Socialism and Sociability

Ever since Obama made his speech about how “you didn’t build that” because even if you build a business from nothing, you have roads, we have a curious madness on the left.  Every time you say anything about socialism or mention that government is too big, you get someone yelling at you that if you want freedom you don’t need roads.

There was a meme a friend of mine put on a facebook group some months ago (and which I didn’t steal because I’m stupid) which perfectly showed this.  There was this pissed off guy rolling up what was clearly a bad layer of asphalt on a road and the caption was “Libertarianism?  Well, you won’t be needed this.”

Yesterday I came across this when I shared on Facebook my PJMedia post about the corrupting nature of socialist governments (most of Europe) and a guy commented that hey, a little socialism was good, it was a lot that was bad, and then used the quote about government being a good servant but a bad master, but applied it to SOCIALISM.  He actually gave as an example of things that the government allowed us to have ROADS.

Seriously, I’m starting to think this is some form of psychosis, like Obama spoke and replaced the contents of these people’s heads with an obsession about ROADS being a thing of socialism.

Of course there were roads long before socialism.  There were roads under every possible form of government, because humans have to get around.  Roman roads, under both the republic and the empire were a thing we still envy, built for the ages.  And they were certainly not socialist.  (Not that any of us would want to live under their system of government, either, but that’ doesn’t matter because every system of government had roads.)

The road thing is particularly puzzling since I know that colonists in the Americas put up roads and that my parents, under the (then) National Socialist regime paid to have their road paved.  (They and their neighbors, of course.)

He also refered to the government monopoly over roads, which made me scratch my head, because as far as I know there is no such thing.  As a proof, there are tons of private roads.  More importantly, in condo-like developments, with the entire neighborhood being managed, the roads are often owned by the association/people who manage the condos, not by any government.

A saner example of things “we need government for” would be schools and even then he would be crazy.  Though the government has arrogated for itself (by means of accreditation authority) the right to tell you what your kids must learn and how it must be documented, there are enough homeschoolers doing fine despite that.  And there are private schools.  And my husband’s ancestors, in the 1600s in CT took up money to build a school house and hire a school master.  (Not a light undertaking for fishermen and farmers living hand to mouth.)

Beyond the obsession with roads, it seems like everyone under thirty thinks that any form of government is socialism.  This is so staggeringly stupid it makes my head hurt.

The genius above, then came back to enlighten us that to him “I think” socialism was power to the government and crony capitalism was power to the corporations.  Those were the only forms of government and we needed a bigger state to keep the corporations in check.


Crony capitalism often affects socialist governments, because the government controls so much it can give exemptions and benefits to large corporations.  It is a creature of large government as much as socialism.

Corporations use government to destroy up-and-coming competitors, and governments use corporations because it’s easier to control the assets without owning them.

And there is a cure.  The antidote is a government that is small, relatively powerless, and kept in check by its citizens.

Something, say, like our founders intended when they wrote the constitution.

Perhaps our young should learn about it, and why it was needed, instead of you know, getting their ideas about government from their profound and painful ignorance of history (“I think”) and the speeches of a fourth generation red diaper baby.

Nah, I know, that’s just crazy talk.


289 thoughts on “Socialism and Sociability

  1. Well, bread and circuses could be understood as a form of socialism, but then socialism includes provision for the Romans’ habit of plundering to fund such. It’d be nice to see that made an explicit feature of socialism in the public awareness.

    1. I would argue that any and all examples of photo-socialism are merely examples of how socialism isn’t anything new. It’s just another in a never-ending sequence of excuses for the State controlling the masses. Such excuses were horse-puckey when it was the Catholic Church using its moral authority to prop up Kings and Aristocracies, and it’s still horse-puckey when it’s pseudo-intellectuals using THEIR (supposed) moral authority to prop up politicians and bureaucrats.

      Socialism isn’t an economic theory. Maybe it was, once, but repeated abysmal failures on an economic front make it clear that its economic component is bushwa. Socialism is an excuse. And you LAWAYS want to keep an close eye on what it’s excusing….because in far too many cases it has ended up excusing slavery and mass murder.

        1. You misspelled LAYAWAYS, too. OOPS; sorry : ALWAYS. (Dang flying figners running all over each other.)

  2. Roads, learned about the county system for Upper Canada in school A property owner was responsible for clearing and maintaining roads that bordered their property. This was done as a form of tax to own the property. So all those original county roads were NOT built by government. Nowadays they are maintained by the government.
    Think about that. A lot of roads were made and built by farmers, tradesmen, and people needing to get places.
    Only time government really got involved was when they needed to move stuff fast from point A to Point B.

    1. In Pennsylvania the Lancaster Pike (now Rte 30) joining Lancaster to Philadelphia was originally privately built:

      “In 1731 the citizens of the new city and county of Lancaster petitioned for a road as they did ‘not have the conveniencey of any navigable water to bring the produce of the laborers to Philadelphia.’ Thus their town required ‘suitable roads for carriages to pass.’ Two years later, the colony approved funding for what, when finished in 1741,became known as the Great Conestoga Road. It enabled the large Conestoga wagons, invented in Pennsylvania, to convey immigrants and their belongings west, and farmers, lumbermen, and iron makers to bring their products east.

      “With the French and Indian War and the American Revolution occupying Pennsylvanians for much of the next forty years, the Conestoga Road fell into disrepair. In 1786, residents of Lancaster petitioned the state legislature for an improved road to the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia. This petition coincided with the return of the Republicans to power in the state: their leaders, Robert Morris, Thomas Willing, James Wilson, and William Bingham were committed to the state’s economic development.

      “The Assembly, still coping with post-war economic hardship and distracted by the latter stages of the ‘internal revolution’ between factions over the radical constitution of 1776, was in no position to address the request. But in 1791, after the conservatives had triumphed and adopted a new constitution, support for the project increased. Governor Thomas Mifflin recommended the idea to the new bicameral legislature, which decided that the cost of a graded gravel road was beyond the means of the state. But it did suggest that if a private company could be chartered and incorporated, and allowed to charge tolls, road construction could be funded in part by tolls collected after its completion.

      “The legislature passed a bill for this purpose in 1792. That June, the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Company’s commissioners opened a subscription for stock shares. The stock soon proved so popular that one observer coined the prophetic phrase ‘Turnpike Rage’ to describe the frantic demand for shares. ‘Everything is now turned into Speculation,’ he said. ‘The quiet Quakers, who attended for the purpose of joining in the Subscription, and encouraging the road, finding such an uproar, withdrew.’ There were similar disorders at Lancaster, and in the end, shares had to be allocated by lottery to would-be subscribers.

      “… William Bingham, a prominent Philadelphia merchant who became a major land speculator after the Revolution, was elected president of the turnpike company. Despite other interests – he was a United States Senator and business partner of Robert Morris and Bank of the United States president Thomas Willing – he carefully supervised the construction of the project. Work on the road began early in 1793 and the highway was opened – if still partially incomplete – by late 1794. It cost $465,000 to connect Philadelphia with Lancaster, sixty-five miles to the west.

      “Shortly thereafter, the Lancaster and Susquehanna Company built another turnpike connecting Lancaster with the Susquehanna at Columbia. This proved especially useful after 1797, when the Conewago Canal Company built a short canal on the Susquehanna that circumvented the rapids and rocks at Conewago. By permitting relatively easy access from the Susquehanna to Philadelphia the new transportation system won commerce from central Pennsylvania that would otherwise have gone down the Susquehanna River to Baltimore.

      “During the early years of its existence, the state frequently amended the turnpike’s charter to increase its profits, provide for the most convenient route, address the concerns of residents along its proposed route, and permit the company to fine toll evaders. The company erected scales at toll gates to ‘ascertain… the burden’ of wagons, cattle, and carriages. The company was also authorized to ‘enter upon lands,’ or in other words to exercise a kind of eminent domain to lay out and operate the road. Despite the nine tolls along its route, the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike cut farmers’ transportation costs by two-thirds, and increased the speed and volume of commerce in southeastern Pennsylvania.”

      1. From the North Carolina History Projectarticle Plank Roads by Dr. Troy L. Kickler:

        To bring wealth and awake their state from its supposed economic slumber in the antebellum era, North Carolinians advocated the use of plank roads in the late 1840s. These wooded highways were purported to be an improvement over rough, dirt roads and a necessary step to create an intrastate (an eventually interstate) trade network of plank roads, railroad hubs, and seaports. Such an effort was considered much needed, as one historians puts its, because plank roads could free “citizens from the bondage of primitive roads.”

