I finally found an editorial in defense of the Federal bailouts of Chrysler and GM, provided on the personal blog of sometime-WSJ editorial writer Robert Farago. It's pretty poorly argued, but the moment I saw the title I knew I was in for some comment section gold. Dredging internet comments and finding something stupid is like jamming both hands in your back pockets and finding an ass. Regardless, the repetition of one theme caught my eye. To wit:
Listen, I didn’t ask nor do I want to be part owner of GM and Chrysler. Fair? This is not about the producers of things in an economy…its about the consumers. American consumers have the right to do whatever they want. Bailouts circumvent consumer preference at the expense of everyone except those luck few “chosen” ones (UAW). It’s called freedom.
Charming, right? As easy as it is to laugh at shit like this ("It's called freedom!" and the querulous repetition of "Fair? Fair?" in a manner that reminds me of Jim Mora's "Playoffs? Playoffs?" rant) I am more inclined to be worried about it. While 99.999% of the suburban commandos venting their complete political impotence in every available venue are harmless or at least too lazy to be dangerous, the idea that government simply cannot do that with which hardcore conservatives disagree is pervasive and, I'm afraid, going to contribute to the eight years of extremist freakouts which are already underway.
Note the opening phrase in the above comment: " I didn’t ask nor do I want to be part owner of GM and Chrysler." Could it ever have occured to the comment author that no one gives a flying fuck what he wants? Can any of these people handle the idea of a world that does not revolve around their wants? I don't recall signing off on that whole Iraq War thing, but I do seem to recall it happening anyway. It happened because people voted for the guy who wanted it to happen.
See, "freedom" and "democracy" and "fairness" mean that we have elections which present the nation with reasonably distinct alternatives. This time we had the option to pick the guy who opposed bailouts (at least when he was trying to appeal to wingers – who knows what he would actually have done if elected) and his sidekick MILF Spice. Instead the nation chose the other guy. They voted for the guy who would be far, far more likely to respond to domestic economic problems with wads of government cash. He won the election. By ten million votes. So this might be a good example of truth in advertising. The President is behaving much like any voter who knows what a Democrat is would have expected under these circumstances. We knew what we were signing up for.
On the right, though, "I don't agree with this" isn't in the phrasebook; that with which they disagree is wrong, immoral, illegal, unconstitutional, and on many dark corners of the conservative movement, signs of our desperate need for a violent revolution. I'm not a psychologist, but I'd estimate that people with this mentality stopped maturing around age 10. People older than that can handle a world that does not always do what we want. Whether it's some guy killing three cops because Obama was coming to take his guns, some militiamen in Montana making truck bombs in their "U.S. OUT OF U.N." compounds, some old Nazi trying to shoot his way into the headquarters of the International Jewry, or just some dipshit unloading his impotent rage into blog comments, the sentiment is the same: this is not what I want, therefore it is Wrong and It Must Be Stopped.
Back in 1964 the Johnson administration refused to allow a popular election to resolve the North-South split in Vietnam because they knew that 90% of the Vietnamese would have chosen Ho and the Communists. It is but one example of America's history of supporting democracy only inasmuch as people will choose what we want them to choose. It is also a good example of what the right means when it invokes "freedom" or fairness or democracy – it is the right of free people everywhere to choose their government unless or until they elect someone to the left of Curtis LeMay. Just as most Americans cannot wrap their minds around people on this planet choosing to live in a socialist state or choosing to live in a monarchy, it appears that we can barely comprehend the results of our own elections anymore. We picked this guy with a pretty good idea of how he would act. Those who dislike his decisions are more than free to cast a vote for Romney/Gingrich 2012. While the majority is always required to respect the fundamental rights of the electoral minority (momentarily overlook the fact that the GOP, when in power, summarily rejects this notion) it never has been nor will be required to make political decisions to the liking of the people who can't scrape up enough votes to keep their Senate delegation over 40.