Dear Fred: I'm a 1967-style Libertarian, and that seems to have little in common with the "Libertarians" we've picked up since 1980.
You have no idea of the corruption that entered the "Party of Principle." Reason Magazine sold out. The great anarchistic "Mr. Libertarian", Murray Rothbard, joined with an arch-fascist; most state-level positions have been lost to the conservatarians. Why? Because the right-wingers had so much more money than the left-wingers. They were able to flit about the country and create a controlling clique that people without money couldn't keep up with.
Many Libertarian organizations have gone under. USA Today recently ran a guest column supporting the beating of that guy by the Los Angeles Cops. The writer was a newcomer who repeatedly called himself a "Libertarian".
Like the writer of the Summer 1990 editorial in The Match, I too have swerved from hating government to hating government-lovers.
I love the editorial response to Mike Hall in the letters column of issue 83. I've worked my ass off since childhood at junk jobs because of the very conditions mentioned. Correct: too many of these pseudo-Libertarians have had it too easy in life. I had to collect bottles at factories at age five and I was shoveling coal in basements at age nine, but according to these pseudo-Libertarians who spent those years playing, I'm poor and they're rich because I didn't work as much as they did. An inverted crazy-quilt world made by people who inherited while demanding that others earn and don't even want to face it.
But remember, if nine out of ten Anarchists are really secret government informers who misrepresent Anarchism, that still doesn't mean Anarchism is what they say it is. I'm a Libertarian, and a lot of these other guys aren't. Having more money, they can make everybody think they are Libertarians.
One of my biggest problems is with "inheritance." On the one hand I do not support inheritance taxes as they strengthen the State. On the other hand, I'm sick of hearing Libertarians and Objectivists say how everything in life must be earned and then they look away and whistle when I say, "True, but how about inheritance? It's not earned."
Perhaps it's because having been born along the East River in New York City, I've never known what it's like to be middle-class and to have the necessities of life handed to me so I'd be set up in life. I've never known any Ayn Rand fans to be Hank Reardens themselves; they seem to be born owners, not renters. I've watched my fellow libertarians sell out as they got older; they no longer care about personal liberty, just economic freedom. They liked to play at being poor by dressing and living "ratty" while in their early twenties, but quickly joined the establishment when their parents helped get them set up in polite society.
Personally, I think the whole Capitalism vs. Socialism argument is a red herring. We're still in medievalism. You tell me what class your daddy was and I'll tell you which one you're in - just like the twelfth century. First, we get out of medievalism, then with everyone starting off equally, we'll see about the Capitalism vs. Socialism bit.
However, you would be doing the real Libertarians a favor if you called these pseudo-Libertarians by their true name: Conservatarians. How would you like it if government-lovers started calling themselves Anarchists and proceeded to embarrass true Anarchists? These phonies, Conservatarians, are far more interested in profit than liberty, that's for damn sure. Don't blame us because these rich bastards came in since 1980, expropriated our name and disgraced us. It was just like LaRouche taking over the Chicago Democrats. Most people who came in since 1980 are phony and many of those who came in during the '60's sold out - but there are still some real Libertarians left. Don't hurt us by letting them get away with stealing the word Libertarian. At least help us by calling them pseudo-Libertarians or Conservatarians.
These pseudo-Libertarians like to mock the idea of a diligent person being homeless. Diligent? I used to load boxcars in the rain for minimum wage. Considering the rents nowadays, how the hell does one pay them? The modern jerks won't admit to themselves that their parents greased their way through life. It was nothing they did. People I know, including myself, now live in places doubled-up, without even heat or running water. And we're grateful for even that much. Thank goodness for libraries and their warmth between junk jobs. Thank goodness for college shower rooms that one can sneak into to get clean.
More Conservatism posing as Libertarianism - using the average income rather than the mode. Hell, by that reasoning all serfs and slaves were middle-class when you average in the vast wealth of the lord with the zero of the lackeys. Average in one of Reagan's new billionaires with 999 homeless and you get an "average" of one million bucks apiece. I never mix up middle-class with working-class. There was a period in the past when many working-class people made it up to the middle class, but they fell back.
I'm 41, and I've spent a couple of hours a day agitating since 1967. But check out the new Libertarian Party leadership: they once sent me, along with all the other delegates, some necessary forms that had to be filled out, but timed so that they arrived one day before they were due back. When I asked how the hell we were supposed to get them back in time, I was told that rather than use a 25-cent stamp, we should "use overnight mail; it's only twenty dollars." That way they blocked all non-rich Libertarians. These are the tricks people use to put everything into the hands of the born-rich. Still another tactic is to conduct communications as much as possible over expensive computer networks. True Libertarians don't have thousands of dollars worth of computer crap.
So the new L.P. wonders why it can't get young people, while everything is now priced to attract the middle-aged who have big salaries. If it had been this way years ago, I'd never have been able to get in.
