The Enemy Within

I love a good fight between bad entities, which is why I’m enjoying the brawl that’s taking place between the Koch Brothers and the Republican Party. Too bad they can’t both lose.

The controversy over the effort by libertarian ideologues Charles and David Koch to, in essence, buy the Republican Party provides us an opportunity to once again point out the fundamental malevolence of libertarian ideology. Libertarianism is nothing more than a shameless effort to glorify selfishness, which is why the ideology has such a narrow appeal.

In the libertarian world, the only citizen who has any actual rights is the wealthiest citizen. That citizen can pollute for free, pay people slave wages, put unsafe products on the shelves, and ignore common-sense work safety standards. Local, state and federal governments would, in essence, stand down as the tycoon abuses the population for profit.

This is the sick, dark vision of people like Charles and David Koch–a vision in which money equals freedom and government equals evil. It’s a vision in which being poor and sick means being dead and buried. It’s a vision in which severe economic inequality is considered the natural and logical order, the way things ought to be. It’s an amoral, abhorrent vision.

It was the vision that guided David Koch’s 1980 vice-presidential bid, as Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noted in April 2014:

In 1980, David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1980.

Let’s take a look at the 1980 Libertarian Party platform.

Here are just a few excerpts of the Libertarian Party platform that David Koch ran on in 1980:

“We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”

“We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

“We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”

“We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”

“We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.”

“We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.”

“We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”

“We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”

“As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”

“We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”

“We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”

“We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”

“We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”

“We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.”

“We support abolition of the Department of Energy.”

“We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.”

“We demand the return of America’s railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.”

“We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called ‘self-protection’ equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.”

“We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.”

“We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.”

“We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.”

“We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.”

“We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.”

“We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”

“We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”

“We support the repeal of all state usury laws.”

In other words, the agenda of the Koch brothers is not only to defund Obamacare. The agenda of the Koch brothers is to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country.

Libertarian ideology is nothing less than an existential threat to America’s security, cohesion, safety and health. It seeks to undo the social bonds that tie us together. It wishes to turn rich against poor and powerful against weak. It recognizes no moral code except for that established by the self-serving billionaire.

All of us–progressives, centrists, moderates, even the handful of rational conservatives left–have a moral obligation to fight the cancer of libertarianism and keep it from growing within the body of our democracy; if we don’t fight it, our democracy will soon wind up in hospice care. We must condemn libertarianism as a radical ideology that’s every bit as pernicious as the radical ideologies of the past. We must educate our young people to understand that the end result of Ayn Rand is a social and economic wasteland. We must challenge libertarian ideologues and denounce them for their efforts to destroy the policies that have kept our nation strong since the New Deal. We must, in essence, declare war on libertarian ideology, for it is at war with America’s best values.

Since libertarianism is an assault on our country’s protections and principles, one cannot be both a libertarian and a patriot.

The Kochs have chosen sides.

Which side are you on?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.