Quick Roundup 470

Monday, September 28, 2009

An ACORN a Day ...

Kathleen Parker has written an interesting piece about the ACORN prostitution scandal that notes tie-ins via one of the nation's largest labor unions to both scandal-plagued former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama's drive for a government takeover of your medical care. (Another article in the Wall Street Journal notes the President's longstanding relationship with the left-wing organization.)

ACORN and the SEIU are hand and glove. [ACORN co-founder Wade] Rathke himself referred to the SEIU as "one of the pillars of the ACORN family of organizations" in a June 9, 2007, blog posting. This coziness has been long known among conservative watchdog groups, but Washington has paid little attention until now.
And, later:
One needn't be a mathematician to imagine what a national health-care option might mean to a union in search of new dues-paying recruits. The SEIU, which has promised "to fight tooth and nail" for a public option, is demonstrably persuasive. In Illinois, former governor Blagojevich (thank you for your patience) helped position the SEIU so that it could unionize health-care workers when he signed an executive order allowing collective bargaining. The SEIU showed its appreciation in advance by becoming Blagojevich's largest contributor, handing over $1.8 million for his two gubernatorial campaigns.
While it's good to see a few shafts of light penetrate into this scandal, with the promise that this might, in the short term damage, the push for physician slavery (among other statist initiatives of the current administration), the long-term danger is that this scandal will distract from the real problems America faces politically.

If you don't know what I mean, just recall the misguided, penny-ante efforts of the Pork Busters, who, as I put it long ago, focus "on petty theft and [turn] a blind eye to grand larceny." Corruption is a serious problem, to be sure, but note how much the existence of the welfare state multiplies the opportunities for political corruption to occur and potentially makes its consequences that much more devastating -- on top of the welfare state being inherently wrong.

I am concerned that conservatives will waste inordinate effort on this scandal, while failing to oppose the welfare state on principled grounds. That's too bad, because the welfare state and the collectivist mentality that make it possible in a republic are the roots, trunk, and branches that make the acorns possible in the first place. (Actually, now that I think of it, this is literally true here. Why the hell did this outfit ever get government funding?)

Socialized medicine is morally wrong and impractical for the goal of maintaining good health for that very reason. It is worse than mere political corruption in that it will prove harmful even if administered by people trying their best to be squeaky clean.

Slacker Bloc MIA?

A recent story about flagging enthusiasm on college campuses across America for Barack Obama made an interesting point about his young supporters:
Erin Carroll, a 19-year-old sophomore at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, blames the lack of engagement on her generation's short attention span. They want change -- right now, she says -- and haven't gotten it.

"I feel like everybody walks around with their cell phone and their laptops. We feel like we need everything immediately. ...


Such is the fate of Generation Y, as they're known, both praised for their willingness to volunteer but also maligned as the "entitlement generation" ...
It's funny to see that Barack Obama, who ran on a platform of government handouts for all, is getting exactly the kind of support he deserves. Too bad there are enough people like this in America that he's our President.

Two Carnivals

Amy Mossoff is hosting the current Objectivist Roundup, and When Cats Attack! is hosting Carnival of the Cats.

Capitalist Stereotype, Statist Reality

A while back, I noted a small problem with the storyline of Disney's movie, Up!.
[T]he movie opens with a perfect example of a popular left-wing myth about property rights that Tom Bowden addressed in his recent OCON course, "Property Rights and Wrongs:" Its protagonist is the lone property owner holding out in the midst of a huge development, his house and yard being completely surrounded by active demolition and construction. As Bowden indicated in the course, this is ridiculous. A developer would line up his property purchases before doing anything like that, and if he couldn't get the land he needed, he'd develop elsewhere.
Interestingly enough, this very problem has actually occurred in China.
After a row with developers, this family's home has been left perched 12m (40ft) up on its own concrete island.

It all started when they refused to accept compensation to move and, while the row rumbled on, the bulldozers excavated the site around them.
This resemblance to Up! is seasoned with a twist right out of Atlas Shrugged: The family's house still exists at all because of political connections.

The article goes on to note that a remedy is being considered: "[B]ehind the scenes is a debate, that has been raging for ten years, over the need for a law giving legal protection to private property in a Communist state."

-- CAV


Mo said...

very good point about ACORN and the root problem of welfare. While I do believe that fighting corruption is necessary if we get rid of most of similar organizations we're simply going to end up with a clean welfare state.

Gus Van Horn said...

Close, but I'd say that a "clean" welfare state is a contradiction in terms since the cost of the welfare is covered by massive government theft.

Bill Brown said...

The "island home" didn't last much past that article.

Gus Van Horn said...

Thanks for that update.

That's not entirely surprising: They obviously didn't have enough "pull" to still have decent access to their house or to get the construction moved elsewhere to begin with!