This is a thread I wrote on Twitter, because sometimes it’s easier to write about big subjects on very small pieces of paper. Numbers link to individual tweets. Title swiped from Jonathan Korman.
1. The rich don’t need fed. health insurance. Their up-and-coming competitors, who aren’t rich yet, do: one major illness can wipe them out.
2. The rich donor class hates social policies that make the non-rich braver and more enterprising. For example…
3. Social security, so a lifetime of hard work doesn’t end in misery. Student financial aid, so that talent + hard work can = achievement.
4. Bank regulation, so our careful savings and investments aren’t wrecked by irresponsible games the big-money guys play with each other.
5. Health and safety regulations, because it shouldn’t be okay to maim or poison people who don’t have clout. And so forth.
6. Us little guys shouldn’t have the nerve to start new businesses, develop new products, or go as far as our work and talent will take us.
7. Poor whites are supposed to stay poor, and know in their bones that they’re born to sorrow, and their luck will never last.
8. Blacks should keep quiet, and do first-rate work on jobs that are well below their ability, because things can always get worse, y’hear?
9. There’s no point in women having ambitions, because one little mishap can wreck everything you’ve worked for.
10. Keeping the rest of us in a constant state of low-level fear is the one consistent goal of the policies the donor class supports.
11. Why? Because we have to tolerate some risk in order to successfully compete with them and their less-than-talented offspring.
12. I’m not talking about rational, calculable risks. I mean the unforeseeable: illness, accidents, market crashes, natural disasters.
13. They want us to know in our bones that we have no defense against risk. If *anything* happens, we’ll be stuck paying for it forever.
14. We’re not allowed to build a more level playing field that we all share. They want us out of the game entirely, so they can always win.
15. Meanwhile, they’re always angling to get their own risk reduced. Always. Because winning.
16. One more thing. Who are the Alt Right? They’re guys who think they’re entitled to a place among the wealthy and risk-averse, …
17. …And haven’t figured out yet that few if any of them are going to succeed at that. They’ll get consolation prizes at best.
18. That’s why they harass egalitarians: they think we’re interfering with a game they plan to win, but have already lost.
19. And one more thing I forgot.
20. The wealthy donor class wants to instill fear in us, so we’ll be unwilling to try to compete with them.
This is grounds for hope.
21. Because if they could have made it impossible for us to fight back & compete, they’d have done it by now. Therefore, we can.
I know this sort of reminder can be done badly;
but it’s my book,
and Hugo nominations close in four days.
Long ago in Internet time, the well-known tech writer and programmer Dori Smith, a sometime reader hereabouts, did Making Light a very useful kindness.
Now she and her husband Tom Negrino are going through the hardest of times. Whatever the outcome, we wish them solace and ease.
Do I want to start a new Open Thread? Yes, yes I do.
* see also
Hey, New Yorkers (City and State)! Want health care? There’s a bill making its way through our state legislature that would set up a state-wide single-payer health care system! It’s called the New York Health Act, and it’s already been passed by the Democratic-majority State Assembly. Next step is to push it through the Republican-controlled State Senate, so backers of the bill have scheduled a call-in day for Friday, January 27th, 9AM–9PM. Look up your State Senator’s phone number, call ’em up, and ask them to pass it.
This isn’t the first time this bill has been tried. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried has been pushing it since 1999, but it got through the Assembly for the first time in 2015. Maybe this year it’ll get through both houses. And if not, we can try again next year.