Texas Shivers; Ayn Rand Quivers
February 20th, 2021
It’s been a truism in American politics ever since the anti-government absurdities of the John Birch Society in the 1950’s: if you elect people who want government to fail to office, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s a heavily underwritten idiocy that spread from the Kochs to the JBS, and then to the Libertarian party and from there to the right wing noise machine, where millions of man hours and billions of dollars were spent creating amiable puppet monsters like Reagan, and persuading Americans that if they only threw government off their backs, the aristocrats and churches would take good care of them.
It took over the Republican party entire in the 1990s, and Republican approach to governance ever since has been a blend of disdain for societal needs and general incompetence. Republican governors routinely blew up the budget. Vast sums of money were transferred from the public weal to big multinationals and the super rich. Infrastructure languished. Workers lost power and options, and wages stagnated, and then dropped. Consumers started hearing it was none of their damn business what was in their food and water. As part of a devil’s pact with fundamentalist churches, religion was permitted to intrude more and more deeply into our personal lives. Health care and education were weakened, and turned into lucrative scams.
Jefferson, Madison, et al set government up to serve the people and forestall the depredations of corporations, aristocrats, and the churches. They used to teach that in school before the current fable that individuals could stare down trillion-dollar companies and the Church.
GOP governance saw a steady procession of massive screwups from the war on drugs to 9/11 to the war on terror. Katrina. The 2008 financial melt down. And most recently, COVID.
It’s no wonder the GOP finally coughed up the morally bankrupt and criminally corrupt Donald Trump as their avatar.
Texas, of course, has its own particular ethos that lends itself readily to libertarian propaganda. Individualist, go-it-alone, free brave and independent. A cross between John Wayne and the Marlboro Man. Government help, sissy stuff like medical care, roads, schools and infrastructures were for weinies and darkies. Bubba don’t need no government telling him he’s gotta buckle up and wear a mask. Fuck the Feds! Anything government is socialist.
Which brings me to another truism. Socialism sees to the needs of society, and capitalism sees to the needs of capitalists. Having a lawnmowing business makes you a business owner, but you’re no more a capitalist than owning a computer makes you Bill Gates. (And in something symbolic of how the game is rigged for capitalists, read your various EULAs for your software—despite paying for it, you don’t own any of that shit). The only reason Americans put up with the crap and don’t stage the French Revolution redux is they all believe they can become capitalists. They’re all just temporarily embarrassed millionaires, as the joke goes.
We had plenty of warning before last week’s cold snap paralyzed the entire state of Texas and caused minor inconvenience everywhere else.
Texas broke from the federal power grid specifically to avoid federal regulation. Ken Lay and ERCOT would see to all their needs. Billionaires are selfless heroes, here only to serve the people, you know.
Republicans aren’t just incompetent in times of crisis; they philosophically cannot make a response to a crisis because that would make government look effective.
They started dealing with the crisis by lying. It was the fault of windmills freezing (some did, but the agency overseeing this fiasco admitted that generation from wind power was actually UP during the blackout crisis). Tucker Carlson, the poor man’s William F. Buckley, said “So it was all working great until the day it got cold outside. The windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are, and people in Texas died,” Some other lies were ludicrous on the face of it. Blaming Biden for canceling Keystone XL or rejoining the Paris accord were flat-out ridiculous accusations. Rick Perry, who outside of the GOP would be the dumbest man in the room, declared proudly that Texans would rather endure blackouts rather than suffer under federal regulation. (I’ll bet Perry’s lights were on). Donald Trump Jr., who somehow manages to be even more stupid than his father, blamed the crisis on Texas’ “Democrat governor.” That would be Greg Abbott, who is…wait for it…a Republican. Texas has been Republican since the days of Ann Richards, and somehow, inexplicably, in decline over those 30 years.
Ted Cruz fled to Cancun, leaving his little doggie alone in his freezing house and when caught out, blamed his young daughters for the trip, lying about when the trip was planned and his expectations of an early return. (Newsmax sprung to Cruz’s defense, noting that Joe Biden’s German Shepherd was looking kinda raggedy-ass, which isn’t too unusual for that breed in February in a cold climate.)
While Cruz was indelibly disgracing himself and his office, Beto O’Rourke organized volunteers to make more than 784,000 wellness calls to senior citizens around Texas. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC to the dimwitted dittoheads) used her office pulpit to raise more than two million dollars for Texas. Biden and FEMA sent 60 massive power generators and over 200,000 meals, along with a million gallons of fresh water and 30,000 blankets. Unfortunately, most are still sitting at airports around the state because state and local authorities can’t figure out how to move them to people that need them. Fortunately for Texas, Biden is sending in federal guard to take over distribution. Someone’s gotta go it, and it sure isn’t the government haters that infest Texas government.
The cold snap should have been nothing more than an inconvenience. It stretched from northern Mexico to Newfoundland, and except for Texas, that’s all it was—an inconvenience. But not Texas. Because freedumb.
This should be a massive wakeup call to Texas and the country, and hopefully, people will remember in 2022 that billionaires won’t save them from their own stupidity.