The Government has Failed Us!


Jeff Miller writes,

Government has failed us at almost everything, and yet we keep giving it more to do.

I can respect Jeff’s love of absolutes, but it sometimes leads to absurd conclusions. In a sense, he’s right. Every human government endeavor is pockmarked by failures. If you expect perfection from humanity the government, you will be disappointed.

  • My city generally does a great job at waste pickup, but a few years back, the compost truck skipped my dead-end street. Twice! The government failed me!
  • In the United States, the courts are so widely respected that their authority is unquestioned. But frequently a judge issues a crappy ruling and you need to appeal it. The government failed!
  • To my knowledge, the post office has never lost any of the many, many letters I sent. But one time I received a strangely-shaped letter that had been crushed, along with an obnoxious note telling me how to avoid this problem in the future. The government failed me!
  • Government regulation has prevented an untold number of catastrophes—but sometimes regulators screw up or regulations aren’t tight enough to save us from our own stupidity. The government has failed to protect us from ourselves!


There are, of course, things that the government has accomplished.  The traffic lights in my neighborhood usually work, for example.  Most of the mail I’ve sent (but not all) went where it was supposed to go.  Has government regulation “prevented an untold number of catastrophes,” as Squashed claims?  I don’t have some sixth-sense vision of alternate realities like Squashed does, so I guess I have to defer to him on that one.  What then did I mean when I wrote that “Government has failed us at almost everything?”  (The almost was not superfluous, Squashed).  I meant this:

Our nation is trillions of dollars into debt.  We deal with this by printing money and taxing children we haven’t had yet.  Our states are billions of dollars in debt and defaulting on their obligations.  When our economy tanked because of an inflated housing market, our government responded to the crisis by inflating the housing market.  Public sector employees have looted the system by extracting obscene pensions, and politicians let them do this because they figured the problems wouldn’t show up until they were long out of office.  We detain and torture innocent people.  We put innocent people to death.  We spend billions of dollars on weaponry our army doesn’t even want.  Hooray, our President just signed into law a terrible government intrusion into healthcare, which he sold with huge lies.  (That’s okay though, because he’s awesome).  And, yes, our mail usually gets where it is supposed to go, even though it’s an economic failure that requires huge subsidies.

I guess if you just care about getting your trash picked up, you’d be pretty content with the way things are.  But, you see, that’s the problem.  

  1. squashed reblogged this from jeffmiller and added:
    Jeff Miller clarifies his position that the government has “failed us at almost everything” by enumerating some of...
  2. tairngir reblogged this from anitakatyzita
  3. anitakatyzita reblogged this from squashed
  4. thusspokezarathustra reblogged this from jeffmiller
  5. sds reblogged this from jeffmiller and added:
    And these are just matters of practicality. We haven’t even approached the issue of whether a majority of government...
  6. christielouwho reblogged this from jeffmiller and added:
    Not to mention the proposed gross invasion of our freedom and privacy to use the internet. I can’t agree more about the...
  7. jeffmiller reblogged this from squashed and added:
    There are, of course, things that the government has accomplished. The traffic lights in my neighborhood usually work,...
  8. spytap reblogged this from squashed and added:
    The Government created the internet - your argument is invalid.
  9. suchtango reblogged this from jeffmiller