Answering the Libertarians and Their Lies

Repost from the old site.

I decided to make a post about libertarians, radical free market fundamentalist religionists, and Far Right economics in general.

On Libertarianism, I think it is very important to answer some of the nonsense that is being parroted nowadays by the free market fundamentalists – libertarians – right wing extremists – amongst us. As the center of the US Right has gotten more and more extreme since the 1970′s, their arguments and policies have gotten more and more insane, irrational and ideological.

With the Right nowadays we are dealing with a nation of robotic ideologues – they no longer care anything for fact, theory, or science. Rightwing doctrine, more and more, resembles a kind of religion for its ideological adherents, and in that way it is similar to the leftwing orthodoxy that continued to enrapture some the Left in recent decades, even as it developed serious problems before their very eyes.

Into the 21st Century, the Right is bolder and wilder than ever. Formerly, the more honest ones at least used to acknowledge that socialism was better at providing for basic needs, health care, education and social support than capitalism. No more. Now total libertarian free market capitalism has become some sort of miracle nostrum that will cure all ills.

Poor health figures, health system doesn’t meet the needs of the people? No problem, just totally privatize the health system and all the problems go away. Problems with distribution of water, electricity, sewage, roads, parks, day care? Not a problem. Just get the state out of the way, deregulate, and let the corporations run it all.

The debacle of electricity deregulation in California is simply the typical result of privatization and deregulation of electricity the world over, for decades now, since the 1930′s.

We have case study after case study, with predictable results each time the “new experiment” is tried. The California experiment saw service plummet and investors get screwed, precisely the failures that led to the creation of public utilities in the 1930′s.

Utility companies maliciously rigged markets, cut off supplies to the starving state, formed monopolies and engaged in gleeful price-gouging of helpless consumers.

Deregulation of the financial industry and stock market is likely to cause financial panics, stock crashes and both economic recessions and depressions. It has in the past, it will in the future.

Deregulation of telecommunications in the US put the public system into the hands of a fewer and fewer people and sent cable prices through the roof.

It has facilitated a wild crime spree by major telecom firms, as these firms engaged in an orgy of out-and-out robbery of consumers, blatantly deceptive and unintelligible calling plans, deliberate over-billing, bumping consumers into other calling plans without telling them, and other outrages.

Privatization of water in Bolivia was a catastrophe – prices shot up, service was terrible, and many lost access to water.

Airline deregulation saw massive concentration in airlines, many cities lose air coverage and service go into the gutter. The price structure of airline flights became seriously disturbed to where a flight to a city 350 miles away might cost far more than a trip all the way across the country to a major hub.

Deregulation of trucking saw prices climb, service suffer, safety regs get tossed out the window, the accident rate go up, roads get destroyed by overloaded trucks and thousands of small firms get wiped out while a few super-firms took their place.

The last effect caused the peonization of the US independent trucker, a cultural icon. Self-regulation of any industry has meant no regulation, and consumers, workers and society are harmed every single time it’s done. Every time, every place, no exceptions. Got it?

The much-maligned OSHA regulations save 10,000′s of lives every year and we can prove it. Pollution regs do the same and clean up the planet besides, and we have the darn statistics to prove it.

Reducing environmental regulations dealing with water, air and toxics means lots of injuries and deaths, time after time, in place after place, in society after society. We are talking about effects so predictable here that if we were scientists, we could almost describe them as natural laws.

The latest insanity is the line that the way to solve health care problems is to totally privatize the health care system, because, as we all know, “socialism fails”.

This slander, this canard, against socialist health care, that it fails to meet the basic needs of human beings, needs to be answered forcefully, for the Libertarian Big Lie continues, ranting louder and louder, despite figures all over the world that conclusively show “socialized medicine” outperforming more private systems time after time and place after place.

In Nicaragua, after the Sandinistas took power in 1979, the health figures showed great improvement (along with education and literacy figures). When the Sandinistas were thrown out of power in an election cheered by liberals across America, the first thing the liberals’ hero, the ultrareactionary Chamorro, did, was wipe out government health care and free education.

At $30 a year, many parents could not afford to send their kids to school, so the kids dropped out. The health figures started going down right away. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

Cuba’s health figures have long been tops in Latin America and in 2002, for the first time, Cuban infant mortality figures actually beat US figures, where income is 20 times higher. The Latin state that often comes closest to Cuba is Costa Rica in health, education and housing figures, and as such, Costa Rica is bandied about by enemies of the Cuban Revolution.

