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I, For One, Want America to Fail

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This is how conservatives see environmentalists:

There is so much about this that is remarkable. On a personal level, I love that the spotted owl still drives conservatives nuts 20 years after the issue was settled. It also increases my concern that the killing of spotted owls by barred owls will become a real problem for environmentalists, as the use of the Endangered Species Act as the single tool to stop old-growth logging on federal lands makes the unintentional disappearance of the species a threat for the continued protection of those trees.

I also love how the video talks about Europe as if it were Zimbabwe, the anti-Chinese imagery (even as the companies behind this all send their own manufacturing jobs to China), and the pot shot at Al Gore.

Also, we need more shots of the Statue of Liberty from people who probably also oppose immigration.

This is pure conservative resentment, honed in on the hippies.

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  • Tybalt

    Horrible to depict environmentalists as a fifth column. Some of us are foreigners bent on subjugating America to our will.

    • Where does that leave those of us with dual citizenship? Am I a subjugating column? Cuz that makes me sound structural.

      • I’ve always thought you were more post-structural.

        • Rhino

          The thread won so very early!

  • c u n d gulag

    And no one has done more to help America fail, than Conservatives and their bough and paid for Republican politicians – with some help from Whoreporatist, “Red Dog,” Democrats, of course.

    Take a look at where we stood in terms of life expectancy, education, infant mortality, real income, overall health and nutrition, and other barometer’s of a successful society, BEFORE “The Reagan Devolution,” and after, and the differences are striking.

    We’ve come a long way, baby – DOWNHILL!!!

    • proverbialleadballoon

      and in the nearer past, the last ten years, we’ve gone from climate change and humans’ impact on it being a settled issue, to a ‘controversial’ one. this is truly the american dark age, knowledge lost and lessons unlearned; one wonders if we will see a renaissance.

  • Also, we need more shots of the Statue of Liberty from people who probably also oppose immigration.

    That’s one of the things that really pisses me off. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” That is fucking awesome. And not “awesome” as the sort of adjective that might be used to describe really good pizza, but “awesome” as inspiring genuine awe and wonder. And yes, implementing this ideal was always a far cry from perfect, but the ideal – losing that ideal is maybe the worst thing conservatives have done to this country.

    • DrDick

      Worth noting that the US had no immigration laws until the 1880s, when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, to keep out those evil brown hordes. Pretty much all subsequent immigration laws have served the same purpose, so that folks like our trolls need not soil their nice white robes in fear of the swarthy other.

      • Joshua

        And it’s especially rich when people like to talk about how [i]their[/i] ancestors came here “legally”, so like, fuck Mexicans.

        BTW I see a lot of Washington Monuments in those shots. Compensating for anything, wingers?

        • My cousins do this. When I pointed out that our great-grandfather, according to family legend, literally stowed away on a ship to get here, in order to escape an abusive apprenticeship in England, I was simply told that things are different now, and I would understand if I lived in Utah rather than Massachusetts.

          • DrDick

            Oddly, nobody much worried about “illegal immigration” before the 1990s, when most illegals were European (mostly Poles and Irish). When that changed after NAFTA destroyed the agricultural economy of southern Mexico and large numbers of brown people started coming in, suddenly it is a major problem that has to be dealt with NOW!

            • c u n d gulag

              DrDick,
              In all fairness, with slavery on the way out in the North, they still needed people for backbreaking, cheap labor. So, the Irish and Slavs were allowed in.

              “NO IRISH!” signs were as common in NY City in the early-mid 19th Century, as “No Negroes” or “No Coloreds” were in the South in the early-mid 20th.

              • DrDick

                There was a very strong anti-immigrant movement (the Know Nothings)in the late 19th and early 20th century, as well as strong anti-Asian immigrant sentiment up to WWII, but I was more specifically referring to the post WWII period. The other anti-immigrant movements also targeted all immigrants, not merely “illegals.”

          • Joshua

            Taxachusetts amirite?

          • joe from Lowell

            I would understand if I lived in Utah rather than Massachusetts.

            Massachusetts has twice the percentage of foreign-born residents that Utah has.

            What would Utah know about immigration?

