The “government is only good when it does what I want it to do” theory. Good self-governance requires a willingness to compromise – give the other guy some of what he wants, the other guy gives me some of what I want. The willingness to accept that “the public good” is as meaningful as “personal good.”
If you believe maximizing profit delivers the greatest good, then you you have to consider the purposes to which those profits are then applied. All too often, it results in inefficiently-used surpluses. Profligate waste on the part of those who have more than they can possibly use, resources siloed in ways that produce nearly nothing, the asset inflation that comes from too much money chasing too few good ideas…. Instead of owning the resources (tax revenue) outright, government is forced to borrow from those who possess the surplus. That is profitable for those who hold the profits, unprofitable for the rest of society.
One problem I see with the anti-government drumbeat is that it paints all of governance with the same, negative brush. You can’t expect nuance from an absolutist ideology. There are too few ultra-conservatives who believe the environment is worthy of even financial incentive. They rightfully point to the added cost of those incentives, and decry it as another form of government waste. The environment is a long-term investment with a slow payback, and too few investors invest for the long term.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s ultra-left or ultra-right. If we leave all decision making to the private interests that control capital, they will do what is best for their own self-interest. If we leave all decision making to public interests, private interests may be trampled for “the greater good.” Government of the people, by the people, and for the people requires the cooperation of all the people.
Wow. You sure tried to read-between-the-lines and totally missed the mark.
It’s not about what I want (or don’t want). It’s about the continuous expansion of government into the lives of people who are, or should be, fully capable of governing themselves.
I’m also not anti-government. At all.
For a concrete example of my personal perspective on the environment, let’s look at agriculture. For most of mankind’s existence, farming was controlled by factors including (1) location, (2) need, and (3) responsible land usage. That meant farmers would focus on growing crops appropriate for that location, were in need by either the farmer or the larger community, and said farmer would rotate crops to take good care of the land. Now? Location certainly plays a roll, but crops are primarily determined by a number of factors including market forecasts plus what the government is willing to subsidize, and chemicals are used to force growth rather than leveraging crop rotation as a means to good land management.
Question for you: does the government help in this case? What if there were no subsidies? What if, instead, government at all levels stayed out of the farming decisions and left crop decisions to the farmers. Being interested in their own financial well-being, they could then choose between low-yield/high-profit versus high-yield/low-profit… or anything in between. Over time things would balance out to a true supply and demand market.
Sure… it’s a simplified scenario, but should be indicative of the underlying issue as I see it. Also, I fully acknowledge that corporations play their own part in the tug-of-war to control our purchases.
Sometimes government is the solution. Sometimes government is the problem. Many times it simply doesn’t make a difference (except for costing $). The hard part is knowing which road to take and when to turn around. Too often our elected ‘representatives’ don’t actually represent ‘we the people’.