Falsely Called Freedom Part 4: Libertarian “Economic Freedom” as Defending the Wealthy

The reliance of the Virginia School upon the Mont Pelerin Society and the work of F. A. Hayek, and Milton Friedman reveals the depth of its foundational false dichotomy, “Should government control markets or should markets control the government?”

 Uncontrolled government places political power and public decisions into the hands of the politically connected.  Uncontrolled markets place the means to make and keep wealth into the hands of the wealthy.  The only way, our founders understood, to avoid either the accumulation of power or resources from the most powerful, was to entrust the regulation of both to the majority of the people.  But since the congress was given power to regulate commerce, the regulation of commerce was less explicit in the Constitution.  The libertarian method was to remove government control of commerce so the wealthy would always be able to control the politics. Their claims of a desire for a free market and property rights were simply code keeping the wealthy rich and powerful.  The protection of property rights sounded like the desire to keep the property of the poor out of the hands of the government.  In fact, the goal was to protect the property of the wealthy out of the reach of the people. 

In all these ways, libertarianism uses double speak, liberty, freedom, slavery, property rights, are all based on the assumption that the most vulnerable are the rich, who need protection.  The program they were promoting was and is a vision that gave the most benefits to the fewest people.  In a democracy there are only two ways to accomplish this- deception and voter suppression. 

This bait and switch combined with the gerrymandering of voting districts is still the modus operandi of the far right.  Far from being the populist movement it claims itself to be, the Tea Party is simply elitist, and sadly has enlisted those who will lose the most from its policies to fight its battles. 

This solution to the problem was part of libertarianism from the beginning: Even Hayak’s “The Road to Serfdom” was not about how the masses had become serfs to the wealthy.  But about the concern that the wealthy would become serfs to the masses.  The way to avoid this was to make sure that people distrusted their government.  If you could break the trust between people and their government and make them believe it was more dangerous than beneficial, then you could free them.  However, in the United States, the Government is the People, of the People, by the People, and for the People.”  Hence the Libertarian core, and the Virginia School in particular were aiming not to liberate people from their government, but to liberate an Aristocratic class from the decisions of the masses.  The freedom they sought, and are seeking, requires the destruction of democracy and the elimination of the power of the ballot box.  They hated “New Deal” and Roosevelt.  “Socialism” was so dangerous because it allowed the people to see the benefits of collective effort.  At that point, the electoral college was no longer enough to control the desire of the masses.  The Movement’s attacks on Brown, the Voters Rights Acts, and the Civil Rights Acts and the New Deal expose their motives in ways that their words tend to obscure- it is not enough to suppress votes.  What is needed to keep the “liberty” of the few is “voter oppression”. 

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