Despite its flabbergasting incompetence and conspicuous sociopaths, it is crucial to recognize the extent to which these disastrous consequences have eventuated directly from stated assumptions and explicit values trumpeted by the representatives of this monstrous Administration and eagerly affirmed by its supporters. To focus on the incompetence and the celebrity sociopaths of the Administration alone will be to personalize and so misdiagnose the underlying causes of ballooning deficits at home, ballooning bodies in Greenhouse floods and on foreign fields, and the slow motion crisis of deliberate collective immiseration and disempowerment authored by the Bush Administration by direct explicit doctrine and policy across America and a planet beholden to its hideous military might.
Paul Krugman is absolutely right in his recent essay Our Can’t Do Government when he says of Katrina and Iraq, “I don't think this is a simple tale of incompetence.” Krugman continues:
The reason the military wasn't rushed in to help along the Gulf Coast is, I believe, the same reason nothing was done to stop looting after the fall of Baghdad. Flood control was neglected for the same reason our troops in Iraq didn't get adequate armor.
At a fundamental level, I'd argue, our current leaders just aren't serious about some of the essential functions of government. They like waging war, but they don't like providing security, rescuing those in need or spending on preventive measures. And they never, ever ask for shared sacrifice.
Several weeks ago I posted A Few Iron Laws about libertarians and other market fundamentalists in public life. Let me repeat one of them here:
6. Any figure seeking public office, whether libertarian or conservative, who tells you that government is nothing more than a vast organized gang of corrupt incompetent lying criminal thugs is announcing in advance how they are likely to behave once they have obtained power in government.
We will not learn the lessons of this era of Republican corruption, dishonesty, cynicism, exploitation, and criminal conduct until we recognize that these devastations have emerged by direct design, as perfectly predictable consequences of market fundamentalist policies. If you dismantle law you get lawlessness. If you treat the institutions of legitimate government as dispensable you dispense soon enough with legitimacy and governance. If you cannot see in governance anything but coercion you will rule with a bloody fist. Democratic civilization emerged to protect reason and reasonableness from these people. The libertopians are the vile and violent voice of the jungle, predators surveying the field for prey. And, just look, the libertopians are now in charge.