Thursday, September 22, 2011

THE GREAT MAN SPEAKS. Elizabeth Warren delivers an awesome riposte to all that glibertarian why-should-I-pay-for-anything yak:
You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did...
It's so good that conservatives have sent to refute it their greatest intellectual champion -- Jonah "How Come They Don't Make Shrek Go-Gurt in Adult Sizes" Goldberg.

First, the classic Goldbergian set-up:
It’s a nice little riff, but I’m not sure it’s nearly as powerful an argument as the progressives who are hearing what they want to hear think it is.
You can almost hear Goldberg painstakingly stacking up the time-wasting words ("as powerful an argument as... the progressives who... are hearing what they... want to hear...") while his Mom dashes in with the talking points, and see him furtively gesturing for his action figures (or, as he calls them, "interns") to chortle dismissively.
First of all, the factory owner already pays a hunk — a big hunk — for the next kid who comes along. The “rich” already pay a very disproportionate share of that freight. Warren makes it sound like that’s not happening now, which is of course bunk.
Will it surprise you to learn that there are no links to supporting evidence in this section? Here's some background; bottom line, the Goldberg view is that rich people can pay as little as they want and still be victims, especially if you put quotes around "rich."
Meanwhile, if you listen to Warren closely, she could just as easily be making the case for if not a minarchist government, then something pretty close. Defending factories from marauding bands is an important function of government, but it doesn’t really take up much of the budget. Ditto fire departments... I very much doubt this mythical factory owner has much objection to paying for any of that stuff. So far all of her verbiage about the social contract is pious misdirection.
Warren's big mistake was not listing every service government performs -- for example, "#424: providing the rich factory owner with live employees by making sure everybody doesn't die from poisoned water supplies." But even then she couldn't win, because every time she named another such service, Goldberg would go, "No problem with that, minarchist," and when she finished, he'd go, "Minarchist says what? Farrrrt."
Of course conservatives believe in a social contract, albeit a more bare bones version than the one liberals believe in. Insinuations otherwise are a red herring.
As we tirelessly chronicle here, the conservative idea of a "bare bones social contract" is a social contract like Barebone's Parliament was a Parliament. On the very Corner pages wherein Goldberg burbles, the boys are talking about how eager they are to get rid of Social Security entirely ("I’m very surprised by your claim that Social Security’s designers and perpetuators have not attempted to perpetrate a fraud"). In the libertarian press -- which is the meth lab of modern conservatism -- they're already talking about doing away with public roads, and think the fire department shouldn't save your house if you don't pay them a fee.

In short, every time they see a taxpayer-funded service that does not exclusively benefit major Republican donors, they cry Big Gummint and seek to get rid of it. That's all they really stand for; the stuff in the smaller tents (like "culture war") are just sideshows to draw more rubes, so they can occasionally win an election and get back to pillaging the treasury.

Goldberg's close is a thing of beauty:
I think she’ll have to try harder if she wants to persuade people who don’t already agree with her.
Actually, a shit-ton of people already agree with her. I wouldn't expect Goldberg to consider it the other way around, though: the very thought of him trying harder would probably throw him into a cataleptic nap.

UPDATE.Ole Perfesser Instapundit and his Facebook friends take their own, rather sad shot:
you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; No, you did not educate them. You babysat them for 12 years. Then I hired them, taught them how to be responsible and show up for work...
...paid them minimum wage, then fired them before unemployment kicked in and hired some other suckers. Freedom!

The forces of evil society are further denounced in a graphic, in which the Wealth Producers complain that the fire department "want to shut you down for violating some inane fire code." Sometimes I think the libertarian movement is just one big agoraphobia support group.

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