By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Whether Jerry Brown is now as smitten with "Libertarian" nostrums as Doug Scribner and Mark Hilgenberg's letter suggests is of no concern to me (Letters, Oct. 2). But, if true, it's no surprise, either. I would advise remembering your Dylan: "Watch out for leaders." I was nearly charmed to hear that "Libertarian" Party-ers Scribner and Hilgenberg are not "uncaring, extremist, ultraconservative types" and that they believe "healing our world depends on caring, compassionate individuals working at the local level." I feel a chorus of "Kumbaya" coming on.
Nevertheless, I'm still cranky. "Libertarians," write Scribner and Hilgenberg, "don't believe in using force when cooperation, persuasion and incentives work much better." So what? Any tyrant could say the same thing. Tyrants refrain from cracking skulls unless, um, they have to. The carrot is just the stick by other means. The state mostly serves to conform society to capitalist needs. Adam Smith said that the purpose of the state is to "protect the rich from the poor." Still, government-free folk, say Scribner and Hilgenberg, will find "real solutions to real problems," such as teaching inmates "marketable skills." But that's exactly what the government wants. Forgive me if I'm less than excited by the "Libertarian" vision of a society freely submitting to the market relations the government now backs up.
However, in spite of Scribner's and Hilgenberg's liberal-stroking contention that the government is inevitably a preserve of corporate interests (my, my, how vulgar their Marxism!), the government is to some degree (and can be to a further extent) a buffer between capitalism and population. The extent to which the government is such a buffer is exactly the extent to which so many Washington and freelance "Libertarians" want to shrink it (partially accomplished). Worse than big government is government too small to help minorities, the working class and the unemployed but just big enough to enforce market relations. And stateless capitalism would be even worse, being the surest and quickest Road to Serfdom imaginable-no matter what "Libertarian" hero Friedrick Von Hayek says.
Until "Libertarians" are willing and able to recognize and denounce (at least) the coercive nature of the market ("a spook to which cowardly capitalists attribute responsibility for their actions," said L.A. Rollins) and the internal totalitarianism of the corporation, their libertarianism will remain the fraud that it is.
I think I'm losing the ability to see Rebecca Schoenkopf's sarcasm. Jack Kemp "truly is a Republican who cares about the poor" (Commie Girl, Oct. 2)? Rebecca, what are you up to? Forget about what the guy says; look at his actions. He's a rank capitalist, and capitalism, as you know, insists on rabid inequality and poverty for its very existence.
Sure, he's caring. If you're hungry, he'll give you a napkin. If you're homeless, he'll give you a cardboard box (just don't sleep in it near his property or anywhere anyone can see you; it might impact property values, don'tcha know).
"Trickle down" doesn't work on nachos, and it doesn't work on the street. And as long as that Clinton/Kemp "business-rules" elite has us believing their fairytales-and as long as our supposed "unions" act more like country clubs than vanguards of opposition-then poverty and the poor will always be. The only way we can resolve the contradictions and cruelties of present-day life is if democratic socialism eradicates poverty by forging workers' control of the means of production and exchange.
Okay, Rebecca, put the glass down. Halftime is over. Let's get back to the struggle!
-John R. Harris
Rebecca Schoenkopf responds: John, you know what? The whole column blew, and thanks for giving me the chance to say I'm sorry. But of all the Republicans out there, I do believe that Kemp (insane though he is) doesn't hate poor people or people of color. Here's why: when he was head of Housing and Urban Development, he directed that housing applicants could not be asked about their citizenship or immigration status. He believed everyone needed a home, "illegal" or not. Anyway, thanks for the ass kicking. I needed it.
STOP PAYING PIGNATARO
You really should read the baloney written by Tony Pignataro to see how demented he has become about El Toro (El Toro Airport Watch No. 81, Oct. 2). He says the proposed El Toro International Airport and John Wayne Airport (JWA) are too close, and all the experts say they can't operate together.
Of course, El Toro and JWA have been operating together for several decades. There are many airports that are close to one another and yet manage to operate together. The most famous pair is La Guardia and Kennedy; they're closer to each other than JWA and El Toro. The list of close airports is very long, and the FAA tells me proximity is no problem.
Methinks Pignataro sits up nights figuring out ways to badmouth El Toro, but, dear editor, do you have to pay him a salary?
Anthony Pignataro responds: A salary? You mean I could be getting paid for this? I was just doing it for sport.
THE FIGHT OF THE CENTURY