Friday, October 04, 2013

Rafael and the Ninjas get to Have it Both Ways

I say amen... :
If a government shutdown meant that planes would be grounded, it would never have happened. If a government shutdown meant the NSA would turn off the lights, not a single Republican would have signed on. If it meant that soldiers would stop killing, that police would stop putting people in jail, or that any of the many things that the government does to keep the economy running would come to a halt, it would be a cold day in hell before Ted Cruz would make himself the face of the shutdown. But the Office of Management and Budget helpfully requires every federal agency to have a plan for all the important stuff to continue, if ever there’s a shutdown. They must distinguish between essential services and inessential services, between the government functions that matter and those that don’t. That means that when the Republicans threaten to blow up the government if they don’t get everything they want, they know that the technocrats won’t let them hurt anyone who matters. The OMB won’t let them hurt the business community, or wreck the economy, or imperil America’s status as world’s warmonger. They know that poor people will suffer the most, and rich people will suffer the least. There are some things that transcend partisan divisiveness.
Link. ... but it gives me a chance to follow up on a hobby horse of mine: there are no libertarians.  There are cafeteria pick-and-choose libertarians: those who don't like EPA or Head Start or the IRS.  There are even a few people who don't like bombing other people just to teach them a lesson--but mostly these last restrict themselves to yelling and waving their (human) arms outside farmers' markets on Saturday mornings.   But nobody--and emphatically not Rafael Cruz--want to shut down government altogether.

This is a point that needs making, because the rhetoric of libertarianism gives the expositor an important and insidious tactical advantage.  That is, just as nobody is a libertarian, so also is it true that everybody is a libertarian, in the sense that for every single living creature there is at least one thing that he wishes the gummint' would not do.    This morning's mail also includes a heads-up from Senator Elizabeth Warren pleading with a hint of shrillness that "we are not a country  of anarchists" (side note: you really do rather overdo it with the campaign mailers, dearie, particularly considering the cheesiness of my last contribution). 

Well, yes, of course we are not a country of anarchists.  But by giving in to "shutdown lite," we've let Rafael and the rest of the Ninjas have it both ways: pretend to be for "freedom" without bearing any of the costs.  As that guy at The New Inquiry says:
Ted Cruz gets to play maniac, and the DNC gets to play its favorite role, the reasonable liberal who doesn’t actually have the power to do anything. 
You want anarchism?  We'll show you anarchism.  Oh, no, wait. We won't.


Shannon Baker said...
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Chris Wegener said...

Great Post.
One quibble. We are all anarchists. Daily life is anarchy. Everyone is free to do whatever whey choose. Happily most people are rational and they choose to do the right thing.
Though if you note people still disobey traffic laws, cut in line, say rude things and mostly act like the apes we are.