Pointless civil disobedience
Notre Dame Law School
This article is in response to Monday's column entitled "Neoliberalism 101."
It is hard to know where to begin. First of all, Mr. Kreider's analysis of the violence undertaken in Quebec City is altogether too one-sided. Thousands of protesters violently (not peacefully) tore down a man-made barricade, several threw Molotov Cocktails and a good deal more threw rocks and started fires and basically acted in ways we usually only read about in the paper regarding Northern Ireland or the Middle East. Exactly how does Mr. Kreider expect the police to act? Perhaps the police should have linked arms and sung, "Feed the World."
Mr. Kreider also mentioned "the rich" and "corporations" with derision, pinning upon them all the evils of the modern world. This is all common fare in neo-Marxist ideology. He fails to note that, while these corporations are out sucking our blood, they are also providing jobs that would otherwise be unavailable to many in third-world countries. Laying aside the fact that smart businesses desire to make profits, no one condones a corporation that exploits illegally cheap labor. Neither does anyone condone a country whose laws fail to protect its citizens from such; perhaps there are more targets at which to shoot darts than within Mr. Kreider's narrow sights. Corporations are also among the largest contributors to philanthropic and charitable organizations, essentially helping to keep many running. Some will, no doubt, write that off as mere guilt assuagement. Whatever it is, it is going to feed and clothe and heal those who would otherwise go hungry, bare and sick.
Mr. Kreider writes that "corporations and the rich are not happy having to pay the costs for a social welfare state and environmental regulation." Heck no, and I wouldn't be either (I being neither rich nor a corporation). If he desires a "social welfare state," then he is living in the wrong country. If he desires that we change into a "social welfare state," then I suggest he first read Friedrich Hayek and get back to me. Everyone knows that removing economic freedom necessarily entails removing political freedom. Perhaps that is a worthwhile sacrifice in his eyes — but I might take him more seriously if he had extensive first-hand knowledge of this trade-off.
Further, the "rich" might be a little happier about paying costs if they weren't shouldering 63 percent of the tax burden — which the top 10 percent are, by the way. Seems a bit unfair, doesn't it? Not to neo-Marxists who believe that people with money ought to be penalized for the mere fact of having so much of it. They ought to be ashamed. Don't they know that oft-misquoted verse, "Money is the root of all evil?" Mr. Kreider's article should have been titled, "Guilt 101." Or maybe, "The Sanctioning of Violent and Pointless Civil Disobedience." After all, it is fun to break stuff.
Notre Dame Law School
April 23, 2001
All Viewpoint Stories for Tuesday, April 24, 2001