Government--what's it good for?
Here's a New York Times article about the Heritage Foundation's summer interns. I don't know how else to say it--there's just no "bias" in this article. It's just news, and if there were a forum to mock conservatives, this would be it.
Now, I'd like to use this article as a springboard to discuss conservatism. At one point it is reported that one of the interns wrote a paper on the inefficiencies of a government-run park system--he's in favor of privatizing it. For me, what's crucial to note here is that "privatizing" could mean one of two things: bringing in an outside company to run it, OR running it more like a business. Conservatives think the distinction between "government" and "private" is one of function, whereas I see it more in terms of funding, because I agree with conservatives that everything should be run like a business.
So, for me, "government" just means publicly funded, whereas "private" means privately funded. We need to run everything like a business--we just haven't yet agreed on what we should all pay for, and what we should individually pay for. I'd like health care, mass transportation and education to be paid for by tax money, but I'd like them to be run efficiently, like businesses. If you're not a good teacher, or HMO, or bus driver, you're out, in my system.
Conservatives and liberals miss this distinction between function and funding. Conservatives are trying to insist that we run government agencies more like businesses, which is GREAT, but all liberals hear is "cut social programs." Liberals want aggressive, publicly-funded solutions to social problems, which is also great, but all conservatives hear is "more bureaucracy." WE NEED BOTH.