We are all Bob Cratchit now

Some glibertarian fun, just in time for the holidays:

No doubt Cratchit needs—i.e., wants—more, to support his family and care for Tiny Tim. But Scrooge did not force Cratchit to father children he is having difficulty supporting. If Cratchit had children while suspecting he would be unable to afford them, he, not Scrooge, is responsible for their plight. And if Cratchit didn’t know how expensive they would be, why must Scrooge assume the burden of Cratchit’s misjudgment?

As for that one lump of coal Scrooge allows him, it bears emphasis that Cratchit has not been chained to his chilly desk. If he stays there, he shows by his behavior that he prefers his present wages-plus-comfort package to any other he has found, or supposes himself likely to find. Actions speak louder than grumbling, and the reader can hardly complain about what Cratchit evidently finds satisfactory.

I’m sure Slate or TNR must have done something like this before, but I’m too lazy to google it.

174 replies
  1. 1
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    I hope these libertarian-randian types don’t follow through with their beliefs in their personal lives, or else they must be a really miserable and lonely bunch, like Scrooge, which WAS THE POINT OF THE STORY YOU READING COMPREHENSION FAILING FUCKTARDS.

    Incoherence or misery, that’s the set of choices they have.

  2. 2
    ruemara says:

    Where are you finding these moronic libertarian screeds at? The headline for this one should read “execrable failure of humanity now scribing for your pleasure”

  3. 3
    bago says:

    If only condoms were cheaper…

  4. 4
    asiangrrlMN says:

    So, I cannot tell by reading this snippet if this is a satire or an actual opinion. I mean, no one is that stupid, right? Don’t answer that. I can haz Tunchie please? It’s turning out to be a really bad day. (And yes, I know you’re not Cole).

    So, I read a few paragraphs. Fucker was actually serious. Ugh.

  5. 5
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Just like all creationists should not be allowed to get the H1N1 vaccine or Tamiflu, all libertarians should be forced to pay up front for any ambulance, fire, or police response they receive, and they should be forced to pay a toll every mile they drive on the interstate.

  6. 6
    Poopyman says:

    Poor Michael Levin! His high school education was apparently flawed, or else he slept through the teachings of Dickens. Else he would have known about Dickens’ father’s imprisonment in Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison, and young Charles’ various employments.

    Likewise, I was shocked to find the author of what might pass as a so-so high school paper is a professor. Yet another indication that his education in English just isn’t up to snuff.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Poopyman says:

    AsiangrrlMN, you have to clicky the link to see the idiocy in its full glory.

    It sprained my brain.

  9. 9
    DougJ says:

    Where are you finding these moronic libertarian screeds at?

    From Dave C.

  10. 10
    dr. bloor says:

    Wait, that’s not a spoof?

    It’s eleven years old anyways. The Ghost of Christmas future has probably gotten all Galt on his ass by now.

  11. 11
    Chasseur says:

    A Selfish Christmas:

    Santa struggles with the increasing demands of providing gifts for millions of spoiled, ungrateful brats across the world, until a single elf, in the engineering department of his workshop, convinces Santa to go on strike.


    scroll down

  12. 12
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Poopyman: I did. I read the first two paragraphs and stopped when my brain screeched to a halt. It can only take so much of teh stoopids, and right now, it’s completely occupied.

  13. 13
    Kryptik says:

    Said it before in the other topic, but still…

    Bring back the workhouses and the child jails!!

  14. 14
    Poopyman says:

    Add to my post at #6:

    … Or at least he could have had the energy to Google Dickens.

    (Which is a great name for a band, BTW).

  15. 15
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    My previous job involved real work for a few hundred people per year. Most of the compensation was paid to run interference with inept government officials. This part paid well, as there are lots of inept government officials, with too much power.

    People should reflect on the power and trust they grant to the government. Ten years ago, I too, was far too trusting. The best metric for this part of my old job was ‘cigarette-beers’. The other 20% of my old job was physical work measured by the metric ‘foot-pounds’.

    This new job at the Facility seems to be 95% measured in ‘foot-pounds’, which pleases me greatly. It doesn’t pay nearly as well as dealing with inept government officials, but in this case I am not local. I am world-wide. There is a decent chance that my fingers will touch something that ends up in your home in 2010.

    In exchange for my fingers touching something in your home, you will compensate me approximately seven cents. Thank you in advance.

  16. 16
    joes527 says:

    It must be spoof. NO ONE is that self-unaware. Please, for the love of god…. tell me it is spoof.

  17. 17
    Poopyman says:

    @joes527

    (Shakes head sadly. Looks down & clears throat uncertainly.)

  18. 18
    Kryptik says:

    @joes527:

    This is the same Michael Levin that still peddles the ‘Bell Curve’, ‘Blacks and Whites do differently on tests because Whites are genetically more intelligent’ crap.

    This is par for the course.

  19. 19
    Scott says:

    So the Republicans are now going on record as fans of pre-redemption Scrooge, just as they went on record as fans of Star Wars’ Empire. Any other fictional villains they’ve sided with?

    At some point, wouldn’t you start wondering why all your favorite fictional characters were bad guys?

  20. 20
    jibeaux says:

    I think it is not intended as satire, which is too bad because as satire it would be very good, Jon Swift quality stuff.

  21. 21
    Legalize says:

    Scrooge pays for debtors prisons and workhouses from his taxes. So, it’s all cool.

  22. 22
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    So, what is the randian-libertarian interpretation of the christmans spirit?

    “And then, a magical ray of selfishness descended upon everyone, and Bobby took the toys he was planning on giving away to orphans and sold them on e-bay, which allowed him to buy more and better toys. It was a Christmas Day miracle!”

    Anyway, this XKCD strip summarizes randian-libertarianism:

    http://xkcd.com/23/

  23. 23
    Col. Klink says:

    God I love The Onion! Oh wait…

  24. 24
    Dave C says:

    @DougJ:

    And I got it from one of my Facebook friends! :)

  25. 25
    Comrade Darkness says:

    Yeah, why does Cratchit stay in his job? He should starve instead of working for The Man, obviously. Translation: workers should never expect a far shake from an actor who must take maximum profit out of his venture organization. Which logically leads us to: the worker resource, in order to maximize his own profit (which is what we are all supposed to strive for, optimally, right?) must organize and use the threat of withholding said resource (going galt) to extract a maximum return for their input into the venture. So this libertarian is pro union, right?

  26. 26
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Scott: Well, that’s to be expected. All Dick Cheney was missing to become a comic book villain was a big armchair and a persian cat to stroke.

  27. 27
    bcw says:

    Actually, Crachit should have formed a corporation using the pooled venture capital of other workers such as himself to operate as a monopoly worker placement company. Under libertarian principles, it could, of course, charge whatever it could extract from Scrooge and other employers using this monoploy power .
    .
    .
    It’s OK as long as it’s a corporation, just don’t call it a union.

  28. 28
    Ben says:

    Yeah, if it weren’t at von Mises I would be convinced this was a pretty clever joke. Then again, maybe the whole Ludwig von Mises Institute is an extremely elaborate trolling program. It would explain a lot.

  29. 29
    Keith says:

    And to think I’ve been misreading Charlies Dickens’ works this whole time.

  30. 30
    Comrade Darkness says:

    The people at the top are now unabashedly taking on the guise of blood suckers leaching the economic life out of the rest of the economy. Disappearing middle class means nothing to these people beyond and exercise in I got mine and if you didn’t fuck you? The middle class IS our civilization. If it goes, so does everything else, including the pretty houses of those who turned the investable assets of their business into luxury yachts. Full circle is a bitch.

  31. 31
    JackieBinAZ says:

    In his version, the ghosts deliver a 90-page speech leading to a phenomenon known as “Going Scrooge.”

  32. 32
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @bcw: You stated it better.