        During the late 1840s, entrepreneurs started receiving government charters to build plank roads, and by the mid-1850s, enthusiasm for such projects reached its statewide zenith; there were thirty-nine bills for plank road charters in 1852, and in the 1854-55 legislative session, thirty-two charters were granted.

        Due to various causes, including the development of the rail roads, a war and people’s reluctance to pay tolls, the system eventually broke down.

          1. There are times where NC can be mighty wet, and while we have the sand hills, we also have areas of clay soil. For all their faults corduroy roads are better than trying to haul over wet clay.

  3. I own a road. It’s a private concern, running through my land way out in the sticks. It’s mostly dirt (that gets graded every now and then) and gravel. People who are not me also use my road. It goes from here to there and people who are in one place and want to get to the other, they use it.

    The only interaction government has over my road is to tax me (the land it sits on, that is what is taxed).

    Socialism is no servant. Unless it is to those individuals who remain in power (Ah! They all think it will be them. The poor, deluded fools they are). And even then a poor servant it is who only makes is master about the same, if not poorer, while those beneath him starve.

    1. It’s more or less the same for us. We have 5 households on a private road, (currently 3-4 occupied), with the governmental formalities limited to an easement for the road. The county did a culvert and paved that section, and did some signage. Beyond that, we’re on our own.

      I snowplow the 1/8th mile to our front gate, and the guy a 1/4 mile beyond handles his section. If things get really clogged, we might go and hire a Guy With a Grader, but that’s about it. There are several long private roads in the area, but it’s usually a group of people pooling money for the GWaG, or people will plow what they need. The odd culvert or ditch gets handled somehow. Works well enough. (I did hear of one situation where the person who had the full-time job lived at the end of the road, and the schmucks on the road figured she could pay for all the grading. Didn’t last long.)

  4. In that speech, Obama was either a stupid fool, or a malicious liar. The correct answer, for roads, is YES, you did build that. The only net contributors to the government budget are private sector workers — government workers are net consumers, not contributors. So it follows that the money that paid for the roads, and all other “government” works, came from people working in the private economy and only from there.
    In other words, the correct response to “you didn’t build that” is “yes, I did, I paid the taxes that support you and anyone else in government, without me you would be penniless.”

    1. IIRC, the whole “You didn’t built that!” nonsense was something that he appropriated from Elizabeth Warren.

      Incidentally, bringing up your taxes would be pointless. That was more or less his point – i.e. that *everyone* paid taxes that were then used to build the road. So everyone built the road. And the business that depended on that road.

      1. You missed my point. I was talking about NET taxes. Government employees are net consumers of taxes; private sector workers are net payers of taxes. So no, it is NOT the case that “everyone” built the road; only private sector workers did.

        1. Oddly, GDP is calculated including government expenditure, as if taking a dollar out of one pocket and transferring it to another constituted economically productive activity. Thus, increasing economic drag by taxing producers to fund consumers increases GDP. By that logic, paying a guy to dig holes and another guy to fill them in, and a third to supervise them while taxing a fourth guy to pay for all that represents economic growth.

          1. For an example– this would also mean that the guys who are building the road would not “count” anymore, because they’re working for the government, consuming taxes.

            Now I’m trying to figure out if selling food to the folks working for the gov’t counts against taxes paid in this theory…..


    I doubt it. It’s getting to the point I am suspecting leaving the kids to fend for themselves would provided a less damaging learning experience. And I expect nothing less than utter babarity from doing such a thing, so…

    1. The schools are graduating barbarians as it is. So what difference would it do to just let them fend for themselves? At least they would have a chance of actually learning something useful.

      1. These aren’t even really good barbarians. They’re some sort of weird angry limp wristed version. Barbarians cry when they get a limb chopped off. Not because someone used language at them. (Note, not even harsh language. Just language).

        Of course I might be thinking of the DnD version. . .

        1. I would pay ACTUAL MONEY to see a TV show where SJW college students have an up-close, personal encounter with the worshipers of Krum. [EVIL GRIN]

          1. I’d pay to see a show where the SJW wimps with their degrees in zzz studies have to make it without mommy and daddy’s money. Once they learn everything isn’t shiny happy loveliness, they ‘graduate’ and are replaced.

            Academia, activist, and barista are forbidden as jobs.

            The show shall be called Reality Check.

        2. Instant refugees is what we’re creating. Anybody see a snowflake carrying elderly black people out of the Harvey floods?

              1. *Nods sagely* Maybe disperse the the help wanted section? Though I’m not sure even their parents want them let alone any company actually needing work from their employees.
                Crap, more government workers coming up.

      2. Lord of the Flies comes to mind. The original, not the girly one I hear they’re coming out with.

          1. Which is why that film will never get made. If realistic it won’t be “Correct” and if “Correct” it won’t be believable.

            Not that Hollywood actresses ever engage in gossip, back-stabbing, rumour-mongering, cattiness or other such activities.

  6. We stopped teaching civics in public school a while back. No surprise that people are now soft on what government actually means.

      1. At this point the rot has spread so much that modern public schools can’t be saved. Needs to be defunded, a notable percentage of those involved probably ought to be prosecuted if not outright lynched, and regulations intended to hobble indie educators discarded.

        But it wasn’t always that way. Wasn’t necessarily _good_, things were clearly going downhill when I was in high school in the late 90s, but public education used to educate.

    1. That reminds me. Have to get some of their coffee beans one of these days to try them out. Wonder if the girlfriend would be willing to try them out as well? 🙂

      1. Since the subject of coffee came up I want to plug my favorite coffee shop. Hill of Beans in Omaha NE! They do a great mail order business. If you like dark roasts try the Serengeti blend. I probably drink about 30 lbs of that stuff a year.
        If for some crazy reason you feel the need to go to Omaha they usually roast onsite at the Oakview location.

        1. OK, I’ll be contrary. Just tried McD’s Pumpkin Spice Latte today, and it was all right. I’ve become quite the heathen with respect to caffeine delivery vehicles over the years. Haven’t ground any beans since Bush 43 got elected… OTOH, I wouldn’t pass up a bit of Jamaica Blue Mountain… I’d even dig out a grinder.

        1. To be honest, I haven’t had the opportunity to try any of their products yet. I just like their attitude and really hope they live up to expectations.

          1. I’ve got 6 lbs sitting the fridge so it’ll be a little while before I need anymore coffee. If I remember I’ll try and grab a couple pounds from them next time I’m ordering coffee and check it out.

        2. The Sniper’s Hide but the Silencer Smooth is like slightly dark water. Haven’t tried the other two yet.

        1. Nah, “black rifle” refers to those scary ARs that are often finished in matte black, not to black powder.

          1. You can get them in multiple colors now. Are they only scary when they are black or are they just as scary when they are pink or tan?

              1. Was that standard issue for the Queen Beret?
                (For those that remember that little poem that was going around right after Clinton got elected).

              1. At least one of them was mad by Mike Williamson for his daughters’ use. It looked like just too much fun.

  7. Roads are a perfect example to illustrate the madness of the Left.

    1. There is no Federal agency which builds roads. The building and management of our roads are handled by the states. Since these people have chosen to place so much philosophical importance on roads, they’re clearly bigger fans of Federalism than they know.

    2. Many, if not most road construction projects are carried out by private contractors, if not in totality, then at least partially. The state simply acts as the funding agent. If these people think that the private sector can’t or won’t fund road projects, then they’re historically and financially illiterate.

    3. In the rare cases where a state performs all aspects of road maintenance and construction, stand agog and marvel at the speed and fiscal efficiency of a major road project. [I may have sprained something while writing that.]

    Road construction and management highlights nearly all the problems inherent with government. Lefties would be wise (stop laughing) to abandon their fetish with roads.

    1. Boston? Didn’t the Big Dig take over a decade? I lived there for part of that freaking mess. *shudders* Never again!

      1. I don’t know exactly how long it took, but I’m pretty sure that by the time they finished, the whole thing was obsolete.

        1. 1992-2006, and just after it opened, it had to be closed because the ceiling panels (concrete slabs) were already falling. Into traffic, crushing cars and people. Since then it’s proven to be as well-built as you’d expect from a giant source of nepotism, corruption, political slush-fund, kickbacks, bribes, and anything but competence or infrastructure.

    2. marvel at the speed and fiscal efficiency of a major road project
      When I was a wee lad (around 4yo or so), they began a road improvement/widening project on the portion of highway 360 (N-S between Dallas and Fort Worth) that runs through Arlington. When I went away to college, they were still working on it. When I finished college, they had finally (mostly) finished it.
      Yep, at least 17 years it went on. And there was no digging holes in the ground or anything. Seventeen years.

      1. Most of the Interstate Highway System was completed within ten years. The straggly bits weren’t finished for another twenty-odd more, though.

