Saturday, July 12, 2008

If We Have to Keep Defining ...

The one solid bit of analysis out of the drunken dinner with the friend who writes on Colbert and my solidly conservative old showrunner?

"Libertarians are Republicans who want to smoke pot."

34 comments:

Richard Jensen said...

"Libertarians are Republicans who want to smoke pot."

The regular Republicans have now moved on to crystal meth.

Doctor Memory said...

...and bang hookers. Don't forget that, it's key.

Richard Jensen said...

"...and bang hookers. Don't forget that, it's key."

I think that last one has bipartisan support.

Anonymous said...

Libertarians are Republicans who are vaguely aware that claiming to be a Republican means claiming to be a gullible idiot.

It's basically the same distinction as "Trekkers" vs. "Trekkies", except that nobody is trying to stuff the Justice Department with Trekkies.

Richard Jensen said...

Trekkies would be an improvement.

Anonymous said...

Libertarians are hilarious.

Rarely intentionally.

Anonymous said...

Q: How many Libertarians does it take to stop a Panzer division?

A: None -- the market will take care of it.

John Harrold said...

As a Libertarian, I feel I should state that: I've never done any illegal drugs, have no desire to do any of them. Heck I didn't even drink alcohol until I was 33. Now prostitutes... Hum.. prostitutes.


Seriously though, what I want to do is put the same government that invaded Iraq in charge of my healthcare.

Dan said...

John Harold:

Not to start a needless debate, but it's apples and oranges. Invading Iraq is a foreign policy issue and the provision of health care is a domestic one. The infrastructure for health care is already in place. Invading Iraq, well, not so much.

While I would never argue that the government is not capable of screwing up--often in new and imaginative ways--would still argue that it's better at providing basic social goods than the market ever will be.

Innis said...

I'd rather have a government be slightly incompetent at getting me my healthcare than a HMO be ultracompetent at keeping me from having it. Nationalize the whole system.

John Harrold said...

The competency of the federal government doesn't just improve magically because we're talking about domestic policy versus foreign. Examples of this include: prescription drug program (the infrastructure is already there), farm subsidies, the war on drugs (allueded to in the original post), etc.


Innis
I'd rather have a government be slightly incompetent at getting me my healthcare a HMO be ultracompetent at keeping me from having it.

You know if these were the only two actual choices, I'd probably be fine with nationalized health care as well. What you have done here is created something called a false dichotomy. It is fals because it conveniently eliminates other options such as an ultra-incompetent government which is also a very reasonable outcome of the policies you are suggesting.

Dreadful Rauw said...

I've always thought that Libertarians were folks with too much money to be real anarchists.

Anonymous said...

"Seriously though, what I want to do is put the same government that invaded Iraq in charge of my healthcare."

The issue there is really the administration and not the government itself: some administrations can be pretty competent, others will prove otherwise. The core problem with this administration is that it believes government is itself a dubious institution, and as such they're philosophically opposed to proving themselves wrong by doing a good job.

Please note I think it's possible for reformers to come into office and try to shrink government where it has gotten out of hand. However, a necessary prerequisite is believing there is such a thing as "good government" that one can aspire to; if you don't have any vision beyond selling off assets and deregulating, you will end up breaking more than you will repair. Might as well give an ape a hammer and put him to work in a garage, you'll get the same results.

John Harrold said...


The issue there is really the administration and not the government itself: some administrations can be pretty competent, others will prove otherwise.


I could not agree more. The dilemma here is that no matter how competent an administration is when something like nationalized health care is instituted, it has to be robust enough so that it doesn't all go to hell when someone incompetent is elected. Given enough time -- not really a whole lot of time is normally required -- someone incompetent will be elected .

Libertarians just tend to start with the basic assumption that the government is made of people and people -- democrats and republicans alike -- are corruptible (and we like drugs and hookers).

Anonymous said...

"Libertarians just tend to start with the basic assumption that the government is made of people and people -- democrats and republicans alike -- are corruptible (and we like drugs and hookers)."

So do liberals, Democrats, and others who think there is something to be said for the government. Not every function should be placed in the government's hands; in fact, the usual pattern is that the free market / private citizens get the first crack at taking care of problems. If and when their efforts are proving inadequate, and people think it's a problem that very much needs to be solved, that's usually when the government gets involved. No, there are no guarantees that government will do it right ... only that private enterprise whizzed the job first.

Health care is a great example of a privatized system (really a collection of systems) that has had decades to demonstrate it could serve the American people effectively. In all fairness, when it works, it works; however, it also fails far too often to be considered a triumph of private enterprise. Just yesterday, an ambulance was not going to pick up someone I know who had suffered a concussion in a car accident, because she didn't have any money to pay for the emergency room. That may be how things are done in a laissez-faire utopia, but in the world many of us would like to live in, there would be a way to make sure that every American can get emergency treatment if they need it.

(Incidentally, this person I know eventually got treated because I was able to put $300 on a credit card. I don't mind ponying up to help my fellow man, but I have had to do this sort of thing far too often to see it as anything other than an inherent failing of the system as it currently stands.)

Daniel said...

John Harold.

Invading the Middle east is actually really hard, and nobodies been able to do it well for a couple of hundred years. Every country in the first world has managed to put universal health care in place. Jokes aside, I doubt that Americans are so stupid that they can't pull it off too.

Winterman said...

greedy and self-centered and a little bit stupid.

y'know, as a group.

Individually a lot of us are awesome.

Or so they keep telling me.

John Seavey said...

John Harrold said:

"Seriously though, what I want to do is put the same government that invaded Iraq in charge of my healthcare." (I assume some sarcasm here, given his other posts.)

And I shall respond with sarcasm of my own, by declaring that I would hate to see the people behind the invasion of Iraq in charge of our health care system. I'd much rather hand it over to the geniuses behind the Edsel, the Love Canal, and New Coke.

Private enterprise is not inherently more competent than government. This is so self-evident it shouldn't need explaining, and yet it does.

Anonymous said...

Shorter John Harold:
"Since GWB swung and missed, no one should ever play football again...ever"

clete said...

No, you FIRE everybody responsible for invading Iraq, and put DIFFERENT, more competent people in charge of the healthcare. You don't move the Iraq War dumbasses over to the Healthcare department. You fire, and replace. Like Hoover and FDR.

Winterman said...

Private enterprise can never be a substitute for government when it comes to social issues because of the profit motive.

Private enterprise, under-regulated, unobserved, unfettered, prevents HMOs from covering fatal illnesses (but not from cashing your check). It creates and maintains a slave labor culture in this nation that pretty much slid right into the slot left behind by Jim Crow. Unfettered, or even loosely fettered industry is the bane of mankind.

While it sounds good for pro "free market" people to promote this lunacy that market forces would prevent bad behavior on the part of the corporate interests, the converse has been proven so consistently and often that I wonder how they get through the sentence without choking on their own bile. What planet do these people live on?

The current market is only mostly free and we already have the bottom line causing the deaths and illnesses of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. The idea that a company like Haliburton, or those who make it go, could flip over to trying to help people instead of trying to screw them out of a buck seems to me to be the height of idiocy.

STOP thinking of the world in terms of "economies" and start thinking of it as a small ball with a limited amount of room and food and an increasing number of mouths to feed.

M. George Stevenson said...

Back to the original comment, P.J. O'Rourke nailed the concept for all time in the mid-80s with his "Pants-Down Republicans," essentially libertarians.

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