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Losing Free Speech?

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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Hrobertgar » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:38 am

Many of the things government social intervention addresses have been around for ages, and were around 100 years ago. 100 years ago society was not falling apart, because robust charities handled many of them. Once the federeal government stepped in many people felt it was then being handled by the feds and so reduced their support for the charities as the perception was that it was no longer requried. Therefore, charities tending to be small and less capable today is partly a result of government intervention over the last 70 years.

Charities tend to be more efficient than government in helping people as well, resulting in a more efficient use of resources, while still maintaining a humane society. Its government impossing smothering overything with its inneficiency that causes a fair amount of the problem.

Yes, government does have a role, and it should provide oversight of many things, but direct involvement should be the exception rather than the rule.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Brekkie » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:40 am

Hrobertgar wrote:Many of the things government social intervention addresses have been around for ages, and were around 100 years ago. 100 years ago society was not falling apart, because robust charities handled many of them. Once the federeal government stepped in many people felt it was then being handled by the feds and so reduced their support for the charities as the perception was that it was no longer requried. Therefore, charities tending to be small and less capable today is partly a result of government intervention over the last 70 years.

Charities tend to be more efficient than government in helping people as well, resulting in a more efficient use of resources, while still maintaining a humane society. Its government impossing smothering overything with its inneficiency that causes a fair amount of the problem.

Yes, government does have a role, and it should provide oversight of many things, but direct involvement should be the exception rather than the rule.

Do you have any evidence of this, or is it just conjecture? Because all the data I can find indicates an upward-trend in charitable donations, not a downward one.

Additionally, in other countries today where there is less government social intervention, there is without exception NOT a corresponding increase in charitable activity by that population.

I think that people who would donate to charities will donate to charities regardless. Saying "charities will cover it" is a indirect way of saying "someone else should pay for it, because I don't want to."
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Hrobertgar » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:12 am

I don't have statistics for it, but it is something I have heard many times. Specifically, prior to the New Deal there were still things like insane assylums and soup kitchens, but they were privately run (through charities and such) rather than government run. Nowadays since the government has taken such things over almost no privately run institutions are available.

Philanthropy (particularly by the wealthy) was also appeared to be much more talked about in the public consciousness back then as opposed to now. There could be other causes for some trends in addition to the government getting involved, but certainly direct government involvement in social support activities is the most major event that has occurred in the last 70-100 years.

Government tends to crowd out the market and drive private functions away, even if it does not legislate that they close. No private organization can compete with Billions of largesse from the public treasury, regardless of how inefficiently it is used.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Jabari » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:18 am

Brekkie - would you mind answering answering the following few questions for me?
(The rest of you can chime in as well, of course. There were a couple of lines in Brekkie's last couple of posts that, frankly, scared me to death. I'm trying to determine how best to respond to those.)

- There is someone in front of you asking for help, and you have plenty of money. Do you have the moral right to say no?
- His need is genuine. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's not his fault. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's a very pressing need. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's a child. Do you still have the moral right to say no?

Notice that I am NOT asking what you believe you should choose. I am NOT asking you whether you should give to the needy.

I am asking you whether the choice is morally yours, all the way down the line. I am asking you whether you believe that you still have the moral right to exist after saying "No".
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Jabari » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:19 am

Hrobertgar wrote:There could be other causes for some trends in addition to the government getting involved, but certainly direct government involvement in social support activities is the most major event that has occurred in the last 70-100 years.

You touched on it, but this is important to note more directly. The "social safety net" isn't the only thing that's changed in the last 70-100 years.

Consider the following picture:
Image
19th Century American Farm

Virtually 100% of everything you see in that picture (and what is going on behind the scenes) is either illegal now, or "permitted" only if the proper paperwork and fees are sent in. Houses and barns were built without zoning permits, animals were slaughtered outside of FDA guidelines, meat and eggs were sold without inspections, children were working (they called them "chores") and living in an environment with numerous safety-code violations, and being taught their ABCs by their parents rather than properly-licensed and public-salaried professionals.