  33. 33
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Comrade Darkness: Nice. Libertarianism is so empty an ideology that it can mean anything. There is a story by Pessoa called “The anarchist banker” that performs the same reductio ad absurdum from the other side of the pond.

  34. 34
    soonergrunt says:

    Even more of Poe’s Law in action.
    @Comrade Darkness:
    This is how you tell a true libertarian from what we have running around today. A true libertarian has no problem with the worker seeking to maximize his own profit and resorting to collective, non-governmental action to do so.

  35. 35
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Comrade Darkness: I actually think this showing of the true colors is a good thing. At the very least, they are less hypocritical. At best, “class warfare” will take on it’s true meaning.

    @bcw: win!

  36. 36
    Ugh says:

    This reminds me that I need to post my 10,000 word screed on why there wouldn’t be so many dead Iraqis if the market didn’t demand it.

  37. 37
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @soonergrunt: Intellectual honesty would make them a more tolerable bunch, even if their ideas would never amount to anything resembling useful public policy. Republicans too.

  38. 38
    jcricket says:

    @Comrade Darkness: No no. When workers get together in a group it’s called “communism” and it’s anti free-market.

    When corporates collude together, or use their monopolistic powers to deny workers fair wages, benefits and stifle competition it’s called the invisible hand becoming visible.

    These things are so obvious, I’m not clear why you don’t get it.

    More seriously, Libertarianism doesn’t exist. Outside of gentleman’s agreements there are always three parties to every private contract. Party A, Party B, and the invisible hand of the state that threatens to enforce the various elements of the contract. From the core, Libertarianism is a bankrupt ideology.

    There are legitimate questions about what should be done by the state, what the private sector should be “free” to do and what should be regulated – but that’s all a matter of scale, degree, and can change over time. Libertarianism has no answers for economic issues – none that provide any value, that is.

    On social issues I am willing to believe that questions of personal liberty are perhaps expressed well by the occasional Libertarian. But the DFHs do that stuff just as well and don’t come with the corporate welfare baggage.

  39. 39
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Cratchit has not been chained to his chilly desk

    Yeah, what kind of parent would he be if he didn’t toss aside his only source of health care coverage: his job?

  40. 40
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    all libertarians should be forced to pay up front for any ambulance, fire, or police response they receive

    And they should never solicit donations for their publications. Because if they did, it would be impossible to take them seriously.

  41. 41
    jibeaux says:

    The problem with glibertarians is that where normal people have a soul, they just have a vast empty whistling wasteland of nothingness, devoid even of tumbleweeds. Why it’s considered a political philosophy rather than something meriting an entry in a dictionary of psychiatric diagnoses is beyond me.

  42. 42
    SteveinSC says:

    Well BOB, for many of those same years, I toiled as a “too much power” civil servant and often during those years spent a not insignificant amount of my time ferreting out parasites like yourself and the companies you work(ed) for. Once found, your crowd were referred to the proper officials for punitive action. The biggest problem with government officials is that our hands are frequently tied by congressmen who are larded up by company lobbyists to ensure that we are can’t do our jobs.

  43. 43
    jcricket says:

    @Comrade Darkness: I’m a rich person (by national standards). Top 5%, income-wise. Why more rich people don’t get what you’re saying is beyond me.

    I don’t even work for a company that sells to consumers, but I get that, fundamentally, the purchasing habits of the “bottom 95%” is what powers this economy.

    Ignore, for the moment, the moral and societal arguments for providing good services (road, fire, schooling, healthcare, infrastructure, etc.). From a purely economic perspective, If I support things that put more money into the hands of everyone but me, they will spend that money. That will raise the top line of places I work, which will “trickle up” to me in the form of a raise (or more value for my stock holdings).

    Lowering my income/property taxes lowers everyone elses net-income b/c every other kind of tax is more regressive, and the “other 90%” need services more than I do.

    This means that there’s pretty much no doubt that raising the net income of “others” is far more likely to lead to enriching me in the long term. It’s not fscking rocket-science.

    Of course letting people run up trillions in credit card debt works too. So I guess that’s the route we’ve chosen. Mmkay. Can’t see a problem with this approach.

  44. 44
    ruemara says:

    Sweet monkey muffins! I just realized why this was familiar. I went to City and took philo. My mate is a former philo major. Gah. Thank goodness I never donate to the alumni shill-fest.

  45. 45
    jcricket says:

    @jibeaux: You know of the 40 year push to get Ayn Rand’s rapist scribblings taken seriously by philosophy departments, no?

    Libertarianism and Objectivism are to philosophy as my cat’s hairballs are to art.

  46. 46
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @The Bearded Blogger: As to these actors self-describing honestly . . . I’m generally all for that, but in this case I see it as symptomatic of some serious shit about to go down, shit I’d rather not live through. And yeah, “class warfare” got turned around on itself, didn’t it? Another Onion style delusion and all part of the same larger picture. The people holding all the cards have found their backs against the wall and are doubling down as a means of holding off what must seem inevitable. We’re about to find out how well our democracy is structured. An 800x ratio of Scrooge to Cratchit wages is unsustainable and in the dark denied recesses of the libertarian/republican brain, they do know that. It doesn’t make business sense, honestly. Ever dollar sucked out of the business without equitable return of skill or labor dooms the business.

  47. 47
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    The first step is going to a meeting in good faith, and having a discussion with a person you are paying to make sure you follow the law. This is the proper and necessary role of government. In this meeting, you are surprised to learn that the person you are talking with is not that sharp.

    The second step is observing correspondence come out from these meetings, on government letterhead, that misrepresents the meetings. Then you reflect that these misrepresentations benefit not the public, but instead covers for the government worker. You see this time and time again, and begin to notice a pattern.

    Which brings you to the third, and final point. At this point you have finally arrived, and begin looking at Tea Bags.

  48. 48
    eemom says:

    indeed, Harold Myerson, one of the few surviving sane columnists on the WaPo op-ed page, has fittingly labeled such people “Dickensian grotesques.”

    May the ghost of Jacob Marley torment them this holiday season. They are beyond Scrooge-esque redemption.

  49. 49
    Citizen_X says:

    @The Bearded Blogger:

    All Dick Cheney was missing to become a comic book villain was a big armchair and a persian cat to stroke.

    Ahem. Would a wheelchair do? (Go to about 2:46.)

  50. 50
    Zifnab says:

    @jcricket:

    Lowering my income/property taxes lowers everyone elses net-income b/c every other kind of tax is more regressive, and the “other 90%” need services more than I do.

    We spend a lot of money on nothing. We air drop billions of dollars to foreign countries like Israel and Turkey – countries that aren’t in desperate need of welfare but get giant kickbacks to let us park our planes and tanks in their space. We spend money on weapons systems we’ll never use, on military contracts that never get filled, and on numerous programs domestic and foreign (like abstinence education) that a functionally worthless.

    So cutting taxes and removing those programs would be acceptable. But those programs typically don’t exist unless they’ve got substantial political backing. So they are notoriously hard to kill.

    Ultimately, I don’t think we need to permanently go back to Eisenhower or even Carter levels of upper income tax. And I suspect if we did, we’d just end up pissing away a big chunk of it on boondoggles anyway. But we’ve got a massive debt generating huge amounts of interest, two giant sucking wars, and a host of mismanaged entitlement programs that desperately need reform. And we’ve got to fill the money gap those things leave.

    Programs aren’t cut by merit, they’re cut by popularity and political expediency. I’d be more open to the talk of tax cuts, if I didn’t think they were really just Pell Grant or Highway or Clean Energy cuts in disguise.

  51. 51
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Comrade Darkness: Some serious shit is indeed about to go down. I’d much rather it went down in ten or twelve years than in one or two, which is why I welcome piecemeal reform, as a way to stave off bastille reform. In many ways, BHO is in a very similar position to FDR, who was savagely attack by the grandparents of teabaggers, while he was doing them the favor of preventing a violent populist uprising.