But Costa Rica’s figures are due to the fact that Costa Rica has the most highly-developed social democracy in all Latin America, which it seems to have retained, despite frantic, bullying efforts, starting with Reagan’s orders to Arias in the 80′s, by the US to force Costa Rica to dismantle its social programs. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

In India, the state of Kerala, run by Communists off and on for the last 30 years, has developed a good state health system compared to the rest of India. When comparing Kerala to the rest of India as a whole, Kerala’s health figures are much superior. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

The social democracies in Europe have the best health figures on Earth, due to their evil, failed, inferior “socialized medicine”. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

Japan’s high health figures are accounted for by the fact that Japan has long had a virtual social democracy, with a lifetime employment system and generous benefits, including health care, taken for granted by Japanese corporations. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

And on and on and on and on.

The fact is, capitalism is bad for your health, period, exclamation point. It’s a rule of nature, like gravity or the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

What would a libertarian health care system look like? Simple. Like the health care system we had in most of the past few centuries on much of the planet, where only the well-off could afford to go to the doctor or buy medicine and the poor were left to beg for succor or sicken and die, which they did, by the hundreds of millions.

Want some examples, close to home? I know a number of folks who are disabled and therefore simply cannot work at any real job in the real world (they could maybe get by on a severely pampered part-time job with friends or family, but that’s not real life). Their disability check every month is the only thing that enables them to survive at all.

Without that check, they would need to depend on the kindness of friends or family, or, lacking that, they would go homeless, live on the streets, lack for food, shelter, medical care, etc.

I have known many poor workers who lacked for health insurance and had such a low income that they felt they could not afford to go to the doctor. So, they ignored health problems until they got worse and worse, and now they have chronic health problems.

One of them was thrown off Medicaid when he and his wife (both workers) earned just over the limits. Consequently, he stopped going to the doctor for months and felt he could not afford to buy his prescriptions. He lacked his meds, including a blood pressure drug and a blood thinner needed for a blood clot, for 5 months.

Another railed against “socialized medicine” but felt she could not afford insurance so she never went to the doctor or dentist. Now she has severe chronic knee problems and serious teeth problems.

She may need to have all her teeth pulled since she never went to the dentist because she felt she could not afford it. The knee problem may also have been exacerbated by lack of medical care. The reality is that this is what will happen to many people if we do away “state health care”.

This is what happens all over the world. I have friends in the Third World who tell me stories about their countries. It’s clear that people are dying in these places all the time because they cannot afford doctors or medicines. Their stories are true; I hear them with my very own ears.

What would a radical free market system do for education? Prices would go through the ceiling and quality would go down in many cases. Every teacher I know who taught at both private and public schools told me the quality of the program was much worse at private schools, where the owners scrimped on everything and shafted the teachers while flying around on their private jets.

I suppose the radical free-marketeers would like to get rid of public roads too. Let me tell you a story about roads. Up here in the mountains, we have private and public roads. Every single private road is utterly terrible and many are outright dangerous.

They are full of potholes, if they are paved at all. Why? Because in order to fix the road, each homeowner on the road would have to pitch in to fix it. No one wants to pay, so the road never gets fixed. Never, ever.

If you want to know what the libertarian vision looks like, just go to the Third World, where the state doesn’t pay for anything and the public sphere is decrepit, abused, nonfunctional, dangerous, inadequate, nonexistent or for the rich only.

Look at America pre-1900, where schools, doctors, hospitals, roads, electricity, sewage, and old-age supports did not exist or were luxuries for the moneyed only. The elderly, sick, poor and jobless simply sickened or died, in huge numbers. Tens of millions of Americans never went to school.

That’s the libertarian dream, or nightmare. We know what it looks like because it’s been tried in the past for centuries, the world over, in culture after culture. We can see its devastation in the 3rd World as we speak.

There need be no illusions at all about what radical free market fundamentalism will really bring, and we need to shout down the free-market ideologues and religionists with every lie they shower us with. Loud. Often. In their face. And never stop until we turn their dishonest roar into a whisper in the background.

23 Comments

Filed under Americas, Asia, California, Capitalism, Capitalists, Caribbean, Central America, Conservatism, Costa Rica, Cuba, Economics, Education, Government, Health, India, Japan, Latin America, Libertarianism, Local, Medicine, NE Asia, Nicaragua, Political Science, Regional, Reposts From The Old Site, Scum, Socialism, South Asia, USA

23 responses to “Answering the Libertarians and Their Lies

  1. Singapore has a well-developed state heath care system that covers everyone, and sports the top-notch health figures that resulted. “Socialized medicine” fails again. “Socialized medicine” fails again.

    Singapore has one of the worst capitalistic healthcare system in the whole world. Many of us were bankrupted by hospital. But compared to the US system, we are still much better.

