So I read the other day that when Trump (partially) shutdown the government, he effectively shut down the national parks. The rangers and others who would have otherwise staffed the parks…taking tickets, clearing roads, maintaining bathrooms, providing police services, etc. …were shut out. Thus the parks were left to themselves.
But people kept right on coming to the parks. Many visitors, doubtless, were well-behaved and did their best to care for the lands which are our common heritage.
The news reports I’ve seen indicate that some of the visitors behaved in a totally reprehensible fashion. They’ve turned the roads into outdoor toilets…urinating and defecating where-ever they liked. Others have taken advantage of the lack of rangers to bring illegal motor vehicles onto park lands and go tearing through the forests, cutting up delicate ecosystems, scattering wildlife, and probably scaring the hell out of their fellow human guests. In short, people have been acting like pigs.
Of course, anyone sane would expect that…that is, anyone who knows just a little about human nature, and how people act when they’re suddenly given license to do what they like, regardless of the consequences.
Anyone, that is, except for libertarians.
According to the libertarian mythos, the natural bent of human beings is toward the good. Given freedom, once you “get government off their backs,” then they magically just behave properly…because it is in everyone’s best interests to do so.
Except…well…centuries of experimental evidence has proved that isn’t the case. Most often, unfortunately, given anything like a total relaxation of the rules, people just get mean. And, after a quick bloodbath or two, you end up with yet another system of rules and regulations, though this time one created by whoever was sufficiently muscular, well-armed, and ruthless to win out in the last period of anarchy.
Thus the irony. By shutting down the government, Trump and his conservatives have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that government does, in fact, work, and is, in fact, needed.
But, of course, the Trumpian Libertarian will never admit that.
It would be like blasphemy.
Or cursing the holy name of Ayn Rand.