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People who say "government is never the answer"
By Dave Winer on Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 2:28 PM.

A picture named lincoln.jpgI'm doing a back and forth with a guy on Twitter who says "government is never the answer." He asks me to name two things the government does well. That's the kind of thing his leaders ask themselves and they never come up with anything. But wait a minute, aren't these the same people who like the military? Who say we should always support the troops? Aren't soldiers government employees? permalink

They're also tough on crime. Three strikes you're out. Lock the door, throw away the key. So how does that work without government? Does Rush Limbaugh decide who's guilty? That would make an interesting movie, but not a world I'd like to live in. I doubt if Limbaugh would like it very much. It wouldn't be long before there was some dittohead on the radio saying how he's a tool of some conspiracy or other. permalink

I named a few things I thought he'd have a hard time saying weren't pretty good. permalink

1. The Interstate Highway System. permalink

2. The moon mission. permalink

3. World War II. permalink

4. Medicare.  permalink

Who wants to grow old and worry about getting their ailments treated? permalink

None of us could afford to build all the highways we want to drive on, or might want to drive on somedays. That's why we pool our resources and all of us chip in and make it happen. When we pool our resources, in the U.S. that's called "government." permalink

Wasn't it cool when Neil Armstrong said "One small step for man.." permalink

We needed to pull together to win World War II. permalink

And of course many other things, including the government wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the Civil Rights Act, and the Gettysburg Address.  permalink

We depend on government for sewer systems, police, fire, education. Traffic lights. Garbage pickup. permalink

Ronald Reagan, the President these people quote, was, of course, also on the government payroll. Lived lavishly at taxpayer expense. He never apologized, somehow when he soaked the taxpayer, that was okay? permalink

A lot of people have accepted a lot of hooey as fact because it feels good to think they get something the rest of us don't. But wait till you get sick and find out how the health care system actually works. You don't have a whole lot of freedom when you're fighting for your life. It's confusing and you get all kinds of advice, and all of a sudden you don't feel so strong and independent. Especially when you find out you need help just to survive. And it's bad enough if you have the money to pay for the treatment, but a lot of people don't. What then? Do we just turn our back? And how isn't that one of the "death panels" that you all talk about all the time? Who actually says the word "No you have to die" in your ideal system? permalink

No matter what the system is, someone has to say that sometimes. And sometimes people are ready to hear it (my father was, for example) and sometimes they're not. It's a gut-wrenching situation, and not one to make light of, and not one to feel superior to anyone because of. Maybe you're lucky and you've never been there. But it's pretty certain you will be there some day. Or someone you love will. Then you might find yourself wishing your neighbors cared about you a bit more than you care about them.  permalink

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