Galt’s Gulch Was Fiction, Too

This is apparently a serious response to the back and forth regarding trash collection that ED Kain and I had:

One of my earliest blog-buddies, Kip Esquire, used to have a running feature called “Kip’s Law Sighting.” Kip’s Law is simply described as: “Every advocate of central planning always — always — envisions himself as the central planner.”

I always found this to be a pretty succinct description of the big problem with nanny-statism and the like: it is rarely much more than simply the use of the state to impose one’s personal preferences on others. Today brings us one of the more transparent examples of Kip’s Law in practice.

Over at Balloon Juice, E.D. put together an argument (upon which he follows up here) essentially trying to explain why some folks in an Arizona community are upset that their municipality is switching from basically a free market approach to trash collection to an approach where exclusive trash collection rights are sold to one high bidder. At the core of E.D.’s point is that the switch amounts to a government-granted monopoly on trash collection and that the ability to choose one’s trash collection provider is in and of itself an entirely legitimate value that cannot simply be shunted away on grounds of alleged increases in efficiency.

And then, after they finished with their nanny-state central-planning regarding trash collection, the Fountain Hills Town Council got on to the heady business of Soma deliveries and whether or not they needed to decant more Alphas or Betas.

Christ on a crutch. This was small “d” democracy in action, not nanny statism or “central planning” or whatever ludicrous term you want to bandy about. A local town council, elected by the citizens, sat around and viewed a bunch of bids for trash collection for their municipality, and then chose one private firm and outsourced it to them. This is not some faceless bureaucrat at the UN headquarters foisting his will on an unsuspecting population. This is not some slippery slope to the erosion of individual rights. This is subsidiarity in action, and if you find it too oppressive or too vulgar an imposition on your personal liberty, you can move, or you can work with like-minded people to elect new town council members and change the contract.

This is why no one with half a clue pays ANY attention to these abstract libertarian principles and the people willing to spend hours upon hours discussing them. The town council picked a company to pick up trash, and the teahadists freaked out and think it is socialism. End of story. The rest of us are pointing and laughing at them, and now you.

*** Update ***

My GAWD. I feel so violated. I’m going through my bills before the Steelers game and I just realized that Allied Waste is contracted to pick up my trash, so my personal liberties have been impinged by the creeping totalitarianism of nanny-statism. To show solidarity with the oppressed Fountain Hills trash protesters, I am going to dress up in my “Don’t Tread on Me” t-shirt, stand at the edge of my driveway at dawn during trash pick-up on Thursday, and throw pocket constitutions at the sanitation workers. We shall overcome, patriots!

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145 replies
  1. 1
    El Cid says:

    My area went from one in which you could choose different sanitation companies, I’m assuming not from an unlimited list, to one in which the (conservative-led) county commissioners chose one contractor. Now instead of paying a separate bill, it is charged to the property taxes. As far as service goes, I can see no difference whatsoever, the cost is (so far?) the same, and I couldn’t care any less. YMMV.

  2. 2
    Andre says:

    The central failing of most libertarian thought is to refuse to accept that delegation and free choice are not mutually exclusive.

  3. 3
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    This will lead to bailouts of Big Garbage.

    We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the Garbage-Industrial-Complex.

  4. 4
    General Stuck says:

    government-granted monopoly on trash collection and

    a free market approach to trash collection

    where exclusive trash collection rights are sold to one high bidder.

    Aside from the general silly libertarian juvenile huffing and puffing about free markets for everything, the above phrases made me giggle uncontrollably for some odd reason.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    Neat the way he describes it as selling monopoly rights to the highest bidder instead of hiring the company that puts in the lowest bid.

  6. 6
    Cat Lady says:

    Belle Waring has already said it all.

    The flavor of this discussion is indescribable. In its total estrangement from our political and social life today, its willfull disregard of all known facts about human nature, it resembles nothing so much as a debate over some fine procedural point of end-stage communism, after the state has withered away.

  7. 7
    El Cid says:

    @General Stuck: A Can and Trade regime? Trash money pushes out clean money?

  8. 8
    burnspbesq says:

    This entire conversation is absurd, so I’m going OT immediately.

    We mock Tim Pawlenty on a regular basis, and he richly deserves it. But give the guy credit for being willing to pull back the curtain on Republican lies about fiscal policy.

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/.....ehner.html

  9. 9
    General Stuck says:

    @El Cid:

    Those make me giggle too.:)

  10. 10

    nanny-statism

    I stopped reading right there. Reveals the lack of sincerity in their argument.

  11. 11
    Blackfrancis says:

    I am sorry to say that these threads and that post over at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen have been way more entertaining than any football this past weekend. The comments had more win than the New England Patriots.

  12. 12
    El Cid says:

    @Cat Lady: Free wishing is theft!

  13. 13
    me says:

    Amazingly, it would seem my neighbors feel the same way, as not once has a single one of my neighbors complained to me about all the traffic and noise from garbage trucks in our otherwise entirely serene and quiet neighborhood. And, since it’s a small neighborhood, if any number of folks felt such a problem did exist, it would be extraordinarily easy for them to collaborate and agree to all use the same trash collection service.

    /facepalm

    Translation: Maybe it would be rational for us all to have one trash collection service but that would violate my ideology.

  14. 14
    John Cole says:

    The thing that frightens me is that these idiots are all gung-ho about gun ownership.

  15. 15
    Crusty Dem says:

    Yes, I’ve been conversing with the writer of the esteemed article you’ve quoted (Mark Thompson) over his questionable interpretation of ED’s post (“ED is clearly not arguing that “choice” in garbage collection is universally superior” – huh, what?). Good times.

  16. 16
    burnspbesq says:

    The patron saint of the Reason crowd is Nigel Incubator-Jones.

