Thursday, February 27, 2020

We Live In A Society

As it's looking more and more likely that Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic nominee, I highly recommend putting some effort into getting yourself ready for the tsunami of absolute bullshit that will come spewing out of the right on the subject of socialism. And it's going to be effective on a lot of average Americans, particularly those of older generations who were propagandized by red scare shit without the benefit of the internet providing access to actual information.

I've heard from multiple people in my life who don't have the space to look into this information themselves that they hold a general distrust for the government. I absolutely understand that. The difference that I've observed is that a lot of people distrust "government" in general. They don't want "government" in their healthcare or whatever else. I, on the other hand, don't have a problem with "government" in general, but with the U.S. government specifically, and I am skeptical that a representative democracy system could ever function without falling to corruption or simply a disconnect between the representatives and the average people.

Let's talk about what a government actually is. Government is simply a number of people getting together and agreeing to live in a society that has rules everyone agrees on and follows. In a representative democracy, this means people electing other people to "represent" them, their needs, and their desires. The idea is that these representatives will make the laws that the rest of the people desire while we can go on with our everyday lives.

What's super weird is that the average American "libertarian," or those who think they're libertarians, holds this kind of anti-government sentiment without realizing that the closest political theory to theirs is that of anarchists.

It's important to understand that anarchists are not anti-government. They are against the idea of representative government. They see the corruption that happens in this kind of system and conclude that nobody should have power over someone else.

Are they right? Can humans have power over others without becoming corrupt? I don't know. It's an old and complex question. What I do know is that we live in a society.

Let's all of the sudden switch to talking about the coronavirus. Trust me, it's very much related. Multiple threads on Twitter have popped up by people expressing fears that the pretty much inevitable spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. will be so much worse than it has to be due to the way in which we treat our service industry workers.

Here's just one, written by fellow queer freelance writer Lori Fox, starting with the story of how they could have died of pneumonia if a considerate doctor hadn't sat at one of their tables.

Fox, like many others, then points out that it's extremely common for service workers to continue working while sick, even while extremely sick. There is a 100% chance that there will be service workers who get sick, know that it could be COVID-19, and go to work anyway. Because the alternative could be getting fired, not being able to pay rent, eviction, homelessness, etc.

So they will work while sick. And contagious. And those of us who can afford to stay home from work sometimes will catch what they have.

This is a perfect example of the concept of We Live In A Society. I am still in the process of figuring out how much and what kind of government is ideal, but let's be practical for a second. How much the coronavirus spreads and how many people die from it depends a whole lot on the government.

It's our government that decides the minimum wage, which affects how much those living on that wage are able to save up for emergencies like getting sick with a dangerous virus. It's our government which decides whether or not paid sick leave should be required, how much, and for whom. "Less" government inevitably means less of all of that. And those of you lucky enough to not have to work in the service industry will therefore be more likely to catch it.

You won't be able to avoid it by avoiding restaurants. This is more than food service. The working poor stock your groceries. They pick, slaughter, and process all the food you consume. They fix your cars. They clean your homes. Unless you have enough money to buy up enough supplies to last for many months and basically seal yourself off from society, and I'm betting that you don't, you're going to be exposed to this virus because the working poor cannot afford to stay home when they get sick.

And that's because the people in this country said they wanted less government, at least when it comes to healthcare and making company owners pay and take care of their workers.

Is this really what you want? I hope that while you're in bed sweating through the fever and waiting to see if you're one of the 2%, you take some of that downtime to consider whether you really don't want "government in your healthcare." Think about what happens when people decide they don't want to take care of each other. Is this really a good thing? Are you sure "government" is the thing you don't want?

Think about it.

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