Andrew Brenner, a Republican state legislator in Ohio, has nailed the public education system in the United States as a socialist institution: 

He has a solution of course—privatization. Let the free market control the education system and the quality of schools and education will automatically improve.

I used to have trouble understanding the GOP fixation on socialism, but at last it is clear to me. Anything the government does—local, state, or federal—is socialistic and anything done by private enterprise is free market capitalism.

I would think a primary candidate for privatization would be defense. From the very beginning of the country the army and the navy have been socialistic institutions in the hands of the government. Privatize them. Let a hundred armies bloom. The ones that defend us well will prosper and the ones that lose wars will automatically go out of business. Let them fight it out and the best army wins.

And think of roads and traffic control—all socialistic enterprises. I warrant there is not a single traffic light in the entire country under the control of private enterprise. Not one. Socialism again. Ask yourself how many roads are privately owned? Very few indeed. Wouldn't we be better off it roads were a private business and people had to pay for every use?

Drivers licenses are socialistic. Every single one is issued by the state. There are no private companies making a profit from drivers licenses with the exception of a few small businesses in Mexico that will provide you with papers of all kinds for a price. (In two hours in Tijuana you can get a drivers license, passport, visa, and birth certificate for $200, but the quality is not always as good as it should be because there is no free market competition.)

Finally think of government itself. All government is government owned and operated. How about allowing the creation of multiple private enterprise state legislatures in each state and putting them in competition with each other to give us the best legislation money can buy?

Just saying…

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Pat I agree with you.  Lack of govt regulation leads to all powerful monopolies or oligopolies that care nothing about the individual and have no accountability.

I remember the old joke slogan for Bell Telephone was "We don't care.  We don't have to".

The Walmartization of small towns is not my idea of local independence.

Let's privatize the traffic signals.  Each time you want it to change to green, you'll have to get out of the car and put a quarter into the slot. As soon as you drive through, it will change to red for the next driver.

Support businesses that keep the money in the local community. For every dollar spent at Walmart, the social support network has to help pay the employees bills. 

Mom and Pop stores: "We care. We have to!" 

And privatize road regulatory signs; weight allowances and how to balance the weights on the trucks. 

You tell them Joan.
Pat, Sentient, give em hell. Privatization is making the rich richer and screw the poor and middle class. As long as government is handing out money to wealthy corporations all is well and good. Try to benefit the poor, with food no less, and it's called a handout to people who live to abuse the system.

Yes, that is exactly what the strategy is and it began back after Goldwater lost to LBJ. The far right christians decided to take the Republican party away from the moderate Republicans. They developed a stategy to take over churches, school boards, municipal, state and national parties. I saw it first at a Sunday school conference where every single one of the planning committee was taken over. They advocated mother and father unions without regard for the reality of family violence. They promoted a change in the curriculum for our Sunday school. They put out notices of the retraining homosexuals. I had no idea what was happening and it is only in hind sight that I recognize that was when our church became radical right. The signs were all there for anyone to see. 

Given that reality, we now recognize the strategy, how it works and how it virtually took over our nation. 

We are not victims in this outrage. We can do things to turn the tide on this sick thinking. We do have to make ourselves known. Express our outrage, speak up against the abuses, stand firm on principle, and organize an opposition community. We have to stop focusing on atheism and start focusing on building coalitions with religious moderates. 

My vision is a public meeting of astheists, christians, catholics, jews, muslims joining together to stop the fundamentalist movements of all denominations. We have more in common than we have differences. 

Directly responsible how?  At a meeting not long ago I suggested our English department solve the students' writing problems by simply giving them low grades on the diagnostic test at the beginning of the term, then high grades on the post test at the end.  Students, parents, administrators, assessment coordinators, Regents, the Chancellor, and the state legislature would be thrilled, but no one would be getting educated.  That's the dirty little secret that underlies accountability in education.