  17. 17
    chopper says:

    lol. this is why i gave up libertarianism when i was 15. because it demands that every molehill is a mountain you have to be willing to die on.

    jesus, people, trash pickup? seriously? these people need less free time. get a job.

  18. 18
    FlipYrWhig says:

    When I moved from a city that had municipal trash collection (Philadelphia) to a town that didn’t, my first reaction was, “Wait, WTF?” And my second reaction was, “How TF do you choose from among garbage companies?” And my third reaction was, “Whatever my neighbors do, I’m doing that, because I don’t fucking care and the last thing I need to worry about it what company has earned the much-coveted right to take my plastic bags full of cat shit from my house to some other place.” The things people worry about. Seriously, is the next hue and cry about nanny-state socia1ism going to be that citizens deserve a choice among several different school-bus companies, as opposed to, like, getting your damn kid on the goddamn bus when it comes? Libertarians are ridiculous.

  19. 19
    me says:

    @Crusty Dem: Apparently he believes that we think even areas with ~1 person per square mile should have soshialized garbage collection.

  20. 20
    Professor says:

    But Bush and the Republicans did it with the NO BID defense contracts for their buddies in IRAQ and Afghanistan. Please tell me whether anybody complained?

  21. 21
    beltane says:

    Any self-respecting Libertarian wouldn’t want his garbage taken away from him. Freedom isn’t free unless it smells of rotting waste and effluvia. Sanitation is for communists and Tom Friedman.

  22. 22
    General Stuck says:

    @John Cole:

    The thing that frightens me is that these idiots are all gung-ho about gun ownership.

    Probly to shoot the giants rats that will feed on piles of rotting garbage that get tossed along our roads and byways.

  23. 23
    MikeJ says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Which goddamned bus do you put you kid on? I like the rates at KidKillCo, but I get a free antenna ball if I go with UsuallyThere, Inc.

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    @John Cole: One fun thing to watch over the years is gun rights’ “advocates” (such as opposing various registration and look-up requirements and timetables etc) claim that there are enough laws on the books and those laws should already be being enforced.

    Then, in any place in which those existing gun laws start being enforced, they freak out about how the government is coming for your guns, etc.

  25. 25
    kwAwk says:

    This is why no one with half a clue pays ANY attention to these abstract libertarian principles and the people willing to spend hours upon hours discussing them. The town council picked a company to pick up trash, and the teahadists freaked out and think it is socialism. End of story. The rest of us are pointing and laughing at them, and now you.

    Not to mention, how big of a control freak do you have to be to get worked into a froth about who hauls away your garbage? Seriously.

  26. 26

    the ability to choose one’s trash collection provider is in and of itself an entirely legitimate value

    My God! People in areas where the trash is picked up by the city (most of the places I’ve lived) are being deprived of the value of being able to pick their own garbage collector.

    CALL AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL!!

    Jesus. Take your own fucking trash to the damn dump if it bugs you so much. Or go Galt from garbage collection and let it pile up.

  27. 27
    Olive Oyl says:

    In an earlier post, E.D. wrote:

    The most efficient and sensible thing to do would be to provide the town with a public municipal trash service, cutting out the middle-man and the corporatist trap altogether.

    The problem is that when the local govts provide this service, there are always complaints about the cost of govt workers and their pensions and health benefits. then, it’s not seen as efficient or sensible. Trash collection is often singled out as an example of a service that should be outsourced to save taxpayers money.

  28. 28
    Ailuridae says:

    @John Cole:

    The thing that frightens me is that you are allowing another front pager to continuously be intellectually dishonest and contemptuous to your readers. There is simply nothing “monopolistic” about bidding out a time-limited exclusive services contract. To think requires either not understanding what a monopoly is or not understanding bidding contracts.

    How long, exactly, is ED going to be allowed to make up his own facts? It is starting to grow pretty fucking irritating. Can we look forward to a time when the dimmest of McMegan’s columns are quoted approvingly, Sullivan style on the front page?

    And now to add to the confusion this Mark Thompson person is now conflating central planning with accepting competitive bids from private corporations.

  29. 29
    YAFB says:

    We don’t have such fancy-dancy nuances over here in perfidious Albion.

    We elect people for better or worse, through some obscure but legally binding process they contract out refuse collection (ever since a modicum of privatization was introduced a while back, before then the council directly employed people to do it) to a bunch of people who do that sort of thing, they do or don’t collect the trash as they should, we moan if they don’t, and may even phone the council to complain, life goes on, and we don’t sweat the principles. It’s trash. If we could sell it ourselves, we would. As it is, we generally can’t, and because of economies of scale, it appears the council can flog some of it after the required processing to some suckers somewhere, which helps to keep the bills down (it’s charged as part of our Council Tax, so this is a Good Thing).

    Strikes me a true libertarian would bury the trash in their own back yard, or a less than observant neighbor’s, then move when there was no more room, or the death threats or rats got too rabid to ignore.

  30. 30
    Kryptik says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Wake me when one of them manages to run himself over in his own car, then we’ll talk.

  31. 31
    BGinCHI says:

    I have scoured the Libertarian Koran (Ayn Rand) and have found no garbage coming from the lives of Galt or any of the other heroes/heroines.

    I can only conclude that garbage is a product of altruism. If poor people would just keep their garbage to themselves, we wouldn’t have any of these problems that are fucking up the free market.

  32. 32
    El Cid says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    …the last thing I need to worry about it what company has earned the much-coveted right to take my plastic bags full of cat shit from my house to some other place…

    It’s uncaring, lazy citizens like you who are ruining this country. The Founding Fathers wrote in the Constitution that choosing one’s trash collector is as central to liberty as the 2nd and 10th Amendments, the only Amendments known to exist.

  33. 33
    Ash Can says:

    Only a libertarian would call the provision of essential services “nanny-statism.”

