Progressives for State-Sanctioned Corporate Monopoly

Last month, John Cole complained after his local water company dug a hole in his backyard without his permission. They were installing an outdoor water meter. When Cole asked why he was never told, the workers blew him off, and said they had a right of way. Never one to miss a chance to take a cheap shot at libertarians, Cole wrote:

If libertarians would focus on crap like this instead of all the smug bullshit and contrarian economic analysis, they might actually be able to build their party.

At the time, Mark Thompson correctly observed that Cole's conception of libertarians pretty clearly exists only in Cole's mind. This is exactly the sort of thing libertarians care about, focus on, and obsess over. Most of the successes of the Libertarian Party and of libertarian activists in general have come at the local level.

In any case, jump forward to this week. A Tea Party group in Fountain Hills, Arizona is protesting the city council's decision to eliminate the local market for trash collection. Instead, the town has contracted all garbage collection to a single company.

So here's a tea party group rallying around a local issue. What's more, they're protesting the local government's decision to grant a state-enforced monopoly to a private company. Seems like the sort of thing a good progressive like Cole could get behind, no?  Of course not. Instead, Cole mocks the protesters for their pettiness. Stupid rubes. Getting all excited over a local issue while there are pressing, national issues to address. Or as Cole put it, by way of a class-warfare non-sequitur, "This is how the American empire will end. With us rioting in the streets over the right to choose a trash collecter [sic], while the top 5% laugh all the way to the bank."

It's particularly amusing that Cole would evoke income inequality in this post. Perhaps he can explain how a  town taking business away from four trash collection companies in order to grant a city-wide monopoly to one brings us closer to his goal of an America where wealth is distributed more evenly. I'm having hard time figuring out how that would happen.

Cole weighed in again later:

Christ on a crutch. This was small “d” democracy in action, not nanny statism or “central planning” or whatever ludicrous term you want to bandy about. A local town council, elected by the citizens, sat around and viewed a bunch of bids for trash collection for their municipality, and then chose one private firm and outsourced it to them. This is not some faceless bureaucrat at the UN headquarters foisting his will on an unsuspecting population. This is not some slippery slope to the erosion of individual rights. This is subsidiarity in action, and if you find it too oppressive or too vulgar an imposition on your personal liberty, you can move, or you can work with like-minded people to elect new town council members and change the contract.

This is why no one with half a clue pays ANY attention to these abstract libertarian principles and the people willing to spend hours upon hours discussing them. The town council picked a company to pick up trash, and the teahadists freaked out and think it is socialism. End of story. The rest of us are pointing and laughing at them, and now you.

*** Update ***

My GAWD. I feel so violated. I’m going through my bills before the Steelers game and I just realized that Allied Waste is contracted to pick up my trash, so my personal liberties have been impinged by the creeping totalitarianism of nanny-statism. To show solidarity with the oppressed Fountain Hills trash protesters, I am going to dress up in my “Don’t Tread on Me” t-shirt, stand at the edge of my driveway at dawn during trash pick-up on Thursday, and throw pocket constitutions at the sanitation workers. We shall overcome, patriots!

Where to begin? First, this issue is a hell of a lot more important to the residents of Fountain Hills than "some faceless bureaucrat at the UN headquarters foisting his will on an unsuspecting population." It affects them directly. They don't like the decision their local elected officials made, so they're protesting it. That too, is "small d democracy" in action. And it's the exact sort of local involvement in which Cole wrongly claims libertarians don't engage. (In Cole's world, though not the real world, "libertarian" and "tea party" are interchangeable.)

E.D. Kain, the lone voice of sanity left at Balloon Juice, tried to point out the errors in Cole's criticism. Most notably, if you think city officials customarily hand out contracts based solely on merit, considering only what's best for their constituents, and only after carefully considering a variety of bids, especially when it comes to sanitation, well, there's a man in a jumpsuit waiting at the diner who'd like to make you an offer that you can't refuse.

Of course, Kain was roundly chastised by Balloon Juice bloggers and commenters for his quaint naivete. How silly of him to actually think through this particular debate; to actually consider things from the perspective of the citizens; to question the idea that the public good, not self-interest, always motivates elected officials when they're granting contracts. This is Balloon Juice. You are to reflexively take the side that provides the most opportunity to mock libertarians and tea partiers. (By the way, my defense of this particular tea party group on this particular issue is in no way meant to imply my broad support for the tea party movement, or Arizona tea partiers in particular—a fallacy Cole regularly employs.)

Cole weighed in again in the comments to Kain's post:

You completely missed the point of my post, then. I’m not opposed to having choice in trash collection.

My point is that it is absolutely insane to blow a fucking gasket over this issue like what is happening in that town in Arizona. They elected a group of people, they sat around and thought things through, and came to a decision. Don’t agree with it- fine! Elect someone to replace them and repeal the decision in a few years.

But what is insane is to riot about it.

There was no rioting. Go back and re-read the article from the Arizona Republic. There was organized protest. There was speaking out in a city council meeting. There were warnings that voters might hold Fountain Hills officials accountable for this decision next election. Yes, the protest has included some silly and overheated rhetoric. But certainly no sillier or more overheated than you'll find in a typical Balloon Juice post. In general, the protesters seem concerned that granting a monopoly to a private utility company could disrupt the garbage removal service that the people of Fountain Hills apparently believed the free market was providing pretty efficiently.

