Monday, November 11, 2013

Coincidance, Week Nine

I recently gained some insight into the nature of my political opinions when Justin Raimondo posted a Tweet denouncing "sellout apostate libertarians" such as F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman; not only do I like those two apostates better than I like many other libertarians, but I think "apostate libertarian" is a pretty good description of my political views. I have perfectly mainstream libertarian opinions on peace and civil liberties, two-thirds of the traditional libertarian platform, but I am rather more flexible on economic matters. While I tend to lean free market, arguments between economists confuse me. (If it's a science, how come they don't agree on anything?) I felt a kinship to the political platform Vladimir Nabokov outlined in his "Playboy" interview:

Nabokov: The fact that since my youth—I was 19 when I left Russia—my political outlook has remained as bleak and changeless as an old gray rock. It is classical to the point of triteness. Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of art. The social or economic structure of the ideal state is of little concern to me. My desires are modest. Portraits of the head of the government should not exceed a postage stamp in size. No torture and no executions. No music, except coming through earphones, or played in theaters.

Well, OK, except maybe the music part. (And see how V.N. sounds like a bit like RAW in this bit: "A work of art has no importance whatever to society. It is only important to the individual, and only the individual reader is important to me. I don’t give a damn for the group, the community, the masses, and so forth.")

Anyway, although I would imagine that Sean MacBride would have defined himself as a "progressive," his views on peace and civil liberties are in that place where liberals, progressives, libertarians and anyone else with a conscience is going to have to make common cause if the world is going to continue to become more peaceful and more free. There is rather little for a libertarian to quarrel with. The interview was one of my favorite parts of the book when I read it for the first time a few years ago, and I have re-read it again and again.

A couple of points, maybe or not they are relevant: New Falcon Press didn't bother, when it edited the book, to tell us when the original interview with MacBride was published, but in the text RAW writes, "At the age of 90, Sean MacBride ... " MacBride (1904-1988) turned 80 in 1984.

Although only a minority of readers will know what I'm talking about, but when I re-read the interview with Sean MacBride, I wondered if he was any relation to Roger MacBride,  who in 1976 was only the second nominee of the still-young Libertarian Party. When I was a student at the University of Oklahoma in the 1976, and a nascent libertarian, he came to our campus.

When I read the introduction, I wondered what it was that was so taboo about MacBride that RAW was unable to publish his interview in the U.S.; I would guess it was his membership in the IRA. Growing up in Tulsa, I remember my sister remarking that the local radio station broadcasting a Top 40 radio show had refused to play the latest Paul McCarney single. Almost surely, it was "Give Ireland Back to the Irish."


gacord said...

I'm thinking the biggest taboo might have been the anti-Reagan sentiment. He achieved such god-like status (I still hear it from my conservative friends) that I'm not super surprised that nobody wanted to publish it here.
One thing that sticks out in my mind in the interview is MacBride saying that Ireland is a 3rd world nation. I've been watching a lot of irish documentaries lately (in gaelic, go figure) and painting this idea over them in my mind adds a new layer of complexity to them as well as a new level of appreciation for the irish in general. Imagine, to be a nation of song in a world of hardship.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Alexander Cockburn, another radical Irish writer, used to refer to Ireland as a 3rd world nation, too, so I was struck that MacBride does also. But would most Irish people still say so in 2013? I'm curious.

gacord said...

I think seems like language designed to get a reaction, so probably not your everyday folk. I'd be curious as well, but I suspect not.

fyreflye said...

Please don’t confuse libertarianism with the Libertarian Party, which was co-founded by David Koch who then spawned the Cato Institute. It may be that ⅔ of libertarian theory is devoted to personal freedom issues but the money supporting capital-L Libertarianism has gone primarily toward lobbying on economic issues designed to move wealth from the middle and working classes to the super rich. There is such a thing as left-wing libertarianism:

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I prefer a more left libertarianism than the average LIbertarian Party member, but by any reasonable standard, the Libertarian Party is "libertarian" -- it supports civil liberties, it opposes invading other countries, it opposes most forms of government coercion, etc.

