Commentary: On December 2, 2011 I was excoriated by a young "conservative" named Mike, who wanted to give me a hiding for my communist views on "unregulated" capitalism. He called me or more precisely my views "ridiculous" I'll let you decide who is ridiculous. His tirade was quite lengthy so I am publishing my response in 9 parts as "A series of letters from Left to Right: Dear Mike Since his attack was full of vitriol I have taken off the gloves as I see no point of entertaining his bombastic rhetoric. Parts 5-9 are in-response to the object of his real distain—my post called "Adam Smith Re-examined."
I have color coded my blog post that he critiqued in red—his critique in blue—and my response to his critique in black.
On Crumbling Infrastructure and the Myth of "Government is the Problem"
Commentary: The “conservatives” are fond of pointing out that “our” government of, by, and for the people, is a waste and produces nothing of value. “Its the problem.” they say. I say—It’s the problem—that builds dams and roads and bridges
Public works! The visible Holy Grail of statists!
Remember in Part 7 where I quoted [Smith] and that—He also thought that the government should— "provide public works, such as roads and bridges, that, he assumed, would not be worthwhile for individuals to provide. Interestingly, though, he wanted the users of such public works to pay in proportion to their use". Source the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics at the Library of economics and Liberty
Are you now impugning Adam Smith the father of capitalism? Are you a cherry picker—in that you pick whatever part of his writings that support your views and ignore ones that are clearly in opposition? That's called intellectual dishonesty or don't confuse me with facts I've already made my mind up.
What do you find so offensive about dams, roads, and bridges not to mention, Internet, GPS satellites? Your assertion that if they needed to be built that the market would have done it are utterly false and somewhat naive. Government built the infrastructure so business could thrive.
The government backed rural electrification in the thirties. What private company would have built Hoover Dam that electrifies the entire South West—so that your private corporations generations later could start Silicone Valley. There are some projects that are needed that can only be accomplished by a UNITED effort of a whole country—as in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. How did you become such a hater of the government? I am really curious. Did a government bureaucrat drop you on your head when you were a baby? Are there agents hiding behind every pillar and post waiting to pounce on you?
The visible Holy Grail of statists!
To your point about the Holy Grail of Statists—Would that would make you a corporatist in favor of corporatism which believes in the control of the state by large interest groups. Say like "unregulated" corporations accountable only to their stock-holders who own the government and use it like a piggy bank at tax payers expense after they privatize every function of government.
I'd remind you that this is—still—a Democratic Republic. Not a fascist dictatorship. One man one vote—which the corporatist are trying to suppress in 40 states.
In fact in a new twist in Michigan—where the fascist Republican Congress and Governor of Michigan—have written a law that allows the state to send in a Financial Manager—who becomes a dictator who can fire the—"elected" mayor, town council—and public employees, sell the assets of the city or dissolve the city's incorporation entirely, without a vote. By fiat he can disenfranchise entire cities of their Constitutional right to elect the people they want to represent them. That's the logical conclusion of your—capitalistic, corporatist ideology.
But, then I forgot that is the Holy Grail of [Fascist] Corporatists.
Ignored unseen is everything else that could have been built had government not diverted trillions of dollars to public works. Ignored also are all the dams and roads and bridges that private people built because they needed a bridge or a road or a dam there.
Because I give credit to A does not mean I don't recognize the contributions of B.
Logic 101 Failed
Or are you talking about logging roads that no one else uses? Or dams a farmer might build to irrigate his fields? Or a bridge he might build to cross a creek on his property? Or a corporation that wants to build a oil pipeline that crosses the entire United States without being impeded by "regulations" of the hated government? What monumental private projects are you ranting about? Name a significant private dam or road that benefited anyone but the private interests of owner and I'll name a hundred the government did to build the infrastructure of this country that benefited everyone! If you had your way we still be using wagon rutted roads that only ox carts could get through.
But hey, at least we kept New Orleans under sea level!
non sequitur! (an unrelated thought that doesn't follow)
—invents the internet—
1 point: Al Gore!
0 points: Alexander Graham Bell for inventing the phone! Likewise, 0 points to all the individuals and private companies who invented phone lines, infrastructure, switching equipment, and more all across the nation, creating the Internet backbone! Government surely would have done that eventually as a public works project!
Zero points for AT&T inventing UNIX and transistors and who knows what else! None to IEEE for TCP/IP! Nada to Xerox for inventing Ethernet! Screw you, 3Com, for inventing networking! And no points either to Xerox, Apple, IBM, Commodore, Tandy, DEC, and all the others for inventing computers, or to Novell, DEC, Microsoft, Apple, and others for *inventing network operating systems!
