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Sunday, May 23, 2010

We Gonna Shake that Wang Dang Doodle or The Fetish of Commodities


posted by taddyporter
Each time you think the GOP has finally perfected its stupidity, that it has reached the uppermost Everest of stupidity, that there is no summit of stupidity to overtop the height of stupidity it has currently attained, that it has ascended the last ridge of stupidity and now overlooks the broad plain of human ignorance and stupefaction, observing, with a certain smugness, the exhausted forms of the ideological sherpas and porters littering the wake of its traverse, it flings a grapple over a rocky spire rising up from the tower of stupidity above which you thought nothing could tower and begins, anew, to hoist itself to higher heights of cognitive austerity from which it may fling itself into the void of its own drooling dumb-ass-ness.

I speak, of course, of Dr. Rand Paul, GOP nominee for the United States Senate for the state of Kentucky.

Now, I've been out of range of civilization for about a week. One of my brothers and I have been floating the Chippewa River for that period, coming ashore only to revictual and refresh and barter with the locals for marijuana, whiskey, corn meal, and deer-fly repellent.
You may judge of my surprise when, upon landing for good, we discovered the political debate had been carried back to Ole Kentucky of 1964 and the re-animated ghosts of Jim Crow and the Night Riders were rallying the GOP behind the late, lost, cause of segregating the lunch counter at the Woolworth's Five and Dime.

Its enough to revive my faith in the two-Party system. No matter how inept and incompetent is my beloved Democratic Party, no matter how cynical, expedient, feckless, corrupt, and cowardly its leadership, I can always rely on the good old GOP to save it. I can always count on the GOP to demonstrate to the voters that, no matter how fucked up things are with the Democratic Party in charge, they will only get worse if the mandate of Heaven is passed to the GOP.

Thank you Republican Party. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I wish I could buy you a drink or something.

I almost feel like sending a donation to Mr. Paul's campaign.

Almost.

Apparently, it was this interview of Paul by Rachel Maddow that kicked over the beehive.
I'm sure you've seen it. Hell, even I have seen it. And if I've seen it, you have sure nuff seen it.
So, I won't go into it. There are so many things wrong with his assertions that you greatly overestimate the analytic ability of taddyporter if you think I can unwind them all. And its ground that's been covered and re-covered so many times you wouldn't think it necessary to cover it one more time.

Not that the outrages defined by Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act have been disposed of. Not by a long shot. But the notion that defiance of Title II has some basis in principles of individual self-determination or free speech (!?) has been disposed of. Many times. To the satisfaction of all except those yearning to revive the Confederacy.

Defiance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is recognized as the act of a splitter and a scofflaw. There are no defenders of Mr. Paul's position. Not even the usual suspects among GOP deep thinkers have come to his aid. Well, almost none. I believe Mr. Paul has, himself, blithered something meant to be a repudiation of his defense of Jim Crow.

He continues, however, to mingle the concepts of personal and private property, injecting confusion into the public discussion. He wants to revive the old arguments about so-called rights of property that were marshalled against the enemies of Jim Crow in the first place. He thinks he can trick voters into believing GOP opposition to desegregation isn't violent or racist or anti-American but based on defense of some abstract and mistaken belief in the rights of property.

Even when property is employed to harm citizens, the GOP will defend the right to do damage; I disagree with your destruction but I will defend to the death your right to destroy.

Here's the deal; personal property is a thing, a possession. Private property is a relationship, a concept of ownership that treats an enterprise as if it were personal property.

Even if the enterprise is organized as a for-profit business subsisting on the labor of thousands of workers and the savings of thousands of investors, the convenient fiction of private property permits treatment of the enterprise as if it were the creature of a single proprietor, subsisting on the labor and savings of a single individual. Absurd, I know, but there it is.

Confusing the two categories, personal property and private property, leads or rather, misleads, to the error that the owner of private property may dispose of it as she or he desires. The owner may serve who they want and may exclude who they want. It is, after all, their property.

But, you know, it tis and it tisn't, as my grandmother would've said.

Any profit making enterprise depends on the wider community for its profits. Even if you believe the capitalist mode of production is the highest form of human economic organization, it must be understood that no profit making enterprise stands on its own.

The enterprise depends on the fire and police protection provided by the public organs of order. It relies on commerical codes to regulate its transactions. It relies on courts to enforce its contracts. It relies on public thoroughfares to carry on its commerce. It relies on public utilities to provide heat and light. It relies on public sewage and water treatment systems. It assumes that clean air and water and soil will be guaranteed. It relies on a standard system of weights and measures. It relies on a public currency into which all commodity values can be translated.

Private property is embedded in a vast web of goods and services provided by the public and its agents, without which, profits would be impossible. No business could carry the expense of providing all the services required for its operation and many of those services are simply beyond the reach of a single private property enterprise, no matter how vast.

The public provides these goods and services for the consumption of all because we know a well ordered community provides a living for us all. We do not begrudge the private property owner's profiting from the public goods. We encourage it.

However, having benefited from the public's largesse, the private property owner may not exclude custom from their property for any reason other than ability to pay.

After forty-five years, you think the GOP would have learned this. Its the salvation of the Democratic Party they do not. Or will not.
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