Sunday, January 22, 2006

Let's remember, when people complain about government regulation

The next time you hear someone complain about too much regulation, remember who's helped and who's hurt.


At 1/23/2006 10:26:00 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Amen to that... not that all trust should be put into a corrupt and crony-ridden government, but regulation by a corrupt system is a better alternative than no regulation and a corrupt system.

At 1/23/2006 10:59:00 AM, Anonymous Lenny Zimmermann said...

Kind of a blanket statement there, that really doesn't follow suit. Sure, some government regulation is needed to protect the citizens. But there is a TON of regulation out that that does little more than serve as corporate welfare to protect those huge conglomerate corporations and little to protect the average citizen or small buisinesses. Just head over to sometime for a good number of scholarly works on where regulation has gone way, way wrong.

Regulation needs to be reasonable and just and far too much government regulation these days just doesn't fit the bill.

The quite I found most notable in the linked article, however, was "It's a shame it takes tragedy to enforce laws we already have on the books." Seems to me the government already does a poor enough job protecting her ctizens with statements like that flying around. Will adding more laws to enforce welp the situation any, or will they just be more laws that get ignored, most often lost to police state tactics that suggest it is somehow acceptable to send SWAT teams into someones home so they can take down some "bad guy" who happens to have a single joint in an ashtray somewhere. Yeah, as if potheads are somehow inherently wildly dangerous folk.

Somewhere, somehow our government has gotten their priorities way out of whack, IMHO.

At 1/23/2006 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

If it's true, as you say lenny, that "somehow our government has gotten their priorities way out of whack," then we have to also remember that the government is the people. So what are the priorities of the people? Can the people even inform themselves well enough anymore to know what their priorities are? We can have any kind of government we want. Why then does it so often fail us?

These are really just rhetorical questions. I have my own answers.

BTW, I don't put too much stock in anything CATO puts out. They start with a radical ideology, and then find the data they need to defend the ideology. It's hardly the purely think-tank research organization it purports to be.

At 1/23/2006 01:46:00 PM, Anonymous Lenny Zimmermann said...

Re: CATO, you could pretty much say that about every think thank out there. Actually you could say it about science in general since you can't collect evidence to disprove a theory without that hypothesis to start with. I'd be less inclined to agree with CATO positions if there was more data o disprove thier conclusions. At least most of the folks at CATO have a grounding in economics that tend to look better than many others I've seen. I'm curious, however, what you mean by radical? If you mean libertarian is radical, then yeah I guess the principal this country was founded upon was pretty darned radical, and something we've continually gotten farther and farther away from and, I think, to our detriment. I mean the least radical form of government would be the one I think we are moving more and more towards, which is the same one 99% of human history has had, authoritarian.

As for government that we, the people, have let become what it is... in some ways that is true, but remember also that we are not a pure democracy, but rather a republic/representative democracy. There is a difference and quite a bit to be said about the disdain and disinterest most American have towards the political system, especially a 2-party system that has used that government regulation to entrench itself pretty firmly.

What are our choices? Democrats are supposed to be better about civil liberties and Republicans are supposed to be about fiscal responsibility and smaller government (which they've been failing at miserably, something I figured they always would). Both of those are laudible and doable, IMHO, yet we have little to no representation available for the ideology that accepts both of those options. Those folks that do espouse it are too often referred to as some kind of dirty "compromiser" or being in the middle because they can't make up their mind to be Left or Right, as if those where the only two political philosophies one could ascribe to.

The parties that are giving folks more choices are often relegated to positions making it very difficult for them to get their name on the ballot, or they are hounded uipon for being some kind of a spoiler agains one candidate or another. The average American gets stuck between a rock and a hard place and either votes AGAINST the "other guy", or just doesn't vote at all, from what I have seen.

Not that I think all government is wrong or bad, mind you. It's certainly a complex issue, but government regulation is not always the answer to everything, and in far too many cases it ends up being the Sword of Damocles over our heads.