You all get Zero Points because you didn’t work for the government and you did it with your own money instead of with taxpayer funds, and thus, your contribution to human progress counts for nothing!
Talk about random hatred! But that aside let us reason together. Again your attempt at logic is flawed: how does extolling the virtues of A—denigrate the virtues of B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I, J,K,L, M,N,O,P,Q, R, S,T,U, V,W,X ,Y, or Z for that matter.
Because I praise my oldest son does that mean I don't appreciate the virtues of my youngest son?
It's you that has trouble giving credit where credit is due. You're the one that attacked me remember? There are in fact many truly wonderful things that the capitalistic system provide— I 've never said otherwise, show me where and I'll retract it. Frankly, it's the "unregulated" part of capitalism I have tremendous difficulty with. And the adamantine irrational inflexible antigovernment anti-tax dogma neo-conservative capitalist espouses. Its irrational!
puts a man on the moon and in the process invents thousands of technological innovations that have created jobs beyond anything the private sector could ever hope to accomplish.
The government didn’t actually invent much of anything related to this stuff, it was mostly private sector companies. They just happened to be sucking up taxpayer funds to pay for it. And I thought this Weber guy was against taking from some to give to the rich? But here he celebrates the great things it can accomplish
NASA—a government agency, created in 1958—has spun off into the private sector over 30,000 thousand aerospace technologies that have and are benefiting many areas of concern to mankind*?
Do you have any idea of the millions of jobs that were created by that stuff you dismissed so off-handed? If it hadn't been for Kennedy challenging this nation and focusing the vision of the country‚ —none of that would have happened—you're a real piece of work.
Sucking up taxpayer money is your description not mine. I have said elsewhere that I supported tax subsidies that invested in technology and that give this Nation a technological future advantage, there is no inconsistency in what I have said as you imply. Rant on my friend, but you can't change the facts no matter how loudly you demagogue !
Not to confuse you—but speaking of "FACTS" here are some—of which—you obviously are unaware. I guess they don't cover them on Hate Radio and FAUX News.
Computerworld - "Forty years after astronauts on NASA's Apollo 11 spacecraft first landed on the moon, many experts say the historic event altered the course of space exploration as well man's view of itself in the universe.
The Apollo missions also had another major affect on the world -- rapidly accelerating the pace of technology development. The work of NASA engineers at the time caused a dramatic shift in electronics and computing systems, scientists say.
Without the research and development that went into those space missions, top companies like Intel Corp. may not have been founded, and the population likely wouldn't be spending a big chunk of work and free time using laptops and Blackberries to post information on Facebook or Twitter.
"During the mid- to late-1960s, when Apollo was being designed and built, there was significant advancement," said Scott Hubbard, who worked at NASA for 20 years before joining the faculty at Stanford University, where he is a professor in the aeronautics and astronautics department. "Power consumption. Mass. Volume. Data rate. All the things that were important to making space flight feasible led to major changes in technology. A little told story is how much NASA, from the Cold War up through the late '80s or early '90s affected technology."
It's fairly well-known that technology developed by NASA scientists routinely makes its way into products developed in the robotics, computer hardware and software, nanotechnology, aeronautics, transportation and health care industries. While the story that Tang, the bright orange powdered beverage, was developed for astronauts is just a myth, many other advancements - think micro-electromechanical systems, supercomputers and microcomputers, software and microprocessors - were also created using technology developed by NASA over the past half century.
Hubbard noted that overall, $7 or $8 in goods and services are still produced for every $1 that the government invests in NASA." Source: NASA's Apollo technology has changed history - Computerworld
*"Technology Application Teams have promoted the transfer of NASA technology to many industries. Many areas of concern to mankind have benefited from technological advancements in space. Many researchers might have been satisfied with the status quo, if new unexpected ideas hadn't become available from the Space Program. The electronics industry would have been satisfied with their vacuum tubes."
"Many of these benefits would have been missed, by a direct approach to a specific problem, due to fixation of purpose. Electrical engineers would have been satisfied with their vacuum tubes, without advancements from aerospace technology, for example." Source: Benefits: Technological Spin-offs*
Here's one of my favorite items from a list of NASA spin-offs at WikiAnswers: What good does NASA do
6. Computer Microprocessors / Software - Bill Gates and Intel didn't invent operating systems and computers - they just used existing technology from the Space Program for their benefit, and the rest of the us.
