On his blog at Mother Jones, Kevin Drum compares Obama’s requirement that everyone buy health care to the law that requires car owners to buy airbags and insurance. He writes:
When I bought my last car, for example, I was forced by federal law to also buy seat belts and air bags — and as far as I know, no court has ever suggested the federal government lacks this power. Why?
Technically, of course, the government isn’t forcing me to buy these things. I could, if I wanted, forego the purchase of a car. This isn’t very practical where I live, serviced as I am by a single bus line that comes by once an hour, but I could do it. I could also move someplace with better transit. I’m not absolutely mandated to own seat belts and airbags.
But in real life, the fact is that most of us need a car. It’s only an option in the most hyperlegalistic sense, which means that for all practical purposes the federal government has mandated that I buy seat belts and airbags. And they’ve done that on the theory that even if I don’t care about my own safety, other people might ride in my car and they deserve protection. What’s more, taxpayers could end up on the hook for medical care if I injure myself and my passengers. So seat belts and airbags are the law.
Practically speaking, then, what’s the difference between this and an insurance mandate? In both cases the federal government is forcing me to buy something I might not want. The cost of complying with both mandates is substantial. You can be fined for disabling airbags or removing seat belts, just as Obamacare fines you for not buying health insurance. They’re pretty damn similar.
In order for any community, anywhere, truly to thrive it must possess five different kinds of capital: 1. Human; 2. Social; 3. Political; 4. Intellectual, and, 5. Financial.
I had no one to help me, but the T.S. Eliot helped me. So when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy.
It is difficultto get the news from poemsyet men die miserably every dayfor lackof what is found there.
Here is an ignorant, arrogant and blinkered piece in The New York Times, by Rachel Shteir, author of The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting. Apparently only bourgeois, recreational shoplifters are worthy of discussion.
Where I come from, there are two reasons why people shoplift:
1. They are hungry.
2. They have no money, no way of obtaining money, and stores are full of things that advertisements tell them are desirable.
Now that psychopharmacology has replaced psychoanalysis as the therapy du jour, researchers have tried to locate the origin of the urge to steal in order to chemically quiet it. Kleptomania is grouped with other compulsive disorders like gambling, drinking and sex addiction. So far, only Naltrexone, best known for helping alcoholics stop drinking, has been found to be significantly helpful in reducing the urge to shoplift.
|A solution to the financial crisis|
Barry Graham is a bit intimidating to sit down with.Maybe it’s the Scottish burr or the fierce intelligence which radiates from him or maybe it’s the long string of hard as nails characters he’s been writing about for the past 20 years?Who knows?
Martin Luther King called riots “the language of the unheard.”
The violence and looting in England right now, and the stupidity of poor people’s destroying their own neighborhoods and attacking the small businesses that serve them (the same thing happened in Los Angeles two decades ago) make it easy to blame the riots on greed and criminality rather than protest.
This is a red herring. There is always greed and there is always criminality. There is not always rioting and there is not always looting.
No socialist work has yet succeeded in expressing the humiliated condition of the worker with so much violence and generosity.