        The ARDOT’s permanent construction of I-40 between Little Rock and Memphis is an example of why things take so long. They hire a contractor. The contractor comes, rips up the road, bypasses traffic, and then they move the equipment somewhere else. It doesn’t come back for months. Then they work a few days, then the equipment all vanishes again. *Weeks* will go by where you can drive the whole 150-mile stretch and see not one single person working on the road. So a two-month project takes two years.

        This is all apparently okey-dokey with ARDOT and provided for in the contract, otherwise delays would bankrupt the contractors. The problem here isn’t the contractors, it’s the ARDOT.

        1. Driving I-80 between Omaha and Lincoln still has reduced speed limits from that construction and it’s been gone for 3 years or so. I think they leave it in place as another form of revenue for the state and as an excuse to pull over drivers with CO plates.
          (At least it did last time I drove it, been a while since I don’t live there anymore).

          1. Then there the “wonderful” construction zone in NoDak.. the speed limit changes a few time at each entrance and exit of a construction zone. That tripped my paranoia. When I got to where I was going I asked, “Am I right to be suspicious of that and figure there’s a radar and camera somewhere in all that?” “Yes.” What I generally did not see was any actual road work.

            1. I wonder how long it would take before the radar and camera are located and, one dark night, tipped over so they’re pointing at the sky / the ground. No damage, nothing that could cause charges of destruction of public property, just a simple statement that We the People find this installation to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

          2. I did a trip from Oregon to [mumble] in the Midwest in ’05 and found that a chunk of I-80 was torn up near Sydney. In 2014, I repeated the trip, and I’d swear that the same sections were torn up again. With the 55 mph crosswinds that day, it was much more interesting driving than I expected. Or wanted. (Curiously, a Subaru Forester ain’t that bad in crosswinds.)

            1. I wouldn’t be surprised at all! I drive that stretch of 80 about 3 times a year. It’s actually gotten a little better this year. There doesn’t seem to be quite as much construction.

        2. Some particularly-delayed bits: New Mexico’s towns along old Route 66 stalled chunks of I-40 construction for decades. I-70 through Glenwood Canyon in Colorado wasn’t finished until the 90’s. They still haven’t technically completed I-95; there’s officially a gap between the Philadelphia area and central New Jersey that will be resolved by construction of the I-95/Penn Tpk interchange.

        3. I’ve been assured by people from NM that Purgatory (the religion version, not the ski resort) is the I-29 road-repair in Trinidad, CO, and when you die, if you’ve been naughty but not truly evil, you are sentenced to work there for a few hundred years. Although not Catholic, I can’t find much to dispute in that theory, based on personal observation.

    3. There’s a local (read: California) contractor who is known for his blazing fast roadwork—as in, he gets things done in about half the projected time for major projects. (Good building, too, not cutting corners.)

      The fact that he rakes in massive “early completion” bonuses has nothing to do with it, of course.

    4. Cheap. Fast. Good. Pick any two… Roadways in San Francisco bay area were rebuilt after the last big earthquake in record time. Contractors got bonuses for finishing fast. Red tape for the contractors disappeared. It’s really amazing how much faster fast can be if you eliminate red tape.

      1. It’s really amazing how much faster fast can be if you eliminate red tape.

        Have you seen the reporting on California’s AG’s effort to block Trump’s Wall by demanding an environmental impact study? An environmental impact study which requires five years to complete?

        Not to mention all of the nuisance suits which invested groups can bring, as demonstrated by the defeat of the Pier 55 Park project in NY City.

        1. Then it might be a worthwhile to go full on. NO money to California until after the EPS is completed for it. California’s dime – if they can find one.

          1. California might not need opposition to the wall for that to happen. The state legislative bodies have apparently decided to declare the entire state a “Sanctuary State”, and prohibit local law enforcement from providing *any* information to the Feds regarding the immigration status of individuals.

            1. and then the federal law enforcement funds for the entire state get cut off… that’s ok, the state assembly will jjust go back to their gated enclaves and not worry about it..

            2. And the simple fact that they haven’t ALL been marched out by the US Marshals for obstructing Federal law is a powerful argument for that civil war I see coming. Border control is one of the few areas the Feds should be in control.

          2. That’s what Dirk Kempthorne did (or so I am told) as governor of Idaho when he wanted US 95 upgraded from hazardous to drivable – held the legislature’s bills hostage by vetoing every one that came across his desk until the Legislature coughed up the money.

            Now the only parts that haven’t been improved are the ones through the Couer d’Alene Reservation. Even those are in progress now, at a pace of about 5 miles per summer.

        2. And now that the DHS has issued the waivers for those studies, the claim is that they can’t do what the law plainly says they can.

    5. To illustrate the madness of top down thinking when it comes to road construction, let’s look at my home town in Florida. At the north part of the city, there was an intersection where two US highways split and went their separate ways. We had a single traffic signal to keep things moving smoothly.
      One day, the state came in and decided that the intersection needed to be improved somehow. So they bought up a few of the businesses “in the way”, tore them down, and pondered what to do.
      The first proposal was a flyover bridge, but that idea went away. The next idea was a giant traffic circle, but rejected for reasons. They finally came up with a boondoggle of multiple intersections that makes it impossible for Northbound traffic to get to businesses on the West side of the highway, a system more complicated than the pre-existing intersection, with far more traffic lights.
      And it only took them three years to put it in.

    6. From Hymn #694 by Free Hot Lunch:

      Oh, what an astounding thing is
      Our Interstate Highway System.

      ‘Twas Eisenhower’s greatest feat…
      All across the nation…
      In ’88 still not complete.
      A contractor’s salvation!

      1. The thing is, the core of the interstate system was about allowing quick passage of army convoys from one base to another. That part went fairly quickly. Then they got down to details, and the Urban Planners got involved. Progress was still fairly rapid, but the more eminent domain was exercised, the more people the planners pissed off. Then in the 1960’s, came a few cases where neighborhoods who objected to being paved over for some Planner’s Vision, and managed to get relief from the courts.

        Since then, the pace has slowed to a crawl anywhere anyne feels like putting up a legal challenge.

        Not necessarily a bad thing. But not necessarily a good one either.

        1. There’s another reason that things slowed down starting in the mid-60s. They began raiding the fuel tax that was supposed to go entirely to the Highway Trust Fund. This began with LBJ’s Urban Mass Transit Act of 1964, and some reauthorizations increased the percentage diverted from highways to pay off unionized workers in big cities run by political machines. (The UMTA diversions came well before new fuel economy standards cut into the fuel tax revenue.)

    7. I was living in SoCal during the Great Shift from all CalTrans all the time to largely using contractors for construction and maintenance.

      My first encounter was the road that the same contractor got to build three times in six months. (I lived just up the way, so got to see it in gory detail.) First to build the road, then to rebuild it after the water/sewer went in, then to rebuild it again when the buried cable went in… both of which were planned and permitted well before they busted up the original road the first time.

      This was also when maintenance started oozing away. Instead of the prescribed resurfacing, a highway would get crack-sealed, that sort of thing.

      People forget, a gov’t project only has to cover its costs. A private contractor has to cover those costs AND make a profit. So given the same money for the same project, something’s got to give, and it’s usually material quality or maintenance. Either that, or you get skyrocketing costs (cuz once it’s started, they invariably throw good money after bad), and shoved to the back burner whenever a more-profitable contract looms, because gov’t contracts don’t sufficiently (or at all) penalize late completion.

      Not a fan of big gov’t, but in my observation outsourcing public works is worse — winds up bigger and more expensive, yet cuts corners so the result is crap.

      Remember that the contractors salivating over the whole process and lobbying to push it onto and through the ballot are why CA has the high-speed rail to nowhere, billions of dollars worth of useless.

      1. That has very little to do with public vs private, and everything to do with incentives. In this case, it sounds more like crony capitalism and sweetheart contracts with no oversight (or, worse, “friendly” oversight getting kickbacks)

        As others have noted, here in the SF Bay area there is at least one contractor noted for on-time delivery of high quality roads – because there are early completion bonuses in the contract, and penalties for late delivery or substandard construction.

        EVERY system, public or private, can be corrupted. The main advantage of a private system is that they are explicitly not part of the government and have no assurance of getting more contracts if they don’t deliver. (Assuming the government itself isn’t corrupt. But that possibility is not a reason to give government more power.)

          1. I lived in San Jose with he was governor in the ’70s. He refused to complete the intersection between US 101 and I-280/680 because reasons. For one year, I lived 2 miles below that damned intersection, and it took 30 minutes to deal with those two miles.

