Question for Libertarians

Note the capital “L.” I mean those who support the Libertarian Party, or Randites, or “Rational Anarchists” ala Heinlein, or, as Patrick says, those who want to sell the streets and privatize meat inspection.

This isn’t an effort at argument (though no doubt one will ensue), but a request for information. I’m wondering what the canonical answer is to the charge that without state control, nothing would prevent child labor, and similar abuses. It’s an obvious enough question that I’m sure it’s come up. If someone could run it down for me I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

Obama's Mistake

There is an episode of “The West Wing,” I think from season 3, where there’s an exchange something like this: “Why is this such a big deal?” “Because it’s the classic Washington mistake: he accidentally told the truth.”

No, I am certainly no supporter of Obama. But I think the WSWS analysis that I linked to on the sidebar is spot on–he’s in trouble because a little piece of truth accidentally slipped out. This does nothing to raise my opinion of him, but the flap created by it is certainly another confirmation of what we all knew about US politics.

There are probably more conclusions one could draw from this. Call this thread an invitation for anyone who feels like drawing conclusions.

Obama Security

There’s a great deal of talk just now about the Secret Service decision at a rally in Dallas to not provide security for Obama (see my recent sidebar). My own take on it is in two parts: first, it feels a lot like the administration is testing the waters: “Can we get away with this?” More significantly, that the notion of an assassination (or, if you prefer, permitting an assassination) is even being considered points to deep divisions within the ruling class.

It’s only the pseudo-Marxists who talk as if the ruling class is a single, homogeneous bloc. They have their divisions too: different sections have different interests, and different means of protecting their profits. Some, apparently, don’t think Obama’s ties to Wall Street, and the reassurances he gives with every speech that corporate interests will not be harmed, are sufficient.

It goes without saying that when Obama says, “my number one job as president will be to keep the American people safe. And I will do whatever is required to accomplish that, and I will not hesitate to act against those that would do America harm. Now, that involves maintaining the strongest military on earth…” and “I believe in the free market…We don’t believe in government doing what we can do for ourselves” I believe him. I’m fairly sure most sections of ruling class believe him too; but many of them question is whether he can actually pull off the continuing attacks on rights and living standards that they need.

— skzb

Well, nuts

You have to understand, I really like the World Socialist Web Site. I agree with them about 90% of the time, and am actually impressed with the reporting and analysis at least once a week, often much more frequently, which is pretty damned good. So when they blow it, I take it personally.

Here is a passage from Sandy English’s review of the new book by Junet Diaz: “In his spoken language, Oscar uses ‘a lot of huge-sounding nerd words like indefatigable and ubiquitous.’ But he wouldn’t find these in most science fiction, so he must read other things—history, science, the New Yorker—to acquire these words, and these works must have an effect on him.”

I can’t blame the reviewer for not being familiar with the subculture of fandom, but, really, Sandy English ought not to discuss science fiction without having read some of it. Pfui.