Wednesday, February 20, 2008
A commenter on Chris Bertram's post referenced earlier asks:
who cares about economic prosperity if you aren’t healthy, educated, and so on. That’s because I think that education and health are intrinsically valuable, whereas ‘participating in the economy’ is mostly just instrumentally valuable. But if free-market economic activity is the point, then I suppose Cuba seems pretty evil.
What is the point of either if you aren't free and can't own yourself and the product of your labor?
UPDATE: Another interesting comment, but this time one I would echo:
“There is a large, well-funded reaction which has as its stated goal the overthrow of the current government of Cuba.”
The same could be said of Israel, but they have managed to create stable democratic institutions, a free press and freedom of association and movement as well as universal health care and education for its citizens and a thriving economy. Of course, Israel has perpetrated its ‘fair share’ of human rights abuses in the occupied territories in the meantime, but CT-ers don’t seem to find the depth of sophisticated understanding for the Zionist state’s indiscretions as they do for the Fidelist one. In fact, they seem almost to prefer Fidelist dictaorship in Cuba to a democratric Israel, but that can’t be right, it must be my misreading.
History has shown time and time again that people do better when they get to own and protect what they produce. When the state owns you... well, that is what kings and serfs were all about. How many people do we have beating down to the doors to get into Cuba, as opposed to the masses that are trying to get out? Chris can move to Cuba any day and he won't be missed.
We have people trying to get here for the same reason the criminals and drug dealers came here. For the same reason that Hispanic immigrants will break the law--coming from countries that are harsh but hardly tryannies. CASH MONEY. Cable TV. Big cars. Blondes. McDonalds. Freedom's a complex thing. So much so even our vaunted Founding White Fathers sought to keep it from as many folk as possible hahahaha That's why Cubans want to see the throttling back of the old regime. More goodies. What the hell do most Americans really "own" these days? Not even the damn family car, or their privacy or their even their id's. Everythings for sale, everything's questioned. All we have is the concept of liberty and ownership. And the dream of being a bigshot so you don't have to put up with as much crap as you do now. That's it...
Chris, you are also welcome to leave anytime.
I have a few minutes ,so here goes..
"...the same reason criminals and drug dealers..."
And criminals and drug dealers are knocking down the gates to get into Saudi Arabia even as we speak. After all they have money. More per capita than most of the U.S. That's not happening, you say? Well, maybe your rant is missing some nuance.
"that Hispanic immigrants will break the law.."
If they break the law, they are illegal immigrants, but accuracy has never been you strong suit.
..."Founding White Fathers..."
Do you categorize everyone according to their race?, Just asking.
"What do most Americans really own..."
Part of the oldest government on God's green earth, Mr. Chambers.
"all we have is a concept of liberty and ownership.."
And there are billions world wide to whom the concept of "self defense", "privacy" or "food" is a pipe dream.
You are a sad case, Mr. Chambers. It is too bad you couldn't have leaned from my father two very important things.
"Before an American discovered penicillin there were no Good Old Days"
"Liberals want to make the world perfect, Conservatives want to make it better."
Weep for Castro if you will, Mr. Chambers, I will save my tears for his victims.
"What the hell do most Americans really "own" these days? Not even the damn family car, or their privacy or their even their id's."
Just complete nonsense. We can say what we like, go where we like and enter into any of many gainful pursuits and compete for earnings.
I recommend this article, taken before bedtime for a week.
This idea that "participating in the economy is mostly just instrumentally valuable" is important, because it more often than not distinguishes leftists from non-leftists. Most people who honor economically valuable work as a morally important activity are not genuinely left-wing, even if they are often Democrats. Put differently, if you regard your gainful work as a necessary evil, it is no surprise that you believe that you should do less of it and the other guy should do more. If, however, you regard gainful work as one of the important results of a life well led, you are delighted to do a lot of it and think that other people should as well.
Making lives of ourselves and our families, building careers, achieving dreams is simply dismissed as "participating in the economy."
If you're not free to make your way in the world, what good is living?
..It provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living?
... little by little, it extinguishes their spirits and enervates their souls."
A life without risk, success, and failure isn't really a human life. More akin to a sentient vegetable, I think.