(Note: Much of the last two posts were lifted from another forum that I frequent. It's the forum for a mostly-economics blog, though the blog and forum both frequently go into political topics.)
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Brekkie » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:42 pm

Hrobertgar wrote:I don't have statistics for it, but it is something I have heard many times. Specifically, prior to the New Deal there were still things like insane assylums and soup kitchens, but they were privately run (through charities and such) rather than government run. Nowadays since the government has taken such things over almost no privately run institutions are available.


Do some research into exactly what those insane asylums were LIKE back then. They were hell holes. Often exhibiting a strong pseudo-religious justification for what was, frankly, torture and neglect. There was no oversight. No accountability. And inhumane medical experimentation on the insane was common because there was no really reliable source of funding for such places otherwise because they were simply used as a dumping ground for undesirables.

That is really what you are advocating returning to?

Government tends to crowd out the market and drive private functions away, even if it does not legislate that they close. No private organization can compete with Billions of largesse from the public treasury, regardless of how inefficiently it is used.


Since when is addressing a social ill a competition? It is not. There is plenty to go around. I have never heard of a private charity giving up and shutting down because they were "out-competed by the federal government getting involved in the problem too". The very idea is ludicrous.

Jabari wrote:Brekkie - would you mind answering answering the following few questions for me?
(The rest of you can chime in as well, of course. There were a couple of lines in Brekkie's last couple of posts that, frankly, scared me to death. I'm trying to determine how best to respond to those.)

- There is someone in front of you asking for help, and you have plenty of money. Do you have the moral right to say no?
- His need is genuine. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's not his fault. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's a very pressing need. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's a child. Do you still have the moral right to say no?

Notice that I am NOT asking what you believe you should choose. I am NOT asking you whether you should give to the needy.

I am asking you whether the choice is morally yours, all the way down the line. I am asking you whether you believe that you still have the moral right to exist after saying "No".


I see where you are going with this, and it is a trap. It's also deceptive and wrong-thinking, because it conflates Morality with Personal Rights. You ask whether refusing to help under these circumstances is "morally right", and it most certainly is not. You will then pounce and declare that it is wrong to legislate morality and that forcing someone to assist under these circumstances is a violation of their Personal Rights of self-determination. Which is absolutely true.

But that's not what you asked.

Edit: To elaborate on what I think you were actually asking, I believe that, left to their own devices, individuals in a society will not behave in a way that is rational for the group as a whole. In their own self-interest, sometimes, but not even THAT is always the case. But that part is irrelevant, because people are free to make bad choices when it comes to affecting only themselves.
But yes, I believe that, because of human nature, there is a limited amount of coercion required to force individuals to sacrifice a small amount of individual power (No, not going to call it freedom, because then you will throw a Ben Franklin quote at me, even though it has no bearing on what I am referencing at all, but rather "power", as in "the power to do something destructive towards others, even if it is in my best interest") because if EVERYONE in the society is held to that standard, everyone will be better off for it collectively than if it was merely anarchy and everyone just acted self-interestedly.
It just goes right back to the Free Rider Problem, and Tragedy of the Commons, yet again. Those two problems of illogical human nature completely destroy the idea of the Libertarian Utopia. Maybe if we were all Vulcans, and there was unlimited lebensraum, it would work, but we aren't, and there isn't.
There's a reason why extreme individualism is a characteristic of frontier societies, and why, when resources are no longer abundant and unclaimed, population density increases, and complexity of social interactions go up, such societies ALWAYS progress onward to a more structured form. It's because such rules are required for a complex society to function.

Jabari wrote:Virtually 100% of everything you see in that picture (and what is going on behind the scenes) is either illegal now, or "permitted" only if the proper paperwork and fees are sent in. Houses and barns were built without zoning permits, animals were slaughtered outside of FDA guidelines, meat and eggs were sold without inspections, children were working (they called them "chores") and living in an environment with numerous safety-code violations, and being taught their ABCs by their parents rather than properly-licensed and public-salaried professionals.


