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This may just be immature of me, but why do people believe that government is the enemy.  Seriously, it is the job of the government is to help people.  The arguments that happen in Congress right now are over the roll government plays in the lives of citizens.  Why not just end that argument right now, because the government is too involved to go back now.  Libertarians believe that no regulation is the best regulation.  I heavily disagree.  People are not good by nature, especially being raised in this society where making money is the most important thing to them, not the general welfare of the peoples they are making their product for.  For some reason though, they believe the opposite about government, which is made of people.  Hm...  If Congress could decide how it was going to regulate instead of if we are going to regulate, a lot more could get done in this country.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There is an old saying (0+ / 0-)

    About having too much of a good thing.  Government is like that and more isn't always better.

    There is a second response to your question.  One that is more specific.  You say, "the job of the government is to help people."  While this may be true, it is not what is happening in practice.  

    "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

    by blackhand on Thu May 08, 2014 at 01:36:03 PM PDT

  •  All good questions, friend. One reason you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    joined us here (I hope) is to ponder such issues and (again, I hope) to understand that not all people think so badly of "government."

    I certainly understand your frustration with the never-ending bickering, but unfortunately details are what actually allow real time governing. Fundamentally, is there actually a question over whether there should be "no" regulation--probably not. So our arguments are about degrees of regulation and therein lies the rub.

    Perhaps the "bad government" meme is simply a boogeyman for some people who don't want to think deeply about our common weal.

    Thanks for the post.

  •  No, it's a good question. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    P Carey

    Some people arrive with the preconceived notion that all men are created evil and that governments are invented to make them good, in case religious persuasion fails and they have to use force.
    That's not the premise of the Constitution, but it's what the authoritarians prefer or are taught to believe. So, government is a punitive institution and is supposed to engender fear. Sort of a secular hell on earth. Public servants actually providing a service undermines their whole scenario.

    Also, the people who believe this way tend to be rather impractical. So, the very idea of taking care and being useful scares them.

    It's not a new thing. Plato constructed his philosophy around men being weak and needing to be led by guardians. Guardianship appeals to people who want to be superior without actually doing anything useful.

    I've been thinking we ought to focus on the conflict between the middle and the guardian class. The guardians perceive themselves as elite, but what really queers it is their attitude towards their wards. Like guard dogs, they are wolves whose blood lust is slightly assuaged by the compliance of the sheep.

    by hannah on Thu May 08, 2014 at 01:40:03 PM PDT

  •  In my parents' lifetime (2+ / 0-)
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    P Carey, ItsaMathJoke

    Big Government was a godsend. It ended the Depression. It ensured reasonable wages and a good support network and infrastructure like the federal highways. And there wasn't so much money being sucked like cocaine up into the nostrils of the One Percent b/c they were being taxed like crazy to help pay for all this.

    No, government as "bad" is wholly a fiction created by the RW think tanks since Reagonomics proved that the GOP doesn't know basic arithmetic.

    English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

    by Youffraita on Thu May 08, 2014 at 01:49:07 PM PDT

  •  You probably know most of this already (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Speaking with a rather broad brush, libertarians and conservatives agree with you that people are not good by nature, and that is why they cannot be trusted with any more power than is necessary.  Government is needed primarily for defense, protection against violent crime, and the protection of private property.

    They subscribe to Adam Smith’s theory of the invisible hand, which assures them that the selfish behavior of individuals will produce the greatest amount of collective good, and that any attempt by the government to override this selfish behavior will produce less than optimal results.

    Therefore, conservative solution to every social ill is less taxes and fewer regulations, which requires smaller government.  Once government has ceased to be a drain on the economy with burdensome taxation, and has quit interfering with oppressive regulations, the unhampered free market will finally be able to produce the best of all possible worlds.

  •  The government is us. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    P Carey, ItsaMathJoke

    We tend to think of the government as something other than all of us. We, as taxpayers, pay for everything that we have the "government" provides whether it is the roads, the schools, the parks, the police, the firefighters etc. We expect to get a quality service and bang for our buck. We also need to understand that we are also buying a lot of services on credit and we need to pay back that debt. We as a  society also want to assist those in need and we, as taxpayers, provide money to other countries in the form of aid and we also provide federal money to states to parcel out to other entities including towns and cities. The states take that federal money along with the money they themselves collect to give to the disabled, the homeless, the sick and the poor.  Sometimes that money is not enough and it is up to us, the voters, to elect those representatives to act on our behalf to allocate our money in a fair and just manner.  The corporate give aways and the PILOT and the no tax deals just means that the rest of us have to either give more, do without some services  or demand that this stop and that all of us pay our fair share.  I think that when we understand that the government is us and we are the government we might make some headway in getting this country back on the right path.

  •  the word you wanted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is role, not roll.

