Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
I’m going to write this once, and then point to it any time anyone feels the need to say, “Well, what about Libertarianism?” I’ve been mulling this over for a bit, and what being a Libertarian amounts to is either not having even a basic grasp of economic history, or just being a greedy son of a bitch with no empathy for anyone else, who doesn’t grasp how the social contract works for their benefit as well as for other people.
Ages ago I got into a slight tiff on Skepchick.org with the guy who was the sole male Skepchick, Sam. So, one Friday he posted his weekly question for discussion, which was, “Is Libertarianism a good idea? Why do you think it is or isn’t?” To which I responded, “No, because I have read a fucking history book.” For which I was scolded for “not really contributing to the discussion.”
Why was I so flippant? Because I’m tired of teaching 9th grade Civics to a bunch of grown ass adults who are either too dumb, too lazy, or too fucking selfish to grasp why we don’t have a completely free market. Why is it on my ass to explain to you things you damn well should have learned in high school, if you’d been paying the teeniest bit of attention?
Libertarians talk about how if we disregulate everything, then business and industry owners will provide all the things that the laws demand they provide now, out of the goodness of their hearts.
Does anyone else find this to be utter bullshit? Because even though we currently have laws demanding that employers provide benefits, basic safety and a non-hostile work environment, many of them don’t. The reason those miners died in that cave in while Bush was still President wasn’t because the industry standards of safety equipment couldn’t have saved them, but because the mining company felt it was more cost-effective to keep paying fines, than to actually upgrade their safety measures. Which is why the Chilean miners who were caught in a mine collapse less than a year later, survived. Because their country enforces safety legislation.
We’ve had the “Libertarian Paradise” they keep talking about. It was called the late 1800s through the 1920s. The whole reason we don’t have a free market is because at one time we DID and it was a terrible idea. This is what I mean when I say things like, “Because I have read a fucking history book.” Honestly it stretches back before that, but in this country, industrialization didn’t really get going until after the Civil War. And now some American History major is going to jump my shit for that statement. It’s ok, I’m used to it.
Unregulated markets were one of the contributing factors to the world wide Depression in the 1920s.
Generally speaking, we don’t make laws unless there’s a reason for them. In some cases, it’s an unjust reason (i.e. sodomy laws), but there IS a reason. We didn’t just introduce anti-monopoly legislation and basic work safety laws because the government wanted to suck industry dry, but because we NEEDED THEM.
The other thing that chaps my hide about Libertarians is their basic lack of recognition of how the social contract that includes things like taxes works for them, as well as everyone else. In Washington state we have this enormous clownshoe named Tim Eyman who is constantly introducing measures to cut taxes, blah blah blah… And we fell for it, as a state, once. Let me explain.
Washington state does not have an income tax. So the state has to be creative about raising money. We have a ridiculously high sales tax, gas taxes are kind of high, and sin taxes on booze and cigarettes are ludicrous. We also have a state lottery to raise money for education. One thing we used to have was that when you paid for your yearly car registration fee, it was based on the Kelly Blue Book value of your car. So, if you were driving an old beat up POS, you were fine, $35 was lowest it went. However, new cars could be insanely expensive. The registration for my first new car was over $200 the first year, next year it went down to $180.
Tim Eyman proposed an initiative to drop everyone’s car registration down to $35, and on the surface that sounded great. Because the registration fees did make it hard for the economically disadvantage to buy a new car, even if they did scrape up the money to get one, then the next year you had to scrape up the money for the tabs. So, on the surface it seemed like a reasonable measure. Except that those car registrations funded the bulk of the road maintenance and repair in the state. Yeah, the roads haven’t been the same since. So Eyman’s kind of become a dirty word around these parts.
When questioned about the lack of road repair due to his law being voted in, he commented that it didn’t really effect him because he’s a tech guy who works from home.
Except that those Amazon Fresh trucks that bring him his groceries use those roads. And the trucks that bring those groceries to the warehouses use those roads. Also, without taxes and governmental subsidies, electricity would be far more expensive than it is. Also, without taxes we don’t have fire departments, police, etc… Needless to say, without the taxes we pay to the government and all it does for us, Eyman couldn’t afford his work from home techie lifestyle. And many of his proposed legislations are, in fact, just whiny tantrums from someone who doesn’t understand how society actually works and benefits him.
So, yeah, I’m just done with trying to explain Civics 101 to morons who couldn’t be assed to pay attention the first, second, or millionth time school tried to drill it through their thick skulls.