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A year ending thought
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, December 31, 2006

Robert Heinlein once said:

"Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire."

Unfortunately those in favor of wanting to control people seem to be gaining ground if not winning outright. For example: Politicians in India, taking populism and appeals to the common good to the extreme have found they can gain political power by something as simple as free TVs. Theirs is just a more blatant example of what goes on in our government everyday.

Heinlein’s quote came to me again as I read an article yesterday about a town hall meeting John Edwards had in South Carolina. During the meeting he said:

"We should say finally and without equivocation it is time for universal health care in America."

Edward’s statement was met with massive applause. Heinlein’s quote again echoed this morning as I sat down with the Sunday paper and read Cynthia Tucker’s op-ed:

“It's high time, then, for government to use its powers of persuasion —- and coercion —- to confront the obesity crisis and its impact on public health.”

No, really, she wrote that ... and means it.

Now if you don’t think those two thoughts are connected, you need to read them again. In fact, the perfect melding of those two thoughts can be found in the statement of another politician:

"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good"

If ever there was statement of intent which should scare the living daylights out of any thinking person who values freedom, it is Hillary Clinton’s appeal to coercion to do ‘good’. And what she said is the same thing Cynthia Tucker is saying, as is John Edwards.

A refresher - government is coercion. Government’s power is centered in coercion. Government enjoys the monopoly on the use of force and the way it takes ‘things’ from you is by using its monopoly.

Friedrich Hayek succinctly defined freedom as “the absence of coercion”.

When you look at Tucker’s appeal and Clinton’s statement, the result is Edward’s program and it isn’t a program centered in freedom. Nor is any government run program. They are all based in coercion, as they must be.

In the end, despite all the rhetoric and promises, any government program will be based on taking “things” away from you on behalf of the government’s arbitrary definition of the “common good” for that day. And trust me, it will change. At some point in the process, if you allow them the power, you’re going to do it their way and give what they say you should give or face punishment aimed at further curtailing your liberty - other than just bowing to their demands that is.

And as the common good continually gets expanded and redefined and new “rights” are invented, the ‘things’ that will continue to incrementally be taken away from you will be your property, your choice and your liberty – until, at some point, you just don’t have any more to give. Gerry Ford, may he rest in peace, was never more right than when he said, “a government that is big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have”.

Which reminds me of another Heinlein quote:

In a mature society, 'civil servant' is semantically equal to 'civil master.'

Buying into the “common good” argument foretells that as our future. But the lure of free TVs, well, they’re pretty hard to turn down now, aren’t they? Can the “right” to free cable be far behind?

Happy New Year!
 
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Happy New Year!
Heh - not so happy after reading that stuff.

Anyone else find it ironic that Cynthia is calling for the government to get involved with obesity? I mean, she doesn’t look like she has missed many meals.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Can the "right" to free cable be far behind?
There’s already the "right" to the internet being floated...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
yeah, yeah Freedom’s Doomed...When I was a Child this was a Free Nation...been said since 1609. You live in one of the FREEST nations that exists or has EVER existed. People have been calling for restrictions on my freedom, your freedom our freedoms for centuries. All the things quoted were CALLS for actions, not the things themselves. So let’s get a grip and have a Joyous New Year...Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full, so how about for a change we celebrate the glass being more than half full rather than complaining about those who want to chance to empty it?

No disrepect meant McQ but as I get older I get grumpier too, with those who persist in the need for being grumpy. Vigilance yes, despair...no.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Shorter Joe: Hey, at least it’s not Venezuela!
 
Written By: Jinnmabe
URL: http://
Hey, at least it’s not Venezuela!
Sad but true. What moral degenerate could think that "It’s better than it’s ever been, overall!", is actually a valid criteria?

The question is whether it’s as it should be.

And judging by the constitution, it isn’t.

So, two thumbs down on Joe.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I am truely depressed.

Politicans exist to get re-elected. You get re-elected by appealing to the majority. More and more people call for more and more freebies on " the governmet’s dime". For instance, the number of people who BELIEVE they would benefit from Universial healthcare is greater than the number who are wary. Whats the figure... 20% of us pay what... 70% of the taxes? That means politicans have a vested interest in appeasing the larger chunk, the 80% who want freebies and handouts.

