"Sort of like a community organizer, except you have actual responsibilities"

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At the excellent Liberty & Power blog, historian David Beito has some very sharp comments on the ongoing controversy over Sen. Barack Obama's (D-Ill.) work as a community organizer. The trouble started last week at the Republican National Convention, when speakers including former New York Gov. George Pataki and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani poked fun at Obama's grassroots efforts, contrasting them with the "actual" executive experience of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who earned a big laugh with the following zinger: "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."

Unsurprisingly, folks on the left weren't so amused. At The Nation, Peter Dreir and John Atlas lambasted Palin and company for their mockery, charging, "The party of Ronald Reagan was touting government experience over civic engagement."

According to Beito, however, whose book From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State offers a definitive history of American fraternal societies and the voluntary provision of social services, the truth is that none of the above are on the side of the angels:

Based on what I know, Obama's "community organizing" had little to do with helping people help themselves by pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. It mostly consisted of a well-coordinated high-pressure campaign by paid "organizers" to force taxpayers to pay for services that should be provided voluntarily. That is not mutual aid, at least in the sense that Tocqueville understood it when he described how Americans formed voluntary associations to build hospitals, churches, and roads.

With some exceptions, community organizers of the Obama type run shakedown operations. True, they give people advice but the lesson taught is not so much to "help them help themselves" as it is to "help them help themselves to the wallets of taxpayers."

Unfortunately, Palin and Giuliani did not make this critique and, given their records and interests, this is not suprising. Instead of holding up the alternative of mutual aid and self-help, they offered no solution other than to defend the power of politicians like themselves who also spend their lives extracting money from defenseless taxpayers.

Whole thing here.

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  1. At The Nation, Peter Dreir and John Atlas lambasted Palin and company for their mockery, charging, “The party of Ronald Reagan was touting government experience over civic engagement.”

    So, people on the left, who have been criticizing Governor Palin for her lack of government experience, are now saying that government experience is irrelevant. This show gets better every time I tune in.

  2. John-David,

    All arguments are made in a context.

    imho, the experience issue is irrelevant this election since there will not be an incumbent on the ballot for either P or VP slots.

    As for the jibes at “community organizing” from the RNC, the thing I found ironic was the attempt to paint Obama as an elitist at the same time they mocked, in very elitist fashion, his activities prior to grad school.

    Tut tut, imaaaagine, getting involved in community organzing as a youth, what a maroooon…

    Why didn’t that poor young man take a corporate job or political appointment to get some reeeeal experience.

  3. The Economist (hardly a leftist publication) wasn’t too happy with Palin either.

  4. I’m pretty sure that pressuring your landlord to get the asbestos removed is a legitimate effort, even if – no, especially if – your landlord is the government.

  5. But who cares about poor people’s problems, anyway?

  6. What the RNC’s critique seems to mean, to me, is that they feel experience creating bottom-up solutions (grass roots organizing) is inferior in some way to experience as a top-down problem solver (governor/mayor).

  7. anybody here familiar with western service workers association?
    so many community organizers out there don’t actually provide private services to those they seek to benefit. They lobby, protest and fight for the government to provide more services. So the argument that civic engagement should be as valuable as private enterprise compared to government work, even to libertarians, is laughable.
    The ‘ community organization’ or association, is more like a union fighting for the ‘rights’ of welfare recipients and the like.

  8. Palin’s time line doesn’t work.

    While Obama was a community organizer Palin was a TV sports news reader in the 150th ranked TV market.

    While Palin was a small town mayor, Obama was in the State Senate of Illinois.

  9. Given their asserted passion for self-improvement and voluntary association, there ought to be a lot of libertarian community organizers out there, working with people to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” via those “little platoons.” After all, such activity should, assuming a respectable level of intellectual consistency, be the predominant form of libertarian political activity. Because heaven knows, such rhetoric isn’t actually a screen for apathy towards the problems of the poor.

    So…where are they?

  10. Neu Mejican,

    I think any time you have people sermonizing and mocking the way a significant portion of the population lives it is potentially elitist.

  11. Joe, what about advocating high reward for pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps (financial success). What about letting people reap the natural consequences of poor decisions as a natural deterrent to NOT pulling oneself up by the bootstraps?
    I don’t see how a lack of libertarian community organizations is evidence of some kind of libertarian hypocrisy

  12. That’s why it’s called ‘SELF improvement’

  13. I am speaking of a new engagement in the lives of others, a new activism, hands-on and involved, that gets the job done. We must bring in the generations, harnessing the unused talent of the elderly and the unfocused energy of the young. For not only leadership is passed from generation to generation, but so is stewardship. And the generation born after the Second World War has come of age.

    I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved. The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.

    Imaaaaanine, what a maroooooon.

  14. But who cares about poor people’s problems, anyway?

    I know! I know!
    The elite!

  15. Seward,

    I think any time you have people sermonizing and mocking the way a significant portion of the population lives it is potentially elitist.

    Potentially?

  16. I thought Giuliani defending small-town America and mocking all things “cosmopolitan” was probably the most hilarious thing of the convention.

    Well, next to Mitt Romney, Harvard graduate and former Massachusetts Governor railing against “eastern elites”.

  17. My community is disorganized and I like it.

    Come to think of it, what is a community? Do I even live in a community? What does that mean?

  18. What the RNC’s critique seems to mean, to me, is that they feel experience creating bottom-up solutions (grass roots organizing) is inferior in some way to experience as a top-down problem solver (governor/mayor).

    That’s because the Right (Libertarians *sometimes* excepted) has a big old hard-on for power. ‘S been true for centuries. Back in the day, it was about fellating kings.

    Actually, come to think of it, I don’t think most of the Right ever evolved out of the king-fellatio mentality.

    Now, the Left, they just love Saviors.

    I’m not quite sure which one is scarier; the cravenness towards the crass and worldly, or the pretensions towards heroic godliness.

  19. Joe, YOU just lost the libertarian vote!

    Seriously though, libertarians do volunteer. Do you expect libertarians to all have special libertarian hats or libertarian armbands by which they can be identified?

  20. A wise man said of community organizers in NYC once…

    “Most of the political establishment in this city opposed them [and] tried to undercut them,” [but] “they do not pay homage to political figures…. They require you to answer their questions. They remind you that you are a public servant.”

  21. But Pinette, I’m always being told that the plight of the poor is the consequence of The Man keeping them down. Are you telling me that are NO anti-government causes that effect the residents of Chicago’s public housing?

    What about eminent domain? Where are the libertarians organizing the urban poor to resist that? I hear small government types flapping their gums about it all the time, why don’t they ever do it in the meeting room of the public housing complex, or in the church basement?

    Or maybe they do, and I just haven’t heard about it. Which is funny, because you’d think a publication like Reason would highlight that sort of thing.

  22. All arguments are made in a context.

    Indeed. And the context for Palin’s comments is that the Obama campaign’s first response to her announcement was to issue a press release mocking her for being a “former small-town mayor.” Getting all huffy about comments about community organizers seems a bit thin-skinned to me.

    Of course, Sen. Obama said that that press release didn’t reflect his true thoughts, it was the fault of his over-zealous staff.

  23. Ben,

    Seriously though, libertarians do volunteer. I don’t question that. I’m sure you can find them at Habitat sites and soup kitchens. I’m not being sarcastic, I mean that.

    But I’m talking about working for change. Aren’t there supposedly all of these structural inequities related to Big Government that are harming the poor? Why don’t I ever see libertarians working side-by-side with poor people to fight the powers that be?

  24. What about eminent domain? Where are the libertarians organizing the urban poor to resist that?

    What, the Institute for Justice providing actual legal assistance and organizing rallies doesn’t count? Or were you seriously unaware of that, joe?

  25. Come to think of it, what is a community? Do I even live in a community? What does that mean?

    Max, do you do absolutely everything for yourself that is needed to survive? Or do you rely upon specialists to grow, package, and locally deliver your food, make sure you have water, build and maintain your house, the streets you use, the car you drive, and the schools that your children attend? Perhaps you have a specialization of your own, which you trade to those who need it for wages, a common abstract good for regularizing the exchange of specialized services?

    When it’s cells, we call it cell specialization, and the resulting conglomeration an organism. When it’s humans, we call the result a society. Often the specialized cells in organisms congregate in efficient structures called organs. When it’s humans, we call such structures “communities”.

    /pedant off

  26. E.g.,:

    “The 876-acre Ogden-Pulaski TIF stretches across 876 acres of Chicago’s Lawndale neighboorhood, a poor, pre-dominantly elderly African-American community of the city’s west side. After city officials established the TIF district in February 2008, community members led by Valerie Leonard and Joe Ann Bradley moved to organize the Lawndale Alliance, with the help of the Castle Coalition, in order to help prevent the possible seizure of 41 properties. Before the meeting approving the TIF, the Lawndale alliance held a press conference denoucing the Communicty Development Commission’s plans. Due to pressure from the Lawndale Alliance, the city took all but the vacant properties in the area off of the plan’s “involuntary acquisition list.”

    There are other examples, joe, thankfully.

  27. I thought Giuliani defending small-town America and mocking all things “cosmopolitan” was probably the most hilarious thing of the convention.

    I actually think Manhattan has a lot in common with small town America. When I lived there I was struck with a couple of things.

    1) Most people in New York are from a small town somewhere.
    2) Those that have lived in New York all their life have seen very little of the world outside NYC.

  28. Joe, what the hell are you talking about now?
    Do you really believe that there are no libertarian action groups fighting eminent domain? That they don’t meet the way you imagine REAL grass roots orginizers should is supposed to be, again, some sort of evidence of libertarian hypocrisy?
    come off it.

  29. Joe-6:27

    Great observations followed by a truly good question. I know that libertarians can be generous-I’ve obserbed it and have been a recipient of libertarian generosity. There are lots of libertarian and libertarian leaning organizations, groups, loose associations, etc. that will come to the aid of folks victimized by some sort of state action. IMO, we like to help others voluntarily.

    However, are there such libertarian grass roots community organizers as you describe them? Don’t take me as the barometer or anything, but nothing comes to mind.

    I can see it now, young, idealistic Rothbards and Rands spreading the gospel of liberty while teaching the poor and downtrodden how to resist Caesar’s crumbs and to recognize the moral difference between a free enterprizer and a reptilian rent seeker all the while teaching them some marketable and entrepreneurial skills.

    Joe, you may have inspired some of us.

  30. John Thacker,

    Taking lawsuits isn’t organizing. Inviting people to your media events isn’t organizing.

    Organizing is working with people, and letting them set the agenda, not just rallying people to yours. That’s just political activism, and while it’s a fine thing to do, it’s also quite a bit different from asking people what they want to do, what problems they want to address, and providing structural and strategic assistance to their causes.

  31. Pinette-

    No. Give Joe some credit on this point.

  32. And along those lines, I do heartily endorse the Institute for Justice and hope that some here will contribute to help their pro bono legal aid and other work that they do. They get very good marks from charity ratings groups for their efficiency in putting donations to good use.

  33. I’m talking, Pinette, about the fact that you don’t even know what community organizing is, yet are bashing it.

    It’s good that there are libertarians involved in activism. Finding allies for your cause is fine…but it’s not empowering them, it’s not putting the people you’re working with first, and it’s not community organizing. Do you seriously think that the Castle Coalition would so much as hand out note pads to help the people they brought together pursue anything other than the Castle Coalition’s stated agenda?

  34. “Organizing is working with people, and letting them set the agenda, not just rallying people to yours. That’s just political activism, and while it’s a fine thing to do, it’s also quite a bit different from asking people what they want to do, what problems they want to address, and providing structural and strategic assistance to their causes.”

    I’m pretty sure that the IJ and the Castle Coalition provide structural and strategic assistance to causes that people want addressed, such as in the case of Lawndale that I excerpted above. They have many “success stories” listed on their website that involve working with local grassroots groups and providing structural, legal, and strategic advice to spontaneous groups that knew that they wanted to oppose eminent domain but didn’t know how to do so effectively.

  35. Indeed. And the context for Palin’s comments is that the Obama campaign’s first response to her announcement was to issue a press release mocking her for being a “former small-town mayor.” Getting all huffy about comments about community organizers seems a bit thin-skinned to me.

    Being gullible is more damning than being thin-skinned. The first walks into the trap that McCain et al. wanted…to highlight the issue of experience. To make it a race about experience.

    The second unleashes the wrath of all those grass roots organizers that will be important for getting out the vote.

  36. Taranto over at WSJ has a take on this whole thing:
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122075869303807633.html?mod=Best+of+the+Web+Today

    Basically, a “community organizer” is like a plumber except with no plumbing skills and no responsibilties.