    Seriously, what causes libertarianism? Lead paint chips? Diesel fumes? Blows to the head?

  34. 34
    Professor says:

    @chopper: Ha blame it on home school education – the stupid teaching the idiot!

  35. 35
    El Cid says:

    @BGinCHI: If all these parasites weren’t being subsidized doing their useless jobs like teaching or whatever, trash collection wouldn’t be a huge problem because producers could toss their trash into a dump at the end of the street for kids to pick through, and then charge them on the way out for what they retrieved.

  36. 36

    This is subsidiarity in action, and if you find it too oppressive or too vulgar an imposition on your personal liberty, you can move, or you can work with like-minded people to elect new town council members and change the contract.

    Or, as was pointed out in one of the threads about this here, you can hired your own goddamn trash service to handle your personal household waste.

    Not that this gets you out of paying the $35/year or whatever it is of your tax $ that goes toward the trash collection fund.

    But Jesus some people take this shit way too seriously.

    Then again, I used to work at a National Recreation Area that had a “UN Biosphere Reserve” in it which I think basically meant it was ecologically significant in case some biologist somewhere wanted to study it. I actually had wackadoodles from local AM radio stations calling up to ask if we were aware that this park where we worked was actually under UN control and US laws no longer applied there.

    WTF?

    Certain words just make some people just go apeshit.

  37. 37
    MikeJ says:

    @Ash Can: All three may be cures for it.

  38. 38
    chopper says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    or fucking compost.

  39. 39
    Wag says:

    Follow the money. Whoever first brought up this BS about violating libertarian principles through garbage collection choice (or lack thereof), is in some way connected to the garbage haulers that lost out on the contract.

    I wish I could come up with a clever AstroTurf analogy

  40. 40
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Props for the Brave New World refs. I was howling over here.

    The funny thing is, under the Tea Party definitions, it IS socialism. A society doing anything for its own good is socialism, except if that society is a corporation.

  41. 41
    BGinCHI says:

    @El Cid: Gold Jerry! Gold!

    How many people in the world subsist off other people’s garbage. Man, I bet it’s higher than you’d think.

  42. 42
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Moderation?? On an OP that explicitly cites the S-word? Gah. :D

  43. 43
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    Not the buses, the schools. The argument started some years ago and it’s going to be one of the mainstays soon.

    Why should governments be able to collect taxes in order to make me pay for educating some stranger’s child? That’s nanny-state soshulism.

    Why do public schools have a monopoly on educational funding?

    People who want to have children should be able to pay for educating them.

    And so forth.

  44. 44
    JGabriel says:

    @Mark Thompson:

    And, since it’s a small neighborhood, if any number of folks felt such a problem did exist, it would be extraordinarily easy for them to collaborate and agree…

    You mean like forming a government?

    … to all use the same trash collection service. Indeed, we even have a homeowners association …

    Which, get this, governs the homeowners.

    … that could easily mandate we all use the same trash collection service. Yet not once has anyone approached me about collaborating so the neighborhood utilizes but one trash service…

    Because they could propose it to the local government instead of wasting everyone else’s time, you jackass.

    Everything Thompson says is just substituting micro-levels of sub-local government for the already existing institutions.

    And he apparently has no clue that he’s doing that.

    .

  45. 45
    MikeJ says:

    Sadly, the only source of the Simpsons “Trash of the Titans” ep I can find on the net is a very poor performing site in Bulgaria. This thread could use a dose of “The Garbage Man Can” and perhaps Bono telling us about the importance of sanitation.

  46. 46
    Dissatisfied Customer says:

    Dey trrk arr jnnk!

  47. 47
    El Cid says:

    @BGinCHI: And whining libruls cry about how awful it is when children in the Philippines or India or Brazil survive by continually scouring giant trash heaps. They’re lucky to have it. It’s far better than big government stealing money from the deserving and giving it to a bunch of upright walking rats.

  48. 48
    beltane says:

    @Ash Can: I think Libertarianism is caused by poor parenting. These are the children who are raised to think they are the most special, superior little creatures ever, and that because they are so uniquely special, other children must share their toys with them without any expectation of reciprocation. Spoiled brats, every last one of them.

  49. 49
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @El Cid: A well-regulated Refuse Pit being necessary to the Security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Waste shall not be abridged.

  50. 50
    GregB says:

    Did these big city central planners even bother to determine if the trash hauler uses Sharia law when making decisions.

  51. 51
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Ash Can:

    I was going to say the same thing. I mean, come on. How hardcore a Randian idiot do you have to be to think that picking up trash is not a proper function of a local government?!!?!?!!

  52. 52

    Maybe we could sell off all the public roads to private companies. I wonder how long THAT Randian dystopia would last?

  53. 53
    Citizen_X says:

    All you central-planning nanny-staters want somebody to take away your garbage, which means you are relying on society, which, as Saint Thatcher told us, DOESN’T EXIST!

    So there! Take care of your own garbage, parasites!

    BTW, why don’t they extend their whole everyone-gets-their-own-garbage-company analysis to landfills, too? Shouldn’t every town be surrounded by dozens of competing landfills? ‘Cuz that’s the smell of FREEDOM!

  54. 54
    Ross Hershberger says:

    I had a really pithy comment to add to this but my wife just turned on DWTS and Bristol Palin is on it. Now I can’t think through the hot red haze of anger before my eyes. Maybe later. Right now I need to find earplugs and a book.

  55. 55
    BGinCHI says:

    @JGabriel: It’s like he has nothing but time to sit around and think about what he’d do if he did something.

    While his stupid neighbors are out working and playing with their kids and having hobbies. Why can’t they spend hours gaming out how better to get the trash picked up without cooperating with anyone?