  52. 52
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @jcricket: Yes, yes and yes. Investing in people to equalize the effects of family influence makes everyone richer. That’s how this country got where it is. That that isn’t blunt force obvious to everyone blows my mind.

    And the consumer debt issue, you mention. That’s another one. The middle class got systematically sunken into debt slavery. I can’t give republicans credit for successfully executing something on such a large scale, so I attribute it to incremental market forces . . . but man o man, between the simultaneous tightening of personal bankruptcy standards and loosening of credit requirements. Jebesus on a plastic crutch they got the system rigged to suck up dollars to the top that didn’t even exist!

    I’ll add to your nice summary of getting what you pay for that while poorer households need municipal services more, what the top 5% are buying for their taxes is a peaceable community, which is, as the mastercard people say . . .

  53. 53
    Morbo says:

    I just love the user generated tags on that post. The top two appear to be: “FAIL” and “Libertarianism discredits itself again through its obvious lack of humanity.”

  54. 54
    russell says:

    Scrooge: he was a cruel man, but fair.

    It’s the Piranha Brothers theory of economics.

  55. 55
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @The Bearded Blogger: I would rather it not go down at all. Whether it does depends on amputating the undo political influence of the actors sucking up a damaging share of the economy’s resources. That’s what I meant by testing our democracy. We are standing on the cusp of whichever way it’s going to go. Social unrest can kneecap those causing the bad decisions or our representative democracy can, but it has to get the wherewithal to do so.

    There is room in a healthy economy for the top actors to draw down amazing wealth without damaging the system. But we are way beyond that right now.

  56. 56
    Martin says:

    @bago:

    If only all women were chunky Reese Witherspoons…

    (Ben N Jerry seriously needs to come out with that as an ice cream)

  57. 57
    El Cid says:

    I think the only conclusion you can logically come to is that those 3 spirits visiting Scrooge at night were minions of ACORN.

  58. 58

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    You are truly the Honore de BallSack of Balloon-Juice, Bill.

  59. 59
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @JackieBinAZ: FTW.

  60. 60
    Compassionate Conservative says:

    And let’s not forget the universal GOP response to poverty:

    “Let those poor go to the prisons and the Union workhouses,” and if they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

    “God Bless Us Every One”

    Heaven knows we’re going to need it

  61. 61
    Evil Bender says:

    A Libertarian Christmas Carol

    being a play in one act
    .

    Dramatis Personae:

    Marley’s Ghost

    Scrooge

    The curtain rises on SCROOGE haunted by MARLEY’S GHOST.

    MARLEY’S GHOST: Mankind was my business!

    SCROOGE: Fuck mankind. I got mine.

    SCROOGE shoots MARLEY’S GHOST with his handgun. MG dies. SCROOGE retires to bed, where he calmly reflects on how he is morally superior for sleeping amidst his wealth while small children starve in the streets.

    ~FIN~

  62. 62
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @jcricket: If according to libertarianism, everybody necessarily pursues their own self interest, and is a good libertarian for doing so; and if the self interest in question is what each person feels or perceives to be their own self interest, then everyone, from Ghandhi to Stalin, to Reagan, to Clinton, is a libertarian.

    So there is not much content to libertarianism at all. It is a soft formless substance that weak minds can shape to their whims and feel smart and self righteous.

  63. 63
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @El Cid: You know, the Mayan resistance in Chiapas recently kidnapped the plutocratic governor and made him live as a poor person for 3 months so he’d know what his oppresive policies caused, so there has been a sort of real life instance of DFHs doing the work of Christmas ghosts.

  64. 64
    jerry 101 says:

    So Crachit’s the bad guy, and Scrooge is the good guy?

    Wow, it blows the mind.

    Next thing you know, they’ll be complaining about how badly mean old Robin Hood treated King John.

    Or about how contemptible George Bailey is and how Mr. Potter is such a great man.

    Maybe they’ll follow that up by extolling the virtues of Pharoah and shredding Moses for leading the Israelites out of Egypt. The Israelites had it pretty well in Egypt after all.

    How long until they start openly contemplating the virtues of restoring the legality of slavery?

  65. 65
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @Poopyman:

    shocked to find the author of what might pass as a so-so high school paper is a professor.

    Considering that Liberty “University” confers graduate “degrees,” I find nothing shocking about this, at all…

  66. 66
    Mouse Tolliver says:

    @Scott:

    So the Republicans are now going on record as fans of pre-redemption Scrooge, just as they went on record as fans of Star Wars’ Empire. Any other fictional villains they’ve sided with?

    Gordon Gekko. He was their first.

  67. 67
    PaulW says:

    So if Cratchit is responsible for the number of children he brings into the world, does this author support abortion or the public encouragement of contraceptives? Or perhaps a vascetomy after the mandatory two children (boy/girl) are spawned? Because abstinence alone doesn’t cut it, after all.

    As for Cratchit not being chained physically to his chilly office (implying that Cratchit can voice his displeasure at the crappy work conditions by fleeing for another job), does the author realize the real-world difficulty of job hunting in today’s economy… or the 19th century Victorian economy we are currently emulating?

  68. 68
    Ed Drone says:

    Marley, so they tell us in the book, was stone-cold dead,
    Though Scrooge, his erstwhile partner, was still living.
    But encounters with three spirits, not to mention Marley’s shade,
    Encouraged Scrooge to learn the art of giving.
    We’ve heard this story every year since Hector was a pup,
    It gets repeated sometimes ten times o’er.
    Why, Christmas isn’t Christmas lest they bring the damned thing up,
    And yet I wonder why it’s not a bore.

    Chorus:

    (It’s ’cause)
    Scrooge is the center of the story.
    Ebeneezer is the focus of the fuss!
    With his self-centered, short-sighted, money-loving ways;
    There’s a little Scrooge in every one of us.

    [©1990 Bob Clayton — reprinted with permission]

    I think one of the reasons Scrooge is so popular (in a sort of “there but for fortune” way) is simply because the ego calls on us to be selfish, and to hell with the rest of the world. The intelligent man or woman sees that this will isolate them, and that it doesn’t work in societal, personal, or even economic terms, but a small percentage of people never “get it,” and are the natural prey of those who use selfishness of others to enrich themselves (con men, televangelists, and Republicans are the most common of this type of predator).

    I’m beginning to think that the purveyors of “greed is good” missed the bus when it came to “good” in terms of “good for the society” as opposed to “good for me and mine.” Actually, it’s the tendency of people to have a very small “me and mine” that’s the problem. If you have a large-group “mine” concept, you end up being liberal. If you have a small-group “mine,” you end up being conservative or libertarian. The smallest “mine” is, of course, “one”, and the loneliest number there is.

    What we supposedly learned in kindergarten is lost on some, to the society’s great disadvantage. The inability to put oneself “in another’s shoes” is, to me, the single most defining aspect of personality in terms of the liberal/conservative scale. I’m afraid I see the conservative world as a place where the selfish little brats live, and I don’t want to live there. Unfortunately, they don’t play fair, don’t share, cry and whine, and don’t clean up their own mess.

    I say, no cookies and milk for them, and they definitely need a time-out (and probably a nap).

    Ed

  69. 69
    Mouse Tolliver says:

    @jerry 101:

    How long until they start openly contemplating the virtues of restoring the legality of slavery?

    They’re already doing that. (h/t Rachel Maddow)

  70. 70
    Ed Drone says:

    @Martin:

    If only all women were chunky Reese Witherspoons…

    (Ben N Jerry seriously needs to come out with that as an ice cream)

    Hmmm… maybe a tie-in with Reese’s Pieces?

    Ed

  71. 71
    GeneJockey says:

    So, the followers of Ludwig von Mises – do they call themselves ‘Misers’?

  72. 72
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Gad, and they’re global warming deniers too. No wonder this think tank is located in Alabama.

  73. 73
    Denise says:

    @The Bearded Blogger:

    Eloquently stated. I’m sure you have no trouble bringing people over to your side.

