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Koch Kookiness

The Koch brothers, whose money is life blood of the modern GOP,  regard themselves as in the vanguard of a movement of sorts. They are “neoliberals.”

Many Americans, no doubt, haven’t much of a clue what neoliberalism is and would guess wrong if pressed.

Neoliberalism isn’t primarily an economic theory, despite the fact that “the market” lies at its center.

Neoliberals are convinced, or claim to be convinced, that maximizing the number of decisions made as “voluntary” transactions in “the market” maximizes freedom. Neoliberalism, then, is a political philosophy focused on maximizing freedom.

But whose freedom?

Take healthcare, for example. Leaving the question of who gets healthcare to “the market” means inevitably that the people who can afford healthcare get healthcare. How does this maximize the freedom of the people who can’t afford healthcare?

Neoliberalism’s claim to maximizing freedom might look elegant in theory, but in the real world — the world in which we actually live — neoliberalism distributes freedom, extending the freedom of the high rollers at the expense of a whole lot of the rest of us.

Last Turtle Down

Yesterday evening in bed I listened to a man speaking English with a heavy French accent as he explained Einstein’s impatience with the idea that the equations of quantum mechanics, with which he had no quarrel as such, should be regarded as having plumbed utterly the depths of reality. What he insisted was that something else — something definite — must lay beneath the uncertainty portrayed by the equations as the last turtle down.

Incivility: A Parable

Two people were walking their dogs. One dog, growling and pulling hard at the lead, tried its best to get at the other dog. The second dog, initially determined to ignore the provocation and walk on, eventually had enough and began to bark. The owner of the first dog chastised the owner of the second dog for its incivility.