For all the talk of light at the end of the tunnel, or feeling optimistic about changes, has the fed. government ever actually shrunk? And each year we add new programs - Medicare Perscription drug plan for instance, an appeal to the growing majority of seniors. Social Security and Medicare, political suicide to touch them with the clout seniors carry. Every politican wants to be santa, and if you give coal or nada, you aint going back next term.

In my opinion, we are doomed.
 
Written By: GearCog
URL: http://
Hey, at least it’s not Venezuela!
Sad but true. What moral degenerate could think that "It’s better than it’s ever been, overall!", is actually a valid criteria?

The question is whether it’s as it should be.
What moral degenerate could think that "It’s better than it’s ever been, overall!", is actually a valid criteria?
So it’s moral degeneracy to point out that things are going good, OVERALL? That’s a silly point-of-view, overall. So the fact that you aren’t better-off EVERYWHERE, but are better off overall is NOT a valid and true observation? And a positive one...
The question is whether it’s as it should be.
Which seques nicely to this... so unless it’s "as it SHOULD be’ we should be unhappy? Good plan, good luck with that...I see you’re off to be as unhappy as Markos Moulitsas and Pat Buchanan. Because it will NEVER be as they should be...As David Hackworth said as he resigned, "The Army’s not what it was." To which his friend replied, "It never was."

And thanks for the degeneracy comment, because with comments like that I’m sure you will win many converts to your cause, of making things as they should be....
In my opinion, we are doomed.

And that’s good too, you nad Tom are quite the pair. We are doomed...good thing Martin Luther King didn’t have you as an advisor, or his namesake Martin Luther, or Lincoln, or anyone else that struggled. Yes sirree, you keep that attitude and you WILL be doomed.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Hey, at least it’s not Venezuela!
And THAT’s a good one, too. So let’s see for all your 1st Amendment Freedoms and all the economic opportunity you have in this country, if things are PERFECT or if there is an Assault Weapons Ban or if someone TALKS about Universal Healthcare, we’re on the path to Venezuela? If we’re not PERFECT we’re in Hugo Chavez-land?

Jim Baker gives "Realism" a bad name, Jim, Tom and Gearcog give "Utopianism" a bad name...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe- What economic opportunity?

It starts, as most problem do with the feds who take 35% of my income. then my state takes ~9%, then I have to pay a sales tax on each item I buy, lets not forget that I have to pay special excise tax on every gallon I pump, lets forget all my local income tax. Add in my FICA taxes too!

I work hard and walk away with maybe 40% of what I earn when factoring in taxes at all levels - this is not economic opportunity - its being raped and pillaged.

And I hear all the more the government can do for others - universial healthcare doesn’t piss me off because I am an elitist, it pisses me off because who the hell is going to pay for it? Democrats call me the "ultra rich" but I have a 2nd mortage - we stifle the most productive members of society, enslave them for the greater good. I don’t think we are Venezuela - I never even mentioned the word. We do have many freedoms in this country, and that is wonderful. I can live with my current tax rate - I hate every second of it but I sleep at night. When your talking about the looming crisis of Medicare/Medicad ( forget even SS) - we have one of two plans. 1. My tax rate goes up further, or 2. We reform the system. BUT WE CANT BREAK THE PROMISE is what I hear from the left. And when you can’t even keep those programs afloat your talking about adding in another massive one?


Universial Healthcare makes me cringe because there is no way we can implement it without my tax rate going up significantly.
 
Written By: GearCog
URL: http://
Joe- What economic opportunity?
You AREN’T SERIOUS right? So that whole 1990’s thing was a "Hyper-real event that actually never really happened"? So the record low unemployment, record HIGH Stock Market, Record HIGH home-ownership rates, low inflation and the fact that small buiness is the powerhouse of the US domestic economy amply demonstrates that there are NO economic opportunities left in this desolate socialist wasteland of regulation and government domination. Come on Gearcog your statement makes you sound:
1) like a loser who is trying to blame his/her failures on someone else, "I’d be rich if it weren’t for those D@MNED bureaucrats"-yeah like that stopped Millken, Jobs, Gates, and Joy, and Ellison...
2) Some cheap-@rsed crank, "I’d have the LATEST BMW if I didn’t have to fork over that cash to the government."-Yeah that whole roads, police, public education thing (the odds saying YOU benefitted from it BTW) being WAY over-rated; or
3) A Tom Perkins "It ain’t like it OUGHT to be crank."-Sure like it OUGHT to be, whatever that is...
Gearcog you make a GREAT point about Universal Healthcare, I agree it’s a bad idea, but know what, IT’S FREAK’N AMERICA, you gotta make your case that it’s a bad idea, because a lotta of people don’t see it that way. It was defeated in 1994 and led to the Republican Revolution, and it can happen again. Of course "the Doomed" viewpoint kind of takes the wind out of fighting it doesn’t it? So, how about a little more balanced and reasonable position, this is a bad idea, like slave reparations or gun control, it’s been here before and it was sent home like before...

