Supposedly, I'm a statist. That's a fun new word all the teabaggers have learned from objectivist Utopians. It apparently means someone who's secretly a commie or a Nazi or both (they don't seem extremely clear on the difference). Or someone who believes in global warming and thinks we ought to do something about it before a bunch of people die. Or those who think that maybe not getting reamed by insurance companies might make for a helpful change of pace. Or someone who thinks that someone ought to do something about the fact that women make less on average -- for the same jobs -- as men. You know, crazy, pie-in-the-sky stuff like that. I love me some of that "Big Gummint."
And I do, to a point. I believe that government can be a force for good. If you have trouble believing that, then you need to consider big government programs like the GI Bill, the Civil Rights Act, and rural electrification. I think it's probably a good idea to make sure kids can read and, further, have some understanding of history, literature, science, and the arts. I think we have a responsibility to make sure houses and cars aren't death traps and that the food and pharmaceuticals sold to us are safe. Call me irresponsible, but I don't put a lot of trust in the Invisible Hand of the Market. Anyone who looks at the market meltdown, anyone who's paying attention to the Goldman Sachs fraud case, anyone who remembers Enron and Tyco and WorldCom, the dot-com bubble or the housing bubble, knows that this Invisible Hand is attached to a very visible mental invalid. The Genius of the Market is really just a drooling moron. It turns out that the financial world isn't greater than the sum of its intellectual parts. The opposite is true. It's prone to groupthink and a herd mentality that occasionally stampedes us all off a cliff.
Strangely, I harbor the belief that maybe we shouldn't let stampede happen. I guess this makes me part of some commie plot to institute a one-world government and crush out the light of liberty in the world.
So what about the people calling me a statist and saying this is the worst thing in the world to be? Some of them are Libertarians. I consider fullblown objectivist Libertarianism to be a form of political moonyism, but at least there's some reasoning behind it -- as flawed and blind to human events and nature as that reasoning is. Others are just repeating something they heard Glenn Beck or something some equally insane blowhard say. They have no idea what it means but, like "Communism," "Fascism," and "unconstitutional," they just use it as a synonym for "bad."
And it's these people who seem to use the term most. "Big gummint-lover" doesn't have the same suggestion of smarts, so "statist" it is. So let's talk about statism. Real statism. What the morons mistakenly refer to as "patriotism." Specifically, police statism.
You've got people walking around tea parties in t-shirts with photos of Bush on them and the caption, "Miss Me Yet?" This despite the fact that, if there was ever a police statist in the White House, it was George W. Bush. You've got torture, indefinite detention, an honest-to-God concentration camp, warrantless wiretapping, and a political chauvinism that viewed political rivals not as opponents, but as enemies of the state and lovers of terrorism. A lot of people out there defend "Obama=Hitler" signs by saying that some lefties did the same to Bush. But in all honesty, who resembles fascism more -- they guy torturing people in a concentration camp and listening in on your phone calls or the guy who wants you to be able to afford healthcare and wants to make sure some dick on Wall Street doesn't screw you with his hubris and egotism? Bush got the comparison not because lefties are crazy, but because he practically invited it.
Now, you've got Lovers of Liberty who argue that women should be forced to remain pregnant against their will. That Arizona law should require all Hispanics to carry their papers with them at all times. That people should be discriminated against because of what they do in bed and who they love. These true statists believe that the government isn't a guiding force, but that the state is hammer used to crush those they deem insufficiently American. If the state's bullying people into thinking and behaving the way they do, well that's fine. Somehow, this isn't a love of big, oppressive and repressive government. I guess because they say so.
So the next time someone calls me a statist, I'll give them the link to this post. It'll save a lot of time, because I won't have to explain why I'm laughing at them.
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