The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fuzzy Logic, Tort Reform, and the Shmekel of the Month

I remember hearing conservative funnyman (and I use the term loosely) P.J. O'Rourke boast of manipulating a federal law that subsidized landowners for keeping a portion of their land wild and, essentially, bilk the government-- that is to say fellow taxpayers-- out of a pretty substantial wad of cash. When asked how he squared that with his small government conservatism, his response was something like "I never said I was a principled conservative." Wow. What a kneeslapper. I wonder how many 'welfare queen' jokes he's made in his life. But if you're wracking your brains trying to figure out why American conservatives are able to accept that "ripping off the government is inexcusable if you're not a wealthy white male," you haven't been paying much attention for the last decade.

Tort Reform. That's the impressive-sounding name conservatives give to corporate non-accountability. It sounds reasonable at first, the idea being that irresponsible people are always filing ludicrous lawsuits to try and take advantage of sympathetic juries and poor, picked-on corporations. That's something no-one likes. But, as with the 'abolition of the unfair death tax' crusade being bankrolled by a handful of America's wealthiest families, the biggest advocates of 'tort reform' tend to be large, wealthy corporations with a history of causing people's deaths. Home Depot, for example.

But right-wing martyrs like Robert Bork are also fervently devoted to the cause, highlighting their devotion through personal example. Suing for a slip 'n fall injury, for example. But don't worry folks, Bork will be back to fighting the good fight in no time-- preventing the families of people crushed to death by falling machinery at a national chain store from seeking restitution. Just as soon as he collects his $1,000,000. That's right: a million bucks.

Congratulations, Robert Bork! Your avarice, hypocrisy, and indefatigable struggle on behalf of wealthy executives around the nation has earned you this tremendous honor!