    I truly cannot figure out why Obama and his supporters are blowing up their own campaign.

    Just today the Dem gov of PA said that Palin doesn’t have enough experience to be President (thus implying that neither does Obama).

    Dem handbook rules for retardedness:

    1. Let’s have the media attack Palin as much as they can. That will really get all those bitter, small-town voters on our side.

    2. Let’s harp on Palin’s inexperience. That way we can highlight Obama’s inexperience even more.

  37. Do you seriously think that the Castle Coalition would so much as hand out note pads to help the people they brought together pursue anything other than the Castle Coalition’s stated agenda?

    I do think that they clearly “empowered” those local groups and put them first by responding to their concerns when other activist groups and community organizers did not.

    Joe, do you seriously think that most left-leaning “community organizers” would fight for vouchers and school choice if that’s what the local community said that they wanted?

  38. Here’s the point: community organizing is about providing services to the disempowered so they can pursue their interests and fight back against those who threaten them.

    The Castle Coalition and IJ aren’t using their resources and skills to make the people of those neighborhoods more able to fight for their interests; rather, they are using the people of those neighborhoods to make themselves more powerful, so they can fight for the CC’s and IJ’s interests – and, once again, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s perfectly respectable political and legal activism.

    But when the case is over and those groups leave town, the people they rallied have no more power, no more organization, no more ability to be effective at fighting off those threats than when they rolled into town.

  39. Joe, did you read my posts? maybe you read somebody else’ post and accidentally attributed it to me?

  40. Dem handbook rules for retardedness:

    1. Let’s have the media attack Palin as much as they can. That will really get all those bitter, small-town voters on our side.

    2. Let’s harp on Palin’s inexperience. That way we can highlight Obama’s inexperience even more.

    The Dems control the media?

    Second point…see my comment above about being gullible.

  41. joe,

    Are you saying that community organizers leave behind an infrastructure of leadership that helps the community function more effectively without the outside help?

  42. John Thacker, what makes you think that the CC and IJ are the only groups that have ever worked against eminent domain takings?

    Joe, do you seriously think that most left-leaning “community organizers” would fight for vouchers and school choice if that’s what the local community said that they wanted? Yup. But more importantly, if a community organizer went into a church basement and the people told him that the objective they wanted to fight for was better educational resources, the community organizer would work with them to fight for better educational resources. And if they were told that the big problem facing them was a lack of maintenance from landlords – public or private – they’d help them fight that battle.

  43. That’s about right, NM, but I wouldn’t emphasize leadership so much. What defines community organizing, especially the style Obama practiced, is that it isn’t about playing follow the leader, but about empowering everyone.

  44. More to the point, John T., they have. Inner city, esp. African-American communities (somewhat famously) have broken from the partisan orthodoxy about vouchers, and you can bet your ass that local community and church groups fight for them.

  45. what is a community?

    Republican reply: Some people who live near each other.

    Democrat reply: Some urban black folks whose votes we crave.

    Libertarian reply: Who cares?

  46. I think I just answered by own question, NM. Libertarians are uncomfortable with community organizing because community organizing is fundamentally about using collective action to make up for power imbalances, and libertarians dislike collective action much more than they dislike power imbalances.

  47. Elemenope, I don’t follow you. Are you saying the guy in China who makes my shoes, who I will never meet, is part of my community? Community = market?

  48. Thank you, ed, there was a chance somebody might have thought I was exaggerating or caricaturing.

  49. ed,

    Republican reply: Some people who live near each other a small town.

    Democrat reply: Some urban black folks whose votes we crave.

    Libertarian reply: Who cares?

    fixed

  50. “The Dems control the media?”

    Is that what I said? There is such a thing as encouragement. Not to mention the 90% of the MSM who voted for Bill Clinton.

    I couldn’t find your above point. Regardless, 2 years experience as governor is fairly comparable to a few years Senate experience (especially considering that it was actually an executive position and that Obama was fairly busy cultivating his run for President).

    I think trying to go after Palin’s experience is really dumb when it’s easy to argue the guy at the top of the other ticket has about the same or possibly less.

  51. Neu, of course they do, just before they peel off the head-band, unclench the fist, and run for state senate.

  52. JB,

    …walks into the trap that McCain et al. wanted…to highlight the issue of experience. To make it a race about experience.

  53. Community organizer as a resume virtue polled so well with us out of touch elitists lacking in substance. Who would have thought the heartland hicks would be too dumb to appreciate the sacrifice we make in actually associating with people even poorer than them ?

  54. Joe, Pinette and John Thatcher-

    John and Pinette, I think you are missing Joe’s point. The Institute for Justice’s mission is much more narrow in scope than what Joe is suggesting. The IJ does not provide assistance to anybody aggrieved by governtment. The litany of the state’s sins are too numerous too mention-the IJ offers assistance in a just a couple of areas. I know-I have communicated with staff attorneys at IJ about the scope of their representation.

    If Joe is talking about an effort by libertarians to offer their skills, time and resources in an attempt to broadly educate poor and disadvantaged people over a period of time and relative to a plethora of real life issues, then he is making a real good point. Of course, the libertarian community orgaizer should not compromise his values. The community organizing is to help people be better people-an objective at odds with itself if the community organizing is about helping people get more of the Czar’s crumbs.

    I don’t know, perhaps a libertarian twist to Narodnaya Volnia?

  55. Kant feel Pietzsche, my Balzac is Ietzsche | September 8, 2008, 7:18pm | #

    Government is a variant of community organizing…the big leagues, if you will.

    Professional community organizing is the minor leagues.

    PTA is the amateurs.

    Or something.

  56. Max, I know it is hard to wrap one’s head around, in this way scary modern world where distances have become small and barriers less meaningful.

    But, no, BTW, it would be more appropriate to consider the guy in China as a member of a different community-organism, engaged in symbiosis/competition with the one you belong to.

  57. Being that I’m a lazy bastard & don’t want to look it up. Does someone know if Obama was getting paid to be a community organizer or was it pro bono work?

  58. Government is a variant of community organizing…the big leagues, if you will.

    It’s sort of like community organizing…with guns.

  59. Travis,

    I imagine he was being paid (it was right out of college, OMFG student loans!), but probably not well.

  60. Joe:
    “the community organizer would work with them to fight for better educational resources join with the local teacher’s union in a highly publicized strike for higher salaries”

    Fixed

  61. Here’s what Obama had to say about his years as a community organizer (note to Joe, it’s in The New Republic, a liberal site).

    “http://tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=2e0a7836-b897-4155-864c-25e791ff0f50”

  62. I’m not sure being a “community organizer” has any bearing on one’s qualifications for the presidency, but it does have a major impact on the odds that they are a douche.

  63. Hey, my helicopter money came today!

    Screw you all, I’m getting some blow.

  64. Republican reply: a small town.

    There aren’t any small towns where I live. Oh, sure, they have their city halls and cops with unique cars and uniforms, but one blends into another, seamlessly. You never really know where you are, until you get to Miami. Then you know you’re in Cuba.

  65. Elemenope | September 8, 2008, 7:25pm | #
    Government is a variant of community organizing…the big leagues, if you will.

    It’s sort of like community organizing…with guns.

    Being from NM, I can tell you that many community organizers have guns without being part of the government.

    Back in the day they called these community organizers “homies.”

    White boys in the south had their hoods and guns based community organizing outside the government as well.

    Etc…

    The difference seems to be who the men with guns are accountable to.

  66. I actually read that article when it came out, Granger. Did you have a point?

  67. “Are you telling me that are NO anti-government causes that effect the residents of Chicago’s public housing?”

    There was a piece in the San Francisco Chronical last Friday about a man arrested (with two others) for take over robberies. A few years back, his mother received $2.3 Million because of a car accident. So why didn’t the money keep him from jacking nail salons?

  68. Like I said early, a lot of people who don’t know what community organizing is, don’t care to know, don’t make any effort to find out, but know it involved empowering poor people, so they’re agin it.

    Mmmm…warm, wallowy ignorance.

  69. joe,

    All your attitude aside, I would honestly imagine there are some libertarians that do such work (besides the one issue activists). But, since alot of community organizing can have to do with getting from the govt, it appeals less to us than it does to your standard liberal (and when you consider the amount of each – I bet the libertarians aren’t doing so bad anyway).

    who care’s about poor people’s problems anyway?

    Many of us. Not everyone is drawn to the same way to help people. I, for instance, have spent alot of time volunteering teaching children with autism, many of which came from poor families that could not afford the vast amount of help the kids need without the prices being lowered by volunteers.

    But yeah, we’re jerks. I agree. The idea of personal responsibility instead of relying on the govt couldn’t possibly lead to taking individual responsibility to help others.

    Of course not.

  70. Joe-

    Now, you have gone and amended your premise. You made an excellent observation followed with a good question. But, you can’t have your straw man and stuuf him with tin. If you are talking about libertarian community organizers, then you have to accept that they will go about it a liitle differently than your typical community orgainzer who champions the failed mechanisms of collectivism and coercion and who favors more of other peoples’ stuff. You should know that the libertarian community organizer is going to eschew collectivist objectives and favor individual empowerment for each individual in the community who seeks individual empowerment.

  71. See, like other groups, many libertarians have callings and vocations outside of the quasi-political and community efforts.

  72. “The Dems control the media?”

    Today, a little less.

  73. I’m a sock organizer. I have four different brands of white socks, all a little bit different.
    Some have gray heels, some have gray toes, some are all white, all are about the same size, but each has a unique story to tell.

    I have organized them, America.
    This is Organization We Can Believe In!?.

  74. “The Media” is a totally useless term. It might have meant something before the internet, cable tv, talk radio, etc. But it doesn’t now.

  75. But, since alot of community organizing can have to do with getting from the govt, it appeals less to us than it does to your standard liberal

    Why do you think the pursuit of libertarian ends so seldom meshes with efforts to empower poor people to pursue their own interests?

    One answer is that libertarian individuals aren’t interested in the least powerful having more power vis a vis those who would harm them.

    Another is that the libertarian agenda just doesn’t go very far, outside of occasional one-off efforts, to empower poor people.

    There must be another answer, though it doesn’t occur to me at the moment.

  76. Joe, I miss your point here. Do you expect libertarian organizations to do community organizing? As you define it, community organization is not political activism, so it would seem to be beyond the scope of any political group.

  77. Thanks Elemenope,

    I’ve seen Obama speak live twice both times he was praising himself for not being selfish & greedy. Obama would explain how he could have got a high paying job after college but he choose community organizing instead. I think he was being selfish & greedy by talking the community organizer job. Obama had plans to run for political office someday & he knew it would look good & increase his chances for political power.

  78. Joe-

    Another plus for the libertarian organizer: he or she would be constitutionally less racist than your typical community organizer.

  79. See, like other groups, many libertarians have callings and vocations outside of the quasi-political and community efforts.

    Oh, libertarians seem pretty darn politically engaged to me. Do you have any idea how many Ron Paul meet-ups there were in the past year and a half?

  80. joe,

    The problem, as I see it, is it is one thing to go in agenda free to help people get organized to identify their problems and solve them, and it is another thing to find an effective solution to systemic problems that they may be unaware of that are the etiology of the problem they wish to address.

    Libertarians seem to want to remold, or rig the system to solve the problems. As such, they are unlikely to use the techniques you describe.

    That’s about right, NM, but I wouldn’t emphasize leadership so much. What defines community organizing, especially the style Obama practiced, is that it isn’t about playing follow the leader, but about empowering everyone.

    I think Obama realized, and I agree, that even when the community sets the agenda, an effective leader is needed to get things done.

    Top-down has to interact with bottom-up…but bottom-up needs a leader to get things done.

    Libertarians are uncomfortable with community organizing because community organizing is fundamentally about using collective action to make up for power imbalances, and libertarians dislike collective action much more than they dislike power imbalances.

    I agree.

  81. What’s the “individual empowerment” solution to your housing complex being full of asbestos and the landlord not doing anything about it?

    “Screw you guys, I got a good job, hope you don’t get cancer?”

  82. Joe-

    How about a community organizer the mission of whom is to assist the working poor in their efforts to advise the IRS that they will no longer accept the forced confiscation of their wages? Little guy vs. the system. David vs. Goliath. Helping the disenfranchised stand up to the POWER IMBALANCE.

  83. This whole discussion is dumb. That was his first job out of college.

    Palin was mayor of a bumfuck town two years ago.

  84. I forget where I read this, maybe at Andrew Sullivan:

    Jesus was a community organizer.

    Pontius Pilate was a governor.

