We continue with Mark Ames' article at Nsfwcorp.com, "Found: Libertarians' "Lying To Liberals" Guide Book, Part II."
We left Part I with...
"Note again the emphasis on tricking an earnest mark. Earnestness, sincerity—these are mere weaknesses to the libertarian. The libertarian is expected to be 'cynical,' manipulative and deliberate; the mark, the average American voter, is assumed to engage in political debate honestly and sincerely, unarmed with tricks and strategies. Here the libertarian is assumed to be someone who can’t be persuaded by fair and honest debate; the only thing that threatens a libertarian’s commitment to the Movement is a sense of failure, the sense that no one else is being persuaded, the sense of a lost cause..."
"The author of the article, Michael Emerling, is a bit less crude than Moshe Kroy. The best liars are those who believe their bullshit; Emerling, whose bio boasts that he lectures around the country on 'The Art of Political Persuasion,' is a bit slicker and more nuanced in his presentation:
"In 1976, I discussed this problem with John T. Hamilton III, a libertarian strategist and activist living in Tucson, Arizona. He had developed an enormously effective technique for bringing the left and the right to a consistent libertarian position.
"It is called 'political cross-dressing.' 'Cross-dressing,' of course, refers to the adoption of the dress and behavior of members of the opposite sex. For the libertarian, political cross-dressing means using right-wing words, evidence, and arguments to support civil liberties, and left-wing terms and reasons to support the free market.
"Political cross-dressing is based upon a sound principle of salesmanship: it shows the prospect how the 'product' will fulfill his wants and needs. This can be done because freedom has something for everyone.
"The author holds up Milton Friedman as the libertarian con-artist par excellence for 'cross dressing' minimum wage to conceal its benefits to corporations and the rich, and instead package it as its opposite: anti-elitist populism and pro-black activism. Keep in mind this is 1977, when Milton Friedman was busy experimenting with Pinochet’s concentration camp libertarianism. REASON writes:
"Milton Friedman is a master of this [cross-dressing] technique. Consider one instance. In opposing minimum wage laws, he says: "You very seldom find poor people testifying in-favor of the minimum wage. The people who do are those who receive or pay wages much higher than the minimum. Frequently northern textile manufacturers. John F. Kennedy, when he was in Congress, said explicitly that he was testifying in favor of a rise in the minimum wage because he wanted protection for the New England textile industry against competition from the so-called cheap labor of the south.
"'The effect of a minimum wage law,' [Friedman] continues, 'is to produce unemployment among people with low skills. And who are the people with low skills? In the main, they tend to be teenagers and blacks, and women who have no special skills or have been out of the labor force and are coming back.'
"It’s kind of amazing to read that today and realize how utterly credulous liberal-minded hippies must’ve been that they could be persuaded by such facile tricks. But again, it worked.
"From here, the author goes on to provide specific examples of how to con a mark, sort of like the earlier REASON article. For example: How to con leftists into agreeing to privatize the US Postal Service. (This one has particular relevance to StopWatching.us — one of the most shocking scandals to emerge from the Church Committee hearings in the mid-1970s were revelations that the CIA and FBI had been opening up people’s mail without warrants, and recording citizens’ metadata on the envelopes.)
"First, REASON poses the trickster’s goal and his mark:
"How could free-market mail delivery be sold to the left?"
"And then offers a series of possible libertarian sales pitches:
"The postal monopoly delays, loses, damages, and destroys thousands of letters and packages each day. It is unresponsive to consumers. It over-charges the consumer on first-class mail to subsidize Big Business on second-, third-, and fourth-class mail. It lets the CIA and FBI open and examine private communications."
"Next, REASON gets into slightly more sophisticated marketing strategies to help explain libertarianism’s appeal to a generation raised on consumerism. The strategy is called "left drawer/right drawer" and its appeal is that it impresses the consumer and gives him the sense that merely "wearing" his libertarian ideology makes him appear special and unique— not for the political substance of the ideas so much as the impression it creates on other consumerist imbeciles, thanks to its mix-‘n’-match fashion:
"There are ways of making political cross-dressing even more effective. One is called 'left drawer/right drawer.' It consists of cross-dressing issues while alternating left- and right-wing conclusions....Observe the pattern: left-wing reasons for free-market mail delivery, right-wing reasons for gay rights, left-wing grounds for opposing gun control, right-wing arguments for legalizing all drugs, and so on.
"'Left drawer/right drawer' produces some interesting results. First, it prevents the average person from classifying libertarianism as 'left' or 'right.'....Second, by appealing to the right and left at the same time, the libertarian confuses the left/right spectrum.
"Because the approach is refreshing and original, people are often motivated to rethink their positions. And because the arguments are new and unusual, they get exposure. The working press appreciates hearing something different. So does the public."
