Aug 25, 2006

U.Y.C.U.P. Part I: The Libertarian Scourge

Libertarians, FEH! Objectivists, double FEH!

HELLO PEOPLE. Listen to me. "Every man for himself" is a philosophical no-brainer. Sure, yes, survival of the fittest and all that. Social Darwinism, whatever. No taxes? No social services? You think poor people are just bad at life? You think Jews are liberal because they are genetically predisposed towards guilt? You want to Just Say No to compulsory, state-funded education?

Look, there's a big difference between the way the world is if left to its own devices and the way it would be if we got just very slightly more collective here. I'm no socialist, and I'm no bleeding heart. I just want the world I live in to be as AWESOME as possible, which means I don't want to look at homeless people (I want them to have homes), I don't want to encounter stupid people (the result of shitty public schools), I would rather not be a victim of crime (the thing that happens when the have-nots notice the haves), and I want my friends and family to be healthy and cared for (something that can't happen when people can't afford to buy into the health insurance machine).

But this is all tangential to my real beef with Libertarians. My real problem is that I can't deal with people who are emotionally bankrupt. I prefer people who don't separate and alienate themselves from others. I prefer the company of those who posess a certain amount of self-awareness and maybe even some joie-de-vivre. I like people who have friends. So with that, I challenge anyone to find me a Libertarian who's not an arrogant fuck.



Anonymous Anonymous opined...

You know, during high school we had to take a "political leanings" test, and I came out a Libertarian.

What do you think this means? Can we still be friends??

(This is Lazlo. I guess you already knew I'm an arrogant fuck...)

9:09 PM  
Blogger Macneil opined...

I agree with many libertarian ideas, but I also think things like housing vouchers and health care are important.

I think public housing and "the projects" are a bad idea because they concentrate poverty. It would be much better to have housing vouchers so that the poor could live in more decent neighborhoods. Katrina is a good example: so many people were displaced, but they don't need FEMA trailer homes. All over the cities where displaced Katrina victims are there are apartments for rent that are vacant. It would be better to bring those two together.

My tendencies lead me to like seeing what Massachusetts is doing with healthcare, making it universal without being single-payer.

My least libertarian idea is that I don't think people should smoke in public except in designated areas. I also despise noise pollution just as much as smoke pollution: one person can considerably lower the quality of life for dozens.

Anyway, I suppose I'm lead more to the economic ways of thinking, which can sound very libertarian at times. But here's the twist: Economics itself says little about redistribution. It's just not a question the field addresses (e.g. there's no economic theory that says its 'good' or 'bad'). However, economics can tell you what ways to redistribute that would work better than others.

12:24 PM  
Blogger amanda bee opined...

I wish I knew who to blame for the totally bs debate between housing vouchers and high rise projects, but I'm secretly not that up on housing policy and media. It isn't just housing vouchers. I wish I could explain better but I already said I was going to get back to work and here I am commenting on this blog.

Partly because a certan arrogant fuck who shall remain nameless recently said something so outlandishly bitchy that I need to talk about libertarians a little bit to calm down.

So housing vouchers okay. Maybe not the perfect solution, probably better than hellish projects (though if the city put a bit more resources into maintaining the projects, they might be a different story). they are horrible, yesss, but partly because they are fucked up. In mid Missouri, I got to visit some fairly rural housing projects where the decoration codes, designed in theory to keep things from getting to scrappy and making the place look bad, forbade blackout curtains. Also, they had floodlights on all night. And you'd get fined if you put up blackout curtains. And they had floodlights on all night. Also the security guys had German Shepards that they'd bring out when they wanted to know why folks were registering voters door-to-door. So there is a level of being fucked up that isn't actually needed. Take away some of that bullshit and the projects could be a lot less bad. Create viable, comfortable long term housing for people and quit with the drug war absurdity (wherein if your teenager gets caught selling a small amount of marijuana miles and miles from home, you lose your lease in the projects) and we could start to see less unequal society on the whole. Or at least a less totally fucked society.

But now I am really digressing from why Libertarians suck. They are sneaky because they agree with the likes of me about the drug war, but somehow think that because the EPA has been bought off and doesn't quite do their job, we don't need to regulate businesses. People can just have free reign to trash natural resources and they'll be responsible with that reign because somehow the invisible hand of whatever it is that Libertarians believe in, will gently guide them towards conservation.

Do I make any sense here? What I am really trying to say is "right. thanks dubin."

Also, macneil, don't get me wrong. I probably like you but I think housing vouchers are somewhat ill advised in the big picture and they seem to be the sort of thing that Libertarians and their Right Wing ilk point to as a big-bad-bleeding-heart-leads-to-bleeding-purse-disaster. They are a piece of a complicated set of solutions. But you were just trying to make a point. I don't think less of you for wanting housing vouchers. You are probably on to something.

Later we can talk about food and kids who only eat sugar. And then after that we can talk about schools why we need good public schools which cost money. Shit costs money, and I'd like to see the city collect taxes and spend them well. Not collect taxes and give the money to contractors to monitor other contracts that were monitoring contracts because originally the city officials were scamming us all. And so we spend all this money monitoring shit and telling people what to do and not buying toilet paper or fixing lockers in the public schools or paying for school nurses or gym class or actual foods in school lunches. I want those things, for my eventual kids and for the kids down the block who play double dutch and terrorize stray cats. I also want them to be able to swim in the huge and beautiful river running through our city that is so grotesquely polluted that they totally cannot. Polluted because people for decades have gotten away with ignoring environmental regulations. Or they've paid fines and apologized for foul messes that can never be cleaned up.

I don't think we need "more rules" but we do need better government.

Libertarians are self-satisfied and misanthropic. So short them.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Macneil opined...

Hmm, strange. I posted a reply about the environment and the tragedy of the commons here, but I guess the post didn't take.

I'm not in the mood to rewrite it now, but the point was: Yes, libertarians should be more concerned about the environment. There's nothing in economics that should lead libertarians to think the environment is an infinite resource to dump waste to. Though, many libertarians *are* concerned about the environment, but they just aren't as vocal your everyday NRA-nut-job libertarian.

3:15 PM  
Blogger amanda bee opined...


I was mostly working from the Cato institute's research on the environment which is pretty BS.

4:03 PM  

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