            I eventually learned to drive through downtown San Jose and used the surface streets, but still. It was a happy day with Moonbeam left office and somebody who cared about drivers came in and had the project finished.

            1. And now he’s back. I always figured that people voted him in because they remembered his name… without recalling why they remembered his name.

      2. This was also when maintenance started oozing away. Instead of the prescribed resurfacing, a highway would get crack-sealed, that sort of thing.

        If your GPS has ever driven you nuts in the Seattle area, this is why.

        You can look at the road and tell who is Seattle…and who is one of the towns that got sucked in, and is still legally not quite Seattle. (Tacoma, too– one block, good road; the next, a gravel road would be an improvement.)

        The GPS will take either Seattle or another city name for the same location.

      3. People forget, a gov’t project only has to cover its costs. A private contractor has to cover those costs AND make a profit. So given the same money for the same project, something’s got to give, and it’s usually material quality or maintenance.

        Only if the gov’t project is doing personel costs like a private company– even in those sections run sensibly, there area lot of legal requirements that don’t let it be quite the same.

        Oh, by the way, ran into an interesting thing– FEMA won’t be hiring a ton of new people. (probably still a lot of temps, but….)

        They’re putting out requests for gov’t employees to go TDY.

    1. Nice. ‘I paid $90K for your street. Your homeowners’ association can have it back for 100K, plus double whatever my lawyers costs are for defending against all your damn lawsuits. . . .’

  8. About 90% of roads in the US are built by private organizations and then given to the municipality to maintain. Every housing development has its roads built by the developer and then they give them to the city/county. So, the gov’t is only called in to maintain the majority of roads and build a few roads that are larger and higher traffic.

  9. Let’s not engage in euphemisms. “Crony capitalism” is exactly the same thing as “fascism,” when the term is used correctly to describe a political/economic system. I system where large corporations aren’t owned by the government but work in collusion with the government to meet government goals while receiving privileged treatment from the government.

    1. A more accurate classic term is “mercantilism” which doesn’t include the suppression of freedom that comes with fascism (but not, at least not to that extent, with “crony capitalism”). The advantage of calling it mercantilism is that it doesn’t make it sound like a variant of capitalism — which it isn’t.

      1. Ah, but crony capitalism does suppress freedom by preventing others to break into the marketplace with cheaper or more efficient products or services.

    2. My understanding has been that crony capitalism is more of a partnership – the government and big business scratch each others’ backs – while fascism was the government using business as an instrument of government.

      E.g. A large corporation coercing the government to promulgate regulations that they have the scale to meet, but which will destroy the smaller competition is crony capitalism.

      The government enforcing a ban on X, not by banning X outright, but by preventing businesses from producing X would be fascism. (Fluorescent bulbs or 2.5 gallon toilets, for instance.)

      While large corporations make out rather well in both, there’s collusion in crony capitalism, but not in fascism. It’s a matter of who is in the driver’s seat.

      1. That’s pretty much a distinction without a difference. You seem to be assuming that there’s a sharp delineation between the corporate and government operators. At that level, folks move back and forth between the two groups pretty seamlessly.

        1. Here, at least, you don’t see a great deal of movement either way. Sure, there are former politicians sitting on boards of major companies, but they’re there for their connections, not their business acumen. Corporate types don’t readily move into high office, either, as they’re too bright to want the colonoscopy that comes with it.

          Where you do see a fair bit of movement is the between NGOs and mid-levels of government agencies. The NGOs function as sort of a ‘shadow bureaucracy’, like the Brits have shadow ministers for parties out of power. This is not Zuckerberg and Gates moving from one sphere to the other. This is granola munchers getting paid on or off the books.

        2. No, it’s not without a difference.
          Give it a few more years with our technocrats in office, and you’ll see the difference.

        1. Government does not necessarily mean coercion, but it is a) easiest and b) always present as a last resort.

          1. Government ALWAYS means coercion, except in those mythological cases where 100% of the population are in complete agreement on something.

        2. IIRC, Poul Anderson defined government as the entity who took the power to kill you if you disobeyed. Veeeeeeerrrrrrrrryyyyyyyy loose recollection, but I think I have the gist.

      2. (Fluorescent bulbs or 2.5 gallon toilets, for instance.)

        Or being forced to buy a certain product (say, Health Insurance, for instance) under force of law. And while buying that product, being forced to pay for certain options (say, abortion and pregnancy coverage for men) that you have absolutely no use for whatsoever, and may even find to be morally repugnant.

  10. I just got out of training for work. One of the presentations was by Sheriff Paul “Bart” Laney on the No DAPL protests here in ND. I have never been more firmly against one particular political party than I have been over the last year. Though the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, showing up for a photo opportunity to vandalize private property didn’t do herself any good either.

    *Little aside: I not only grew up in ND, my direct ancestors homesteaded the area where the pipeline goes through. One of my best friends from high school is a deputy for Morton County. Many of my current and former coworkers and my friends responded to help. My grandfather was Sheriff of Morton County when I was little. I’ve camped and fished the exact area where the protest camps and the law enforcement forward operations base were located. I still have relatives farming in the area. I effing KNOW that area.*

    The media tried to portray the LE response as overly militarized, heavy handed and out of proportion to protest. Morton County SO has 34 sworn deputies. There were approximately 10,000 protestors at one point. The largest city in ND is 120,000 and the 10th largest city in ND is 7,800. Some of the protestors were peaceful, most were not. Trespassing on private property and destroying equipment is not peaceful activity. Pulling someone out of their vehicle or off their equipment and carrying them away (wasn’t physically touching the ground!) is not peaceful activity. Launching rocks, bricks, marbles, nuts and bolts is not a peaceful activity. Throwing burning logs and molotov cocktails is not a peaceful activity. Charging your horses at people is not a peaceful activity. Stampeding buffalo (privately owned at that) towards people (I have no idea what those terrorists thought was going to happen if the herd actually got to the line of law enforcement since the line of protestors was standing about 10 feet in front of the officers) is not a peaceful activity. Trying to crash a drone into a helicopter is not a peaceful activity. Shooting at people is not a peaceful activity.

    Morton County and the state of ND asked for help from every state and the Federal government. 10 states showed up to help. The only representatives from the Feds was a group of ‘civil rights’ lawyers sent to keep an eye on the local law enforcement response and the President who showed up to glad hand the protestors.

    The older I get, and the more I see, the more libertarian (small “l”) I become. Pretty much anyone who wants a larger, more centralized government in charge is either effing ignorant or criminally stupid. I don’t care what political party they belong to (but one of the major parties is decidedly worse than the other in my opinion), or if you’re a friend or family member. Most politicians should be strung up from the nearest tree (or light pole if a tree isn’t handy).

    There are three things government at all levels should be doing. 1) Defend us from foreign invasion 2) Enforce those laws that don’t violate our Constitutional rights 3) Ensure contracts between private parties voluntarily entered into are carried out. Beyond that, it gets pretty dicey.

    1. Perfect! I still wonder at the wisdom of all those idiots that live in Washington wanting Iran to have nukes since I’m pretty sure that city is probably in the top 5 terrorist targets that terrorists want to nuke.

      Darwinian selection nuclear edition?

      1. That would be a bad thing?

        (remembers audience standing up to cheer when the aliens zapped the White House in the movie “Independence Day.” [1996])

          1. Which is part of the reason why I advocate for moving Congress to Fargo, North Dakota from October to April, and Lake Charles, Louisiana from May to September.

            1. Personally, I don’t have anything against the residents of Lake Charles or Fargo…

              Perhaps we could take out a long-term lease and move them somewhere out of the way. Pitcairn Island? North Korea? Syria? Surely someone is desperate enough to host the Fed in exchange for devalued dollars…

              1. Diego Garcia. If I remember right it’s somewhere in the middle of the Pacific and being sent their when you were in the Navy was viewed as a punishment assignment. Since it’s viewed as a punishment assignment we might as well go for maximum.

                I think we should start putting potted plants on the ballot. They’d do less harm and getting through their speeches would be a breeze!

                  1. DG is waaaay out there – best comparable US Pacific possession… hmm… perhaps Johnson Atoll, or maybe Midway?

                    1. For remote Pacific location, I’d have to nominate my old stomping ground Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. Johnston is closer to Hawaii than Kwaj.; and while Midway is indeed almost halfway between Hawaii and the Philippines, Kwaj is almost exactly centrally located between Hawaii, Australia, and the Philippines (@2300 miles each way). I’ll grant you, Johnston would likely *feel* more remote than Kwajalein as its accommodations seemed, from what little I could see of them from the airfield ramp while under the watchful eye of a HMMV-mounted M-60 machine gun, comparatively Spartan. Kwaj. is a small American town plunked down in the middle of the Central Pacific. A *dysfunctional* small town . . .