Yes, but we also live in an entirely different world than we did back then. This is no longer an agrarian society based on land-ownership and self-sufficiency. Vast tracts of untamed wilderness are no longer sitting out for the claiming by homesteaders. The human population of Earth has increased tenfold and much of that population exists at incredible density in major cities. Many people compete for limited space and resources, and coordination is necessary to ensure rational interaction on a macro scale, which is impossible when everyone is just running around building willy nilly. Food requires inspection and regulation for safety, because we no longer grow it ourselves, or buy it from our immediate neighbors who we can call in front of the mayor out on market day if they give us bad meat. The digital, scientific, technological, interconnected world we live in is far more complicated and requires years of intense study and schooling to prepare a child to be successful as an adult, which requires mandatory school attendance and preclusion from working. The math and science skills required are more complex than most parents are capable of providing accurate and complete instruction in. Businesses looking to hire and extremely competitive colleges, which accept students from not merely the local areas but from the entire world over, need consistent certifications, tests, and standards by which to evaluate and categorize applicants and allow meritocracy in our society to work. Professions require oversight and certifications because the work they do has become more technical and skilled, and it is much more difficult for the layman to be able to tell if they are getting cheated by a fraud.

There are things that must be done in order for a modern, technological, high population, limited resource society like today to even function. This requires a certain amount of conformity and personal sacrifice by individuals. That is nothing new. And that is nothing necessarily bad. It has been the case for as long as there have been cities.

Show me a single historical example of an individualistic-anarchic society that was capable of functioning at a level more sophisticated than primitive farmers or hunter-gatherers.
You can't, because there never has been one.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Brekkie » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:00 pm

Jabari wrote:Brekkie - would you mind answering answering the following few questions for me?
(The rest of you can chime in as well, of course. There were a couple of lines in Brekkie's last couple of posts that, frankly, scared me to death. I'm trying to determine how best to respond to those.)

- There is someone in front of you asking for help, and you have plenty of money. Do you have the moral right to say no?
- His need is genuine. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's not his fault. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's a very pressing need. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's a child. Do you still have the moral right to say no?

Notice that I am NOT asking what you believe you should choose. I am NOT asking you whether you should give to the needy.

I am asking you whether the choice is morally yours, all the way down the line. I am asking you whether you believe that you still have the moral right to exist after saying "No".


Let me ask you a counter question.

Do you own any form of insurance policy?
Do you have a problem with ownership of automobile insurance being mandatory for drivers?
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Fridmarr » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:53 pm

Brekkie wrote:Do some research into exactly what those insane asylums were LIKE back then. They were hell holes. Often exhibiting a strong pseudo-religious justification for what was, frankly, torture and neglect. There was no oversight. No accountability. And inhumane medical experimentation on the insane was common because there was no really reliable source of funding for such places otherwise because they were simply used as a dumping ground for undesirables.

That is really what you are advocating returning to?

That's not accurate. While they were certainly no picnic the presence of gov't funding certainly didn't help clean them up. They got better as the psychiatrists grew in their trade. Their private nature wasn't the problem.

Brekkie wrote:It just goes right back to the Free Rider Problem, and Tragedy of the Commons, yet again. Those two problems of illogical human nature completely destroy the idea of the Libertarian Utopia.
With all due respect, I can't see how that is possible. The Libertarian Utopia is a solution for the Free Rider Problem because no one gets a free ride and everyone pays specifically for the service they consume. The free rider problem is a growing problem in our own system and could be a significant factor in its downfall, but it's one thing that the Libertarian Utopia manages quite well.

Jabari wrote:- There is someone in front of you asking for help, and you have plenty of money. Do you have the moral right to say no?
- His need is genuine. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's not his fault. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's a very pressing need. Do you still have the moral right to say no?
- It's a child. Do you still have the moral right to say no?

I'll bite, no you do not have the moral right to turn your back on someone who can not help themselves. That doesn't mean you have the legal obligation to become personally involved, but those are not mutually exclusive properties.