  56. 56

    @Woodrowfan:

    How hardcore a Randian idiot do you have to be to think that picking up trash is not a proper function of a local government??

    Show me where trash collection is in the Constitution? Huh? HUH? Well can you? CAN YOU?! I think NOT!

    /conservative idiot

  57. 57
    me says:

    I’m going through my bills before the Steelers game and I just realized that Allied Waste is contracted to pick up my trash, so my personal liberties have been impinged by the creeping totalitarianism of nanny-statism.

    You think that’s bad. Where I live we have municipal garbage collection. May as well paint Marx and Lenin on the side of the trucks. Although, now that Wisconsin has gone full teabag, maybe any city service that could be opened to the free market will be forced to by the state government.

  58. 58
    freelancer says:

    Stupid Nanny State. Making so called “Zoning” laws so my nextdoor neighboor can’t raise 5 head of cattle in his two hundred squarefoot backyard, and make it so his neighbor can’t build his own particle accelerator. And the guy next to him wants to blare scat pr0n 24/7 from his outdoor homemade amphitheater. Whatever happened to the word “freedom”? I ask?

  59. 59
    Zifnab says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: Move to Texas. You’ll find out.

  60. 60
    Jules says:

    So i live in an area where everyone is free to do whatever the fvck they want with their trash.
    So we use one service a few other on our street uses another and then there are the 2 assholes who choose to haul their own trash to the dump and/or burn it.
    Because they have the right to choose the rest of us get to see their trash pile up until they haul it and/or burn it.
    It annoys me and I think I have a right not to be annoyed by red necks trash piles or suffer from the stink when they decide to burn their shit…which is always on a nice day day when I have my windows open.
    Oh the joys of living out in an unincorporated part of the county.

    These morons also like to shoot off their guns whenever they feel like it too, their right to be stupid on their street at their home….except it affects me on my street in my home.
    And i was here first.

    Personally I’d be happy for a bit of nanny-stateisim.

  61. 61
    KG says:

    “Every advocate of central planning always — always — envisions himself as the central planner.”

    The one thing that annoys me so much about most all of my libertarian friends is that they always envision a society where everyone is as smart as they think they are… I know that I’m smarter than the average, but I also know there are a lot of stupid people out there and if they get screwed over, that’s going to end up being bad.

  62. 62
    El Cid says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Awesome.

    @GregB: Maybe awesomer.

    I heard that when the North American Union is formed and we are forced to use the Amero currency from barcodes engraved on our foreheads, we will be forced to pay the nearest Mexican consulate to send Mariachi bands playing through the neighborhoods at 5 am while United Nations troops force white Christian children to collect the trash, and if you have more than 1 lb / per week Al Gore can throw you out of your home and occupy it with ACORN shock troops.

  63. 63
    Jeffro says:

    If it’s all socialism, why aren’t we contracting out individually for fire, police, roads, the military, and so on?

    Because I would love to contract out to Joe’s Discount Milabatary Service and cut my personal Defense Department bill from $2,333/year to the $5 or so I’d rather be paying. It’s my right (and CHOICE!) as an American

  64. 64
    Ailuridae says:

    @Ash Can:

    Most libertarians start being libertarian over affirmative action from everything I have experienced. Specifically, libertarians are overwhelmingly white affluent suburbanites and they feel put upon that a black lesbian in a wheelchair was “given their slot” at Stanford, Yale, etc.

  65. 65
    tom p says:

    John, at least you have trash pick up.

  66. 66
    BGinCHI says:

    @Dissatisfied Customer:

    Why isn’t Eric Cartman literally on a poster that says Libertarian Hero at the bottom??

  67. 67
    Citizen Alan says:

    You’re all ignoring the real issue — the fact that garbage collection in any form represents a soshulist intrusion on our constitutional rights to leave our garbage wherever we want! If I can’t just stick my ass out of the window and take a crap, the moocher and looters have one won.

  68. 68
  69. 69
    JGabriel says:

    @Olive Oyl:

    The problem is that when the local govts provide this service, there are always complaints about the cost of govt workers and their pensions and health benefits.

    Which, frankly, is another why it should be a civil service job, IMO. Outsourcing is just a municipality’s way of saying, “We’ll pay a middle-man to hire our sanitation workers — since we can’t, in good conscience, pay them as little and treat them as shitty as the taxpayers think we should.”

    I, and many people, have no objection to paying trash collectors a living wage. It’s a crappy job, and I don’t see why the people who do it should be forced to live crappy lives on top of it. Furthermore, outsourcing isn’t any cheaper. What gets saved on wages gets spent on the company’s profit margin instead — usually making it more expensive.

    .

  70. 70
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @El Cid:
    I heard that they’ll be able to harvest your organs if you use more than your five-gallon-a-week gasoline allowance.

  71. 71
    tom p says:

    The thing that frightens me is that these idiots are all gung-ho about gun ownership.
    Don’t worry john, wqe have guns too.

  72. 72
    El Cid says:

    When will we see billboards with Obama holding a Communist hammer and sickle around the necks of a white couple who are being forced to give cash to a trash can with shark teeth about to bit their hands off and with the label Department of Obamatation?

    If this were the Onion, there would be a Statue of Liberty crying in there, too.

  73. 73
    Citizen_X says:

    At least now I know enough to know that when any glibertarian idiot mentions “Kip’s Law” to me, I need to immediately punch him in the face before he has a chance to say another goddam thing.

    Edit: Yes, I would regret being charged w/battery (if they’re suddenly going to decide to rely on that nanny state), but I would regret having to listen to their bullshit more.

  74. 74
    suzanne says:

    @John Cole: Yeah, but they accidentally shoot themselves from time to time. Which is kind of funny.

  75. 75
    El Cid says:

    @JGabriel: If garbage collection pays more than the amount necessary to supply 1/2 the needed calories for survival each day, the parasites are being overpaid.

