Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Here in New Mexico
There's no teevee here, so when I'm in the house, I sometimes listen to the radio. The other day, I was idly spinning the dial on the 1942 Philco that sits by the french door out to the back yard, and hit on a "new and positive" AM station, KIVA in Albuquerque. It was actually pretty good more or less "liberal" talk radio, which is not uncommon in New Mexico, but it differed from the other stations (I can think of one in Santa Fe and another one in Albuquerque, and there must be others) in its local focus. All the talent was local, and the topics were New Mexico-centric. I thought that was pretty damn good, given that there are so many issues here that constantly need addressing.
One of the favorite targets of the talkers on this station was Governor Bill Richardson, a long time Democratic Party apparatchik, many of whose efforts seem to be perfectly tailored to soak the poor on behalf of the rich. Oh yes.
Finally, a program came on that dealt directly with the problem of the poor in New Mexico, which is an ongoing situation, never resolved, nor is it necessarily resolveable. There is Tradition, after all, and Tradition in New Mexico is very, very strong. There is Culture. There is Social Conditioning.
All these factors were recognized, and they were condemned by a flack from something called The Rio Grande Foundation, whose premise was that New Mexicans are poor because they are dependent on the one hand, and their culture doesn't allow them to innovate or become enterpreneurs except to the extent their padron permits.
They are dependent on Government, according to the flack, to an extent not seen anywhere else in the country, and so they are poor. Government is so bloated in New Mexico that it sucks up all the resources for itself leaving nothing for innovative enterpreneurs. Who are oppressed by the padron system that keeps everyone dependent on Government. Government is so bloated in New Mexico that there are eight campuses of four year state universities -- compared to only two in Arizona.
And so on and so forth. It was fascinating, and I didn't hear anyone call in to correct the record. What this flack was proposing was that New Mexico become more like Arizona, reduce or eliminate dependence on Government, get rid of the padron system, and everybody become independent enterpreneurs innovating all kinds of neat stuff that will make everybody rich.
Anybody been to Arizona lately? Oh. Not working out so well, all in all, and not so innovative nor so independent of "Government" as the flack believes. And New Mexico is not nearly so absent enterpreneurial spirit as the flack insists.
The notion that everyone should be "independent" is one of those deeply rooted Libertarian ideological premises that resonates strongly with a certain class of Americans, but it doesn't work in practice. If the issue is the poverty of New Mexicans, making them all "independent" simply worsens their situation, it doesn't improve it. But then it also makes exploitation even easier than it already is. Which is the point of advocating "independence." It's a predatory imperative.
And most people instinctively want to protect themselves -- through mutual assistance -- from predation.
New Mexicans have been doing that for quite a long time. It's worked out pretty well all in all for all kinds of people. Those who would prefer to predate may wish to do so in Arizona, where the Liberty for Predators is fundamental.
If I have more time, I'll cogitate on this dichotomy some more...