Hi friends. It’s been a long time. Welcome to Trump’s America.
Question: Who the f*ck votes against a library? Even the f*cking robber barons of the great industrial age funded public libraries, if that’s any kind of measure of the kind of capitalists we’re dealing with now, and it is.
Andrew Carnegie was a f*ckng maniac, a brutal industrialist, presiding over this country’s most bitter labor dispute – The Homestead Steel Strike of 1892 — in which he and conspired with Henry Clay Frick to mercilessly beat down striking steelworkers. They locked the workers out and erected a high fence topped with barbed wire and sniper towers with searchlights and high-pressure water cannons. They hired the Pinkerton Detective Agency to come in and beat back the workers. Yet, even Andrew Carnegie thought libraries were important. Carnegie ultimately gave away $60 million to fund a system of 1,689 public libraries across the country between 1883 and 1929. Carnegie’s reasons for donating money to the founding of libraries were his belief that libraries added to the meritocratic nature of America, and that immigrants like himself needed to acquire cultural knowledge of America which a library would enable immigrants to do. OR: the exact reasons why the Kochs DON’T want them.
“In bestowing charity the main consideration should be to help those who help themselves” – A Carnegie. Patrons in the reading room of the Carnegie Library of Homestead, Munhall, Pa., 1900.
The Koch brothers’ were put on earth to make life as miserable as possible for everyone who isn’t rich. Their ire over the potential dethroning of hereditary power of old rich white men and turned women, and turning non white people and gays loose is unimaginable. These hideous brothers are using their billions to reshape the global economic system in such a way as to enrich themselves and their heirs at the expense of most other inhabitants of the planet. The long-lasting damage they have done to all of humanity, and particularly the poor, from everything from election rigging to bankrolling the climate change denial industry, is positively harrowing.
In their attempts at remaking America into a libertarian paradise, Charles and David Koch’s reach into virtually every aspect of political, economic and physical life on the planet is probably greater than you thought possible. It’s way worse than the paper towels you shouldn’t buy and their campaigns to elect rightwing candidates who promise to never raise taxes or regulate industry. Their front group – “Americans For Prosperity” – is busy infiltrating local politics – such as elections on public transit funding, because government should never be in the business of helping people for any reason. In 2015, they slaughtered a Nashville plan to improve transit, out of pure libertarian “principle”. In Columbus, Ohio, they fought against a funding measure for the local zoo. Naturally, now they’re going after public libraries, because if people want access to books and computers and children’s story hours and author lectures, they should damn well pay for them themselves, not leech taxpayer dollars for the “good” of the “community.” Of course, we do pay for these things ourselves, with something called “our tax dollars”.
In Illinois, AFP took their All Taxes are Bad battle to a small town ballot measure to fund the building of a new library in West Dundee. The Fox River Valley Public Library would have been an impressive, 21st-Century library serving several area communities, but AFP spent a few thousand bucks on scary flyers saying TAX INCREASE, and that was that: no library, no nice things.
AFP also pushed a bill in the Illinois state legislature to eliminate the ability of local library boards to manage their own budgets, instead placing a “budget cap” on local governments that would force libraries to eliminate any improvements in services that might result in a higher budget. It’s just another of the ways the Kochs are working to make life difficult for small town libraries – which are of course are our most colossal wastes of American taxpayer money. A big Koch Fuck You to the “Rural Americans” they snookered into voting for them. In Plainfield, Illinois, another library referendum was recently killed off, thanks to misleading robocalls from AFP claiming enormous tax increases were on the way — even though the property tax increases necessary would have been minuscule.
The Kochs hate libraries for a myriad of reasons:
1. Education and critical thinking skills are The Right’s worst enemies (Koch motto: Keep the electorate illiterate and they will vote against their own self interest).
2. People who are poor and/or homeless use the computers at libraries to find housing and/or jobs. Fuck those people, wanting to find a place to live and a way to pay the rent!
3. If an immigrant wants help learning English and passing the citizenship test, public libraries are a good place to start. The Kochs understand quite well how to reduce participation in the democracy.
4. Librarians will teach you how to research and end up with verifiable facts and data. [ you might even get some critical thinking skills by osmosis ] We’re already gearing up to figure out how to teach critical thinking once the students start pushing back on facts and reliable information. Why should they need that kind of information? The president doesn’t!
(above) The Royal Library of Alexandria in Egypt was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. Created by Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian general and the successor of Alexander the Great, it was dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC, with collections of works, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens. The library was part of a larger research institution called the Musaeum of Alexandria, where many of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world studied. The library burned down and although sources differ on who was responsible for the fire, t’s destruction has become a symbol for the loss of cultural knowledge.
Funny thing. None of this shit so far will affect me. Not the loss of the ACA, not the new Education secretary (I have no kids, thank you, Jesus), not Dr. Ben Brainstems at HUD…none of it hits me personally. I’ve got no children and a fat paycheck and I live in the liberal bastion of California. I happily pay my taxes so my friend’s children and so stranger’s children can have access to schools and health care. HAPPILY, DAMN YOU ALL, because THAT’S HOW THIS WORKS. Some of this shit may even benefit me, on paper. The extra $$$ a year I stand to put in my pocket is totally offset by the fucking over of people that are not in my position. I am totally willing to have my after-tax income go down if it was going to provide health care for all, good public schools and infrastructure improvments. Those things raise us all as a society and a country. Totally worth the cost. But the jackals making billions are so very worried about an extra 50 to 60K in taxes. Percentage wise, I am willing to give more to the common good than them. More importantly, the extra amount they would need to pay in taxes would not even be noticed in their lives. They are a group of greedy, sociopathic assholes that are so stuck on status and compairing dick size via income they can not see that the route they are taking is actually the route that has led to the most brutally bloody revolutions in history.
When will these Assholes for Philistinism see that success brings responcibility and should include compassion for those with less? I donate to charity. I work in my community. I pay attention to the guy panhandling in front of Walgreens and in the check out line at the grocery store, if I see some one culling their purchases of basic goods because they cant afford them I pay for them and give them to the person. I give blankets to the homeless people living under the bridge in my are when it’s pouring rain. It doesn’t make me feel “good”, it makes me feel normal. I want people to know someone cares and life is better.
May anyone opposing the existence of libraries be thrown in a circle of hell where they are stuck in a second rate amusement park where they are dope sick, have diarrhea cramps and sweats on a hot, humid day, feeling sticky and wet, forever looking for a nonexistent bathroom while wearing too tight and ill-fitting clothes while a swarm of deer flies are buzzing around biting all exposed bits and everyone pointing and laughing at their misery.
Cue. “Shut up, Libtard. The only books you need are Atlas Shrugged. the Bible, and The Art of the Deal”.
A group called EveryLibrary has launched a funding drive to mobilize library supporters to fight Koch-funded anti-library measures. Their goal is a modest $250,000, which can actually go a pretty long way in small-town political campaigning. Go help ’em out, because libraries are good things. If they meet their goal, it’s only a matter of time until the Koch Brothers buy all the local fire depts and have the fire depts burn all the books at the local libraries. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.