Sunday, September 06, 2009

Government is good? Part 1

I believe in fairness, especially if there is no danger in being fair. Since my offer to a supporter of government (a person who actually dared to say "I like government") to write a guest column on why government is so wonderful never materialized, I offer an dissenting voice today.

I found a website, named "Government is Good", and it is astonishing. I highly recommend you go read the entire article I am discussing today (as well as the other articles therein), and as you do, rationally and logically dissect the claims made. I think you will see that the entire premise is dependent upon an utter lack of understanding, or "creative defining", of "freedom" and "good". Since the author is a professor of politics at a university, I have to assume he is an intelligent person. Unfortunately, that also means I must assume he knows better. I think he is displaying an abominable level of intellectual dishonesty.

Let's look at his claims:

"Let’s start by seeing what is wrong with the assumption that there is an
inevitable trade-off between government and our individual rights and

If something always, without fail, happens, is it not "inevitable"? Point to an actual extant or historical example of a government that hasn't violated individual rights in any way. Any "trade-off" must be considered. You must include violations on those points where you happen to think the violation was necessary or good- if you are being honest.

What is "government"? It is a system of control. What is "control"? It is a loss of freedom. Some "freedoms" may not be ethical and may not be a "right", but the only reasonable way to deal with this is to let people set boundaries and enforce their own rights without fear of being further violated by government enforcement of some nonsensical "law".

Then he goes on:

"So the size and extent of government activity, by itself, tells us nothing
about how free or oppressive a society is."

Perhaps, if you don't consider that everything the government does requires money, and that governments do not earn money; they take it. Under threat of force. The bigger the government is, the more expensive. The deeper the government reaches, the more expensive it is. Are you just as free if 70% of your money is taken by government as you are if "only" 10% is taken? I think not. Is not a slave oppressed simply because he lacks the final say in running his own life? He must ask permission for the majority of his actions. Just as government, even the most "non-intrusive" government, demands.

We can see the creative mind tricks the author is passing off as "scholarly observations". Do we fall for them?

Due to the length this column has already attained, and the importance of countering such absurd claims, I have split this article into two parts. Please join me tomorrow for Part 2.


  1. The site reminds me of the Brady Bunch site, no comments allowed.

    "...the mortgage system collapse and the ensuing deep financial crisis have given most Americans a renewed appreciation of the importance of government and the vital roles it plays in our society."

    NOT! I suggest reading the CBO's (not a hotbed of conservatism or libertarianism) report on said subject:

    "...nobody is talking about privatizing Social Security anymore."

    Social Security will be running in deficit mode in a few years. The date depends on who to talk to, but it is coming.

    This place is way to creepy -- I need to take a shower now.

    I didn't see this on the site, but it's too good to pass on: Obama says "...UPS and FedEX are doing okay, but the Post Office is having problems." He accidentally (no other way to put it) spoke the truth. The government actually has (Constitutional) authority for the Post Office...but CAN'T get it right. UPS and FedEX (as we all know) are evil capitalist businesses.

  2. Forgot to mention: page 26 of the 'Housing Crisis Report' is REALLY good.

  3. Sorry, I can't leave this alone:

    Introduction (to the CBO report) -- The housing bubble that burst in 2007 and led to a financial crisis can be traced back to federal government intervention in the U.S. housing market...

    Housing is just one area where government meddles. The aim was noble enough, I suppose; help more people buy/own houses. But, some people (and we all know some of them) simply are not responsible enough to take on the kind of commitment. The banks weeded these out by refusing to loan them money; that is until the government stepped in and applied pressure.

    And, let's not forget the inevitable corruption that comes with a handful of people having access to this much money and power.