Intriguing, Yet Frightening, Comment Over at Political Fix
Below is the full text of a comment from a blog post over at the Post-Dispatch‘s Political Fix blog. It demands a response from anyone who is not content with living in servitude to the government. My comments follow each quoted portion.
I assume this piece was not original to the Post, but it may have been. I remember about 15 years ago when a state rep from south Saint Louis County wrote a similarly themed article for the Post, and then got in a lot of (political) trouble when it turned out she had just copied it from somewhere else. I remember her name, but don’t feel like printing it. She did lose her next election, if I recall correctly. (All that stuff predated the web by a few years, so no free links are available.)
Not everything he (or she) writes here is crazy or wrong, so feel free to take my lack of comment on certain areas as being along the lines of agreement in those instances:
Dear Tea Party Members:
This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly, Ameren UE, regulated by the US Department of Energy.
All true, as it goes, but are you really that dependent on the government to get you out of bed in the morning? And didn’t the alarm clock get built in the first place by the mechanics of the free market?
I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility, Missouri American Water.
This is the first flat-out error: Missouri-American is a regulated, private company, not a municipal water utility.
The water was heated by the public natural gas monopoly, Laclede Gas,
Laclede Gas is a private company.
and disposed of by the the municipal sewer utility, Metropolitian Sewer District of St. Louis.
A government entity — ask Tom Sullivan about them.
After that, I turned on the TV to one of the Federal Communication Commission regulated channels to see what the National Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
This totally ignores the role that private companies and people played in all of this, and ignores the fundamental question of whether this regulation is necessary. I can guarantee you the television needs of Americans would be met just fine without government regulation.
I watched this while eating my breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.
This is all true, and a legitimate role for various levels of government, but let’s not pretend that nobody in America was able to feed their families before the government got involved. A nation of farmers fed itself just fine.
At the appropriate time as regulated by the US Congress and kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory,
Does the author really think people could not tell time before the government got involved?
I get into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads built by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation,
The private provision of highways is very common in other countries.
possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the Environmental Protection Agency, using legal tender issued by the Federal Reserve Bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US Postal Service.
The Post Office versus FedEx and UPS? Enough said.
If I had kids, I would probably drop them off at the nearby public school funded by the state and federal Department of Education.
Many Americans choose private education for their children for a number of reasons, the failure of certain public school systems among them. Clearly, there are many excellent public school systems as well.
At lunch time, I pick up a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant that has been inspected by the local department of health which enforces state and federal guidelines for food safety and workplace safety. I then return to my cubical where I listen to the local FCC regulated radio station
As with television, I will guarantee you that, beyond distributing the channel spectrum as a common good, government involvement is not necessary for radio to operate, at all.
as I work on a computer that has been certified by the Consumer Products Safety Comission to be safe and compliant with FCC Part 15B regulations.
The computer industry has grown as it has during the past 40 years because of private markets, not government involvement.
Sometimes instead of work, I go on a business trip and use an airplane inspected by the Nation Transportation Safety Bureau to travel. But first I have to take off my shoes and anything metal as a walk through the the inspection station set up by the Transportation Safety Adminstration.
Watching grandpa get a body cavity inspection because he shares a nickname with a terrorist is not an argument for government success.
After checking the weather with the National Weather Service, the Federal Aviation Adminstration gives the all clear for the airplane taxi off the tarmac and to take off.
Then, after spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the US Department of Labor and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, I drive back to my house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes
People CAN build things on their own, you know.
and the fire marshall’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the local police department.
It’s a sad view of society that assumes we would all descend into chaos without government force — perhaps a true view, but still a sad one. I tend to think people cooperate in many more ways without government coercion than the author does.
At home, I can call up my grandparents on a cellular telephone that is FCC Part 15B complaint and designated on a frequency regulated by the National Telecomunication and Information Administration.
As with computers, the telecommunications revolution is attributable far more to private initiative than to government control and regulation.
I then log onto the Internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration, an agency of the Department of Defense which is the parent agency of the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps who are defending our country so that I can enjoy my freedom to post on Freerepublic and Fox News forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.
End of letter. Many of the points the writer makes are valid to varying degrees, but he discounts or ignores the role individuals and private actors played in many of the advancements he credits to government. What is also missing is any even remote debate over whether or not these things are the proper role of government as set by our Constitution. As it stands, the letter makes Americans sound like a nation of people who could not blow their nose (the closest to a clean scatological reference I could think of) without government involvement and approval.
Seriously, you thank the government for helping you get out of bed in the morning? That is not the type of life I want to live and not the type of country I want the United States to become.