Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Is it the apocalypse?

Now that Social Security "reform" (read: destruction) is less likely to be foisted on America, Paul Krugman has freed himself up to discuss other important issues in his NYT column. Today, Krugman writes about the threat to democracy that is posed by "dangerous extremists," by which he means right-wing Christians like Tom DeLay and Randall Terry.

Governmental interference in the Terri Schiavo case, laws that allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control, the attempts in Congress to eliminate the filibuster and so pack the bench with right-wing judges—all are part of the religious extremists' agenda, and moderates have got to defend our nation against these assaults.

And did you hear about this? Krugman writes, "There has been little national exposure for a Miami Herald report that Jeb Bush sent state law enforcement agents to seize Terri Schiavo from the hospice - a plan called off when local police said they would enforce the judge's order that she remain there." (!!! Jeb in 2008? I'll pass.) Must be the liberally biased media that squelched that story. The fundie crowd who shrieked about the sanctity of Terri Schiavo's life apparently is selective about their support of life—the judge in the Schiavo case, George Greer, needs armed bodyguards to protect his life.


Orange said...
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thenutfantastic said...

I get overwhelmed when I remember that we still have 4 more years to go. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I can see your politics and mine do not agree ;-) (I'm not a Bush supporter, just a raging small-government fan.)

I do think pharmacists should be allowed to refuse to dispense birth control (and that Social Security shouldn't exist)...but then, in the system I envision (in which government is limited solely to protecting individual rights), there wouldn't be a prescription system anyway. Don't get me started.

The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

Stella-- people like you scare me a lot. We've already TRIED the "small government" system here in the United States, throughout the 1800s. Toward the end of that century and into the beginning of the next, it proved a disasterous approach, as it allowed corporations to run roughshod over individual rights.

The 40-hour work week, workman's comp, and a thousand other things we take for granted today are the result of the "Big Government" you and the owners of large amounts of capital lament... populists pushed them through and we are all better for it.

I do want government to respect the rights and privacy of the individual, and the value of our personal choices as free citizens... but that is not the same as wishing I didn't have to pay taxes for a government that is actually big enough to smash down the corporations that would otherwise dictate my life to me in terms much harsher than any government.

"You load sixteen tons and what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the Company Store"

Anonymous said...

How would a 40-hour workweek have been possible without capitalism? Without it, we'd all still be breaking our backs dawn to dusk on the farm.

A 40-hour work week is nobody's right -- and paying a low wage or offering poor working conditions in a free market is NOT "running roughshod over individual rights," because workers are then free to seek other, greener pastures. They're also free to talk to the press, which would be only too happy to blare the news and instigate a boycott. The beauty of which is that no one's individual rights are violated.

I think just such "smashing" of corporations by the government is patently wrong.

The Un-Apologetic Atheist said...

Plenty of us DO still break our backs on the farm. You just described the process of industrialization, not capitalism. If you own all the farms (the means of production) then you are a capitalist, even without industry. Industry does not = capitalism. Rhetorical: Are all conservative positions based on ignorance of these basic definitions?

I highly suggest you look into reading a few books about the violations that occurred when people can't "seek other, greener pastures." In fact, the significant majority of workers in this country can't do that, and we've seen this in the past. And the papers aren't the best route out of that because almost all media outlets in this country are owned by people who ALSO have huge stakes in megaconglomerate companies. Look it up! Again, since I seem to be instructing you in things I thought every 8th grader knew about the laissez-faire period of our economic history, I'll just point out that it was because of these tramplings by megacorporations during that period that we had to step in, form unions, PACs, and elect a government that would enact the New Deal. I do have a right to a 40 hour work week at a fair wage, unless they're willing to pay me heavily to work more. We had people working 80 hour work weeks at pennies a day because they had no other choice. Finally, people wised up and realized that "wage slave" doesn't have much in common with the concept of liberty, unless you're already wealthy or have access to wealth/capital.

Anarcho-capitalists like you still, fortunately, scare the hell out of most Americans when they look at history and get a grip on what you're trying to take away from them in the name of "fairness."