Back to the Back of the Bus

Some follow ups [update: most specifically, this post is a follow up to this post, so please read the earlier post before you try to argue with me about this one — Echidne of the Snakes argues that the kewl kids like Stoller and Greenwald think other people — women and minorities — should sacrifice their rights to life and liberty “to save the world from American military and corporate assaults.”

Here and there in various comment thread forums I have actually seen the argument from self-identified progressives that voiding Roe v. Wade and returning the abortion issue to the states wouldn’t really change anything. This tells me many self-identified progressives are idiots.

I am not arguing against the inherent dilemmas in how one chooses a presidential candidate to vote for. They are real. But it is important to note that we are making deals with the devil, partly because of the way the two-party system operates (you get the fixed menus) and partly because both the quoted articles set the possible loss of rights for someone else in one cup of the scales and the deaths in wars in the other cup of the scales. And also because it is highly unlikely that the Powers That Be would let Ron Paul run the kind of foreign policy he promises to run.

All this reminded me of Ursula le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas“. Who is it that we should keep in the basement, mistreated, for the happiness of the rest of us? That is the real question Stoller and Greenwald seem to ask.

Don’t miss Tom Watson’s commentary if you haven’t read it already.

Elsewhere — righties are still in denial about St. Ronald’s tax increases.

13 thoughts on “Back to the Back of the Bus

  1. Paul is not even a competent libertarian; they allegedly want gov’t OUT of people’s lives. I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea of a misogynistic racist being in any way less “evil” than Obama. O’s done pretty well given all the cretins (like Paul’s own son) that he’s had to put up with.

    • they allegedly want gov’t OUT of people’s lives

      They only want the federal government scaled back, because it’s easier for a faction to take over state and local government and oppress whomever they like if they don’t have the pesky feds to answer to.

  2. Ron Paul:
    “Any effort to mandate or enforce the goal of making everyone free from want and fear through government action will guarantee the destruction of the concept of personal liberty. Whether it’s local government or world government, and no matter the motivation, this effort can only destroy one’s right to life, liberty, and property.”

    Yes, “property” must be nice. Very important!
    Not “pursuit of happiness” – but “property.”
    Some land.
    A good, subservient woman. Preferably, perpetually barefoot and pregnant.
    A few good darkies to help with the “property,” and to help you and the little lady.
    Who wouldn’t accept that for the right to smoke a little dope, and not have to fight foreign wars?
    When “property” is what you’re concerned about, ‘life and liberty’ are not on the agenda. “Property” is what it’s all about. My question is, “Who or what is the entity that determines your right to your property, if it isn’t some form of “government?”
    The 2nd Amendment?
    Great, now I can smoke some dope on my “property” whenever I want, but I have to be armed to the teeth to keep the not-so good darkies from invading my property and having their way with my little woman. And the not-so good white folks, too.

    Government is the great equalizer. Otherwise, it’s the “Darwinism” nobody on the right acknowledges or accepts – “Survival of the fittest.” And the “fittest” is defined as ‘the best-armed,’ and willingness to use those arms.

  3. Oh, and male.
    “Survival of the fittest” also implies strength. And usually, the male in the human species, has more physical strength. So, the little ladies will have to accept a little domestic violence if they “choose” not to be subservient and docile. And pregnant.
    That will be their “choice.”

  4. Suppose it’s grade school again. There’s a gang of bullies who habitually take whatever they want. Except for one really big guy, no saint, but he won’t always let the gang take from the weaker kids. And, Damn, the big guy can kick ass. So the bullies all get together and start a campaign to get the big kid, the one who can kick their ass, expelled – in the name of individual liberty.

    Is anyone (besides the American voter) dumb enough not to see how things will turn out after the big guy is gone?

  5. I was thinking along the lines Doug was. The individual liberties that they are will to trade away were hard won, and once lost, it would be unlikely to win them back in our lifetimes, if at all. The benefits that Stoller and Greenwald cite, would almost certainly be fleeting, if they ever materialized at all.

    • Pat — why is it due process vs. reproductive rights? I have no idea how you are trying to frame this issue. Try to make sense next time, OK?

  6. I do not think you actually read Mr. Greenwald’s article (He linked to your post in a follow-up today, and so here I am).

    In the long term, Greenwald expressly does not think that “women and minorities — should sacrifice their rights to life and liberty ‘to save the world from American military and corporate assaults.’ ” To review: He’s against the drug war, which may be the most racist single policy currently in place on a national level. He’s pro choice. He’s gay. Obviously not anti-women&minorities.

    But what I wanted to address is that his article explicitly does not endorse Ron Paul or say he is better than Obama. The article does express the wish that people would have a conversation about the actual tradeoffs entailed in their views, which he paraphrases as follows:

    “Yes, I’m willing to continue to have Muslim children slaughtered by covert drones and cluster bombs, and America’s minorities imprisoned by the hundreds of thousands for no good reason, and the CIA able to run rampant with no checks or transparency, and privacy eroded further by the unchecked Surveillance State, and American citizens targeted by the President for assassination with no due process, and whistleblowers threatened with life imprisonment for “espionage,” and the Fed able to dole out trillions to bankers in secret, and a substantially higher risk of war with Iran (fought by the U.S. or by Israel with U.S. support) in exchange for less severe cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, the preservation of the Education and Energy Departments, more stringent environmental regulations, broader health care coverage, defense of reproductive rights for women, stronger enforcement of civil rights for America’s minorities, a President with no associations with racist views in a newsletter, and a more progressive Supreme Court. ”

    If you think the second set of issues is more important than the first, that’s fine. But there’s no reason to distort what he said.

    • In the long term, Greenwald expressly does not think that “women and minorities — should sacrifice their rights to life and liberty ‘to save the world from American military and corporate assaults.’

      I don’t think you read my post. The issue is not what Glenn Greenwald wants, but what Ron Paul wants. Ron Paul definitely does want to sacrifice rights of women and minorities to life and liberty. It is nonsensical to hold Paul up as some paragon of civil liberty when he’s actually a throwback to the old 1950s-era anti-civil liberties “states’ rights” crowd.

      And you can’t have it both ways. You can’t put words in President Obama’s mouth and attribute all manner of vile intentions to him while closing your eyes to what Ron Paul really is about. This is intellectual dishonesty on its face.

      If you or Greenwald want to criticize President Obama that’s fine, but leave Ron Paul out of this, and keep it intellectually honest. In other words, it’s not the criticism of Obama I’m objecting to, but the false dichotomy Greenwald is setting up comparing the “evil” Obama to the “good” Paul.

      And I’ll thank you to stop distorting what *I* write.

  7. No you didn’t read Greenwald’s post.

    What he said, after a full page worth of putting the following in perspective, was that he prefers Paul’s Foreign Policy to Obama’s and that in a functioning democracy people would be able to say so without being accused of endorsing ALL of Ron Paul’s policies.

    Thank you for demonstrating how far at least you are from that point.

    • malcer — and you didn’t read my post, or I should say, posts. The post you are commenting on is just a follow up to another one where I explain my position in more detail. Read the earlier post. And while you are at it, read Ta-Nehisi Coates.

      Once again, my objection is to Greenwald’s promotion of Ron Paul as some kind of champion of civil liberty. If you understood Paul better, you would understand Paul doesn’t know civil liberty from duck sauce. His positions across the board are based on a a particular type of small-government ideology that originated among white racists during the desegregation era and combined with myopic isolationism.

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