  74. 74
    Zifnab says:

    @PaulW:

    does the author realize the real-world difficulty of job hunting in today’s economy… or the 19th century Victorian economy we are currently emulating?

    Nonsense. If Cratchit has trouble finding work, it is only because of the government regulations currently inhibiting the growth of the economy. Were Scrooge allowed to experiment in lending by selling fellow bankers the debt owed on street hovels as a means of skirting capital requirements and generating more money to lend to other institutions to buy more CDOs at higher rates, thus turning obscene profits on 40:1 leveraged loans all floating over the top of hundreds of trillions of dollars in debt, he could afford to pay Cratchit that extra lump of coal, assuming the market didn’t demand he do otherwise.

    And with all that free money floating around, Cratchit could have easily found another job at any of the myriad other cut-throat, low rent, management stingy accounting firms.

  75. 75
    trollhattan says:

    The Ghost of Christmas Win is going to need a shotgun to issue all the rewards earned in this thread. Mucho snarko.

  76. 76
    Martin says:

    @Ed Drone:

    Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. It’s just too good a name for ice cream.

  77. 77

    @ruemara:

    Just Google “lew rockwell” sometime. And take a hazmat shower afterward.

    These are the guys who say they’re not racists, but somehow advocate things only racists or idiots (or both) would advocate.

  78. 78
    eemom says:

    while we’re at it, let me recommend the 1980s version of “A Christmas Carol” with George C. Scott as Scrooge. A real classic.

  79. 79
    Silver Owl says:

    It’s bad for Cratchit to have had a family without first checking with whomever he is going to be employed with.

    I’m sure we’ll figure out an “unbirthing” process to help the libertarians who are a tad clueless on the whole human race thing. One day it will dawn on them that customers, investors and employees do not pop out of people’s butts and start functioning in the economy like a fairy tale.

    Scrooge should have had his own children so he’d have future customers and employees. lol He was a rat bastard and not worthy of doing business with. Like many of today’s executives.

  80. 80
    Mike in NC says:

    How long until they start openly contemplating the virtues of restoring the legality of slavery?

    I’m guessing you don’t live south of the Mason-Dixon Line…

  81. 81
    JGabriel says:

    More Levin:

    … society’s provisions for the poor must be, well, Dickensian. The more pleasant the alternatives to gainful employment, the greater will be the number of people who seek these alternatives, and the fewer there will be who engage in productive labor. If society expects anyone to work, work had better be a lot more attractive than idleness.

    Couldn’t this argument just as easily be read as an argument for more taxes on the rich, especially more estate taxes and more confiscatory taxes on the wealthy?

    After all, it is the rich who can best afford to be idle. And it’s the rich who parasitically suck up money from the rest of us.

    .

  82. 82

    […] tip to John Cole at the excellent Balloon Juice.) This was written by admin. Posted on Monday, November 23, 2009, […]

  83. 83
    jcricket says:

    @Phoenix Woman:

    These are the guys who say they’re not racists, but somehow advocate things only racists or idiots (or both) would advocate.

    Reminds me. If anyone starts a sentence with “I don’t mean to be rude”, you know the next words out of their mouth will be rude.

    So to with, “Now, I got nothing against insert ethnic group here” – followed 100% of the time by racist slurs.

  84. 84
    Ash Can says:

    @Phoenix Woman:

    These are the guys who say they’re not racists, but somehow advocate things only racists or idiots (or both) would advocate.

    That’s because racists are not racist, and you’re the racist for saying they are, you hater.

  85. 85
    jcricket says:

    @Comrade Darkness:

    I’ll add to your nice summary of getting what you pay for that while poorer households need municipal services more, what the top 5% are buying for their taxes is a peaceable community, which is, as the mastercard people say . . .

    That was the part I skipped (I called that the “moral” argument for taxation).

    It’s just basic math. With the exception of forestalling the inevitable through the credit/usury binge of the last 30 years, we’re pretty close to making rich people poorer through our current “enrich only the already rich” tax cuts/deregulation, etc.

    Of course there’s lots of misdiagnosis around – blaming regulations, clinging to the ludicrous Laffer curve, etc. So I fully expect the coming state-level bankruptcies to be blamed on Liberalism and excessive government. Not, say, a paucity of tax revenue owing to the failure to properly raise taxes, in any manner, to the level that would support the services the government is providing.

  86. 86
    Calouste says:

    Apparently whoever wrote that isn’t aware that A Christmas Carol was written in 1843, just 5 years before the rather bloody revolutions of 1848?

  87. 87
    RSA says:

    The more pleasant the alternatives to gainful employment, the greater will be the number of people who seek these alternatives, and the fewer there will be who engage in productive labor.

    I love libertarian axioms. They explain so much… about libertarians.

  88. 88
    Randy P says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    My previous job involved real work for a few hundred people per year. Most of the compensation was paid to run interference with inept government officials. This part paid well, as there are lots of inept government officials, with too much power.

    The best metric for this part of my old job was ‘cigarette-beers’.

    You were a corrupt bureaucrat in the Ceaucesciu government in Romania?

    (A friend in the State Department in those days told me that the Romanian economy was basically broken and was run almost entirely on barter of American cigarettes).

    This new job at the Facility seems to be 95% measured in ‘foot-pounds’, which pleases me greatly.

    And now you’re doing hard labor in a Chinese prison? Or, given your involvement with Ceaucesciu, maybe it’s a Romanian prison.

  89. 89
    Randy P says:

    Aargh. My kingdom for an Edit button.

  90. 90
    Sloegin says:

    Wish I could remember the short story and author of a fairly novel ‘take’ on Dickens.

    To wit: other tenses of Christmas ghosts visit Scrooge (such as the Ghost of Christmas Present Perfect and the like); they visit Scrooge to repair what the first 3 ghosts accomplished. Scrooge would have turned into some model moral capitalist and would inevitably delay the coming workers revolution.

    They convince Scrooge to fire Cratchit instead.

  91. 91
    clone12 says:

    It’s obviously Bob Crachit’s fault that Tiny Tim was born with rickets; now just because rickets occur as a result of factory pollutions does not mean the people who cause this environment degradation bear any responsibility whatsoever.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickets

  92. 92
    Scott says:

    @eemom:

    YES.

    The George C. Scott “Christmas Carol” is my very favorite of the bunch. I have to watch it every year. And it’s got Edward Woodward as Christmas Present — every Christmas classic should have the Equalizer in it.

  93. 93
    Cat Lady says:

    OT, but Perry Bacon conducting the politics chat at the WaPo concern trolls the Dems:

    “Reconciliation is also a divisive process that won’t help the president in implementing his pledge to change the tone in Washington, as the GOP will go crazy.”

    See? GOP not crazy now.

    /gobsmacked

  94. 94
    jcricket says:

    @RSA: I have semi-sane “centrist” friends who trot out this argument all the time.

    When people making $500k/year (these friends in particular) say shit like this it makes me want to scream – “The idea that things like food stamps, housing subsidies, unemployment insurance, or Medicaid which provide the bare modicum of life support would cause people “not to look for work” is a ludicrous pile of steaming bullshit uttered from the mouth of a spoiled, over privileged, rich white person.”

    And I say this as a spoiled, over-privileged, rich white person.

    The idea that society needs to make people live in “third world conditions” or risk creating some army of ne’er-do-wells just flies in the face of reality, morality, etc.

    Argh!

  95. 95
    noncarborundum says:

    @The Bearded Blogger:
    Richard Dawkins famously said that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. My question is, does Ayn Rand make it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled psychopath? Or can that possibly count as intellectual fulfillment?

  96. 96
    joes527 says:

    @Scott: Patrick Stewart’s vocal performance of the story is brilliant.

    Oddly enough, when he tried to translate the performance into a TV movie, the result was excessively mediocre.

  97. 97
    RSA says:

    I say this as a spoiled, over-privileged, rich white person.

