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29 November 2014 @ 06:06 pm
In the 1950s we were supposed to be terrified by the idea that the civil rights movement was a "communist front." Some of us decided that the civil rights movement was a pretty nifty thing anyway no matter who else liked it, and some looked a bit further and noticed that the CPUSA was an old folks' home that probably would have collapsed if the FBI infiltrators had withheld their dues, and the civil rights movement succeeded or at least enabled America's racial situation to make a great leap forward to its present mediocre state.

Now there is a lot of concern about police abuses, and some progressives are warning us that Cop Block and other such sites are libertarian fronts. They have a point. Cop Block plugs libertarian books, and perhaps our best one-man open source police review board, Radley Balko, is an open and notorious libertarian.

Which is not terribly surprising. Just as Communists, motivated by a desire to minimize suffering, noticed that segregation was awful, so a group defined by distrust of the State is going to notice that some of the guys given guns and clubs to enforce the law are going to misuse them.

I am a recovering libertarian. I know there is such a thing as economic force, as well as the nasty old State, I know we can't solve the coordination problem and the tragedy of the commons without a State. But I also remember the good parts of libertarianism--the wariness of police power and the distrust of the war on some drugs and the war on some Asians--and I'm willing to make common cause with the "extreme right wing" libertarians about them.
Reverend Xenakaboom: POLI: Speechtfcocs on November 30th, 2014 04:31 am (UTC)
Political alliances and coalitions are not considered favorably in this country. Somehow, such efforts are perceived as diluting the "purity" of the prevailing dogma.
browngirl on December 1st, 2014 03:28 am (UTC)
I agree, and wonder if this philosophy originates from the sorts of religious beliefs which motivated many of the groups who came here (voluntarily) towards immigration and which they've held onto since. There are many religious groups in the US today (not least the one I was raised in) which view 'compromise' as a dirty word, and religion and politics have always been intermeshed (I always figured the 'separation of church and state' was an ongoing attempt to pry them apart as much as possible).