Monday, August 22, 2011

Glibertarian solutions

Government should not be in the business of protecting people from themselves. If people want to go swimming, they should take responsibility for their own safety and make sure they have sufficient training and experience to handle it. If they die... well, just consider it evolution in action, right?

Oops, sorry about that, was just chanting Libertarian mantras there for a moment. But that same logic is used by glibertarians to lobby against OSHA, so it's not an unfair comparison. The Glibertarian screed goes "government should not be involved in setting workplace safety standards, workers should take responsibility for their own safety and make sure they have sufficient training and experience to handle it. If they die... well, just consider it evolution in action, right?"

My grandfather lost his hearing because there was no OSHA when he was young and the sawmill put him right by the planer with no hearing protection. I suppose he should have known that he was going to lose his hearing if he worked the planer, but how was he supposed to know that? As far as I know, nobody teaches in school that if you are around loud noises all the time you'll lose your hearing -- especially not in 1928, when schooling in rural Louisiana was rather rudimentary, basically reading, riting, and rithmetic, even speling was somewhat optional. It took OSHA coming in and forcing employers to post signs and provide earplugs that protected the hearing of later generations of sawmill workers... not to mention the limbs and lives saved by forcing sawmills to put protective guards around blades and belts to prevent most of the ways that you could get your hand or arm stuck in the works while feeding or guiding lumber through the process. At which point the Glibertarian response is, "well, the workers knew the job was dangerous when they took it, and if they couldn't deal with the danger, they should have taken another job." Uhm, yes, they knew it was dangerous. It's still dangerous, occasionally someone does something stupid and manages to hurt himself. It's just *less* dangerous today, in ways that workers had no control over previously. Because a worker not only would not have had power to add all the protective guards around gear, he wouldn't have even known that such protective guards existed, thanks the the policy of our industrial elite of keeping our plebes stupid and easily led. At which point the Glibertarian sneers, "it's their own fault for not taking initiative to educate themselves", at which point we're done because we've basically established that dead bodies, like, give Glibertarians woodies and shit. Alrighty, then!

-- Badtux the Glib Penguin


  1. I remember when deregulation was first coming into vogue during the latter half of the Carter administration. OSHA was one of the earliest targets of the pro-corporate Glibbo forces. They could always find some silly protective regulation that they would hold up for ridicule in propagandist columns by people like Robert Novak. At the time, I thought OSHA was part of the nanny state's overreach. Looking back from a perspective of more than 30 years later, I can see how that was the initiation of the Glib War on the American People.

  2. Whenever I talk to people who think that things like OSHA and other labor laws aren't a good idea, I think of my own grandfather who was a coal minor in Pennsylvania back in the early part of the last century.

    One story in particular stands out. There was a collapse at the mine and men were trapped and it took several days to get them out. My grandmother talked a lot about how worried she was for his safety but also how damaging it was for their family financially because the mine company didn't pay the men for the time they were stuck in the mine because of the collapse. Seriously. It is a reminder to me of how employers would treat their workers if they could and how important it is that we have laws to protect ourselves from such treatment.

  3. Rand Paul: And being born Black was a wrong color choice....

  4. At its heart, conservatism - when it uses brain power at all* - is a pseudo-intellectual attempt to justify the existence of a privileged elite. And glibertatianism is a particularly strained version of conservatism, since it pretends to be principled in some abstract way.

    Clearly, glibs have a limited to non-existent appreciation or acceptance to the idea of the commons: everything should be private property, else how could the concept of poaching exist?

    What is also clear, as pointed out in this post and the comments, is that they deny the power-asymmetry of the worker-employer relationship. In a world where you really could just go down the street and find a better job, their arguments might make some sort of sense.

    And I guess they have to believe that, because in their view the supply side is always controlling, and the demand side is irrelevant. Workers supply labor, so they must have the upper hand - or at least an even footing against trans-national mega-corporation.

    * The 4 pillars of conservative mental processes are ignorance, prejudice, magical thinking, and falsification.

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  6. I am unaware of anybody threatening to put you in jail for eating food, Purple. That's what makes Libertarians look so ridiculous to the majority of Americans -- they always pull out these outrageous accusations, "the Democrats want to outlaw fat!", to justify bolting the only party that in recent history has cared at all for the rights of individuals. Ask yourself which party is attempting to keep individuals from voting, and which party unequivocally supports the right of individuals to vote, and you have your answer, because the right to vote is the right from which all other rights follow.

    -- Badtux the Answers Penguin

  7. Maybe this is what he was talking about,

  8. Maybe this is what Bukko was talking about.

  9. You ARE aware, I hope, of the fact that there has been a rash of illnesses caused recently by raw milk, including several deaths? From 1998 through 2008, 86 outbreaks due to consumption of raw milk or raw milk products were reported to CDC. These resulted in 1,676 illnesses, 191 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths. And those are the *REPORTED* illnesses.

    You're perfectly free to drink raw milk, but selling raw milk is a different story -- just as it should be. You are free to drink arsenic-laced Kool-aide if you feel it's going to make your cheeks rosy and good looking, as Victorian women often did. But *selling* arsenic-laced Kool-aide is a different story. You have a right to harm *yourself*, but you do *not* have a right to harm *others* by selling them harmful products, and people who state they have such a right are sociopathic anarchists, period, regardless of how good their PR machine is that their dangerous product is not, in fact, dangerous.

    - Badtux the "What next, sell cyanide-laced Kool-aide to children?" Penguin

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  11. Perhaps you would like to look at which political party has been in the lead regarding decriminalization of marijuana here in California? Hint: Starts with a "D":). Let us just say that I have no problem getting as many special brownies as I wish, all I need to do is attend any street festival in San Francisco.

    My big beef with the "raw milk" folks is that they are selling their milk as a "healthier" alternative to sterilized milk, when it isn't. The whole point of simply prohibiting the sale of dangerous foods is that the majority of people lack sufficient information to determine whether something is dangerous or not. I would be amenable to allowing interstate sales of raw milk *IF* each container was required to include a disclaimer stating that it was dangerous and could lead to illness or death, and *IF* any health claims for raw milk were expressly prohibited (because there is no -- zero -- evidence that raw milk is in any way helpful, and plenty that it is harmful), but that's not the Glibertarian position, which is simply that the raw milk industry should be allowed to poison as many people as it wishes while claiming their product is "healthy".

    The fact, pure and simple, is that Glibertarians thus are either complicit with fraudsters, or in some case engaged in fraud themselves (see Ron Paul's various gold scams). I don't see how you can defend fraud, but (shrug)... I'm not a Glibertarian.

    - Badtux the Food Safety Penguin

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  13. Righht.... which is why all the Glibertarian critiques of the ban on interstate raw milk sales mention that raw milk is bad for you and has no proven medical advantages over sterilized milk.

    Oh wait, no, they all take on the outraged tone of "Big gummint is trying to keep a healthful thing off the market!" despite the fact that said "healthful" thing has sickened probably thousands and killed probably dozens. Or did you read the link that our Glibertarian buddy posted above?

    - Badtux the Not-so-glib Penguin


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