    I say the same things, being a typical limousine liberal, I guess.

    I have a bleg: I read a nice satirical piece on libertarianism some years ago but can’t track it down, despite having read it online. It was a first-person account of a guy who did it all for himself: built a road in front of his house, performed surgery on either himself or his family, and so forth, all the while extolling his libertarian virtues. Does this ring any bells?

  98. 98
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @noncarborundum: Well, they can’t be personally fulfilled, that’s for sure. As for intellectual fulfillment, that requires curiosity, which is at odds with dogmatism… I guess there is some kind of fulfillment in it for them, but I cannot guess what it is, maybe because I am not a psycopath…

  99. 99
    noncarborundum says:

    @Cat Lady:
    In related news, peeing in the ocean might make seawater wet.

  100. 100
    Martin says:

    @Scott:

    You should watch it right after ‘Patton’.

  101. 101
    Donald Drennon says:

    That thumping sound you hear is satire, beating it’s head against the wall in sheer frustration. One-upped by libertarian reality.

    Beyond belief.

  102. 102
    RedKitten says:

    So if Cratchit is responsible for the number of children he brings into the world, does this author support abortion or the public encouragement of contraceptives? Or perhaps a vascetomy after the mandatory two children (boy/girl) are spawned? Because abstinence alone doesn’t cut it, after all.

    But of course it does! Remember the oft-repeated wingnut admonition that people need to learn to control themselves? They don’t want poor people having a bunch of kids (or “breeding like rabbits”, as they often put it), but they don’t support measures that would make it easier for poor people to afford birth control, nor do they support measures that would actually educate anybody about contraception and family planning. So, by sheer process of elimination, I can only deduce that they want poor people to just not have sex at all. That way, there’s no risk of them unleashing even more of those distasteful poor people upon society.

    But Scrooge did not force Cratchit to father children he is having difficulty supporting. If Cratchit had children while suspecting he would be unable to afford them, he, not Scrooge, is responsible for their plight.

    And yet, if it read this way:

    But the taxpayers did not force that executive to purchase the private jet he is having difficulty supporting. If the executive bought that jet while suspecting he would be unable to afford them, he, not the taxpayers, is responsible for his plight.

    Well, that’s just plain old communism and an affront to the free market, I tells ya!

  103. 103
    Cat Lady says:

    @noncarborundum:

    Also, Howie “conflict of interest” Kurtz took no questions or made any comments about criticisms of the Asian coverage by his BFFs in the MSM in his segment of the WaPo chats. Your liberal media blah blah blah.

    Yes, sun rises in east again today, sets in west, pictures at 11.

  104. 104
    Bruce Webb says:

    You know if Tiny Tim just ate more he would be Too Big to Fail. What was he thinking in allowing himself to get crippled?

  105. 105

    Wow, thanks for that article, DougJ. When somebody asks me, “what’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever read?” I can now answer them with assurance.

  106. 106
    mattH says:

    I read a nice satirical piece on libertarianism some years ago but can’t track it down, despite having read it online. It was a first-person account of a guy who did it all for himself: built a road in front of his house, performed surgery on either himself or his family, and so forth, all the while extolling his libertarian virtues. Does this ring any bells?

    Mother Jones. And no, it’s not free online, some other company seems to own the rights to their archival material from this period. I wish I had an active link to it every time anyone posited libertarianism as an effective response to problems. Instead we have to have em read the Heinlein short story Coventry

  107. 107
    maus says:

    BOOTSTRAPS, tiny tim. BOOTSTRAPS.

    if his cadillac queen welfare mom didn’t spend all her money on lotto tickets and bling, maybe she could have had the time to take him to the emergency room and get the free health care offered by every hospital.

    duh

  108. 108
    Mike G says:

    I can only deduce that [wingnuts] want poor people to just not have sex at all.

    Why not? They’ve learned to do without, though not by choice. Excluding of course anonymous airport bathroom blowjobs for Repig senators, and male-hooker-and-meth encounters for ‘family values’ evangelical televangelists.

  109. 109
    maus says:

    But Scrooge did not force Cratchit to father children he is having difficulty supporting.

    No, but these same “fiscally conservative” republicans and ron paul libertopians would have, if given the chance.

  110. 110
    ScottRock says:

    IGM, FTT

  111. 111
    RSA says:

    @mattH: Thanks! I completely forgot that I used to have a subscription to Mother Jones; maybe my memory of having read it online is wrong, too.

  112. 112
    jibeaux says:

    Reminds me. If anyone starts a sentence with “I don’t mean to be rude”, you know the next words out of their mouth will be rude.

    This is why we in the South invented “bless your/his/her heart.” Use it at will, it’ll take them a while to catch on.

  113. 113
    licensed to kill time says:

    I just got here/haven’t read any comments yet, but that Cratchit post sounds remarkably BoBitudeinous.

  114. 114
    Ed Drone says:

    @Martin:
    Maybe “Reese’s With Her Spoon?”

    Ed

  115. 115

    The Libertarian, on Christmas morning:

    “I’m sorry, honey, but you didn’t earn any Christmas presents this year. I know you think it’s mean, but Daddy is teaching you a valuable lesson today. If you want something, you have to go and earn it for yourself. If Daddy let Santa come and give you presents for free, you wouldn’t value them as highly as you should, and you might grow up with the expectation that life owed you a living for free. Also, and I hate to have to bring this up during the holidays, but you’re late on this month’s payment for that playpen you enjoy so much. Remember how Daddy said he would be willing to finance it for you, but you had to pay Daddy back? Daddy gave you very generous terms on that loan, but you’re in default now. Your payment is more than thirty days late, so Daddy is going to have to repossess that playpen and try and sell it to recoup his loss. I know you think I’m just a big old meanie, but you’ll thank me one day when you’re as rich as Daddy because you learned the valuable lessons he’s teaching you today. Honey? The kid has soiled herself again. Time to put in some more of that uncompensated labor you seem so fond of.”

  116. 116
    K488 says:

    Scrooge proves himself the perfect libertarian in the text! “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?” He asks when fellow businessmen asking for contributions for the poor. Might he have also added “Are there no emergency rooms?”

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:

    … society’s provisions for the poor must be, well, Dickensian. The more pleasant the alternatives to gainful employment, the greater will be the number of people who seek these alternatives, and the fewer there will be who engage in productive labor. If society expects anyone to work, work had better be a lot more attractive than idleness.

    WTF? This used to be one of the classic justifications for intentionally making debtor’s prisons into hell houses.

    The Victorians also had clear ideas about what these prisons should be like. They should be unpleasant places, so as to deter people from committing crimes. Once inside, prisoners had to be made to face up to their own faults, by keeping them in silence and making them do hard, boring work. Walking a treadwheel or picking oakum (separating strands of rope) were the most common forms of hard labour.

    And does Levin understand that A Christmas Carol is a work of fiction and not an economics treatise? But even so, Levin seems willfully blind to the historical background to Dicken’s work, and the dreadful and pointless exploitation of the poor that contradicts Levin’s idiot nostrums about the relationship between work, wages and poverty in Victorian England, or anywhere else.

  118. 118
    Shinobi says:

    When you’re siding with the villian of a story it is time to re think your priorities.

    (not that Scrooge is totally bad, but in the beginning he IS, that’s the POINT, this makes me stabby)

  119. 119
    MrSparkle says:

    Or about how contemptible George Bailey is and how Mr. Potter is such a great man.

    Gee, funny you mention that, because Ross Douthat wrote that column a year ago.

  120. 120
    MikeJ says:

    I’m curious about this part:

    If society expects anyone to work, work had better be a lot more attractive than idleness.

    It’s interesting that’s there’s this amorphous “society” that expects people to work. What if “society” expects a glibertarian to not act like a twat and kick in a few bucks for a lump of coal?

    I suspect that all of a sudden what society expects would become a lot less important.

