First They Came for the Federal Banking Regulations…

The thing about right wing rhetoric is that it is upside down, a kind of unconscious irony that lacks all insight. Individual liberty means the freedom to carry a gun and to believe that climate change is a hoax and evolution a thinly supported theory. Never mind food and housing and health care and good wages and a pension. That’s not liberty; liberty is being able to carry a concealed weapon. Individual liberty also means freedom from government regulation.

Never mind that we are only now emerging from a world-wide economic collapse rooted in a wildly unregulated, often illegal, financial sector. Never mind that bridges are collapsing or that we are all growing poorer while the rich get richer. Never mind. We need to be free. I’ve often wondered how far this will go, if unchecked. Would the right-wing advocate, say, deregulating the food industry even in the fact of an outbreak of salmonella?

It’s not an outrageous idea. After all, they were arguing for less gun control– and they prevented some very minor measures– right in the middle of another set of mass murders. Liberty is apparently the liberty to get shot at school or at work or at the library. Liberty is the fantasy that, one day, someone somehow will be there to shoot back at the bad man, thanks to our newly liberalized concealed weapons laws. It’s never happened yet, but still.

Now, apparently, in their ongoing campaign for liberty, the right-wing has put libraries in their cross-hairs. I don’t mean the Santa Monica shootings, I mean the libraries in Kentucky which are now under threat of closure thanks to lawsuits against the property tax they rely on for funding. These are not moribund institutions, either, according to the president of the American Library Association, Maureen Sullivan:

More than 1 million Kentuckians depend on their libraries for job searching, Internet access, small-business development, after-school homework help for students and other essential services. In libraries throughout Kentucky and in more than 16,000 public libraries across the U.S., people find a lifeline to technology training and online resources for employment, access to government resources, continuing education, retooling for new careers and starting a small business.

NKY needs its libraries” Maureen Sullivan

The list of things lost to right-wing anti-government / market fanaticism seems endless. Once the post offices and the highways and bridges and the libraries and the public schools are all gone or sold off, what will be left for us?

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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