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Book review review: Obama the libertarian

Note: Anyone can write a book review. But that requires actually reading a book. It's a rule. Instead, Libertarian News Examiner reviews book reviews. It's easier.

Libertarian irony: Blurb from the Publisher claims this book "Provides the ideal guide to navigating a landscape of dangerously vague terms."
Institute for Policy studies

Linda Greene wrote a review in The Bloomington Alternative dated April 21, 2012 of Hopeless, a book of 55 essays about President Obama. But she virtually ignores 54 of those essays and lasers in on one, "Obama the Deregulationist" by Andrew Levine, because she found it "persuasive."

"Levine argues persuasively" that "Obama is a libertarian," she opines.

Further observations by Levine, channeled by Greene and paraphrased by this review reviewer, are:

  • Obama asks "not what capitalism can do for you but what you can do for capitalism."
  • Obama is an enthusiastic "free marketer" as much as any "bona fide (right-wing) libertarian."
  • Obama "is guided by the idea that market arrangements, left undisturbed, lead, as if by an invisible hand, to the best of all possible worlds."
  • Obama believes that the "only effective way" to achieve progressive ideals is "to let markets do their beneficent work."
  • Obama's libertarianism explains further why he is "so eager to get the most shameless corporate types into his administration."

Greene identifies Levine as "a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and author most recently of The American Ideology and Political Keywords" who previously held professorship positions at two different universities.

Libertarians will identify Levine as playing very fast and loose with his "Political Keywords."

American libertarians embrace the Zero Aggression Principle of non-coercion. Does anyone believe that this even remotely describes the leader of an institution such as "government" that by definition is inescapably based on coercion?

What does Levine mean by "capitalism?" If he means the Marxist definition of big business, big government and big banks in bed together for mutual personal benefit at the expense of their captive populations then libertarians will agree that Obama is a "Corporatist" when Levine identifies him as a corporatist.

But to American Libertarians "capitalism" means "free markets" which is the exact opposite of corporatism in that markets, to be free, must be utterly exempt from all government control, regulation, intrusion, and other coercion.

Yet Levine throws around such oxymoronically contradictory "keywords" as libertarian, Deregulationist, capitalism, free marketer, right-wing, invisible hand, and corporate types as if they all mean the same thing and that thing is President Barack Obama.

Greene's review is nearly two years old. Libertarians can only hope that she has grown intellectually since then and no longer finds Levine's unpersuasive Political Keywords persuasive.

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