  121. 121
    jcricket says:

    @jibeaux: I think there’s a book titled “Because Bless Your Heart means I hate you”

    I love that.

  122. 122
    licensed to kill time says:

    __

    Reminds me. If anyone starts a sentence with “I don’t mean to be rude”, you know the next words out of their mouth will be rude.

    Not to mention “With all due respect”….

  123. 123
    Just Me says:

    From the National Review:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....220001.asp

    It’s not quite the same topic, but it’s showing some love for The Philosophies of the Scrooge.

    I’ve been using this one in my classes for some years now.

  124. 124
    Sly says:

    The good part about libertarianism is that it gives conservatives a reason to be sane on a few subjects.

  125. 125
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @MrSparkle:

    Gee, funny you mention that, because Ross Douthat wrote that column a year ago.

    head/desk

    All those words, and nary a fact between them. And this is the guy who got a promotion to the NYTimes.

  126. 126
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    I spent 12 years after the right-wing coup of November 1994 bitching every time It’s a Wonderful Life would come on that the American people had declared that Mr. Potter was now officially the hero of this movie—why do they keep showing it? Annoyed the Hell out of everybody, but I meant it.

  127. 127
    Sly says:

    And does Levin understand that A Christmas Carol is a work of fiction and not an economics treatise?

    Much of Dickens’ work was a criticism of the philosophy of T.R. Malthus, and an often misunderstood philosophy at that. The “surplus population” speech given by Scrooge was a classic attack on Malthusian population theory, which was used as a justification by wealthy Victorians to exploit the plight of the impoverished. It isn’t an economics treatise, but rather a response to one.

  128. 128
    trollhattan says:

    @jcricket 121

    A friend who decamped California for a few years to work in Nawth Carolina became quite accustomed to being called, “a big ol’ sack o’ sugar.”

    He eventually returned, at least in part because everytime he rode his bike the locals tried to mow him down. I’m pretty sure the “sugar” thing was secondary.

  129. 129
    mattH says:

    @RSA: No, I’m pretty sure it was online for a while, and that’s where I read it, never having had a Mother Jones subscription. I remember it had this amazing illustration with it, a 3/4 view down on a man with about 20 hats, a fireman’s, policeman’s, hardhat, a mortarboard, &ct.

    I spent over three hours one day trawling the MJ website looking for it (boy their search engine bites, and google was no help) and you can read it online, but you have to pay for that privilege, seeing as how everything for about a 3 year period is behind a pay wall administered by another company. The article is still the best indictment of libertarianism I’ve ever seen, I wish it was somewhere easier to find.

  130. 130
    Calouste says:

    @jcricket:

    Reminds me. If anyone starts a sentence with “I don’t mean to be rude”, you know the next words out of their mouth will be rude.

    So to with, “Now, I got nothing against insert ethnic group here” – followed 100% of the time by racist slurs.

    cf. “Let me be honest with you”, specially when used by salespeople.

  131. 131
    Linkmeister says:

    A recommendation: Tom Mula’s hilarious Jacob Marley’s Christmas. It’s in print, but audio is only on cassette, which is idiotic.

  132. 132
    licensed to kill time says:

    I think I’d like to be at Bob Marley’s Christmas, because everything would taste really really good.

  133. 133
    redoubt says:

    @Randy P: If Brick Oven Bill had been working for Ceauesecu he wouldn’t be alive today to annoy enlighten us all.

    Christmas Day, 1989; thus we close the circle.

  134. 134
    geg6 says:

    @Brachiator:

    And does Levin understand that A Christmas Carol is a work of fiction and not an economics treatise?

    Of course, he doesn’t. After all, he thinks Atlas Shrugged is an economic treatise and not a work of bad fiction.

    @Sly:

    The “surplus population” speech given by Scrooge was a classic attack on Malthusian population theory, which was used as a justification by wealthy Victorians to exploit the plight of the impoverished. It isn’t an economics treatise, but rather a response to one.

    This.

  135. 135
    jcricket says:

    @Sly:

    The “surplus population” speech given by Scrooge was a classic attack on Malthusian population theory, which was used as a justification by wealthy Victorians to exploit the plight of the impoverished. It isn’t an economics treatise, but rather a response to one.

    And 1984 was railing against the kind of dictatorship the wingers in the GOP would just love (see News, Fox). It’s not an instruction manual.

    No surprise that wingers get everything exactly backwards when there are elected representatives claiming with a straight face that it’s the GOP that advanced the cause of civil rights. (Ignoring the fact that the GOP embraced all the racist Dems who left the party and shunned the non-racist GOPpers who subsequently became Dems).

  136. 136
    Brachiator says:

    @geg6:

    RE: And does Levin understand that A Christmas Carol is a work of fiction and not an economics treatise?

    Of course, he doesn’t. After all, he thinks Atlas Shrugged is an economic treatise and not a work of bad fiction.

    Hah! Good one.

    The New Yorker recently had a good article on Rand and her acolytes. Man, these morans were pathetic. And it included one of the best put downs ever of Rand’s work:

    Both biographers overestimate the literary achievement of their subject, whose intellectual genre fiction puts her in the crackpot pantheon of L. Frank Baum and L. Ron Hubbard.

    A bit unfair to the creator of the Wizard of Oz.

  137. 137
    Paris says:

    Shorter Michael Levin :
    Keep it in your pants, Cratchit.

  138. 138
    Kryptik says:

    @MrSparkle:

    And the douchenozzle got a plum job at the other “Liberal Paper of Note” to peddle his idiocies too, despite this wonderful demonstration of his ethics and narrative ability.

  139. 139
    cmorenc says:

    This piece of glibertarian “fun” would indeed be lots funnier if only there wasn’t an influentially substantial number of people whose mode of thinking isn’t very far off that in the article. Just like Sarah Palin would be lots funnier if that was true about her as well.

    Sometimes “harmless” kooks aren’t so harmless after all.

  140. 140
    cmorenc says:

    This piece of glibertarian “fun” would indeed be lots funnier if only there wasn’t an influentially substantial number of people whose mode of thinking isn’t very far off that in the article. Just like Sarah Palin would be lots funnier if that was wasn’t true about her as well.

    Fixed.

  141. 141
    geg6 says:

    @Brachiator:

    The New Yorker recently had a good article on Rand and her acolytes. Man, these morans were pathetic.

    I read something a while back that was confirmed (albeit much more obliquely) by a Frontline I watched a month or so ago about Rand and her “acolytes.”

    It was really all about them wanting to fuck her. That’s really all the Rand cult is about. Some, like Greenspan, got lucky and got their wishes (ewwwww, bad picture in my brain). But it’s really all about male adolescent sexual fantasies for the exotic cougar who make them feel important and like the best lovers evah. Which explains why all libertarians are such assholes.

    Wonder how Andrea Mitchell feels about getting Ayn Rand’s sloppy seconds?

  142. 142
    Sad_Dem says:

    @MrSparkle: I am flabbergasted. That isn’t parody, is it?

  143. 143
    Little Macayla's Friend says:

    @Brachiator:
    These links don’t speak to the literary value of Baum’s other works, but I see much more ‘persuasive’ rationalization in these two editorials than I suspect others had the talent for, therefore more responsibility:

    Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/t.....Id=5662524

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L....._Americans

    My thanks to:
    http://www.indiancountrytoday......96319.html

    I realize few people know this.

  144. 144

    These idjits claim to reduce things to simplest terms stripping out the emotional content and being logical. They never continue the reduction – I can take it from you. Unions were a response that repected the system sufficiently to attempt to continue it. It was, “if you pay me a bit more, I’m ok with you cutting a fat hog off your access to capital,” rather than saying, “fuck you, there are more of me and I’m stronger so I’m taking it.”

    The Gilded Age didn’t end because government suddenly wanted to molly-coddle the citizenry, it ended bacause bloody revolution was in the works thanks to the excesses asshats like this promote. The sad part is that he thinks he’s being clever.

