I’m registered to vote as “decline to state” (a.k.a. Independent… not to be confused with the purposefully confusing American Independent Party). Under duress (or… on Facebook) I’d describe myself as a “Bright Green Libertarian“. Alas, in our divisive and quantized system of government, that means I have to choose between the lesser of two evils, for all practical purposes. The two evils being, so far as I can tell:
- The Republicans who stand for big government in the name of large, politically well connected corporations and the military-industrial complex, with a healthy dose of social conservatism and uncritical patriotism, in order to garner the necessary votes, while still managing to screw over a lot of the poor and uneducated people who vote for them (as with the intellectuals, if only the rich will vote for you, you’re not going to get very far).
- The Democrats who stand for big government in the name of large, politically well connected corporations and the military-industrial complex, with a healthy dose of social handouts and nominally “progressive” policies, in order to garner the necessary votes from the economically underperforming masses, but fairly libertarian social views (do whatever you want in the bedroom, and take a puff off the hookah, so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else).
Given these two options, I tend to find the latter more palatable. The “socialism” that is most troublesome in our society, I think, is corporate socialism. Corporations have the concentrated lobbying and funding organizations to make sure they get what they want, and plenty of it, so long as the people are willing to go along. They are the primary economic entities shuffling the chips around.
Which is more fair? To go with only helping out the corporations and the rich, which I guess you could see as closer to the ideal of limited government (since hey, at least we’re not helping those poor people!), or to say, so long as we’re going to be intervening on a massive, multi-trillion dollar scale, it might as well be spread around evenly. Both options are bad, but I think the former is really much worse, because it further concentrates power. The Republican promise of small government is a total sham. They have no intention (Ron Paul aside) of shrinking the government, of reigning in spending, or of avoiding “entangling alliances”. That they are still able to get away with peddling that line is a travesty of journalism and public attention span.
So given the unpleasant choice, I’ll take equal opportunity budget deficits, with the consolation prize of getting the government out of the personal relationship and substance sanctioning business, over war debt and corporate cronyism with an unwanted side of illegal wiretapping and extraordinary rendition.
The part of Obama’s administration that (by far) gives me the most hope, is their apparently aggressive moves toward more, and digital, government transparency. We’ll see what comes of it.