Sunday, October 10, 2010

Burning Down The House :FireFighters Libertarians & Ayn Rand "Objectivist"

UPDATED, Revised, Edited , mulled over at 11:53 AM , Oct. 10, 2010.

"But you see, the inevitable consequence of objectivism is that moral vs. immoral behavior becomes inexorably blurred in the brains of the Randian true believer."

From: "Ayn Rand at work: firefighters let house burn down, owner forgot $75 fee" by D.K. Jamaal Post-Partisan Examiner at October 7th, 2010

Menu for today- Sunday Sermon

Privatization's inevitable consequences
Ayn Rand summed up -Altruism is a concept invented by the weak to take advantage of the strong .
Libertarianism & Lew Rockwell Foundation
To save money state governments cutting social services at what Price???

Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground
Reporter - Jason Hibbs Photojournalist - Mark Owen
Sep 29, 2010

Unfettered capitalism at work:
Fire chief arrives at your house while it is burning- his first question Cash or credit card no personal cheques please.

This incident does point to the downside and moral bankruptcy of a libertarian ideology or the bizarre "Objectivism" of Ayn Rand.(Neocons also have similar issues about Altruism, big government etc.) The author below takes apart this sort of craven attitude of capitalism or individualism, self-reliance taken to their logical extremes .

Uberconservatives, Libertarians, Ayn Randians and tea party know nothings who have lived a charmed life are certain that there is no such thing as community instead there are sovereign individuals who must look after themselves and not each other unless there is some profit to be made or the act gives one an advantage of some sort. All other acts are deemed altruistic .

Altruism to Ayn Rand was a dirty word it was a loathsome trumped up concept invented by the weak to take advantage of the strong. To take her at her word then helping out the poor, the weak, the infirm, the mentally retarded or mentally ill or old people is just a lot of altruistic nonsense which is made worse if it is institutionalized as part of government policy ie welfare, medicare etc. Her attitude is similar to that of "social Darwinism" which is a bastardized version of Darwinian evolution misappropriated to justify selfishness and egotism . According to this view the strong, the more intelligent, the more creative individuals who make up the natural elite are to be awarded and the weak left to die off thereby reducing their numbers. The "Objectivist" Neocon (Yuppie or neoliberal )view is one of passive eugenics .

A man sees a fire runs to help out in whatever way he can-what pops into one's head a fool who believes others would do the same or a good citizen, a decent person ,possibly a hero.

Ayn Rand summed up:

The Ayn Rand sovereign individualist must reason out the advantage of acting as opposed to not acting. In an Ayn Rand "objectivist" society a man runs to help out someone who's house is on fire and the other neighbors laugh and make fun of him . In their view he is acting the fool. It would be like a store owner during a natural disaster giving food and other needed items away for free. When he should either just protect his merchandise or if possible as we saw in Haiti for instance sell it at a bigger profit to those with the wherewithal .Now that's the free unfettered Market place at work. NOTE: my rant continued after Joshua Holland article see below:

Joshua Holland uses this incident to deconstruct Ayn Rand and Libertarianism which is just Me First and the Bottom Line types who lack compassion or common decency.
He presents examples of this sort of attitude and policy making based on it which leads to other costs to a community and merely adds to the misery of the average citizen.cut backs in various states resulting in major cuts in social services . law enforcement, medical care, schools , public transportation, prisons etc. (of course money wouldn't be such a problem if America could stop its Empire building and its delusional behavior fighting wars for profit or just to play bully)

Ayn Rand Conservatism at Work -- Firefighters Let Family's House Burn Down Because Owner Didn't Pay $75 Fee by Joshua Holland October 4, 2010

Talk of limited government is appealing until you see what it actually means in practice: a society in which it's every man for himself.

Thanks to 30 years of right-wing demagoguery about the evils of “collectivism” and the perfidy of “big government” -- and a bruising recession that’s devastated state and local budgets -- we’re getting a peek at a dystopian nightmare that may be in our not-too-distant future. It’s a picture of a society in which “rugged individualism” run amok means every man for himself.

Call it Ayn Rand’s stark, anti-governmental dream come true, a vision that last week turned into a nightmare for Gene Cranick, a rurual homeowner in Obion County, Tennessee. Cranick hadn’t forked over $75 for the subscription fire protection service offered to the county’s rural residents, so when firefighters came out to the scene, they just stood there, with their equipment on the trucks, while Cranick’s house burned to the ground. According to the local NBC TV affiliate, Cranick “said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn't do anything to stop his house from burning.”