I don't want to put words in their mouths, but perhaps, perhaps, the Fountain Hills protesters are worried that the lack of competition in trash service could give rise to the sort of complacent service and disregard for customers that might cause, say, a water company with a government-granted monopoly to dig holes in a customer's backyard without first getting his permission.

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  • Abdul||

    Cole's definition of liberty is when he's free to have a gin and tonic but everyone else can't; and his definition of tyranny is when the bartender cuts him off, but everyone else can drink.

  • Warty||

    Don't bother, Radley. If this smug fuck is a Steelers fan, there's no hope for him. He probably says warsh, too.

  • Almanian||

    And yins

  • ||

    J'eet yet?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Nop, d'jou?

  • Warty||

    I hadda chippedchopped ham sammitch. 'Jew?

  • Warty||

    And it's properly spelled jeetjet, dumbass.

  • ||

    Also, if this guy is a yinzer, then he's one of the smart ones. Scary.

  • ||

    Yowzah.

  • ||

    Someone needs to send this post to him.

  • Almanian||

    But who's gonna read it to him?

  • ||

    Cole sounds like an asshat. As to the particulars, utilities often have easements that appear on the plat of the property. The utility has to restore the property to its original condition but normally they have a legal, contractual right to do the work within the easement area. There are also normally terms and conditions associated with utilities such as allowing utility workers accesss to read meters. You don't like the terms, buy property on a private well and septic system somewhere... and one without any recorded easements.

  • ||

    Yeah? Well how about in my city, where CenterPoint Energy picked the lock on my front door with the help of a law enforcement officer while I was not home in order to inspect my gas pipes, which were connected to a new meter that had been installed a couple of years back?

  • ||

    That was my first reaction. An easement isn't some arcane concept, it's standard in most developments. And any reasonably sentient home owner would be aware of them. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Cole's dickishness to the utility workers was met in kind.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Well, yes.

    But polite city workers give you a heads up for non-emergencies and ask if you have any preferences about access. In the case of digging up the sewer on my folks place, they said "We're gonna come by next week, but..uh...your fence is in the way." and we said "We left the rails loose in a few place, where do you want to come in, we'll take it down for you, but be sure to secure the chicken wire so the dogs don't get out."

    And we helped them get in, and they put the sod back very neatly.

    Which is to say that there is such a critter as a decent, hard working civil-servant. But I'll still take the market over a monopoly for most things.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    He hasn't been the same since those Yemeni bastards blew a hole in him.

  • TallDave||

    +1

  • Anomalous||

    Balloon Juice? Cole is a balloon knot.

  • ||

    I hear they have free market garbage collection in Somalia. The strongest, healthiest,fastest, orphans eat first.

  • ||

    Drink!

  • Fat Tony||

    It'd be a shame if something were to happen to it.

  • Upgrayyed||

    Where we're going, there are no roads.

  • DVDA||

    So, what makes a man, is it the womyn in his arms?
    Just 'cause she's got big titties?
    Or is it the way, that he fights everyday?
    No it's probably the titties

  • DJ Drugs||

    If an Objectivist were to make a joke, though of course only for his or her own benefit about how these strongest, healthiest, fastest, orphans are heroically living up to their moral duty of selfishness, I'd venture a giggle.

    But alas, this hasn't yet happened.

    So....

    ROADS!!!!!

  • ||

    Why does anyone care what Cole says? This is the part I'm not getting.

  • TallDave||

    That was my first thought as well. It seems like the most salient point in all this.

  • von Laue||

    Cole: putting the "hyper" in "hyperinsulinemia" for who-knows-how-long-now!

  • marlok||

    Agreed. I don't think I'd ever heard of this liberal whiner until today. For most normal people, an experience like this would make him question his worship of state power, but instead this douche uses it to sling 3rd grade insults libertarianward. Permanent ignore.

  • Tman||

    Worse is that Cole is a "reformed conservative" turned bleeding heart liberal. Why anyone would subject themselves to his sanctimonious douchebaggery on purpose is beyond me. I'd rather watch Maddow for chrissakes.

  • ||

    Libertarianward. The best new direction terminology since sliced bread..i mean, since port and starboard.

  • TallDave||

    Slicedbreadward ho!

  • ||

    I get a certain mean amusement out of wankers like Cole. They love to spout off about how libertarians are a bunch of fringe wackos which is why nobody pays any attention to them. Then they spend several hours ranting and raving about libertarians...in other words paying attention to them.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    John Cole, worse for the image of WV than Hatfields & McCoys, Christmas in Appalachia, Wrong Turn, Jesco White, and couch burning WVU fans combined.

  • ||

    On par with my vag?

  • Michael||

    This Cole gentleman speaks like someone with exactly half a clue.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    You give him too much credit.

  • Pip||

    There are some who speculate that John Cole herds sheep.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    You use this word - "herd" - I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • ||

    At least he understands that he's hurting those sheep.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    If you fuck a sheep and it doesn't notice, are you really fucking the sheep?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I'd put it somewhere closer to 1/8th of a clue.

  • ||

    Expecting rational consistency from guys like Cole is like expecting fresh-squeezed OJ from a rhinoceros' asshole.

