Rachel Maddow’s Blind Deference To Government

It’s the typical socialist mindset:

This question continues to be a puzzle until you realize that when Maddow says “America,” she means not individual Americans or society but government. And now her fallacy is clear. Frédéric Bastiat identified it in 1850. In his classic, The Law, Bastiat wrote that the “socialist” confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education… We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

I can see Maddow saying that. One need not be a state socialist, however, to commit this fallacy. It’s done all the time all along the political spectrum. But Maddow offers us a particularly good example.

It’s basically a totalitarian mindset.

17 thoughts on “Rachel Maddow’s Blind Deference To Government

  1. Gregg

    Ahhhh but the socialist is ready for that:

    Whenever I say that I want thus and such to be done, but not done by the government. Their ready reply is:

    “People are right bastards and won’t do it. They have to be made to do it. Insurance companies won’t provide low cost insurance for the lower economic classes so government will do it…

    businesses won’t pay a higher minimum wage so we’ll FORCE them to do it….

    No one will feed and house the poor so the Feds must do it. We’ll make a law to force money from you – since you refuse to feed the poor – and use it to feed the poor….”

    And so on.

    This puts the Conservative/libertarian in a complex position because much of the normal freedoms (market and otherwise) and traditional mindset that would naturally give rise to taking care of many of these issues have been destroyed by 60+ years of “…so the government will do it..”.

    Therefore, there would be a lag between an instantaneous* end to Federal food programs and the people’s mindset being changed by the kicking in of natural freedoms. the socialist pounces on that as proof they are right….

    you are a selfish bastard.

    * Naturally no one would propose an instantaneous end to such programs but the soccies assume the worst in you.

    1. Leland

      Agreed. The first Colleges and Hospitals were set up private entities. In most places, government provided police, because the dealt with law, but all other things considered government services now were provided by private institutions.

  2. Gregg

    I would also add one other attribute to politicians which the article mentions, but I prefer approaching it from a slightly different angle”

    Soccies believe that people in government are benevolent and want the best for you.

    I start out by telling a liberal, when these sorts of conversations begin, that one unalterable premise of mine is that your basic pol is not one whit more noble than a Big Businessman.

    1. Josh Reiter

      I go to Milton Friedman to explain this concept.

      If the government were to solve all our problems then it would at that moment obviate the need for government. If the government was really working so well as to solve our problems then we should be seeing the need for less and less of it.

  3. Pro Libertate

    I read The Law for the first time a few months ago. It’s a short and easy read, and I highly recommend it to anyone with classical liberal/libertarian sentiments. And it’s available for free on the web.

  4. Chris Gerrib

    Usually when she’s making that speech she’s standing in front of and referring to something like a dam or a bridge – the type of infrastructure almost always built by government.

    State-sponsored education is as American as apple pie. Funding for public education was built into the Northwest Ordinance Act, and Lincoln passed the Morrill Act in 1862 to provide Federal funding for state colleges.

    1. Gregg

      So what are you saying, Gerrib?

      Are you saying that the State MUST fund education? That it won’t get done otherwise?

      Is it not possible that having the State fund education might have some particularly bad side effects?

      Like driving up the cost of education so high that people are trapped in debt and can’t get out?

      1. Chris Gerrib

        Except what’s driving the cost of college education up is the lack of state funding. For example, my alma mater the University of Illinois is getting less than a third of their funding from the state of Illinois. A quick Google search will show you that this problem is endemic to all states.

        1. Larry J

          State funding isn’t keeping up with the growth of overstaffed administrative departments. In California, there are now more administrators in their state university system than educators. Those administrators tend to be more highly paid as well. Until colleges get their costs under control, states shouldn’t provide them more money to grow their empires. How many diversity and sustainability staff do they need?

      2. Bilwick

        “So what are you saying, Gerrib?

        Pretty much the rule of thumb is that Gerrib is always saying whatever party line supports the growth of the State.

    2. wodun

      Standing in front of a dam that could never be built today because Maddow and her friends would stop it.

      I don’t know if this line of attack is about socialism but it is the standard attack for the left where you are either for their philosophy or bigoted against [insert group here] or want [insert apocalyptic scenario here] to happen.

        1. B Lewis

          And they were all wrong. The State has as much business running a school as it has running a church.

          Actually, less. Established, taxpayer-funded state churches really are as America as apple pie.

        2. ken anthony

          Yes, they were wrong and others knew it which is why…

          Thomas Jefferson tried and failed to convince the Virginia legislature to set up a system of public schools.

          Even Jefferson could make the same mistake as Rachel and Chris.

          “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

          He got that right (we see the evidence today) but that is about having an educated public, not public education. They are clearly not the same thing. Not so clear to statist, but clear to the actually educated.

  5. Sigivald

    Well, it is Rachel Maddow.

    My fortunately limited experience with her is that she’s a blindly partisan idiot.

    The only confusion I have is that some people who I know to otherwise be not-stupid think she’s brilliant; I think this must be because she reinforces their beliefs.

    (“X says I’m totally right and The Other is wicked and stupid. X is really smart.”

    This is natural enough, but something the wise should fight against with all their ability.)

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