Justin Raimondo, the libertarian majordomo at Antiwar.com, had this to say yesterday about overcoming the ‘false Left Right paradigm’:
we are not going to conquer the world, and it’s time our rulers recognized the economic and military reality: so give it up, guys! America’s fifty-year global rampage is about to come to an end, whether we like it or not.
This is precisely what libertarians such as Ron Paul have been saying for years, and this is the real key to a left-right, progressive-libertarian alliance. As Paul has pointed out on numerous occasions, we could fund all the lefty-liberal pet projects like government-run death panels healthcare and free Twinkies for all if only we would give up the Empire.
Of course, though one usually can’t get anyone on the Left to admit it, Raimondo is right. Opposition to the Empire is a very solid and strong basis of commonality for what one might call the ‘real’ Left and the ‘real’ Right … and in an era where supposedly Left/Progressive stalwarts like Znet, Mondoweiss, Juan Cole, Real News, along with others, have chosen to become imperial warmongers (jumping on Obama’s ‘humanitarian intervention’ Libya War-for-Oil bandwagon), how can this NOT be significant? I keep getting emails from Znet demanding that I support their new ‘grassroots’ effort. Really? Well, if I do that, I might as well support Daily Kos, and Move On, and if I do that, I may as well contribute to Obama’s re-election campaign, and if I do that, I’ve signed on to the next few rounds of austerity cuts, of police state amoebization at home, and of brutal wars of domination abroad, and if I do all that, then I’ve betrayed everything any decent human being should stand for. Yet Noam ‘There Are No Conspiracies” Chomsky and John ’911 Truthers Are Idiots’ Pilger would have me do exactly that. Really? What has happened to the Left? HOW DID WE BECOME A MOVEMENT THAT SUPPORTS IMPERIAL WAR?
So I was grateful to see that Counterpunch, a lefty site I don’t like very much because of its Iran-baiting and it’s virulent hatred for ‘conspiracy theorists’ (Raimondo hates ‘em too, so he and Cockburn at least have that particular narrowmindedness in common, for what it’s worth) asked the very same question yesterday that Raimondo asked: is it really so impossible for Lefties to recognize some significant commonalities with the likes of Ron Paul?:
Ron Paul: More Progressive Than Obama?
By CHARLES DAVIS
Ron Paul is far from perfect, but I’ll say this much for the Texas congressman: He has never authorized a drone strike in Pakistan. He has never authorized the killing of dozens of women and children in Yemen. He hasn’t protected torturers from prosecution and he hasn’t overseen the torturous treatment of a 23-year-old young man for the “crime” of revealing the government’s criminal behavior. Can the same be said for Barack Obama? Yet, ask a good movement liberal or progressive about the two and you’ll quickly be informed that yeah, Ron Paul’s good on the war stuff — yawn — but otherwise he’s a no-good right-wing reactionary of the worst order, a guy who’d kick your Aunt Beth off Medicare and force her to turn tricks for blood-pressure meds. By contrast, Obama, war crimes and all, provokes no such visceral distaste. He’s more cosmopolitan, after all; less Texas-y. He’s a Democrat. And gosh, even if he’s made a few mistakes, he means well. Sure he’s a murderer, in other words, but at least he’s not a Republican!
The next step might be for folks on the Right to disavow their covert racism (hatred for ‘illegal immigrants’, hatred for the poor, for ‘welfare queens’, etc.) and their relentless red-baiting and homophobic bigotry, while Lefties work to put aside their elitist assumptions that the populism of the Right is inevitably stupid and beneath consideration. Ok, so we have a lot to work on.
But Lefties who want to accuse Ron Paul of being a racist, perhaps rightly, might want to chew on this a little …
Look at the war on drugs: Obama has continued the same failed prohibitionist policies as his predecessors, maintaining a status quo that has placed 2.3 million – or one in 100 – Americans behind bars, the vast majority African-American and Hispanic. Paul, on the other hand, has called for ending the drug war and said he would pardon non-violent offenders, which would be the single greatest reform a president could make in the domestic sphere, equivalent in magnitude to ending Jim Crow.
Should the Left support Ron Paul? I don’t know. I’d rather see a strong Lefty step up to the plate. How about a Ron Paul/Dennis Kucinich ticket? Or a Ron Paul/Cynthia McKinney ticket? But, as we have UTTERLY failed to build up our own Left bandwagon, we should not exactly turn up our noses at a bandwagon that agrees with us on some absolutely essential issues that we can’t even get most Lefties and Progressives to agree with us on – you know, basic things like WARS FOR OIL ARE WRONG!!!!!!!!!
And, more importantly than Ron Paul’s electoral escapades, maybe, just maybe, it’s time for the Left and Right to start working on a Unified Populist Political Theory, so that we can have a Populist Movement that is unified and strong enough to actually take power and start building a better world. That is what we want, right?