Not to pick on Chuck, but his post over in the Militia discussion hit on something I've come across a few times lately, the extent of government in our lives.  From Chuck's post, mine in blue:

I would more say that I do not believe that taxes are a burden on my liberty, and are in fact the cost of living in a society where I don't do everything for myself.


But those are services and tasks which can be delegated to private organizations.  Again, how do you decide which is appropriate for private enterprise, and which is appropriate for government?

Some of it through historical reference, we've tried some things in the past, some of it is a case new to modern society.  There's a lot of trial and error going on.  Not all will work out the way anyone wants it.


I don't produce electricity, or procure running water, or manage my waste, or build the roads I utilize. I provide health care, but do not provide my own health care. I rely on armed men with legal authority to settle property disputes. I purchase food rather than grow or raise it.


Solar panels, wind turbines, and micro-hydro generators all do this, for individuals, and allow off the grid living.


A simple well or atmospheric condenser can provide running/drinking water.


Ever heard of a septic tank?

None of these options work in a city/high density area.  Personal power works in a suburb (and really only solar, maybe micro wind in the right area), but not wells or septics.


These are all things you *choose* to not do for yourself.  Liberty is the ability to make that choice.  My issue comes with a government that says that collecting rainwater in a bucket is an environmental crime.  My issue comes with regulations that state it is illegal to not have an electrical hookup to the grid.  Etc.

Spoken like someone who lives in a wet, rural area.  In the high mountain deserts of Colorado, water rights exist downstream as well as at the source.  It's actually worked into the State Constitution, and has been for over 100 years.  This includes rain water.  And for a very good reason.  If all 2 million people across the 300 square miles of the Denver Metro area decided to collect their rainwater and refuse run off, all the freeloading ranchers downstream wouldn't be able to illegally graze their cattle on public land.


Governmental regulations, even when they are for "our own good" are, by their very definition, removing that choice...and restricting liberty.

True, but so?  If pure socialism doesn't work in groups greater than ~100, neither does anarcho capitalism.  There is some collective responsibility to the detriment of individual liberty, it's probably a bad idea for society to allow demolition derbies in school parking lots.


I surrender a piece of my total liberty to not have to spend every hour of my day ensuring my and my children's survival, and do work other than procuring food and repairing my shelter - and I give a portion of the fruits of my labor so other people will do that shit so that I can play xbox and argue on the internet.

And, how large a piece of that liberty is surrendered is precisely the topic of this discussion.


Our founders suggested that government was necessary, but considered it a necessary evil and took great pains to severely restrict its authority and, consequently, its influence.  Your own willingness to embrace such influence, especially at the federal level, and the restrictions which they represent, are what many today view as "the problem."


A return to constitutionally limited government is "the cure."


Yes, I align with the libertarian wing of conservatism.

As I said above, some of the services we turn over to the government are truly for our own good.  We've tried private fire and police services before, to everyone's detriment, including those private services.  That shit did not work out well at all, even though some jurisdictions still have private ambulance, those also have issues.

There are major environmental issues with allowing everyone their own well and septics, even in wet areas.  When sewer systems are used, water reclamation requires a certain amount of clean runoff, which means you can't cap your yard.  In some wet locals, your neighbor is allowed to cap your yard in order to keep your runoff from destroying his land.

In a nation as large and diverse as ours, we do have collective assets, as well as collective responsibilities.  Our collective assets in water, air, forests, fisheries, hunting grounds etc; were damn near destroyed by unchecked capitalism.  Contrary to anything the environmentalists claim, those assets are better off today than at any time in the past.  And, contrary to anything libertarians claim, it's precisely due to government management of those assets.

Our collective responsibilities begin with; don't be a drain on society.  Too many individuals failed in that; so now we have Government mandated, collective retirement funds, unemployment funds, healthcare funds, death benefit funds (so your fatass body you refused to take care of through your life doesn't rot in the streets) etc.

If communism can't work because it removes the components of greed and laziness from the individual; then those components need mitigated in capitalist societies.  Especially one of 300million+.

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I'd suggest:  Try Libertarianism if it works, but I really doubt it.   Mid twentieth century FDR stuff worked-their was no "pushing out" of free enterprise.  Do what works.

If communism can't work because it removes the components of greed and laziness from the individual; then those components need mitigated in capitalist societies.  Especially one of 300million+.


In my opinion capitalism is like a person's sex drive-it has to be controlled or else havoc erupts. 

you want the government to moderate your sex drive, do ya?

No I don't want the government to moderate anybody's sex drive.  Just giving you an allegory of appetites.  Maybe unrestrained capitalism is destructive as is unrestrained sexuality?  Unrestrained anything?

This is why econ was a drag in college.  Marx or Libertarian.  Assumptions about human behavior by people who have no training in behavioral science.

Agreed. People who want to talk about the effects of numbers on society on one hand while also denigrating sociology on the other. 

A few disjointed thoughts, for what little they're worth:

America is far more "socialist" than I think a portion of the public believes. In other countries I've been to, business is much less encumbered by regulation. BUT, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

In South America, you can make money with a wheelbarrow of oranges, an orange press, ONE GLASS, a bucket of soapy water, and a bucket of rinse water. People buy a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice you press for them, then give you back the glass to wash and rinse. 

This past January, I saw a business in Cusco, Peru that provided 3D sonograms to pregnant women, told you the sex of the baby, and did a cursory health exam of said baby. Now, mind you - these weren't doctors - just a dude with a sonogram machine that would burn you a video or pics onto a DVD for like $10. 

I needn't describe the regulatory climate for those two businesses in America.

When I evaluate a municipality, I look at their roads, how they dispose of their trash, the water supply, the crime rate, and the availability of health care. 

I appreciate the role of government in all of those areas, and don't mind paying taxes for quality services. I've seen Mad-Max like towns with no zoning - birds nests of power lines atop poles, or power lines affixed to trees, often with a ladder leaning up against said tree.

I don't mind food subsidies or medical subsidies, either - even if part of the expense is the people who use the safety net for a hammock. Lots less kids with a lazy eye than in other places, or mildly retarded people who suffered brain damage from a high fever as a child.

John,  Some regulatory "climates" came about because shrewdies figured out ways to cut costs by taking huge risks with other people's health and well-being.  We got the FDA and USDA food inspections because of stuff like 19th century canned peas being treated with copper sulfate-made the peas nice and green, but not so great for the person eating them.  Medical practice regulations came from a combination of a professional union (the AMA) and a lot of quacks selling what amounted to opium cut with raw whiskey as a cure all.

This past January, I saw a business in Cusco, Peru that provided 3D sonograms to pregnant women, told you the sex of the baby, and did a cursory health exam of said baby. Now, mind you - these weren't doctors - just a dude with a sonogram machine that would burn you a video or pics onto a DVD for like $10. 

These are all over the place. You can find them even in Chicago for about $35 a pop. They don't pretend to be doing any sort of in depth diagnostic sonograms, or practicing any kind of medicine (heartbeat, all the parts - congrats it's a boy) - and for the most part, they are regulated thusly. 

Perhaps it was the typical gaudy South American advertising that took me by surprise. Plus, the place had their curious habit of kiosk businesses within business. By that I mean you'll be in a shoe repair store that also has a little counter that sells JUST avocados; or a sonogram biz where you can reload your cell phone.

Our debt really isn't extraordinary by percentage of GDP. It's ranked number one by it's sum, but so is our economy. Sorted by GDP percentage, there are many countries who's Debt:GDP exceeds our own.


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