Obama the Libertarian

Linda Green, An excerpt from her book review of HOPELESS: BARACK OBAMA & THE POLITICS OF ILLUSION by Jeffrey St Clair and Joshua Frank (2012) —

One of the most intriguing essays is “Obama the Deregulationist,” by Andrew Levine, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and author most recently of The American Ideology and Political Keywords and other writings on political philosophy. He has been a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and research professor in philosophy at the University of Maryland-College Park.

Levine argues persuasively that “Obama is a libertarian, and therefore not, according to the most pertinent sense of the term in our political discourse today, a liberal.”

That, Levine contends, makes Obama a president who asks “not what capitalism can do for you but what you can do for capitalism.”

Levine says of Obama, “[B]ecause unlike the liberals in whose ranks conventional wisdom casts him, he is an enthusiastic, not a reluctant, free marketer. … As much as any bona fide (right-wing) libertarian, he is guided by the idea that market arrangements, left undisturbed, lead, as if by an invisible hand, to the best of all possible worlds.”

Levine says the “new” libertarians such as Obama support progressive ideals that the left holds in high esteem. “What they [claim] is that the way to achieve those goals, the only effective way, is to let markets do their beneficent work.”

Recognizing Obama’s libertarianism, Levine says, explains the “public option” in “Obamacare” as “window dressing,” whereas “the ‘private option’ was never in question.” It also explains “Obama’s readiness to let Wall Street call the shots, and his attack on business regulations.”

Obama’s libertarianism explains further “why [he] is so eager to get the most shameless corporate types into his administration, and why, on matters of war and trade and other issues of immediate concern to capitalists, he can’t do enough for them — to the detriment of his core constituencies.”

Obama’s moves aren’t “just political maneuvers or expressions of unrequited bipartisan yearning, and neither are they concessions to ineluctable constraints. They are misguided but principled positions….”


One response to “Obama the Libertarian

  1. “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!” – Patrick Henry

    What a brilliant ruling by the United States Supreme Court on the affordable health care act (Obamacare). Stunningly brilliant in my humble opinion. I could not have ask for a better ruling on a potentially catastrophic healthcare act than We The People Of The United States received from our Supreme Court.

    If the court had upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate under the commerce clause it would have meant the catastrophic loss of the most precious thing we own. Our individual liberty. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Supreme Court.

    There is no mandate to buy private for-profit health insurance. There is only a nominal tax on income eligible individuals who don’t have health insurance. This is a HUGE! difference. And I suspect that tax may be subject to constitutional challenge as it ripens.

    This is a critically important distinction. Because under the commerce clause individuals would have been compelled to support the most costly, dangerous, unethical, morally repugnant, and defective type of health insurance you can have. For-profit health insurance, and the for-profit proxies called private non-profits and co-ops.

    Equally impressive in the courts ruling was the majorities willingness to throw out the whole law if the court could not find a way to sever the individual mandate under the commerce clause from the rest of the act. Bravo! Supreme Court.

    Thanks to the Supreme Court we now have an opportunity to fix our healthcare crisis the right way. Without the obscene delusion that Washington can get away with forcing Americans to buy a costly, dangerous and highly defective private product (for-profit health insurance).

    During the passage of ACA/Obamacare some politicians said that the ACA was better than nothing. But the truth was that until the Supreme Court fixed it the ACA/Obamacare was worse than nothing at all. It would have meant the catastrophic loss of your precious liberty for the false promise and illusion of healthcare security under the deadly and costly for-profit healthcare system that dominates American healthcare.

    As everyone knows now. The fix for our healthcare crisis is a single payer system (Medicare for all) like the rest of the developed world has. Or a robust Public Option choice available to everyone on day one that can quickly lead to a single payer system.

    Talk of privatizing/profiteering from Medicare or social security is highly corrupt and Crazy! talk. And you should cut the political throats of any politicians giving lip service to such an asinine idea. Medicare should be expanded, not privatized or eliminated.

    We still have a healthcare crisis in America. With hundreds of thousands dieing needlessly every year in America. And a for-profit medical industrial complex that threatens the security and health of the entire world. The ACA/Obamacare will not fix that.

    The for-profit medical industrial complex has already attacked the world with H1N1 killing thousands, and injuring millions. And more attacks are planned for profit, and to feed their greed.

    To all of you who have fought so hard to do the kind and right thing for your fellow human beings at a time of our greatest needs I applaud you. Be proud of your-self.

    God Bless You my fellow human beings. I’m proud to be one of you. You did good.

    See you on the battle field.


    jacksmith – WorkingClass 🙂

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