The notion of liberty being the fundamental guiding principle isn't inherent in nature, it's a choice. The best choice ever, but still a choice. In my opinion, inherent in that choice, is the recognition of the value of life. That life is the greatest gift in the universe and only through liberty can we explore that gift and reach our potential, thus liberty's value. Life needs to be protected, and its required for gov't to try to protect life in the same light that it would protect its borders from invaders. That does not necessitate anything remotely resembling our very flawed system, but in my opinion reasonable safety nets are vital. It's a difficult position for me to articulate and I didn't do it very well(not exactly one of the strengths in life), but hopefully you understand my opinion on the matter.

Like I said, I don't think I am a solid fit for what many people would consider a libertarian.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Jabari » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:20 pm

Only have a couple minutes at the moment, will try to expand over the weekend...

Brekkie wrote:I see where you are going with this, and it is a trap. It's also deceptive and wrong-thinking, because it conflates Morality with Personal Rights.

Hmm, it wasn't intended to be a trap, and the wording could have been better. I don't meet "morally" in the Judeo-Christian sense - just whether you have the right to "turn your back" without punishment from the government.

Show me a single historical example of an individualistic-anarchic society that was capable of functioning at a level more sophisticated than primitive farmers or hunter-gatherers.
You can't, because there never has been one.

Here's an interesting paper, long but worth a read: http://mises.org/journals/jls/3_1/3_1_2.pdf

(Cliff's notes: The "American Wild West" is a fairly-good example of this - the varying groups self-regulated pretty well, with a couple of exceptions which are noted in the paper. The laws and standards varied a bit from place to place, as would be expected in a system like this. I was also very safe, certainly much more than today - regardless of what Hollywood thinks.)

Brekkie wrote:Let me ask you a counter question.

Do you own any form of insurance policy?
Do you have a problem with ownership of automobile insurance being mandatory for drivers?


Yes to both.
I own home, car, and health insurance.
As to the second, I can see a strong argument in having issues with having a Driver's License being mandatory, much less insurance. (Under the umbrella of "if you need a permit, it's now a government-granted privilege instead of a natural right.) I don't necessarily agree with that argument, but I can understand it.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Fivelives » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:07 pm

Jabari wrote:I was also very safe, certainly much more than today - regardless of what Hollywood thinks.


If you don't count:
- The cowhands that came through and wrecked the town, raped the women, and shot anyone that disagreed with them - cowboys have by and large been pretty romanticized over the years.
- Corrupt town officials/sheriffs basically doing the same
- Blood feuds between families
- Death by random animal mishap
- Death by sickness, due to piss-poor medical care
- Death by medical care itself
- Death by outlaws
- Death by getting run down by horsemen who weren't paying attention to where they were going a-horseback
- Death by poison (inadvertent or purposeful)
- Death by overwork (heat stroke)
- Death by Indian
- Death by ... well, you get the gist. The Wild West was definitely far more dangerous to people than modern day society is. Even if you discount all of the "natural" causes, there was still a good bit more violent crime per capita than in today's society.

I don't have car insurance. I refuse to pay into a program that's designed to charge me money for other people's piss-poor driving habits, and I honestly don't believe that any level of government should have the right to force that on us. Instead, I have a $25,000 bond to cover any accidents that are my fault; that IS an option, at least in the state I live in.

I have home insurance (stupid not to, really) and health insurance through work that I don't have to pay a dime for.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Fetzie » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:00 am

I don't have car insurance. I refuse to pay into a program that's designed to charge me money for other people's piss-poor driving habits, and I honestly don't believe that any level of government should have the right to force that on us. Instead, I have a $25,000 bond to cover any accidents that are my fault; that IS an option, at least in the state I live in.


