The Watering Hole, Monday, February 9, 2015: Right Wing Libertarian Stupidity

Fox Business host John Stossel, formerly a mustache at ABC News, tried to make the absurd argument that because government is incompetent, people would be better off in a disaster getting help from companies like Walmart and from private charities. Ironically, he used the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina as his justification for the incompetence of government. As usual, especially where right-wing libertarians are concerned, he’s wrong. (NOTE: RW Libertarians, like John Stossel and Senator Rand Paul, are sometimes right but for the wrong reasons. For example, Sen Paul thinks we shouldn’t be giving financial aid to Israel. But it’s not because of Israel’s well-documented human rights abuses, it’s because he doesn’t think we should be giving foreign aid to anybody, not just Israel. He’s right about aid to Israel, but for the wrong reasons.) The FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina was a disaster precisely because the person heading the agency was the wrong person for the job. It’s not that government CAN’T work, it’s that government WON’T work in the hands of conservatives (who don’t believe in government services other than police and military.) The mistake the Republicans made was putting FEMA under the authority of Homeland Security, and treating it as if it would only respond to terrorist attacks. Michael Brown had no emergency management experience and should never have been confirmed for the job. And if you think it wouldn’t have mattered who was in charge of FEMA, I say you’re wrong. I would have loved to see James Lee Witt in charge of FEMA. I’m convinced fewer people would have died had be been in charge.

Stossel believes in an idea made famous by Friedrich Hayek called Spontaneous Order. The gist is that order will emerge from chaos, but there is disagreement on whether or not this can really be applied to economic systems. Those arguments center around whether or not there is any government planning or involvement at all. But what Stossel and his mustache maintain is that in a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, private corporations and charities could give people a better response than government can (again, based on Katrina.) I couldn’t disagree more. If delivering supplies was all that was needed in a disaster, then he might be right. But FEMA does much, much more than that. FEMA prioritizes search and rescue efforts, and they move people, equipment and medical supplies where they are needed most (when it’s led by someone competent, like Mr. Witt.) Stossel’s opinion is predicated on his (false) belief that government cannot do anything competently. And it’s very easy to prove him wrong.

The reason I know John Stossel is wrong is because I have heard of John Stossel. I know who he is, and have for several decades. And the only reason I know who he is is because the government set up a system whereby people could broadcast images on certain frequencies, to be received by devices built under government guidelines (or else you’d have to have a different TV to receive broadcasts from different companies), and under certain guidelines about content where news programs were concerned. In other words, if not for the government he hates so much, not many people would have heard of John Stossel. It would be nice if he could remember that once in a while.

This is our open thread. Be spontaneous, but do it in any order you like.


59 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, February 9, 2015: Right Wing Libertarian Stupidity

  1. Hey, why not privatize emergency response. That way, emergency responders will only have to attend to the needs of those who have contracted with the emergency response company. It reminds me of the folks whose house burnt to the ground, while the fire department watched, and made sure their neighbor’s house didn’t burn, because their neighbor paid the fire fee, and they didn’t.

    The tax money saved by shutting down all search and rescue operations can be used to fund mercenaries hired to keep those who didn’t pay their search and rescue fees from climbing into the lifeboats.

  2. The gist is that order will emerge from chaos

    Stossel clearly has never studied physics. Entropy is a standard thermodynamic principle which refers to the idea that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to disorder, and entropy is the measurement of that change.Everything in the universe” includes, of course, human society which, in the US, has devolved from the societal order implicit in a Democratic Republic to the “money rules, not the people” disorder implicit in the Oligarchich Plutocracy preached by Neocons and extreme right wing fascistic politics. One of the four definitions of entropy in is, in fact, “a doctrine of inevitable social decline and degeneration.”

    I think “the gist” of all of that is that the Republican Party has emerged as an unwitting and ignorant tool of entropic physics by assisting the conversion of order to chaos via their anti-people and pro-money/power politic.

    • Ya!…’s those immigrants dammit! this is Amurka, they can take their S’s back across the border.

  3. I understand we got to see Kim Kardashian’s gigantic ass again on the Grammys last night.

    No, the other one.

    • It wouldn’t be the Grammy’s without Kanye bitching that Beyonce didn’t win everything.

  4. Weird giant sunfish reveal secrets

    We finally know why a huge, odd and enigmatic fish likes to sunbathe


    The discovery is a reminder that the deep sea is “still a frontier” says Nakamura, and only by increasingly observing the ocean depths will we unlock it secrets.

  5. More pHuckabee:

    “You have to lie to people, and when lies permeate our culture, it’s a dangerous, dangerous thing,” said Mike pHuckabee. He ought to know, I guess.

    He added, “Craziest thing I’ve ever heard is some of the Christian groups that I know, and I know the people involved in them, are called hate groups. Really? What makes them a hate group?” Maybe it’s the fact that they hate so much, so many, so often?

    • You scoff…

      “Who is to say that one day AIs might not even lead humans to new levels of holiness?”

      The pastor is seriously deranged.
      Then again, he could join the Mormons on whatever planet they land on in the ‘afterlife’…

    • “I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings,” Benek said in an interview with the futurist Zoltan Istvan. “It’s redemption to all of creation . . .”

      Cockroaches! Yay! They'll fit right in!

    • It will never work the way they think it will. Computers are logic machines that will not understand faith based programs!

    • hmm, wonder what this woman thinks of the idea

      South Korean woman’s hair ‘eaten’ by robot vacuum cleaner as she slept

      The woman, whose name is being withheld, was taking a nap on the floor at home when the vacuum cleaner locked on to her hair and sucked it up, apparently mistaking it for dust.

      The agony of having her hair entangled in the bowels of the contraption roused the woman from her slumber.

      Unable to free herself, she called the fire department with a “desperate rescue plea” and was separated from the robot’s clutches by paramedics, according to the South Korean newspaper the Kyunghyang Shinmun.

    • You know what would be awesome? A Vine of that bird, that close-up, but the eye moves starting from staring straight at you, moving side-to-side, then ending back staring at you before repeating. The head remains still, only the eyeball moves. That’d be cool! 🙂

      • Wayne, I know nothing of Vine.
        From your description that would be a great ‘look who’s watching you’!

        • It’s a short, repeating clip, usually no longer than six seconds. An example is my post below. It has a Vine of Gov Christie falling on his ass. (Notice the room shaking. 🙂 )

  6. After all that has happened it should be impossible for the rightwhiners to surprise me with their level of stupidity and insanity. But? They can still pull it off.

  7. While Merkel and Obama talk about not doing jack shit to stop Putin…… the Russian army continues to pound Ukranian lines, now encircling the town of Debaltseve. Obama and Merkel haven’t even decided on any ‘red lines’ and the Red Army keeps moving the line further and further into Ukraine.

  8. Charles Manson, fiancee, ‘call off wedding’ after bizarre plot

    Manson’s engagement to a woman 53 years his junior was part of a wild scheme of hers to profit by putting his body on public display after his death, says the author of an upcoming book.

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