This is a post from Stellaa’s blog that I think deserves consideration:
Although this is indirectly about the healthcare debate, I want to step back and ask my friends on the right about their ideas on “government” and the Reagan cry that you hold dear: “government is the problem, not the solution”
I am confounded by a paradox in thinking by conservatives and libertarians. Let me see if I can break it down and not fall in the pit of confusion and distortion that they come seem to embrace with gusto.
This is how the conservative thinking goes:
American conservatives seem to own the symbols of patriotism. The flag, the national anthem, the militaristic rituals, statues, songs and just patriotic bravado– oh, they own the “founding fathers”.
Yet, these same people despise their government. The very government, that is the instrument the US Constitution, the mechanism by which our democracy is implemented. The thing that has kept the “democracy” alive.
They deem this “government” incapable of any competence, except of course when that government goes to war, puts people in jail or executes them. Somehow, in their minds, government does that just fine.
They seek to strip the government of all powers and privatize all activity. This sentiment, of diminishing powers is only when the other side wins. Privatizing the government services is a constant theme, public goods should be for private gain.
They cite the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, yet, they do not tell us, if we did not have a government, courts, legislators etc, who and how would that Constitution be protected and or enforced? Yet, unlike me, who only has a distaste for the second amendment, they would gladly trim the sails of all the other amendments. So, why should government define marriage? Why should government be involved in their reproductive decisions? Why should government be entrusted with god? Why should government control what we see, hear or read?
If it’s the size of government they dislike, then why do embrace corporate bureaucracies? The corporate bureaucrat does not have a public process where at least the citizen can file a complaint and get a hearing. Public bureaucracies have provisions for change of unjust rules.
So, Mr. Reagan and all his followers who blindly believe that “government is the problem”, pray tell, how do you suggest we manage this democracy, this nation? What are you offering to replace government? Why do you trust and embrace government when it comes to imposing your values and yet you distrust government in mechanical functions?
Think of a simple thing like building codes. If we stripped those powers, tell me, tell me how the free market would make sure that the materials and the builders built habitable and safe buildings?
I have worked in government and have fought with government for decades. I have little faith in the talk of change as long as we have elected officials who receive contributions and depend on being reelected.
Of course I am cynical about many aspects of how this nation is governed, but damn if I am willing to give it up to a bunch of looneys with guns, corporate boards and “that void of the conservative alternative”.
What the f*** do you guys want? How do you suggest we do this? If tomorrow we eliminated all government in the US, what would this world look like?
Yes, there is the odd anarchist who will chime in and tell me how the whimsical free thinkers of the world will all hold hands and make sure, because they are such spiritual and righteous beings. Trust they say people will just do the right thing. Yes, right, now go off and do a pantomime and wear some fairy wings and as soon as you are done, get married and become a meaner and nastier bourgeois pig than I could ever be.
I often find that for all the claims of “godliness” that the right-wing in politics and specific people on the internet / media are some of the most hostile, mean-spirited, spiteful and unhumble people one could find.
I have posed the similar questions as well, when confronted with this.
With no coghent reply, ever.
I’ve decided this is all fine and dandy. The day they all burn their Social Security Cards, State Identifications, and Passport–then swear off all government roads and all government connected service–is the day I will start taking them seriously.
As for now they are acting as nothing less than unpatriotic traitors exchanging politics for fear-mongering.