Tom Perkins:
On further reflection I love the ARROGANCE of your statement..."Like it OUGHT to be." Really Tom and how OUGHT things be? I figure you’re a libertarian, so why don’t you tell us HOW THINGS OUGHT TO BE? So let me get this straight you’re going to tell us how things OUGHT to be?

This from a man/woman/womyn who represents an ideology that 78% to 99.7% of the US populace REJCTS? (Electorally the LP got LESS than 0.3% of the vote in 2004 and even QandO posits only 22% of the populace is "libertarian). I’ve got news for you things ARE how they ought to be.

YOU represent the outlier, so until you can convince oh a solid 25-33% of the populace of how things "ought" to be I don’t thnk you can honestly say how things ought to be. You have policy preferences, they aren’t how things OUGHT to be, they are what you BELIEVE ought to be, but sadly right now, that’s all they are, your desires and the desires of a rather small number of folks.

I speak disparagingly to you, of course, but if we can look beyond our mutual antipathy I would point out that what you posit as the way things ought to be is simply arrogance on your part. You represent a movement far smaller than the “Progressive Movement” of the Daily Kos. Until, you can convince a significant portion of the populace of the correctness of these policy preferences, you are simply are a crank, railing that things aren’t as YOU would have them. Here’s news, by that formulation things aren’t the way that Saddam Hussein wants(ed) them to be nor are they as Nancy Pelosi wants them to be. It’s a function of life that things are not as they ought to be for any of us. The question is, are they good enough for MOST of us? And the answer to THAT is “Yes.” You need to change the opinion of people to more closely align with your policy preferences, until they do YOU’LL be unhappy, but not necessarily the rest of us.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
1. I am not blaming any failures of my own on the government. To be honest Im not sure that I have any apart from not winning the spellingbee back in gradeschool. I just want to keep more of what I earn.
If I am robbed at gunpoint, would it be fair for the police to tell me that I am blaming my failures on the thief when I complain? Your logic is appalling.

2. I didn’t complain about local taxes for schools, police, roads. And hell I am not complaining about taxes per se just the rate.

3. Mob rule. I understand the majority will rule - I am just not sure that the federal government HAS the power to do what it is doing.What ever happened to the 10th Amendment? Does the government have the constitional power and right to be in the health insurance industry?

I am not a member of the libertarian party- so to argue that 99.7% of Americans reject libertarian principles is absurd.
And then you go on to just reinforce my points. You are correct- a small percentage of us pay the most in taxes- the majority is reaping the benefits of our taxes. You argue that I should change their opinion, but at the moment it breaks down like this- real simply:

If you could vote to give yourself more money would you?
Most people answer yes. They vote in their own narrow self interest, uncaring as to who is paying for their newly found goodies.

 
Written By: GearCog
URL: http://
You are correct- a small percentage of us pay the most in taxes- the majority is reaping the benefits of our taxes.

Really might want to go look at the Flood Insurance thread before you talk about who "Benefits" from your taxes. Because the top 25% does benefit quite a bit from these confiscatory tax rates... AND are you saying you don’t benefit from these taxes? So uneducated employees are what you want? Do you care to distribute your goods via passenger pigeon, not using the the GOVERNMENT roads? Or this Internet, created by the Guv’mint...

You might try the more "Nuanced" approach, that is to say, "I benefit yes, BUT the price I pay is excessive for the benefits I receive. There ARE alternatives that achieve the same effect that cost less." You AND Tom Perkins might try that approach, just a thought...Personally I think it beats, "We’re doomed" OR "moral degenerate".
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Did I say I wasn’t benefiting?
I said the majority is benefiting from government programs and noted that a minority is paying the most in taxes ... are those concepts mutually exclusive?
 
