Thursday, August 06, 2009

Time Out for a Public Service Announcement


The attentive reader will have noticed that the title of this column did not include the phrase, "Government Service". That's because my largely American readership does not like the word "government". I didn't want to turn people off by committing a party-foul. It's a cultural thing.

Therefore, even though the subject is 'government', I employ the euphemism of 'public'. After all, doesn't every close student of current politics appreciate how much better
"public health insurance" and "public option"
sound
as opposed to the alternate phrasing preferred by the Party of NO?

But this is almost beside the point of today's column.


The real point is that my favorite blogging acquaintance de jour, Stimpson Writes, has generously introduced to all of us a wonderfully timely and important resource, Government Is Good.

I, in turn, will do as much as I can to promulgate awareness of this site and its Unapologetic Defense of a Vital Institution.
At first glance, this site seems to me to be where I should spend my reading time while I should be working.

15 Moderated Comments:

Blogger MadMike said...

I love the government. I worked for the government for many years and they took care of me. I want the government running health. I want health care like they have in the UK and other civilized nations. Did I mention that I love the government?

8/06/2009 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Stimpson said...

One of the most annoying things the news media do is uncritically report on "Tax Freedom Day" as declared by the neo-con Fraser Institute up here in Canada and the Tax Foundation (or something like that) in the U.S. Paying taxes is not equivalent to slavery or imprisonment, contrary to what the government-hating idiots say. It's about providing money for things that we all benefit from.

8/06/2009 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Government is Good? After the last couple of years I'm missing Skip Sievert.

8/06/2009 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Stella by Starlight said...

Promises, promises...kept Vig. The 12-step program worked well.

How you doing, Beach. You know, I was thinking about Skip the other day. Great minds, etc.

8/07/2009 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger Blogging4Food said...

I gotta an idea, MadMike. Why don't you tell us how you really feel?

8/07/2009 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm very concerned about the accumulation of power, whether it be in the hands of government or the corporations. Now, obviously, we need them both. But they both also need to be monitored - a vigil, if you will.

8/07/2009 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Stellaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!

8/07/2009 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger MadMike said...

Did I mention I love the government Blogging 4:-)?

8/08/2009 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

FABULOUS website, and thanks for turning me on to it!

8/08/2009 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Petrosexual said...

This is obviously the SOCIALIST column. With Mad mike marching at its head.

8/09/2009 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

Joseph J. Ellis is the author, most recently, of "American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic." In the LA Times today he writes

..... Our two founding documents embody the tension in its classical form. The Declaration of Independence locates sovereignty in the individual citizen, who possesses the rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," as Thomas Jefferson so lyrically put it, and the power of government is described as an alien force that must be put on the permanent defensive. The Constitution enshrines "the people" as the sovereign agent, with a Bill of Rights that defines a protected region where government cannot intrude, but otherwise identifies a collective interest best managed by a federal government empowered to make decisions for the society as a whole.

All of United States political history can be understood as a perpetual debate between these two competing perspectives, symbolized at the start in the clash between Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. The Jeffersonian position, with its emphasis on a minimalist government, prevailed throughout the 19th century and imprinted itself on the DNA of American culture as a quasi-sacred political creed.

By the start of the 20th century, as the United States became a more densely populated, ethnically diverse society, with an industrial economy dominated by large corporations, the Jeffersonian perspective grew increasingly anachronistic. It became abundantly clear that government power was necessary to regulate the swoonish swings of the marketplace, provide a safety net for poor and elderly citizens and protect the environment. Thus the Federal Reserve Board, Social Security, Medicare and the Environmental Protection Agency.

But despite these projections of the Hamiltonian ethos, which presumes that there is a collective public interest that only government can serve, the Jeffersonian ethos remains a potent force, and not just in the right wing of the Republican Party. It colors the conversation about all the major domestic problems facing the Obama administration in ways that stigmatize as socialistic what we might ironically describe as the self-evident solutions.

..... For much of our history, the Jeffersonian hostility to an energetic federal government served us well. But with the end of the frontier and the shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy, the expanding role of government in protecting and assuring our "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" has become utterly essential. All the major problems now befuddling us -- the destructive excesses of finance capitalism, a profit-based healthcare system, an increasingly contaminated atmosphere -- are only soluble if we regard government as the chosen representative of our collective interests as a people and a nation.

8/09/2009 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

Nice... Vig...

Ah, can I swipe this video? I've linked it up... still, it's so precious.....
[insert hearty laughter / uncontrolled / here...]

8/10/2009 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Swipe it, Ms Barry! Its author wants it swiped. I want it swiped. It's yours for the swiping.

8/10/2009 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

In email,Stimpson Writing has linked me to this related post, which I recommend to all.

8/11/2009 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Stella by Starlight said...

What is it about the word "Socialism" that terrifies the right-wing?

8/14/2009 10:21:00 AM  

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