Libertarians are horrible people. The following exchange was a tangent off of a discussion of that Stephen Metcalf’s piece about Libertarianism we discussed yesterday:
Government spending on education. The fact is you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. And the American horse has become such a lazy, entitled piece of shit, that the only way to wake him up is to make him feel some pain.
Gonna need to know more about the data in that chart before I can accept it.
And the American horse has become such a lazy, entitled piece of shit, that the only way to wake him up is to make him feel some pain.
What the fuck is that? American workers score among the highest in terms of productivity in the world, and they work some of the longest hours with the fewest vacation days in the world. And I’ll tell you — the average American feels a lot more pain than the average German (since you’re bringing up Siemens with the article you linked to) who, incidentally, works far far fewer hours and has much more of her or his higher education subsidized by the state.
Your statistic is incredibly distorted by those at the top. It says nothing of the median, to which I was referring. Furthermore Americans lack impulse control, and have a much lower saving rate than their counterparts abroad.
What evidence do you have that it’s so skewed? Why aren’t they similarly skewed in other countries?
Americans do lack impulse control, not only compared to other countries, but compared to their past selves. They had much higher savings rates 30 years ago in an era of much higher unionization, taxation and much more public-sector employment. The end of saving was in large part a consequence of incredibly freely available credit (an initiative of the financial elite) and the ideology (pushed by the financial elites) that housing prices would go up forever, and that you didn’t need to save because you could just count on that to pay off what you owe.
It was a consequence of a closer reminder of how harsh life could be, and how utterly government could fail. Our coddling via the social safety net has removed all care, and restraint, from our complacent populace.
America started to strip back the coddling in the early 80s. Savings rates began to decline in the mid 80s. Coincidence? No. Lower rates of savings are a natural consequence of a more unequal economic system. The poorer majority has to spend more on necessities, leaving less for them to save, pulling the stats on personal savings rates down (increased rates by the rich few can’t compensate for it because each person’s % is weighted equally in the stats). This isn’t a sign of laziness or complacency. That’s a self-serving myth advanced by privileged people who want to think they’re self-made.
The poorer majority has to spend more on necessities, leaving less for them to save
Right, because they can’t touch their leisure budget????
I’m still inclined to think it was a joke, but checking through the guy’s comment history…. if it’s a joke, he’s been living in it for a while now.
(I doubt if this person is actually homeless)
UPDATE BY TOM: I maintain that we should not even bother engaging in debate with libertarians.
UPDATE BY BEN: I agree that it would be nice to ignore them, but people think this is a “serious” ideology. If things don’t change, it’s going to continue to be one of the major fallbacks for people who, reasonably, become disillusioned with the bullshit binary ideological system that structures politics today. Things need to change. How can we change the things that need to change but by engaging them?