26.11.19

GOODS ARE PHYSICAL, RIGHTS ARE METAPHYSICAL.

Just don't bother Congressional sensation Alexandria "Sandy" Ocasio-Cortez (Naïf-N.Y.) with such high-concept stuff, she's on a roll.
Like public roads, schools, and libraries, Ocasio-Cortez said, public housing should be recognized as a public good funded by taxpayers, particularly the wealthiest people and corporations.

"It is possible and it's not that we deserve it because it's a handout," the congresswoman said. "People like to say, 'Oh, this is about free stuff.' This is not about free stuff... These are public goods."

Ocasio-Cortez won applause from members of the audience for her plan, including one who shouted of housing, "It is a human right!"
You'd think that somebody who supposedly studied some economics in college would grasp "nonexclusive and nonrivalrous," which is relevant, to, oh, her being able to live-post a cooking lesson from her quarters without some random welfare recipient exercising his rights.  Or perhaps the one time she wanted to look up the concept in the reserve collection, somebody else had signed it out and she couldn't be bothered to go back for it later.

How many times will we have to reiterate that governments provide all sorts of goods and services for private consumption, that is, usage is exclusive and rivalrous, and asserting that the good or service is a "right" and meriting taxpayer support, which is to say, some constituents live at the expense of others does not somehow turn it into a collective consumption good.

Kevin Williamson suggests that such wishful thinking does not speak well, either of the politicians who encourage such learned helplessness, or of the constituents who believe calling something a right magically produces it.  "The rhetoric of benefits as rights cultivates just the opposite attitude, one of learned helplessness, not in response to extraordinary challenges but in the face of the ordinary business of life. That attitude of helplessness is of great benefit to a certain stripe of politician. It is not good for people or countries."

Exactly, but if the representative suggested to her constituents that they had an obligation, as fellow citizens, to be competent, she'd be back to tending bar in a Brooklyn minute: that is, if the Common Dreams types didn't pillory her as a victim-blaming reactionary and exile her to the Flyover first.

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