  145. 145
    Little Macayla's Friend says:

    2nd try, seems WP didn’t like a word in the quote.

    @Brachiator:
    These links don’t speak to the literary value of Baum’s other works, but I see much more ‘persuasive’ rationalization in these two editorials than I suspect others had the talent for, so his greater responsibility:

    Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their man_hood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/t.....Id=5662524

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L....._Americans

    My thanks to:
    http://www.indiancountrytoday......96319.html

  146. 146
    Mike G says:

    Glibertarians expect everyone to scrupulously respect their rights of property and capital whilst they exploit the hell out of people.

    In other words, anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.

  147. 147
    Xanthippas says:

    Obviously, Charles Dickens didn’t know what the f*ck he was talking about.

  148. 148
    John PM says:

    @MrSparkle: #119

    Or about how contemptible George Bailey is and how Mr. Potter is such a great man.

    Gee, funny you mention that, because Ross Douthat wrote that column a year ago.

    Despite my better judgment, I clicked through and started reading Douthat’s column, and I think that column might be the dumbest thing I ever read. Douthat seems to forget that the reason George Bailey was in trouble was because Mr. Potter found the deposit that George’s uncle had left in the newspaper, did not return it, and then accused George of misfeasance when George came to Potter’s office looking for a loan. Do conservative writers not stop and think before they write their columns (Don’t answer, it is a rhetorical question)?

  149. 149
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Ed Drone:

    I’m beginning to think that the purveyors of “greed is good” missed the bus when it came to “good” in terms of “good for the society” as opposed to “good for me and mine.” Actually, it’s the tendency of people to have a very small “me and mine” that’s the problem. If you have a large-group “mine” concept, you end up being liberal. If you have a small-group “mine,” you end up being conservative or libertarian. The smallest “mine” is, of course, “one”, and the loneliest number there is.

    I’m fond of saying that with liberals it’s “We’re all in this together,” while with conservatives it’s “You’re on your own.” But I think you nailed it — the key difference between the two groups is how they define “us”. There are a hell of a lot more of “them” in the conservatives’ world.

    Jesus and Muhammad both tried to expand people’s conception of who “us” is. A lot of their self-proclaimed followers aren’t really following them.

  150. 150
    slightly_peeved says:

    When people making $500k/year (these friends in particular) say shit like this it makes me want to scream – “The idea that things like food stamps, housing subsidies, unemployment insurance, or Medicaid which provide the bare modicum of life support would cause people “not to look for work” is a ludicrous pile of steaming bullshit uttered from the mouth of a spoiled, over privileged, rich white person.”

    Not only does it sound like bullshit, the data collected by the OECD indicates it’s bullshit. The developed country where people tend to stay in poverty the longest, once they enter poverty, is the US. In all the countries with stronger welfare systems, even ones with similar overall levels of poverty (such as Australia), people move out of poverty quicker.

    Growing Unequal – Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries

    These idjits claim to reduce things to simplest terms stripping out the emotional content and being logical.

    I reckon this claim belongs in the same bin as “I’m not a racist, but…”. “Being logical about the situation…” is shorthand for “Assuming all my prejudices are correct…”

  151. 151
    Little Macayla's Friend says:

    2nd third try, seems WP didn’t like a word in the quote. I’m not getting the ‘your comment is in moderation message’, either.

    @Brachiator:
    These links don’t speak to the literary value of Baum’s other works, but I see much more ‘persuasive’ rationalization in these two editorials than I suspect others had the talent for, so his greater responsibility:

    Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their ‘blank’ effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/t.....Id=5662524

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L....._Americans

    My thanks to:
    http://www.indiancountrytoday......96319.html

    I realize not many people know this.

  152. 152
    grumpy realist says:

    What libertarians never, ever, every can admit is that a society set up on libertarian lines would be very hard to stretch out more than one generation.

    Who would raise any children? Having and raising kids is totally unpaid and a terrible “waste” of both money and time, from an economic viewpoint. Women–who historically have borne the bulk of the work–would simply not do it any more since they–following Rand–would know better than to do such “unselfish” activity.

    And having kids in order to make sure you would have someone to take care of you in your old age wouldn’t work out, either. The child could argue logically that he/she was born into indentured servitude, that it was the parent’s choice to have and raise the child, and from a contract viewpoint such an arrangement could only be entered into after the child had reached adulthood.

    Further, from an economic viewpoint, if the parent were to save the same amount of $ used in otherwise raising the child and invested it properly, the parent would have quite sufficient funds to hire someone to take care of him/her later on. MUCH more efficient.

    Notice how few Libertarians actually have wives and kids? Yeah, thought so…face it, glibs–libertarian selfishness really isn’t all that attractive. (My experience has also been that you are all, to a man, lousy in bed–but that’s a different complaint.)

  153. 153
    slightly_peeved says:

    What libertarians never, ever, every can admit is that a society set up on libertarian lines would be very hard to stretch out more than one generation.

    I think many aspects of libertarian philosophy have been tried in society. A libertarian healthcare system – where the state does very little interference, and people are free to exchange money for treatment – has been tried.

    It was, in fact, the healthcare system that Dickens described in his novels. It wasn’t very good.

    Some libertarians adhere to a fantasy that government services such as healthcare were imposed on society for shits and giggles by grasping beaurecrats, rather than as a response to existing problems in society.

  154. 154
    jrosen says:

    In what universe did the people who are suddenly out of work, losing health insurance and houses, decide that collectively they would all prefer to laze around watching TV and gorging on bon-bons acquired with food stamps? Where all 5 of those 6 people applying for each job are just not really trying and should be in the workhouse?

    They could die instead. Now there’s a thought: let’s bring back the Black Plague…after Europe was depopulated all the survivors did a lot better. But beware: the price of labor went up rapidly too, as it was not so easy to find people to do the heavy lifting.

    The trouble with making the maximization of profit the over-riding principle of human life is that it crowds out all the other possibilities. Imagine a world populated entirely with Scrooges! A Randian wet-dream!

    PS I believe rickets is a vitamin-deficiency disease.

  155. 155

    @The New Yorker

    Both biographers overestimate the literary achievement of their subject, whose intellectual genre fiction puts her in the crackpot pantheon of L. Frank Baum and L. Ron Hubbard.

    Actually this is unfair to both Baum, whose Oz books are charming classics, but also to Hubbard, who before he turned to religion as a quick and easy way of making a buck, was a pretty decent pulp writer. I was surprised after seeing Stranger Than Fiction that the producers weren’t sued by the Church of Scientology for ripping off the premise of Hubbard’s Typewriter in the Sky. As flat as some of the characters in Hubbard’s pulp novels are they’re far more three-dimensional than any of Rand’s characters in any of her works.

  156. 156

    @slightly_peeved

    Some All libertarians adhere to a fantasy that government services such as healthcare were imposed on society for shits and giggles by grasping beaurecrats, rather than as a response to existing problems in society.

    Fix’t. In my experience *all* libertarians adhere to this fantasy. Really, did you know that there were hundreds of private companies providing food safety ratings before the evil FDA was created by the Pure Food and Drug act and put them all out of business? Really, it’s true, and did you know that there were private companies who were ending segregation in the south before they were put out of business by the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision?

  157. 157
    Mike in NC says:

    I clicked through and started reading Douthat’s column, and I think that column might be the dumbest thing I ever read.

    His book was called “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream”. That sounds like a quantum leap in dumbness.

  158. 158
    YellowJournalism says:

    With this, Scrooge getting hit in the nuts in the new Zemekis adaptation, and some truly kooky past adaptations (Susan Lucci as female Ebenezer!), all we need to do is rig up Dickens’ ever-spinning corpse to solve all the world’s energy problems.

  159. 159
    El Cid says:

    Really, did you know that there were hundreds of private companies providing food safety ratings before the evil FDA was created by the Pure Food and Drug act and put them all out of business? Really, it’s true, and did you know that there were private companies who were ending segregation in the south before they were put out of business by the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision?

