A Word On Politics

This started out as a comment on Big Liberty’s Universal Healthcare and Fat post. When I set up my “About” page a mere seven months ago, I wrote, “I know next to nothing about politics but I’m willing to learn.” Much has changed since then, although I have to say I wasn’t completely clueless, either. It’s just that I tend to research any given topic extensively before I can form an opinion on it, and last fall I did not feel like I had reached that point yet.

I became interested in libertarianism as soon as it started to come up on the fatosphere feed. The general concept sounded good to me – freedom of choice for everyone, little to no government supervision et cetera. However, as I started to read more and more essays by self-proclaimed libertarians (note that I was unaware of there being a difference between American and European definitions of libertarianism at the time), I got the same sinking feeling that I get whenever I pick up a magazine or newspaper: Once again I did NOT appear to be part of the target audience. What do I care about a free market when I can’t work and have never had money of my own? How exactly am I supposed to make any choices if the only opportunity I am given is to survive on what little people like me are “generously” supplied with by either the state or a charity?

I will always be a sick person first, the daughter of a poor single mother second, and only then does Fat Acceptance come in. I am not looking at this from the same perspective as your average fat rights activist, especially since I didn’t grow up as a fat child. I only grew up poor and sick. Googling “libertarianism and disability” I actually found out that here in Europe, the general consensus seems to be that true libertarians must oppose capitalism. How exactly that got twisted around to be almost the opposite in America, I don’t know. This blog came up as one of the first search results, which I found quite amazing because I happen to agree with nearly every single word in that post.

The thing is this, I am tired. Tired of feeling worthless because I never had a chance to finish school. Tired of feeling irresponsible just because I dare to continue existing. Tired of never being part of the target audience.

I propose that we stop providing services only to those who can afford it based on a ridiculous definition of “productivity”. If I were living in America, I would be unable to afford healthcare because I’m sick, which I’m sure you’ll agree makes no sense whatsoever. I would have to be healthy in order to make money, but in order to become healthier I’d need to have money already. Whoever came up with this nonsense needs to be taught a thing or two on logic.

I have decided to officially identify as anarchist now, but I don’t care what you call yourselves – if you agree that capitalism causes harm, I’m on your side.

There are so many wonderful things that we could be doing RIGHT NOW to help each other out, improve our own quality of life, find cures for diseases and solutions for technical problems, reduce stress among the population, prevent crime, save the environment and end world hunger. We have the technology, the knowledge, the resources, the brilliant minds, the people who would be willing to work on those problems, we have everything that is necessary to make this world a better place. So why aren’t we acting already? Because the resources, technology, knowledge and time are only available to those who can pay.

I bet if there is extraterrestrial life somewhere out there, they are laughing at our stupidity right this minute. Even I, sick as I am, would surely find a way to contribute to someone else’s well-being if only I were given the opportunity, but instead I am forced to sit around and do nothing because the financial support I receive from my country helps me survive and not much else.

I don’t get how some people can NOT see this. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose. But we exist and we’re not going away anytime soon. I refuse to accept that people like me deserve no better options.

This is probably not the most eloquent post I have ever written, but … oh well. It’s better than staying quiet.

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4 Responses to “A Word On Politics”

  1. Kathy Says:

    The USA version of libertarianism is probably closest to Anarcho-capitalism, I think. Maybe. Whereas the Europeans think of libertarianism more along the lines of anarcho-syndicalism or left-anarchism; for example, the anarchist and workers’ movements in Spain in the early 20th century. I’m with the anarchists with a bit of a syndico and left bent. The free market has failed. Hierarchical society based on wealth, race, gender, religion has failed. Why? Because we have people living in dire need while others live in obscene wealth. I do not believe anyone has such rights to individual liberty as to profit like that off the backs of workers and the poor. I think anyone who buys into the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” argument has bought right into the Fantasy of Capitalism. It’s like the Shapely Prose Fantasy of Being Thin; if you only work hard enough and have willpower and follow the rules THIS TIME you’ll lose weight and keep it off OR If you only work hard enough and have willpower etc you too can become wealthy! You do not have individual liberty if you are the source of someone else’s wealth, such as paying rent to a landlord or working for someone else’s business.

    This all needs to be voluntary, however. Forced collectivism is not liberty, either. How would such an anarchist society work? I’m not sure, I don’t have all the answers. Some collective brainstorming is in order. 😉

    [Also I dislike how many libertarians keep bringing up the UK’s NHS as an example of how evil universal health care is. The UK is a bad example. The NHS is woefully inefficient and a juggernaut of andministrative nightmares. There are plenty of other countries around the world that have universal or socialised or partly socialised health care which do it far better and without discrimination against fat people.]

