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For me, it becomes a debate between left libertarianism and right libertarianism. Neither is free of the risk of degenerating into authoritarian versions in practice.
Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
Specifically - Thatcher and Reagan and their peculiar ideas about deregulation.
Once the media were deregulated, it was easy for Murdoch to start spreading his poison and acting as king maker, and for other corporate interests to follow suit. In the UK the miners' strike and the move to Wapping were two big battles in the subsequent class war.
There's also been a lot of influence in the US from frankly wacko billionaires such as Scaife and his Scaife Foundations which have effectively treated US government as a personal for-profit organisation.
There are two levels here. At the Scaife level it's deliberate manipulation of opinion and policy for personal gain. At the lower level there are numerous emotionally stunted chancers and wannabes who love the greed-is-good amorality of freebooting capitalism, and feel that paying taxes is a personal insult.
Under those two levels there's a majority of people who want a quiet life without lethal but stupid panto-wars and crusades, and with a reasonable standard of living offering basics such as education and health care.
The deeper social problem is that the most violently aggressive billionaires and promoters of corporate excellence really do have serious psychological problems. Scaife, Coors and Bush are all former or current alcoholics, and cocaine is the drug of choice among the executive class - so much so that it's considered part of the scenery.
Sane policies are impossible while these people continue to have any significant social influence.
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