Sleepy Time Thought: April Fool’s Edition
So I just spent the day on my semi-public profile pretending to be a Paulbot Libertarian after hitting my head (last year I was a hardcore right wing conservative). Apparently, this mightily offended an actual Paulbot that had slipped in there (I have to start vetting that page more carefully). He was quite precious in his insistence that I was misrepresenting Libertarians when I claimed to want the EPA abolished so corporations could pollute at will.
See, here’s the problem with Libertarians: They do not inhabit the real world. In Libertarian fantasy land one of two things happens: 1. Corporations do not pollute because it’s bad for business and the “free” market will punish them or 2. Private individuals can somehow force them to stop by suing.
Utter nonsense. There is no such thing as a “free” market and there cannot BE such a thing. Why? Because either the government is completely hands off and all competition will rapidly be eliminated by whichever company can crush their rivals or the government will have to keep competition alive by keeping monopolies from developing. In both cases the market is not “free.” In the former case, monopolies will cease to cater to their customers and begin price gouging because where else can they go? This is a historical fact. In the latter case, the government artificially keeps competition alive which benefits the customer and the economy in the short AND long term. This is also historical fact unless you are not old enough to remember when the phone companies regularly ripped off the nation. Considering that so many Paulbots are pot smoking college kids that read “Atlas Shrugged” and immediately stopped using their brains, this does not surprise me.
As for the second fantasy, that private individuals will be able to sue huge mutlinational corporations with an army of lawyers and win? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh sure, you’ll have the odd Erin Brockovich victory, but for every one of those, there’s 10,000 more legitimate (and I’m probably being overly generous with a number this small) claims that get buried or bought off or intimidated. My little cutie Libertarian blamed it on “tort reform” but it’s not like corporations were losing every case (or even more than a few) before. So let’s be real: Corporations pollute with impunity now and there are actual laws against it. What kind of idiot thinks that removing those laws and enforcing “property rights” will remedy the situation? What if you don’t own any property? What if you rent? Will your landlord sue on your behalf? Not bloody likely.
No, the grown-up, non-fairy tale reality is that the government (of the people, for the people) must do for the people what the people cannot do for themselves and what they cannot do is force multinational corporations to not poison them. Complaining that the EPA is corrupt and allows pollution is not an indictment of the EPA itself but a reflection of a system that allows corporations undue influence on our policy decisions. Instead of demanding that the EPA, FDA and all regulatory bodies be disbanded, try spending all that effort on getting Big Money out of our politics. When you do that, I’ll pay attention. Until then, Libertarians of this kind just sound like 5 year old children insisting that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real.
Time to grow up, kiddies.
Sleep tight you filthy liberal scum!