...Firefighting is perhaps the most frequently cited example of a good that the private sector simply isn’t suited to provide. We now deem the task of putting out fires a “public good” -- something individuals can’t decide to forgo without the potential of hurting others. But as I note in my new book, The Fifteen Biggest Lies About the Economy, it wasn’t always so. In the early years of our Republic, in cities like Boston and New York, small, privately operated fire brigades vied for property-owners’ business. You’d pay a small fee, and they’d give you a placard to hang on your door identifying you as a client. If a fire did break out, the company would—in theory, anyway—come and douse the flames.

....It was a libertarian wet dream, but it was utterly disastrous. Sometimes, several fires broke out simultaneously. Small, independent fire companies could respond to only one or two at a time—they were constrained by their own limited personnel and equipment. It wasn’t profitable to maintain the capacity to deal with a rare occurrence like multiple fires breaking out at once; if a fire company did devote the resources necessary to maintain that capacity, it would then be at a competitive disadvantage with its rivals. That’s why in the modern world, if a massive fire breaks out, fire companies from across a municipality can respond together, specifically because they’re not in competition.

And although one can live just fine without consumer goods—nobody ever died for lack of an iPod—society as a whole suffers a lot of damage from less-than-ideal fire control. While hiring, or not being able to hire, a fire brigade was a private matter that accorded nicely with the principles of the free market, it was also a transaction that came with what economists call negative “externalities”: effects that a transaction between two parties can have on a third. In this case, those effects are fairly obvious: a fire that isn’t properly extinguished can spread rapidly to neighboring homes, potentially resulting in a disastrous conflagration that could consume the whole neighborhood. In Obion County, the firefighters who watched Cranick’s house burn down only responded to the fire once it had spread to the property of a neighbor who’d paid the fee.

Firefighting is like many other goods that are vital to a healthy society but which the private sector isn’t suited to provide. That’s why the conservative rhetoric about “limited government” is only appealing in the abstract -- people really, really like living in a society with adequately funded public services. They like what government does in the specific, even if they have an inherent suspicion of the idea of “big government.”

Translated into the real world of politics and policy, limited government looks something like Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s response to her state’s fiscal crisis. Earlier this year, Brewer signed a budget that eliminated the Children’s Health Insurance Program, denying health care to 47,000 low-income kids in Arizona. She also proposed a hike in the state sales tax—the most regressive tax, whose burden falls disproportionately on working people.

Joining Arizona in eliminating health insurance for the poor was Tennessee, which cut 100,000 people from its Medicaid rolls, including 8,000 children. One of those people was Jessica Pipkin, who lost the use of her arms and legs in a car accident in 2005. Pipkin requires round-the-clock care—at $37 per hour—but was told she would lose her benefits because she and her husband earn too much to qualify. Are they rich? Well, her husband makes $19,000 as a satellite television repairman, and Pipkin receives another $14,000 in Social Security benefits.

Unfortunately there are uber conservatives , libertarians , Ayn Rand's objectivists who would defend privatizing fire-departments and then instituting an optional fee. They see this as a triumph for individualism and for unfettered capitalism. they believe that it would be a case of altruism on the part of the community to provide fire department services for instance to the poor , the destitute who can't afford the fee or are unable to pay their taxes or who are dependent on welfare from the municipality and so their taxes as such are waived. The libertarian or Objectivist on a matter of ideological philosophical principle would prefer the house burn down even it led to the deaths of the

According to this view could a municipality have an optional payment for road work so a street would be fixed up or repaved except in front of those houses in which the owners opted out.
What do you do to people who opt out of a sewage treatment facility do you block their out-take pipes and by doing so create an mess which would endanger the health of the community.

The libertarians and Objectivists are for the most part against big government and pro-business and believe that the buyer of good does not deserve a guarantee that the product is safe to use. To ensure the safety of a product by having government inspectors they see as an attack on private business. So if one buys a shampoo which causes all your hair to fall out that's your look out Caveat Emptor let the buyer be ware . This has been a refrain of Ultraconservative Americans since at least the mid 19th century. Businesses and corporations are to be left to their own devices and are not to be interfered with by government regulations etc. Accordingly there is ipso facto no such thing as corporate responsibility. Even though the US Supreme Court has given the same rights as an individual American citizen to Corporations the corporations are not to be shackled with any concrete form of responsibility or liability. If BP creates a massive oil spill so what says the libertarian or Randian true believer. The corporation is to be defended because it creates jobs and wealth no matter that it might pollute or that the wealth goes to a few individuals.

If a person buys a car and the car's brakes fail due to a manufacturers defect and the passengers are killed well the libertarian says so what? What has that got to do with the seller of the car or the manufacturer of the car. The libertarian view is that this is bad PR for the company and people will stop buying these cars .To them the market place kicks in to punish those who produce defective products . But a recall would be an option left to the manufacturer . If their sales go down they go out of business. And these true believers would also be against any sort of legal action or litigation against the manufacturer by the government or the individuals who bought these cars or who lost love ones because of these defective products.