  • George Carlin||

    John Cole was a merry ol' soul,
    A merry ol' soul was he,
    He clapped, 'bring me my pipe,'
    He snapped, 'bring me my bowl!',
    And just as the bellowing smoke departed,
    He exclaimed, 'Holy shit, I smoked myself retarded!'

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "If libertarians would focus on crap like this instead of all the smug bullshit and contrarian economic analysis, they might actually be able to build their party."

    I assume that by "focus on crap like this" Cole means we should focus on forgettable inconveniences and specifically only those that directly inconvenience Cole himself.

  • TallDave||

    But certainly no sillier or more overheated than you'll find in a typical Balloon Juice post.

    No kidding. This is Exhibit 782893470192 in "lefty bloggers who are utterly clueless in a loud and obnoxious fashion."

    I really think this goes back to public schools and the edu-left in general: at some point, the goal of teaching kids what to think came into conflict with teaching them how to think -- and as the emphasis increasingly moved to the former it became increasingly incompatible with the latter. Thus we get today's crop of raucously incoherent lefty bloggers, unable to think critically or argue civilly.

  • ||

    Brevity is the soul of wit, Radley.

    All those wasted pixels to make an obvious point: John Cole is a hypocritical dipshit.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Sometimes a good Fisking is the only way to say "I care".

  • ||

    I agree. But if you pay attention to Junior every time he throws a tantrum, all he learns to do is to throw tantrums.

    I like to think of myself as fairly well-read in Internet politics. I had never heard of these cry-babies until they came up in a post.

    I mean, they have "Glibertarians" as an article tag. All they are doing is holding their breath until they get their way. I say we let them go blue in the face.

  • BaikedPenguin||

    All they are doing is holding their breath until they get their way. I say we let them go blue in the face.

    "I'm going to hold my breath until I turn gay."

  • ||

    By the way, let me sum up the comments section for the newest Ballonknot libertarian Two Minutes Hate:

    "HURR DURR Ayn Rand HURR. libertarian R dumb. Aren't I clever, mommy?"

  • Tony||

    Hey, that's what I wrote.

  • TallDave||

    That was my first thought as well. It seems like the most salient point in all this.

  • Fluffy||

    Who told this fuckwad that I had any interest in "small-d democracy" or "subsidiarity" or any other buzzword some granola bitch he fucked in college taught him?

    You can talk me into advocating democracy for decision-making in joint enterprises that must be joint by their very nature and where satisfactory individual action and discretion is absolutely impossible. Since in plenty of communities across the US, individual property owners contract with the garbage collector of their choice without any ill effects, we can know for a certainty that it was not, in fact, absolutely impossible for that to be done in this case. So fuck the town council and fuck small-d democracy.

  • granola bitch||

    You really think I let that man child anywhere near my pussy? What do you think football teams are for?

  • Fluffy||

    My apologies, granola bitch.

    I did not mean to imply a lack of discernment on your part.

  • robc||

    While agreeing entirely with your message, I have some actually funny content from Cole's rant to point out - he got subsidiarity exactly backwards.

    The city council is going the oppositie direction, taking the decision from the least centralized component (the individual) to a more centralized level (the city). If the city was taking over a state function, then THAT would be subsidiarity.

  • ||

    There's no such thing as "the individual" in Cole's universe. He has no understanding of the concept.

  • cynical||

    "Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority."

    In matters where the smallest, lowest, and least centralized competent authority is the autonomous individual, a certain understanding of subsidiarity would recommend individualism.

    I tend to think such a concept of subsidiarity is not only compatible with individualism, but complements it. Most people accept that there are cases where individualism doesn't work. Rather than jumping straight from individualism to global government, subsidiarity promotes as much autonomy as feasible and justifiable.

  • ||

    Thanks Mr. Balko. That was a mildly unpleasant reach-around instead of the nut shots we normally get from you.

  • ||

    I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating... I've lived in a town with competing private garbage collection. It was a trash paradise.

    They came around to the back of your house to get your cans. The sorted the recycling (which you were not compelled by a fine to participate in, rather they gave you a break on your collection fee), they came twice a week, always after 9am, and on Thursdays they would haul off just about anything you could drag to the curb.

    $20 a month.

  • ||

    TEH HORRORZZZZ!

  • ||

    So, like Somalia?

  • Fluffy||

    You just don't appreciate THE COMPLEXITIES OF 21ST CENTURY TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY!

    AND EXTERNALITIES!

  • BaikedPenguin||

    But they were digging post holes too, weren't they? WEREN'T THEY? POST HOLES!!!

  • TickleStick||

    This magazine has sure gone down hill since Virgina Post-Hole resigned.

  • Corduroy||

    DRINK!

  • ||

    +1000

  • TallDave||

    which you were not compelled by a fine to participate in,

    Aha! Gaia-rapers! Earth defilers!

    I bet they used exploited nonunion immigrant workers and non-electric vehicles, too.

  • ||

    Not one bio-diesel in sight.

  • ||

    and on Thursdays they would haul off just about anything you could drag to the curb.

    I'm not buying it, it's just too fantastic.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Yeah but I bet they dropped externalities all over the place and didn't bother to pick them up, didn't they?

  • Spoonman.||

    My grandparents live in a town where this is the case. For some reason my grandfather burns all the trash in the basement fireplace. Whoever gets that house next is going to have some seriously weird plastic combustion products.

