Sunday, January 01, 2012

THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD. I got into a little beef with Glenn Greenwald about his column comparing Ron Paul's civil libertarianism with that of President Obama. I think I was a little unfair about it. There are after all plenty of good reasons to be pissed about Obama, the latest being that horrible bill that he just signed, despite his alleged "reservations." From the bill:
(c) Disposition Under Law of War- The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
As the "War on Terror" is basically a war without end, the ACLU is right to call it "indefinite detention." You'd think that would be good grounds for a veto. But we didn't get one.

So once again our MOR Democratic President disappoints. I must say that, while I've been expecting less than what was advertised since the campaigning Senator Obama went for the bailouts in 2008, he's gone even further than I expected.

Greenwald, though, chooses to use Ron Paul as a cudgel to beat Obama. This is the sort of dreamy, libertarian-with-an-explanation thing that makes me especially cynical and Realpolitiky.

Greenwald carefully stresses that he doesn't support Paul, but when you read his description of Obama --
He has slaughtered civilians — Muslim children by the dozens — not once or twice, but continuously in numerous nations with drones, cluster bombs and other forms of attack. He has sought to overturn a global ban on cluster bombs. He has institutionalized the power of Presidents — in secret and with no checks — to target American citizens for assassination-by-CIA, far from any battlefield. He has waged an unprecedented war against whistleblowers, the protection of which was once a liberal shibboleth...
And then read him on Paul --
The parallel reality — the undeniable fact — is that all of these listed heinous views and actions from Barack Obama have been vehemently opposed and condemned by Ron Paul: and among the major GOP candidates, only by Ron Paul.
Then you have to ask: If he feels that way, how can he not support Ron Paul? Obama as described by Greenwald is a tyrannical monster, and Paul's the only guy with any meaningful support willing to oppose his tyranny. From this perspective it would seem practically a war crime not to start up a government in exile and oppose Generalissimo Obama by any means necessary.

Greenwald says there are "all sorts of legitimate reasons for progressives to oppose Ron Paul’s candidacy on the whole." But he doesn't lay them out in the column, though he does mention the newsletters we've all heard so much about -- which issue has become the go-to knock on Paul, so much so that it's practically a diversion now; it makes it look like Paul is a serious candidate sadly undone by the unfortunate revelation of a peccadillo, rather than the avatar of a disastrous idea of government.

Paul, as he is advertised, wouldn't just put an end to the national security state. He'd put an end to the welfare state.  No Social Security, no Medicare, no minimum wage, no FDA, etc. Even successful Big-Gummint projects like the Clean Air Act would be subject to new, corporation-friendly amendments.

Tyranny-wise, we'd be cutting out the middleman: Instead of having a government that sometimes enables and sometimes blocks the wishes of special interests, we'd let the special interests rumble for domination over all of us, with nothing but free-market pixie dust for protection.

Maybe you think it'd be worth it, because then the military-industrial complex would also be dismantled, and though we'd be fucked, at least the foreign babies would be spared. After all, in the enlightened, proto-libertarian Gilded Age, we didn't have any such foreign adventures -- well, okay, the Spanish-American War, and the Philippine Insurrection, and a bunch of little invasions that inexplicably took place without socialist inspiration. And yeah, okay, there were massacres. But at least it was fairer then, because sometimes U.S. troops opened fire on Americans too. Freedom!

Fuck that shit. I'm voting for Black Hitler in 2012.

UPDATE. In comments, Greenwald says -- very graciously, I would add -- that he did lay out the  problems with Paul in his italicized "honest line of reasoning" that a hypothetical pro-Obama liberal would take. I am tempted to say that I didn't credit this because Greenwald had put it in the mouth of a fictional character with whom he doesn't agree, and so I did not consider it his own point of view; but to be honest, my eyes were too filled with blood to read carefully after I saw my own point of view characterized thus: "Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason..." Jesus, Glenn, why not add "Mwah hah hah" and "Pathetic humans! Who can save you now?" while you're at it?

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