  85. I honestly know fairly little about community organizing. But, what I have seen has mostly been efforts to get healthcare and welfare, often from the govt. Since many of us dislike taxes and often consider them at least in the same family as robbery, those ways of helping do not appeal to us.

    Those of us that choose to help often do it in other ways, because we don’t feel it is really a good thing to steal to help the poor. We rather help the poor or needy with our own labor or money.

    When it comes to the govt as the oppressor, I would think libertarians would help more often, but I don’t know much about it beyond what I see here.

  86. Good to see there are no voluntaryists here.

    For a magazine called reason, I sure have to drink a lot to agree with its arguments.

  87. NM —

    The difference seems to be whether who the men with guns are accountable to.

    I think that would be more accurate. I half thought about mentioning groups like the Black Panthers, NoI, etc. who tended to be armed community organizers after a fashion, though they actually were answerable to the community in a way that cops don’t seem to be.

    Jesus was a community organizer.

    Pontius Pilate was a governor.

    They were both kinda jerks, so it fits I guess.

  88. “What’s the “individual empowerment” solution to your housing complex being full of asbestos and the landlord not doing anything about it?”

    Asbestos is more dangerous after it’s been removed. The asbestos particles are released into the air during the removal process where it causes cancer when breathed in. You have to clean the fuck out the buildings multiple times(which I doubt they did)after the removal to remove all the asbestos particles.

  89. How about a community organizer the mission of whom is to assist the working poor in their efforts to advise the IRS that they will no longer accept the forced confiscation of their wages? Little guy vs. the system. David vs. Goliath. Helping the disenfranchised stand up to the POWER IMBALANCE.

    The guy who organizes the poor to get imprisoned and/or shot is not doing the best of jobs. IMHO.

  90. libertymike,

    That’s not what most of the people in the most marginal communities are most worried about. You’re imposing your political agenda on them, and that is precisely the opposite of community organizing.

    You keep coming up with these incredibly convenient scenarios where poor people are clamoring for libertarianism. Get out there once in while, dude – they’re not. They want the freaking asbestos removed, the heaters fixed, the garbage picked up regularly, the police to stop being assholes and do their jobs, and a whole laundry list of other things that you wouldn’t give a crap about, because actually seeing improvement in their circumstances, and greater empowerment to pursue their own well-being, just isn’t that important to your political agenda.

    Those things are important – even central – to the liberal and other leftish political agendas. Not just on occasion, when there happens to be some overlap, but it’s a defining part of what their political agenda is.

  91. J,

    Community organizing might involve

    1)Getting the government to stop doing something that it is doing.
    2)Getting government to start doing something it is not
    3)Get community members to stop doing something that they are doing
    4) Get community members to start doing something they are not

    There is no inherent reason it would involve the government at all.

    When I was in HS I worked with a poor community in the south valley of Albuquerque to turn a couple of empty lots into neighborhood gardens.

    All it took was petitioning the land owners to give permission to the community use the lots. The “organizers” in this case were the ones that helped track down the owners and pass around request/petitions to present to them.

  92. “I actually read that article when it came out, Granger. Did you have a point?”

    Yeah I did. I wanted to know what you thought about it. Please show you work.

  93. Travis,

    Not if it’s done right, and crumbling asbestos is pretty dangerous all by itself.

    But thanks for your answer to What’s the “individual empowerment” solution to your housing complex being full of asbestos and the landlord not doing anything about it? Pretend there is no problem, and define anyone who disagrees as a troublemaker or ignorant.

  94. joe –

    6:19pm | #
    I’m pretty sure that pressuring your landlord to get the asbestos removed is a legitimate effort, even if – no, especially if – your landlord is the government.

    Even if your brother owns an asbestos removal service?

    6:47
    What about eminent domain? Where are the libertarians organizing the urban poor to resist that? I hear small government types flapping their gums about it all the time, why don’t they ever do it in the meeting room of the public housing complex

    Why would a group of people who own no property give a shit? Some may, on theoretical grounds, but there’s noone there who would have a personal stake in it.

    7:14pm | #
    Libertarians are uncomfortable with community organizing because community organizing is fundamentally about using collective action to make up for power imbalances, and libertarians dislike collective action much more than they dislike power imbalances.

    Exactly! That is an excellent point. I could care less about power imbalances in and of themselves.

    7:43pm | #
    Why do you think the pursuit of libertarian ends so seldom meshes with efforts to empower poor people to pursue their own interests?

    One answer is that libertarian individuals aren’t interested in the least powerful having more power vis a vis those who would harm them.

    Another is that the libertarian agenda just doesn’t go very far, outside of occasional one-off efforts, to empower poor people.

    There must be another answer, though it doesn’t occur to me at the moment.

    “Libertarian” ends would do little to “empower” people to pursue the redistribution of wealth. The encouragement of anyone to make their own wealth is what it’s all about, be they poor or rich to start with. I can’t even think of any one-off efforts that would specifically benefit poor folks over rich or average folks. Equality of opportunity is the way to go, not equality of outcome. What community organizers since King and X have there been that didn’t try to suck at the public tit as much as possible? Or use the position to better themselves financially and politically?

  95. “I forget where I read this, maybe at Andrew Sullivan:”

    Obama brought it up…

  96. Granger,

    I think it showed that Obama recognized that advancing the well-being of the people he cared about needed both grassroots efforts to help people make the most of their situation, and political efforts to change that situation.

  97. That pasted funny.

  98. “What’s the “individual empowerment” solution to your housing complex being full of asbestos and the landlord not doing anything about it?”

    Why should he do something, if people want to live there (presumably because it’s the cheapest rental in town, which it would cease to be if it were dolled up)?

    Come on…you can’t be serious.

  99. J,

    Of course the neighbors who used those gardens had to organize rules for how they were maintained, how to prioritize space, etc…

    Community organizers helped with that too…

  100. Those things are important – even central – to the liberal and other leftish political agendas. Not just on occasion, when there happens to be some overlap, but it’s a defining part of what their political agenda is.

    That should be mostly accurate. Above, should be too except about cops where libertarians should be even more involved. And the idea that we don’t want them to pursue their own well-being – we just don’t want to use force to achieve it. It is more consistent with the libertarian ethical system to help pay for the changes ourselves than to force a third party to change them (at least by any other means than through speech).

    It’s wrong to say we care less about them, though. That is seeing the world in a rather silly way.

  101. This is what I was addressing:

    “This whole discussion is dumb. That was his first job out of college.”

    Obama brought it up.

  102. Joe-

    I hope that you do not attribute the attitude captured in the quote following your question to me-I have been very nice to you today-and not just on this thread.

    Seriously, there are individual empowerment solutions to the asbestos problems. Let’s assume that you are a tenant paying rent for your apartment with no section 8 or other subsidy (I don’t want to be accused of assuming the worst). Let’s say that you faithfully pay your rent and have not caused any damage to your apt or to the complex. Let us stipulate that you are a good tenant.

    The libertarian community organizer might write or help you write a letter to the landlord demanding that the asbestos be removed. The libertarian community organizer might suggest that you withhold the rent because the landlord had failed to honor his end of the bargain and because the landlord would was interfering with your property rights.

    Sure, the landlord could move to evict you. Then, the smart and dashing libertarian community organizer would file a counterclaim against the slumlord in your behalf. The counterclaim would cite the landlord’s breaches of contract and his interference with your quiet enjoyment of the real estate and for retaliation. The landlord would lose. All of this on the dime of the libertarian community organizer and his supporters. You learn that slumlords get slammed,

  103. joe | September 8, 2008, 7:49pm | #
    What’s the “individual empowerment” solution to your housing complex being full of asbestos and the landlord not doing anything about it?

    Move out?
    Start writing letters to landlord/gov/media?
    Sue?

    Yeah, move out and sue.

  104. Well, NM without force, those all seem like good things (except possibly getting govt to do something its not), similar to general volunteering with the poor, just with a more leadership role. That is certainly not what I think of most of the time with community organizing.

    It probably doesn’t help that personally I never feel comfortable asking others to do things for me that I can do myself, so organizing others doesn’t appeal to me. I did help organize a literacy thing in high school, helping some adults to read, but that was organizing volunteers, not the community directly with the problem, really.

  105. “I forget where I read this”

    I think it was in the thread about McCain having sex with Matt Welch’smother and Matt not being allowed to watch.

  106. galthran,

    I will guarantee you that there are more tax cut activists who want to see a tax cut, than poor people whose brothers own asbestos removal businesses. Shall we disparage every political cause that would bring benefits to those who advocate for it? How about those that involve reducing environmental regulations on business?

    Why would a group of people who own no property give a shit? Some may, on theoretical grounds, but there’s noone there who would have a personal stake in it. And now, fresh off the heels of disparaging people for being involved in political activity that they (might, in some ridiculous theoretical world) have a stake in, we are now going to disparage them for engaging in political activity that they don’t have a stake in. Head I win, tails you lose.

    The answer to your question is that people who rent don’t like to be kicked out of their homes, either. Nor do they like to see their neighbors kicked out of their homes. Go figure.

    I could care less about power imbalances in and of themselves. You could also care less about power imbalances when they’re harming people. Unless you’re one of the people, or there’s an angle, apart from the well-being of the people involved, that advances your own agenda or ideology.

    “Libertarian” ends would do little to “empower” people to pursue the redistribution of wealth. Libertarian ends would do little to empower people who aren’t already powerful, period. You just throw “redistribution” into the mix to make your elitism smell better.

  107. Palin was mayor of a bumfuck town two years ago.

    Not quite accurate, but the gist is correct.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Palin#Activities_from_2002_to_2005

    Again, the discussion of Palin’s experience is exactly the discussion McCain-Palin want to have.

  108. “I think it was in the thread about McCain having sex with Matt Welch’smother and Matt not being allowed to watch.”

    It wasn’t so much that he wanted to watch. It’s just that he kept touching himself inappropriately. Fucked up my mojo.

  109. “What’s the “individual empowerment” solution to your housing complex being full of asbestos and the landlord not doing anything about it?”

    Moving.

  110. Of course, there are enormous amounts of force brought to bear on people in poor communities. This anti-organizing rhetoric, whether intentionally or through ignorance, is about making sure it flows in one direction.

  111. Elemenope-7:58

    You are making my point. Maybe not for this thread, but…boy, are you making my point! This is why the world needs some Tom Doniphons-to not only better the evils of the Liberty Valances but too also keep in check the Ransom Stoddards who will hold your freedom ransom as the “price for civilization”.

  112. For the people who have enough money, Moving, and for everybody else, cancer.

    There, Libertarian, I fixed that for you.

  113. “his anti-organizing rhetoric, whether intentionally or through ignorance”

    Ignorance? Name calling to bolster your position? How weak.

  114. Who gave the black people cancer?

    Col. Mustard
    In the tank
    With the microphone,

    OR

    J. Sidney McCain
    At the desk
    With the red button.

  115. joe, despite some of the articles on this site, libertarian does not mean anti-organization, it just means anti-certain sorts of organization.

    But, I know, there is only one way to help people. Libertarians just have too narrow a world view to see it.

  116. The hilarious part is that community organizers and they people they work with are almost always working against men with guns – either in the silly definition used by libertarians, or the actual, “that guy’s got a gun!” sense – but it is they who are accused of initiating force.

  117. I half thought about mentioning groups like the Black Panthers, NoI, etc. who tended to be armed community organizers after a fashion, though they actually were answerable to the community in a way that cops don’t seem to be.

    Yeah, just ask Malcom X.

    ;^)

  118. Granger,

    Ignorance: noun, the state of lacking knowledge.

    Cry me a river. People are mouthing off without knowing what they’re talking about, and furthering an agenda without knowing what they’re doing.

  119. Obama brought it up.

    That doesn’t keep it from being a dumb thing to obsess over. Much like it would be dumb to obsess over McCain’s former POW status, even though he mentions it *every chance he gets*. IIRC, we had one thread on McCain’s POWizing. Could we keep Obama’s Communitizing to a similar limit?

    They are both, ultimately, “resume boosters”…before you scream, not in the sense of why they originally did those things or were those things, but because they *are being used now* to boost certain narratives critical to how each of them inspire/confuse voters.

  120. joe, despite some of the articles on this site, libertarian does not mean anti-organization, it just means anti-certain sorts of organization.

    In fact, it means voluntary organization; as opposed to things like unions which receive special status with the government.

  121. J,

    joe, despite some of the articles on this site, libertarian does not mean anti-organization, it just means anti-certain sorts of organization. Show me. Show me the libertarian organizers.

    Show me.

  122. “For the people who have enough money, Moving, and for everybody else, cancer.

    There, Libertarian, I fixed that for you.”

