The Samaritan’s Dilemma: Should Government Help Your Neighbor? by Deborah Stone (c 2008)
The Republicans have spent decades undermining democracy, notably, explicitly stated by St. Ronnie Reagan in his 1981 Inaugural Address:
In this simple paragraph he begins the ruthless demonization of the government of the people that he swore to serve and damned the “liberals” for yes, despite the phrasing, being ignorant as well as being delusional. His views have proven long since to have been a disaster for the country by independent thinking Americans. This is a man who bragged about how little (if anything) he read and zeroed out library funding every year of his administration’s budget. Fortunately, Congress put funding back in, but the clear and present danger to democracy represented by defunding the single most powerful force for an informed citizenry, public libraries, represents who the truly ignorant person was when he made that statement.
Of course, this day in age, post-truth and post George the Second, one has to wonder if Ronnie was really running the government. Sure he was governor of California with no notable surrogate that I am aware of, but seriously, an ACTOR and corporate spokesman WHO DID NOT LIKE TO READ was seriously capable of good judgement? Wait, scratch that. Not capable of good judgement but not necessarily malevolent, like W and his puppet master Dick Cheney.
And now it is deja vu all over again with The Donald as elected king but with no intention of actually being presidential. Too short of an attention span for that, and I really believe that narcissistic personality disorder is one of many of his psychological problems, including his reliance on Ivanka, who it must be noted, was not elected to be the first woman president. Of course, Pence is really going to be running stuff as much as The Donald’s ego will permit, and Pence is backed by two psychopathic brothers, the Koch’s who never met a non-white Xtian male they liked and made their money the old fashioned way, they inherited it. Firm believers in corporate welfare and corporate personhood and perhaps the mistaken belief their money can buy them a life long enough to spend their many many billions of dollars while cheating and scheming to destroy the earth, and kill their workers one way or another.
Poor dears are shy so we won’t get to see their invisible hand squash the market and the little people. No, The Donald, thanks no doubt to the brain trust at the Heritage Foundation (Isn’t that such a cute patriotic name? You wouldn’t guess the organization was founded by a mad dog republican John Birch Society racist misogynist Xtian bunch of nutters) who no doubt came up with the names for his Cabinet of Deplorables. Donald, in his tower of power, bidding all enemies and billionaires alike, with a few black men to make him look less racist, to come suck up to him for a sweet appointment to a department that each appointee actively works in opposition to that department’s mission. He is not that smart to so perfectly identify these disgraced generals and charter school advocates all by himself. Furthermore, he doesn’t give a damn. He could not care less about the American people he lied relentlessly too with his very good words and bigly plans for Making Trump Great. The pity of it is the Democrats were busy doing their own cheating and corruption to put in place a woman who should have retired gracefully into being a grandmother and let someone who said “we can do this” rather than “I want to do this” a sure sign of overreaching ambition at the cost of democracy.
The fact that the Democratic Party was willing to do ANYTHING to get their corporate stooge in place (release the transcripts Hillary!) just proves the party has become the new right of center wing of the Republican Party. The Republican Party has dropped off the edge of the world so to speak, they are so far gone to the right. And what does being a right wing extremist get the country? Not single payer healthcare, that’s for sure.
No the rascals jumped like little bunnies to fulfill their collective wet dream of repealing the ACA (Obamacare) and kicking millions of people off desperately needed health insurance programs that were somewhat better than nothing. Plus there is Paul Ryan’s personal mission to eliminate all government safety net programs, in particular MEDICARE and SOCIAL SECURITY to implement the dystopian vision of his goddess, Ayn Rand. He fancies himself of John Galt character, and has no moral compass despite protests of self-righteous Christianity, that offsets the “let the lesser people die” mantra of Atlas Shrugged. If you are not already rich, you are disposable. HELP IS HARMFUL according to his version of compassionate conservative policy. Prayer is good enough medicine for the poor, screw government provided medical coverage or ANYTHING ELSE.
Privatization is the new world order. You have the right to BUY anything you can afford, clean water, sun, wind, cancer drugs. If you don’t have the money, it is, of course, your own damn fault.