What happens if you cause an accident that is more than 25000 (not exactly hard to break this figure)?
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Brekkie » Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:52 am

The major propositions are:
I) Anarchocapitalism is not chaos. Property rights will be protected and civil
order will prevail.
2) Private agencies will provide the necessary functions for preservation of an
orderly society.
3) Private protection agencies will soon discover that "warfare" is a costly way of
resolving disputes and lower-cost methods of settlement (arbitration, courts, etc.)
will result.
4) The concept of "Justice" is not an immutable one that only needs to be discovered.
Preferences do vary across individuals as to the rules they prefer to live under and the
price they are willing to pay for such rules. Therefore, significant differences in rules
might exist in various societies under anarcho-capitalism.
5) There are not significant enough economies of scale in crime so that major
"mafia" organizations evolve and dominate society.
6) Competition among protective agencies and adjudication bodies will serve as
healthy checks on undesirable behavior. Consumers have better information than
under government and will use it in judging these agencies.


^ From the paper you linked.

The problem I have with this concept is that, every time one of these factors fluctuates in the process of settling into an equilibrium as you propose (assuming you are even right that an equilibrium would occur at all, which I have serious doubts of), people will die. They will die randomly, they will die for no reason, and there will be no recourse. And even when equilibrium is reached, there will still be outliers where some asshole inevitably arises and starts the whole thing over again. There is no check on the strong.

Fuck. That.

Pardon my french, but I find the entire concept of PEOPLE'S LIVES being an acceptable price to pay for the process of some grand utopian experiment just because you don't like having to pay income tax and get a drivers license in order to operate an automobile to be utterly repugnant.

I've seen countries where there is no monopoly on force. It is NOT pretty.

And when you get into a situation where people start to believe that a few deaths here and there are an acceptable thing in the process of building and implementing some grand social ideology, no good has EVER come of it.

Do you have any conception of the vast forces that are constantly on watch and in motion to protect you from random, pointless death in America? Call that excessive government if you want. Claim that, in it's absence, private enterprise would take up the long, unprofitable, thankless watch to prevent you from being shot in the street by massive gang cartels or keeling over blue in the face because there was lead in your drinking water or paying your life savings to someone claiming to be a Doctor to perform life-saving surgery on you only to turn out to be a fraud, if you want. Or go to Central America or Africa and see how effective real anarchy, capitalist or otherwise, really is.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Fivelives » Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:16 am

Pyrea wrote:
I don't have car insurance. I refuse to pay into a program that's designed to charge me money for other people's piss-poor driving habits, and I honestly don't believe that any level of government should have the right to force that on us. Instead, I have a $25,000 bond to cover any accidents that are my fault; that IS an option, at least in the state I live in.


What happens if you cause an accident that is more than 25000 (not exactly hard to break this figure)?


I do mine as a bond. Like a bail bondsman, there are other types of bond sales - self insurance is one of the more popular. I live in Arizona, for instance, where the minimum amount (cash or bond) for self-insurance is $40k. I paid $25k of that into a bond account, and the bondsman agrees to pay up to $40k on my behalf, then I pay my bondsman the difference. I could have only put the minimum 10% down on the bond, but I figure that I'd rather not assume a $36k debt in a case where I have to use the full amount of the bond.

I could also have gone to the MVD and just handed over $40k directly to them, too. The amount varies by state, you can get the exact figures for your state here: http://www.carinsurancequote.net/guides.html (then all you have to do is find a bond seller that's licensed in your state, and go to town).

The concept of insurance as a whole kind of disgusts me, frankly. I don't like that I'm paying money to a company solely because of other people's poor habits - whether it's for driving, or not taking care of themselves physically. After all, why SHOULD I have to pay for someone else's shitty decisions? Health insurance is sort of a necessary evil, but at least it's my choice whether to take it or not. However, having the state force me into carrying a car insurance policy is unacceptable - mostly because I'm an excellent driver and have never caused an accident in my life.
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Dantriges » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:50 am

Another question.

Do you really think the government is keen on providing services like insane asylums, other social security features and whatever else that are expensice and only benefit a minority that probably doesn´t even vote or whose relatives are a rather tiny minority, if private charities were providing an adequate alternative?

