Thursday, January 5, 2012

Glenn Greenwald's Fallacies on Progressives and Ron Paul


If anyone needs further evidence of the devolution and diffusion of the left in the West, you need to look no further than Glenn Greenwald's paternalistic piece on why progressives should stop acting like petulant children and vote for a person who will cut his taxes.

Here is but one snippet by this progressive-turned-libertarian shill:
Whatever else one wants to say, it is indisputably true that Ron Paul is the only political figure with any sort of a national platform — certainly the only major presidential candidate in either party — who advocates policy views on issues that liberals and progressives have long flamboyantly claimed are both compelling and crucial.
Whatever else I can say about Glenn Greenwald, he thinks I should be supportive of Ron Paul (oh, wait, only telling us about the candidates and why Ron Paul is so much better [which is his way of saying an endorsement]).  That is an ironic choice of a word when describing what I should feel for Ron Paul, seeing how the doctor does not seem too enthused about someone like Glenn Greenwald, if one believes Rep. Paul's ex-staff worker.  I guess being homophobic is acceptable, so long as you think correctly on the Iraq war and the Patriot Act.  Who knows, maybe he will dedicate some of his column space in the future on the greatness of Pat Buchanan (whose politics closely resembles Rep. Paul's).

And yes, Glenn, I actually do think of myself as flamboyant about civil liberties, to the point I have dedicated a good part of this site to criticizing President Obama, but as a progressive I am also flamboyant about other crucial issues, like civil rights--a strange omission in Glenn's column (until I emailed him my criticisms and he changed his article to address it at the end) and with good reason.  That's because Greenwald's preferred (I mean compared) presidential candidate is not only non-flamboyant about civil rights but opposes it absolutely as a violation of the rights of property owners (the favored caste of all libertarians).  In fact, Rep. Paul has opposed the Voting Rights Act throughout his entire political career, along with the Civil Rights Act.  You see, Ron believes a property owner should be allowed to exclude anyone from his/her business, including people based on their race.  Of course, Glenn does not have to worry about getting himself excluded anytime soon.  The Jim Crow laws in the pre-civil rights era did not make him sit in the back of a bus.

But when it comes to violating the Constitution, Ron Paul has no problems whatsoever, on the condition that you are born in the U.S. to parents who are undocumented.  That is right, Ron Paul wants to roll back the 14th Amendment, which he never liked as an apologist for the Confederacy in the Civil War, and advocates eliminating the clause that grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S.  And he wants to abolish public assistance to undocumented immigrants, including schooling for their children (even those born in the U.S.).  Naturally, Glenn, as a native born citizen of the U.S., is not acquainted with people who will be impacted by this policy (or not enough for it to be a priority for him), so the lack of care over such folk is of no consequence to him or his presidential vote.

And it is not just the right of people born in the U.S. to undocumented parents that Rep. Paul wants to do away with.  He is not too supportive of the living ones who would dare demand a living wage, as well.  Rep. Paul opposes the Wagner Act, which gives every American the right to collectively bargain in a labor union (which is what created the middle-class of this country after World War Two).  And he opposes a minimum wage law as a means of "helping" poor people by subjecting them to the whims of companies would prefer slave labor, if they could get away with it.  In fairness to Dr. Paul, he is not only an advocate of abusing adult workers.  He supports spreading the social Darwinistic joys of this survival of the fittest (and starvation of everyone else) by 'liberating' our children from those evil public schools and sending them to the workforce, like Henry Frick's 10 year old dynamite specialists in the mines of late 19th century Pennsylvania.  Apparently, none of those issues should count to me when considering a presidential candidate. 

Another issue I am flamboyant about is reproductive choice.  Like most progressives (should), I see women as full human beings who should be treated equally as men, and that most certainly includes the right to decide when/whether to terminate a pregnancy.  Ron Paul is an opponent of allowing women to have such a choice.  Indeed, Rep. Paul claims to be "strongly pro-life" (anti-choice).  Glenn will not have to care about this issue anytime soon, as a man who thinks I should either ignore or downplay something that is not on his horizon, and as such not vital, but that which providers of women's reproductive health have to live through every day--and by live through every day, I mean a country filled with religious zealots and terrorists (almost all Republican voters) who may attack and kill you for reaffirming a woman's Constitutional right.