"So there you have it, the libertarian "tricks" laid bare. It’d make for some funny reading if it weren’t so self-consciously smug and sociopathic—and if it wasn’t so painfully effective in bringing to life the libertarian dystopia we all inhabit today.
Which brings me back to the StopWatching.us rally. The problem in the 'strange bedfellows' coalition gathering together is the vast difference in their approaches. The Left and liberals who are part of this coalition have not, to my mind, thought through the politics. For the Left, the question over whether or not to join the StopWatching.us coalition with all those right-wing and libertarian outfits comes down to a moral, quasi-religious question, a question of ideals or lack of ideals: Are you for or against Big Brother government spying?
"For most on the Left or liberals, the choice about whether or not to join the coalition comes down to this moral/religious choice, and therefore the answer is to do what every secular Christian knows is right: side with what looks like good.
"There’s no political program presented by the Left as an answer to NSA spying; there are no deals cut with interest groups in-advance, no fleshed-out politics of what would come after abolishing or not abolishing the NSA, and who would benefit from this new arrangement and who would lose out... more importantly, from the Left there’s no suspicion about what the libertarians have thought out, what sort of broad political program, or deals cut, or interest group backing might be shaping their right-wing allies’ interest in StopWatching.us.
"There is just the earnest Left/liberal assumption that the right must share some of their liberal distaste for Big Brother for the same humanitarian reasons as the Left.
As you can see from some of the more honest libertarian writings, that makes the Left a perfect mark, should the libertarians and FreedomWorks and the Kochs have thought their politics through already. Not to mention what Google’s interest is, given the fact that Google is the chief funder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an outfit that’s been busted on numerous occasions over the years as an undisclosed lobby front for Google, Facebook and other Silicon Valley corporations, and given the fact that Google 'stores more personal data from more sources than any entity in history.'
"To get a sense of what the libertarians leading this movement might be up to, just look at the last time the Left got in bed with them over the TSA. A few years ago, the media was in hysterics over the so-called TSA 'Gestapo.' In hindsight it looks rather embarrassing; but at the time, the hysteria over the TSA 'Gestapo' was relentless, generated by the same libertarian-right front groups out of DC that are leading the StopWatching.us rally—the same lobbyists, the same assholes who 'tricked' a good portion of the Left into agreeing with them that TSA airport gate security posed the greatest threat to our civil liberties, our privacy, our Fourth Amendment rights—since the Revolution.
"No one on the Left was about to make an ass of themselves defending the TSA—why would they? The Left’s aversion to authority is stronger than its political sensibility—they never saw the angles on that campaign because they were never interested in knowing if there were any.
"We now know what the angles were: The GOP and the libertarian lobby world planned to privatize the TSA entirely, abolish the agency and privatize the workforce before it succeeded in gaining union rights as a public sector union... with the ultimate goal of replacing the TSA with private contractors deploying 'Israeli-style' racial profiling in our airports.
"Unbeknownst to the liberal dupes who joined the anti-TSA hysteria, in November 2010, the TSA’s 50,000 security officers were finally allowed to unionize after a 10-year struggle to win collective bargaining rights. President Bush denied them that right during his entire presidency; and in the first two years of Obama’s presidency, Sen. Jim DeMint led a one-man filibuster crusade to block the appointment of a TSA chief, thereby blocking any possibility of the 50,000 employees gaining collective bargaining rights. It was only in early 2011 that the Obama Administration, having overcome DeMint’s filibuster and appointed a TSA chief, finally granted the TSA workforce the right to unionize. When they certified their collective bargaining agreement, it turned out to be the GOP’s worst nightmare: The single largest unionization drive in decades.
"The GOP never gave up on their plans to privatize and destroy the TSA, of course. One of the planks in the 2012 Republican Party platform promised to privatize the TSA if Romney won, dole out security to private contractors, mass-introduce Israeli-style racial profiling into airports, and abolish the union.
"What's the GOP's reason for constantly linking TSA privatization with introducing Israeli airport security? If you're lazy, you might assume it's because they're evil. If you try thinking it through a libertarian's way of thinking, you'll follow the money and find a more simple explanation. NASCO (National Association of Security Companies), the DC lobby outfit representing private airport security contractors, happens to be led by the Israeli lobby’s closest equivalent to a princeling—Washington lobbyist Stephen Amitay, whose father and partner is Morris Amitay—ex-head of AIPAC, vice chairman of the Jewish Institute for National Security (JINSA), and co-founder with Michael Ledeen of the Committee for Democracy in Iran. The Amitays father-and-son have represented Northrup Grumman and Israeli Aerospace Industries among their many clients, and together ran the pro-Israel Washington PAC. I dunno, call me krazy, but something tells me that there’s a connection between the messaging about privatizing the TSA and replacing it with Israeli-style contractors, and the fact that the chief lobbyist for the private airport security contractors association is also an A-list Israel lobbyist.