  76. 76
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @chopper:

    every molehill is a mountain you have to be willing to die on.

    This is fucking awesome. With your permission, I’m going to start using it–frequently, no doubt.

  77. 77
    And Another Thing... says:

    @burnspbesq: I’m embarrassed that I had to look that up. What a hoot. And it’s not your fault that I just sneezed the evening’s libation all over the monitor. Proving once again that this is a GREAT place to hang out. snort.

  78. 78
    MikeJ says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Five gallons a week?! You got an A card!

  79. 79
    jwb says:

    @Zifnab: Although making everything a toll road turned out to be unpopular even among the Gooper base. I’m curious to see if the toll roads will be revived when the Goopers discover they have no money to build roads.

  80. 80
    Sly says:

    I always found this to be a pretty succinct description of the big problem with nanny-statism and the like: it is rarely much more than simply the use of the state to impose one’s personal preferences on others.

    Reading this, and the rest, my immediate thought was along the lines of: “And at least when I masturbate, I get something out of it besides endless abstractions and cute little thought-games that amount to jack shit in the real world.”

  81. 81
    shoutingattherain says:

    In my neighborhood we can option-out of paying for regular weekly trash pickup and take our garbage to the dump ANY TIME WE WANT! Saves lots of money.

    So neener, neener also.

  82. 82
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @MikeJ:

    The teabaggers have often reminded me of Ray Patterson’s futile appeal to the good sense of people to pick a well-performing civil servant instead of a deranged lunatic. Homer basically ran as a teabagger in that campaign.

  83. 83
    dmsilev says:

    To show solidarity with the oppressed Fountain Hills trash protesters, I am going to dress up in my “Don’t Tread on Me” t-shirt, stand at the edge of my driveway at dawn during trash pick-up on Thursday, and throw pocket constitutions at the sanitation workers.

    No, no, no. What you do is put on a kilt, paint your face blue, and scream “You can take away my garbage, but you’ll never take away my *freedom*!”.

    dms

  84. 84
    jwb says:

    @tom p: Actually, I don’t think we have as many guns and I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t time to learn how to shoot.

  85. 85
    eemom says:

    has no one in all of these garbage threads remembered….?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZesRAo5PBg

  86. 86
    PeakVT says:

    Boy, discussing issues of municipal governance that were solved around 1880 sure is fun.

    Can I point out that the dude in Tennessee whose house burnt down because his community didn’t have a fire department wouldn’t have set his property on fire in the first place if his community had municipal trash collection?

  87. 87
    Ross Hershberger says:

    At the core of Libertarianism is a stubborn anger over the possibility that a government decision might make someone else happier than it makes you.

  88. 88
    MattR says:

    @eemom: I prefer this (though yours is more lyrically on target)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aWcXlG1sgY

  89. 89
    b-psycho says:

    @JGabriel: I’ve never understood the point behind “homeowners associations”, let alone why anyone claiming libertarianism would support them. If the city gov’t is annoying enough, I’d think having yet another layer of busybodies nitpicking over your yard or what color you choose to paint your house would be taking an elevator to the next layer of Hell.

  90. 90
    Calming Influence says:

    Trash collection is not a convenience; it’s a health issue. If my neighbor decides to opt out, the rats and their Yersinia pestis aren’t going to respect my property lines.

  91. 91
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @MikeJ:
    I’m so damned old that I know what an A card was.

  92. 92
    MikeJ says:

    @Calming Influence: Yes, but until tort reform is passed your heirs could sue your careless neighbor. Everybody wins!

  93. 93
    Ailuridae says:

    @shoutingattherain:

    That’s what my mother does and has done for decades. The drive is about 8 miles to the dump and it saves her on average 5-6 dollars a month not counting gas. And, as a result, every car she has ever owned from a Renault Alliance through a Honda Civic through a Saturn and her new Hyundai all smell like kitchen trash.

  94. 94

    @b-psycho:

    I’ve never understood the point behind “homeowners associations”, let alone why anyone claiming libertarianism would support them.

    ideological cohesion isn’t a hallmark of glibertarianism.

  95. 95
    jl says:

    Next up, Pelositista Obama death panel totalitarian MONOPOLY mosquito control districts are coming for you!

    Citizens, to the barricades! Death to those commie county supervisors and unelected (or elected in some secret cabalistic off year local that I was too busy to notice and therefor sinister election) mosquito commissioner CZARs who allowed our democracy to be usurped!

    First they spray some boondocks and who cares, but then they seduce your dog with heartworm advice, then they nose into your stinky green stagnant pool in the backyard, and tell right thinking and decent elderly people to wear long sleeves (nanny state fascists!) then, your freedom is gone before you know it.

  96. 96
    quaint irene says:

    Can somebody please explain what WTF is “a free market approach to trash collection?”
    Is he suggesting that it’s every house holder’s right to choose whatever trash collector they want? So, 6a.m., on every twice-a-week garbage pickup, where you have 4 or 5 different garbage trucks jockeying for position on a small side street, that’s a blow for individual liberty?
    If this was going on, on this moron’s street in the small hours, I wonder how long he’s be celebrating.

  97. 97
    MattR says:

    @b-psycho: It’s xenophobia taken to the extreme. It’s always the “others” from a different neighborhood that are responsible for the stupid decisions of the city gov’t. But the people in my neighborhood (who coincidentally are the ones that I interact with regularly and somewhat know) are good folks who I can trust to be like minded.

    @Calming Influence: That recently happened to at the high school I went to. Well, not exactly but there was a brief rat infestation house after the demolished a run down house right next to the school.

  98. 98
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @quaint irene:

    The free market approach to trash collection is when all of the garbage trucks pull up at your house once a week and then the drivers bid for your trash.

