[OT] Are we a democracy or a republic?

Shane Hathaway shane at hathawaymix.org
Sat Sep 3 00:36:22 MDT 2005

Michael Torrie wrote:
> I received a wonderful e-mail from a friend of mine that went something 
> like this:  We can drink water from our facets and know that we are safe 
> to do so because some liberal wacko lobbied the government for stricter 
> standards.  Our cars are safe because liberal wackos lobbied the 
> government for minimal safety standards like seatbelts and airbags.  Our 
> houses aren't in danger of collapse because liberal wackos defined 
> strict building codes.  And on and on.  Is this not socialist?  Could 
> such things happen without socialist intervention?  Sure.  But at what 
> price?

Hmm, those are all examples of legislation and law enforcement, not 
examples of socialism.  The law is clearly the sole domain of the 
government.  To identify whether socialism is involved, you have to look 
at the role the government plays in an event: if the government is 
actively providing goods or services, there is an element of socialism; 
but if the government is only regulating an exchange between citizens, 
the government is applying Constitutional principles.  Whether it is 
performing the best regulation is a separate question.

If socialism bothers you like it bothers me, you should be wary of the 
services provided by the government that are not related to law.  While 
I am happy that the government enforces water quality standards, it 
bothers me slightly that I pay the city government for my water.  While 
I am happy that laws prevent teachers from hurting my kids at school, it 
bothers me that I pay the government to pay the teachers.  While I'm 
happy that laws raise the probability that my doctor will serve me well 
and not overcharge me, I'm unhappy that people are suggesting we should 
pay the government to pay the doctors.


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