    Perhaps they could move in with you. You seem determined to have someone else pay for their housing. How many poor people have you taken into your home to counter this economic injustice?

  123. I don’t know where to look, but I am sure I can find some left anarchist or minarchist organizers even if not some market minarchists (which I would still be amazed to not find any of).

  124. In fact, it means voluntary organization

    And those libertarian-supported voluntary organizations devoted to empowering the poor to resist the government are…?

    as opposed to things like unions which receive special status with the government. Uh, yeah, community groups in America’s poorest neighborhoods sure do receive special status with the government. I take back everything I said about people mouthing off in ignorance.

  125. The hilarious part is that community organizers and they people they work with are almost always working against men with guns – either in the silly definition used by libertarians, or the actual, “that guy’s got a gun!” sense – but it is they who are accused of initiating force.

    joe, I don’t think that pointing out the state’s monopoly on force, and its lack of shyness in using it for its own ends, is in any way “silly”.

    I agree, though, that Libz tend to undersell the shit that can come from “that guy’s got a gun!”

  126. And remember: church ladies don’t count. They’re bitter and clingy. And if you wouldn’t put it on your resume, then you’re obviously not helping people. Or at least not black people.

  127. community organizers and they people they work with are almost always working against men with guns

    Yep.

  128. And those libertarian-supported voluntary organizations devoted to empowering the poor to resist the government are…?

    Ignore the word “libertarian-supported” and you have every gun rights club in the country.

    Uh, yeah, community groups in blah blah blah

    Could you rephrase in simple English for us flyover folks?

  129. Perhaps they could move in with you

    I own a three bedroom house. There are 30 million Americans living below the poverty line.

    There’s just so many housing units we put up when I served on the local Habitat board.

    How about you, Libertarian? Bang a lot of nails, spend a lot of your evenings at board meetings?

    Yeah, didn’t think so.

  130. Could you rephrase in simple English for us flyover folks?

    OK. Go fuck yourself.

  131. Don’t mess with joe.

    A union killed his paw.

  132. And remember: church ladies don’t count

    Oh contraire. Dorothy Day was one of the greatest community organizers of all time.

  133. As was the REVEREND King.

  134. “Cry me a river. People are mouthing off without knowing what they’re talking about, and furthering an agenda without knowing what they’re doing.”

    Omniscience, thay name is Joe.

  135. I wouldn’t put my name on that ignorant crap, either.

  136. Rev King was a church lady? You’re saying he smelled like talcum and baked casseroles?

    Racist.

  137. Hrm, would helping organize building a town meeting building (with those in the also aiding in the construction town) and redoing a school (including painting world maps and other things on the walls) count?

    That is community organization, and aiding in funding, but I questions whether it really falls into the community organizer role.

  138. Omniscience, thay name is Joe.

    Though not the usual kind, this is still an insult about my intelligence, so I’m counting it: joez Law!

  139. I will guarantee you that there are more tax cut activists who want to see a tax cut, than poor people whose brothers own asbestos removal businesses. Shall we disparage every political cause that would bring benefits to those who advocate for it? How about those that involve reducing environmental regulations on business?

    Why would a group of people who own no property give a shit? Some may, on theoretical grounds, but there’s noone there who would have a personal stake in it. And now, fresh off the heels of disparaging people for being involved in political activity that they (might, in some ridiculous theoretical world) have a stake in, we are now going to disparage them for engaging in political activity that they don’t have a stake in. Head I win, tails you lose.

    What disparaging? You asked why not get a housing project together against eminent domain, I told you why I thought it would be a waste of time. Unlike hardcore the D/R/L politicos that you see around these parts, most people I’ve known don’t give two shits about the parts of politics that don’t directly affect them. The example you suggested would clearly be a waste of time for any organizer.


    You could also care less about power imbalances when they’re harming people. Unless you’re one of the people, or there’s an angle, apart from the well-being of the people involved, that advances your own agenda or ideology.

    I would ask for an example of power imbalance in America that harms people, but I’m sure your answer would get into “group X could be doing so much better if only Y” territory. If you’re born rich you’re going to start out ahead of someone born poor regardless of any law, and that’s all there is to it. Pretty much all the power “imbalances” in the USA today harm my favored ideology, so I vote/talk/type to do what I can to change it. But as far as the rich being powerful, what can change that? (plz say communism)

    Libertarian ends would do little to empower people who aren’t already powerful, period. You just throw “redistribution” into the mix to make your elitism smell better.

    I disagree. Smaller government would make this country a better place for all involved. I think redistribution smells horrible.

  140. Honestly though, from this thread it seems like what you think is important for those in need is pretty narrow.

  141. You just throw “redistribution” into the mix to make your elitism smell better.

    “Better.”

    Your zero-sum is showing, joe.

  142. joe | September 8, 2008, 8:17pm | #
    For the people who have enough money, Moving, and for everybody else, cancer.

    Wow, all those nice folks who go to the carneciera that I go to must have a lot of money to move all the way from Ciudad Juarez to Fort Collins… And they eat steak all the time! Rich fuckers.

  143. galthran,

    I didn’t say “public housing tenants,” I said poor people.

    The style of community organizing Barack Obama was involved in was about the community identifying its own interests. The necessity of people pursuing their own self-interest, and not abstract goods, is central to organizing theory.

    I would ask for an example of power imbalance in America that harms people How many times shall I repeat the example of a landlord leaving asbestos in his units? How about, the people in the rich neighborhoods getting a disproportionate share of the sidewalk budget?

    If you’re born rich you’re going to start out ahead of someone born poor regardless of any law, and that’s all there is to it. That is not all there is to it. There is a great deal more to it that that; you just don’t want there to be. You most certainly don’t want to do anything about it, and you are scared shitless of anyone else doing anything about it.

    Smaller government would make this country a better place for all involved directly contradicts If you’re born rich you’re going to start out ahead of someone born poor regardless of any law, and that’s all there is to it.

  144. “How about you, Libertarian? Bang a lot of nails, spend a lot of your evenings at board meetings?”

    I inherited my grandparent’s house. It has served me well. I am nearing retirement and in the process of renovating the property with the expressed purpose of donating its use (not the asset itself, its use) to a non-profit that would use it to house two parenting or pregnant teens who are actively seeking a high school diploma. That’s what compelled me to ask you what you were doing. And your answer is — apparently nothing.

  145. J,

    It’s not that what I think is important for those in need is narrow; but that what I think bottom-up efforts by poor people can achieve is narrow. Worthwhile, but limited.

  146. Your zero-sum is showing, joe.

    Being able to recognize that distribution matters is quite different from thinking it is the only thing that matters.

    I’d rather not wait for a few drops to trickle down in twenty years, even as I recognize the need to grow the pie AS WELL AS divide it fairly.

  147. gathran,

    As genuinely fascinating as your hand-waving personal anecdotes are, there aren’t millions of people living in shitty public housing units because their brother can’t help them move next Saturday.

  148. “OK. Go fuck yourself.”

    Wow! You’re so articulate! I just felt a shiver run up my leg!

  149. joe | September 8, 2008, 6:47pm | #
    What about eminent domain? Where are the libertarians organizing the urban poor to resist that? I hear small government types flapping their gums about it all the time, why don’t they ever do it in the meeting room of the public housing complex, or in the church basement?

    I supposed I did assume too much in thinking that a meeting in the meeting room of the public housing complex would be made up of public housing tenants.

    Smaller government would make this country a better place for all involved directly contradicts If you’re born rich you’re going to start out ahead of someone born poor regardless of any law, and that’s all there is to it.

    Please explain, they appear to be two distinct and separate things to me.

  150. “As genuinely fascinating as your hand-waving personal anecdotes are, there aren’t millions of people living in shitty public housing units because their brother can’t help them move next Saturday.”

    So tell us whay they’re there, Joe.

  151. joe | September 8, 2008, 8:45pm | #
    gathran,

    As genuinely fascinating as your hand-waving personal anecdotes are, there aren’t millions of people living in shitty public housing units because their brother can’t help them move next Saturday.

    Au contraire, if our current immigration situation shows anything it’s that if you want to pick up and go to any city in the USA, then make it on the strength of your labor alone, you can do it.

    The “brother helping you move” comment is the hand-waving dismissal here.

  152. Being able to recognize that distribution matters is quite different from thinking it is the only thing that matters.

    You conveniently left out the possibility that you think it* matters most.

    [*]: And by “it,” I mean “distribution,” which means “equal outcomes.”

    Only your envy and love of government makes you suspicious of wealth. Less government means others’ wealth doesn’t affect me much. Equal opportunity necessarily implies inequal outcomes. Risk is one of the deciding factors, and my CHOICE to manage it myself is my freedom.

  153. galthran,

    The meeting rooms of public housing units, and church basements, are usually the only available meeting spaces available to people in poor neighborhoods, and are often made available for neighborhood meetings involving people throughout the neighborhood – not just the public housing tenants and church members. I can see how what I wrote could be confusing for people not intimately familiar with how neighborhood meetings in poor neighborhoods work, though.

    Please explain You can’t believe, at the same time, that the existence of persistent poverty is the natural state produced by “the free market,” AND believe that the free market would solve the problems caused by poverty.

  154. So tell us whay they’re there, Joe. Because they don’t have better options available, mostly because they are poor.

    Au contraire, if our current immigration situation shows anything it’s that if you want to pick up and go to any city in the USA, then make it on the strength of your labor alone, you can do it. Uh huh; the “Get a job you bum” political ideology rears its lovely head.

    Only your envy and love of government… Zzzzzzzzz. I trust that if you had actual arguments, you’d have written them.

    Well that didn’t long. Community organizing is bad, because poor people are just getting what’s coming to them. If they don’t like it, they’re a threat.

  155. You can’t believe, at the same time, that the existence of persistent poverty is the natural state produced by “the free market,” AND believe that the free market would solve the problems caused by poverty.

    Why? Because you can’t reconcile the fact of poverty always existing with your urge to use the government as a tool to crush those who earned wealth through personal rish?

  156. As might be expected, joe is kicking major ass on this thread. joe shold get Chapman’s place above the fold. He simply brings more and deserves it more.

  157. Community organizing is bad, because poor people are just getting what’s coming to them. If they don’t like it, they’re a threat.

    Yes, they’re a threat to the Chicago socialists who agitate for tax dollars while banning guns in the most violent cities in the nation.

  158. And those libertarian-supported voluntary organizations devoted to empowering the poor to resist the government are…?

    The Institute of Justice comes to mind – but you are against a lot of their activities, so never mind.

    We seriously fucking need candidates who will engage the African American community (the poor in general, but the AA community is especially effected) at a local level to fight the abuse of power by police and local prosecutors. Instead, we get Wayne Root.

    Part of that is an infrastructure problem. The Libertarian Party is not big enough to have very many people who can spend all day working on typical political party crap, let alone organizing other events and programs.

    Part of it is the belief that people, left to their own devices, are smarter at understand what will help them than outsiders who come in with the intention of shoving help down their throats.

  159. We seriously fucking need candidates who will engage the African American community (the poor in general, but the AA community is especially effected [sic]) at a local level to fight the abuse of power by police and local prosecutors.

    Maybe they should stop electing people like Obama to the state and US Senates.

  160. jo-

    You can’t believe, at the same time, that the existence of persistent poverty is the natural state produced by “the free market,” AND believe that the free market would solve the problems caused by poverty.

    Correct, I do not believe that. Persistent poverty of a certain percentage of humanity is a natural state of existence, not necessarily one brought about by the presence or lack of a free market. Poverty, along with it’s inherent problems, is not going away. Why should it be the gov’s job to try to get rid of it? I feel that equal rule of law for all persons, small nonintrusive government, and promotion of self reliance, responsibility, and enterprise is the best way to keep the poverty level as low as possible.

  161. Of course, there are enormous amounts of force brought to bear on people in poor communities.

    Remind us again which political party wields power in the major urban centers.

    The powerless will always lose political contests – that’s basically a tautology. (If you like government, if you think government helps people, then you’re one of the winners. Congrats.)

  162. Good fucking god. Same shit, different day.

    Whether you’re for her or against her, Sarah Palin is all anyone is talking about anymore.

    Did Obama die or something?

  163. There is something to the “Get a Job, You Bum” ideology. I’m certainly tired of being emotionally manipulated by hacksters like joe.

  164. Anonymous,

    YOU are the one obsessed with government. Big government, small government, it’s all the same to me. Government is a tool. I will shrink it when that’s what’s called for, and grow it when that’s what’s called for. What matters to me is people, and their well-being, and my opinion about government in any particular circumstance is completely dependent on whether it can advance that end.