Faux news and right wing radio has made sure that EVEN THE PEOPLE THAT WOULD BENEFIT from programs are so flooded by propaganda and lies, that they voted against their own best interests and gave the rest of us this clusterfuck to try to live through. With the Rethuglicans in total control of the federal system, the cumulative acts of judicial appointments by W and the denial of approval of Obama’s judicial appointments, PLUS 31 or so state legislatures and governorships, there has been a coup and there very likely will never be a democracy again. The people who win the war write the history, and the “Republicans” have won with this election. The part that will be funny to watch (in a black humor way) is what they end up doing with their power with a loose cannon like The Donald tweeting his little heart away with no regard to propriety diplomacy, unthinkingly, and irresponsibly.
Just like the 2010 promise by the Republicans that if only the people would put them in charge of both houses of Congress, by gum, then they could really fix things. That happened yet they achieved next to nothing working the fewest days ever in Washington, D.C. and obstructing every damn thing proposed by Obama or the Democrats JUST BECAUSE THEY COULD. Even, as the joke goes, when the ideas proposed were originally REPUBLICAN ideas (Romneycare really, not Obamacare).
They passed laws putting lifetime limits on unemployment benefits (2 years) IRRESPECTIVE OF REALITY and factors totally out of control of workers. They put a 5 year lifetime limit on what is colloquially known as welfare, again ignoring REALITY. Reagan left a legacy of no FCC regulations to prevent non-stop partisan talking points being presented as facts. He also implemented the regressive cap and floor for medical deductions that gave some consumers with heavy medical expenses a bit of a break, maybe enough to avoid bankruptcy, but no more, in fact, the gang of thugs in charge plans to worsen this tax break – one of few for ordinary people, not the thousands of deals cut out in the tax code for corporations and the millionaires and billionaires that are sucking all the capital out of the economy and putting in offshore just to avoid paying ridiculously low taxes on the profit after receiving tons of tax breaks, deductions, carried interest loopholes, and SUBSIDIES to the point where they actually RECEIVE INCOME TAX REFUNDS worth millions and billions of dollars while wait staff pays are formulaic tax based on what the IRS thinks their tips SHOULD BE, even if they do not, in fact, RECEIVE that income. The rich get richer, and the poor are vilified as the “takers” and lazy and worthy only of contempt.
This poison has infected so many people that Donald Trump, a loud mouth and bully with no governing experience, multiple bankruptcies, massive debts (pretty sure negative net assets worth too), multiple marriages and a thing for his daughter is voted in as president WITH THE SUPPORT OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS who criticized Michele Obama for wearing a sleeveless dress (but full nude and lesbian photos of Melanie are okay because a girl’s gotta make a living until sugar daddy comes along).
So in many respects, this book, published in 2005 is irrelevant, because the answer is that there is NO DILEMMA because half the fools in the country voted against their neighbors and their government by electing a purported billionaire but one who is certainly a 100% con man. The people in the cabinet are heat seeking missiles of hatred for all the government services, ESPECIALLY CLIMATE SCIENCE data, and LABOR RIGHTS, and even PUBLIC SCHOOLS. So there is no longer any possibility that government WILL EVEN CONSIDER HELPING YOUR NEIGHBOR to worry about. You better start worrying because the gov’mint is not going to help YOU out either, you dumbfucks that voted for Trump. My only solace will be watching you cry when you do not become the little gods in the Trumpian universe you expect to be so that you can commit atrocities without penalty. I think there are still enough (after all, Trump did NOT WIN the popular vote) decent human beings that will be able to curb your excesses. I surely hope so.
BARRIERS BETWEEN EVERYDAY ALTRUISM and POLITICAL ACTION
Finally, we come back to the first requisite of civic culture: faith in government. Democracy holds NO APPEAL if people don’t see government as an institution dedicated to helping people. (p. 238)
Yes the Trumpsters were angry at government but instead of recognizing the true destroyers of public services and support as the Republicans, they believed the lies repeated over and over again on Faux news and right wing talk shows. Obama had a lot of potential to make government responsive to the people again but REPUBLICANS stopped him at every turn and then blamed dysfunctional government on Obama. They have been doing this so long, that some of those Trumpsters do not recall a time before Reagan damned government and allowed the plan described by the Powell Memorandum to become the reality we have today in 2017. A little bit longer than the 30 years predicted, but successful beyond Justice Powell’s wildest dreams I suspect.