    Aside from that, I agree with lina: the government is us.

    We the people, as a group, decided that certain services should be provided for all of us: not only the common defense (military), but, as we went along, also food safety, clean air and water, preservation and support of natural spaces, support for local industries and a social safety net, etc. We couldn't personally do that stuff ourselves, so we hired people (Congress, etc.) to do it for us. We voted for people (again, Congress) to manage that stuff for us.

    Over time, we forgot that we voted for those specific and general benefits for ourselves, and -- removed from that original impetus -- we began to resent how much those things cost. That's where Republicans are now: resenting the costs, but forgetting that we, The People, actually want those benefits.

    It's not about whether people as a whole are "good" or "bad", it's about putting our resources together to make our civic environment such that people can live out their individual trajectories, and then maybe we could consider whether individual, particular people need their "goodness" or "badness" addressed, individually.

    Basically, though, we (as democrats, or liberals, or whatever) need to emphasize that what government does is specifically what we, the People, exactly want it to do, and that those things are maybe not cost-free, but are worthwhile, and we have voted that they are worthwhile. Only when we remind people that the national defense, fire protection, help for destitute old people, etc. are things we all want can we garner support for their continued existence.

    To the end of my days, I don't know why Republicans fight so hard against these things.

    Reality has a well-known liberal bias -- Stephen Colbert

    by ItsaMathJoke on Thu May 08, 2014 at 03:42:19 PM PDT

  •  Has nothing to do with lib or conservative (0+ / 0-)

    they both figure they know better than govt when they disagree with it. Look at libs and all the problems private groups make for the Fish and Wildlife service. It's like a war on science.  Conservatives have the same issues but with taxes and bureaucracies.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu May 08, 2014 at 03:59:06 PM PDT

  •  Much of the hatred of government (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is left over from the Civil War, although there were other conflicts before that including the Whiskey Rebellion in the mountains from Pennsylvania to Georgia, and the Nullification Crisis centered on South Carolina. Whenever you hear States' Rights, think of the right to slavery or Jim Crow; whenever you hear of Constitutional Originalism or the Intent of the Founders, think about those who proclaimed that the Confederate Constitution was what the US constitution was really intended to be by the slaveowning Founders. The specific issues may be different today, but there is a direct line joining these movements today to those ancestors.

    The biggest haters are those who want to hold on to some form of privilege over others, including racists, bigots, misogynists, would-be theocrats, and the rich. It is fairly easy to pump up any one of those hatreds with all of the others. The rich in particular have made a point of recruiting the others to the Republican Party since the beginning of the Southern Strategy in the 1960s.

    Now it appears that the Tea Parties will not let the Republicans recruit anybody new to the Party, while the old hatreds are gradually fading as millions of young people fall away. No matter how much the RNC or the College Republicans may talk about recruiting women or minorities or LGBTQs or immigrants, the reality is doubling down on the hatred and oppression. At best the changes proposed are to the messaging, not the measures they pass when they get into power in a state.

    All of this is compounded with Cognitive Dissonance, as described in When Prophecy Fails, by Festinger et al. Failed predictions (such as the 2012 "unskewing" of the polls that predicted a Romney win) do not result in rational abandoning of the ideas that created them. They result in the denial and excuses that we see everywhere in Republican Cloud-Cuckoo-Land (including the decision by the lead unskewer that Romney only lost because of voter fraud).

    Republicans are now in the situation of the preachers who denounced the godless Benjamin Franklin's lightning rods, only to find that churches had become the only remaining buildings subject to lightning strikes. Those preachers never changed their doctrine, but they increasingly found themselves without churches, whether through fires or through congregations no longer being willing to hire them.

    Similarly, the fires, and tornadoes, and droughts, and the rest of the impacts of Global Warming are starting to affect farmers and businessmen in ways that they cannot tolerate for much longer, while renewable energy has become cheaper than coal and oil except in transportation, and will at some point catch up with natural gas, too. Eectric power utilities are one by one giving up on building coal-fired plants, and either bulding out wind and solar, or buying from other companies that have done so.

    Creationism may be the last to go. It is based on the idea that you can't tell good White Christians that they are descended from Black Africans just like the rest of us. But at some point it will become irrelevant to policy, particularly to education.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Thu May 08, 2014 at 04:34:49 PM PDT

  •  they hate government because it gets in their way. (1+ / 0-)
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    P Carey

    All of the answers above are correct, but they are mostly historical context and made up rationalizations for a very simple underlying cause: conservatives and their fellow travelers don't want anyone to tell them what they can and can't do - even if what they're doing is horribly destructive and harmful, steals from or enslaves others, denies others their freedoms, etc. They are the dogs in the manger of civilization.

    "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

    by quill on Thu May 08, 2014 at 06:06:39 PM PDT

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