    Projecting the mirror image of your own ideology onto your opponents is a rookie mistake. As a libertarian, and presumably an opponent of the Civil Rights Act’s laws forbidding discrimination in restaurants and hotels, you should have figured this out by now.

    BTW, your assumption that those who are better off are morally superior is textbook elitism.

  165. I can believe, easily, that Obama’s community organizing days did little accept boost his street cred, as much with himself as with anyone else, but David Beito bases his entire assessment on what he knows about community organizing in general. Some community organizers, after all, do work for minimum wage, or for room and board in settlement houses. They sometimes work with unloved and unlovable people–alcoholics, drug addicts, the mentally ill. Beito’s conclusion that it’s all a hustle based on zero acquaintance with the facts of Obama’s case doesn’t quite fit with “very sharp,” unless you simply mean “unkind.”

  166. joe,

    I do believe you’re the one projecting. Stop telling me what I believe. Nothing that you said characterizes me or my arguments.

    Congratulations, dipshit. You’re trying to control the people around you.

  167. BakedPenguin,

    The Institute for Justice does nothing to empower poor people to resist the government. They take cases that advance their agenda, do nothing for any other causes that poor people care about, and leave town without leaving the people they work with any more able to resist oppression and help themselves than they were before they arrived.

    Max,

    Remind us again which political party wields power in the major urban centers. The one that the people who live there, unlike you, decides will best represent their interests. You know, the one you oppose so vehemently. What does this have to do with party, anyway? You just have to turn everything into a partisan contest, don’t you?

    The powerless will always lose political contests And THAT is what community organizers are for – to make the powerless more powerful, so they stand a chance of holding their own in political contests.

    TAO,

    There is something to the “Get a Job, You Bum” ideology. I’m certainly tired of being emotionally manipulated by hacksters like joe. Still a glimmer of conscience in this one. Good.

  168. After all, such activity should, assuming a respectable level of intellectual consistency, be the predominant form of libertarian political activity.

    I agree that it should be a predominant form of libertarian activity, although I would characterize it as apolitical or even counter-political. Which is one of the primary reasons I quit spending my time at Libertarian Party meetings and started spending more time volunteering.

  169. They take cases that advance their agenda, do nothing for any other causes that poor people care about

    Pray tell us, joe of the Working Man, what is it “the poor” collectively care about again?

    Lemme guess, you’re just going to talk about asbestosis some more.

  170. Pray tell us, joe of the Working Man, what is it “the poor” collectively care about again?

    Why don’t you get your ass out there like I did, and find out for yourself?

  171. After all, such activity should, assuming a respectable level of intellectual consistency, be the predominant form of libertarian political activity.

    By the way, joe, this is the most insightful commentary you’ve ever made on libertarianism. Even if it was served up with snarkiness. That’s OK. Hit & Run is all about snark.

  172. They’re not really as scary as you might think, “Optimist.”

  173. Well, OK. Some of them are exactly as scary as you might think. But most of them aren’t!

  174. Why don’t you get your ass out there like I did, and find out for yourself?

    In other words, you don’t have an answer. Of course you don’t, because, there isn’t one. As The Angry Optimist said, all poor people don’t care about the same things. They are individuals.

  175. “Perhaps the simplest way to describe community organizing is to say it is the practice of identifying a specific aggrieved population, say unemployed steelworkers, or itinerant fruit-pickers, or residents of a particularly bad neighborhood, and agitating them until they become so upset about their condition that they take collective action to put pressure on local, state, or federal officials to fix the problem, often by giving the affected group money. Organizers like to call that “direct action.”

    Community organizing is most identified with the left-wing Chicago activist Saul Alinsky (1909-72), who pretty much defined the profession. In his classic book, Rules for Radicals, Alinsky wrote that a successful organizer should be “an abrasive agent to rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; to fan latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expressions.” Once such hostilities were “whipped up to a fighting pitch,” Alinsky continued, the organizer steered his group toward confrontation, in the form of picketing, demonstrating, and general hell-raising. At first, the organizer tackled small stuff, like demanding the repair of streetlights in a city park; later, when the group gained confidence, the organizer could take on bigger targets. But at all times, the organizer’s goal was not to lead his people anywhere, but to encourage them to take action on their own behalf.”-Byron York

    “Community organizing” is not in and of itself a bad thing, it is dependent on what goal the organizer is after accomplishing. I don’t think it’s accurate to suggest that a person libertarian bent would not be a community organizer, but it is likely that the kind of goals a libertarian organizer would seek and the methods he would use are far different than the goals and methods of an organizer like Obama. So much so that someone of joe’s ideology might not acknowledge them as a true community organizer.

  176. optimist, jo –

    I hadn’t realized that “get a job you bum” was a political ideology, but now that you’ve brought it to my attention I like it! Especially since it’s pretty much proven to work, thanks to our southern neighbors. I mean, they not only live above poverty here but send tons of money back home! What can it be but the system that’s holding back the urban poor? Otherwise wouldn’t they just work and get ahead like the recent immigrants? Now that I think you can agree with, jo. 🙂

    galthran – workin’ man that wished he owned a 3 bedroom house but is a-gettin’ there

  177. The one that the people who live there, unlike you, decides will best represent their interests.

    I believe that’s what is known as blaming the victims. Tsk, tsk.

  178. “The Institute for Justice does nothing to empower poor people to resist the government. They take cases that advance their agenda, do nothing for any other causes that poor people care about, and leave town without leaving the people they work with any more able to resist oppression and help themselves than they were before they arrived.”

    Bullshit Joe, You don’t think the poor people IJ represents who were about to have their homes demolished weren’t helped in a significant way. The media campaigns the IJ uses to help poor people defend there homes & businesses are carried out by the people about to lose their homes. The people can then take the lessons on how to attract media attention & apply them to other issues.

  179. I don’t have “an answer,” Mile Laursen, because there isn’t one answer.

    This, too, is part of the wisdom of community organizing – you let each particular community answer that for themselves. This is what community organizing – as opposed to IJ-style parachute activism – is all about. How did you come to believe this argument is a point against anything I’ve written?

    My only observation on the subject is that the libertarian agenda sure as hell isn’t what they want. And it isn’t, and anyone with any experience can tell you that.

    MJ, I don’t think you understood what you just quoted. But at all times, the organizer’s goal was not to lead his people anywhere, but to encourage them to take action on their own behalf.

    If a “libertarian organizer” tried to get the community to adopt the ends his ideology defined, he wouldn’t be doing community organizing. He’d be doing political activism for his own cause, and trying to recruit people to it.

  180. I guess in joe’s mind saving someone’s home isn’t as important as removing asbestos from it.

  181. You don’t think the poor people IJ represents who were about to have their homes demolished weren’t helped in a significant way.

    I didn’t say they weren’t helped. I was making a different point.

    The IJ gave those people a handout, in the form of an in-kind contribution in legal services. When they left, the people were no more powerful, no better able to fight their fights, than when they arrived.

    The people can then take the lessons on how to attract media attention & apply them to other issues. The IJ ran their own media operation, carefully controlled specifically to keep it from being hijacked for causes the IJ didn’t care about.

    I like public-service legal services, but it isn’t community organizing, and it isn’t empowerment.

  182. I guess in joe’s mind saving someone’s home isn’t as important as removing asbestos from it.

    I guess in Travis’s mind, giving a man a fish is more important than teaching him to fish.

    After all, if you teach him to fish, he might land something other than what you want him to.

  183. I tell you this much: community organizers were a pain in my ass when I was a city planner. And I had to put with them, and some pretty damn organized communities, a lot.

    But I still liked them. They had their job, and I had mine.

  184. After all, if you teach him to fish, he might land something other than what you want him to.

    That’s it! We’re so afraid of the proletariat that we’re glad to keep them ignorant!

    I always knew joe thought that libertarians = fascists.

    Why don’t you get your ass out there like I did, and find out for yourself?

    *sniff*…joe, you have the strong stench of:

    DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    on you. “I was out there with poor, pounding the pavement! you don’t even know, man!”

    From what I’ve seen of the poor, they either want change, a cigarette or “fare for the bus/money for gas” (note: this may or may not be code for Wild Irish Rose)

  185. “As might be expected, joe is kicking major ass on this thread”

    Well, Dave, given that Joe does nothing but post o Hit & Run all day I gotta wonder. I don’t come here often, but when I do, whether it’s on my morning break or late at night – there he is, all day long on every thread, 24/7. Which makes me wonder, is he a do-nothing trust funder who finally lost interest in Dungeons and Dragons or someone posting in a public library while living on the dole?

    There is absolutely no possible way that he is doing something – anything – productive with his life. Or perhaps he’s that Kip fellow who posted this weekend who delegates and reads all day, but how could he be reading if all he does is post all day? It really does make me wonder.

    Of course, I’m not surprised you’d be cheering him on; he fits your ideology to a tee. Hey! Perhaps Joe is really just Weigel in drag. That would make sense.

    BTW, Weigel, Joe, or whatever your nameis, the next time you see Matt Welsh, tell him I’m so sorry to hear about his mother. That whole sex with McCain thing had to be devastating.

    Oh and Joe, if that is your real name, you never answered my question asking what specifically you are doing to help the poor.

  186. I don’t have “an answer,” Mile Laursen, because there isn’t one answer.

    This, too, is part of the wisdom of community organizing – you let each particular community answer that for themselves.

    Then how do you know that the Institute for Justice aren’t addressing the matters that poor people care about in a particular community?

  187. “Oh and Joe, if that is your real name, you never answered my question asking what specifically you are doing to help the poor.”

    He’s a cyber-community organizer dipshit.

  188. If a “libertarian organizer” tried to get the community to adopt the ends his ideology defined, he wouldn’t be doing community organizing.

    *Exactly*, which is why your idiocy about a given individual not being involved is…idiotic. Given that the type of work you describe is apolitical, you have no idea how many libertarians, Republicans, Democrats etc. etc. etc. are involved with their communities, do you?

  189. The IJ gave those people a handout, in the form of an in-kind contribution in legal services. When they left, the people were no more powerful, no better able to fight their fights, than when they arrived.

    Hmm, you don’t actually know much about the Institute for Justice. One of their big activities in following up on their economic liberty cases is conducting entrepreneurial workshops in poor neighborhoods.


  190. The IJ gave those people a handout, in the form of an in-kind contribution in legal services. When they left, the people were no more powerful, no better able to fight their fights, than when they arrived.”

    Based on his own confession, that’s far more than Obama ever did.

  191. “We seriously fucking need candidates who will engage the African American community (the poor in general, but the AA community is especially effected [sic]) at a local level to fight the abuse of power by police and local prosecutors.”

    Black is beautiful.

    Nigger, a pathology.

  192. I volunteer for some different non-profit efforts in my city and consider myself a libertarian. There are Obama supporting neighbors of mine who will talk you up all day long about liberal ideologies. Will they lift a finger to help anyone but themselves? nope.

    Sorry, joe. You know what they say about gross generalizations…

  193. Libertarian, joe did infer that he volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. They do good work. Are they a private charity?

    If the USA got rid of income tax, there’d be much more money for nonprofit organizations. Not gonna happen anytime soon tho, but a man can dream.

  194. TAO, No one listens to my spouting off of libertarian ideology when i volunteer. 🙁

  195. Lest we forget that joe’s favorite little program (Social Security) drains 15% of the working-class’s wealth and doesn’t even allow that wealth to be handed down to the next generation.

    SS is the biggest anchor on the poor there is.

  196. Sambo,

    Since I have no fucking clue what point you’re trying to make. I’ll just assume you’re a racist piece of shit & tell you to fuck off.

  197. “If a “libertarian organizer” tried to get the community to adopt the ends his ideology defined, he wouldn’t be doing community organizing. He’d be doing political activism for his own cause, and trying to recruit people to it.”-joe

    What I find difficult to believe is that liberal community organizers such as Obama are not directing their communities towards goals and methods that fit in their ideology. You are defining a community organizer as being a perfectly non-ideological creature, therefore a libertarian one cannot exist. That is a tautology. I think it’s possible, though unlikely, that a community organizer could be a libertarian. I think a community organizer can definitely be ideologically liberal, and therefore his methods and goals are dubious if not outright evil.

  198. “Based on what I know, Obama’s “community organizing” had little to do with helping people help themselves by pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. It mostly consisted of a well-coordinated high-pressure campaign by paid “organizers” to force taxpayers to pay for services that should be provided voluntarily. That is not mutual aid, at least in the sense that Tocqueville understood it when he described how Americans formed voluntary associations to build hospitals, churches, and roads.”

    This is the point that Joe is missing. Voluntary organizations that cared for the poor in this country use to be quite large before government moved in a eliminated the need for those voluntary organizations.