If I had not lived through all this, in particular the success of the movements of the sixties for women’s rights and the civil rights movements, I would never have believed such an idealistic world once existed. The subsequent displacement of funds for unnecessary and wrongful wars sucked all the vitality out of everyday people’s economic lives. Labor laws, while somewhat helpful, have too many exceptions to be the force it was purported to be in the face of corporate extremism. The right to sue is useless when you have no money to sue, you can’t find a lawyer who can afford to take your case, and the judges are right wing Xtians who don’t believe in sex discrimination or anything else on labor’s side. The government is useless when departments like the EEOC had the despicable Clarence Thomas (also an Ayn Rand fan) in charge, and now he has actually deigned to speak from the bench of the Supreme Court for the first time in 30 years or something like that. Mercifully Scalia is dead, but Alito is still there as madman in chief. They Catholic men do not decide the law based on justice but rather on what they fancy the Founding Fathers intended. Thomas, an originalist like Scalia, seems to regard himself as a white man of property, since he supports a doctrinal interpretation of the Constitution that would render him a slave.
The right has destroyed our former community spirit and neighborliness and made us jealous and envious and fearful of everyone else who might take the few scraps that may have inadvertently trickled down from the wealthy.
In the political climate of the past thirty years, public life is less an less a place where people can live their moral values. No matter what their civics teachers [non-existent] tell them, political leaders have been teaching them that “government is the problem not the solution.” President George H. W. Bush praised volunteer work to the sites — a thousand points of light and all that — but cast it as an ALTERNATIVE to government, a replacement for the public money REAGAN SPENT BUT DIDN’T HAVE. “Our funds are low. We have a deficit to bring down,” Bush warned in his inaugural address. “We will turn to the only resource we have that in time of need always grows — the goodness and courage of the American people.” (p. 239)
Pardon me while I vomit. A Republican acquaintance of mine (hard to reconcile a seemingly decent person with their hatred of government assistance for “deserving” poor), once told me that it was the job of churches to help the poor, not the government. This so dumbfounded me, not having seen ANY CHURCH DO MUCH OF ANYTHING for anyone for decades, that I had no rejoinder. Now I would use a similar example to one I read about in another book, the title of which escapes me at the moment. American churches love to do projects, like this year it might be to provide used clothing for poor African villages. Next year it might be to do something for someone in South America. Random, sporadic, and unreliable assistance is NOT helpful. Maybe someone had just started a business making clothes locally and bam here comes a years worth of charity used clothing for free. Next year, there is no one to make the clothes because they are out of business due to the one time “charitable” gift they neither requested, nor possibly wanted. The church folks just wanted to do what THEY thought would be good for a poor African village.
Think of the Catholic Church. If you have ever been to Vatican City and toured there gilded and Raphael murals plus the Sistine Chapel, not to mention the hidden library and treasures they had created with the pennies collected from the poor into incredible wealth and treasures beyond price now, you must ask yourself, how could they have accumulated so much if they were actually serving their flock needs for a thousand years. Why were the priests living in walled residences and the peasants in hovels. The Pope lived comfortably in his palace and the rest of the hierarchy getting a salary or two for playing Cardinal or some such. You know they were not dining on potato soup.
The failure of the churches to behave as bidden, to help thy neighbor and feed the poor, pretty much snuffs that out as a reliable alternative to basic human rights and government making sure these rights are honored. No poor person can find economic security in random churches deciding that this week they will provide free meals (and let’s not forget a compulsory service to thank God for their beneficence) and next week maybe toys for tots.
There are some things that are only reasonable for the government of the people for the people to do, and helping the poor consistently, sufficiently, and without intimidation forced work or church going or no sex life or drug testing as condition of necessary assistance. Children should not have to be hungry in school because Paul Ryan thinks hot lunches create a “culture of dependency” — no they create a nourished kid capable of actually learning something in school to better be able to support themselves as adults.
No church has ever offered to pay for a years worth of school lunches for any school, probably not even their own religious dominated private TUITION based school that includes religious indoctrination along with a little math but definitely no critical thinking.
The book describes the efforts of Sata Mosle who acted on the George the First call to volunteer, since he basically said, if you don’t do it, the government certainly won’t do it. “The key to solving [America’s problems] remains the same. It is the individual — the individual who steps forward.” Sara Mosle mentored kids and made a difference.
Yet Mosle chronicled her mentoring experience as if all her efforts were for naught and she were a failure. “What my kids really need, I can’t give them: better housing, less crowded schools, access to affordable health care, a less punitive juvenile justice system, and for their parent, better child care. . . and a living wage.” The Times too gave volunteerism bad grades. It titled the article “The Vanity of Volunteerism,” and subtitled it, “Why Volunteerism Doesn’t Work.” . . .
