An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Friday, February 27, 2009

Why some enjoy anonymity (and "Octo Mom" does not)

Updated below

One of the everyday hypocrisies in the U.S. (and something that I find myself falling into sometimes) comes from the obsession with very ordinary and "small" people who have committed relatively minor offenses while very "big" people commit far more major offenses live in comfortable anonymity.

Lindsay Beyerstein, blogging at Majikthise has a post about Nadya Suleman the "Octo Mom" who now has 15 children. One paragraph in particular I found noteworthy:

In the grand scheme of things, the resources consumed by 14 extra poor kids in California is (sadly) negligible compared to other conspicuous consumption that is accepted as normal. We may look askance executives who earn and spend thousands of times as much as the average worker, but they don't usually get accosted by angry mobs at gas stations like Suleman was.
By the way, I don't like her either, but let's have some perspective, folks.

Current events have made the phrase "privatizing profits and socializing losses" far more common than I ever dreamt possible. Looking beyond consumption, I wonder why we do not see similar outrage in reaction to raiding the treasury whenever a huge corporation screws up royally. The jobs of ordinary people remain the hostages in the relationship between the government and multi-millionaires. But let the government try employing people directly, and the howling and hissing from the right can frighten wildlife (thank you Bob Harris for that expression). 

Republicans must stop another New Deal any way they can. Another New Deal would succeed (as the last one did). They can't let that happen. If it does, then they will languish for decades in electoral obscurity and they know it.  (Of course, the Democrats can figure out a way to screw up. You never can tell.) The Republicans will obstruct a known, proven solution that has already worked once before (that is to say, the last time the Republicans and Wall Street crashed the economy). They do not care how many people have to suffer - the rest of us are expendable. 

But it's the Octo Mom who faces the angry mob? 

Republicans have made much mileage since the 70s over taxes. Taxes have no constituency to defend them. No one likes them. Attacking taxes has strangled programs (whether good or bad) by making the constituencies attack each other. Now that government is the only lifeline available to a growing number of people, their self-interest informs them a bit differently now. Those taxes don't look so bad anymore.

No comments:

Post a Comment