  • Apologetic California||

    Yea, at first I thought who gives a damn about balloon juice? No one ever did. But at the same time, Reason is great for confronting stupid libtardation expressed anywhere no matter how insignificant and small the libtard audience is. This is how liberals think. They are really really really stupid. I haven't met a libtard that is able to hold a libtard view for more than 2 mins. after talking to them. Much of liberalism is aesthetic.

  • PhRMA||

    Much of liberalism is aesthetic.

    And corporate sponsored regulation.

  • ||

    Much of liberalism is aesthetic.

    You're giving them too much credit.
    Much of liberalism is a fashion acessory.

  • ||

    That was my first thought as well. It seems like the most salient point in all this.

  • ||

    sage is TallDave?!?

  • ||

    Sorry, I thought we were chanting.

  • TallDave||

    That was my first thought as well. It seems like the most salient point in all this.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    +1

  • ||

    It's an entirely different kind of flying.

  • TickleStick||

    Sage's handle has the word "Commander" in it, but not the word "noislam".

  • ||

    We are not the same. Trust me.

  • TallDave||

    Just kidding! We really are the same.

  • ||

    It's particularly amusing that Cole would evoke income inequality in this post.

    I would be fascinated to hear Cole's explanation of the situation in Bell, California.

  • TallDave||

    It's well known that Bell's Inequality precludes hidden variables. But I local realism doesn't seem to be Cole's forte.

  • IceTrey||

    Wait a minute, read the post. They didn't dig a hole in his backyard they dug it along the easement in the ALLEY. Big difference.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The post is even more superficial than Balko gives it credit for. Apparently Cole was all bent out of shape because the workers ended up cutting the roots to one of the trees that were running underneath the alley.

    Amazing that he managed to turn that non-sequiter into a snipe at libertarians. Apparently his definition of "excessive government activity" is when it personally inconveniences him.

  • Wind Rider||

    Stopped reading Cole when I couldn't tell John from Juan.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    It's a lot easier to understand's Cole's neuroses and hyperventilating when you take into account that, up until roughly 2005, he was the neo-coniest neo-con you could imagine. It wasn't really until the Schiavo incident, and his blog got flooded with lefty commenters, that he finally decided "To hell with this, I'm switching parties so these commenters will stop chimping out on me."

    He's as reliably progressive now as he was reliably conservative before 2005; he simply switched the team that he's shilling for. If nothing else, he's clearly overcompensating for all those years he was defending Bush's policies.

    He certainly seems to despise libertarians on a visceral scale, even more than he hates conservatives.

  • a||

    +1

  • Paul||

    It doesn't take much for a neocon to go left. It all pretty much comes down to your haircut. All the philosophies and policy prescriptions pretty much carry right over.

  • robc||

    It doesnt take much because they are already there. Who would call a Trotskyite right wing to begin with?

  • Paul||

    Probably Noam Chomsky?

  • DJ Drugs||

    +3

  • Corduroy||

    Once a statist, always a statist

  • Ted S.||

    Most neocons and antigressives hate libertarians.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Yeah, but Cole seems particularly fixated. Perhaps it's just a secondary effect of the need to ape his more strident commenters. I have no doubt that if a flood of right-leaning commenters decided to camp out at Balloon Juice again, he'd end up swinging back to the right to complain about Obama being a douchebag and Biden being an idiot.

    He and Charles Johnson from LGF seem to have quite a bit in common personality-wise. Charles is a lot quicker to employ the gentle kiss of the banhammer, though.

  • Jason||

    What if a flood of libertarian leaning commentators flood his side?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Depends on how much they decided to jump on him for every little comment, and whether they stuck around long enough to make the lefties say, "Man this site used to rock, now it's a glibertarian, Randian, bigoted shithole! I'M OUTTA HERE!"

    I'd expect the conversion to happen about 6 months after that.

  • oncogenesis||

    he's clearly overcompensating for all those years he was defending Bush's policies.

    Converts predictably become zealots.

  • <s>Saul</s> Paul||

    No way.

  • Steve||

    In Paul's case, it was the other way around.

  • Cliché Guy||

    So it's come to this? Blog commentary finally jumps the shark as narcissistic commentators criticize other narcissistic commentators. I hate myself for saying this, but I want my ten minutes back, you douches, and die in a fire too.

  • Fluffy||

    The complaint department is closed.

    Caveat Emptor, baby doll.

    I got mine your ten minutes, jack. Talk to the hand.

  • Cliché Guy||

    Punked.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    The local gummint arranges for trash collection?

    Where I live, they provide county landfills and trash collection centers. How your trash gets there is up to you. You can drive it there yourself (and many people do, because it's really cheap and really easy to do it). Or you can hire one of several commercial sanitation services.

    We use a service owned by one of our neighbors. They're great. I leave the big wheeled bin up next to the garage, and the guy comes up the driveway and walks it down to the truck. We don't even have to walk it to to the curb.

    Why should my local government decide who provides that SERVICE to me? I could opt to collect my trash for a week or two and then drive it all to the landfill myself on Saturday - no collection service needed.

  • nj||

    Cole has not changed, he was a hack when he was member of team red. He is a hack for team blue now.

  • ||

    Whne was Cole a member of team red?
    Even back during the Iraq war ... way back in 2004, he always seemed sort of concern-trolly to me.

