On Blowback, Austerity and the Looting of Athens

As a libertarian and a proud foreign policy heretic, I believe in the concept of blowback. Coinciding with the rise of Ron Paul is more widespread acceptance of the idea — that covertly bombing and killing innocent civilians will provoke outrage at the aggressor country, possibly resulting in casualties. There is still much work to be done, however, as a majority of Americans still think that al-Qaeda wants our heads because we eat pork and listen to pop.

But just as I turn on Fox News and cringe as their “analysts” discuss al-Qaeda’s morally driven assault on this country, I also cringe when I talk to a good number of libertarians about austerity. 

Whether it be in Athens, London, Lisbon, Madison (WI), Madrid, Paris or Rome, many libertarians are often paralyzed in state of dismay and utter confusion when they see RT broadcast the seige of Syntagma square. Words may not even be spoken as the only reaction is one of: !!!11!1111!1!1!1!!!!!

After coming to their senses, the ‘parasitic’ union worker, the ‘only-looking-for-a-handout’ college graduate, and the ‘treasonous’ bankers are all dismissed as scum of the earth in one fell swoop. Talk about carelessness.

No, I’m not pro-status quo. Yes, I think that the whole world needs a nice big dose of austerity. And yes, protests or not, the austerity should still happen. 

But what I’m calling the many libertarians I described earlier to do is to please wake up and use some common sense. Apply the same logic you do to blowback to the problem of austerity. 

When a welfare state with a huge public sector, young retirement and generous benefits has to make drastic changes, of course people are going to be angry. That was their way of life. That was what they knew, and now it’s all coming to an end. 

No matter whether or not you think their anger is appropriate or not, just don’t try to use the libertarian worldview — “everyone should embrace the austerity” — to paint a rosy picture of the world. 

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