  2. anniemcphee Says:

    (I found you from BL’s blog since you linked to this post.) I am sorry to hear you are so sick, and I do hope it can be figured out. Can I ask if you’ve seen an endocrinologist? Because I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia when in fact I was actually dying of an endocrine disorder – spent years in a wheelchair and bedridden, and no one could figure it out until I was literally at the edge of death (as in, not breathing.) It took an endo to finally figure it out. Please don’t give up, because while 99 jerk doctors might tell you you’re a lazy liar, the 100th might finally figure out that there is a treatable, physical cause for your suffering, as happened for me.

    I won’t go too much into the politics – despite having been so sick for many years and unable to work, and now only being partially disabled as well as poor, I’m on the opposite political pole from where you are; but I hope you’ll keep reading anyway. While some objectivists really are cruel-minded and figure “let them die”, I assure you that many people are very generous, and if they are not having their money taken at the point of a gun, are philanthropic and do a lot of good with their “obscene” wealth for people like you and me. In a civilized society with a free market, there are always people willing to help people in genuine need, especially someone like yourself who would be happy to do whatever you actually *could* do to help others. Charity has always existed and in a free market where people can make a lot of money and a lot of progress, they can offer that much more help. Hospitals and orphanages, for example, were originally set up by philanthropic people and voluntary organizations, not governments.

    Kathy, I don’t know where you live, but the more people have prospered and gained that “obscene” wealth, the better the plight of the poorest people in this country has become. There will always be disparity, but the poorest people in this country where we have at least a *partially* free market (but have not had an actual free market for at least three generations), the poor do not live in the conditions that poor in India or Mexico do. And if you went into the houses of every rich person in this country, took every possession they have, then plundered their bank accounts bare, not only could it not begin to cover even the stimulus bill, it couldn’t even simply run the federal government for 12 months (talk about a waste of money.) But then there would be no more of those obscene rich people and the rest of the world would be out of work, since the rich people couldn’t operate their businesses anymore and pay their employees.

    And I’m beyond lost trying to figure out what in anything you’re talking about could possibly be voluntary and not forced. Actually I don’t understand anything in your concept of liberty at all regarding rent or working or… Never mind, I won’t bother you.

  3. Tiana Says:

    Also I dislike how many libertarians keep bringing up the UK’s NHS as an example of how evil universal health care is. The UK is a bad example.

    OMG YES. Every time that argument comes up, I’m like … “Uhm. No. That is not what we want. That is what we want GONE WRONG.”

    Annie, I read your story when you still had that other blog and I found it quite amazing. I’m glad you eventually found the right doctor and I will definitely not stop looking, either.

    While some objectivists really are cruel-minded and figure “let them die”, I assure you that many people are very generous, and if they are not having their money taken at the point of a gun, are philanthropic and do a lot of good with their “obscene” wealth for people like you and me.

    I understand this, but either there aren’t enough of those people or they’re not wealthy enough to help everyone at the same time. How long are we supposed to keep waiting for that to happen? I think it is simply ridiculous that we have enough food for everyone and just because some people thought they needed to control who’d get what by inventing a thing called “money” a long time ago, children still have to starve. If there was no money, doctors would treat every patient the same instead of regarding them as customers. Nobody would shoot innocent bystanders to rob a bank, nobody would “steal” food (you can’t steal what you are allowed to take), nobody would fake clinical trials to sell a product, and people would actually become doctors because they want to help, not because they think it might pay well. Patients would always be prescribed the best medication available because the product that works best would be the only one being produced.

    Judging by your reply to Kathy’s comment, I assume that you believe nobody would work if they weren’t either spurned on by money or forced to do so. This is a logical fallacy most often seen in childraising. My mother never punished me, never forced me to do anything, never dangled sweets in front of my nose to “motivate” me and yet I did not spend my entire childhood sitting on my butt doing nothing. This is because free people actually do things out of their own accord, either because they know that somebody has to or because they simply enjoy doing those things. Humans are not inherently lazy – and the 5% of us who possibly are? I think we can afford to let them be.

  4. Sarah Says:

    If there was no money, doctors would treat every patient the same instead of regarding them as customers.

    This. I’ve worked in a doctor’s office for eight years. The treatment of the insured and the uninsured? Much different. We accept no type of state insurance (because they don’t pay) and the uninsured have to pay a ridiculous fee to see the doctor.


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