By the way smart-ass—Those spinoff's include transistors—the building block of all modern electronics, because NASA was looking for ways to reduce weight— and they were used in every one of the other advances that followed and that you falsely claim as crowning achievements of "private enterprise"—none of them would have been accomplished without your "hated government." Including your exemplar Apple.
Of course NOW " that the masters of the universe" see PROFIT and they want to privatize NASA.
It’s the problem—that launched synchronized satellites that allows GPS and cell phones to operate?
How do you know that wouldn’t have happened anyway?
WOW!—It didn't—that's how.
"Many of these benefits would have been missed, by a direct approach to a specific problem, due to fixation of purpose. Electrical engineers would have been satisfied with their vacuum tubes, without advancements from aerospace technology, for example." Source: Benefits: Technological Spin-offs
The Captains of industry and masters of the universe had no reason to expend capital on that massive a system until it saw a potential for profit—which was after the fact. But I am sure wishful thinking would have gotten us there someday. Not!
You keep using iPod as your exemplar—what value would your exemplar have if there were no satellite system to bounce off. I was alive when Kennedy challenged this nation to put a man on the moon, which triggered the American race into space and paved the way for all the space related technologies that followed. It inspired and galvanized the entire Nation that focused on education on science and mathematics.
It's what real leaders do regardless of political affiliation and that includes Eisenhower who built the interstate highway system, Roosevelt who, busted monopolies that were strangling American markets, and started the National Park system and Lincoln who freed the slaves.
It’s the problem that controls disputes and conflicts that maintains order and civility.
Finally, he gets to the single legitimate function of government. Boy, that took a while, didn’t it? Still though, government sucks at maintaining order and civility; it is constantly trying to start wars and murder foreigners and trample the rights of its own citizens.
Single function? Did you take Civics? No? Didn't think so!
Here are a few you forgot: 1. the regulation of monetary system. 2. regulation of the economy through interstate commerce, 3. preventing huge concentrations of private power 4. provide for the general welfare, 5. provide for the common defense, 6. protect individual rights from the tyranny of the majority or a well form minority 7. collect taxes for the proper functioning of government. 8. regulate and coin money and set its value 9. establish post roads 10. regulate communication 11. transportation 12. build a navy - whose traditional purpose has always been to protect commercial interests 13. regulate bankruptcy, 14 &15 to “regulate” interstate and foreign commerce.
Civics 101 Failed
It’s the problem—that helps educate our young and care for our old and sick.
Here again, Weber fails to distinguish between federal and state governments. The feds should have nothing to do with educating our young, and it is demonstrable that federal meddling is the prime reason our educational system is failing.
The STATES? Really?
If it were left to the "STATES" as you suggest—we would still have "separate but equal education" in the South.
Are you suggesting we go back to a segregated school systems?
I lived through that period in American history and it was ugly. George, "I am a f-ing racist", Wallace—Governor of the STATE of Alabama stood in the door of the University of Alabama an blocked blacks from attending—until the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT booted his ass to the curb. That was repeated all over the South where every—Southern STATE—still had Jim Crowe laws—and every Southern STATE claimed STATES RIGHTS to deny—education to blacks—all over the South.
YOU ARE SPEWING ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT. All of this took place less than—FIFTY YEARS AGO—Are you ignorant when it comes to American History? I forget your are an uninformed godless capitalist. For your edification try reading something that is informative: This is a start for you on how—Southern STATES—educated young blacks. Jim Crow laws - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia — Separate but equal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia — Desegregation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
And socialists hate caring for the old and the sick in their families, which is why they are always so eager to pawn it off on other taxpayers.
WOW your random hatred is showing—again.
FYI my Grandmother lived in our family home until she was 93. My mother-in-law was given at home hospice-care by my wife and myself until she required 24 hour hospice care the last three weeks of her life. And private nursing homes put leans on seniors homes and assets to pay for their care. As for poorer citizens who have no assets maybe we should let them die in the streets after all they are just a bunch of leeches.
It’s the problem—that rushes into burning collapsing buildings and try’s to save lives.
Hooray for firemen! Wait, is there a federal fire department? Fire departments are local, not federal, but in a socialist’s wet dream, everything is federal and paid for by The Rich at no cost to them.
Firemen are public employees not private sector employees—they are funded by Federal and State taxes— Yes Mike they are "government" employees. Who—you and your greedy bastard friends—want to break and deprive of their unions, along with teachers, police, like in Wisconsin.
It’s the problem—that comes to our aid when natural disasters strike.