[Mosle] showed only , as she wrote, that “it doesn’t offer a systemic solution to entrenched problems,” and that a thousand points of light cannot replace GOVERNMENT ALTRUISM. (p. 340)
The fact is that individual or church or other local programs cannot solve big, longstanding, and economic system induced and perpetuated by political party self-interest, social problems.
By shirking government responsibility, conservatives set up citizens for failure and disappointment. For its part, the Times ought to have titled the article, “Why Compassionate Conservatism Doesn’t Work,” but by framing the story as it did, the paper invited readers to wallow in the futility of personal altruism. (p. 241)
The real reason this 2016 election is and will be like no other election ever is that now the very people needing government programs put into power the very people who do not even bother to pretend that they are compassionate at all. They are a bunch of millionaires and billionaires who have fought for their privileged seat at the table and will die in the saddle before giving up an ounce of power and wealth that power brings, like Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, 83 and just was re-elected!!! For all our sakes, man, retire!!!!! He has been a senator since 1981!!! That’s 36 years! Plus he served in the House and in the Iowa State House. He basically has always had a government job and yet, as an obedient Republican, he doesn’t want government to help the people.
Nonprofits are places from which volunteers might move naturally into politics. Most volunteering takes place in nonprofit organizations. But thanks to conservative attacks on nonprofits as “LIBERAL ADVOCACY GROUPS” they have effectively been sidelined from politics. (p. 241)
Ha, that was kind of funny. When I was typing my hands typed SILENCED while my eyes read SIDELINED. Silenced is probably more accurate.
If we wonder why more one-to-one volunteers don’t become politically active, all we have to do is look at U.S. tax law. As Jeffrey Berry says, “Under the tax law governing nonprofits, lobbying is considered an unsavory and suspect activity.” (p. 241 continuation)
OMG I HAVE TO BREAK IN HERE. Reading the footnote to the next sentence was an astonishing discover. I was dumbfounded for the basis on which this anti-nonprofit lobbying was determined. First, note it was a 1930 decision. Next look at the nature of the organization that wanted to be able to lobby for change: the American Birth Control League!!!! Here is a snip from the link above:
This raises the only question which seems to us important, which is, whether the League is also agitating for the repeal of laws preventing birth control. The Board did not throw any doubt upon the purposes as presented, or intimate that more was meant than met the ear, but it thought that the declaration in the charter of a purpose to “enlist the support * * * of * * * legislators to effect the lawful repeal” of existing laws, and the measures taken to bring this to pass, prevented the League from being “exclusively” charitable. Political agitation as such is outside the statute, however innocent the aim. . . .
The men of the courts ruling against the American Birth Control League to lobby (on appeal) clearly do not consider the League’s aim to be “innocent” or that
the ends proposed did not still include convincing Legislatures and other influential persons that it was desirable in the interests of the moral and social well-being of the community that all persons should be free to control the number of their children. However commendable this may be and we mean to raise no question as to it it is not in our judgment one of those purposes which Congress meant to assist.
Clearly there was entrenched hostility to allowing the advocacy of birth control and they worked very hard to justify it. Since I am pretty sure Planned Parenthood can and does lobby, I don’t know if still is still law, but then again, maybe they can’t lobby. I will check it out later. To continue with the book’s discussion of the original case being heard:
A Federal appeals court likened “attempting to influence legislation” to “propaganda.” Nonprofits deliver most of the government’s helping services to poor, sick, elderly, disabled, troubled, disadvantaged citizens, yet government tightly restricts their ability to influence public policy. (p. 242)
Actually my reading of the text seemed to me that the original court hearing the case likened lobbying to propaganda and that the district court actually said that that was going too far and was critical of the original court for having labeled their lobbying to be propaganda. Here again from the web site link directly above the decision includes this comment:
Political agitation as such is outside the statute, however innocent the aim, though it adds nothing to dub it “propaganda,” a polemical word used to decry the publicity of the other side.
In any case, I did just check and perhaps it has been overturned or Planned Parenthood has a specific lobbying unit because they do in fact, lobby.
Oh the irony. They have no problem with right wing propaganda and corporate lobbying, but volunteers for the disabled are suspect of undue influence? What a mockery our government is of all that is good and decent.