  199. I read Byron York’s article on Obama’s community service record on NR, and I was left more impressed with his work as a young man just out of college. Before, all I really knew of those years was that he was involved with ACORN, a group that can fairly be described as rabble rousers, but York went to Chicago, talked to people who knew Obama, and from what he gathered Obama did some pretty legitimate, and some pretty good things. The summer jobs program office he petitioned to bring to the South Side was one of those things that actually do help to better communities with limited opportunities available to them.

    From York’s description, there is a power struggle in Chicago between an entrenched machine representing white working class ethnics and blacks who have surprisingly (given the legendary reign of Mayor Harold Washington) little say in the zero sum spoils game of municipal politics. Obama saw what was happening for what it was and did what he could in his capacity to help minorities on the South Side.

    I share York’s belief that Obama is a pretty conventional liberal in his economic and ideological attitudes and he is also a step back from the moderation of Bill Clinton, but overall, he was one of the good guys in that fight and there is no reason to denigrate his work as a community organizer.

  200. “If the USA got rid of income tax, there’d be much more money for nonprofit organizations. Not gonna happen anytime soon tho, but a man can dream.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. The government siphons off tens of thousands of dollars from me every year. That would go a long way towards renovating my grandparent’s home (and creating a proven model that other successful beneficient property owner’s could emulate).

    But unfortunately people like Joe just don’t see it that way. And worse still, they vote by the busload. They’d rather take my money and spend it on the lazy do nothing dropouts that have no intention of making an effort to improve their lot in life.

    As my father told me when I was eighteen and unemployed, “Anyone who wants a job in America can get one.” Turns out, he was right. Just ask a migrant farm working/meatpacing/hotel cleaner.

    Moreover, based not just on my own life and the pregnant/parenting teen moms to whom I have volunteered my time over that last two plus decades, who have applied themselves and achieved success against incredible odds (e.g., abusive stepfathers), I can only conclude that Joe – if that’s his real name – and his ideological bedfellows are the real and likely the only impediment to raising the economic level of the downtrodden who actually desire a piece of the dream.

    And while Sambo may be crude, there is more than a kernel of truth to what he is saying.

  201. Joe Says: “Why don’t I ever see libertarians working side-by-side with poor people to fight the powers that be?”

    I’ll ask again: Do you really think that libertarians wear striking hats and armbands to identify themselves?

  202. FWIW, I think once you start falling into joe’s trap of “What Charity Work Have You Done?”, you’ve lost the argument. It’s basically an oblique ad hominem that is not germane to the discussion at hand.

  203. “Sambo

    Since I have no fucking clue what point you’re trying to make. I’ll just assume you’re a racist piece of shit & tell you to fuck off.”

    No, the patholgy runs deep in the black community. Even William Raspberry once wrote in the Washington Poat that what young black males need is adult black males to set an example. Why do the adult males have to be black?

    I’m white (I guess non-Hispanic white to be politically correct), but the majority of youth I have served are youth of color. And frankly, they don’t give a shit what color I am. They’re just happy that someone cares and wants to help.

  204. Voluntary organizations that cared for the poor in this country use to be quite large before government moved in a eliminated the need for those voluntary organizations.

    Travis, quite true. My wife and I were married by a secular humanist organization. They’ve been around a long time. Their leader claimed the ethical society was at it greatest influence long ago before the income tax when folks were more philanthropic.

  205. “Travis, quite true. My wife and I were married by a secular humanist organization. They’ve been around a long time. Their leader claimed the ethical society was at it greatest influence long ago before the income tax when folks were more philanthropic.”

    I feel their pain.

  206. So what does this Joe character do? We know he doesn’t have a job since he’s on here all the time. Maybe he is such a fan of welfare because he is on it.

  207. I thought the thing to do with asbestos, rather than stir up the carcinogenic fibers by removing it, is to cover it up and seal it off.

  208. Libertarian,

    I don’t think Joe is a troll. There are alot of them around here but I don’t think he’s one.

    No Sambo is just crude. People are people, I’ve traveled all over the world & each ethnic group has about the same ratio of assholes to mostly good people. I’d say Sambo is one of the assholes.

  209. “So what does this Joe character do? We know he doesn’t have a job since he’s on here all the time. Maybe he is such a fan of welfare because he is on it.”

    He’s a former city planner (ibid). I wonder what former city he planned?

  210. Alinksy’s agitators keep the proles angry. Angry proles keep the Party in power. The party in power decides how to spend confiscated wealth.

  211. “I thought the thing to do with asbestos, rather than stir up the carcinogenic fibers by removing it, is to cover it up and seal it off.”

    Thank you Sage.

    Everybody who is informed on asbestos says that.

    Well, expect for Joe & tort Lawyers who got rich off asbestos law suits.

  212. summary, what you say is sad, yet true. In my city, the pols are promising the white poor, “jobs” if they support the Mega-Casino. If every bar could have a poker machine, I’d have no problem with legalized gambling. Granting licenses to those who are politically connected sucks ass.

    According to most economic reports, the only thing that casinos from concentrate have brought urban areas is more blight (increased drug use, desperate street walkers, “cash for gold” stores). A bastardized controlled market place at its worst.

  213. I think the mockery about community organizers (I happen to be one) is pretty outrageous…we work for long hours for very little pay to improve the lives of people who don’t have much of a voice, what’s more, we help get people who have never been involved before in civic life leadership roles in their communities. It is very demanding work and the mockery time and time again by the Republicans shows their true colors, they despise people coming together and working together for a better future.

  214. idiotface – I don’t know if there’s an alternative there, however. It’s either get “a foot in the door” or nothing at all.

    I’d rather have licensed crack dispensaries than illegal crack.

  215. James – yet again, you haven’t actually delineated what it is you people *do*.

    “Coming together…working together…voice to the voiceless” is all meaningless fluff.

    State clearly what you accomplish or refrain from your white-boy liberal “outrage”, plzkthx.

  216. “I think the mockery about community organizers (I happen to be one) is pretty outrageous…we work for long hours for very little pay to improve the lives of people who don’t have much of a voice, what’s more, we help get people who have never been involved before in civic life leadership roles in their communities. It is very demanding work and the mockery time and time again by the Republicans shows their true colors, they despise people coming together and working together for a better future.”

    Specifics please?

  217. “James – yet again, you haven’t actually delineated what it is you people *do*.”

    You people???

  218. community organizers, Matilda.

    How did I know that someone was going to leap on that? Like pseudo-intellectual mongrels to flyblown meat.

  219. “How did I know that someone was going to leap on that?”

    Leap???

    Your Rethuglican lies about muscle fiber are why the nation is divided.

  220. “No Sambo is just crude. People are people, I’ve traveled all over the world & each ethnic group has about the same ratio of assholes to mostly good people. I’d say Sambo is one of the assholes.”

    I’m not so sure about that. The 15-year-old gangster disciples running down my street shooting at each other (dropping innocent bystanders) or burning down rival gang houses (with mothers and toddlers in them no less) are something more than just assholes. They are sociopaths. Why do they do it? That’s the million dollar question. But it can’t just be because they’re assholes.

  221. “flyblown meat”

    WTF is flyblown meat?

  222. James, does this seem an accurate representation of your job to you?

    http://www.idealist.org/resource_guides/guide_organizing_intro.html

    This was the most indepth thing I found with a quick search, along with the stuff about Alinsky.

  223. “WTF is flyblown meat?”

    I read about it years ago in the Reader’s Digest piece entitled “I am Joe’s Penis”

  224. I have been involved with several projects recently aside from the normal fare of making sure everyone is registered to vote in our community. We prevented a garbage incinerator from being erected in almost literally our backyards, we have been involved with lobbying at the capitol, with a project called C-Bed (Community Based Energy Generation) to generate locally renewable energy in the community, and on various revitalization projects including the creation of a Community Co-Op Supermarket which allows for a more livable community(i.e. you don’t have to travel by car several miles for food like in the suburbs). These are just a few examples, and I am telling you, neighborhoods which are not politically organized get shit on time and time again because they have no power.

  225. flyblown:

    Infested with fly maggots, usually blowfly larvae.

  226. We prevented a garbage incinerator from being erected in almost literally our backyards

    Wouldn’t want the poor to have work opportunities close to home now, would we?

    I didn’t know the poor had the luxury of being NIMBYists or BANANAists.

    we have been involved with lobbying at the capitol

    You’re beggars and pigs at the trough. Gotcha.

  227. you don’t have to travel by car several miles for food like in the suburbs

    And this is needed because of zoning restrictions keeping regular stores out, or what?

  228. you don’t have to travel by car several miles for food like in the suburbs

    You know what else I don’t have to do in the suburbs? Step over unclean vagabonds and pull a Heisman with panhandlers. Constantly.

    I challenge you to find an urban area that doesn’t have a grocery store within two miles of it AND lacks in cheap public transportation.

    project called C-Bed (Community Based Energy Generation) to generate locally renewable energy in the community

    Oooh, like neighborhood nuclear power plants? I could get behind that.

  229. That garbage incinerator meant jobs!
    It would encourage garbage related clean industries to locate in the neighborhood providing more jobs and economic activity.
    Probably generated some power too. The kind that is renewable as there is always more garbage.

  230. Idiotface,

    A couple of years ago my state legalized putting a certain type of slot machine in pretty much any business that wanted them. Actually the state was pushing these machines on convinient stores. The convinient store owners spent tens of millions of dollars on them. Gamblers loved them but unfornately the moral do-gooders & casinos didn’t. The casino’s in this state teamed up with the morality police & spent lots of money to lobby the legislature to outlaw the machines. Even though the legislature had just talked all these business owners into buying these machines they outlawed the machines & refused to compensate the owners for worthless slot machines. Now the business owners are suing the state for millions in damages it will be interesting to see who wins.

  231. C-Bed (Community Based Energy Generation)

    Was it C-Beg first?

  232. Travis – what state is this? Do you have any links? I’d be fascinated to read the case(s)…that one will likely be in the appellate courts for years.

  233. “You’re beggars and pigs at the trough. Gotcha.”

    Haha, This is great, we make 20,000 a year and the lobbyists for Tobacco and Alcahol make 125,000+

  234. So you’re beggars _and_ you’re bad at what you do.

    Solution: do something else!

    (I’m serious about the zoning question, though.)

  235. oh, the amount of money you make somehow makes you less of a beggar now?

    What is it you lobby for, *exactly*, James?

  236. “I am telling you, neighborhoods which are not politically organized get shit on time and time again because they have no power.”

    To be fair to James, I have seen that first-hand both here and abroad (oil extraction the Niger Delta comes to mind).

  237. the thing is, Libertarian, is that “shit on” is highly subjective. To my white-boy middle-class eyes, a garbage incinerator might not look like all that great of a thing to put near a neighborhood. OTOH, I don’t think that the “poor advocates” can have it both ways: either you need the jobs, labor and tax base that would come with such a thing or you do not.

    Even better, these “organizers” kick the incinerator out to the exurbs and the edges of cities, which just contributes to urban sprawl…which they subsequently complain about because the growth of the exurbs doesn’t readily lend itself to profitable public transportation.

  238. The asbestos removal business was a huge scam that subjected a lot of people to asbestos dust in homes, schools, and workplaces that would have been virtually dust-free, absent the removal. Lots of people got mixed up by the propaganda and there is no big deal to be made if a twentysomething BHO got caught up in all that. Still, if he could look back and say “oops, sorry” then he would get my vote. But he can’t.

  239. Look, I am telling you that these things (as horrible as you think they are) are actually succeeding in improving the quality of life in our area. We worked with the local school to put up a windmill and within a few years it paid itself off, it now provides all the electricity for the school and we sell the remainder back to the city, we are working on putting up another one. This is not a waste of time, this is a real way to create sustainable and liveable communities.

  240. Yet again, James…what state-granted favors do you “lobby” for?

    “this is a real way to create sustainable and liveable communities.”

    “Sustainable” is the most meaningless fucking word WRT development. What does it even mean? That the community runs on perpetual-motion machines or something?

  241. Travis, legal for everybody >>> legal for some. I hope those biz owners get justice.

  242. “et again, James…what state-granted favors do you “lobby” for?”

    This is pure foolishness, I mean, just like any other lobbying we watch legislation for what it will do for our community, we oppose things we don’t like, and yes, if there is a project that will benefit us, we support it, and in fact work to elect people who will represent our community. This is how democracy works, people who are involved and have representation win and those who are not…well they lose.