Woah, is Weber really going to hold up FEMA disaster response as something laudable? FEMA is the biggest hindrance to aid and recovery after a natural disaster! Private charities are always there first, providing the most efficient help, then FEMA shows up and gets in the way.
When Republicans say "Government is broken—its because they broke it—on purpose—and they're not complaining they are bragging." Like their "attempts" in 2006 to fix the USPS by requiring that it put aside 75 years of funding for pensions in under ten years which is what's causing the huge deficits and causing them to lay off hundreds of thousands of workers and closing rural post offices. All because Issa wants to privatize it. He will cost thousands of workers their jobs to satisfy his greed.
And to your point—under Bush—"the master 0f disaster'"—who appointed—"way to go Brownie"—the most utterly incompetent secretary of anything to walk on two legs—entrenches such incompetents to foster its the ideology of "hating the government" and to make the point that "government doesn't work"—by appointing someone who will prove the point—but, I was thinking more of the National Guard and Coast Guard. And FEMA use to work before it became a dumping ground for Republican political appointees bent on destroying its credibility. I know it did, because, it worked extremely well in 1957 when my home town was hit by a monster tornado.
Without the interstate how would they move their cheaply made inferior outsourced products from China. Where would they be without the internet. Where would they be without the stability that a strong government provides.
Ooo, more random hate. Where indeed would they be? Would that “stability” include never knowing how much it will cost to hire and insure another employee next year? Like whether you’ll be able to afford to hire 3 burger flippers for $7.25 an hour this year, but have to lay one off next year if Congress bumps minimum wage up a couple dollars? Or how many tax forms you’ll have to fill out depending on whether or not the new 1099 regulation is passed or repealed? Or not knowing how much time you’ll have to spend dealing with OSHA, NLRB, BATFE, or any of the other armies of regulators who could put you out of business if you fail to please them?
Random hate? WOW! Liberals used as a pejorative? They abandon their sick? Communist? Socialist? Bleeding hearts? leeches? dishonest? ignorant? stupid? Me—random hatred? I even love you—not in a gay way—but in a love your neighbor kind of way.
Where in either of those two sentences did I use a pejorative that would make you utter such absolute baloney? Was it the word inferior? You don't think corporations are capable of turning out inferior products and selling them at premium prices? I have purchased them I know they turn out crap. As for stability my friend the reason our country is able to grow such a large and prosperous economy is because we offer a stable environment in which to do business. Your example of the tin pot dictator nationalizing oil wells proves my point and proves yours pointless.
No entrepreneur worth a flip ever goes into business knowing "every risk", he goes into business because he has an idea that he believes is the best thing since sliced bread. And then if they have the guts they go for it.
I know that for a fact because I started a business from scratch on a shoestring. I faced many hurdles and overcame them through perseverance, and creativity.
Your exemplar Steve Jobs started in his garage and overcame years of playing second fiddle to Bill Gates neither ever considered any of the things you find so compelling. Jobs would have given up after he was fired from Apple if he took the path you are suggesting. Your ardent ideology seems rather superficial and untested, maybe you just like to hear yourself talk.
Army of regulators? Put you out of business? Tell that joke to the "banksters" that nearly brought down the world economy—and they are now sitting on billions of dollars that they won't lend out—which was brought back from the brink by the hated government and the taxpayers of this country.
Are you eff-ing serious? You speak as though you have been through an ordeal, but offer no evidence except your delusional opinions. When did you ever face any of the problems you suggest?
They sound more like excuses for your own failures.
They say that “our” government is the problem. It seems to me the only time its a problem is when it doesn’t favor their selfish point of view and they can’t buy enough political clout to get their way.
No duh. That’s the way it always has been and always will be – the problem is always “the other guy’s government.” If only our guy were in charge, everything would be better.
But seriously, if you eliminated all the unconstitutional chunks of government, all the problems would go away.
At last we get to your point after wading through a lot of pointless diatribe! There really is a difference that leaders make. Its not about "the other guy, its about the Nation—its about not ruining the Nation—just to stop Obama.
Your guy Bush had eight years and ran us into a ditch which we are just now getting out of due to the intervention of the hated government and "my guy" did that—your guy sucked.
Osama is dead and Chrysler and GMC are alive.
And I know it sucks for you that the economy is in a slow but steady recovery, but, the proof is in the pudding. You want Obama to fail so badly that you and yours are willing to see the entire country fail and people suffer just to prove your cock-a-mammy ideas will work the second time around.
They won't. "Insanity is repeating a failed behavior and expecting different results."