Picture yourself in the following scenario. You’re hanging from the edge of a cliff. You’re going to fall if no-one helps you. Thankfully, there’s a robot nearby whose job it is to save lives. You tell the robot to pull you to safety, but it replies, “I haven’t been programmed with the ability to move in the way you require me to.”
You’re shocked and disgusted, “how are you going to save me then?”
The robot replies, “let me contact my programmers to see if they can install a new mobility program.”
You wait as your fingers gradually lose their grip on the rocks. It seems like an eternity has gone by when…
“I have asked my programmers if they want to install the program you requested. Half of them said they’d do it if they could remove some of my other programs first. I would lose the ability to move sideways, but they would do it. Unfortunately, the other half are vehemently opposed to me losing the ability to move sideways. They say moving sideways is what makes me so good at my job. So, I’m awfully sorry, but there was no agreement on whether to install the new mobility program.”
You’re devastated. You’re going to die. Before you slip and fall, you manage one last question: “Why is there no space on your hard drive for new programs?” To your dismay, the robot replies, “There is plenty of space for new programs, but my programmers don’t know that. None of them chose to learn Modern Robot Theory, so they incorrectly believe that other programs have to be sacrificed if new programs are to be installed. Half of them desperately want to help you. The Blue and Green Working Groups really sympathize with your situation. They don’t understand why the Red and Yellow Working Groups are so attached to me being able to move sideways. They think far too much hard drive space is already devoted to moving sideways, but their training tells them some of that space has to be freed up before you can be saved. Sorry.”
You fall to your death.
Next time you advocate raising taxes or cutting the military to afford single-payer healthcare, know that you’re perpetuating a lie, designed to create unnecessary disagreement, that prevents government from meeting public needs, and thus kills the very people you claim to want to help. The federal government does not need to get money to spend money, but the Neoliberal establishment needs you to think it does if it’s to succeed in denying you your basic human rights.