                    1. And Kwajalein doesn’t really belong to us either, for that matter – we’ve just got rights for a base there in exchange for the sovereignty of, and assistance to, the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

                    2. But I’ll bet we could alter the terms of the leasing agreement to allow for the siting of other US Government operations than the missile range. Like making it the seat of government.

                      OTOH, the suggestion below of Barrow, AK tickles me and it has some major things going for it. ‘We’ actually own it. And, having spent the longest year of my life one summer in Deadhorse, AK, a few (hundred) miles Southeast of there, I can tell you in no uncertain terms that the North Slope is no garden spot at any time of the year. My suggestion of Ketchikan was based on the fact that there are no roads leading to the place. But Barrow would be better, in some meanings of ‘better’.

            2. I enjoyed it when Neil Smith advocated something like that in Probability Broach. (“You want government to be *convenient*? Perish the thought!”)
              For the winter spot, I’d suggest Barrow, AK.
              If you like obscure islands, Johnson Atoll would certainly do nicely. For one thing, it is currently (or was until recently) the site of a chemical weapons decommissioning plant. For similar reasons, Kaho’olawe would do nicely. Or if you want to mix cold with island, there’s always Little Diomede Island, AK.

          2. Thus rather than (re)move statues throughout the south, we ought to expending the effort to move historic monuments away from politicians – or vice versa. We could replace some of them* with replicas, I suppose. How well does depleted uranium hold up to weathering?

            * Monuments. Replacing the politicians with replicas is beyond the current state of artificial stupidity.

            1. Apparently Uranium, depleted or not, is not so good out in the weather – lots of stuff comes up on your favorite search engine on oxidation in contact with water.

              Best bet would be to coat the cast DU in something, maybe black paint over lead, a la the Maltese Falcon.

              Darn heavy statue then, eh? Kill someone if they managed to actually tip it over.

            2. Check out the new statue of Mikhail Timofeyovich Kalashnikov the Russians just stood up in Moscow. Thirty feet tall, and MTK holding one of his rifles like a rock star holding a guitar.

              Meanwhile, probably 99% of Americans have no idea who John Moses Browning was… [white Mormon male; best forgotten]

    2. This was the pipeline so-called protest? I looked up the backers. Turns out the major money came (via only two hops, not even obfuscated) from the usual suspect, George Soros. Draw your own conclusions.

      BTW, hatched in Devils Lake myself (the Nash dealership was my granddad’s), and family homesteaded around Hansboro.

    3. Did they ever find that lady’s old horse?

      I remember they found some of the “missing” cows– straight-up Indian raids style slaughtered, with the easy chunks gone (the stuff that’s ascribed to the buffalo hunting whites), but I didn’t ever hear of the poor old retired saddle-horse was found.

      1. I don’t know. I wanted to ask Bart if they ever got an answer as to why these people weren’t charged with Domestic Terrorism, but he had to get to a promotion ceremony so didn’t stick around for a question/answer session.

        1. 😦

          I know what it would to to my dad to lose a 4 wheeler, and I have a gut level understanding of the rest of the damage I heard of…but the part that really gets to me is the old damned retired horse that “went missing.”

          Even an ornery one is usually harmless– I learned to ride on such a horse. He’d buck and snort and give one hell of a show…after he’d literally looked under his hooves to make sure nobody was there.
          My sister and I “caught” him when he got out, one time, and he stood there while I boosted her up– she had to be a bit over three, because it couldn’t be later than the summer after my first year of Kindergarten— and she kicked him until he moved, and I pushed on his chest to make him stop, or go left or right when he didn’t “listen” to her.

          All you parents who just realized a less than six year old was right there in front of those hooves that will step on an adult hard enough to cause issues…there’s a reason we were allowed near him.

          Although mom and dad really hadn’t figured on the kids deciding that of course they had to go get the horse in, when mom was changing sprinklers….

          1. my guess would be that it got eaten. The protesters left literally tons of trash at the camp site that had to be cleaned up before the water rose in the spring. There was a large tent that was literally full of shit. Everything got scooped up, trucked to higher ground, sorted out into hazardous and non-hazardous waste and then trucked to the landfill. I assume, but Bart didn’t say so, that there was law enforcement out there as well looking for anything unusual.

            1. I really hope so.

              Having read what various unspeakables did to horses– and cows, actually, summarized as “butchered while alive and then found walking a week later”– I hope so.

              Yes, I care more about a horse being treated that way, even though I don’t LIKE horses. Animals don’t understand jerkass. They just figure “THOSE THINGS act this way”…and horses expect nicer treatment.

              1. Precisely. I do like cats, but more importantly, as Heinlein put it, cats who are raised to think they’re people should NOT be treated like vermin/animals.
                It’s disappointing the expectations of the innocent animals that makes it evil. It’s betrayal.

  11. There was a meme going around recently that said something like “Would you rather have capitalism or socialism dealing with Hurricane Harvey? Asking for a friend.” Fortunately, I only saw it in places where they were mocking it, so I didn’t have to rebut it. But I was thinking of Anheaser Busch closing down their lines to bottle water, those guys who were trapped for a few days in a bakery, and just kept baking so they’d have stuff to give away, the Cajun navy, and probably a whole host of others I never heard of, and going, capitalism, all the way.

    1. It’s responses like that that give me hope if we ever do have an EMP disaster or something similar. Sure, there’s going to be looting and it’s going to suck but I don’t think it’s going to be quite as awful as some of the books. (Though again I think a lot of that is going to depend on the area, in a city no 2 ways about it your PMF).

      1. Some of us have the hand tools and the knowledge to modify a vehicle to start and run after being killed by an EMP. It won’t run well, it won’t be within EPA standards (/laugh), but it will get you from point A to point B.

        1. Thanks! I think I’ll have to look into that.
          Though with the way the winter is shaping up I’m half tempted to look into an old 4-wheel drive that isn’t fuel injected to have around.

        2. The truck and the hatchback have computers, and would likely be stone dead. The wagon, I’d curse the engineers who thought it would be amusing to put the distributor back by the firewall while I yanked the dead electronic-ignition distributor and dropped in the old breaker-point distributor. The carburetor, being a fluidic computer with no electrical bits, would neither know nor care. The starting and lighting system would be just fine, going by the Nevada tests where they parked vehicles close enough to burn the paint off when testing atomic bombs.

      2. Well, we’re in the process of getting a live fire exercise in Puerto Rico, which as of this morning was 100% without power and officially estimating a 4 to 6 month lead time to get it back.

        1. Small test case. Not sure about the validity of this test since the majority of the US is in a position to provide support.
          How similar is the culture of Puerto Rico to most of the US? (Or probably a better question is what part of the US does the culture of Puerto Rico most resemble?)

      1. That reminds me that the same solutions for Global Warming seemed to be that same as those for the Great Global Cooling scare in the ’70s.

          1. I believe Mark Twain was thinking of Socialism when he tells of Huck Finn meeting up with the Duke, who we learn was run out of town for selling a tooth cleaner guaranteed to remove tartar; unfortunately the townspeople had discovered it not only removed tartar from teeth, it removed the enamel as well.

    2. Houston Texans star J.J. Watt’s fund for Hurricane Harvey relief had reached $30 million within about two weeks of the storm hitting Texas. A quick [searchengine] reveals corporate pledges of $65 million, which does not include such items as Dell’s founder, Michael Dell, pledging $36 million from his family foundation.

      Then there are the churches:

      Christian Organizations Are Doing More for Hurricane Relief than FEMA
      … In a disaster, churches don’t just hold bake sales to raise money or collect clothes to send to victims; faith-based organizations are integral partners in state and federal disaster relief efforts. They have specific roles and a sophisticated communication and coordination network to make sure their efforts don’t overlap or get in each others’ way.

      … Over and over again in public comments as Hurricane Harvey was soaking Texas and Louisiana, FEMA administrator Brock Long asked concerned citizens to go to to make donations – that is National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the alliance of volunteer organizations that are helping FEMA channel disaster assistance into the affected areas. About 75% of the organizations that are part of the alliance are faith-based.

    3. Yeah, they did that (Water) with Hurricane Hugo. We only were out of power for 11 hours, but it was my introduction tot he American way. In Portugal we’d have been milling around waiting for the authorities. In the US, when I woke up at seven am and took my unshowered butt outside to see the destruction, there were carts in our little (seriously, like 20 houses) neighborhoods, giving away breakfast. Over the day, water, etc. showed up just up the road.
      AND in the grocery store (we went to look for propane) they had big signs saying “PLEASE take our steak and ice-cream.”
      The freezers were down. Fortunately when our power came on by the time we got home, we turned around, got as much as our car would hold, went home and cooked for friends who came by our house, in batches, to shower and eat a cooked meal.

