This is a discussion I had with a vehement statist on Facebook. I shared it here in its entirety, adding a little commentary along the way. I was happy to have this discussion since it stayed on point, and no one was too rude. Most people, I have found, won’t engage if you disagree with them (except with insults), so this was a unique perspective to get.
Interestingly enough, the liberal engaged me on Facebook much more than the conservative who was posting pro-torture memes and articles (the conservative did not respond to my questions of whether stooping to the low of torture would make the US safer, or if using medieval means can justify the ends). It makes me think, “Am I the only one who feels like a conservative when arguing with liberals, and a liberal when arguing with conservatives?”
Anyway I commented on an article the liberal statist shared. He was angry (and rightfully so) that the FDA instituted a lifetime ban on gays donating blood. I already knew the FDA was as terrible as any other federal bureaucracy, so I thought I might take the opportunity to point that out. I’m Joe Jarvis for anyone unaware.
The sarcastic person obscured with red was not the same person (represented with blue) who continued to engage me politely for the rest of the discussion. I found it interesting that despite a sweeping negative decision by the FDA, Mr. Red would still prefer the government to institute across the board decisions, instead of allowing individuals control over their own experiences.
The philosophy seems to be that individuals are weak and powerless, too stupid or at least too oppressed (not by the government though) to educate themselves or figure our how to get quality healthcare. And that individuals are too greedy to help their fellow man (by patronizing charitable businesses) unless they are forced to by the government. (The contradiction is that the government is made up of people, so if it is the case that people are greedy, so will the government be greedy).
If we don’t give the government more power to control education and healthcare, we will end up living in Panem, controlled by an oppressive government who denies education and healthcare to the poor? Woah that made me dizzy. How is it that taking power from the government and giving it to the individual will bring us closer to the distopian fascist state depicted in The Hunger Games? Even Katniss educated herself (with the help of her father in earlier life) to hunt and provide for the family. And Katniss’s mother educates Prim on natural medicine. In the end, the education these girls obtained on their own, despite the government’s obstruction, helped to free them from the oppression of Panem.
Also, how is people “intelligently elect[ing] their leaders” working out? And does that not suggest those in power will design education so as to remain in power?
I assumed Mr. Green was talking about the original post? Notice that Mr. Blue does not defend or acknowledge the subsidies, grants, and bailouts, even though he made reference to cheap unhealthy food. He does not respond to my assertion that the government caused these problems, and thus should not be trusted to solve them. Instead he shows that he believes workers to be like slaves, bringing back the helpless individual philosophy.
And has he not noticed that public police forces are currently murdering the poor? As always, all the evils created by government are blamed on the free market. The dire predictions about an unrestrained market are already unfolding in a controlled market, with the government carrying out the worst violations.
He believes those who willingly work for a company in exchange for pay are more like slaves than a tax payer, who has some percentage of what he earns or creates taken by force. Supposedly what the government takes will be returned (education, healthcare, roads), yet it is not an agreement. I cannot choose to forgo the “benefits” of government and not pay my taxes. I can do exactly that in regards to a company’s services and products.
Somehow a government has more incentive to educate the citizens than an individual has to become educated? Again, people are not helpless, especially in a world with the internet, where it is easy to pursue your own education. And history tells us governments have an incentive to create a population of sheep (Hitler youth, Soviet propaganda, suppression in China, the lists goes on and on). Currently our government sees innovators as more of a threat to their power structure than a boon to America’s position in the world (look at the regulatory trouble Tesla is having selling their efficient cars direct to the consumer, while the bailed out company GM is having market trouble with their electric cars).
Mr. Blue stated that it is better to have an educated and healthy society, but never argues how the government will do this. As it stands, the government is failing on both accounts. So he points to the government as a means to achieve an end, yet does not explain why that end has not been achieved, nor how it will be achieved moving forward. In fact the decline in quality American education since the federal Department of Education was created would suggest the government cannot improve education, or at least has not in the modern era.
I thought perhaps I’d get a “like” as a gesture of good will on my polite departure. Perhaps he did not enjoy the discussion as much as I did.
High tech companies benefit from educated workers, and benefit from not being racist or classist (bigger pool of workers to choose from, and market pressure to not be racist assholes). Public schools disadvantage the same people he claims private schooling would disadvantage. Parents are most to credit for any well educated children in today’s society. In a freed market, companies would need to work harder to attract employees, and thus offer more: education, healthcare, charity.
All said and done, it seems the worst case scenario for getting government out of the market would be… ending up exactly where we are now. And in reality, most societal ills that currently exist, yet are blamed on a free market (which doesn’t currently exist) are caused by the government, and their unbridled force.