          • proverbialleadballoon

            mal, we have the exact same story in my family. great-grandfather was a stowaway on a ship from italy, at twelve or thirteen. when i point out the fact that ‘we wouldn’t even exist’ to the ‘it’s all the illegals fault’ portion of the fam, suddenly they ‘don’t want to talk politics’. and i get dirty looks. because it’s not polite company to talk politics. even though i’m never the one to bring up the subject.

            • Furious Jorge

              suddenly they ‘don’t want to talk politics’. and i get dirty looks

              I get this all the time from my Republican in-laws … who are always the ones who start talking politics in the first place.

              It’s their way of extricating themselves from an embarrassing loss without admitting defeat.

          • Well he does have a point. There does seem to be a pretty strong correlation between Utah residency and dumb-fuckery, in general.

  • Rarely Posts

    Personally, if I wanted America to fail, I would support a variety of policies that encourage unbridled consumption in the present so that no resources would be available in future.

    Limit health regulations in the present, so that lead exposure, mercury exposure, and other pollutants weaken the next generations. Lift restrictions on fishing, so that 20 years from now, the fisheries are empty. Allow unbridled logging, so that the lumber industry collapses in the future, and so that sedimentation gluts our streams and water sources. Allow unregulated fracking, in the hopes our damaging our ground water supply. Allow big agriculture to use as much water as they want in the West. Allow unregulated use of pesticides and genetically engineered plants-at a minimum, we’ll breed super bugs, and at best, we’ll create uncontrollable hybrids that reduce genetic diversity and expose us to risk. Reduce regulation of Nuclear plants, so that we can hope for a new Chernobyl. Reduce regulation of offshore drilling, in the hopes that we can kill off tourism, fishing, and reduce general health.

    If we really succeed, we’ll have rising oceans decimate Florida and other coasts. We’ll have increasing heat and reduced precipitation render the Southwest unbearable and unable to sustain agriculture. We may even obtain similar results across the plains. And, we’ll disrupt the world economy and create millions of refugees abroad, so that hopefully we’ll have wars.

    We’re playing a long-term game. It’s not just about getting exactly what we want now. It’s also about throttling America’s future.

    • DrDick

      If I wanted America to fail in the fastest most spectacular fashion possible, I would embrace the Republican policies or, better yet, the libertarian agenda.

      • Some libertarians actually care about civil rights. Some also care about imperialism. To the small extent that the groups differ, I’d argue Republicans are worse than libertarians.

        • DrDick

          It is a balancing act. Republican foreign policy and, to a limited extent, civil rights policies are worse. Libertarian economic policies are actually worse than the Republicans. A large number of libertarians, notably Ron Paul and his fan boys, are as bad or worse on civil rights.

          • Well, yes, that’s why I said some. I’d rather see Balko enacting policy than any Republican I can think of. But, say, Nieporent would probably be worse than the median Republican.

            • DrDick

              The same is true of either of the Pauls.

              • True, but neither of the Pauls get personally annoyed when I comment ;-)

                • DrDick

                  Point taken. +1

        • rea

          Also, Republicans are Libertarians who don’t do drugs, so the Libertarians have that going for them, too.

    • BradP

      Personally, if I wanted America to fail, I would support a variety of policies that encourage unbridled consumption in the present so that no resources would be available in future.

      I find it rather strange that you would ignore the innumerable times government has stepped in to create standardized avenues for consumption without even bothering to consider the externalities it is creating.

      Libertarians aren’t subsidizing automobile industries, ethanol producers, oil importers, natural gas producers, or home purchases.

      In fact, if a libertarian were not careful, he or she might come to the conclusion that the two biggest problems in our society are overconsumption and slacking demand.

      At some point liberals are going to have to decide between their visions of an industrial, affluent, urban society and their more base environmental and humanitarian goals.

      • the two biggest problems in our society are overconsumption and slacking demand.

        I want you to think about the interplay between these problems very carefully for a moment. If we cut consumption, what happens to demand? If we stimulate demand, what happens to consumption?

        • DrDick

          Libertarian logic at its finest.