  • Paul||

    In general, the protesters seem concerned that granting a monopoly to a private utility company could disrupt the garbage removal service that the people of Fountain Hills apparently believed the free market was providing pretty efficiently.

    And it will cause disruption. When you have a single point-of-failure in your trash collection, it's real easy to hold a city hostage with something like, oh, a garbage strike.

    This is why politicians love single point-of-failure everything. If everyone takes the train to work, you can seriously mind fuck your constituents by encouraging a transit strike. Hard to do that when everyone drives a car.

  • omg||

    Unless you're in France, then sheep farmers will assault truckers carrying foreign sheep and light them on fire in the middle of the highway to show the plight of having to compete with others.

  • BaikedPenguin||

    ...it's real easy to hold a city hostage with something like, oh, a garbage strike.

    So would you choose Amsterdam or Naples?

  • ||

    You don't even have to encourage a strike.

    Next time the voters reject a property tax increase, reduce the garbage pickup to once a week, and the recycling pickup (which residents are required to participate in) to once every two weeks. And then fine people for littering if they forget and put out the recycling in the wrong week.

    That's the Pittsburgh way.

  • Paul||

    Next time the voters reject a property tax increase, reduce the garbage pickup to once a week, and the recycling pickup (which residents are required to participate in) to once every two weeks.

    That's kind of what I meant. I believe that local elected officials 'encourage' strikes all the time by fucking with their union employees, but with a wink.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Also - ROADS!!

  • Corduroy||

    Drink!

  • Enyap||

    Looks like E.D. Kains comments were deleted by the open minded progessives.

  • ||

    these people on the city council will now run for county commissioner, then on to the state legislature and then on to congress where they will retire into a lobbyist gig promoting more nanny state rules and regs. we truly are on the road to serfdom. it's the same here with no texting laws, banning spice at the city level. next will be state wide no-smoking laws and then mandated health insurance. until we get local officials with the individual freedom gene, we are fucked.

  • John-David||

    Some commenter named Maude thinks* she has this down:

    People vote for the town council.
    The town council takes bids from trash haulers.
    The best hauler gets the contract.
    The word monopoly doesn’t make sense in this context.
    There was more than one bid submitted.
    A choice was made by the elected town council.


    But she forgets to add in the final step: some citizens weren't happy with this process, and made it clear to the elected town council. Apparently in Balloon Juice land the step she didn't post is a disgrace to democracy.

    *She's wrong.

  • Fluffy||

    I'll bet if we changed the subject from trash collection to tampons, that bitch would not be as sanguine about the prospect.

    Tough luck, bitch. We voted on what tampon you get to use, and we voted for the "Sandpaper and broken glass" brand. It's not a monopoly because we let everybody bid.

  • ||

    Sanguine? What does that mean?

    -- Hopeful. Also, bloody.

    Yep, that about covers it.

  • IceTrey||

    Democracy is nothing but tyranny by the majority. Thank Flying Spaghetti Monster we live in a republic....or used to.

  • cynical||

    I hear this a lot. I'm curious what exactly the word "republic" means in this context, that suggests some sort of protection from tyranny of the majority (or for that matter, of any sort -- there's no requirement that a republic be democratic, liberal, or constitutional).

  • cynical||

    "People vote for the town council.
    The town council takes bids from trash haulers.
    The best hauler gets the contract. a monopoly."

    What a tard. I assume when a company legitimately drives the competition out of the market, she doesn't consider that a monopoly either, since there was competition at one point?

  • ||

    What they need is an anarcho-syndicalist system of garbage collection, with a rotating execuitve officer who oversees normal trash colletion operations that must be ratified by a simple majority in the bi-weekly coopoerative meetings, and have major policy decisions require a 2/3 majority vote in special plebiscites. Anything else is repression of the masses.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    THEY'LL JUST REDRAW THE MUNICIPAL LINES TO SUPPRESS THE BLACK/LATINO VOTE!!!!!!

  • ||

    He was repressin' me ! You saw it !

  • ||

    Now we see the violence inherent in the system

  • ||

    The best hauler gets the contract.

    There's your trouble.

  • odfasd||

    boston tea party was because of a relatively small tax and government-sanctioned monopoly imposed without their consent. were they overreacting?

  • Hobie Hanson||

    Yes. England has sensible gun control and universal health care. If we'd stuck with them instead of throwing a temper tantrum we would be better off today.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    ???????

    A couple weeks ago, I found a very odd-looking bug crawling across the railing on my deck behind my house. I had never seen one like it before. I looked at it for a few seconds, unsure of just what the hell it was. I felt mostly confused.

    I am looking at you in pretty much the same way. As a confusing bug.

    England has "sensible" gun control? A near complete ban on private ownership is "sensible control"?

  • Paul||

    You fell into his trap by focusing on 'gun control'. Look at the clusterfuck that is England's "civil liberties" and you'll find the closest thing to a bureaucratic tyranny in the western world.

  • sr7||

    Hobie, get the fuck out of our lives.

  • ||

    I don't want to put words in their mouths, but perhaps, perhaps, the Fountain Hills protesters are worried that the lack of competition in trash service could give rise to the sort of complacent service and disregard for customers that might cause, say, a water company with a government-granted monopoly to dig holes in a customer's backyard without first getting his permission.

    To say nothing of unionization and the crippling contract obligations (present and future) thereto attached.