  243. James, your complete inability to give a straight answer is trying my patience.

    Do you have any sort of answer at all to the criticisms levied at you here? Anything to say about zoning? Your NIMBYist tendencies, despite the fact that the poor need that tax base and the employment opportunities more than the exurbs?

    we oppose things we don’t like, and yes, if there is a project that will benefit us, we support it

    Like what? Who is *we*?? Who is *us*? What benefits you?

    How hard is this? No wonder you only get 20K.

  244. TAO,

    Just google “Touchplay Iowa” and you will find tons of articles on it. It was a huge fiasco here a few years ago. So far it looks like the state is settling with most of the businesses.

    http://www.kcci.com/money/9583782/detail.html

  245. James, while well intended, you still work for a political organization. “Making sure everyone is registered to vote in our community” means more votes for Democratic candidates on a state and national level.

  246. James:

    – What is your organization’s stand on payday loan locations?

    – What about guns?

    – What about the minimum wage?

  247. Well-well look. I already told you: I deal with the god damn customers so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people. Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?

  248. 1. Actually we just lobbied for a law that caps interest on payday loans.

    2. We support the right to bear arms generally, but are against various more lethal assualt rifes etc.

    3. We have worked in support of increasing the minimum wage and in support of a law that requires the state and city to only do business with companies that pay a living wage.

  249. “To my white-boy middle-class eyes, a garbage incinerator might not look like all that great of a thing to put near a neighborhood”

    I wasn’t addressing garbage incinerators per say. In fact, I wondered about the merits of James’ efforts on that accomplishment. I was in Minneapolis last week during the RNC (where Ron Paul Libertarians were forced to demonstrate in cages)and they are building a billion dollar major league baseball stadium (Twins) less than 50-yards from a mammoth garbage incinerator that also produces energy, so how bad could the one James thwarted have been (emotional fervor not withstanding). Again, to be fair, poor neighborhoods do have diminished political power. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, what is the fruit of no political power?

  250. 1. Actually we just lobbied for a law that caps interest on payday loans.

    How did I know that was going to be your answer? Lemme guess…you think that your “community” is too stupid to understand payday loans? So you had to legally ban their business model?

    Define “living wage” for me, James.

    I’m glad you only get peanuts for your work. It’d be a shame to give someone as categorically anti-poor as you are any more money than 10 bucks an hour.

  251. In other words, James, you work for ACORN…a corrupt, statist-loving organization I have *zero* time, patience or energy for.

  252. caps interest on payday loans.

    only do business with companies that pay a living wage

    I bet you complain about inflation at the same time!

  253. That’s good Tom.

    James you helped stop an industrial project from going in? I could see how you would feel good about helping people negotiate mitigations or controls. But stopping a project? Is Gary, Indiana your idea of what you want America to look like?

  254. “Is Gary, Indiana your idea of what you want America to look like?”

    Gary, Indiana produced the Jackson Family. Good or bad? Discuss.

  255. “In other words, James, you work for ACORN…a corrupt, statist-loving organization I have *zero* time, patience or energy for.”

    I don’t actually work for ACORN, but you seem to be able to spend a lot of time and vitriol on this for someone who makes the above claim…and we worked to cap payday loans because some people aren’t frankly educated on them very well and they exploit desperate people, though we also work to educate people on how they are a rip off…

  256. So, in summary, James, you:

    – Push industry out of your community
    – Push jobs out of your community by making it more expensive to do business there via your “living wage” BS
    – Lobby to disarm your clients of so-called “assault” rifles
    – Employ paternalism on businesses that your group frequents while simultaneously shutting down those businesses, thereby destroying jobs

    Man, you are so awesomely for the poor, it’s amazing!

  257. “and we worked to cap payday loans because some people aren’t frankly educated on them very well and they exploit desperate people, though we also work to educate people on how they are a rip off…”

    So in the grand scheme of things, James, wouldn’t your time and donors’ dollars be better invested in education?

  258. How can anyone expect McCain and Palin to lead. Neither of them are lawyers!. We are a Nation of Laws ans should be ruled by members of the Bar.
    Obama and Biden’s credentials are perfect.

  259. “We have worked in support of increasing the minimum wage and in support of a law that requires the state and city to only do business with companies that pay a living wage.”

    Minimum wage laws hurt the poor most. If you help to pass a minimum wage law you will have been working to make your community poorer. I like the windmill project you worked on they did something similar in my neighborhood.

  260. “I bet you complain about inflation at the same time!”

    Oh yes, our small efforts must have created quite a stir to go so far as to weaken the dollar, haha… I mean we weren’t given hundereds of billions in bailouts (without a hint of democratic input) like Bear Stearns or Fannie and Freddie…nope its our little operation that is causing all the problems!

  261. “Man, you are so awesomely for the poor, it’s amazing!”

    James for President!

  262. “James for President!”

    A superior choice in comparison to Joe.

  263. we worked to cap payday loans because some people aren’t frankly educated on them very well and they exploit desperate people

    So your solution was to shut them down? With, you know, laws and men with guns and stuff?

    Frankly speaking, “predatory” is an emotional term and devoid of substance. Are the loans expensive? Yes, they are. Is there going to be a substitution for that desired service? No, there isn’t.

    If you want to blame somebody for the high APR, blame your clients. The high rate of default in low-income areas means that the payday people have to recover somehow.

    Of course, that never entered into your mind. Those evil capitalists must be stopped! The People have only the freedoms that you determine they’re not too stupid to have.

  264. “If you help to pass a minimum wage law you will have been working to make your community poorer.”

    This is controversail among the libertarian type, but wages are not simply determined by what the market, they are determined by the power relationships between the employer and employees, productivitiy has continued to rise over the past 30 years in this country, but the connection between productivity and wages has been broken. The minimum wage decreases in real value when it is not increased, I mean maybe we could have 100% employment if people could be paid $2.50 per hour, but how could you call that anything but pure exploitation?

  265. “So your solution was to shut them down? With, you know, laws and men with guns and stuff?”

    NOPE 🙂 Unsurprisingly, they did not shut down, they are still in business, I don’t think any of them have left…they could have, but it seems they must still be plenty profitable…

  266. “A superior choice in comparison to Joe.”

    Haha…I came here late, I had to check through the thread, you must have really hated Joe!

  267. The minimum wage decreases in real value when it is not increased, I mean maybe we could have 100% employment if people could be paid $2.50 per hour, but how could you call that anything but pure exploitation?

    Wow. So, even if a $2.50 minimum wage allowed everybody to freely take a job, you’d be against it because you *think* it HAS to be exploitation. You’d rather your clients be jobless, income-less beggars than “exploited”. Better that they be unemployed than offend your delicate sensibilities.

    You’re a piece of work.

    the connection between productivity and wages has been broken.

    Thank you Karl Marx.

    “The majority of those who are loosely identified by the term ‘liberals’ are afraid to let themselves discover that what they advocate is statism. They do not want to accept the full meaning of their goal; they want to keep all the advantages and effects of capitalism, while destroying the cause, and they want to establish statism without its necessary effects. They do not want to know or to admit that they are the champions of dictatorship and slavery.” – Ayn Rand –

  268. James since your group advocates caps on payday loans, does it also advocate caps on towing and storage charges from city authorized towing companies? It’s so easy for a lack of a hundred dollars to turn into a loss of thousands. There are just so many ways that the poor are hammered for being short on cash, and sometimes “usurious” rates are *much* better options than what’s aimed at them.

    It’s hard to see how an educated person can judge another person, someone who they don’t know anything about and say the other person’s time value of money is “wrong”.

  269. ) Unsurprisingly, they did not shut down, they are still in business, I don’t think any of them have left…they could have, but it seems they must still be plenty profitable

    That’s not even possible. 200$ at 20% only yields 76 cents over a two-week term. That doesn’t even cover the processing costs, let alone the high rate of default.

  270. “I think it was in the thread about McCain having sex with Matt Welch’s mother and Matt not being allowed to watch.”

    But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did NOT have sexual relations with that man…Mister McCain. I never told anybody to lie. Not a single time. Never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.

  271. “but wages are not simply determined by what the market, they are determined by the power relationships between the employer and employees”

    Si.

  272. Oh Boo Hoo…those poor Pay Day loan vendors…

    “The interest rates on payday loans range from 300% to over 1,000%. Even a relatively high-interest rate credit card has a much lower rate than a payday loan.”

    http://financialplan.about.com/od/creditanddebt/a/PaydayLoan.htm

  273. “but wages are not simply determined by what the market, they are determined by the power relationships between the employer and employees”

    Define market.

  274. James, looking at raw numbers and going “wow, 1,000% is high!” is completely missing the point.

    But don’t let that stop you from being ignorant.

    The fact is, those rates are dictated by the default rate of those oh-so “noble poor” you go on and on about. Those ones you want to keep poor by limiting their rights to bear arms and enter into contracts.

  275. you know what would have been more worthwhile and laudable, James? If you had raised the money to bail some people who were truly in the cycle of lending from the payday loan places while simultaneously admonishing them to stay away.

    Because a few people couldn’t be responsible with their money, you decided, however, to lobby to remove that choice from *all of us*.

    By what right?

  276. James,

    I have no real sympathy for Pay Day Loan places but I don’t think they should be shut down. Loan Sharks will take over & there is no oversight on them at all.

  277. To me this community organizing seems little more than grievance peddling and rent seeking, but to the original topic this point is moot. Not one of its defenders have said why i should care what it is or how it makes anyone ready to be President of the US.

  278. “James, looking at raw numbers and going “wow, 1,000% is high!” is completely missing the point.”

    –Please, it wouldn’t have made a difference if the article would have said 10,000,000 percent, you don’t give a damn and ‘limiting people’s rights’ to carry automatic weapons isn’t keeping them poor. I don’t think the poor are any more noble than anyone else, but they are more succeptable to be exploited, as is anyone with little education and power. So we help build education and power and in the mean time we don’t allow people looking to make money through exploitation free reign. And it isn’t a dictatorship, these are the people in their own community working together to decide their future, it isn’t the free market utopia that you prefer, but who cares?

  279. “Haha…I came here late, I had to check through the thread, you must have really hated Joe!”

    I don’t hate Joe. I just don’t respect his addiction to automatonic regurgitation. A political bulimic, if you will.

    You, on the other hand, are making a serious effort to express what you have experienced and how it has shaped your beliefs and actions. I find that most laudable. Thanks.

    Gotta go.

    BTW, and for the record, I believe Mrs. Welch is lying.

  280. Please, it wouldn’t have made a difference if the article would have said 10,000,000 percent, you don’t give a damn and ‘limiting people’s rights’ to carry automatic weapons isn’t keeping them poor

    God, you’re an idiot. I’m the one who cares about their free choice the *most*. You want to treat them like children…you want to treat all of us like children.

    I’ll take joe any day of the week. He at least recognizes you can’t go around killing the golden goose and expecting the eggs to keep coming.

  281. Final exercise before I stop throwing pearls before swine, James:

    Define “exploitation”. What interest rate is “exploitation”? Would it still be so if it was X Rate – 1%?

  282. James, no, there is no controversy. Illegal immigrant domestic workers make 3X the minimum wage or more. That’s the power of the market talking. Political power doesn’t enter into it.

    TAO, besides the default rate, payday loans are expensive because of the administrative overhead of a small dollar short term loan. Maybe if someone can outsource underwriting and billing to India, …

    Granger, the J5 were amazing. But it wasn’t necessary to destroy an industry leaving tens of thousands of people unemployed to make them. Or maybe it was. Hmm.

  283. Those ones you want to keep poor by limiting their rights to bear arms and enter into contracts.

    Wait…what? They’re poor because they don’t have guns?

    What the fuck are you talking about?

  284. I have been involved with several projects recently aside from the normal fare of making sure everyone is registered to vote in our community. We prevented a garbage incinerator from being erected in almost literally our backyards, we have been involved with lobbying at the capitol, with a project called C-Bed (Community Based Energy Generation) to generate locally renewable energy in the community, and on various revitalization projects including the creation of a Community Co-Op Supermarket which allows for a more livable community(i.e. you don’t have to travel by car several miles for food like in the suburbs). These are just a few examples, and I am telling you, neighborhoods which are not politically organized get shit on time and time again because they have no power.

    Sounds like a laundry list of liberal advocacy. Matters that are put out there as topics for High School essays. Am I getting warm?

    Look, I am telling you that these things (as horrible as you think they are) are actually succeeding in improving the quality of life in our area. We worked with the local school to put up a windmill and within a few years it paid itself off, it now provides all the electricity for the school and we sell the remainder back to the city,

    I can only imagine what the size of this windmill is that it can produce enough BTUs to run a school. Something that large would surely need at least 90 percent back up capacity from a nearby coal plant to cover for the trophes in performance that are inherent in windmills.

