I seem to have a number of libertarian readers, or at least, I used to before I drew this cartoon. As I anticipated, some have complained that Rand Paul doesn’t speak for them. But according to several prominent libertarians quoted in this nicely-researched TPM article, Paul’s take on the Civil Rights Act is well within the mainstream of said political philosophy. Apologies for the lengthy quote, but this stuff is just so great:
Paul’s stance is “very reasonable, and quite close to the Libertarian position,” a spokesman for the Libertarian Party told TPMmuckraker.
“If some private business discriminates we think that’s unfortunate, but we don’t think the government should get involved in banning it,” said the spokesman, Wes Benedict. “That’s just a negative that we have to tolerate in a free society.”
Walter Block, a libertarian professor of economics at Loyola University, and a senior fellow with the libertarian Ludwig Von Mises Institute, went further. “I think anyone who doesn’t believe that isn’t a libertarian,” he said, calling Paul’s comment “a very mainstream libertarianism.”
“I’m delighted that Rand Paul said that,” an enthusiastic Block added. “I think it’s magnificent. I didn’t realize that he was that good.”
“The spirit of non-discrimination,” said Block “ends you right up in compulsory bisexuality.”
DOH! One minute you’re requiring restaurants to serve blacks, the next minute, everyone has to shag everyone! Such a slippery slope!
Am I saying libertarians are racists who hate the disabled and women in the workplace? No. Am I saying their ideology is impractical to the point of silliness? Well, yes. As I was saying over on Facebook, what really gets me is the quaint notion that violations of our freedom only come from “the guv’mint.” In the cases of slavery, the segregated South, and Lilly Ledbetter, the market wasn’t exactly doing a good job of regulating itself. Libertarianism may champion the ordinary individual, but in practice, it lets the bullies win.
Oh, also yesterday, I actually saw a billboard for Nestea in Atlanta saying “Throw yourself an inner tea party!” I am not making this up. [UPDATE: The actual wording was "Throw your inner superstar a tea party" and a commenter and further research have convinced me that Nestea is innocent of pandering to kooks. Apologies for leaping to conclusions. But really, I do think it's time for a new ad campaign.]
I encountered a new form of obnoxiousness while flying back east to visit my parents yesterday. I had the middle seat in a row of three, which kind of sucks for a five-hour flight, but I can deal. This middle-aged, married-looking couple began sitting down on either side of me, so naturally, I offered to move one seat over so they could sit together. They exchanged pained, awkward glances, as though I had just told them not to mind my ebola virus, and then they explained that they had intentionally arranged to sit this way since the woman is claustrophobic and needed the aisle seat. Now, this reasoning didn’t hold water, because the dude could have easily traded places with me, and he didn’t — he stayed by the window. Obviously they both hated the middle seat and preferred to have a stranger suffering in between them. “Don’t worry, we won’t talk over you that much!” the guy said, but of course there was food being passed back and forth, and a cell phone (both engaged in baby talk with their grandson), and occasional conversation between them. It was like I’d unwittingly stepped into some weird, asexual ménage-à-trois. The woman, it should also be noted, kept slipping out of her Prada sandals, and putting her nasty feet all over her seat cushion.
By the time we reached Atlanta from Seattle, I detested them and their stunning sense of self-entitlement, and I think they knew it, because the woman apologized again for her “claustrophobia.” I’m sure they’re going to pull this stunt on someone else on the way home, and while I feel bad for that poor sucker, I sure hope it isn’t me.
I’ve noticed a tendency among wingnuts to respond to cartoons like this one and last week’s (about pre-polluted babies), with accusations that I just want to go back to the stone age. I marvel at this quaintly simplistic, binary way of thinking. As if any suggestion that we apply more reason and caution to how we do things means I want to return to a purely agrarian lifestyle living off my own yams. It must be nice to live in a world where everything fits into a neat little box.
I set up Feedburner today, and it seems to be working fine. If you were waiting to subscribe, go ahead, and if you’ve already subscribed, there’s nothing further you need to do.
From the NYT, the financial industry’s response to new regulation of debit and credit card fees paid by merchants:
And this was not an easy vote. Lobbyists for the wounded but formidable banking industry made clear to some senators that this decision would affect future campaign donations, according to people who participated in those conversations.
I guess they aren’t even trying to pretend our campaign finance system isn’t a form of legalized bribery anymore.
Nicholas Kristof had a good column the other day about the President’s Cancer Panel report, which declared that we need more testing and regulation of chemicals used in industry. Few people seem to be talking about this, as far as I know, but I’d say it’s one of the more admirable steps the current administration has taken. The fact that babies are now born with over 300 pollutants in their bodies is a sign of a diseased society, both literally and figuratively speaking.
A technical note about the second panel: PFOAs are a synthetic chemical used in the production of fluoropolymers, which lend special properties like nonstick and waterproof surfaces to a variety of products. So a baby stuffed with PFOAs, which are persistent toxins in the environment, would probably not have nonstick properties, although I’m thinking one coated with a thick layer of fluoropolymers might. I couldn’t explain all that in the cartoon, but you probably didn’t read that panel as scientific realism anyway. At least, I hope you didn’t.
I’m sure the toddler lawyers at Baby Rights Watch will be contacting me any day to condemn the treatment of tots in this strip.
In an unusual move for me, I celebrated Mother’s Day and the 50th anniversary of The Pill by going to my first-ever Seattle Mariners game. While the Phillies will always be my first love (sorry, Seattle, but that moose mascot can’t hold a candle to the Phanatic), I enjoyed watching the Mariners end their losing streak by trouncing the Angels. I’m sure it was my presence that did the trick.
Didn’t have time to blog while I was in New York, but better late than never. If you’ve ever been in email or Facebook contact with me, rest assured that with this cartoon, I am not talking about you. It’s all completely hypothetical, of course. Except for whoever is tweeting under the handle OprahWinfrey.
I don’t begrudge people for getting excited about the iPad or their iPhone, but I’m put off by the expensive data plan, and kind of surprised so many people are willing to sign up for it. I’ve literally saved thousands of dollars by using a cheap-ass cellphone that costs me less than $10/month. And I just seek out free wifi for my netbook when I travel. Of course, I’m a frugal cartoonist, and if I had a high-paying job in a cubicle farm, I might treat myself to an iPad too.