On Self-Reliance

Originally posted on Twitter and Dreamwidth in 2018.

This started as a Twitter thread I wrote, in response to someone who opposed helping asylum seekers because we should all be self-reliant. They claimed to BE self-reliant.

Just the stuff I had to read in school as a kid proves them wrong. I've read Walden, folks. I've read My Side of the Mountain and Island of the Blue Dolphins. I know what having to manage every single aspect of your own survival looks like (Thoreau, for the record, did not actually do this), and I'm pretty sure a good 99% of the country couldn't actually do that.

Here's the Twitter thread as it originally appeared:

Tell me more about how YOU maintain the road to your house, keep food companies from adding rat poison or sawdust to your food, deliver all your own mail, police your own hometown... Last I checked, the government did that. Because that’s what governments are FOR.

Other things the government does: Teach everyone’s kids so there are educated people in your town; regulate traffic so that you don’t die in an accident; keep violent criminals in jail while they reform, so they don’t hurt innocent people; assigns value to money; Filters your drinking water; bans companies from dumping toxic waste INTO that water; has legal standards that ensure EVERY DEVICE YOU SEE OR USE is safe and not a death trap; requires your boss to keep your job site safe and clean; requires your boss to pay you for your work; Prevents 10-year-olds from working dangerous factory jobs for pennies a day; requires fire exits; provides electricity. None of us is 100% self-reliant. We ALL depend on society for our standard of living. Law and government are the “grease” that keep society running smoothly.