I consider myself to be a dyed-in-the-wool democratic socialist. Bernie Sanders was the presidential candidate most on my wavelength that I’ve ever seen, and even he sat comfortably a bit to my right. My historical analysis is largely Marxist, and my utopian vision is Star Trek-style fully automated luxury communism. I am a man of the left.
But I’ll be damned if I don’t hold a soft spot for libertarians.
Now let me be exceptionally clear. When I say libertarians, I don’t mean feudalist ghouls like Peter Thiel or Hans-Herman Hoppe, or corporate vampires like the Koch brothers. I mostly mean people like the Pauls––people who are self-evidently gormless barneys, but who have also become among the most principled defenders of civil liberty and dovish foreign policy in the elected government.
I would not necessarily want Ron or Rand Paul to be the president of the United States, but there’s a reason that Ron and Dennis Kucinich were buddies––and hypothetical running mates––in 2008, and I think there are important policy places where we can, and should, all get along. In the 2016 election alone, although Bernie Sanders was my guy from the jump, the one place where he and I wobbled a bit––foreign policy, where I found him a bit complacent, even if his historical instincts re: Iraq and the Sandinistas were good––was a place where I had a fondness for likely possum-meat aficionado Rand Paul.
I suppose this is why I’m more of a popular front socialist at this point than a united front Trot––I would be more than willing to work alongside libertarians to end the drug war, the surveillance state, and the massive network of American imperialism, even if our visions of the end result don’t line up. For me, the most important short-term goal is the degradation of the deep state––lessening the ability of the military-industrial complex and its many domestic and foreign tentacles (Wall Street, the 99%, private prisons, the corporate media, the intelligence community, to name a few) to turn policy away from a workers-managed, free, equitable direction, and that liberation applies as much to Gadsden flag-waving buck hunters as it does to big-city intellectuals. If a few of those bearded weirdos wanted to line up with this bearded weirdo against the invested powers that be––like they did at Occupy Wall Street––well, who am I tell them to stand down?