The tax code forces nonprofits to make a choice: either they can have their nonprofit status and the all-important “501(c)(3)” designation that allows them to tell donors their donations are tax deductible, or they can participate in government. If they choose to be a nonprofit they many not lobby legislators about policy changes they would like. They may not endorse political candidates who they think will support their mission. They may not encourage members or volunteers to contact their representatives and urge them to vote for or against a bill. (p. 242)
OMG corporations should suffer the same rules or unleash the nonprofits! Plus there was the thing this election cycle where actual PACS declared themselves as nonprofits and yet managed to function with impunity to buy political ads and otherwise dedicate themselves to politicking.
Nonprofits are so dependent on private donations that they dare not jeopardize their tax-deductible status. Their leaders tend to be unduly cautions about exercising political muscle [unlike Churches for example], and as Berry found out, they tend to believe the law restricts them more than it does. Many nonprofits, as part of staff orientation, warn their staffs about the IRS rules. When the outraged home care staff started talking politics in the case conference I described, their supervisor keep distinct silent. I didn’t think to ask her about it at the time, but I’d bet she withheld comment so as not to be seen as encouraging politics.
If political activity wafts into nonprofits in a miasma of illicitness, corruption, and danger, staff people aren’t likely to encourage volunteers to press their concerns through politics. They aren’t even likely to talk about politics and public policy, and perhaps they avoid political conversations when volunteers initiate them. The law discourages nonprofits from engaging in politics, so nonprofits, the only organizations that might mobilize volunteers into politics as older service organizations used to, can’t and don’t play that role.
Tighter restrictions on nonprofits’ political engagement rolled in with the same conservative tide that has been pounding against government help. The same politicians, intellectuals, and think tanks that wanted to CURTAIL GOVERNMENT SOCIAL ASSISTANCE wanted to silence the political voices of people who represent our needy neighbors. Although these conservatives failed to pass what would have been devastating restrictions on nonprofits’ political and advocacy work, the drumbeat had a chilling effect nonetheless.
Everyday altruism can bring people into politics, but only if politics is worth joining. Politics is worth joining only if it connects people with their fellow citizens, enables them to make a difference, and nurtures their better selves. The only government that can make that kind of politics son that helps your neighbor and helps you help your neighbor, too. (pp. 242-243)
This book is worth buying. It is well written, has good footnotes, and an okay index. The index did not list multiple sclerosis, which, since I have it, would have been useful to me because there were some particularly poignant stories about people with MS. Returning to the issue of help pure and simply helping people, the stakes have never been higher. You have a government full of conservative authoritarian judgmental Xtian zealots who sincerely believe that HELP IS HARMFUL. Just flashed for a moment on an equivalent situation and Nero and his excesses sprang to mind. But there are so many historical circumstances where the wealthy and powerful abuse and punish the poor. Like forbidding peasants from fishing in the streams of a Baron’s land, or catching a rabbit. To be so lacking in compassion, so cruel, so self-centered, so abusive, that someone would rather people farming their land and providing them basics and services, would rather see them starve than let one rabbit be taken for supper is abhorrent to me.
Listening to the slightly hysterical tinge of outrage by a Republican representative speaking against the thousands of foul deeds done by Obama (i.e. regulations) in one of the many votes they are rapidly running through Congress to dismantle all the safety nets especially that bette noir, Obamacare. (pun intended) It is almost funny watching the speaker talking as fast as an experienced auctioneer to speak the text and hammer the 2 minutes for voting, and just watching the party line divide numbers add up with very few politicians crossing over. If an amendment was proposed by a Democrat, it didn’t matter what it was for, good, bad, a party issue or no, the Rethuglicans just voted No. Sickening. They never ever acted with such speed and quantity of actions during the last 8 years on any issue at all.
There will be no help, no mercy, no compassion however limited it was under W for the 99% after January 20th, 2017.