      1. When the fires take out the power in my folks’ home valley, they put up a sign on the road that says “DRINKING WATER– PULL IN HERE, FREE, AS MUCH AS YOU CAN CARRY.”

        Put a sign on the outdoor frost-free that asks folks to make sure they turn it off when they’re done, and I think they have a copy of the test that shows it’s perfectly safe.

        They’re on a spring, you see. It’ll get green if you leave it set a few days, but it’s perfectly good– they had people pulling up and getting 50 gallon barrels to water horses and such.

        Hank, of Hank’s Harvest Foods (check them out, AWESOME hunting trophies) has his store set up so they always have power– and he makes sure the laundry/shower place he has is also supplied. Dude seriously needs city libertarians to come and sit at his feet as the learn from the master.

    4. There was also the couple who were trapped by the flood waters and couldn’t get anyone on 911, so they called the local Chick-fil-a and ordered a boat and a couple of jet skis…

      Yeah, I suspect I know what answer the “friend” wanted, but my response would be an entirely serious, “Capitalism. A thousand times, capitalism!”

      1. I had meant to mention earlier …

        Residents of big cities have long known that the quality of your public services are often determined by the reliability of your votes. Chicago’s Mayor Daley (the first of that dynasty) was famous for plowing the snow from streets of “his” voters* before attending (if at all) the streets of those who didn’t vote for him. Philadelphia’s Mayor Rizzo had a comparable approach when it came to filling potholes in his town. Then there’s garbage pick-up …

        *Do not for a moment doubt His Honor did not know which neighborhoods showed up and voted his way on election day.

        1. In 1962, Interstate 85 was being built from Atlanta through Montgomery. About then, Gov Wallace had his little dispute with the Kennedy boys. It was scheduled to be built through Montgomery through Selma to Meridian MS where it would join I-20. They stopped work on it and until this day it has never been re-started.

          1. Given that US 80 runs that general route, and is mostly a four-lane divided highway, adding an interstate would be something of a waste, IMHO. OTOH, a couple bypasses and some improved interchanges, along the lines of what Missouri did to US-36, look like they’d be quite in order.

            1. I’d buy that, except for one tiny inconvenient fact: That’s true of US 80 from Atlanta to Montgomery, and from Meridian MS to Dallas and beyond. What happened in AL?

              1. It’s also true for the Montgomery to Meridian (well, interchange with I-20, anyway) stretch now. Looks to me like they upgraded most of that stretch of US 80 in lieu of continuing I-85, though not quite to limited access standards. A bypass at Uniontown and some improvements at Selma and it would be “four lane all the way.”

        2. At least here in left coastal suburia, the other influence on quality of municipal services is the location of the homes of city officials. One neighborhood in this area has extraordinarily fast replacement of dead streetlights, pothole repair, unplugging of stopped up storm drains, and so on, and by purest coincidence one city council member’s home located is in that area.

      2. I think the Lefts biggest gripe about capitalism is that it’s ultimately fair. If you put nothing in you get nothing out. (With a few exceptions) you can’t divorce yourself from reality and succeed.

    5. Socialism is those two insults to the proud history of the American Red Cross (said with full knowledge of their..shortcomings) that decided to bully a pregnant lady to try to confiscate fresh, hot burgers that had just been privately flown in, and the blankers abused her along the lines of how they hadn’t seen her volunteering before now. (They hadn’t shown up until way after the lady was there, had finished person-to-person helping, and had gone out for a long shift manning the air-strip.)

        1. The same kind of idiotic morons evil bastards who signed a contract to run hurricane emergency shelters in FL. took the money, and then didn’t bother to show up for the actual hurricane?

        2. And if you get to talking with folks, this isn’t new. Had some folks attempt debunking based on the same sort of story– Red Cross preventing donated supplies from going to people who need it, Red Cross deciding to take control of other folks’ donated goods– every time there’s a national level issue.

          1. the Red Cross not hanging my dad and his suiblings, kids standing outside in near- freezing weather in their PJs, cups of coffee because it is ‘for the firefighters’

            as they watch their house burn down.

  12. *grits teeth* Do Not get me started on road construction and state and federal funds. Just Don’t. The main east-west corridor through the Panhandle is a nightmare, has been for almost two years now, because of replace/repair/repave/re-engineer.

    1. Which one, Red? I used to drive somewhat regularly through the region. (My route went through Clayton, Amarillo, Wichita Falls, to DFW, then back again.)

      1. I had a flat tire at about 130mph while cruising between Dumas and Dalhart, about 0200 one night. I got stopped, flipped up my visor, reached forward and switched off the ignition, and thought I’d gone blind.

        Man, it gets DARK out in the Panhandle…

        1. Yep. And when you’re on a two-lane highway, in the snow, and an accident has blocked the road (one car going each way impacted), it being that dark is handy. Because you can see the semi coming a mile away and get a blanket and flag him to stop. (He made a nice roadblock, too, as he jackknifed across the road.) That was somewhere in that area, where there was a little building off the road that we could get everyone to shelter in and call for help (before cell phones). That was a LONG night.

      2. I-40. 287 through Amarillo is also a mess, and the bypasses are also under construction. We have a Biblical-scale infestation of little orange cones and large orange barrels.

        1. Still?? the bloody bypasses were under construction when I went through** there back in 1982. Big damn ring bypass, couldn’t find a bloody thing.

          ** more accurately, around, since for a stranger in town there was no good way to get off the bypass! (This is how my cross-country eastbound trip got truncated and sent back northward.)

          1. A quick look online leads me to believe they completed initial construction of the various portions of the ring bypass over a period of decades, but that they are now in the process of replacing a multitude of at-grade intersections with overpasses.

  13. Funny that you mention government and schools, Sarah. I was just in a serious Facebook discussion in which I mentioned that I believe politicians and Hollywood have been pupating their young for over a decade now, rather than gestating them. And I specifically stated that I believe that many forms of public education could qualify as a dormant stage of pupation. Although the maturation levels achieved therein leave a LOT to be desired, both mentally, and, these days, physically as well. 😉

    1. Several different folks here have mentioned– and documented– that various types of “education” are not readily identifiable from grooming. Like the criminal kind.

      1. [stops to consider]

        I’ve been thinking of the “educational system” as a variant of the good old Ponzi scheme, but.. hmm.

  14. As a proof, there are tons of private roads. More importantly, in condo-like developments, with the entire neighborhood being managed, the roads are often owned by the association/people who manage the condos, not by any government.
    Well, they are owned by those folks, as long as they pay the taxes on that property……
    From the article:
    The couple’s purchase appears to be the culmination of a comedy of errors involving a $14-a-year property tax bill that the homeowners association failed to pay for three decades.

    there are enough homeschoolers doing fine despite that
    Woot! Go homeschoolers!
    Mind you, the local community taking up funds to build a school and hire a teacher is a government thing, most often. It’s the local community governing themselves. Which is a good thing.

    and governments use corporations because it’s easier to control the assets without owning them
    And this is where socialism is often identified as slipping into fascism – the difference between the gov’t owning the assets (communism), and merely directing their use (fascism).
    And, yes, there is a difference between “directing their use” and merely controlling the market so only certain people get to play, and in certain ways.

  15. Socialism NEEDS capitalism more than capitalism needs socialism. NO socialist state survives without a capitalist component to tax or loot, or a capitalist neighbor to provide an influx of, duh, capital for the purchase of goods or services. When that last capitalist teat dries up, poof! Instant Zimbabwe or Venezuela…

  16. > you didn’t build that

    Perhaps not. But I damned well *paid* for it.

    For that matter, every gallon of gas I buy has 50 cents of state tax on it, just for road maintenance. Plus what comes out of my county, state, and Feral taxes.

    > private roads

    Mostly found here in “gated communities.” Which get maintained with my tax money, though I’m not allowed to drive on them. And they freeload off my emergency services taxes as well.

  17. This is what I call the new ignorance. Other examples are (1) slavery was invented in America, (2) the very word “Islam” means peace (it actually means submission), (3) the concept of free speech includes restrictions for hate speech, and (4) hate speech is a form of violence.

    I’ve been trying to think of a good word to describe these people. They aren’t like the ignorant “dumb hicks” of my childhood because they are often highly educated. Cosmopolitan chumps?

