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Hullabaloo


Friday, September 30, 2011

 
Privates and Property
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

What Glenn Reynolds says about Elizabeth Warren is ultimately unimportant in the grand scheme of things. So it's almost painful to waste more pixels talking about the Right's latest sexist outrage. On its face, it merits little more than a dismissive sneer of disgust at the sort of mind that would create such tripe, and even more revulsion at the sort of person that would find it funny.

So why write about it? Because beyond the disturbing psychology behind the sort of mind that finds humor in government-sponsored rape, what passes for an intellectual argument here is even more troubling.

What the rightwing is essentially saying here is that paying taxes is equivalent to rape. That a person's money and private property are, in essence, just as inviolable as their actual privates, and that any attempt by the government to ensure equality of opportunity and shared prosperity for its citizens is equivalent to forced sexual slavery.

It's hard to overstate how foreign to normal American sensibilities that sort of Objectivist ethic is, yet it is central to the modern conservative spirit.

Normal Americans understand that if Sally's rich mommy gives her 1,000 pieces of candy to take to school with her, it would be appropriate for the teacher to strongly suggest that Sally share some of her candies with the rest of the class. Only a psychotic parent would come to a PTA meeting and scream that Sally's teacher might as well have told her to lift her skirt for the class. But that's who Glenn Reynolds and his band of jackals are: psychos who think there's no difference between sharing a small part of one's private property for the general welfare, and sharing one's privates.

The ultimate irony here, too, is that most of these same conservatives are the very ones who are most adamantly against decriminalizing prostitution, and in favor of banning pornography in as many places as possible. In the conservative mind, asking Warren Buffett to pay the same tax rate on financial transactions as his secretary is equivalent to forcing his secretary to have sex with Warren Buffett. But stopping people from having sex as an economic transaction is an appropriate use of government power. The Constitution's provision for "general welfare" doesn't exist for them in terms of enforcing an economic social contract, but it does exist in terms of enforcing a paternalistic moral social contract.

It takes a really warped mind to be this sort of conservative. No matter how hard I try, as a small business owner I just can't see an increased percentage of end-of-year profit going to help pay for the roads we all drive on and an undocumented immigrant's vaccinations to be as personally violating as forcible rape.

Seeing balance sheets and private property as socially equivalent to private parts is not a normal American perspective. It's a psychosexual hangup, and it's more than repulsive. It's deviant, weird and unAmerican.

But these are the sorts of people who are acting as standardbearers for the American Right. These are not normal times, and this is not politics as usual.


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