Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Not You...(The Problem with Ron Paul's Koo Koo Worldview)

I just read this latest quote from Ron Paul that distills his view of the world into a single paragraph:
“[The Washington Establishment] believes that if you have the freedom to keep what you earn and take care of yourself, you won’t do it. They want to do it for you–and they’ve been trying for the past 70 years, since the Great Depression. But we’ve learned that government can’t do it, either.”

The problem with this simplistic inward outlook is that it presents a very narrow, limited view of who comprises the "you" pronoun in the sentence "...that if you have the freedom to keep what you earn and take care of yourself, you won't do it." Sounds great, right? I mean freedom and self-sufficiency, baby, FUCK YEAH! But who is the "you"? Well, first let's talk about who "you" isn't.

It's not you...if  you're one of 16% - 22% of the people who remain unemployed in this country. We're in the middle of a global economic downturn. The policies of unfettered, unbridled capitalism and wanton individualistic greed led us to this point. The same policies that Ron Paul supports--completely free markets without any constraints. Are the same policies that led to the meltdown on Wall Street and the subsequent bailout of the "too big to fail" banks--none of which were constrained by "Washington policies." What does Ron think about that? He doesn't. If you don't have a job, you must have something wrong with you. The good doctor will prescribe the only medicine you need: completely free corporate-run America that "lets" state and local governments pay for virtually everything. Now go get a job, you lazy bastard. After all, Ron Paul had one for most of the last 14 years. Yes, it was a publicly-funded job, but it was still a job, consarnit.

It's not you...if your income has grown at a much lower rate than the top earners. Over the last 30 years, the vast majority of Americans (especially the lowest income brackets) have earned less and less, relative to the richest Americans. The gulf between the "you" that comprises the least well-off and the "you" that make the most well-off has never been wider. But again, if you're not in the 1%, then there's something wrong with you. Only freedumb can lead to this kind of disparity. You're free to be one of the 150,000,000 who make less than the top 400 richest people in the US. What a country. And if you think this disparity is bad--as apparently most Americans do--then wait until taxes for the wealthy get cut to the bone, and help for most vulnerable gets gutted as well.

Source: Wonkette
It's not you...if you think white supremacists are not too fun. In Ron Paul's world, who cares if you cavort with white supremacists, let's smile for the camera! But hey, neo-nazis are people too, with real feelings. Mostly feelings of deep, violent hatred for people who don't look like them, sure, but hey, they still have feelings, for fuxxake.

It's not you...if you think the Federal Government should help when disaster strikes. In Ron Paul's world, Mother Nature happens, and we should all just rally around the community of internal warmth and support to rebuild again. As Paul said about FEMA: "We should be like 1900; we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960. I live on the Gulf Coast; we deal with Hurricanes all the time." Of course, "they" were killed off by the many thousands in 1900 and lived amid pestilence and penury without sturdy housing, so, let's get used to it! Let's bring back that pioneering spirit! Ron Paul in 1900!

Do you see what Ron sees? 
Do you see the flaw in Dr. Paul's logic? Because his "if this, then that" worldview is a lot like the logic of a small-minded selfish child who doesn't understand that sharing is a part of behaving like the big kids do. Like that child, Dr. Paul assumes that just because he has something, then other people must have it too. Ipso facto, there's no need to share! We all have our stuff, and if you don't, wahhh, too bad for you.

Take jobs, for example: Dr. Paul has had lots. He was a doctor and he was a congress man and a senator! So, to paraphrase Stephen Colbert, you can too! Ron Paul went to private school--Gettysburg College. He or someone he knew, could afford to go to a private school so, so, um, you should be able to as well, right? I mean, he did it, so why can't you? Simple. Obvious. Seriously not smart and socially/culturally myopic, but most definitely supercalifragindividualistic! The thing is, Dr. Paul's revisionist "logic" doesn't take into account the fact that one there are about 3 or 4 people for every available job in the US at the moment. And that school funding is being gutted (Texas has been killing teachers' jobs faster than Rick Perry can forget that, uh, er, oops. Anyway, that's not fun math.

The Island of Dr. Paul. 
The squirrely presidential candidate assumes that everyone can afford healthcare because he can afford healthcare! (And after all, he's a certifiable physician, so he oughtta know.) So, you know, people don't have to choose between healthcare, food, and, say, oil-based heating (Hey, it's warm in Galveston! If you live where it's cold, that's your own fault...), because he doesn't have to make that choice. In Dr. Paul's simple island, the only thing Washington does is suck the marrow out of your bones (enjoy wasteful things like the internet, highway system, AIDS research, food safety, regulation of missing nukes, mail? Gee, thanks for nothing, Mr. Government bloodsucker!) That people companies should provide all social services--well, those and church bake sales. Dont' go to church? Ahh, too bad. You should! How else will you pay to get well if you become sick? Not everyone has the same opportunities as everyone else. The logic goes like this: If I made it, so can you! But not everyone has the same ability or opportunity to "make it." Some people are dirt poor through no fault of their own. Some people have intractable illnesses that they "just can't shake" if only they'd pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Some people actually do work for other people because they're government employees. Evil bastards that they are.

Did you get taxpayer money to pay your salary for 14 years? No? Oh. Then you must not be Ron Paul. 
Irony of ironies? Ron Paul was a public employee for 14 years in Congress. His entire ability to preach to people about how bad public employment is is completely based on his bully pulpit as a public employee.  I'm sure he'll return the taxpayer-funded salary he collected for 14 years. Soon.

Logical? Not so much. Don't like it? Get a job. It could be worse, you know. You could be forever digitally enshrined hanging out neo-nazi white supremacists.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Brief Remembrance...

First, apologies for being incomunicado. I've been working ridiculous hours and have had little time to post silly comments about serious issues for a while.  Also, I recently lost a loved one.

You see, back in 1994, two years after the end of the 12-year long republican nuclear winter, as I called it at the time, I was carrying in groceries from the car that my girlfriend had purchased. After I'd brought them all in, she told me that there was one more box left. I went out to get that box, and in it was a very small, very long white cat. This cat, who was born on a farm and was the runt of the litter, would eventually be named "Groobie." She was to spend the next 18 or so years of her existence with me.

But it's funny. Nothing anyone could say about a pet could possibly be conveyed with any accuracy. It's such a uniquely close connection. This random gift of a creature helped me get through the most difficult times, and helped me enjoy some of the most rewarding times of my life. A long and important part of my personal history in this world; that's what Groobie was. Toward the end of her history in this world, she was especially well cared for by the other members of my family, and made comfortable during her last days. I especially want to thank Paula. I'll never forget what you did for her (and me).

At any rate, I enjoyed our time together while we had it; our long and fleeting moments. This blog was named after her, obviously, and I admit that I tend to enjoy the company of animals like Groobie more than many people. People who know/love animals know exactly what I'm talking about.

For fuxxake, I hate it when creatures die. She is missed.

Sleep well, my girl.