Population grew larger in general. Society more complex. As brekkie said, parents can´t provide adequate schooling compared to specialists. Actually both parents often work. They want to or even need to in many cases to make ends meet.
Poor houses in the 19th century were more or less slave camps and the inhabitants treated like subhuman beings.
Religion is growing smaller in the western hemisphere. Churches or the Church in the midle ages provided a lot of charity. Do you want your preacher to wield even more influence or the pope?
Society demanded from the government to do something about these issues not out of the blue. Also these safety nets are there for a reason. You can be involved in an accident(let´s say the offender disappeared), your money gets drained away fast, your backups are insufficient, you can be a beggar on the street quite fast and it never was your fault. Or a disease that makes you unable to work.

Driver´s licenses are there so that the idioty you complain about have at least a bit of experience. Actually, probably some people on the street you encountered thought of you as an idiot, when your ability to concentrate dropped a bit or you made a tiny mistake.

Companies changed, too. You had a guy who owned the factory and interacted with his workers on a (semi)regular basis. Or at least he was close enough so that his workers could hang him or loot his place when the situation turned into civil unrest. Even then many of them were actual slave drivers so people organised in unions so the boss couldn´t just fire unhappy workers and get some new ones. There were some funny pratices in companies like paying the workers in product, demanding them to spend their money in company owned stores, besides just lowering the wages when a new waves of people, desperately looking for work, came into the city.
Today you have CEO´s of multinational companies with a workforce in the thousands or even more. They have a lot less empathy for their averge worker who is only a number on the sheet. I dont say that every manager is a "heartless bastard". It´s the same for everyone else, too. You are a lot more sympathetic to your neighbour who hit hard tmes than random homeless on the street. And in general you care about the guy in front of you, asking for some money more than the starving child in Africa. Our society today is a lot bigger and anonymous than the society of 19th century america frontier towns or medieval villages where societies were a lot more closer to each other because you actually needed your neighbour a lot more.

Charity was big in the middle ages. Richer people actually gave a lot. Still it was a hellhole compared to today´s standards.
Our ancestors weren´t idiots with loose pockets. If they actually demanded from their government to step in and do something about these issues they probably had a good reason.

Society changed, you can go back and try a libertarian low gov society but it won´t be pretty. It will be nicer for societies/cities/states with some natural advantages but there will be quite a big part of the country who will suffer. And I don´t trust private companies responsible to their shareholders and obligated to keep up their rating on the stock exchange one bit to pick up the slack. I read an article recently that most companies reduced or eliminated their R&D department recently because it doesn´t turn in predictable benefit and there is only 10% to 20% chance that you will actually hit something that returns big bucks.
Do you want to trust them to do basic research in areas where you can´t predict it will go somewhere profitable?
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Re: Losing Free Speech?

Postby Fridmarr » Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:47 pm

Dantriges wrote:Another question.

Do you really think the government is keen on providing services like insane asylums, other social security features and whatever else that are expensice and only benefit a minority that probably doesn´t even vote or whose relatives are a rather tiny minority, if private charities were providing an adequate alternative?
Absolutely! I don't think, I know, I've seen it first hand many times in several different states. It goes back to what I was talking about earlier, as these agencies expand their base, they are able to get more tax dollars. There may have been a draw down in certain categories now that states are not able to balance their budget (though that's a choice above the individual program), but once the economy picks up, they'll be right back at it. They absolutely get angry when either private or public services encroach on their ability to gain or hold clients. Now that said, private groups don't very often provide services that duplicate gov't offerings (but it does happen), usually in those situations the private organization will educate the client about the availability of the government based service. While that's good within our current system, it's the opposite of how the system should work.

The voting aspect of it is pretty funny, the amount of data requests from congressman about the people on these services within their districts is pretty surprising, and it's all about making campaign choices.

A lot of talk about how things used to be here I see as terribly invalid analogies, both ways really. It's very hard to attempt to correlate a lot of these things to a different system in a different time.
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