    1. Well, as long as you submit they are peaceful. (Relatively)

      Every single time I hear these idiots yelling ‘Speech is violence’ I get the rather uncivil urge to invite them over so we can have a discussion were there is an audience participation demonstration of both speech and violence. I’m hoping at the end I’ll feel relaxed and they’ll have a new found understanding of the differences between speech and violence.


    The same thing government schools always teach, Pinky: lies and nonsense.

  19. More importantly, in condo-like developments, with the entire neighborhood being managed, the roads are often owned by the association/people who manage the condos, not by any government.

    The association IS government, albeit on a small scale. HOA’s can be good or bad. I lived in a HOA subdivision which was good. It likely would have grown petit tyrants. All the blog posts and Reason articles I ever read about HOA’s seem to present examples of such.

    If you want a real example of corporate (i.e. private) owned rail and road systems- look at Disney World in Florida.

    1. All the blog posts and Reason articles I ever read about HOA’s seem to present examples of such.

      Who the heck is going to complain when stuff is handled right? It’s not my job to steer the train, the whistle I can’t blow; it’s not my job to say how far or fast the train may go. It’s not my job to let off steam, nor even clang the bell– but let the damn thing jump the tracks, and see who catches hell.”

      I am…about as far from a supporter of HOAs as you can get, but even I have to admit that those REASON articles I’ve read omit relevant facts most of the time, including things like the complainer was OK with a situation until they lost an agreement.

      Contrast with those situations where someone became a member of an HOA without their knowledge. -.-

    2. I’m no fan of HOAs.


      If you, for example, have a family that owns some land, with a private road, by which a lot of other property owners access their vacation cabins, and the patriarch of that family provided for the other property owners not only a road, but a private sewer system, which he maintained largely at his own expense….

      What do you do when he gets old, and can’t do the maintenance himself, and none of his kids or grandkids are able, willing, rich enough or close enough to do what he’s been doing all these years. (And because of new health regs in the intervening years, no one who doesn’t already have a septic tank can install one.)

      An HOA that makes members pay for the road and/or the sewer, while contracting the maintenance of both to a third party may be the best way forward.

      Certainly better than closing the road and leaving the cabins without waste disposal.

      1. I am inclined to take the same attitude toward HOAs as toward group sex: it is likely to prove awkward, difficult, messy and disappointing, involving you intimately with folks with whom you would ordinarily not care to interact — but if you want to do it I feel no compulsion to stop you.

  20. The original definition of fascism had private ownership of capital, but total control over production by the government. When those who own the capital are also the people taking turns at being the government and making their own rules, then it’s still private ownership, but government control. i.e. fascism.

    Never cared for socialist governments because as far as I’m concerned, nobody knows my needs better than I do, certainly can’t allocate my income to provide for my needs better than I can, and doesn’t have any right (other than might at the point of a gun) to decide how much of my income I can afford to give to someone who hasn’t worked for it.

    1. Easiest shorthand I’ve been able to come up with is “under fascism, people may own stuff, but gov’t owns the people”

        1. Attributed so widely it might as well be Anony Mous:

          Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.

    2. Well said. Plus I have yet see any of the so-called ‘elites’ showing anything that even causes me to respect them let alone think they are more capable of making decisions about my life than I am.
      Most of them I barely trust to tie their shoes unless they’re wearing slip-ons.

  21. Oh yes, those ‘Evil Roman Roads’. Russia knew the truth about them. They did their best to destroy those, because they weren’t made for ‘The People’.
    Oy. The Stupid, it Burns!

  22. Extrapolating these days to digital roads; I suppose. But, in the realm of being expected to have Government be the hammer to smack down all the nails that stick out, they’re coming up with a new bill that’s wrapped up in being ‘anti-sex trafficking’ but thanks to it’s really broad strokes phrasing, can easily be used to kill any kind of dissenting voice, even reasonable discussion like what happens here. One of the reasons why there’s this huge obsession with socialism seems to be the ability to easily use the government against one’s enemies. Given the kinds of people who endorse this, it is no surprise really.

    These Jane Does are among many thousands of victims trafficked for sex each year in the United States. It is time for Congress to act.
    A Victim Focused and Carefully Crafted Solution Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was never intended to protect websites that
    knowingly or recklessly facilitate sex trafficking.
    The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 would clarify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and ensure that websites that knowingly or recklessly facilitate sex trafficking can be held liable and that victims can get
    justice. This carefully crafted legislation offers three reforms to help sex trafficking victims. The proposed legislation would:

    Allow victims of sex trafficking to seek justice against websites that knowingly or recklessly facilitated their victimization;

    Make knowing, commercial conduct that assists, supports, or facilitates a violation of federal sex trafficking laws a crime; and

    Enable state law enforcement officials, not just the federal Department of Justice, to take action against individuals or businesses that violate federal sex trafficking laws.

    Title: To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify that section 230 of that Act does not prohibit the enforcement against providers and users of interactive computer services of Federal and State criminal and civil law relating to sex trafficking.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

    This Act may be cited as Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act of 2017

    Congress finds the following:
    (1) Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230) (as added by title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Public Law 104–104; 110 Stat. 133) (commonly known as the “Communications Decency Act of 1996”)) was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims.
    (2) Clarification of section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 is warranted to ensure that that section does not provide such protection to such websites.

    I know I wrote couple of comments about this yesterday in Ms. Osborn’s solar eclipse post and one in MGC but I figure this is probably more appropriate here, since we’ve seen this kind of weasel-wording before. Also I don’t think very many people saw it because of when I posted it (apparently roughly 2:30 ish AM US time? = my late afternoon.) I’m really worried about this latest thing being snuck in under the guise of ‘good-doing laws’ being hugely detrimental to the freedom of speech in the US.

    As I said before I can’t do anything but let you guys know about this. I’m not American, I can’t call up your congresscritters or vote in any kind of plebicite or participate in your political machinery beyond chatting to you lovely people in this limited online medium. But it’s all we’ve got. If SESTA is brought in, I can see it very quickly being used to stifle any and all kinds of speech deemed even broadly, and remotely as ‘recklessly facilitating sex trafficking’ – and it doesn’t even have to be the blog owner talking about it – the For both sides of the fence.

    I hope Sarah forgives me my bad manners on this. The more I read though about this, the greater the chill of fear I have. It is familiar and ugly and I don’t want it to happen, not there. It is the too familiar threat of government punishment for stepping out of line, offending the wrong people, of stepping on the wrong blank tile.

    1. *growls* AFTER they mange to get the @$#@ log out of their own eye and stop enabling human traffickers bringing unwilling illegals across the border, they can start hunting around for freaking splinters elsewhere.

    2. The linked article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (rarely if ever prey to alarmism or hype) makes it pretty clear what kind(s) of trouble this could be, simply by blowing one big hole in some of our otherwise-near-universal exemptions and protections.
      Maybe the biggest point, though, is how it *isn’t* credibly effective at stopping something like sex trafficking, by reputation (and deservedly) one of the hardest nuts to crack because of its extreme profitability and the motivation of its, uh, customers. (You feel like you need to go take a long bath even after just typing such a euphemism for such, ah, people.) If we (somehow) denied the entire open Internet to such people early tomorrow morning, they’d probably be up and running on the Dark Web or some even more recondite venue by nightfall. It’s *that* profitable.
      Dedicated, skillful, relentless law enforcement (often international by the end) *does* seem (even to those of us who don’t do it) to work pretty well. Broad ‘salt the earth’ approaches don’t, these vermin just aren’t so easy to kill, even metaphorically.
      (So what is its “real” credibility, with anyone who either knows anything about this or even thinks carefully about it for five minutes straight? If anything, it would seem to be *exactly* the kind of credulity that says we can’t have any good roads without government control of all the roads.)

      People said stuff like this about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in its formative weeks, back when it was known to some as the Digital Apocalypse and Copyright Act. And the final enacted version was much, much better than either the fears or the first rough cuts.
      But still we have, for instance, farmers risking hard felony jail time hacking their cybertractors back into operability, because of DMCA stuff that says they may own the *hardware* outright but still don’t own the *software* that makes them run-able — and either cannot afford or refuse to pay for the stream of continuing “updates” otherwise needed. (Look it up, apparently it’s Now A Thing, although I first read about it in one of Cory Doctorow’s books on digital media and indie publishing.) Which is one reason why little old 1950s Ford 8Ns and 9Ns are still in demand.

      At the very least, from everything I know (and apologizing in advance for any off-topicness here), this bears very careful watching. Like, say, a copperhead (or other suitable pit viper) in your living room.
      Maybe even watching as part of a well-constructed sight picture.

      1. > up and running on the Dark Web

        The FBI will be happy to tell them in detail how the pedophile underground handles messaging and file sharing, and even how to set up and run your own servers. Because, hey, the FBI had no problem running a pedophile server for its own purposes…

        “We’re the government, it’s okay when *we* do it.”