  • lunchstealer||

    Yeah, I was really impressed when my government-mandated electric/gas minority came and made repairs to our gas meter with no notice. They showed up, parked their van, shut off the gas supply, and started working. Despite being home at the time, and being within easy earshot of the front door and the doorbell, I had no idea they were there or that the gas was shut off. Eventually, I happened to notice them out there and went to ask what they were doing, and they told me they'd detected a leak and needed to repair it. God forbid I had been in the middle of cooking my lunch. About an hour later, I started smelling gas around the house. They'd turned on the gas and left without giving us a heads-up that maybe we should re-light our pilot lights so the house wouldn't fill with gas.

  • Juice||

    That all sounds pretty illegal. At least in most municipalities. There are certain protocols that gas companies have to follow by law to prevent fires and explosions.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    When the president government-monopolized gas company does it, it's not illegal.

  • T||

    God forbid I had been in the middle of cooking my lunch.

    Too inept at your chosen trade to steal one already cooked?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    So when the public utility inconveniences John Cole, suddenly libertarians should ride to his rescue.

    Next week, it is some how inconceivable that individual citizens should or could negotiate their own garbage collection contracts and the town council must act on the behalf of single collection service--for the good of the community of course.

    And the good of whoever greased the wheels to get a monopoly over a municipality.

    Statism exists at every level of government.

  • Mean Girl||

    Whaaaah! Somebody named John Cole was mean to libertarians! He just doesn't understand us. Whaaaah!

  • ||

    Cole has put up a butthurt response to Radley.

  • Warty||

    My bad, he uses 1208 words according to word count. Just to be specific, as Radley points out there was no ACTUAL rioting, so I don’t want to be accused twice of being wrong on the facts.

    Delicious, delicious butthurts.

  • Warty||

    Don't miss the comments, either. All blessings flow from the government.

    jimmiraybob

    They call that place Reason? Seriously?
    Ya know, a plan to unify a provided service might just be more efficient, cost effective and, you know, beneficial to the citizens. I guess that the most fair libertarian solution would be for the city to just get out of the trash business and let the citizens fend for themselves.
    Of course, any decent government would just disband itself and return sovereignty to the people so that they could roam freely across the desert grubbing for berries and worms.

  • Juice||

    Yes, what would we do without the town council? It would be like Road Warrior. See you in the Thunderdome!

  • ||

    I guess that the most fair libertarian solution would be for the city to just get out of the trash business and let the citizens fend for themselves.

    He's more right than he realizes.

  • ||

    Yep. Good idea. And we can have lots of free market water companies delivering to your door after the tingling invisible hand of the free market trash collection services poisons the water table. Paradise.

  • ||

    Strawman much, pandera?

  • ||

    I guess that the most fair libertarian solution would be for the city to just get out of the trash business and let the citizens fend for themselves.

    Yeah, pretty much.

    I'm honestly puzzled that he apparently thinks having people fend for themselves is some kind of discussion-closing slam dunk.

  • Warty||

    Because all blessings flow from the government, obviously. You libertards would still live in caves if civilized people like me didn't force you to sort your garbage.

  • ||

    SOMALIA! RAND! Hurr Durr!

  • 0x90||

    I love the Somalia thing. Say the whole world were in complete anarchy, except for Somalia; does the argument still work? It must be so comforting to be able to argue your ideology while absolutely ignoring context.

  • ||

    No, the argument doesn't work because Somalia isn't an anarchy. Somalia just has a government that's more open about being a criminal enterprise than the governments of other countries.

  • Ayn_Randian||

    Please. Somalia has competing factions vying for control. That is the face of anarchy: Perpetual War.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Somalia has competing factions vying for control. That is the face of anarchy: Perpetual War.

    Next left-wing "glibertarian" comeback meme:

    "IF YOU LOVE 'FREEDOM' SO MUCH WHY DON'T YOU MOVE TO MEXICO, YOU RANDIAN BIGOT?!"

  • Fiscal Meth||

    So I suppose you would just have people fine themselves for not properly sorting their recycling. CHECK MATE! GAME SET MATCH GLIBERTARDIAN!!

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Why would we go forage in the desert? That's just silly. If there was no government trash service, there would be more than enough berries and worms dumped on the streets to go around.

  • EPA||

    Forraging in the desert is illegal.

  • ||

    I liked:

    ColeFan
    John Cole’s enemies have always been vicious, stupid scum. Go look back at his archives from a few years back to see what he said about Bush critics, war opponents, Muslims, the French, Democrats, and other scourges of humanity.

    I can almost hear the whistling of the banhammer falling.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    LOL, somebody actually wrote that? +1 for that commenter, just for the sheer audacity to actually tell the truth.

  • ||

    The Stoopid is strong in this one.

    Perhaps we should do this for all things, since collecting trash is considered a vital gummint function, why shouldn't the processes that generate the trash be so as well?

    Just think, we could have a unified supermarket, gas station, fast food joint, movie theater, clothing store, drug store, bank, newspaper, bar, coffee house, etc, all from multiple bidders and the winner selected by the elected town supervisors.

    If you don't like the winning bidder, or get terrible service and high prices, you can always vote against the your representative on the council the next time elections roll around.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Chocolate Jesus||

    I'm working on it.