"My point is that the Right didn't go into the big anti-TSA campaign merely shaking their fists without larger political plans to exploit the potential political benefits. In this case the Left, having abandoned Labor years ago, never saw the labor angle when it joined in demonizing the TSA. The Left never thought of the TSA officers as anything but evil Gestapo cops too. Having effectively demonized TSA officers as 'rapists' and 'jackbooted''Nazis' running 'porn scan machines' (those were the actual real talking points used), the libertarian/GOP right-wing created a favorable political atmosphere to carry out a full-bore privatization. Even though the libertarians and right-wingers pushing the anti-TSA crusade talked openly about replacing the agency with privately-run Israeli racial profiling, nevertheless the Left stayed on board and refused to get in the way, either out of sheer fecklessness, or cowardice—the fear of being shamed for appearing to support Police State 'TSA' airport gate security. Yes, they really were that gullible.
"Even that YouTube hero sensation John 'Don’t Touch My Junk' Tyner turned out to be a fraud. Liberals and libertarians alike hailed Tyner as an American hero standing up to the Obama Administration’s Big Brother imperial machine. No one on the left was allowed to raise questions about Tyner, God forbid. Later, long after the peak of the hysteria, we discovered that the anti-Big Brother libertarian hero John Tyner is a military-intelligence contractor who works for a San Diego company called ViaSat. Tyner's company makes components for everything from battlefield drones used in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere; NSA spy satellites; integrated battlefield communications equipment for the Pentagon; and communications gear for the Department of Homeland Security.
"Even as liberals and leftists rallied with their libertarian bedfellows behind a sentimental, idealized Tyner, the real John Tyner was busy tapping out insane radical-right political solutions on his blog—calling for firing the TSA's pro-union workforce, privatizing the agency, and replacing it with private airport security contractors specializing in 'Israeli-style' racial profiling. And the libertarians pushing that agenda almost made it happen—they went into the anti-TSA crusade with everything worked out in-advance: Who would benefit, who would be hurt, the larger politics, the interest groups, everything. The left skipped along in smug ignorance as their unwitting accomplices, and nearly let themselves be used as dupes to bust a union and introduce privatized racial profiling in our airports.
"So yeah, deciding whether or not to join with the libertarian far-right in another 'strange bedfellows' coalition—without having the politics completely worked out, or knowing what the angles are—requires much more serious thought. It’s not merely a facile moral choice, an exam in a school civics class or a Sunday School catechism. In the strange bedfellows coalition to kill the TSA, the Left had nothing worked out beyond their own moral egos—and that made them accomplices in a crime against tens of thousands of struggling non-unionized workers, and the untold numbers of passengers who stood to be victimized by for-profit racial profiling.
"The Left willed themselves into self-protected ignorance—but if the TSA was privatized, and replaced with airports run by private racial profiling contractors, it would be at least as much the fault of the leftist dupes who fell for the anti-TSA idiocy.
"So this Saturday, as leftists join hands in righteous ignorance with their libertarian strange bedfellows to protest government surveillance, the rest of us will have to wait and see what the more sophisticated and cynical libertarian-right has planned to take advantage of today's anti-NSA outrage—what opportunities does it create? Already some are floating the idea of completely privatizing the NSA more than it already has been. I think we can assume they’ve already got a program worked out, and that it’s not something any of us would like. Until that time, here’s an idea for a counter-protest movement: 'StopKoching.us' — no strange bedfellows allowed.
Political cross-dressing, "...using right-wing words, evidence, and arguments to support civil liberties, and left-wing terms and reasons to support the free market," is what we've been talking about since the inception of this site...the Conservative Con Job.
What this article adds to the term "political cross-dressing" is "left drawer/right drawer," "consist(ing) of cross-dressing issues while alternating left- and right-wing conclusions....Observe the pattern: left-wing reasons for free-market mail delivery, right-wing reasons for gay rights, left-wing grounds for opposing gun control, right-wing arguments for legalizing all drugs, and so on."
Yes, there's no real difference between Libertarianism and Conservatism, both seek to privatize the world. And if you believe that the Conservatives have forgotten about privatizing TSA, reflect upon the supposed deaths of the Scopes' Monkey Trial or Roe v. Wade.
Our object lesson here is that when Conservatism is criminalized, we must be on the look out for "new" political parties and political persuasions that are nothing more than warmed-over Conservatism...the vanguard of the greediest and most power-hungry among us.
"Capital punishment is our way of demonstrating the sanctity of life."
Senator Orrin Hatch. (R-UT)