        • BradP

          If we stimulate demand, what happens to consumption?

          If the government stimulates demand, consumption will follow.

          That’s my point, liberal economic policy generally revolves around wonkish attempts to maintain constant steady growth, and this is done by getting people to consume more.

          Meanwhile, liberal environmental policy generally revolves around wonkish attempts to increase prices in order to induce people into consuming less.

          I don’t know how one can coherently be concerned about oil speculation and high gas prices while simultaneously being concerned about over active fossil fuel consumption.

          • I’m not concerned about high gas prices, at least in the medium term. I’d prefer the rise to be gradual, rather than a shock, but I fully expect $8/gallon gas (in real prices – nominal probably higher) within the decade.

            But you still did not say how both overconsumption and underdemand can be, simultaneously, a problem.

            • BradP

              But you still did not say how both overconsumption and underdemand can be, simultaneously, a problem.

              I am saying liberals point to them as simultaneous problems.

              • I am saying liberals point to them as simultaneous problems.

                Then I am very very confused by the sentence which introduced this topic:

                In fact, if a libertarian were not careful, he or she might come to the conclusion that the two biggest problems in our society are overconsumption and slacking demand.

                • Furious Jorge

                  He is making a point about the contradictory nature of liberals and our preferred policy choices.

                • Furious Jorge

                  Though now that I read it yet again, I don’t know what “libertarian” is doing in there, exactly.

                • DrDick

                  I don’t know what “libertarian” is doing in there, exactly.

                  I seldom am able to make sense what libertarians are doing.

              • proverbialleadballoon

                liberals point to underdemand in the petrolium market as a problem? the same liberals arguing to end subsidies to big oil? the same liberals pushing for higher standards in fuel economy?

          • Bill Murray

            Meanwhile, liberal environmental policy generally revolves around wonkish attempts to increase prices in order to induce people into consuming less.

            I would have said this was technocratic neo-liberal dogma, although many Democrats (not necessarily the liberal ones) do hold to this dogma

            • DrDick

              I agree. Most actual liberals (and other progressives) I know of favor higher CAFE standards as the best route.

          • Joshua

            That’s my point, liberal economic policy generally revolves around wonkish attempts to maintain constant steady growth, and this is done by getting people to consume more.

            Meanwhile, liberal environmental policy generally revolves around wonkish attempts to increase prices in order to induce people into consuming less.

            This is a nice quip, but I see absolutely no conflict between trying to increase prices in order to induce people into consuming less oil, while trying to increase demand to induce people into consuming more not-oil.

            “Consumption” is not some monolithic block that you can either increase or decrease by a flat factor.

            • Furious Jorge

              But if you look at how a lot of macroeconomists talk about the economy, it sure can seem like one.

      • Rarely Posts

        Dear BradP:

        Your “argument” appears to be that some government policies are bad and have bad consequences and therefore, people should be libertarians. This argument is completely unpersuasive.

        If one should oppose government because government policies are often bad, then one should be an anarchist, not a libertarian. Libertarianism is completely indefensible, but particularly on the theory that you appear to be putting forward. “Libertarianism” is not really anti-government; it’s support for a specific set of government policies that happen to protect the most powerful — enforcement of property rights, contracts, etc. But, once you start allowing “some” government because it’s “good,” then you need to come up with a compelling reason for allowing those government policies and no other policies.

        As it is, “libertarian” in America is primarily an attempt to pretend that one is not making those choices. For example, there is no “libertarian” elected to the United States Congress or Senate (if one defines a libertarian, as you do, to be an elected official who never “subsidizi[es] automobile industries, ethanol producers, oil importers, natural gas producers, or home purchases”). Instead, there are only politicians who support many forms of government intervention (including subsidies) but who decide that they are “libertarians” when the policies in question would impose costs on the wealthy or special interests.

        Most self-styled “libertarians” in America support a party that, on balance, supports a wide variety of government policies that benefit the currently powerful and certain special interest. That party also almost always supports the present, older generation over future generations-it avoids long-term investment, it runs up debts, and it does not take any steps to conserve natural resources. It is this particular set of policies that I find so deplorable, and that I believe will bring America to great harm.

