"both" sides

I’ve written about my little red schoolmates back in 8th grade.

I didn’t count myself among the budding little Marxists, but I sure did share with them a love of the movie Reds, which Jeffrey Tucker writes about in today’s Mises Daily, “Neither Brown Nor Red.”

I think Jeffrey is right about the movie overall, but I’m also confident that we young lefties took from the movie exactly the message that Warren Beatty intended: you don’t have to abandon your civil-libertarian commitments (free speech, free assembly) to be a socialist, and you don’t have to abandon your socialist commitments (social justice, equality, even revolution) to be a civil-libertarian individualist. At the time, that’s just what we wanted to hear.

Leaving that aside, however, I want to recommend one of the comments to Jeffrey’s piece, found in the blog:

“Show me an Obama fanatic, someone for whom this man can do no wrong, no matter how brainless his economic policies or how violent his foreign policies, and I’ll show you a person who hates the guts of George W. Bush — and mostly for the right reasons.”

– Excellent point! This sums up some immediate members of my family, who, for whatever reason, can’t hold both sides accountable. It’s maddening to listen to them.

People who, for whatever reason, can’t hold both sides accountable. That sure does speak to our present situation, doesn’t it?

My favorite libertarian essays, I think, are the ones that point to culpability of both the Left and the Right, not in pursuit of “balance” or “fairness” or some sense of wanting to insist that we belong in neither camp, but for exactly the point that Jeffrey Tucker emphasizes here:

The process of right-wing statism giving way to left-wing statism, and back again, provides a summary narrative of the last 100 years of political history, and it is a particularly maddening one for old-style liberals and libertarians, since we see how the two work together, often unbeknownst to the partisans, to build the leviathan state step by step.

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