Another Glenn Greenwald item that was not mentioned in his column for Ron Paul is the one issue that all libertarians care about the most, greater than civil liberties, greater than foreign policy, and that is economics.  Of course, as a new-fangled supporter of the rights of the proprietor, Glenn should know all about this, as he would benefit mightily by the abolition of the progressive income tax and its replacement with a regressive national sales tax.  After making himself a millionaire off the backs of (mostly) progressive readers who purchase what he writes, the recension of the income tax would be a blessing and clear financial motive for his vote (oops, I mean his comparison).  That is because Ron Paul has been a longtime supporter of the elimination of the income tax, including the proposed "fair tax" (that is, if by fair, you mean to wealthy people).



Another issue Glenn completely bypassed (until the end, when he put in a paragraph addressing some of the aforementioned, following my criticisms that I emailed to him), again, for the same obvious reason he did not want to address his views on taxes, the supposed violation of the Constitution that Rep. Paul thinks Social Security has become.  Naturally, Glenn does not have to worry about this.  He has enough money saved up from years of legal practice and book sales in the 2000s to keep himself in a position of ease, but over half of all elderly people in the US depend on Social Security as their primary source of income.  Rep. Paul believes we should rollback and eventually abolish Social Security.

And what about the corporate ownership of our campaigns?  Yes, that is another issue that I, as a progressive, am very flamboyant about (it might arguably be the most important issue in American politics), because corporations have a corrupting influence on our polity and have contributed profitably to our wars and increasing police state.  Ron Paul not only supports this, he supported the Supreme Court's Citizens United vs. FEC decision, which further humanizes corporations and equates corporate money with speech.  Then again, Glenn feels the same way as Ron Paul and every Republican presidential candidate, so it is more than understandable why he conveniently absented any mention of the criminal enterprise that is our system of private campaign sponsorship.

But most offensive of all, even worse than the omissions (until I pointed it out to him), even worse than the apologia for a man who sees Glenn as a moral defect, and the rest of us as individualistic atoms waiting to be freed into a world filled with unaccountable private corporations, is the fact I am having my intelligence insulted as a progressive for not bowing to (an endorsement masquerading as a phony informational session on the progressive credentials of) Rep. Paul because he is good on about one-third of the issues, as if the other two-thirds are not crucial enough for me to care (well, not crucial to Glenn Greenwald because he has healthcare and a house to live in, and an education that is paid off).  As if my only choice is between Ron Paul and Barack Obama, since that is the only comparison allowed for progressives, an offense not only committed by Glenn but even other progressives (when attempting to browbeat me into voting Democratic).  

Has it ever occurred to the ex-lefist-turned-libertarian lemmings (i.e., people like Glenn Greenwald and Alexander Cockburn) that I should not have to choose between a libertarian and a neo-conservartive/liberal like Barack Obama?  Of course they do not know about the Greens or Socialist Party because as libertarians the thought of voting for people who would more heavily tax or regulate Mr. Cockburn's country estate or Glenn Greenwald's income is beyond the pale of consideration.  Well, as a progressive, it is not beyond the pale of consideration to me.

I know of no laws that will restrict me, as a Democrat and progressive, from voting or writing in whoever the Green Party or Socialist Party nominates.  And guess what, Glenn?  That is who I will likely be voting for.  A candidate who is good on 100% of the issues, not two candidates (Paul and Obama) who are, at best, good on a third and are really two sides of the same corporatist coin (since they have the same views on trade, deficit reduction, and single-payer healthcare).  Mr. Greenwald, sadly, does not see that because he is a Cato Institute-funded libertarian, disingenuously attempting to obliquely fool people into voting for a person who sees fetuses and corporations as being more human than we are.

But hey, that's OK.  No need to worry about deporting babies born in the U.S. for having the wrong parentage.  No need to worry about poor people having to pay a 27% national sales tax on everything to subsidize the rich.  No worry about abolishing or rolling back what little social safety net we have in this country.  No need to worry about having Supreme Court appointees who will view women as broodmares.  No need to worry about states continuing to be allowed to violate the due process rights of gay couples who want to marry.  At least we will not be spied on or go to war, while we live in rags (after the minimum wage and unions are outlawed), die from a lack of healthcare in a ditch, and not allowed to vote after states (upon the repeal of the Voting Rights Act) require us to submit our DNA as the price of admission to get into a voting booth.  After all, you don't have time to address any of this when doing a positive writeup on Ron Paul.

Post-Script: Hey Glenn, thanks for re-writing your column to address my critiques after I posted this.  You have a strange way of responding.