Just look at tax law, is that government regulation at its finest? Does it really help the "little guy" more than the big corporations? What bout the "War on..." meme that government often embroils itself in? The War on Drugs in particular has proven to be practically a war on lower income Americans, particularly with a strong racial bias against African-Americans. Those regulations foster guys busting into, not too uncommonly wrong, homes with assault weapons held to the heads of American citizens for little more than an ounce or two of common weed. All in the name of government regulation that is supposedly all for the good of the American people. Sorry, but I just don't get it. I choose not to partake of anything, I rarely ever even drink alcohol more than once every couple of years, but it still seems like pretty wrong-headed reasoning to hurt the very people the government is supposedly trying to save. All because we somehow think the government is going to get it right? Sometimes government is the right tool for the job, but I think not most of the time.

At 1/23/2006 07:40:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...


You are as passionate in your beliefs as am I, and for that, I value your perspective. I don't so much disagree with your views as I am more entrenched in the belief that the "libertarian" ideology is something contrived by organizations like CATO to disassemble the tools of government that have been created through great struggle and suffering among the working classes to help defend their rights against the most powerful segments of society.

I find little comfort, then, in the realization that the government is so easily corrupted by rich benefactors, and that the battles won for average Americans, are so easily given up by a populace more interested in what's on television tonight than what the NSA is doing, or what's happening in New Orleans.

I think we may share a very similar system of beliefs, but we're approaching them from different perspectives, which is why I find myself nodding in agreement in the generalities, but differing in some of the specificities.

The first thing I saw on the CATO site when I just now looked at it is an article on Health Savings Accounts, which in my estimation, sound good in principle (giving people ownership of their medical care), but in practice, disadvantage those who can't afford to save -- a significant percentage of the population.

The fact of the matter is that "market competition" as a solution will never provide adequately for all Americans. It hasn't thus far, because health care markets still don't provide for the most costly patients.

The "market" is a system of laws created by society, that the government is supposed to honor and uphold, to serve the people who create those laws. Instead, I fear that what CATO is talking about is dismantling those laws to take the rights of the people out of the picture, so that the laws favor corporate entities.

How is one to square the CATO Institute's skepticism of global warming, with the money it frequently takes from ExxonMobil.

Does this mean that all they do is without merit? No. I agree with the CATO Institute's position on some issues, and most of all, I appreciate that they struggle against both the Democratic Party and Republican Party.

Bottom line? Most people are good at heart, but are too easily persuaded to compromise their good nature out of necessity or greed unless mitigated by some higher authority. The libertarian ideology, like the anarchist ideology, fails to acknowledge this simple fact.

That's just the way I see things, but I'm always tempering my beliefs by the arguments people made my people I respect, like you.

Thanks for the discussion.

At 1/24/2006 09:46:00 AM, Anonymous Lenny Zimmermann said...

I also would agree pretty much with many of the things you've stated. (And I also disagree with CATO's Global Warning position, although I do think it is scientifically important to constantly question and hammer on theories in order to either prove they have some merit or disprove them outright. Still disagreeing with one thing doesn't mean I disagree with it all.)

Th difference for me is tied up in that phrase "corporate entities". And that is because corporations themselves are a government created/acknowledged construct that allows individuals to, effectively, not be held responsible for their actions. Allowing them instead to hide behind this bogus entity of a corporation as a protective shield. That shield has created the ability to allow a lack of foresight and even greed to get the best of folks, because they know they have that protective barrier. Without acknowledgement of corporations, and accepting accountability, those companies would no longer have the government to actually hide behind.

While I agree that anarchism, like communism, doesn't acknowledge the flaws of individauls, I think that libertarianism actually does, thus reiterating the need for a governmental entity to protect the rights of the individual. I find myself particularly drawn to the pragmatic libertarianism of folks like the Louisiana LP who also acknowledge not jsut the individual, but societal freedoms and responsibilities as well.

Perhaps a better view would be to suggest looking at some of the non-fiction work of Author/Physcicist David Brin ( as he proclaims the concept as being more modernism then anything else. His book "The Transparent Society" in particular gives a very pragmatic view of the need for transparency inside and outside the government in order to better protect all of our rights. Pretty good stuff and not a dry read at all, IMHO.

At 1/24/2006 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...


You're absolutely right in your understanding of corporations.

The law ought to be changed. I think it was written that way at at time when the construct of investors pooling money to create a venture was still new and fragile. The trust and capital markets now exist in a robust enough manner to allow liability to kick in.


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