  • ||

    Ya know, a plan to unify a provided service might just be more efficient, cost effective and, you know, beneficial to the citizens.

    Like a Wal-Mart?

  • Joe M||

    Are we allowed to drink for that?

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    You mean you don't have to after reading that?

  • alan||

    I guess that the most fair libertarian solution would be for the city to just get out of the trash business and let the citizens fend for themselves.

    These individuals are for the most part in possession of two arms and two leg appendages in working order right? What is so damn hard for these saps to understand how things work? My tabby cats have a better go at it and they are meager quadrupeds. I don't understand where they are coming from with this helplessness shit.

  • ||

    I worked with a liberal of the animals have rights bent and when I told her she was violating her pets' rights by keeping them locked inside all day while she was at work, she looked at me in horror because I thought she should free them. "But it's cold and dangerous out there in the world for the poor dears." Liberal mindset in a nutshell. I take comfort knowing her cats will eat her when she dies.

  • alan||

    My exwife was (still is, I guess if her current husband hasn't killed her yet) an odd combination of PETA, vegan and Orange County Republican (married a Cali-girl, silly me). I asked her when we were dating why it was okay to feed her cat canned meat. She turned around and with out a pause she told me that the cat was too young to make that decision for herself.

  • Paul||

    You did it wrong. My wife came into the marriage a vegetarian, and left it an unapologetic meat eater. Some arguments I just won't lose.

  • alan||

    My current girlfriend I've been shacked up with for two years is only thirty two, prettier, smarter, apolitical, meat eater, and much less insane most days, so I'm okay with losing that argument. Though I bow my head that you actually won an argument with a woman. It isn't every lifetime of the male that that occurs.

  • ||

    My wife came into the marriage a vegetarian, and left it an unapologetic meat eater.

    But does she eat animals?

  • ||

    *ba da bum tschss*

  • ||

    WyldPirate

    I want me some of that spell chickin. I needs me some of it.

    Plus, Radly Balko is a fucking idiot except when he’s not. He does have some of the traits of the “good” Libertarians—he gives the legal system hell about ganja and he roughs up the cops for smacking people around and Tasering people to death.

    The things that ruin Libertarians is their money-grubbing stinginess they appropriated from the Rethugs. That leads to the fatal thought flaw that almost all Libertards and Rethugs have—they think THEY are the sole responsible people and that THEY can take care of themselves and don’t NEED any help.

    Little do they know how fucking hubristic that mindset is. There are few people in the US or the world—maybe the top 1% in the US—who can skate through almost any unfortunate event that can happen to one’s life without outside assistance. The rest of us—not so much. The rest of us go through our lives just one blink-of-an-eye instant from total dependency on others. We avoid these situations for the most part, simply due to chance.

  • ||

    Uh, this was copied from a comment at the Balloon Juice response. The opinions expressed are not those of Tulpa, Tulpa Inc., or any of its subsidiaries or umbrella corporations.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    That stupid commenter clearly seems to believe that Libertarians have a goal in life to never make friends, cut themselves off from family members, and live completely separate from any community whatsoever, so that they can lead lives as true rugged individualists.

    There's really no point in trying to make people like that try to see otherwise--as others have pointed out, when your frame of reference always points to the government handling every single fucking aspect of your life, it's impossible to consider any other alternative as functional.

  • alan||

    The rest of us—not so much. The rest of us go through our lives just one blink-of-an-eye instant from total dependency on others. We avoid these situations for the most part, simply due to chance.

    As applied to the situation under discussion, he is telling us that he can not make the decision between already existing services so he favors a monopoly to make that decision for him. Hubristic? The way he is using that word would apply to the vast majority of human beings over the last several thousand years until universal public education smacked the species up side the head, producing debilitating lameness in the populace, like the individual you quoted, Tulpa.
    Worse, yet, these fools expect us who have our shit together to stick around and take their shit.

  • ||

    Yep, those thousands of years before public education were a libertarian paradise. Hard, nasty, brutal and short yes, filled with disease and hunger yes, also, too. But paradisical really. No gummint' bastards ya know what I mean? Water tables, sewage systems, waste disposal, fresh water? Whatever. Get offa my land.

  • ||

    Please keep the non sequiturs coming. It was clearly Public Education that changed the world. And prior to that it was great because no one was more libertarian than the English royalty, or the Frankish Empire, or the Romans, or the Persians, or the Babylonians. All small government libertarians.

  • ||

    "No gummint' bastards ya know what I mean?"

    I have absolutely no idea what you mean if you're equating Feudalism and its predecessors with libertarianism. The early thinkers best described as "libertarian" were primarily concerned with the injustices of the remnants of the Feudal states in Europe more than anything else.

  • alan||

    In your ignorant mind, pandera, The Good Life did not exist, theoretically could not have existed, before the cradle to grave Welfare State took you under its angelical wings singing sweet lullabies to the grandeur of your helplessness. You are truly a disgrace to the human condition.

    My primary worry is you are so representative of the species at this point in our evolution that water tables, sewage systems, waste disposal, and fresh water on a massive scale will no longer be feasible endeavors. In fact, your Luddite greenies usually stand in the way of the construction of those things, so what the fuck are you wailing about? Your side is now defending water tanks and processing facilities? When did that happen? Never.

  • 0x90||

    Put more simply: absence of government implies absence of society. That is the core misperception you are dealing with here.