If we as citizens think our fellow citizens DON’T DESERVE HELP, then we will resent and condescend and punish at the same time as we gesture for help. Help demeans only when, as Kaus recognizes, the dominant cultural norms say that people don’t deserve the kind of help society offers. The claim that help always demeans reveals more about how conservatives feel about heir fellow citizens than about the essential nature of help. Help degrades only in a future that refuses to see anything between prosperity and an able body but an unwilling mind. Help destroys recipients’ freedom and dignity ONLY IN A CULTURE that makes self-reliance the APOTHEOSIS OF VIRTUE. (p. 61)
That is the perfect word and phrase for the rugged individualist fantasy ethos run amok: APOTHEOSIS OF VIRTUE. Elizabeth Warren hit in exactly right when she chastised all the “self-made” billionaires and millionaires because they patently did not make it “on their own.” No the government may have given them a small business loan, or tax incentives; the highways and roads were certainly not hand hewn by the CEO of Evil Corp. Employees are educated by the public school system, or they pay for the privilege of self educating by debt peonage for life. The gratitude of the corporations they serve lead to the Bankruptcy Act of 2005 that makes sure that corporate credit card debt never be forgiven thru bankruptcy, as well as no student loan discharge (loans at outrageous interest rates via government giving money at low low interest rates to for-profit lenders who screw over college students while simultaneously leverage the cash at 1:30 ratio and crashing the world economy).
True, no one wants to need help, even apart from a culture of extreme self-reliance. Aging wouldn’t be nearly so horrifying if it didn’t bode wanting independence. That is why raising the specter of humiliation and domination lurking behind all government help is such SHREWD CONSERVATIVE FRAMING. The suggestion preys on the natural human fear of being injured and helpless, the distaste for having to ask for help, and our revulsion toward being dependent on others. But dependence on each other is the human condition. Instead of fear-mongering, wise political leaders would help us live with our mutual dependence in the most satisfying ways. (p. 62)
The first chapter of the book (where the above quote comes from) is called “Seven Bad Arguments Against Help.” Number four is help enslaves the helpers.”
Along with government duty to help citizens, Ayn Rand REJECTS ANY PERSONAL DUTY TO HELP OTHERS. When altruism becomes a moral duty, she insists, it transforms the altruist into a means for other people’s ends, a slave or a sacrificial animal. THERE ARE NO UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE in Rand’s world [and hence Paul Ryan’s, Alan Greenspan, or proposed Secretary of State Tillerson among many others], only “PARASITES, MOOCHERS, LOOTERS, BURTES AND THUGS,” and the misguided altruists who think they must sacrifice themselves to other people’s FAILURES. [LOSERS!] Rand’s follower David Kelley puts the same point in polite American political language. The welfare state is a form of feudalism, he asserts only now “it is no longer the feudal masters but the poor, the elderly, and the DISABLED who claim OWNERSHIP rights in those who PRODUCE.”
WHAT A TWISTED FUCK.
The only rational ethical principle for human relationships, Rand believes, is free-market trade. The trader, not the altruist embodies personal virtue: “A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the underserved. He does not treat men as masters or slaves, but as independent equals. He does not switch to others the burden of HIS FAILURES [translation: ask for help – author], and he does not mortgage his life INTO BONDAGE to the FAILURES OF OTHERS [translation: help others for nothing in return – author]. (p. 62)
The switching of the burden of his failures made me laugh and laugh thinking of how Trump went through 4 bankruptcies using privileged status of corporations to escape any personal liability for his bad business decisions and how he cheated Trump University students, and robbed contractors and other employees, plus exploits the tax code to achieve a status particularly available to real estate developers to use depreciation and other expenses to offset revenue such that no net tax need be paid to support all the government that makes his businesses possible. That just makes him smart (technically, his lawyers and accountants).
