A society as big as ours cannot run by itself. If a large number of citizens insist on denying government its legitimacy, others will step in to do the job: people who have no interest in your welfare, or in improving anybody's lot in life but their own. That is what is happening now, and I greatly fear for the future of our democracy.
Just yesterday, a member of my private Facebook discussion group sent me two links to stories from The Guardian, a left-leaning but perfectly mainstream British paper, that show exactly what is happening. They appear at the bottom of this post. I can't seem to make them into hyperlinks, so you'll have to paste them in your URL line to read them.
Here's the Reader's Digest version: Very rich people are paying huge amounts of money to have their employees post aggressive, negative comments on any internet discussion they can find dealing with climate change, health care reform, or other topics that threaten the bottom line of the huge corporations they run. If you've ever wondered why every on-line discussion of these issues quickly degenerates into "Obama is a socialist/Muslim/terrorist," now you know. The billionaires also pay people to spend countless hours giving low ratings to politically progressive books and movies on sites like Amazon and Netflix, so people won't read or watch them.
They also created—that's right, created—the Tea Party movement. Although the members of that movement don't know it, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams because billions of dollars of corporate money are being spent to allow them to "mobilize for freedom, unaware that the freedom they demand is freedom for corporations to trample them into the dirt." The Tea Party libertarians may believe they are defending our democracy, but they are actually enabling its destruction.
I don't make these charges lightly. I believe in the free expression of ideas, and I don't want to silence anybody else; I just want those who consider themselves libertarians to understand what they are supporting. The big corporations have found an ingenious ploy to get citizens out of politics so they can run everything their way. They have done so by appealing to a legitimate sense of grievance among the very people who are the most hurt by their actions. They have convinced those people that it is "liberals" who threaten them. In the process, they have managed to neuter two large groups of their natural opponents by getting them to turn on each other. I have seen just how vicious this can get, which is why I consider my posts here "Not Ready for Facebook."
Certainly one of the prime villains in this story is Ayn Rand, whose books continue to outsell just about anything else that is considered "serious" fiction. Since I'm pulling no punches in this post, let me say that Rand's ideas are surely the most destructively evil ever to be put forward by a major writer. Her vision of a godless, community-less world makes a certain grim kind of sense if everybody is strong and self-sufficient. In a world with children, elderly and disabled people, and intractable environmental issues that free enterprise has no reason to address, her backward morality is quickly exposed for the vicious farce that it is.
So here's my challenge to any libertarians who might be reading this: Wake up. It's not working. The longer it takes for you to figure this out, the worse it's going to get, and the richer the Koch brothers will become. There is no reason for anybody who is not a billionaire to want this to happen. As I pleaded in my last post, it is our very world that is at stake.