  • ||

    Use of the not so much catch phrase grows tiresome.

    Along with This., teh, meh; use of such a phrase by others reveals weak minds, desperate desires by many to get recognized as one of the group.

    As an aside, correctly, one should say not so much to express displeasure of a presented choice as in:


    I like this one. That one, not so much.

    It's a rather weak rejoinder, expressed by females and limp-wristed males.

  • Paul||

    Of course, any decent government would just disband itself and return sovereignty to the people so that they could roam freely across the desert grubbing for berries and worms.

    Ironic, because here in Seattle, the pro-government progressives consider this the utopian future.

  • ||

    I hope Cole has read the comments.

    Or not.

    Next up, John Cole wonders why the government permits profane, unmoderated comments on the internet.

    Shut the fuck up, John.

  • ||

    Cannibalism, privatization... no substantive difference.

  • ||

    Charles Johnson, John Cole and Andrew Sullivan. There is a certain type of liberal whom the 00s caused to go completely batshit insane. They all started out as liberals. Flipped into Wilsonian patriotic nation builders after 9-11. And then flipped back into their final and most hideous form after the war got hard and they flipped back.

  • ||

    Another Lead Balloon contributor swipes at the H&R tradition of informal "laws" (joez, RC'z, etc) and at Reason's fundraiser:

    I don’t dislike libertarians. The ones I know in real life are all thoughtful people. But it’s no wonder that, even with all the Koch money, they have to run constant fundraisers.

    where the emboldened part is linked to Reason's "donation" site.

  • alan||

    Volunteer exchanges are a threat to their life style.

    If it is shown to work, they may have to chip in for their share of NPR, after all.

  • ||

    Yes, those weak libertarians, why can't they just live off taxpayer money like the rest of us?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Who is this John Cole and why does anyone care what he thinks about anything?

    I never heard of the guy until today.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I made the mistake of clicking the link and reading some of the comments over at Baloon Knot Juice.

    The stupid burned my retinas.

  • bubba||

    My only exposure to balloon juice has been via the links left by a particularly virulent, angry lefty who is fluent in neither English nor Math.

    I can't imagine why anyone with two neurons to rub together would expose himself voluntarily.

  • Joe R.||

    And yet every one of those wailing jackasses over there defending government contracts probably hates Halliburton.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    +1

  • ||

    My favorite comment is this doozy.

    "They tried this with phones, airlines & electricity and yet the choices have not gotten us better service or cheaper rates. While it should do that in theory the reality is any apparent reduction in cost is reflected in shittier service. Options turn into confusing, and usually pointless, complexity yielding no improvement for the consumer."

    I guess he doesn't remember the regulated airline industry?

  • alan||

    Or how much a call from the Eastern Seaboard to Guam cost in 1982 for that matter. I remember ten minute calls to my sister costing over fifty bucks. Now, I video chat with a friend who now lives on Okinawa and the cost is negligible. Without the deregulation of telecommunications, the internet would still be the playground of the government/academic elites. Recall Gore's proposals in the late 80's were highly centralized with a limited number of gate keeper servers allowed.

    The left is so fucking clueless; they would very much like that kind of set up because they also assume they would be on the inside, thus privileged. However, the vast majority of them possess the mentality of lackeys with no clue as to how the good grace of the market supports the externalities of their parasitical lives, and does so much more efficiently than any bureaucracy they could dream up to handle those matters.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    That whole comment is full of ignorance. He/she must live in a truly fucked up municipality, because I can get a land line AND electricity for $35 a piece (I live in an apartment, and people understand that by CHOOSING to buy a house, they are voluntarily subjecting themselves to higher utility costs). In inflation-adjusted dollars, that's damn miniscule.

    As for the airline industry, I'm not happy with the cattle-car model that's in use, but you know what? It's not enough of an inconvenience that I'd never consider flying, especially when I can find tickets at prices I can afford. Millions of people feel the same way.

    The last sentence is nothing more than aspie-speak for "please save me from having to think for myself!"

  • ||

    Options turn into confusing, and usually pointless, complexity yielding no improvement for the consumer.

    Wait, what? Phones are worse now than when Ma Bell offered you a telephone nailed to the wall, in your choice of three fabulous designer colors? Long distance was a fabulous luxury expense.
    I pay fifteen dollars per month for a cell phone with which I can make a cheap call from *almost* anywhere.

    I can't help it if you're a pathetic feckless moron, Bub.

  • Paul||

    We used to get dressed up before making a long distance call.

    NPR has covered this schtick before. "We're paralyzed by our choices... we're too free, I don't derive satisfaction! Waah! Waah!"

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The part at the end was priceless:

    "SPIEGEL: Which is an incredibly difficult thing to do. Choice is tempting. The ideology of choice: too powerful. Consider Bara Sapir, the 36 old woman who's searching for a partner. She says that despite the possibility that her process is making her unhappy, she can't imagine giving it up. Nor can she imagine settling for less than the partner she has always envisioned.

    Ms. SAPIR: No, no. I won't settle. If I decide I want to have children and I am not in a...I'm not in a partnership, then I would do what I would need to do in order to have that child. You know, we have choices now. I have choices now, and there's no, there's no reason for me to settle for anything."

    I AM A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE AND THAT'S THE ONLY REASON I'M STILL SINGLE, I SWEAR!

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

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