Written By: GearCog
URL: http://
So you benefit, but we’re "Doomed?" Isn’t it better to say there are policy preferences you prefer to the current ones chosen?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I should have made myself more clear. When I say we,I don’t mean the american people as a whole, rather the general tax payers who will suffer at the hands of politicans choosing to give out fabulous government programs in order to get (re)elected.

And as I stated, politics is now, and prehaps always has been,about what you give the constituents. Those who would benefit from goverment programs outnumber those who are paying. You win by appealing to the majority - hence the doom. Perhaps someday if you work hard and "make it in life" , you will then see what I mean, as your paycheck floats away on the lofty rhetoric of Obama, Hillary, Kerry, Edwards - you might understand. Why pick on Universial Healthcare you ask? Becuase it will be EXPENSIVE.

 
Written By: GearCog
URL: http://
We fought a Revolution over far less in taxes than we pay today, Joe. And if you don’t believe that, I invite you to read back over the Declaration’s reasons for rebellion and see how many of them involve economics.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
And as I stated, politics is now, and prehaps always has been,about what you give the constituents. Those who would benefit from goverment programs outnumber those who are paying.
As ever twas, Gearcog...And many of those Benefitting can afford to pay ...Archer, Daniels Midland, Ford, GM, the airline industry, WHAT? Who pushed for the Drug Benefit Plan, why the Big 3 automakers-in part- as it allowed them to END their costly plans and shift the burden from them to US, ADM, "Supermarket to the World" benefits from agricultural subsidies and from agricultural tariffs, and the Welfare State-WIC and other government aid programs utilize their products extensively, it was one of the hold-up points for Welfare Reform, the Kansas delegation realized that an end to food stamps would damage their constituents and contributors, airlines benefit from the closed nature of the DOMESTIC market-no foreign firms can fly domestic routes-PLUS the fact that they receive payments for Civilian Reserve Airforce (militarized long-haulers) and for the distribution of the US mail, all welcomed by the airline industry as "subsidies." So this MAJORITY you say is gettting the cash ain’t Bubba and Lemghello, you might look to various board rooms, and bed rooms around the nation, after all do you get to credit your home mortgage interest? In short, many of those who PAY benefit...think on it.

I don’t mean to say that taxes are too low, or that the regulatory burden is light, but I do want to disabuse you of this simplistic thought that the Top Earners are "Carrying" everyone else, when many of the Top Earners, are themselves, Welfare Queens, and LARGE ones.
We fought a Revolution over far less in taxes than we pay today, Joe.
Kind of a Lawyer Truth, isn’t it SDN? True as far as it goes.... finish the sentence, please, Taxation without REPRESENTATION. It was NOT simply High Taxes, it was the fact that Americans were taxed but not represented in Parliament that was the problem. Further, it was the Mercantile System and the East India Company that angered the American Colonists, the tariffs and restrictions on their ability to smuggle foreign and tariff free goods were also a major problem.

So whilst what you say is true, it’s also not entirely complete.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So uneducated employees are what you want? Do you care to distribute your goods via passenger pigeon, not using the the GOVERNMENT roads? Or this Internet, created by the Guv’mint...
Are you saying that without a government monopoly on public education that nobody in America would be educated? That without a government monopoly on the building of roads that there would be no roads?

I would just be sitting in my driveway with no place to use my car? But I wouldn’t even have a driveway or a car since the government doesn’t provide those either. I can’t even go back in my house because the government hasn’t built me one yet. Maybe I’ll just dig a hole and sit in it until the government gets around to doing all these things for me. But I can’t dig a hole until the government starts making shovels. I can just lay on the ground since nobody needs the government to make ground.

While I was walking to go forage for food in the woods today I was thinking: I wish the government would start making automobiles so I don’t have to walk everywhere. And on that trip I was kind of cold since the government doesn’t make clothes for me and I have to walk around naked. And I would love for the government to open some grocery stores so I don’t have to chase rabbits and eat dirt for dinner. Of course I have to eat raw rabbits and cold dirt since the government doesn’t make stoves or microwave ovens.

