DIY

The political science professor disguised as ginandtacos.com presents an interesting perspective on the recent Friedrichs case, the one in which conservative teachers sued their union and the Supreme Court elected to consider, despite the suit being lost or ignored at the lower rungs of the judicial system. Take this one line, in particular:

What I don’t cover but believe to be an important part of the resistance to collective action is that people (read: conservatives) wildly overestimate what they are capable of achieving on their own.

I occasionally interact with self-described libertarians. They profess a profound fear of the government (it’s out to get them), a contempt for all things liberal, and an abiding faith in the individual.

Margaret Thatcher famously intoned that there is “no such thing as society, only individuals.” Yet, how nasty, brutish and short our lives would be without the hard-fought victories of liberals and progressives. They include: Social Security; the eight-hour workday; pollution controls; product safety; the entire government apparatus, including the judiciary. There would be no America without the collective action of rebels. Could we have repulsed Hitler without a government organized and funded military?

A do-it-yourself mentality takes you only so far. Ginandtacos:

In an entirely different course we read Anthem, selected because it is the shortest and thus least painful Ayn Rand piece and because it is one of the finest works of comedy ever penned. How can you do anything but adore a story that ends with a man drafting an ode to individualism in a house someone else built and that he broke into. Anyway, the real money scene is where the protagonist heads out into the forest and, in the space of a few hours before dinnertime, he makes a bow and arrows and shoots plenty of birds out of the sky to feed himself. He also gets a few by throwing rocks at them. This is a minor detail in the story but, in my view, is a great litmus test of a fundamental personality characteristic. The kind of person who thinks, “Yeah that seems plausible” believes that some people, namely themselves, are simply Great and therefore can solve any and every problem on their own through the force of their own Greatness. The other kind of person looks at a man running off into the woods with no supplies, food, clothing, or tools of any kind and thinks, “Well he’s gonna be dead in about a week.”