      • melior

        bradP:

        …the innumerable times government has stepped in to create standardized avenues for consumption without even bothering to consider the externalities it is creating.

        What did we learn today, kids? If we pretend real hard that we are clueless about the definitionally participatory nature of democracy but instead whine piteously of past failings instead of manning up and joining in with the striving together that *is* what democracy means to create the sort of improved government which properly acknowledges and takes consideration for resultant externalities, we can conclude that all government is bad and therefore blah blah MagicHandoftheFreeMarket, mmkay?

      • Bill Murray

        I find it rather strange that you would ignore the innumerable times government has stepped in to create standardized avenues for consumption without even bothering to consider the externalities it is creating.

        Again this is more neo-liberal/neo-classical economics. Also depending on the type of externality, ignoring some types of externalities prior to the 1970s made sense. Sadly, the alternatives to the neo-classical consensus (which includes most Keynesians like Krugman) are fairly well suppressed.

        Further, just because it’s been done in the past doesn’t mean it was favored then or now by the “liberals”. As has been said repeatedly, we do realize that the government can be bent to the will of the big money interests; but unlike anything else with power, government can be bent to the will of the less powerful and sometimes even for the powerless.

  • Craig

    There is something amusingly ironic about the way the right wing has fully embraced Soviet environmental policy.

    • timb

      When they treat Salt Lake like the Aral Sea we will know for sure

    • timb

      How many times was the phrase “unaccountable bureaucrat” used? And, could some conservative tell me the difference between an unaccountable public bureaucrat and unaccountable private/corporate one? Seems to me there is little accountability difference between the billing department at AT&T or my health insurer and the folks at SSA, who continue to report my birthday wrong by one day.

      Hint: the difference is the public bureaucrat IS accountable to political pressure and the public at large, whereas the private one is accountable only to the interests of the employer

      • Bill Murray

        no, see the market will punish those that break the law and hurt people and the lowly shall be punished and the mighty exalted unto the highest ranks of the next Republican administration

    • wengler

      Turning West Virginia into Baku, Lake Mead into the Aral Sea…

  • BigHank53

    A pedantic usage quibble: honing in the act of sharpening either a knife or other edged tool. I think you want homing, as in guided missile.

    Sorry. I need more caffeine.

    • In Soviet Russia, pedantic usage quibbles you!

  • mike in dc

    The free market alone is responsible for uplifting and creating the middle class? Really? Let’s go back to when the free market was super-duper free (i.e., almost completely unregulated), say 1850 or so, and look at working conditions and standards of living for workers. Oops.
    Also notable is the singling out of wind power as “wishful thinking”, ignoring solar and other renewables. Apparently what we should be doing instead is continuing to rely on a finite, fungible commodity that will be used in increasing quantities precisely as production levels off and/or diminishes.

    If there is a lobbying firm on 1300 K street, I’m pretty sure most of their clients are free market types.

    • DrDick

      Unions and government interventions (such as the worker protection laws and the GI Bill) are responsible for the creation of the modern middle class, over the fervid opposition of corporations and “the markets.”

    • njorl

      Unions and big governmant created the middle class. That’s why unions and big government are detested by Republicans.

      Tariffs, government subsidies for US industries, US military action to aquire cheap yet valuable land, establishment of land-grant colleges, public schools, nationwide electrification – those made the pie big. Unions and progressive labor laws divided the pie more equitqably.

      The free market would have us selling cotton and corn to the English, or whatever other world power had the sense to recognize that the free market was a recipe for weakness and backwardness.

    • Dana

      Yes, free market line irked me most since no “free” market has ever existed in this or any other economy.

      • DrDick

        Markets cannot function without strong external regulation.

  • joe from Lowell

    If I wanted America to fail, I would under-invest in public infrastructure and services.

    • Auguste

      +1

      • Auguste

        Also, how glad are we all that “+1” has replaced “This”? I mean, really.

        • Dirk Gently

          ^This.