Of course I’m not really typing this because the government doesn’t make computers, and even after they start making computers they would then have to start making software to run it, which at government speed would take decades to develop.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
"It’s high time, then, for government to use its powers of persuasion — and coercion — to confront the obesity crisis and its impact on public health."

I am taking this as a personal threat to a lifestyle that I have cultivated for many years. I may not be #1 on her most wanted list, but I am moving up the charts(and scales). I may have to do something if I don’t have to miss a meal. Or a snack.


"In a mature society, ’civil servant’ is semantically equal to ’civil master.’"

I am becoming increasingly irritated at those political animals who refer to what they do as "Public Service". Getting rich while spending other peoples money is only "Public Service" in the sense that a bull "services" a cow.


"In my opinion, we are doomed."

True. In the long run, entropy will get us all. *sigh*. What’s the use?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Well DS, whilst you can SAY that in a libertarian world things MIGHT happen, the reality IS that the Guv’mint DOES provide these services, and if they do such a HORRID job, why is it that the "Flynn Effect" occurs-IQ INCREASING thru the decades? And the roads and the DARPANet you use all MIGHT be provided by private corp.s but they HAVE BEEN provided by government.

Again, it’s not that Little "l" libertarians don’t make good points, but they are mostly THEORETICAL points about how things COLD be or OUGHT to be...and in comparison to how things ARE they ring a little hollow.

Yes many MIGHT have an Internet, roads would be there, for SOME, education might exist for MANY...the question is, "Would that world be as good as the ’mixed’ world we currently operate in?" Most folks aren’t so sure. The question becomes more of the same or LESS of the guv’mint? Libertarians just seem to ACT as if or BELIEVE that it is OBVIOUS they’re correct, but to most of us it isn’t true.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"...but they HAVE BEEN provided by government."

Picky, picky. Why must killjoys like you always bring up reality?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Again, it’s not that Little "l" libertarians don’t make good points, but they are mostly THEORETICAL points about how things COLD be or OUGHT to be...and in comparison to how things ARE they ring a little hollow.
I can’t wait until the free market gets out of the way so that the government can provide everything I want and need, and invent everything that will transform us from apes into modern humans. Until then I guess I’ll just have to keep eating dirt and running around outdoors, naked.

But of course all of the things that free market capitalism provides through impersonal, uncoordinated, unconscious workings of the free market, not directed, designed or controlled by any omniscient group of elite thinkers, are just theoretical, they don’t actually exist.

I’m glad you cleared that up. Now I can stop typing on my imaginary computer, since the government didn’t invent it or make it, it must be theoretical and not actually exist.

A classic:

I, Pencil
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
DS,. are you just Stoopit or just being willfully BLIND? I NEVER claimed that the guv’mint gave you EVERYTHING, only that the government has given you MUCH, and until L/libertarians can ackowledge that they will be on the losing side of the debate. Because it’s not a case of Government Bad/Good and Private Enterprise Bad/Good but a case of in many cases each has plusses and minuses. REALITY isn’t as simple as you would have it and until you guys can own up to the government having and having had some role in the success that is the modern US you’re going to keep losing.

Your attitude is reminiscent of the Free Mumia Crowd, whose rhetoric is so silly that most folks dismiss them. As an example, would Private Retire accounts be preferable to Social Security as it exists yes, but is Social Security INHERENTLY bad...No. Will there be a "mixed system" of retirement for the next 20-40 years, YES. People in the there 50’s are going to continue to draw conventional SS. People younger will have to make a choice about whether to go with conventional SS or a private account, and younger workers will have to participate in an SS system much akin to a 401(k). Those not yet born MIGHT particiapate in a wholly voluntary and libertarian private retiement system...But right now that’s the way it is. The government does and will have a large role in retirment, the question is how to maneuver from here to "there."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
As much as your current pragmatic commentary on this thread has a lot of sense behind it, I have to disagree with this statement:
As an example, would Private Retire accounts be preferable to Social Security as it exists yes, but is Social Security INHERENTLY bad...No.
Sorry, SS is inherently bad. It has encouraged young and middle aged workers not to save, reduced our incomes by approximately 7%, provided us with a return on investment lower than T-bills or the bond market and is nothing but a massive ponzi scheme that was doomed to the failure it has become. It is a classic example of trading short term political gain for long term fiscal solvency. It is the same sort of thinking that leaves poor people poor and middle class folks deep in debt. Rather than using assets to generate income it uses income to pay liabilities.

