Friday, August 10, 2018

Some thoughts about the book "Democracy in Chains"

I wouldn't dignify this post by calling it a book review, but I do have a few things to say about Democracy in Chains:  The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, by Nancy MacLean.

This book is a not-so-quick--and discouraging--introduction to libertarianism, and a history showing how libertarianism has come to affect the United States.  Libertarianism is not a belief in liberty, but rather, a belief in freedom from almost all taxation.  Essentially, libertarians believe that anyone who can't afford to pay for food, clothing, shelter, education or healthcare should simply go without. They hold that the only legitimate role of government is to provide security (police, border, and military). Regulations such as environmental safeguards, labor laws, consumer protection, etc., simply interfere with an individual's right to earn and keep as much money as possible, and should be eliminated. And any group advocating a larger role for government, such as labor unions, should be opposed. Everything should be privatized, right down to our sewer systems, to maximize profits.  And anything necessary should be done to prevent the government from interfering, up to and including lying to the majority and deceiving them in order to persuade them to vote against their own interests.

Reading this book, I could not help but think, "How unChristian/unJewish." Do these people pay nothing but lip-service to the Bible? Haven't they ever read the Book of Isaiah? 
 If the following words sound familiar, they should--they're from the haftarah/prophetic reading for the morning of Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement:  " this is the fast that I desire; to unlock the fetters of the yoke; to let the oppressed go free; to break off every yoke. It is to share your bread with the hungry, and to take the wretched poor into your home; when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to ignore your own kin." (58:6-7)

Libertarians don't care who said these words--they spit on all of them.  And these are the people, both inside the government (Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, etc.) and outside the government (Charles Koch, etc.), who are currently (mis)leading my country.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What drivel. Libertarians believe that individuals should provide assistance to the poor, not the government. People and communities should help those in need, not the govt since the govt is notoriously terrible at providing any type of service.

Mon Aug 13, 01:39:00 PM 2018  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

So instead of having a giant pool of money that can be distributed as needed, everyone gets to decide for themselves whether or not to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and/or educate the children? And does charity pay for preventing pollution?

Fri Aug 17, 10:42:00 AM 2018  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

The main villain of this book, James McGill Buchanan, helped the Chilean dictator Pinochet organize the new Chilean economy. Here's a little something about that from page 165:
"The free market as applied under Pinochet had an enormous social cost," explains one political scientist [from notes in back of book: Oppenheim, Politics in Chile, 190]." Whereas in 1970, only 23 percent of the population was classified as poor or indigent, by 1987 that proportion had reached 45 percent--almost half--of the population"

What's so harmless about libertarianism?

Keep your eyes open, folks: Buchanan is now deceased, but his work is being carried on by Charles Koch.

Fri Aug 17, 01:27:00 PM 2018  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As opposed to Socialist hero Hugo Chavez? Keep your eyes open, folks: Chavez is now deceased, but his work is being carried on by Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

Mon Aug 20, 10:39:00 AM 2018  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Touche. But at least Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has admitted that she doesn't know much about the Israel-Palestinian conflict. I hope she's open to being educated on this and other matters--as a newcomer, she has a lot to learn.

Wed Aug 29, 10:18:00 AM 2018  

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