        • Bill Murray

          I wish to state my total and irrecovably non-tacit agreement with the statement of one Auguste on April 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM. My feelings are in agreement in toto with Auguste’s statement concerning the use of +1 and this in internet comment threads. As such I wish to propose an exaltation of huzzah’s and a murmuration of harrumphs in commemoration of Auguste’s august pronouncement.

          or different me, I thought +1 referred to how many drinks one had consumed.

          • Uncle Kvetch

            Totes.

          • I would like to take this comment somewhere tasteful, yet discrete. I would tell this comment that I’ve never met a comment quite like it. This comment and I will have a whirlwind three-week affair, and I will have my heart broken by this comment, yet, even knowing this, I will never regret a single moment this comment and i share.

            • Dave

              *discreet.

              Unless you meant “in contradistinction to amorphous

          • joe from Lowell

            I’m in, Bill. I am now adopting “Harrumph” as my new indicator of support for a comment.

            • proverbialleadballoon

              i didn’t get a harrumph out of that guy.

            • efgoldman

              Seems to me, “harrumph” is very ambiguous. Its not the kind of thing that’s going to attract the all-important young adult blogger, also too.

              • My six-year-old gives me a “harrumph” * whenever she is upset with me. So I question both meaning and demographic.

                * Yes, she really does say this, and I’m not making it up.

                • delurking

                  Mine did too. My husband finally banned her from saying it to him, on pain of losing her dinosaurs “forever.”

                  (I thought it was very cute, myself.)

            • Dana

              Should be huzzah, not harrumph, no?

          • Njorl

            E X C E L S I O R !

        • homunq

          why can’t we just have a button? I don’t care if it says “+1” or “this” or “harrumph”, just let us agree without taking up so much damn space!

          • Tyto

            Rary!

        • wengler

          +14

  • Lee

    Why are conservatives so in love with every conceivable form of dystopia?

    • mike in dc

      “It’s not enough that I am happy. My enemies must suffer as well.”

      • Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?
        Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
        Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
        Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

        • Woodrowfan

          “hot water,good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper”.

          • Bill Murray

            ah Cohen the Barbarian. Nothing sadder than a legend in his own time

        • An old Cold War joke. A genie appears to grant one wish.

          Englishman: I want to restore the Empire.
          Frenchman: I want to have a beautiful mistress.
          Italian: I want to have a great personal chef.
          American: I want to corner the market in electrostatic widgets.
          Russian: I want to have my neighbor’s pig die.

      • Lee

        Yes, this sums up the conservative mindset well.

      • wengler

        They want control. It is the only thing that makes them happy.

    • timb

      because without a neo-feudal dystopia America would fail

  • owlbear1

    If I wanted America to fail I’d keep electing people into office who claim Government never works and lie their asses off to make sure it doesn’t.

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  • melior

    If I wanted America to fail, I’d use their homeschools to teach one generation that their facts and their studies will lead to a new better understanding every day, which has to be wrong and somehow hypocritical so it’s all a lie since it’s not saying the exact same thing it said yesterday before we had that new data, and therefore can’t be trusted ever ever again like the perfect unchanging bible.

  • ciaran

    as satire it would be funny but if its meant seriously(???) its actually scary, neo-fascist even. Its qtite something to behold the breathless way he pronounces “europe”, like he’s talking about mordor.

  • Matt

    Look, you can’t blame conservatives for assuming everybody ELSE’S plan is to grind America into dust – they’ve got to look themselves in the eye every morning before setting off to implement their own plan to unmake American democracy. But thanks to the power of PROJECTION, they can convince themselves that it’s OK, since if they blow up the world at least the dirty hippies won’t have won…

  • hylen

    Homed in, please, not honed in.

    • skidmarx

      And probably a threat to rather than a threat for the continued protection, thought that might just be an Atlantic difference, and I’m just compensating for writing you’re instead of your on the luckiest thread.

  • Btc

    Unfortunately, the Alberta Libertarian Party is not registered so it caonnt field any candidates. It will take some dedicated people and time to get a provincial libertarian party going. In the meantime, The Libertarian Party of Canada is registered and fielding candidates. Robert McFadzean is running as a federal candidate in the Vegreville-Wainwright constituency. There will probably be other federal libertarian candidates in Alberta for the federal election in 2015.

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