Before We Fight the Power, First Let's Take on the Anti-Government Idiots
I have a column in the paper this week about the Trinity River levees, and I had a please-respect-my-lawn thing here yesterday about plastic bottles and White Rock Creek. Even I didn't get the connection between the two before the comments started rolling in from the idiot, free-market, libertarian, government-hating, shit-for-brains cadre.
You know what? Those of us who still have at least a low trainable IQ and some rudimentary grasp on our sanity are going to have to stand up to these people at some point. It's not just that they are going to wreck the nation. They're going to wreck the world.
One comment on yesterday's blog item sums up the view. I think the commenter was talking about my suggestion that plastic water bottles be outlawed:
"Criminals are criminals because they break laws. Why do you think passing a new law will suddenly cause criminals to obey it, when they haven't obeyed all the other laws already passed?"
What does that even mean? Now we can't even have laws? Laws are bad? What's good?
All of this crap is an expression of the bizarre "free market" philosophy that has been fobbed off on the masses in recent years by deep-pocketed robber barons like the Koch brothers so they can control the markets themselves.
Believe me, I don't rely on my own knowledge or opinion in these areas. A number of really good smart books have been published in the last two years detailing the successful campaign by the super-rich to subvert our republic through lobbying, advertising and political funding. My favorites are The Predator State by James K. Galbraith and Winner-Take-All Politics by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson.
In his book Galbraith has a discussion of the dismal failure of government and/or "markets" to protect the city of New Orleans or the nation from the tragic and incredibly expensive devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Not that you'll do it, but if you were to look at the comments on my column yesterday, you would see some very informative ones from a group called Levees.org, laying out the history of deception and obfuscation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its efforts to deflect blame for the failure of Corps of Engineers flood works in New Orleans in 2005. (Just by the way, it's been a week now, and the Corps of Engineers is sill unable to answer my questions about their responsibility for our own flood works in Dallas.)
What Galbraith says in Predator State is that this is what you get. This is what you get when you extinguish the authority and the accountability of government in the planning and the regulating of the public interest.
The mantra of the shit-for-brains crew is some sort of inchoate vaguely sketched faith in "markets" and personal character. Who can be against markets? Who can be against character? But they never say how it works as a means of governing the world.
If you want to see how it works, look at Katrina. Galbraith would tell you, if you need to know this, that it does not work. At all. It's disaster piled on top of disaster.
All you have is panic, abdication, devastation, the Corps of Engineers hiring law firms and flaks to work 24/7 helping them think up excuses, the president telling some vapid flake named "Brownie" that "You're doing a heck of a job," people dying right and left and property ruined, while all of the rich "job creators" hide out in Palm Springs until the media flare dies.
The answer to this scene from hell is government -- good government. The rule of law. Social sanity. Civic responsibility. Generosity, not greed. Regulation. Responsibility, not cheesy abdication.
Galbraith makes a point that has been hovering in my mind, too, these last many months. The flail here, the goad, the challenge that makes a mockery of this free-market bullshit is the planet itself, the environment. We either straighten ourselves out, remember how to govern ourselves, plan for ourselves, regulate ourselves, or everybody dies.
What better incentive could we have than that for defending ourselves against these "free-market" doo-doo heads? You tell me.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.
- Live From London: Your Holiday Weekend Weather Apocaforecast
- Oak Lawn Protesters Pick Fight With Philip Kingston
- Just in Time for Thanksgiving Travel, Love Field Breaks Out New Parking System