The Libertarian Scale of Things to Panic About

Y’all.  I’m sorry.  I’ve just been snickering to myself all morning about the Libertarian Scale of Things to Panic About and I shouldn’t poke fun because I love the libertarians and do not want to alienate them and Mrs. Coble is not yet feeling well enough to be back making impassioned reasonable defenses of libertarianism which leaves it to Exador and Sarcastro which can only mean that no matter how the discussion starts off, it’s going to end up with guys who uses words like “bourgeois” and “intelligentsia” sticking up for dumb rubes everywhere, which also makes me snicker every time I think about it.

But I do think it would be useful to actually articulate the Libertarian Scale of Things to Panic About.  I was thinking that it was a scale of 1 to 100, and everything is ranked that way.  So, 100 would obviously be “They’re going to take our guns away!” and down about 75 would be “Communists have infiltrated the anti-War movement” and down at 2 or 3 is “Back in the past, Commies also were mayors of some cities.”

However, I couldn’t come up with just 100 things that libertarians might panic about, so now I think that the Libertarian Scale of Things to Panic About must be like the Fujita Scale of measuring tornados, with the panic increasing exponentially based on factors beyond my understanding.

So, “They’re taking our guns away!” would be an X5 on the Libertarian Scale of Things to Panic About, with libertarians running to their gun cabinets to make sure all of their guns are still accounted for, running out to buy more guns, and posting on the internet about how they will shoot anyone who dares to take their guns away.

X4 is the presence of living “communists” of all sorts doing anything that might be perceived as vaguely communist and other similar threats, such as illegal immigration.

X3 is big government spending under a Democratic administration.

X2 is big government spending under a Republican administration.

X1 is any perceived threat to their dogs.

Now that we have a basic guideline for the Libertarian Scale of Things to Panic About, I’m hoping that it will make discussions between our beloved libertarians and the rest of the world easier. 

Who’s the Idiot Now, B.?

I’ll admit.  In general, I think my cats are stupid.  One of them pees in the dryer when he can and the other one likes to squoosh herself down between the back of the bookshelf and the window on the hottest days of the year and bake herself like a tiny cat-sized cake.

Sometimes, they appear to like to be petted, but often those times are followed by them turning on you and biting you, so maybe they didn’t want you to touch them after all.

Sometimes, they’ll sit at their half-filled food bowl and meow like it’s empty for as long as it take while you’re trying to watch a very insightful* episode of Dirty Jobs until you’re so annoyed that you come out, put more food in their bowl, still not good enough, go back out and put more in their bowl so that some falls on the floor where they promptly jump down, try to eat it, and end up having to run away from the dog who believes that everything on the floor is hers.

And one of them likes to wait until you fall asleep on the couch so that she can sit on your head and lick your forehead.

I’m just saying, these are not animals that seem to have a whole lot of sense or who understand cause and effect the same way the rest of us do.

And yet, they’ve learned to meow at the front door when they want to come back in.



*You know, one where dude has his shirt off.


John Henry takes up his hammer, drives steel as fast as he can. He’s swinging thirty pounds from his hips on down, and he dies with his hammer in his hand.

I think just about everyone knows that. But the part I love is when Miss Polly Ann walks down to the tracks, picks up John Henry’s hammer, and Polly drove steel like a man. Yes, Polly drove steel like a man.

That seems like fidelity to me.

Faithfulness not just when it comes to your man, but faithfulness to your man, that willingness to see through what he started, because it was important to him. Polly Ann gets but one verse. Still, I love her. I can see why John Henry loves her.

And it breaks my heart, this fucked up desire to prove that a person can do a job just as well as a machine. When a machine lays down its hammer and dies, there’s no woman to give a shit.

And yet, when a person works, a person gets paid.

Ah, the industrial revolution. Our blessing and our curse. John Henry wins and loses.

He shook it and he beat that steam drill, baby

Well bless my soul

He shook it and he beat that steam drill, baby

Well bless my soul, what’s wrong with me?

I rarely think about Elvis, that country boy who combed his hair and put on a shirt his mother made and he went on the air, when I think of John Henry.

I think of the guy who instead lays his hammer down–“If [the captain] asks you, was I runnin’, tell him I was flyin’. Tell him I was flyin’. I don’t want no corn bread and ‘lasses. Hurts my pride. Hurts my pride.”

John Henry can’t stop, can’t lose to a machine; he’s got his pride. But he’s dead now so what’d that get anyone else? Some folks are too proud to let a machine take their place and some folks are too proud to do work that could be done by a machine instead.

Take my hammer, carry it to the captain. Tell him I’m gone. Tell him I’m gone.


Update on Monday, August 14, 2006 at 06:55AM