Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Daddy State

The latest news out of Wisconsin is pretty good for progressives and unions, altho it could certainly reverse at any point.
Governor Scott Walker's attempt to bully unions and public sector workers into falling on the sword of fiscal responsibility for the mishaps of the rich and powerful has drawn some very intense scrutiny and to be frank, Gov. Walker has done a pretty horrendous job of justifying things. To claim that government secotr pensions are out of proportion to the budget, then to exempt the largest pensions in the basket (the police and firefighter unions, many of whom can collect after only 20 years on the job...imagine retiring at full benefits at the age of 41), is one of the single most transparently ludicrous claims ever made by a public official.
See? The Teabaggers are just like any other politicians, only stupider and louder! This is good news for America.
George Lakoff has it about right when he says, "Budget deficits are convenient ruses for destroying American democracy and replacing it with conservative rule in all areas of life."
Fascinating article, and I suggest you read it. Go on. I'll wait.
*Examining nails. Making fresh pot of coffee. Whistling "Wind Beneath My--*
Oh? You're back? Good. Let me go on...
The slow erosion, which is happening faster and faster as it gathers momentum, of what President Obama has called an ethic of excellence has been the underlying goal of Republicans since at least the days of Lee Atwater (who later renounced his assault on liberals and the liberal principles that created the greatest nation on earth) and likely since Ronald Reagan's inauguration as I highlighted yesterday.
Lakoff's suggestion that the conservative national image, of a patriarchy, is pretty valid and obviously wrong-headed, as any parent of any teen or anyone who studies the newspaper on a regular basis can tell you. You cannot change behaviour by diktat. You can enforce laws, true, but that's not a change in behaviour and if any behaviour does get changed, it's the behaviour that allowed the person to get caught in the first place (i.e. being too trusting of friends who rat one out).
Issue an edict (e.g. "You cannot smoke in here") and someone will start to probe it for loopholes if they want to smoke in there. Maybe they'll do it after hours, or use a can of Lysol to cover the scent. If they get caught, they'll just find other, more subtle ways to justify continuing the behavior you find offensive.
In other words, the claim that by some miracle, personal responsibility is enforceable is childish and fantastical. It simply will not happen. If we could trust people to act in the best interests of themselves while somehow not harming their neighbors flies in the face of millions of years of theft, greed, jealousy, anger, rage, fear, aggression, and passion.
All of which lie at the very heart of humanity. The evidence is inescapable: conservatives who believe this tripe have no business running a kindergarten class, much less a state or a nation. The very act of having to hide their original intent, to destroy the progressive "nanny state" by masking it with budget deficits and subsequent cuts...the Nordquist Model, let's call it...ALONE speaks to the childishness and naivete of the whole venture.
As Governor Walker is, at great pain, finding out.