To use another example let's consider the privatization of police forces and prisons. For the CEO's in charge of a prison the more the prison population grows the more money will be made. The longer people stay in prisons again this means more profit . Rehabilitation for instance would not be high on the agenda of a privately run prison since repeat offenders means more prisoners and more profit. Rachel Maddow discussed this at length referring to practices already taking place in the American penal system. (see video at end of post) It also affects the what would constitute jail-able offenses and the length of sentences . So these private prison corporations and complexes would be lobbying to increase prison time for offenses and it would benefit their bottom line by adding more actions which would be deemed criminal and requiring time spent in prison.

If these prisons are privatized then according to Libertarian Objectivists line of reasoning there could not be any sort of government oversight and regulations since big business is good and big government is bad.

So if the prisoners are abused, tortured or given substandard food which is also less than what an individual needs ie calories so what.
Though some libertarians or Objectivists might prefer the old days of rough justice so that people would gather together as a mob who then hold a "kangaroo court" for someone accused of a criminal offense followed by a good old lynching party.

Ayn Rand at work: firefighters let house burn down, owner forgot $75 fee " by D.K. Jamaal Post-Partisan Examiner at October 7th, 2010

Objectivism is a fantastic and twisted ideology for morally bankrupt people who cannot grasp simple differences between right and wrong otherwise understood by first graders.

It is what happens when cold Soviet style intellectualism trumps reality.

Fetishsizing capitalism to its fascistic extremes, it arrives at the false conclusion that selfishness is a virtue. This notion is attractive to teenagers, many of whom go through an Ayn Rand phase.

Most grow up, wake up, and grow out of it. The immature few remain objectivists.

We first saw objectivism at play this election cycle with the elevation of tea party candidate Rand Paul, who – though a grown man – still does not grasp the rather simple fact that the passage of the Civil Rights Act in the 60s officially ending institutionalized discrimination was a net positive for the United States of America.

Asked whether he would have supported it, he launched into some pseudo intellectual wannabe nonsense argument about states’ rights and interstate commerce and capitalism, leaving the impression that he was sour on civil rights.

Of course, the correct answer was, ‘Yes.’

But you see, the inevitable consequence of objectivism is that moral vs. immoral behavior becomes inexorably blurred in the brains of the Randian true believer.

Legislation that ends institutionalized bigtory? Good. Continued denial of basic freedom and equality to American citizens? Bad. Simple stuff for most folks, but impossible dilemma for the objectivist.

Let’s try another. If you have the means and the power to stop a person’s house from burning to the ground with his pets inside, should you intervene or not?

Most people will answer yes.

The objectivist will ask, ‘Did he pay the firefighting fee?’

In rural Tennessee, firefighters let a house burn to the ground because its services are ‘pay to spray’: the area's fire response operates by a fee for service delivery model.

and concludes that : By not putting out the fire, the department put this family's neighbors at serious risk. In fact, the fire DID spread to a neighboring property – a neighbor who had paid the fee. Only then did the fire department arrive. But it should never have gotten to that point.

If the neighbor had not paid the fee either, would the whole county now be burning while the department sat on its hands?

Even those who believe in limited government recognize that constitutions provide for defense, protection, and preservation of the general welfare. It serves no good for governments to allow fires to rage -- killing animals, wildlife, destroying homes and ecosystems -- to prove a point about privatization.

Cranick in fact offered to pay the fee while his house was burning. He was refused. That’s stubborn, stupid and dangerous.

If the government allows private agencies to protect and defend citizens, fine. But those private agencies are then constitutionally -- and morally -- obligated to protect and defend citizens. Always. Even if it means charging the fee on the back end.

Here's repeal and replace for you: the officials who put lives and property at risk by not putting out Cranick’s fire should be repealed and replaced with ones who understand that our constitution – and our moral obligation to one another – does not mean that we aim for the day when police officers stand by and watch citizens get mugged and beaten because they did not pay the department fee.

And also see self-serving rebuttal from a libertarian at the Lew Rockwell Freedom Foundation.

Another Nonsensical Attack on Libertarians by Jacob G. Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation

and check out
Rand Paul toning down his libertarian message LA Times Oct. 10, 2010

and The Ayn Rand Institute

Rachel Maddow exposes the profits to be made by privatized Prions by exaggerating the menace of illegal-immigrants. Though illegal-immigration problem has lessened over the past few years it is seen as necessary for the money interests to exploit and exaggerate the issue and ignore facts that are contrary to this opinion.

Rachel Maddow Exposing private prisons role in Arizona's 'Papers Please' roots

and so it goes,

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