Ask A Genius 549 – Libertarianism
May 8, 2020
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen. What do you think? Just for sake of asking. What do you think of libertarians in the United States?
Rick Rosner: Right now, it is as corrupt as Republicans, as being a Republican. It is just another like slight variation on being a Republican. It is part of a wave of thinking that began in Republican think tanks in the 70s and 80s, which was the idea of limited government.
And to strip away what they thought was too much governance, too much regulation. What it has turned into is trying to strip away governance and regulation for the rich people who were the major donors to Republicans. Yes, Trump has gotten rid of a lot of regulations.
But he got rid of them because he hates Obama and a lot of them. He associates them with Obama and because his rich friends want their industries to be less regulated, so they can make more money. There’s no honest philosophical motivation for a limited government that these people say they want.
Jacobsen: What do you mean by that?
Rosner: The whole deal since the 80s has been to say that Republicans say that government is the problem, the government is broken. Then they get elected and they do their best to make government not work. So people are pissed at government, which drives down voting rates, which again helps the Republicans.
And Republicans do not want regulation. They do not want money. Rich people do not want money for the most part. At least rich people who are exercising political clout, they want to keep the money. They do not want money to go to anybody but themselves. The way they’ve been doing that is via fucking up government.
Jacobsen: What are substantive ways in which they’re “fucking up government”?
Rosner: Well, they’re trying to get rid of what they call the welfare state, which began.
Jacobsen: What is that euphemism for “welfare state,” by the way?
Rosner: It is the social safety nets that were created under FDR during the Depression, Social Security. They wanted to really cut down on things like welfare, food stamps, Social Security, Medicare and stuff that takes money that they’ve taken from people, taxpayers.
And distributes that money to pay for stuff for the public. Republicans do not like that they want to keep the money. For instance, in L.A., in the state of California in 1978, there’s this thing called Prop 13 that was passed, which limits how much property taxes can be increased per year.
Which keeps a one percent maximum increase, which keeps property taxes really low because property values increase every year. So the property taxes we are paying on our house are less than one half of one percent of the value of the house.
Warren Buffett says he pays less in taxes on his L.A. mansion than he does on his little bungalow in Omaha. We’ve got super low property taxes. That impacts the schools because schools are funded from property taxes. But rich people do not give a fuck because they do not send their kids to public schools.
So rich people are fine with fucking over the schools and paying less in taxes. Because they’ll be OK using their own resources. They’re willing to let everybody else fuck off.
And the philosophy of libertarianism and Republicanism is that if you just get the government out of people’s business, private efforts will make everything OK for everybody, that the churches will take care of their people and that somebody will figure out how to make money running schools.
So that schools should all be privatized or turned into charter schools. Republicans for decades have been trying to scuttle the post office and replace it with more privatized companies. Because they figure they can make money doing it.
And anyway, it is a bogus philosophy. It is not designed to help people. It is designed for rich people to keep more of their money. Right now, we have more income inequality than at any time since the beginning of the 20th century.
You had the Gilded Age in the 1880s. What we’re talking about is the percent of all private assets owned by the upper echelons, the wealthiest people. The fraction of all wealth owned by the wealthiest people is at its highest ever.
It matches the rates of just before the Great Depression and at various times from the 1880s until the end of the 1920s. It is bad for the country. Even though, the productivity has increased. It is kind of steadily upwards. Yet lower class wages haven’t have remained proportional in real terms.
Middle class people on average haven’t gotten a raise in forty years. Eighty percent of the increases in compensation have gone to the top couple percent.
Jacobsen: To return to the original line of thought. What is the libertarian line of reasoning for justification of it?
Rosner: If you let markets be free, and if you let people be free, everybody will get what they want. Because people will find solutions for stuff that do not require government intervention. it is a stupid idea. It is a fallacious stance.
It is just rich people wanting to hold on to more money. At the expense of reasonable functioning of government. We have a country with three hundred and twenty-eight/twenty-seven million people. A big complicated society with publicly funded stuff that’s always been publicly funded or at least has been publicly funded for the last hundred and forty years.
Schools, public schools, libraries, roads, police, firefighters have all largely been publicly funded. But then you have assholes on the right and among libertarians who say taxation is theft. But giving any money to the government is stealing their hard earned money. It is bullshit.
