What's this piece of pro-liberal / anti-libertarian writing?
May 28, 2013 10:16 PM   Subscribe

I remember reading a long time ago either a blog post or a wiki-looking page linked on the Blue. It was written either to defend American liberalism, show why libertarianism was flawed, or both. The piece was about a person outlining the ways in which society and the US government's "invisible infrastructure" (my term, not theirs), supported his or her everyday life in subtle but essential ways. They included government-built roads, fire departments, and public schools, among other things. What piece is this? Bonus points for finding wherever it was linked from on MeFi. I'd also appreciate links to other seminal short works of pro-liberal and/or anti-libertarian writing. ("Invisible Knapsack" and "If Men Had Periods" come to mind.)
posted by glass origami robot to Religion & Philosophy (9 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like the Obama campaign's "Julia."

By the way, being in favor of government spending on things like roads and fire departments isn't really "anti-libertarian." Don't confuse libertarianism with anarchism. Libertarians hold that government should stick to basics, which includes spending tax dollars on infrastructure and some public services.
posted by John Cohen at 10:32 PM on May 28, 2013

No, it predates the Julia campaign piece by at least a few years. I seem to recall it from around the 2008 election -- the version I recall discussed eating food and taking medications (safety tested by the FDA), getting the weather report (dependent on information from the National Weather Service) before driving (on roads maintained by the government and paid for by taxes) to pick up the kids from public school (also paid for by taxes), etc. The punch line in this version was something about posting online (using the the internet, developed in part by the Dept. of Defense) to complain about how we need less government interfering with our lives.
posted by scody at 10:57 PM on May 28, 2013

I'm not sure. I feel like this could be any number of pieces. But the way you are describing it makes it sound like something John Scalzi might have written.

Yes? No? Memory-jogging?
posted by furiousthought at 11:05 PM on May 28, 2013

Response by poster: Might have been a Scalzi piece! It's not "Julia" though, sorry.
posted by glass origami robot at 11:17 PM on May 28, 2013

Best answer: I remember a shorter version of something like this going around Facebook, etc. a few years ago.
posted by various at 11:18 PM on May 28, 2013

Best answer: Which was posted to Metafilter in 2007.
posted by various at 11:29 PM on May 28, 2013

Best answer: There's this classic Something Awful quote:

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

I then took a shower in the clean water provided by a municipal water utility.

After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC-regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like, using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

I watched this while eating my breakfast of U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

At the appropriate time, as regulated by the U.S. Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Naval Observatory, I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal Departments of Transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank.

On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the U.S. Postal Service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and Fire Marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables, thanks to the local police department.

And then I log on to the internet -- which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration -- and post on Freerepublic.com and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM and TAXES are BAD and the government can't do anything right.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:50 AM on May 29, 2013 [22 favorites]

Best answer: http://www.metafilter.com/124122/I-chose-the-impossible-I-chose-Rapture - My FPP about the site's other attacks on libertarianism.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:02 AM on May 29, 2013

I recall it. It wasn't a thought out piece or essay, it was one of those funnies passed around - I think it may have even been published in a newspaper, possibly as an editorial? The version I remember wasn't specific to freerepublic, etc, and I recall it as sending an email. This may have been earlier than 2008, back when email forwards were a bigger thing.
posted by corb at 4:57 AM on May 29, 2013

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