Another way of putting it is that it can be telling to see which elements of the libertarian platform are emphasized by the individual libertarian. I lean toward peace and civil libertarians; my least-favorite Cato folk are the ones who obsess over cutting taxes, making sure poor people don't get any government benefits, etc. The Kochs fund both the libertarians I like and the ones I don't care for, so the situation is a little more complicated than the critics of the Kochs acknowledge.

Illiaminated said...

My father grew up in rural Limerick as one of nine children in a run down 200 year old cottage. They didn't have toilets until 1980, they just went in the fields. They'd walk to school barefoot cause the ice and sleet would make short work of their school shoes.

Up until the 90's Ireland had negative population growth despite having a high birth rate. It was only the consistent rate of emigration that hid the third world nature of the country.

Social welfare reforms improved things to some extent in the 60's and 70's but it wasn't until the late 90's when government tax breaks to tech giants like Microsoft led to a boom in the economy as multi-nationals set up shop there.

Now, thanks to the GFC, the old trend is back on the rise. But i don't think you could qualify it as third world anymore. Also, the power the Catholic Church had - on which Bob used to comment on in the 80's - has been reduced to a massive extent.

michael said...

Thanks for your concise take on Ireland here, Illiaminated. That's my perception as a follower of Irish affairs but never having even set foot in the country. I remember reading countless articles in the late 1990s about how Ireland was now a tech giant, and they'd put a lot of money into preparing Irish kids for work in the digital world. Now austerity creams them, and it pisses me off.

Bad news: many of the better-educated are leaving.

Good news: what you said about the power of the RCC.

tony smyth said...

Well, the austerity is the result of a massive property bubble that burst, and so severe austerity has been imposed in order to bail out the country (mostly by Germany). But, this time we can't blame the British (background theme when I grew up there). Around 2000 property in Ireland was among the most expensive in Europe (on paper anyhow). There was lot of use of Ireland by multinationals to avoid paying taxes, and also quite a bit of moneylaundering (Apple springs to mind). My brother and his wife have both had to take a 30% paycut OUCH with 2 teenage girls to educate. Things are tough, but most of the pain is self-inflicted.The country is much changed from when RAW lived there.

Eric Wagner said...

Happy 11/12/13. This interview affected me as well the first time I read it 25 years ago, especially the discussion of the death penalty. I enjoyed rereading it.

On page 176 Bob wrote, "The Golden Dawn has more to do with the publication of this anthology at this time than most readers will guess." I wonder what he meant by that?

I remember feeling pleasantly shocked when Apartheid ended relatively non-violently in South Africa. This article had helped me fear that wouldn't happened. I did find interesting McBride's discussion of increases worldwide in literacy. This reminded me of the Flynn Effect, the increase around the world in IQ since 1930. I also found interesting McBride's discussion of unemployment and computers in light of the last five years of economic chaos.

Oz Fritz said...

Great interview! I had no idea that internationally agreed upon laws exist against building weapons of mass destruction.

Really liked the opening quote by Yeats. The last line, " a terrible beauty is born," got me wondering if anyone ever cobbled together a taxonomy of the different kinds of beauty? Maybe too broad of a subject or too abstract?

Can't say I detect a cabalistic form to Coincidance but do recognize a recurring theme.

A couple of days ago, absentmindedly looking at the cover, I suddenly realized that this theme appears quite bold and obvious there. Whomever designed it either knew the theme or picked it up subconsciously. I don't think photos can post here but here's a link to it:

Another interesting thing about the cover - one figure does a handstand on the letter "O", the other on the letter "N" thus highlighting Crowley's magick formula ON, also the name of an ancient sun god. Both relate to the cabalistic theme as I see it.

Oz Fritz said...

Forgot to mention the coincidence regarding the cover of Coincidance. About an hour after noticing the ON formula I came across this sentence in Bleeding Edge by Pynchon (p.353):

"... no way to know how to compete at that elite level, that planetary pyramid scheme Windust's employers have always bet everything on, with its smoothly delivered myths of the limitless."