    High school kid, right?

  285. Maybe James is here to remind everyone how nuanced joe is?

    And joe I am ready to argue asbestos.

  286. “God, you’re an idiot. I’m the one who cares about their free choice the *most*. You want to treat them like children…you want to treat all of us like children.”

    Get a life, I thought I was the idealistic one here, you live in a world that absolutely does not exist. Why do you think companies ask what pay you will accept on the application? Is it because they want to pay you how much you are worth, or are they hoping that you will put down less than they were hoping to get away with paying?? Every small regulation that actually helps and protects people you find onerous and you believe that devoid of these regulations we would live in such a free world. I would trade away my ‘freedom to breath smog’ for the small extra costs involved in smokestack scrubbers, Oh and how about my ‘freedom to drink polluted water’…when we lobby for regulations HOW DARE I take away your ‘freedom’ to drink polluted water?? I must be a tyrant!

  287. Touched your paternalistic nerve, did I, James?

    Damn those companies, trying to make profit! Not paying people what they’re “worth”! Fat-cat capitalists…what did they do for us anyway?

    Go waste someone else’s time.

    Every small regulation that actually helps and protects people you find onerous

    Thank you, Daddy James and Government, for protecting poor widdle ol’ me from myself.

    The check’s in the mail, I swear!

    El – as for the guns thing, yes, I believe that depriving people from the cheapest and easiest way to defend themselves and their property does help keep them poor. The police aren’t helping the ghettos any.

  288. is composting still a hip thing to do among your kind, or has slow food replaced it as the domestic nuisance activity du jour?

  289. James, it is telling enough that you would rather people not work at all if they’re going to be “exploited”…which, of course, means people shouldn’t work if it offends your delicate little constitution.

    “How DARE those poor people choose to work for 3.00 dollars an hour! Don’t they know they’re being exploited? Best legislate away those jobs…for their own good!”

  290. James you were not talking about scrubbers earlier, but about getting an incinerator shut down. Not cleaned up, not mitigated, but closed down. Sure it’s good to strike a balance between clean air and jobs, but, have you ever helped organize people to save jobs? Here we are all about balance.

  291. Final shot, James: if you want to help the poor, I mean, really help them, advocate for the privatization of Social Security and teach them simple investment knowledge. The 15% drain on wealth is an objectively *bad* thing and it hits the poor the worst.

  292. Loan Sharks will take over & there is no oversight on them at all.

    When usury is outlawed, only outlaws will practice usury. And they’ll settle bad debt with a knife, not a tort. Are these the same people in favor of legalizing drugs? If so, they’re in favor of hedonism and not choice. People are too stupid to make their own decisions; they can only be sure of what they feel, e.g. whether the government’s cock is barbed or just thorny.

  293. “James for President!”

    A superior choice in comparison to Joe.”

    “Maybe James is here to remind everyone how nuanced joe is?”

    “joe | September 8, 2008, 8:27pm | #

    Could you rephrase in simple English for us flyover folks?

    OK. Go fuck yourself.”

    JOE FOR PRESIDENT! Nuance you can believe in.

  294. This is how democracy works, people who are involved and have representation win and those who are not…well they lose.

    Hey, we’ve found common ground!

    But I’m getting the strong impression that “community organizing” is just a euphemism for misguided political activism.

  295. I’m curious…how are the poor able to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” when the lack the basic necessities of life that would enable them to do so? TAO, how does an individual, let alone a family get by on minimum wage as it is now, let alone the $2.50 / hr scenario you are talking about? What is the point in working your ass off when you are not even compensated with enough to support yourself? That’s little better than chattel slavery.

  296. “So…where are they?”

    I was unaware that self-described Libertarians ever gave a shit about anyone but themselves, or immediate kin?

  297. “Final shot, James: if you want to help the poor, I mean, really help them, advocate for the privatization of Social Security and teach them simple investment knowledge.”

    And here we have it folks: A perfect example of why so called Libertarians will never be taken seriously by the general public.

    It’s not about solving problems, it’s about naive, and oh, so simple “solutions.”

    In other words: “Oh, fuck it.”

  298. Re: Famous Mortimer

    Nice job cherry picking the quote!

    The very next sentence explained why:
    “The 15% drain on wealth is an objectively *bad* thing and it hits the poor the worst.”

    Social Security tax is *regressive*…don’t you liberals hate taxes like that?

  299. “El – as for the guns thing, yes, I believe that depriving people from the cheapest and easiest way to defend themselves and their property does help keep them poor. The police aren’t helping the ghettos any.”

    Did you just imply that gun regulations are affecting the economic condition of poor communities? I mean, since you are confident of the number of guns present in so called poor communities, and who would likely win in a shootout.

    You’ve already graced us with your brilliant, sociological commentary, so I just want to make sure this is an actual stroke of genius, and not some predictable trolling angle.

  300. “Nice job cherry picking the quote!”

    The subsequent sentence did not do anything to qualify the absurdity of your suggestion.

    And from a short reply you were magically able to choose my political persuasion for me.

    But hey, conservatives have never been too picky about details. You know, things just work themselves out in the end.

  301. re: Famous Mortimer

    “Did you just imply that gun regulations are affecting the economic condition of poor communities? I mean, since you are confident of the number of guns present in so called poor communities, and who would likely win in a shootout.”

    Forget numbers of guns in poor communities, what about the distribution of the guns? That’s not at all equal. And it’s created by the restrictions of liberties, namely the right to bear arms (only outlaws have guns) and the prohibition of drugs, which funnels money into the hands of the same outlaws.

    Thus begins a cycle of violence which destroys the community.

  302. The early posts in this thread are a powerful reminder that many supposed libertarians have no idea how to defend their ideology. If you don’t find community organizing to be a very fulfilling to spend your time just say so. It isn’t necessary to equate everything you don’t care about with socialism.

  303. teh –

    Nah, it’s an old tactic for trolling in political forums…just start a pissing match over who’s activist cred is bigger.

    joe is simply an accomplished troll, hitting libertarian blog-readers where they’re weakest.

  304. Will someone at reason please display a little responsible site moderation and ban some of these little shits? You wouldn’t tolerate this in meatspace.

  305. Jeff P –

    I’m not exactly sure who you’re referring to, but I for one actually prefer comment boards which have some dissenting views.

    This is enough of an echo chamber; let’s keep joe and his ilk around…they keep things lively.

  306. “The early posts in this thread are a powerful reminder that many supposed libertarians have no idea how to defend their ideology. If you don’t find community organizing to be a very fulfilling to spend your time just say so. It isn’t necessary to equate everything you don’t care about with socialism.”

    This is certainly one of the downsides of Libertarian forums. They generally preach to the choir for so long that when any reasonable critique comes along, they’re reduced to smug, character assassins.

    It isn’t any different than being on a far left web site, or any other forum with a large ideological fanbase. They’ve devised their own reality, and they reinforce it daily through confirmation bias. It’s similar to a religion.

    Any dissent invokes calls for banning, or a threat to cancel their subscription. I’ve lurked on this forum for quite sometime. The pathology is interesting.

    I, too, have to commend Joe on his performance; especially considering the fact that he’s surrounded.

    The inability for so many self-describe Libertarians to just admit that they don’t really care what happens to the poor is always telling.

    If you don’t want government involvement because it may harm your personal interests, then just say so. You shouldn’t be ashamed of that. It’s a Libertarian tenant. However, don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining in the form of “Compassionate Conservatism.”

    It’s intellectually dishonest.

  307. “Forget numbers of guns in poor communities, what about the distribution of the guns? That’s not at all equal. And it’s created by the restrictions of liberties, namely the right to bear arms (only outlaws have guns) and the prohibition of drugs, which funnels money into the hands of the same outlaws.”

    Um, stolen weapons will always be available, and attractive to nefarious groups or individuals, no matter how deregulated they are.

    In particular, the idea that regulation has any meaningful affect on the economic status of the poor is simply absurd, and just more “make it up as you go along” Libertarianism.

  308. A few observations,

    1. joe made a lot of good points and I actually found the intersection between what he was saying and what libertymike was saying pretty interesting.

    2. I got what Sambo was saying and thought Libertarian had some good points RE: it

  309. And to second what Adam said, joe makes Hit n’ Run t3h better. Echo chamber =Hit n’ Ruin.

  310. Rock on, Art-P.O.G.

    I like joe. And libertymike. This thread, however, has gone full retard in the past hundred posts or so. Their somewhat enlightening conversation stopped sometime before that point.

    Beyond that, though, I do find the general attitude towards “community organizing” that has been displayed here somewhat nauseating. People organizing to increase their bargaining power/political muscle/ability to cope with unfortunate conditions: since when has hating these things been a shibboleth of Libertarian thought?

    Weren’t we supposed to be encouraging these things, as each lessens the dependence upon the state? Even direct political action can lead to greater self-sufficiency.

    The only actual reason I can see why people are shitting all over it is that it happens to be on the resume of one of the major party’s candidates. Hence it *must be bad*. Before Obama showed up on the scene I never heard a word breathed here about how community organizers were so horrible.

    This pisses me off something fierce.

  311. It’s to Obama’s credit that he stopped being a”community organizer” to do something more productive – his work in that area accomplished exactly nothing for the community he was “organizing” – he knew it was pointless and left. In other words, he did exactly what he should have been telling these people to do – go do something else, this place is nowhere.

    I think he should be taking as much heat about this as anybody should for their first job – not a lot. He’s the one who brought it up, and, well, there you have it. It was only one jab of many from Palin – why is everybody so incensed about it? It was pretty good laugh line – get over it.

    And, BTW, fuck the Economist. It is a left-leaning publication and has been forever.

  312. Dan Morehead:
    it isn’t exactly free market, either.

    or: quoth Dan Mynack above. If not left leaning, it’s a big gov’t EU supporting crap rag. I pulled a Mona on it back in 1998 when they had several, huge factual errors about the US. Right next to a euro smug article about how the US is ignorant and those sophisticated europeans aren’t.

  313. I, too, have to commend Joe on his performance; especially considering the fact that he’s surrounded.

    What’s great about teh internetz is that the ninjas have to atttack me one at a time.

  314. 312 posts. My the trolls and fanbois need a day job.

  315. Of course, Sen. Obama said that that press release didn’t reflect his true thoughts, it was the fault of his over-zealous staff.

    He sure seems to have a habit of hiring over-zealous people. Probably the #1 reason to not vote for him.

  316. Define “exploitation”. What interest rate is “exploitation”? Would it still be so if it was X Rate – 1%?

    I’m on the no-regulation-of-payday-lending side, but I gotta say that “where do you draw the line?” arguments are an unfair debating tactic. Where one draws the line is almost always arbitrary, but that arbitrariness doesn’t invalidate an observation that something has crossed way over the line.

  317. James, no, there is no controversy. Illegal immigrant domestic workers make 3X the minimum wage or more.

    johnl, where did you get that statistic?

  318. What kind of “responsibilities” does a mayor not seeking reelection have? How doesn’t $20 million in debt equate to responsibility?

    I would have said, “a small town mayor is like a community organizer, except the budget doesn’t mean anything.”

  319. I’m curious…how are the poor able to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” when the lack the basic necessities of life that would enable them to do so? TAO, how does an individual, let alone a family get by on minimum wage as it is now, let alone the $2.50 / hr scenario you are talking about? What is the point in working your ass off when you are not even compensated with enough to support yourself? That’s little better than chattel slavery.

    You may be missing the point of the criticism of minimum wage laws. Of course the minimum wage law benefits the person who lands a job. The criticism is that other people may not be able to get a job at all because of the minimum wage law. (There are also criticism that it hurts small business profits, and raises prices for goods and services.)

    The people that cannot find a job because of the minimum wage are not always folks who need to support themselves. Often they are teenagers who are just trying to find a job to make some spending cash or start building up a resume. If you do have to support a family and you are seeking a job in the low end of the job market where the minimum wage matters, you have big problems, anyway. You’re nowhere near being in the earning bracket you need to be in for your financial situation. You’re going to need more than a minimum wage job: welfare, food stamps, charity, help from your relatives, … something.

    The whole minimum wage debate is academic, anyway, since the minimum wage levels are so low that they are usually below what the market is paying. It’s hard to measure the effects of the minimum wage, positive or negative. When we start debating about “living wages”, then it is more clear that those who can land a job at “living wages” are indeed lucky, and it’s also clear that “living wages” create unemployment.

  320. Mike just get some bids and come back if you don’t like my estimate.

  321. Comment # 321. Let me guess, joe wrote about 180 of them.

  322. No way Douglas. I own comment #323!
    err Comment 322
    Joe dont know comments

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