    The lack of those private organizations clearly demonstrates that those were not needed by the market.

    In the late 19th century, the demand for black political rights and black politicians, who were being elected to local and federal office, was opposed by the demand for private terrorist organizations who were hired by the white rich Southern upper class, so evidently the market spoke.

  160. 160
    Brachiator says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    Actually this is unfair to both Baum, whose Oz books are charming classics, but also to Hubbard….

    Yeah, I agree that it was unfair to Baum (though not necessarily Hubbard). Here the New Yorker went overboard on the snark. The subtext is that they are placing Rand in between children’s lit and science fiction, to doubly dismiss her as having anything to do with “real literature.”

  161. 161
    Badtux says:

    This reminds me of yet another one of those evil socialist programs that the Obama Administration is pushing in Afghanistan, namely, an end to “corruption”. Look, governance is just a commodity, to be bought and sold on the open market like any other commodity. We should be *applauding* the noble Afghanis for their grasp of this most fundamental aspect of capitalism, rather than criticizing them and attempting to impose a socialist “anti-corruption” agenda upon them! Clearly this is just another cog in the evil socialist agenda of Barack Hussein, who is intent upon turning the entire world into a socialist utopia like Cuba with himself as the new Castro!

    – The Ghost of Milton Friedman
    (Channeled tongue-in-cheek by Badtux the Snarky Penguin)

  162. 162
    slightly_peeved says:

    Really, did you know that there were hundreds of private companies providing food safety ratings before the evil FDA was created by the Pure Food and Drug act and put them all out of business?

    There are private companies providing an excellent job of rating safety today! Like Standard & Poor’s, providing credit ratings.

    Oh wait.

  163. 163

    @Brachiator

    Yeah, I agree that it was unfair to Baum (though not necessarily Hubbard). Here the New Yorker went overboard on the snark. The subtext is that they are placing Rand in between children’s lit and science fiction, to doubly dismiss her as having anything to do with “real literature.”

    Whenever I hear the words “real literature” I release the safety on my Browning.

  164. 164
    Brachiator says:

    @Little Macayla’s Friend:

    These links don’t speak to the literary value of Baum’s other works, but I see much more ‘persuasive’ rationalization in these two editorials than I suspect others had the talent for, so his greater responsibility…

    I didn’t know about this aspect of Baum’s life. Thank you very much for the links and references.

    Life is complex. I cannot dismiss the pleasures of the Oz novels because of this other aspect of Baum’s life.

    As an aside, I never knew that there was a series of Oz novels until my college girlfriend told me about reading the entire set when she was growing up. But then again, she used to do crossword puzzles in French.

  165. 165
    Steeplejack says:

    @eemom, @Scott:

    Must put in a word for Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988). A very funny addition to the Blackadder universe.

  166. 166
    Dan says:

    This full-on Randroid destroys Dickens with his OBJECTIVIST LOGIC…

    http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4045

    Of numerous logical flaws the greatest is Scrooge’s transformation from selfish miser to cheerful altruist by the intervention of Christmas ghosts . A literal interpretation of this transformation is impossible to believe. The premises are hopelessly flawed. No proof(s) exist to verify Christian metaphysics. Likewise the notion of Christmas ghosts is logically challenged. Since this is true Scrooge has no reason to change his way of living. Without such an impetus the story is an artful contrivance, simply Dickens’ well written, albeit poorly reasoned, statement of personal ethics. With no coherent argument offered the reader he has no obligation to take Dickens’ conclusion seriously, let alone act upon it.

    Putting this fatal criticism aside…

    Boom, roasted.

    And the coup de grâce

    Those who accept Dickens’ metaphysics and subsequent conclusions do so at there own intellectual peril.

  167. 167
    Dan says:

    (“Putting this fatal criticism aside…” quoted from the original.)

  168. 168
    Ruckus says:

    @bago:
    If only condoms were cheaper…
    This is the reason conservitards and religious nuts don’t want free, easy, or even readily available birth control. They’re afraid it will be used too often by people like their parents.

  169. 169
    mandarama says:

    I’m late to this thread, but it is a thing of beauty. Living in the south, I am constantly gobsmacked by the cognitive dissonance that occurs when people are SO involved in Christian churchgoing and SO hardline-hostile to the poor. How is that possible? It’s like they choose _some_ categories of poor people that are “OK” to help, but the rest just deserve their plight. Sigh…bless those little conservative hearts.

    jcricket, for being a self-described rich person who sees social responsibility so clearly, I would like to give you a patented “Southern Female’s Inappropriate Hug to a Stranger.”

    And I want to recommend a surprisingly excellent version of A Christmas Carol for any BJers with wee ones at home: the 60’s animated version with Mr. Magoo / Jim Backus playing Scrooge. It’s actually very true to the book and very touching, and my kids watch it multiple times a year.

  170. 170
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @grumpy realist: I don’t know about true libertarians having low birth rates. The other take, which is also the republican one, is large families as strike for cultural monopoly. And libertarians, given how loud they shout, certainly have a thing for cultural monopoly.

  171. 171
    Hob says:

    Right there in the first line of the part Doug quoted, a three-word phrase that could stand in for that whole hideous article:

    “needs–i.e., wants”

    The worldview of guys like Levin basically requires denying that “needs” could ever have a different meaning than “wants”.

  172. 172
    Hob says:

    Also, here’s some more gold for this winful thread, from Dickens. It’s from The Chimes, a much less famous sort-of companion piece to A Christmas Carol that’s dark as all get out, and unfortunately still a pretty accurate picture of how the comfortable talk about the poor. Toby, a.k.a. Trotty, is a middle-aged foot messenger who’s eating on the go when he runs into some of his employers:

    “This is a description of animal food, Alderman,” said Filer, making little punches in it with a pencil-case, “commonly known to the labouring population of this country, by the name of tripe.”
    .
    The Alderman laughed, and winked; for he was a merry fellow, Alderman Cute. Oh, and a sly fellow too! A knowing fellow. Up to everything. Not to be imposed upon. Deep in the people’s hearts! He knew them, Cute did. I believe you!
    .
    “But who eats tripe?” said Mr. Filer, looking round. “Tripe is without an exception the least economical, and the most wasteful article of consumption that the markets of this country can by possibility produce. The loss upon a pound of tripe has been found to be, in the boiling, seven-eights of a fifth more than the loss upon a pound of any other animal substance whatever. Tripe is more expensive, properly understood, than the hothouse pine-apple. Taking into account the number of animals slaughtered yearly within the bills of mortality alone; and forming a low estimate of the quantity of tripe which the carcases of those animals, reasonably well butchered, would yield; I find that the waste on that amount of tripe, if boiled, would victual a garrison of five hundred men for five months of thirty-one days each, and a February over. The Waste, the Waste!”
    .
    Trotty stood aghast, and his legs shook under him. He seemed to have starved a garrison of five hundred men with his own hand.
    .
    “Who eats tripe?” said Mr. Filer, warmly. “Who eats tripe?”
    .
    Trotty made a miserable bow.
    .
    “You do, do you?” said Mr. Filer. “Then I’ll tell you something. You snatch your tripe, my friend, out of the mouths of widows and orphans.”
    .
    “I hope not, sir,” said Trotty, faintly. “I’d sooner die of want!”
    .
    “Divide the amount of tripe before-mentioned, Alderman,” said Mr. Filer, “by the estimated number of existing widows and orphans, and the result will be one pennyweight of tripe to each. Not a grain is left for that man. Consequently, he’s a robber.”
    .
    Trotty was so shocked, that it gave him no concern to see the Alderman finish the tripe himself. It was a relief to get rid of it, anyhow.

  173. 173
    Hob says:

    Well hell, I thought I was being all clever by putting periods on the blank lines, but the blockquote didn’t work anyway. You get the idea.

  174. 174
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @eemom: I gotta second that, eemom!

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