Wednesday, September 7

On The Role Of Deeply-Held Philosophical Beliefs In American Political Life, And Other Comedic Concepts

YOU may recall that late last month the roof and rigging of the outdoor stage at the Indiana State Fair collapsed in high winds, killing seven and injuring dozens more. You might also recall that by the next morning Mitch Daniels was on the scene, informing everyone within earshot, and especially potential litigants, that the whole thing was just one of those freakish acts of Nature, Nature being the goddess who gets the blame when public Christianity-professors like Daniels need a non-monotheistic culprit.

Indiana law limits the state's liability to $5 million in this case; there's been a lot of grumbling about that, such as you'll have whenever the proponents of Small Government for Thee get a prominent part of their collective anatomy caught in a Press. Because, of course, we only mean Libertarian reforms to affect other people, not to absolve us of our own culpability just for the sake of some filthy lucre. We only mean to prohibit frivolous lawsuits by people who aren't the accidental recipients of massive public sympathy.

Daniels had been forced, within 24 hours, to proclaim his intention for a thorough state investigation. Since Hoosiers of any shred of decency had not risen up en masse and pummeled him within an inch of his height-challenged life the day before, there was no chance he'd be made to pay for that little weaselly performance. So it was right in character when, yesterday, he rejected calls to lift the $5 million limit. Here's what the leader of the Anti-Statist Party told Channel 13's Kevin Rader; see how many errors you can spot:
"I wouldn't say yes or no. We are prepared to go ahead and release the $5 million, which is the state's limit before anybody knows anything about fault or where it lies among all parties. It's just again to give people an option that they otherwise wouldn't have and a chance to have compensation immediately with certainty and not have to share it with trial lawyers. For now that will be our emphasis. Let's see what the inquiry tells us," said Daniels.

Daniels, whose five favorite books are concordances of Atlas Shrugged, believes, or "believes", that Government is tyranny, and that ours is a kleptocracy at best, when run by Democrats. Yet Mitch has been on the hustings--beginning while people were still in operating rooms fighting for their lives, a fight two would lose--as a spokesman for limiting what innocent people can receive in compensation for the wrongful infringement of their rights by the negligent. From daylight the next morning. And he doesn't say, "Well, this is what the law says, as written; it shouldn't be changed just because it doesn't meet our sense of justice in this case, but should be looked at calmly and rationally", which at least would make an acceptable dodge. No. He talks like a litigant with both hands on his check book cover, trying desperately to keep it closed. He's pitching an arrangement which is clearly unfair and inadequate for many of the victims while absolving himself of any responsibility ("I wouldn't say yes or no") for what his words mean.

And why? Sure, because there's a dollar involved. But also because Daniels' notion of economic Freedom includes the freedom not to be held accountable for anything done in the name of profit.

I don't know which is more disgusting: that he does this sort of thing repeatedly, or that he repeatedly gets away with it.

[By the way, while looking shit up on the internets this morning ("research") I came across this at a quote site; someone had propped it up like it was worthy of Montaigne:
And before our current legislature adjourns, we intend to become the first state of full and true choice by saying to every low and middle-income Hoosier family, if you think a non-government school is the right one for your child, you're as entitled to that option as any wealthy family; here's a voucher, go sign up.

And I though, Wow, that's interesting; school choice is somehow the one area of public life where the underclasses have some sort of right to what the wealthy have "earned". They don't have a right to decent, affordable health care; they have no right to bargain for compensation, or (if they're government workers) to earn more annually than the median Hoosier; they have no right to sales tax--the most regressive tax they pay--relief, the way their landlords get their property taxes lowered. And, of course, they have no right to be admitted to those non-government schools ("Here's a voucher--lemme know what Exeter says, har, har, har"). They have the right to be deluded about choice if it suits Mitch Daniels and the wealthy families lined up behind him. It's Philosophy.]


Deggjr said...

Gee, when tort reform champion Robert Bork suffered bruises from a fall from the Yale Club stage, he sued for 1 million dollars. So 5 million for multiple deaths seems a tad low by tort reform standards.

Brian M said...

As bad as Cali is (and it be bad) at least we don't have Mitch Daniels as our Governor (even the Gropenfuhrer beat the Mighty Randroid-Bot)

Jaye Ramsey Sutter said...

Check and see if the people who built the stage--and their have been a rash of such incidents lately--are contributors to your governor's campaign. Or how much such traveling road shows give to Republicans to make damn sure they don't have to pay when at each stop where they build and tear down stages, Ferris wheels, etc., they have more spare parts than they did in the last town they stopped in. How much do they pay out in injuries to the public--usually the poor--each year?