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Selfish, ignorant protesters illustrate LA's problems

The ignorant and idiotic definitely came out to play when special interests mustered a couple of hundred warm bodies to protest good government and the dismantling of power and privilege in Baton Rouge this weekend.

Held out as a rally against the budget-cutting tactics of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, whose measures to remove the preferred positions enjoyed by public sector unions in that state have drawn intense opposition from their beneficiaries at the public’s expense, criticism spilled over onto Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal who, like Walker, has recognized his state must live within its means by making proper priorities that gets the state of out doing the ineffective or nonessential, working more efficiently, and not privileging special interests over the people. But from the commentary that emerged from it, those who gathered in Baton Rouge sounded like morons.

Some tried to equate themselves with popular, revolutionary movements of the past such as Solidarność in totalitarian Poland from the early 1980s and of the present such as in authoritarian Tunisia of late last year. Of course, these ignoramuses are so clueless they appear not to know that the Polish protested against a communist government that suppressed economic and political freedoms (the point of the workers’ movement then through demonstrations), jailed these dissidents, and even murdered those who dared speak against the regime. But surely they are literate enough to have read about many similar differences between the prior Tunisian regime and where they live. To see modern-day Louisiana, and America, with its fair and free elections, fully functioning democratic processes, respect for human rights, and open society, as the same as these failed regimes shows one or both of incredible stupidity or psychological disorder.

Others were just hypocritical and selfish, trying to protect the gravy trains they ride coursing over the backs of taxpayers. Instead of searching for solutions to address Louisiana’s wasteful spending, overstaffed and inefficient state and local governments with its high per capita costs per employee, toleration of many failing public schools, overbuilt and misallocating higher education system, and compensation systems that reward mediocrity, these interests just greedily want to have government take more and more of the people’s resources to benefits their groups and to maintain their power and privilege.

And, they can’t even get the Walker-Jindal comparison right when they claim the latter is Louisiana’s version of the former. While both serve as conservative Republican chief executives, in his couple of months on the job Walker has proven far bolder and less technocratic than Jindal in his three years, who most of the time cautiously tinkers at trying to make state government work better and incrementally paring the unnecessary from the responsibility of the taxpayer to fund. Were Jindal more like Walker, budgetary difficulties of the upcoming fiscal year would be less severe.

Fortunately, these demonstrative Luddites have little influence over the present public policy-making process in Louisiana. But they do serve as a useful reminder of the kinds of attitudes that has gotten Louisiana into its fiscal problems and why they must never be allowed to set the public policy agenda if we want to improve this state.

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