Obama one time got in trouble when he was giving a speech and told some people, ‘You didn’t build this.’ He told a bunch of entrepreneurs and he kind of misspoke. What he was trying to say is you didn’t build this alone, the success of your business requires having employees.
Those employees having a reasonable standard of living. People having access to your products and services via the mail and via public roads. Advertising your stuff on public airwaves that you cannot have a functioning economy that’s constantly fucking over all but the richest people.
But Republicans and libertarians have been successfully arguing this for forty years. they’ve gotten a lot of political leverage and they’ve gotten people to vote against their best. I said this yesterday against their best interests. we have a government right now that is not doing what most people want it to do.
It is doing what the richest people want it to do. So I do not need to keep going on because I’ve already said all this stuff.
Jacobsen: What about the derivative effects of this on social life in America?
Rosner: Well, right now, we’re super polarized. We have media. Conservative media is cynically designed to spread bullshit among low information voters, which is a euphemism for stupid people – to get them to believe a bunch of stuff that’s not true and to vote against their best interests.
And to make them think that everybody but the conservative media are lying to them. So we’re super polarized. Even before Covid the standard for the first time in history, I believe, except maybe during wartime, life expectancy during the past three years went down.
Because income inequality and the opioid crisis and obesity, suicide, farm failures are making people die earlier, contributing to decreasing quality of life.
Jacobsen: If someone is Type I or Type II obese, an American, blue collar, and white, what is their life expectancy?
Rosner: I do not know, but it is obviously less than somebody who’s not obese. I do not know what the different degrees of obesity you are talking about are. But you’re subject to a whole slew of diseases, heart disease, type two diabetes.
I’d think probably somebody who’s obese has a life expectancy that it is at least three years less than somebody who is not. I’m just being conservative. But again, I do not need to explain that everybody fucking knows that if you’re fat and you’re borderline diabetic, you’re going to die soon.
Jacobsen: How are the liberal wing and the Democratic wing of United States functioning in this environment? Are they fractured in confidence?
Rosner: The Democrats have for decades and generations have been accused of being incompetent. Because they’re wimpy and they tend to try to play fair. For instance, right now, there’s this thing going on. Where a very not credible woman named Tara Reid says that in a deserted hallway in Congress, Joe Biden jammed his fingers into her vagina in 1993.
And she has changed her story a bunch of times. There’s a bunch of angst among Democrats in that we’re supposed to believe all women and people are saying Biden has to drop out or we need to investigate this fully, though, as people are getting more and more annoyed with this.
Because there’s a thing on Twitter, where it is like an own goal. You fuck yourself up. Democrats are accused of trying to be too fair and not being as ruthless as the Republicans and in trying to give this woman a fair hearing.
Even though there are lots of indications that she is full of shit, that we’re fucking over our candidate compared to Trump, who has fairly credible accusations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse from at least twenty-five women.
And depending on how you count the accusations as many as sixty women, the Republicans do not give a shit about that he raped his first wife. She gave a sworn deposition that I find entirely believable because of the details. He says that he raped her when they were married in the 80s.
Because he was pissed at her because she recommended a hair transplant surgeon when he got a procedure done and it made his head hurt and he came home all pissed off and he ripped her hair out and he raped her. She said this in sworn testimony during their divorce.
And I find it believable, having had a bunch of procedures done on my fucking scalp. But the Republicans do not give a shit about all the women that Trump allegedly attacked. But they want us to scuttle Biden because this woman claims that Biden stuck his fingers in her.
Though there are lots of things that she is, she has changed her story a bunch of times. I do not need to go into the details of her. But I can choose not to believe her and fuck it if it makes me a hypocrite. Franken, Al Franken was pressured to leave the Senate because of a joke picture he took where he is pretending to grab a woman’s boobs on a military transport plane.
It is obviously a joke picture. It is fairly obvious that he is not even touching her boobs. This was the center, this was the smoking gun in allegations that he is a sexual harasser and he quit the Senate. That’s just bullshit. So anyway, again, I do not need to go much into this because all this is shit people already know.
Jacobsen: The end.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
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