    Our much poorer neighbours like Malaysia and Thailand are enjoying free basic healthcare. We paid ourselves for every fever and flu, costing about USD30-50 per visit on average nowadays.

    A major surgery could easily cost quarter to half a million USD here. The government make the people pay. If the patient cannot afford, then his immediate family members have to pay, normally the sons and daughters, or sometimes even siblings.

    When there are sufficient evidence that all monies are being suck dry from immediate family members, the government will foot the rest of the bill. Practical, many people are broke by then.

    In Singapore, we have this saying that “can die cannot fall sick”. Luckily, many people died without have to go through very expensive medical procedure. This is one of the most fortunate outcome for the old in Singapore as well as for their family members.

    For many working class Singaporeans, we are not bail out by government. Many companies especially the western MNCs has provide medical coverage for us, Generally companies’ insurance will pay most of our bills. But if you got a major surgery let would render you a medical leave for 0.5 years, get ready to be fired. However, the companies will still pay for your bills.

    Western MNCs here are generally more benign than our government.

    • Ok, this is exactly like the US then. What a shithole. Singapore sucks! Fuck Singapore!

      Why do all these rightwingers sing the praises of the glorious Singapore, land of the greatest economy and society on Earth. The more I learn about it, the more I think that Singapore sucks! Singapore is a capitalist Hell, that’s what it is.

  2. HorsePingUnited

    Shut up!
    I’ll cut your face!
    I’ll kill your dog!
    I’ll smash your windows!
    I’ll soil your mother’s grave!

    Old fart!

    • Banned. That was an Indian Hindu, BTW. That’s why he’s so angry and violent.

    • Aaaah, I see what you mean. I suppose by “I’ll soil your mother’s grave’ he means he will shit on it. Very classy guy. I suppose he doesn’t know that people in the U.S. don’t just go around pooping on the ground. There are actual toilet facilities here. No wonder he’s so mad. I’m glad you banned him,I’d hate to read anything he has to state in regard to anything, ever, especially if that’s his idea of a reasonable, well-constructed argument.
      I’ve read enough by him, and besides, nobody threatens my baby and gets away with it.

    • Now that was entirely rational and intelligent, wasn’t it, HorsePucky United? A series of threats concluded by a lame insult without even bothering to mention why you’re making them.You’re boring us. I believe you have been dismissed.Smell ya later.Or rather, I hope I don’t.

  3. dano bivins

    Excellent entry Robert, and spot on.
    a libertarian is just a RW republican who’s willing to sacrifice pawns (social issues such as gay marriage and abortion) to achieve maximum profits in the areras that count to their wallets.

    “Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief”
    Alan Greenspan-October 23, 2008
    ________________________________________

    RICK: How can you close me up? On what grounds?

    CAPTAIN RENAULT: I’m shocked, shocked to find out that gambling is going on here. (A croupier hands Renault a pile of money).

    CROUPIER: Your winnings, sir.

    CAPTAIN RENAULT: Oh, thank you very much.

    From “Casablanca” (1942)
    _______________________________________

    David Stockman: Reagan insider: ‘GOP destroyed U.S. economy’</b.

    LINK

  4. dano bivins

    Fix for above link to Stockman (i still haven’t got this html blog thing down yet)

    LINK

  5. Matt

    Robert, if you never wrote anything else and spent the rest of your life doing nothing but eating cheetos, playing Call of Duty, gaining weight, and yelling at the d*** kids to get off your lawn, this would still justify your existence and even make you a little heroic. You should repost it every 3 months or so.

  6. Jeffrey

    The state sucks too. Libertarians are right on almost everything except on the environment. There they suck big time. No sane person ignores the environmentally destructive consequence of a free market (mentally ill fanatics of the dismal science and infinite growth excluded from the rational category). However, the problem also has to do with the fact that Americans don’t have any inborn, visceral love for nature. Animals, with the exception of some domestic species like dogs and cats, are considered to be nasty and potentially dangerous in most modern societies.

    Americans have always worshiped the Dollar, and the environment continues to be a sacrifice-victim on the temple of laissez-faire capitalism. That is messed up. If the state hadn’t stepped in, much of American wild-life would have been gone by now.

    Teddy Roosevelt partially saved that part of American heritage, and despite his scummy foreign policy, that makes him a hero.

    I don’t really agree about education. I think there should be public schools financed by the state, but there should also be a private alternative. Obligatory schooling has to be abolished because it is totalitarian and doesn’t work for a big chunk of population. Proles don’t benefit from High School or from learning to read Shakespeare. The state shouldn’t force a high school education upon those people. I’m pro diversity in education and support parental rights to influence their children’s education. Forced literacy fucked up the underclass and not only in America but everywhere. It made brain-dead consumers out of generations of humble poets.