    3. When I wrote the earlier comment above (at least it *should* be above), I hadn’t yet gone back to read the *new* comments on the eclipse report yet; so I hadn’t seen the “why this is so bad” analysis there (and had also missed the reply to one of my comments from *Stephanie Osborn* within *5 minutes*, oh, well). It’s very impressive and it dovetails with everything else marvellously. If somewhat chillingly.
      Maybe even Hillary Clinton can be right about some things, the same way a stopped clock is right twice a day — maybe It Takes A Global Village to deal with the kind of stuff she and her fellow travellers seem to get up to so frequently, and maybe warnings have to be bounced all around the world sometimes to be properly received back at home.
      Or if I might be excused a little Cultural Appropriation here, g’d on yer, mate!

  23. Eh, there are some of the more aggressively evangelical Libertarians where roads are a valid concern (the “absolutely nothing you didn’t voluntarily enter into formally and with “enough” information to have an informed choice” guys) …but you’re as likely to have normal libertarians on your side against those guys as on their side against you. (Especially if they’re of the “I didn’t know I’d change my mind, so it wasn’t enough information and the agreement is invalid” turn of mind. Le sigh.)

    Mostly it’s a victorious attack on that horrible evil strawman, which they can’t defend against because they’re not even THERE.

  24. In addition to the massive ignorance behind “you didn’t build that,” my problem with Obama’s statement was how it was being used as the premise for further argument: “You want the government to build roads and bridges, therefore you must support the government in whatever it does.” I’m not sure how, “Yeah, some infrastructure projects are better done as a collective project, and I would rather like there to be some sort of national and civil defense” translates to “And so obviously we need a cabinet department for the protection of transsexual voles” or whatever the latest obsession is.

    1. Obama’s tendency to broaden definitions was on a par with his construction of straw men. Take that argument in a different context and it is easy to grasp how vile it is.

      “You agreed let that man buy you a dinner and drinks, take you dancing, therefore you must agree to let him grope you.”

      1. Except that the way Obama and his Progressive kin mean it, it’s more along the lines of “You agreed to let him buy dinner and to go dancing with him, so you are obligated to permit him unprotected anal sex with hot pepper lube.”

    2. My answer is always “Governments are good at brute force and bean-counting, amd bad at anything requiring nuance. Governments should therefore stick to things like delivering mail (bean-counting) and war. Big infrastructure projects are probably OK, but better if they are controled closer to the people they will effect. Thus, road building should be undertaken by State governments at highest, since the people who hate the idea can usuallt get to the State Capitol to let their representatives know they are pissed.”

      I have had very few SJWs try to counter that statement.

      1. Even in the case of the military, they’re great during wartime, and not quite as great during peacetime- I’m sure you vets here can tell a few stories.

        1. The initial stages of war result in a weeding out of peacetime administrators and their replacement with wartime leaders. At least, that’s what the winning side did, every time.

          1. And then Obama kicked out all the wartime leaders and promoted the remaining peacetime administrators..

    3. Dream bill:
      “Rights protection against current fashionable baloney: Anything new in the last 20 years must be SPECIFICALLY approved by a parent, in writing, in an individual document. Subject to parent challenge based on ‘seriously, this description is jargon.”

  25. Statist like for libertarians to frame the debates as Socialism vs Limited Government; as they can work with that. You have set the precedent that a government is on the table. The argument becomes well you are military, coyrts and police… why not roads?

      1. Should the government be less intrusive into people’s lives?

        Should the government do all it can to avoid interfering in contracts freely entered into?

        Should the government be legally enjoined to remain within its Constitutionally mandated boundaries?

        1. When was the last time anyone in this country asked the Government to do nothing.

          I shouldn’t have to beg my government to leave me a loan.

          The government is a moral hazard that should not be in a position to to do stuff for us or to us.

          1. When was the last time anyone in this country asked the Government to do nothing? 2009. And you see what that got the T.E.A. Party.

            Of course, if the MSM had covered the T.E.A. Party the way they’re covering Antifa* we’d be living in a libertarian paradise right now.

            I’m not saying government overreach is not a problem, but it is the culture which pushes “more government” as solution to all ills that is the problem. Until we change the water in the cultural mainstream we’ll continue to get the same dammed fish.

            *Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the American Communist Party, Islamist Extremists, whatever Leftist flavor of the month

            1. RES,

              A Chatch 22: With government no one feels the need to develope the skills and moral fiber to live without government and we can’t do away with government until we have developed the skills need and moral fiber to live without government.

              The only way out of the trap is to go “Nope!” Anytime any one wants to play the “Should the Government…” game.

              WarGames (11/11) Movie CLIP – The Only Winning Move (1983) HD

              Some times the only winning move is “Not to Play.”

              I just suppot and promote people becoming more self-sufficient, and I find the more comfortable tgey become with uncertainty of life and their ability to deal with problems that arrise on their own the more they stop asking or playing the “Should the government….” game.

            2. Also to your point about the tea-party: a good portion of them where still for getting stuff from government just oayid for from the othersides projects, and were all for balaniced budgets that normalized growrh in government as long as we didn’t spend more than we take in in taxes, but…

              If the tea parties had been really suportive of the idea they would have gotten behind GJ in 2012. Who campaigned on a streigh cross the board cut of 40%. But all we got from all sides was but what about all people… national security… the poor… the… …

              1. Basically, the issue with the TEA party was that they weren’t Libertarians of any stripe, they just wanted the gov’t back in the previously established limits.

                They didn’t agree there should be nothing from the gov’t, even if it made things very simple.

            1. If I recall correctly, diethyl ether – something you can get from ethanol and sulfuric acid. It is entirely possible my recall is not correct, or has some serious omission. (Translation: don’t try this at home.)

  26. You know, if having roads means that a country is socialist, then the United States is socialist already. So what are all those Bernie Sanders admirers agitating for? They can go home; their work is done. We already have what they want.

  27. Before roads (as in major U.S. highways and interstates) were our go-to, top-level mode of transport (and I would have to argue air still isn’t there to replace them yet) — we had railroads, and to some notable extent still do. And before that, we had canals; though admittedly we’re now back to the early 1800s and the dawn age of the country.
    And to abbreviate whole books’ worth of stuff I haven’t gone back to read in years, maybe wildly and recklessly, both of them were built largely or almost entirely by private companies. Maybe with state or federal help (like the Transcontinental Railroad), maybe with more than a little bit of skulduggery (the Golden Spike was driven only after the two companies continued building *past* each other a ways to eke out a little more money), but by and through private agency.

    It used to be military defense and law enforcement were the “we have to have government” thing. Now it seems to be roads. What’s next, education? Medical care? Science? Journalism? (Eek!)

    There’s an old joke. God and The Devil are walking on the beach (they can if they want to, right?)
    The Devil spots something bright lying on the sand: “What”s that?”
    “That is Truth,” says God, picking it up.
    “Let me see that,” says The Devil, “I think I can improve it.”
    Exercise for the reader: how is government like The Devil?

    1. People don’t realize we have and use rail far more efficiently then Europe or anywhere else. We move freight by rail, not people. Lots of freight. Enormous amounts of freight. Every 20 minutes a freight train rumbles through my small rural town. At least 100 cars per train. Over 100 40′ containers, since they’re often double stacked. Each tank car carries 9 or more road trailer loads of whatever liquid they’re carrying. A flat car loaded with plywood carries a few truck loads. Moving people has always been incidental to moving freight on major rail lines in the United States.

  28. This just in!!!! Hillary Clinton compared herself to Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere on Tuesday, saying that she is “Paula Revere” sounding the alarm on Russian active measures during the 2016 presidential campaign, now we have actual footage from behind the scenes at the DNC showing campaign officials realizing the threat!

    ProTip: Do NOT put “The Russians Are Coming” into your search engine unless you’ve got strong filters.

  29. All want the government to do for me is to WARN me of impending danger. I can take care of the rest of it

  30. Addendum. If you read Zero Hedge you’ve already seen the article ( about how helpful your socialist government is when it comes to local roads. I’ve re-posted a link to it, plus a “modest proposal” from one of the commentators there.

    I kept going back to de Toqueville’s Democracy in America.

    America 1.0 : Frenchman marvels that after a storm, Americans don’t wait for the Bureau des Arbres sur les Rues, but start showing up on their own with horses, ropes, and axes.

    America 2.0: Only about 1/2 of America shows up on their own, the rest whinge about the racism and sexism of the boodassler (Bu-dASLR)

    America 2.5: The boodasslers shows up to punish the remaining 1/2.

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