  99. 99
    Nylund says:

    Oh no, we elected people who auctioned off something to the highest bidder! This entirely violates the concept of democracy and the free market! Except that it doesn’t, at all, in any way!

  100. 100
    techno says:

    Granting exclusive contracts is hardly “nanny-state” government.

    For example, there is a notion that if you want to get the best price on a major home-improvement project, you should get three bids (at least.)

    However, if you are a contractor that hires a plumber for every construction job, pretty soon, the idea of getting three bids is just absurd. Experience has taught you that certain companies always give you a fair price, always get the jobs done on time, and always pay their suppliers on time.

    The idea that a municipality cannot figure out how to deal with a sole supplier of a service without corruption is bizarre. Of course they can. I live in Minnesota and we get superb municipal services using a competitive sole-source method of contracting for work. I challenge you to find more efficient snow removal than our crew provides–and that IS the local litmus test!

  101. 101
    KG says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: there are few things I despise more than HOAs. I get why they exist, but for fuck’s sake, I could not imagine why anyone would willingly join one.

  102. 102
    Calming Influence says:

    @MikeJ: Excellent point. If my town goes Galt on trash collection before Republicans pass tort reform, my heirs get to sue. If my town goes Galt on trash collection after Republicans pass tort reform, my heirs inherit a house full of cats! It’s pretty much win/win for my heirs.

  103. 103
    Nylund says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    The free market approach to trash collection is when all of the garbage trucks pull up at your house once a week and then the drivers bid for your trash.

    Yes, but if this bidding takes place prior to trash day and includes bidding on more than one trash day at a time its TOTALLY SOCIALISM!!!!ELEVENTY!!ONE!!!

  104. 104

    Heh. According to ThinkProgress, Rand Paul now says he will “fight for Kentucky’s share of earmarks & pork” because he’s “not that crazy of a Libertarian.”

    So. Another two-faced Libertarian. I know y’all are just SHOCKED. Bet not a damn one of the Teanutties bats an eye about that either.

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:

    @PeakVT:

    Can I point out that the dude in Tennessee whose house burnt down because his community didn’t have a fire department wouldn’t have set his property on fire in the first place if his community had municipal trash collection?

    That’s what this reminded me of, too. I guess a guy has the right to accidentally burn down his own house with all of his pets inside of it if he wants to, but why do we have to hear him whine afterwards about how everybody let him make bad choices and so it really wasn’t his fault at all?

  106. 106
    Roger Moore says:

    @Ross Hershberger:
    My DWTS-obsessed coworkers all hate Bristol and are convinced that she’s only survived this long because her mom’s political supporters are voting for her. It’s odd, because they tend to be slightly right leaning, but it seems to have convinced them to dislike the Tea Party.

  107. 107
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    @Southern Beale: that’s not a surprise his Pop is big on pork as well, as was exposed by Tim Russert

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyPLFKUdhqY

  108. 108
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @KG: There are two types of people that join HOAs:

    1. Control freaks who could never get elected to a higher office.
    2. First time home buyers who did not know what an HOA was truly about.

    I fall into the latter category. If I could actually sell my house right now, I would.

  109. 109
    Calouste says:

    @techno:

    That reminds me that in all glibertarian arguments it is always glossed over* that information isn’t free. As in your example, reviewing three different bids costs time and thus isn’t free. Which is why you go with the plumber you know does a good job,because granting a monopoly (E.D. Kain definition) saves you time and money.

    *) Or more likely, they just don’t grasp it at all.

  110. 110

    throw pocket constitutions at the sanitation workers. We shall overcome, patriots!

    Would you like flowers at your funeral or should we donate money to your favourite charity?

  111. 111
    Tsulagi says:

    realized that Allied Waste is contracted to pick up my trash, so my personal liberties have been impinged by the creeping totalitarianism of nanny-statism.

    Those garbage Nazis pick up our trash as well. Fuckers are everywhere.

    What’s up with AZ these days? Used to be TX and FL were the undisputed greenhouses of tard. Then SC made a big push. Guess AZ thinks it’s their turn to be in the sun.

    Those dumbasses in Fountain Hills don’t have to pay Allied Waste to pick up their valuables. I don’t have to. My city also has a contract with Comcast to provide cable service. Another contract for POTS. I’m not forced to pay any of them. If I didn’t pay Allied, main alternative for me would be to haul my own trash to a county dump and pay fees there. You would think the teabaggers of Fountain Hills could do the same. Small price to pay to uphold their principles.

  112. 112
    Citizen_X says:

    @Calming Influence: Hah! “Public” health is a communist plot, just like the global warming SCAM. The nanny-staters just want to control EVERYTHING YOU DO!

    No, seriously, righties despise the very idea of public health.

  113. 113
    elm says:

    @quaint irene:

    Is he suggesting that it’s every house holder’s right to choose whatever trash collector they want? So, 6a.m., on every twice-a-week garbage pickup, where you have 4 or 5 different garbage trucks jockeying for position on a small side street, that’s a blow for individual liberty?

    That’s exactly it. That’s what I’ve got here. Five companies sent garbage trucks down my little street this morning, then they each sent a truck to pick up recycling. Naturally, they all take the garbage to the city-owned dump.

    When I moved here, I picked a garbage company more-or-less at random. How much difference could there be?

    It’s 5x the wear-and-tear on the street, uses more fuel (not 5x as much, but probably double), requires more people, and more equipment.

    It costs much more than the city-run garbage collection at my last home.

    But hey, socializm!