    • There already is a private alternative. If you have the money, you can go to your crappy private school. What’s wrong with that.

      Anyway, most for profit schools are garbage. All of the great private universities are all nonprofit, 100% of them. I doubt there is a single decent for profit school anywhere on Earth.

      • newbreed7

        “Anyway, most for profit schools are garbage.”
        Lol, every for profit school is a joke, a racket, and a scam.

        “The fact is, capitalism is bad for your health, period, exclamation point. It’s a rule of nature, like gravity or the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.”
        Basically, Capitalism works at getting you shit….and you kill yourself and others in the process. Not to mention when those lovely bubbles break everyone is left holding their dicks and with their pants down and waiting years for things to get back to normal.

    • Brengunn

      @Jeffery,

      Would it not be logical to assume that if libertarian economics harm the environment in pursuit of profit, then they will also hurt humanity for similar reasons. Basically, having no regard for anything but bottom line.

      I’m not surprised to see you are a proponent of libertarianism. It usually is conservatives that have those weird sexual eccentricities. Is there any sociological explanation for that, I wonder?

  7. Jeffrey

    What’s the point of learning to read if one doesn’t have the intelligence to read anything else than dollar bills, advertisements, gossip magazines, street names and government propaganda? America would have been better off if part of the population had remained illiterate.

  8. Here’s a new blog: Occam’s Razor

    http://occamsrazormag.wordpress.com/

    It has multiple bloggers and will include topics: HBD, politics, history and economics, immigration, etc.

    We are still working on blogroll. If we do not have you added, please add us, leave comment or email, and we’ll add you.

    Thanks.

  9. WmarkW

    At the risk of being banned for saying something conservative, I’ll pick on the early part of the post. The economy is too complex and has too many diverse actors to reduce economic questions to one-dimensional answers like more/less regulation or taxes.

    “Our people are poor and cannot afford bread” and “Our computer chips are not competitive on the world market” are both economic problems, but have very different consequences and demand very different responses. GENERALLY, if the consequences are restricted to the economic sphere (a dinosaur business goes bankrupt), it’s better to let the market go where it will. If the consequences spread into general social upheaval, then the problem has become societal and the overall jurisdiction of the government to maintain civil order needs to take over.

    No one’s better off if malnourished, unvaccinated, homeless people are wandering our streets. Most of us are better off if a better store drives an inferior competitor out of business. Libertarians are generally smart people who think the world would be better off if people like themselves weren’t restricted.in their activities. They have no idea how little motivation some people have to maintain an ordered society.

  10. Jeffrey

    I’m not against the existence of a welfare state per se, but I firmly oppose the welfare check. The poor and homeless should be provided with basic necessities such as shelter, healthcare, clothes and daily meals, but not with money. I’ve worked in a rehab clinic in the past. The patients who didn’t have a dime were well-behaved and clean. As soon as they got some money, they spend it on booze, cigs, drugs, expensive cloths or even crack whores. Within no time, they were broke again.

    I like the idea of state-subsidized prostitution giving millions of poor women the opportunity to make a comfortable living in sanitized, secured brothels where they are regularly monitored for VD and educated about safe sex practices. Young women from Third World countries should be granted automatic American citizenship after having served in such brothels for more than 5 years. This idea has the potential to lift millions of young women out of poverty.

    I think the education of young girls should prepare them for a career as a prostitute. It’s much more honorable for a woman to be prostitute than, say, a lawyer or a scientist. Men make better lawyers and scientists than women, but women make better prostitutes. Both sexes are unique and have different strengths and weaknesses. Horse riding should be popularized as a sport for little girls because it is a playful, harmless way to introduce girls to sexual pleasure. By humping horses, girls learn to appreciate clitoral orgasms innocently, without any guilt feelings or molestation having taken place. Girls just don’t get that kind of pleasure from humping motionless objects and toys.

    Socialism in its current form just distributes money to the poor from the wealthy, but the poor don’t know what to do with the money. The wealthy are shrewd enough to understand how to manipulate the poor into spending money buying their products. So within no time, they spend their money uselessly and they are poor again . The next month they receive a new welfare check, go on a money spending rampage and a few days later they are on the streets. It doesn’t solve anything. This is especially true of non-Whites who just don’t have the IQ necessary to responsibly handle their finances.

  11. Frank Smith

    Assuming you’re not a full-blown communist, what is your ideal mix between socialism and capitalism–between the state and the market? 50/50? 30/70?

  12. Not sure how to answer that question Frank. But a lot of entities in the US that are doing extremely well are being run by nonprofits, cooperatives and public governments at a variety of levels. Everything does not need to be run as a classic capitalist enterprise.

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