Social Security is one of the worst welfare schemes this country has introduced and the beginning of a society that consumes rather than invests.
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
Sorry, SS is inherently bad. It has encouraged young and middle aged workers not to save, reduced our incomes by approximately 7%, provided us with a return on investment lower than T-bills or the bond market and is nothing but a massive ponzi scheme that was doomed to the failure it has become.
Save that it has helped many who NEVER made enough to afford retriement SOME retirement and has ensured that many who WOULDN’T have made provisions for several decades a chance at a retirement account. Nice try, though.

Ds, as you seem enamoured of the Free Entrprise System, the one that has provided you all your goodies you might make a small note of Economic History, that the US government ahs created the situation that the Private Sector has exploited. Industrialization was fostered by the GOVERNMENT decision to build the transcontinental rail road. Though companies that became the first generation of Robber Barons DECLINED the opportunity to create such a beast on their own as they saw no profit in it-indeed there may not have been. Until the Guv’mint granted the railway companies the right to sell the land on the kilometres of rail right of way there was NO interest in creating the railway...Once the Rail Companies became REAL ESTATE companies the rail road was built. The first major step in industrialization: fostered by Guv’mint. THEN, the Guv’mint passed tariffs on the import of rails, tires, axles, engines and rolling stock. NOW, US companies began to compete for the rights to supply the rail road companies. NOTE: Guv’mint protection allowed a more rapid industrialization of the US.

Then there was Carnegie. Carnegie and US Steel got protection from foreign steel imports, in turn they began to produce specialty steels, for the US Fleet. A furtherance of US industrializtion, made possible-in part- on the basis of the US guv’mint’s decision to build its Fleet in the 1880’s and 1890’s, a move driven by Imperialism.

The US Aircraft industry was sparked by the First World War, and the decision to support them via the US mail, and then the Second World War. All, decisions made by the Guv’mint.

Lastly that computer you’re so proud of... the move to computers was driven by the need to develop the Hydrogen Bomb and the need to develop ICBM’s and spacecraft. The Internet, emerged from DARPANet....

My point being, NOT that the US government has given all those goodies, but that the Free Enterprise System had a great deal of help in providing you all those goodies by the US government.

I’d recommend an examination of HISTORY, and then we can discuss the "correct" mixture of public/private investments in the US.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe, if the need was to ensure that poor, elderly folks could retire without being destitute it could have been solved without setting up Social Security. Your points are not ones that overcome the short term vs. long term arguments. Nice try, though.
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
My point being, NOT that the US government has given all those goodies, but that the Free Enterprise System had a great deal of help in providing you all those goodies by the US government.
This argument is commonly made and commonly ignores that we only know what the outcome was, not what might have been without government intrusion and intervention. We do know that US government protectionism in the late 19th century also created a lot of really bad outcomes, not just the (at least on the surface) positive development of the US steel industry.

While you are correct that the government is necessary, you are following the typical route of advocating what is seen and ignoring what is less easily seen.
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
One last thought. It is rather simplistic to argue that the H-bomb led to the current computer industry. The development of computers actually dates back to WWII, the first true computers were developed to calculate ballistic solutions for artillery. However, the computers from then until the H-bomb really did not lead to the computer industry we have today.

Micro computers and transistors were heavily developed for the space program, not the H-bomb. As that development effort was drawing to a close, no one, including the government, felt there was much value in continuing the development of smaller computers and integrated circuits, except for handheld calculators, and such. Until Intel was founded, that is. Without government assistance, it should be noted. The PC industry is pretty much the story of a group of folks bucking conventional wisdom of big industry and big government and transforming things. The same goes for the Internet, actually. It is disingenuous, and quite a bit like Gore’s Internet commentary, to claim that the Internet exists because of DARPAnet. Private computer networks already existed and would have been developed by the free market anyway.

It is true that the US government heavily funded what ultimately became the Internet. That does not mean that it was necessary for the government to fund it in order for it to develop. Nor, in fact, does it mean that the Internet is the best, or least expensive, solution to the problem. In fact, it is probably neither. It is quite likely, looking to Bastiat for a bit of logic, that the government’s investment into the Internet left us with a lesser solution.
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
Seems like a pretty pointless argument to me. Would things like the internet or Boulder Dam have been built without government intervention? Some probably would have, some probably not, some would have taken a lot longer, some would may have been better, etc. Noone has any proof of any of this, so it is a matter of opinion.