  114. 114
    MikeBoyScout says:

    John,

    1. Sadly, the time spent on this “issue” is sufficient to offer E.D. an extended vacation from the BJ front page.

    2. Serous time should be devoted to identifying the cure to glibertarian randroid stupid paranoia.

    3. The better half found some spoiled fish in the frig, threw it in the trash bin under the sink, complains bad fish stinks and now claims it is her choice to make me take it out during the game.
    Can I get a glibertarian randroid opinion on that?
    The don’t tread on me flag approach is not working and I’m afraid she’ll turn the game off. :-)

  115. 115
    buckyblue says:

    Our founding fathers didn’t have trash pick up so we shouldn’t either. We can just have our slaves take the trash down to wherever the slaves take the trash. Problems solved; f-ing liberals.

  116. 116
    Roger Moore says:

    @b-psycho:

    I’ve never understood the point behind “homeowners associations”, let alone why anyone claiming libertarianism would support them.

    Simple. A HOA officially labels itself as a voluntary association of private citizens. That’s how things are supposed to work in the perfect libertarian world. They’re happy to ignore that HOAs are mandatory (and use coercion, backed by government force) in practice. IOW, they attention to the official label of the HOA as a private organization rather than its de-facto existence as a local micro-government.

  117. 117
    suzanne says:

    @Tsulagi:

    What’s up with AZ these days? Used to be TX and FL were the undisputed greenhouses of tard. Then SC made a big push. Guess AZ thinks it’s their turn to be in the sun.

    My fellow citizens have apparently gotten the memo that there are brown people here, and, well, you know what that means.

  118. 118
    Olive Oyl says:

    The argument ignores the fact that the way most govt contracts work (or optimally, should work) is that a local govt advertises for companies to bid to provide a service and they must meet certain minimal qualifications. The bidders must agree to conditions on the level of service that they have to provide.

    The company with the lowest $ bid, and that is willing to meet the required level of service, is awarded the contract. Usually, there is a clause that if the contractor fails to meet standards or generates a lot of user complaints, the contract can be terminated. There is nothing wrong with awarding a contract to a sole source if that company agrees to provide the required service at the lowest cost to taxpayers.

  119. 119
    monkeyboy says:

    @beltane:

    Any self-respecting Libertarian wouldn’t want his garbage taken away from him. Freedom isn’t free unless it smells of rotting waste and effluvia. Sanitation is for communists and Tom Friedman.

    Libertarians often remind me of the paranoid fantasies of Philip K. Dick, in this case Roog, his first sold story.

    Dick explained … that “Roog” “tells of fear, it tells of loyalty and of obscure menace.”

    From this interview

    It’s about garbage men. It’s about a dog who can sense that the garbage men are predatory carnivores from another planet, who accept the garbage each week as a propitiatory offering in surrogate for the people themselves. But eventually these garbage men will tire of accepting these surrogate offerings and take the people in the houses and eat them. And that is how the dog sees the garbage men. The story is from the dog’s point of view and the garbage men are seen as only quasi-humanoid.

  120. 120
    Larry Bird says:

    Count yourself lucky your government overlords locked in for eternity with Allied Waste instead of their arch rival Axis Waste. Axis is fanatic about waste collection for sure but the requirement to separate clear plastic bottles from all other recyclables is a little too much for me.

  121. 121
    Roger Moore says:

    @KG:

    I get why they exist, but for fuck’s sake, I could not imagine why anyone would willingly join one.

    They’re effectively mandatory for any kind of development that includes shared property, like a condominium. You may not want to live in a condo, but the HOA is a necessity for anyone who does. They can actually be convenient in those cases, since they take care of annoying maintenance tasks that the owners might not want to deal with themselves.

    More generally, I think that people want HOAs for the same reason they back zoning. They’re willing to accept restrictions on their own use of their property in exchange for protection against their neighbors doing the same things. The big question is why people are willing to accept HOA rules that prescribe everything in minute detail rather than accepting some variety in their neighborhood. I can only assume that it’s because they’re authoritarians and want somebody to enforce that degree of order. I’ll bet there’s a strong correlation between the level of detail in the local CC&R and Republican party membership.

  122. 122
    Pat says:

    I can just see the line of cars and trucks to the local landfill now. These people are fucking insane.

  123. 123
    KG says:

    @Roger Moore: yeah, I was thinking of condos when I said I get why they exist. It’s the over-regulation that would drive me crazy.

  124. 124
    Chris says:

    @El Cid:
    Damnnnnn maybe its the percosets..but I am CRYING here! You’re killing me!

  125. 125
    WereBear says:

    @JGabriel: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis because he was there to support striking garbage collectors.

    Two of them died, crushed to death in their truck, because the city did not have safety regulations for these low paid workers.

    Perhaps there are no small jobs; only small employers.

  126. 126
    Jay S says:

    @Tsulagi:

    Another contract for POTS.

    Do I detect an old phonie?

  127. 127
    RJ says:

    Out here in the middle of Insane, Central Texas, (64% McCain voters in a city of about 70,000), the city collects our trash.

    It works really, really well. I should probably be quiet, or else the sleeping baggers may figger out their liberties are being trampled on.

  128. 128
    snarkyspice says:

    The local government picks up my trash twice a week, with recycling on two other days of the week. I guess this makes me something to the left of a communist.

    Hell, I’m just learning that some people pay for their trash pick up. But then I was born in the UK so I’m used to nanny state governments stealing my freedom … or what I think of as making my life easier so I can enjoy myself.

  129. 129
    MattR says:

    @Roger Moore: @KG: I had already mentally separated condo associations out of HOA’s since they are pretty much essential in a condominium. Have I mentioned that the president of my condo association is Bill Clinton?

  130. 130
    Rekster says:

    Cole, Be sure you “strap on a sidearm” while you are out there throwing the Constitution at those corporatists.

  131. 131
    Johannes says:

    I’m so glad I’m a Beta. Libertarians have to work so much harder.

    Kain has been very good of late, but by Grabthar’s Hammer, he has here offended!

