We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Defining Left-Libertarianism in United States

Easiest, most marketable, practical, and productive way to unite dissident movements in United States is to utilize the umbrella term of Left-Libertarianism.

This article is less about existing left-libertarian constructs, some of them stretching back to the egalitarian ideas of a small minority of US founders. It is more about the emerging peripheral fusion between two seemingly antagonistic dissident political forces, the ones behind the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements.

Previously I wrote that there are enough commonalities between the two dissident groups to create a very concrete and mutually agreeable political platform to be shared by both libertarians and progressives. That was written long before the other dissident shoe dropped in the form of OWS and before Ron Paul and Ralph Nader agreed to join forces. The platform was thus very general and tilted to the Tea-Party faction. Now that both sides are roughly co-equal in public consciousness, it is time to re-examine the dynamics of what can only be called Left-Libertarian political emergence. Ultimately, any framework for restoring the economy on the North American continent (to make it a healthy global pole as described in the previous article) will have to involve constitutional political reorganization favorable to both dissident sides.

Here at The Pragmatist, ideology and ideological titles are generally disliked. That is due to ideology stagnating society if adapted by the public as a guiding framework on a large scale. The individual brain and thus society at large defers its ability to think by going on an autopilot. However, there are two instances when an ideological name can work alongside pragmatism of thought and action (something that IS liked on this website unsurprisingly):

1) Memetic engineering. Ideological titles can be used as a cynical marketing tool on a tactical level. Left-Libertarianism has the effect of triggering entire meme clusters among the very energized Internet literate demographics. Many within OWS have always sympathized with the anti-imperialist message of Ron Paul and may see a way to co-opt a number of post-financial crash libertarians. Many within Ron Paul's faction have similar thoughts about co-opting new recruits from among the medley on the OWS left. Left-Libertarian label at the very least serves as a starting mechanism to bring the dissident groups together for a serious strategy centered discussion.

The fusion is accelerated as Left-Libertarian label neatly peels off entire layers of libertarians from the Tea Party. This is more possible by the day since majority of younger/Millennial libertarians have had time to thoroughly study how the Tea Party was co-opted by corporate forces. Many of them have chaffed at rubbing shoulders with elderly conservative religious crypto fascists and having to exert energy to ideologically educate them to be more in tune with Ron Paul's vision. The GOP primaries (and the ongoing total meltdown of the once national party) has heightened the tensions within Tea Party allowing desertions to accelerate.

2) Formation of a formal alliance with a Left-Libertarian label (or multitudes of unique local alliances as the case may be considering numbers of Occupy and Tea Party groups) also serves to pragmatically force thought about the platform and ideology of such alliance. Although ideology with a relatively coherent platform stagnates the mind by deferring thought, a relatively undefined ideological hybrid without a tangible mutually agreed platform increases thought. In the case of Left-Libertarian label, the thought is forced in these particular ways:

___a) Those on the Left/OWS side of the equation have to think of how to fuse/define/summarize their thought in order to better balance the relatively more coherent and united libertarians. The far seeing among them will realize the sheer utility of first trying to find major points of agreement among social democrats, socialists, zeitgeist followers, communists, technocrats, etc and second to think of most strategic ways to combine these points of agreement with the libertarians.

___b) Thought is also forced on how to fuse strains within previously existing left-libertarian dialogue and make it applicable to the particularities of post-financial crash American dissident forces of Tea Party and OWS.

___c) Thought is forced on logistics, marketing, and operational/technological aspects of a Left-Libertarian label.

Thus we see a potential for an ideological label that pragmatically begins to will substance and definition into being. What starts out as a marketing ploy acquires a life and genuine belief on its own. Not only that, but it actually serves to solidify OWS/left in general in case there aren't enough committed leftists and libertarians who want to work together this closely. Total collapse of such dialogue is not likely due to the current form of libertarianism burning out in the minds of many American intelligentsia. It is unlikely for Ron Paul's thought to continue rapidly increasing in the general national imagination (after the current last campaign hurrah). This is due to the amount of people educating themselves about the causes of the financial crash and the inefficiencies of run away capitalism in general. We should therefore see youthful OWS leaders supporting Left-Libertarianism to better define themselves and youthful libertarian leaders supporting it to not become marginalized/irrelevant.

This process is already happening without the title being prominently talked about. The key word in the last paragraph is "youthful". Left-Libertarianism serves as an effective political consolidating tool for the Millennial generation as it begins its long struggle with declining Boomers for reigns of power. All stripes of Millennial political activists are defined by technological optimism and ability to rapidly leverage decentralized communication on a tactical level. It naturally follows that technology will increasingly play a key role in whichever political program Left-Libertarians eventually settle on. Ideas of Henry George, Thorstein Veblen, King Hubbert, Jacque Fresco, and Buckminster Fuller are increasingly becoming popular again. These ideas are often seamlessly compatible with decentralization and technological optimist of Millennial thinkers. Technology may serve as an even better glue among Left-Libertarians than disgust with the corruption and inefficiency of the current neo-feudal system we live in.

Marketing, the engineering and production of psychological states, is the key instrument of power and if dissidents want to become relevant they will have to utilize proper labels and label clusters for maximum effect. Left-Libertarianism taps into the current American zeitgeist and allows existing libertarians to become involved in the project of building society of the future while saving face publicly.

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