Sometimes even I get suckered, though: Around 1980 we were told to try not to be so radical in the Libertarian Party, in order not wo scare away people. So I went along and toned everything down. However, they meant to only tone down the personal-liberty stuff; they went right on being extreme with the economic-freedom notations. So we weren't supposed to push heroin legalization as it would frighten people. Yet it was okay to push getting rid of Social Security even though it conjured up images of old people starving in the gutter. The result was what the party leadership wanted - the left was sacred away while the right was attracted.
Because I was thus suckered, I'm incredibly angry. I now scan papers from all over and whenever I see anyone presenting only the economic-freedom side of Libertarianism, I jump right in and present the anti-MADD and drug-legalization aspects of true Libertarianism. I get calls from incensed pseudo-Libertarians and I tell them to go to Hell and give me my party back.
The Match contains the first discussion of RENT that I've ever seen. I always did have trouble with that concept. I still recall the instant in my childhood when I realized that "my" home wasn't really MY home, since my father never did and never would own it. It was like the moment I realized there was no Santa Claus. Worse, in fact, as it undermined my feeling of security. Here, if you're a renter you're like a serf. The owner of the city government can just walk in when they want and "inspect" your home. Owners don't have that problem. There are more and more laws here telling renters what to do, that don't apply to people who own their own homes. It's just like having guards tramping through your cell.
The lowest paying jobs seem to be the ones most likely to have urine-testing. Right now there's a coal mining job available, but that fascist crap is demanded. No, it's not enough that you have to work hard and dirty for a few bucks and hour; you must give up your rights, too. Meanwhile, the pseudo-Libertarians always answer that we have a choice. Yeah, give in or starve. Of course, the jobs THEY have don't demand such things.
Feminism: I sure don't like its All White Males Have Money attitude. I haven't got any of that money. But I don't doubt that lots of women have to put up with lots of crap. I guess that just as rich pseudo-Libertarians are more visible than real Libertarians, so are monied white males more visible than poor white males.
Another gripe: "Law Day." It should be Too Many Laws Day.
Banks: when they started stealing accounts that were under $100.00 (they used to give us interest), the pseudo-Libertarians acted like it was A-OK to do so, even though the original agreement was to pay us interest, with the rules being changed unilaterally. Libertarians said they had every right to do it. These guys are like Stokely Carmichael toward Big Government, but like Stepin Fetchit toward Big Business.
The richest man in York County is named Appell. The richest man for the last few generations was named the same. Our Congressman is named Goodling; so have been the ones before him. But this is America and anybody can be rich and/or a Congressman; no hereditary dukes here. Nope. Pseudo-Libertarianism refuses to ever mention items like this.
I used to complain that too many Atheists had a god named Government; well, too many Libertarians have a god named Big Business. The only jobs a lot of poor people can get are jobs serving food to those with some money. At the last state L.P. convention I went to, the spoiled brats at my table complained all night about the food (I never had such fancy food before), and the service (even though the poor waiters were moving constantly.) The guillotines need Rustoleum, I think. I have to hold my temper around these haughty bastards. They are nothing like the Libertarians of 20 years ago.
The ACLU: It's really the ACRU (civil rights, not civil liberties). A couple of years ago the York Police took dogs into local bars and restaurants checking for drugs while people were eating. I sent the news to the Pennsylvania ACLU. They did send someone out to fight the city government, but all he cared about were the black bars that were bothered. Not others. He looked at it entirely in terms of black civil rights, not the individual liberty of both whites and blacks, not search and seizure violations or anything else; just that black people were picked on. Nobody else counted.
Reading the last issue of The Match, I loved Dire Wolf's story about waking up in a hotel room with bullet holes in the wall. The first Randians I ran into decided I wasn't good material for their cause on account of my habit of winding up dead drunk in the gutter in strange towns on weekends. But, had Ms. Rand stated in The Objectivist Newsletter, May 1972, that "Getting dead drunk in the gutter is a great intellectual notion," I'm absolutely certain that the curbs would have been lined with Objectivists.
Ever notice that the hardest jobs pay the least money? My father always asked, "Where do these people get all this money?" I finally found out. Their ancestors came here when the land was free. They later sold it for capital, and that capital was passed down.
There's a rich kid in York that I like personally, but he's still a classic example. He inherited a huge fortune from one side of his family and his other side runs the biggest bank. He then opened a couple of stores. The paper said, "It's amazing what he has accomplished by the age of 25." The article acted like he was Jack the Shoeshine boy turned magnate.
The American People: Now they want Schwarzkopf for President. How they love Napoleons. How they hate liberty. They want leadership; screw leadership. They want lawyer shows on TV; screw "laws".
Sure, this is a long letter, but the sold-out Libertarian mags will no longer publish me. I'd appreciate it if you'd run my address; I'd like to get mail from some Anarchists.
Walk Karwicki II
Some rant! It sounds to me like you don't belong with the Libertarians at all, but rather, with us Anarchists. ANY political party will always end up the same. The manipulations and sell-outs of principle are part and parcel of the authoritarian mentality, which in my opinion has infected right-wing Libertarianism from the start. -ed