influential minds in the Republican Party are intellectually stuck in their teen years.” No, of course not. I don’t know where I would get that idea.
Which is not to say that there aren’t Libertarian notions that I applaud. Like reinstating the Fourth Amendment, and shutting down the American empire. But for everyone who tries to shame me for abandoning my Libertarian moorings, my message is I didn’t go nuts. This movement did. Like when you see a stop light, your reaction should be, great, and easy way to insure that we don’t all crash into each other, not how dare the government tell me when I can and can not go.
Maher was right the Libertarian movement had changed. Libertarians aren’t Libertarians anymore. They are far right Republicans. The same thing is happening to the term Libertarian that happened to the term progressives. The Republican brand is damaged now that some former Republicans are hiding behind the term Libertarian. Libertarianism has been taken over by far right Republicans. The same thing happened on the left when the Democratic brand was at an all time low. After Ronald Reagan successfully demonized the terms Democrat and liberal, some on the left starting hiding behind the term progressive. (In reality, true progressivism traced backed to its roots is not the same thing as what some on the left now prefer to call themselves.)
The reason why President Obama can’t get anything done is he is trying to work with an opposition that has taken its ideology from the political equivalent of Twilight series. Congressional Republicans act like children, because their ideology is childish. It is fictional gibberish that is meant to sound nice, but has no realistic underpinnings behind it. The ideology that Ryan and Rand are using is also a disaster when it is implemented.
Republicans keep losing elections, because they don’t understand that spouting off the words of fictional Ayn Rand characters makes them look like pricks to the rest of us. Only a prick would want to cut food and healthcare for kids and seniors, so that rich people like themselves can have more tax cuts. Only a prick would tell the victims of a natural disaster that they are on their own. Only a prick would claim to care about a “culture of life” while forcing women to have their rapists’ babies. Only a group of pricks would block the creation of jobs for veterans returning home from war. Only a prick would suggest that the unemployed are lazy and don’t deserve help in their time of struggle.
Only a selfish prick would think that these are good ideas.
Only pricks will vote for their prick agenda, and the problem for Ryan, Paul, and the rest of the Republican Party is that there aren’t enough pricks out there to win them an election.
Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association