Saturday, December 11, 2021

If you ever need something to read

I wish I had time to read everything Cory Doctorow writes, 'cause it's pretty much always good stuff. For example:

When you hear "one size fits all," think "universal"

The demonization of "one size fits all" didn't find its way into the neoliberal Devil's Dictionary by accident. As Lawrence Glickman writes for the Boston Review, it was tied to a deliberate, late-1970s effort to kill the New Deal's ethic of universal services:

Take Ed Clark, the Koch-backed Libertarian presidential candidate in 1980 (his running mate was David Koch). Clark used "one size fits all" to attack on the idea of universal, public education, calling the system an "educational straitjacket."

By the 1990s, "one size fits all" was the go-to way to criticize any universal program, including (and especially) programs that protected the civil rights of minorities. In 1990, James J Kilpatrick used the phrase to damn "motor voter" laws that automatically combine voter registration with drivers' licenses. The trick worked so well that he used it again to attack a family and medical leave bill.

I've noticed this on social media when discussing health care that's free at the point of use under some kind of single-payer (or similar) system. "Haha, one size fits all!" they crow, as if, you know, *free* wasn't literally one size fits all. Look, we're not talking about fitting your 38DDs into a training bra. Never being sent a bill for your cancer treatment really is something that fits all sizes.