Friday, August 07, 2009

Why I find it easy to be cynical about government
How this all got started.

This all came out of a few email conversations among friends regarding the current political landscape. (You know who you are.)

As this was just a collection of links with some random comments, the formatting is a bit rough. That is the only thing for which I apologize.

Make of it what you will.

One of my friends expressed surprise at how cynical I am about government, in a discussion of the email that included this link:

Why am I cynical? All I can say is, "It is my nature." (Google the parable of "the Frog and the Scorpion" if you don't know the reference.) That and my study of history.

Actually, I love history. The stories of what we have done to one another over the millennia are more fascinating than any fiction. (The difference between fiction and reality, is that fiction has to make sense.) But those stories don't usually instill faith in the human animal.

I think it comes down to one thing: Liberals trust government, while libertarians don't.

Liberals think that when a government program isn't working it is because the right people aren't in charge.

For example - when in 2000, the existence of the Echelon electronic surveillance program came to light (Clinton was in office), the New York Times called it "a necessity."
We all know how they reacted to the Patriot Act. (I wonder, is there legislation making its way through Congress to repeal the hated Patriot Act, and I just haven't heard about it?)

Echelon spies on all US communication. The Patriot Act was supposed to be targeted at specific threats. I don't like the provisions of either all that much. (I don't like the fact that the US government has a computer virus/worm - known as Magic Lantern - that anti-virus software is forbidden to even report, let alone remove. But that's me - I like privacy.)

Libertarians, on the other hand, think that when a government program isn't working it should be eliminated.

That trust - or lack thereof - leads each group to make very different estimations about what governments should do, and what they should not.

Anyway, the 6 posts associate with this topic detail some of the reasons I don't trust government, in all its glory.

I quote Lord Acton elsewhere (about power and corruption) so I will leave you with another great thinker...

"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."
- P.J. O`Rourke

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