Government exists, and will exist for the foreseeable future. The IRS, or some tax collection equivalent, will exist for the foreseeable future. Like gout or arthritis or chronic halitosis, it is a permanent, if undesireable, condition that can only be managed, not eliminated.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Timactual, the point Joe is trying to make is that life is better because of the government. In some areas that is certainly true. We don’t have marauding bands of barbarians running around the countryside, for example. In other areas, it is questionable. The PC industry is a good example. In yet other areas, it is pretty clear that the government is detrimental. Social Security is a good example.

Joe would, it seems to me, spend his time wisely reading Bastiat and then returning to this conversation.
 
Written By: Adam Selene
URL: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/
In my experience in Taiwan and China, the government does not help you do business, they simply allow you to do business or not. Often times they hinder business while claiming to help it. (I know this is preaching to the choir, but I cannot resist.)

Example 1: Taiwan

Due to rising labor cost, the local manufacturers of bags are losing out to competition from China. Solution is to increase import duties. This way they can still keep the domestic market, though they will lose the export market. Better than nothing, right?

Unintended consequence: Makers of camera tripods in Taiwan still were competitive, but their product needs to be shipped including a tripod bag. Since they cannot import the bags at low cost, and local bags are too expensive, the entire production of the tripods is sent to China.

Example 2: China

China has a complex system of licenses for export. Before you can export any product, you need the license. This causes several problems:

a. Customer asks for an extra 20 empty boxes placed in their shipment for replacement use. Their supplier has to apologize and advise they cannot help them because they do not have the license to export boxes (they are registered as an electronics company and not a box company.)

b. I would like to create a play kit with chalk, marbles, and a jump rope, combining products from three suppliers into one kit. This becomes very difficult because some companies are set up only for export, and such sub-contracting is considered a "local" sale even when it will be exported. The company doing the final assembly also will need additional export licenses for the "new" products they would be shipping.




 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
One last thought. It is rather simplistic to argue that the H-bomb led to the current computer industry.
Not really as ENIAC and MANIAC were first used to crunch the numbers for the simulation of the thermo-nuclear device(s). I might recommend Dark Sun, as a source for the computing industry’s genesis.
The development of computers actually dates back to WWII, the first true computers were developed to calculate ballistic solutions for artillery.
Well there you go...NO GOVERNMENT there at all, is there? Doesn’t kind of undermine the thesis?
However, the computers from then until the H-bomb really did not lead to the computer industry we have today.

Micro computers and transistors were heavily developed for the space program, not the H-bomb.
Again, doesn’t this undermine the thesis? What was the Space Program but a giant Guv’mint Program? Or did I miss something here?

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Re that Heinlein quote: to which of the two factions Heinlein describes do you think Joe belongs?
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
It’s a coherent vision, but a pointless one, that McQ describes. Society grows only more complex, and thanks as much to market forces as anything else, efficiency continues to be considered the global gold standard. The abstract case against using government to solve social problems, based on a fear of the given power being used for coercion, will always ring hollow in a world full of governments all around more coercive and solving less problems than the vision of a social liberal. And it will always come in a dim second place to the ever-increasing need of a complex society to limit unpredictability and volatility of all kinds, including in the behavior of its participants. Basically, coercion is already part of the package, and the continuing negotiations on when and how much are always fully dependent, ultimately, on the government’s goodwill. When push comes to shove, as it has in most societies at some point, a government can have anything they want from any given individual.

So no one really believes that stopping universal health care will stop a government, or a local police department, from throwing us in jail or ruining our lives otherwise on a whim. Nor should they, cause it’s baloney. The simple monopoly on force already gives the institution relatively total power over us. In conclusion, since government owns us all at their leisure regardless, we might as well not die in a gutter if we get pneumonia while we’re broke and out of a job. A socially perceived problem has a given amount of time to solve itself, and then the logic of efficiency (a solution being perceived as more efficient than the lack thereof) will lead to government intervention.

It always has. It always will. Thus being a civil libertarian involves a permanent string of rearguard actions and defeats.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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