Paul Grad for Oregon Governor: The Stupidity of Political Ideals

Someone send me a comment accusing me of violating the “Libertarian Ideals” which I was hypocritically putting forth in my posts. But I never put forth a “political ideal”.

Political Ideals are the most stupid of things. They are the projections of a political mind caught in the middle of a crisis, to a solution which it transforms into an ideal, but such an ideal is only an image in that confused and frightened mind, an idea born of that confusion. A violent and bureaucratic society may have an ideal of non-violence and freedom, but it remains violent and bureaucratic, decade after decade.

How can a violent, socialistic, bureaucratic society know what a Libertarian society would actually be like? All such a society knows is violence, and dealing with the bureaucratic State in a way so as to minimize ones personal discomfort. And from that condition of violence and confusion, the political mind tries to find a way out of the mess, and the ideas it comes up with it calls “Political Ideals”.

Because such ideals always arise out of past disorder and confusion, they are always old, and so may have nothing actually to do with what would arise out of a radical transformation of the social structure. Capitalism married to Jeffersonian Libertarianism might bring people much more affluence and leisure than they dream imaginable because, as Jefferson believed, Society is capable of infinite improvement, materially and culturally.

Libertarianism, I think, has no political ideals. It is a branch of political philosophy dealing with the ethics of property rights and their valid transfer, although you might also consider it a branch of ethical philosophy dealing with politics and the  justice of property rights. Both outlooks are correct. It has only one axiom, which is not an ideal, but a moral observation that “No man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of any individual.” This is an observation of our moral nature by our reason, and almost all law-abiding individuals would instinctively concur with it; it is not a “political ideal”.

The Democrats and Republicans, like the Communists and Socialists, do have “political ideals”. They are confused people with a vision created by  confused minds, and that is why their political programs never work. Their thinking is always based on the past and the old.

The Democrats and Republicans approach any new situation with a fixed political ideology in their minds. The Democrats, let’s say, believe that government should intervene greatly in the economy, and peoples everyday lives, for their own good and the general collective good. They think government is basically good, not evil as Jefferson informed us. They see government programs as help given objectively to people by a caring, benevolent government which is the manifestation of a caring, benevolent society. They actually want to impose a religious ideal on everyone, just like the Communist’s Brotherhood of Man, the jihadist’s Sharia Law, and the Ghandiist’s non-violent resistance — all political ideals of purity that in reality are exactly the opposite; for example, India’s political ideal of non-violence in a society that is incredibly violent.)

And the Republicans have actually accepted the same interventionist view of government; their only program is to cut it back a little. A Democratic candidate wants income tax rates of 65%; the “outrageous, irresponsible” Republican candidate wants to lower them to 55%. So, the Republicans have accepted all the big government programs that the Democrats have brought in, and then spend all their time arguing about what minor modifications to these boondoggles they can effect.

The Libertarians in contrast are Abolitionists; they would wipe out these programs as quickly as possible, although gradualists like myself and Ron Paul would slowly transition out of the social welfare programs, while axing the corporate welfare thefts.

80 years ago came the New Deal, a Socialist program of government intervention in the economy, based on Keynesian economic principles. 50 years ago we had The War on Poverty. And yesterday I read that one-third of the people in Multnomah County can’t meet their basic needs on their income. This is after 80 years and trillions of dollars in welfare spending. And it’s because, at root, the Democrats and Republicans have ideas by which they rule, and because those ideas violate the ethical Libertarian Axiom, their schemes and programs always end in disaster plus inflation. That inflation lowers the affluence of the entire society, and creates economic chaos, especially for the poor and middle class. And that leads to more social problems, and on and on it goes.

The public is now acutely aware of how the two major political ideologies no longer work. America has lived on its wealth for a long time, but the warfare-welfare state has finally said farewell to American prosperity.

America must rid itself of political ideals, realize its problems are great, and adopt the Libertarian approach to legislation and the economic structure. All legislation should be measured against the Libertarian Non-Aggression Axiom. Then you are out of the realm of political ideals and compromise, and on a rock-solid foundation of ethical behavior.

Paul Grad,


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