Each week we post a run-down of the best of our reader comments with the hopes of highlighting some of your most valuable insights and encouraging more people to join the fray. Let us know what you think—in the comments!
Aboutlibertarians: The other, related myth (besides private = efficient) that needs to be debunked is that all wealth production is in the private sector. This is demonstrably false. The government produces many goods and services that have value, which can also subsidize production in the private sector (via free/subsidized availability), just as private sector production subsidizes public sector investments. This error comes from the false assumption that (1) only things that have markets have value, and (2) all wealth comes from capital, which is always originally "private" to the libertarians, and therefore has to be stolen. Actually wealth also comes from the collective labor of citizens, who often create a lot of value for which they cannot really be "compensated" even in a very efficient market (e.g. veterans of our many wars). Of course, one thing that the recent years have shown is that our markets become much less efficient when they are less regulated. In an ideal system the public and private sectors can complement one another so that the most efficient markets can be maintained, and wealth-creating activities that can’t be well supported by markets still happen.
In response to Katrina vanden Heuvel’s "Challenging the Self-Made Myth." March 2, 2012
Timcsid: Now that I’m in my mid-50s, I have to confess to still liking NFL football, but not anywhere close to the way I did when I was a kid, or even 10 or 15 years ago, for that matter. The inherent hypocrisy of the whole thing, as described by Dave Zirin, turns me off, as do the militaristic pageants served up as halftime entertainment, especially when the US misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan were at their peak (that part shouldn’t be a surprise–I can recall a Nation article about the oil men who helped finance George W Bush’s political career. It read like a who’s who of Texas-based pro-sports team owners).
The players are part of the hypocrisy, too. Something like a "bounty system" wouldn’t work if they weren’t willing to maim the guy across the line from them. And the truth is, plenty of them would do it for free.
I think I agree with a sports radio talk show host who said this morning that the essence of what a lot of the players really want, based on their complaints about all the new illegal hit rules, is to continue their violent behavior now, but to be taken care of in their old age when the effects of the violent behavior becomes more apparent (I’m not suggesting they shouldn’t be taken care of. They should, but there’s a limit to how far they actually want to go in the present to avoid injuring themselves or others).
In response to Dave Zirin’s “The NFL, Bounties and the Drive to Hide the Violence.” March 5, 2012.