Political philosopher Robert Nozick applies Ayn Rand’s bondage motif to the idea of redistribution in general. Redistribution is another way of saying giving things to people, usually for the purpose of helping them, but Nozick focuses on the TAKING SIDE of things, the donors rather than the recipients, and concluded that when government redistributes, it ENSLAVES DONORS. To redistribute, government must tax the Haves. It can tax their wages, their business profits, their savings and assets, their land, their personal effects, or whatever it chooses. But according to Nozick, “taxation on earnings from labor is on a par with FORCED LABOR“: “Seizing the results of someone’s labor is equivalent to seizing hours from him and directing him to carry on various activities. If people force you to do certain work, or unrewarded work, for a certain period of time, they decide what you are to do and what purposes your work is to serve apart from your decision. This process whereby they take this decision from you and makes them a part-owner OF YOU; it gives them a property right in you.” (pp. 61-62)
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
This is so utterly crazy on many levels that it is hard to know where to start, and would take too long to bother to detail why it is wrong. But the main point I want to make is that the wealthy gain their wealth by REDISTRIBUTION of income from the underpaid wage workers’ labor. Calling taxation of the rich somehow is en par with FORCED LABOR but the wealthy do not have to do ANY WAGE WORK AT ALL. They simply sit back and live off the interest from profits taken off the backs of the actual FORCED LABOR of people who live in a society that decrees WORK or DIE. Especially women — women are expected to do two full-time jobs or one job and pay other women for the child care job of mothers which has been unpaid labor forever and ever, but it does not always have to be that way! Universal basic income would allow mothers the choice to work and spend half their 80 cents on the dollar income for child care, or be a stay at home mom with enough for basic economic security of home, food, and utilities and various other routine expenses. This, plus single payer, would allow women to be compensated for their mandatory FORCED LABOR as mothers to do so without having to also do wage work per Bill Clinton’s neoliberal welfare reform that once again values only WAGE WORK as a MORAL IMPERATIVE for poor people, not rich people who need do no labor, much less be forced through taxes to see that as equivalent of being extorted or forced labor. Taxes are what pays for the COMMON GOOD and the COMMON GOOD is worth their contributions because they are part of the common good. There is more to life than purely economic interests; PROFIT is not the only value people hold. People, well normal people, not necessarily Randians and Republicans, value their family and need the time to care for them, yet work fundamentally treats each worker as an independent island (as the author says in this chapter) as if they have no other MORAL or ETHICAL obligations to anyone but their corporate masters. Sick kid, tough shit.
Ha! I see the reason acolyte Ryan wants to eliminate Medicare so badly: “Ayn Rand fumed about Medicare for just this reason. [“Whenever government treats help as a right for some citizens, it inevitably EXPLOITS other citizens to implement that right.”] Of course, everyone agrees that it’s desirable for the aged to have medical care, she said. But when citizens tell themselves that they’re providing medical care “for the good of others,” they lose sight of “the enslavement, and therefore, the destruction of MEDICAL SCIENCE [WTF?], the regimentation and disintegration of all medical practice, and the sacrifice of the professional integrity, the freedom, the careers, the ambitions, the achievements, the happiness, the lives of the very men who are to provide that ‘desirable’ good — the doctors.”
The author has more bits on the Randian world view in some previous pages as well, but one thing to always remember about her, she cashed her Social Security checks without a concern that she was enslaving someone to provide her the funds. Yet her fawning teenager mentality followers have even managed to rename your retirement funds that you worked and paid for and are rightfully yours by social contract and legally as well (I hope this can’t be changed by the Deplorables) to call it a “federal benefit” as if it is an unearned stipend by a generous Congress.
It worries me that too few people seem to be aware of near term history and completely believe false propaganda put out by right wing Xtians for older history. For example, the basic fact of the separation of church and state. This is a YUGE deal. yet a woman told me that I could “believe” that if I chose, but implied it wouldn’t be true! I responded with, “I don’t have to ‘believe’ it because it is a fact. But that was when I knew The Donald was going to win. When sane, apparently normal, apparently intelligent people, women[!] were telling me they were voting for Trump — even obviously religious nut cases like that woman, then there were a lot more of them than there were of thinking compassionate humans that were going to get out and vote. Naturally, the horrid Hillary thief of the primary did not do the country any good by taking the nomination from the man who drew 20,000 people to hear him speak when she had so much baggage, bad choices, and virulent hatred by very loud voices that despoiled any chance for her to fulfill her overweening ambition.
America has been badly behaved for decades, the second Iraq war, with the fake WMD lie to give W a chance to one up his daddy in Iraq per Death Vader Cheney’s avarice via Halliburton no bid contracts (gaining him millions and millions of government contract dollars) who pumped the idiot W up for is just one of many regime changes our morally righteous leadership has visited on the world.
We must find a way to take action that can stop this destruction of democracy in America to the dog eat dog dystopia of Ayn Rand, a cheap fucking novelist for God’s sake. According to Wikipedia, she supported the right to abortions. I wonder if Paul Ryan is aware? He probably cherry picks her philosophy like he cherry picks the Bible and the Constitution.
I don’t want to live in Ayn Rand’s dystopia. Being a woman, it is bad for me, being disabled, I might as well expect to become impoverished and die because the conservatives have no use for disabled or elderly people. Only wage slaves, debt peons, and cannon fodder — oh and forced birthing breeders to keep up the relationship between the predator and prey.