  132. 132
    Redshift says:

    One of my earliest blog-buddies, Kip Esquire, used to have a running feature called “Kip’s Law Sighting.” Kip’s Law is simply described as: “Every advocate of central planning always — always — envisions himself as the central planner.”

    How divorced from the real world do you have to be to believe that there are people who dream of being in charge of garbage collection? And to be certain that’s the only reason they refuse to accept the obvious superiority of your free-market fantasy world?

  133. 133
    Ross Hershberger says:

    This reminds me that Tuesday morning is garbage time and I have to get the good stuff out there in time or the scavengers won’t have a decent shot at it (really).As soon as I’m done gawking at Bristol P’s legs on DWTS over my wife’s shoulder (nice!) I’ve gotta get the junk out to the curb.

  134. 134
    RalfW says:

    Choice is great for picking an MP3 player or a boyfriend, but utterly pointless for all but the most committed libertarian when it comes to things like trash: make it work, make it not to expensive, and leave me alone! I elect people to city hall to figure this boring-assed minutia out.

  135. 135
    Corner Stone says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The big question is why people are willing to accept HOA rules that prescribe everything in minute detail rather than accepting some variety in their neighborhood. I can only assume that it’s because they’re authoritarians and want somebody to enforce that degree of order. I’ll bet there’s a strong correlation between the level of detail in the local CC&R and Republican party membership.

    There’s not really a lot of “tweaking” of HOA rules. It’s quite an ordeal to change them. And the definition of “some variety” in a community of 2500 homes is equivalent to anarchy.

  136. 136
    J says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Perhaps the most stirring words ever penned or spoken in the history of freedom! As long as they live, they will bring a ray of hope into the lives of those living under the crushing weight of despotism and tyranny, where the oppressive, overweening state … collects and disposes of the trash.

    (Which is to say brilliant! broke into gales of laughter after reading your comment)

  137. 137
    Origuy says:

    I’m in a townhouse HOA. (I used to be president.) I distinguish those from neighborhood associations that seem to have no other purpose than annoying people. We have common trash receptacles; one of the things that is mandatory in the CC&Rs is to keep the trash picked up. We could let the pool go (though the Health Department would get after us), shut off the lights in the common area (until we got sued), or stop maintaining the TV antenna system (which we did when they stopped making the equipment). Rules can be made by a vote of the Board, but changing the CC&Rs requires a lot of work and lawyers.

  138. 138
    hilzoy says:

    So one of my minor vices is watching Hoarders, at least when it’s not too gross. (I don’t know why, except that after watching it, I am suddenly inspired to do one of those cleaning jobs that tend to fall between the cracks, like dusting the tops of the fans and washing the venetian blinds.) A significant number of the hoarders seem to think that it’s nobody’s business but theirs what they do in their homes and yards, and they’re angry that other people (e.g., municipal health workers, child protective services…) are interfering.

    In general, I’m not really a fan of intrusive government. But we’re talking about people whose homes are, in some cases, falling down around them, and in most have seriously unhealthy stuff like vermin, rotting food, and (in the programs I can’t watch) dead pets mummified beneath the stuff. It’s plainly bad for everyone around. And yet they will stand there, among the cobwebs and cat feces and decomposing melons covered with flies and say: what business is it of anyone else’s what I do in my own home?

    Pretty eerie.

  139. 139
    El Cid says:

    @Calming Influence:

    If my town goes Galt on trash collection after Republicans pass tort reform, my heirs inherit a house full of cats!

    This had me in stitches. And I guess would have the heirs in them, too.

  140. 140
    Hob says:

    There are 60 comments on that Ordinary Gentlemen post, and no one’s yet asked the author why he thinks contracts are awarded to the high bidder. That doesn’t really reflect too well on his understanding of the words “contract” and “bid”.

    I mean, obviously it’s just a dumb typo. But if he’d written it correctly, just seeing the phrase “low bidder” in his own sentence might have led to a sudden light bulb flash of perception in his mind… which he would’ve then had to work hard to extinguish, in order to preserve the notion that public use of private contractors is somehow in total opposition to market forces.

  141. 141

    So we have a situation where the local body has a local trash collection. This is for everyone in the district. You leave your trash out on the morning of the right day (only one day a week, natch), it gets picked up/ I you miss it, tough, you take a trip to the dump or leave it until next week.

    But there is something else. You can “subscribe” to a private “wheely bin” system. The bins are bigger, and you only wheel it out when its full. Of course, you pay a little per pick up. Cool. And any company can do this. Free market in action. What doesn’t change is you don’t opt of the district system.

    So the choice is pay for a market solution, or leave it to the borough (which I pay for thru local taxes/rates).

    Meh. local district pickup works for me.

  142. 142
  143. 143
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Ash Can:

    Seriously, what causes libertarianism? Lead paint chips? Diesel fumes? Blows to the head?

    Narcissism (in the clinical sense).

    Thatcher wasn’t kidding when she announced that “there’s no such thing as society”: To that mindset, there really isn’t such a thing. Never mind the six-billion odd souls with whom you happen to share the planet.

    It’s also cute how none of them dare come here to defend their ideas in the comments– instead they have to lob more facile truisms at us from the front page of another blog.

    So these are chickenshit narcissists, to boot.

  144. 144

    […] weighed in again later: Christ on a crutch. This was small “d” democracy in action, not nanny statism or “central […]

  145. 145
    Sam Lyons says:

    I’m not your porch nigger, John Cole. You can’t have my shit. It doesn’t belong to you. Your words to that affect wont do you any good. You are not smart enough to take from me what is mine. You will have to do with your shit, and the shit of the gullible who fall for your three card Monte rhetoric, but I’m here to tell you, I’m not falling for it. Learn to do without, or at least, learn to produce so you are no longer tempted to steal for your means.

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