In the words of Mr. Spock, "no one can guarantee the actions of another."  I am accountable for meeting my classes, knowing my material, presenting it in an organized way, answering student questions, and treating everyone fairly.  I can't be responsible for the success or failure of students who don't buy the books, don't read the assignments, don't participate in class, or don't complete written assignments or exams. 

There it is.

You better be careful.  When I have made analogous statements, it gave me a reputation that took years for me to live down.  The Emperor may well be stark naked, but his regents, chancellor, and contingent of sycophants do not listen to such analyses, and decide that they are "us" and you are "them". 

Privatize? Garbage? There would be different companies driving by, picking up garbage. 

Water? How many water companies would be tearing up our streets to supply water lines? 

Electricity? Oh yes, All kinds of power systems with their lines, towers, underground lines. 

Money supply? Each state has its own money, or each private bank issues its own money. 

Buses? Just what we need! big, noisy buses from several different companies competing for riders!

Parks? Each park and playground with different maintenance plans, safety rules.

School? The Founding Fathers, needing an educated voting public, also needed publicly funded schools to prepare for an informed public, and educated workers. Keep religion out of public schools. 

I think your ideas are very unique, to the point, and some are downright hilarious! You have certainly nailed these 2 parties right on the head, but some of these ideas just might work!

Be careful not to create straw men with Republican arguments. Just because they believe in privatization in one area, does not mean they believe in it in all areas. Republicans tend to be very pro-government in some areas, and anti-government in others. They just think there should be a line. You may be having fun arguing with people who don't exist.

I was raised in a family who owns a small business. This tends to make me highly aware of how government-controlled entities can become almost like religions - those at the top become more interested in surviving themselves than really taking care of those at the bottom. This seems to hold true for government aid programs as well. And, as Luara mentions, accountability is lost in bureaucracies.

I'm a new atheist, and I understand why most atheists would be opposed to the social policies of the religious right. But I'm confused by the fact that most atheists seem to share a type of default trust in government. I would have guessed that atheists, being independent by nature, would be more suspicious of a lot of government control, not less. When control comes from the top, the personnel in power have complete sway. What would happen if all the positions are filled with the religious right?

Can anyone explain this to me? I'm open to it.

most atheists seem to share a type of default trust in government.

Not me! I'd rather see minimal government, and to me the growth in government power since the beginning of the United States looks a lot like a pernicious gradual loss of freedom.  So freedom doesn't go away quickly enough to get people to push back government powers. 

I have no objection to some parts of conservative thinking.  "Conservative" doesn't equate to "bad". 

Kathleen, you stated, What would happen if all the positions are filled with the religious right? Can anyone explain this to me? One name. George W. Bush.

In his administration, the US Justice Department was headed by a right wing christian, John Ashcroft, who had drapes put over the naked breast of a statue representing liberty. That alone should have given a major clue. Nevertheless, he also employed a number of attorneys from Liberty University Law School, which at the time, was not even accredited by the American Bar Association. But, the graduates 'loved them some Jesus.' From this crop we got memos that the Geneva Convention really didn't mean torture was outlawed. Also, recall all of the 'Faith Based Initiatives" under his administration which funneled taxpayer dollars to religious organizations. 

I don't put 100% trust in government, but it has the potential of doing good things for people. And, it's not a choice of "I trust them 100% vs. I trust them 0%." Framing the issue in that context, like many conservatives do, is disingenuous.  I certainly don't trust the current Congress; an opinion shared by about 90% of Americans. But, should we privatize the Food and Drug Administration? The National Institute of Health? The Center for Disease Control? The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration? The National Transportation Safety Board, among others. 

Possibly it's because of a dysfunctional Congress, whose members will shut down the government in manner reminiscent of a 5 year old's temper tantrum, that there is this populist view that all government and all regulation is bad. Do the regulators need to be watched and called to account? Absolutely. But I for one, don't want to go back to the days of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, prior to the advent of the FDA, either. 


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