So, I’m trying – with precious little luck – to engage a friend of a friend on facebook in a conversation about the appropriate size and role of government.
My friend started it with this post:
Whether Repub or Dem, we both agree that we want what’s best for our future. I don’t agree with big business holding the cards.
One of her friends – let’s call him Jim – responded with Nor big government, to which my friend countered that it was late and she didn’t want to get into it right now.
I chimed in by saying, I’ll get into it; what does “big government” mean, exactly, Jim; let’s define our terms before we try to have a conversation. (And Aimee, I’m not sure that both R and D DO agree that we want what’s best for our future for a couple of reasons; first there is no one “our future;” everyone wants/needs different things, and there are a lot of people out there who aren’t willing to make the concessions needed to insure that everyone gets at least some of what they need. Second, I see a lot – and I mean A LOT – of people who favor policies that we can accurately predict are only beneficial to a few and in the short term, but that doesn’t matter to them; they want to be happy/rich/comfortable NOW, and damn the consequences.)
That got me this: I don’t agree with the Big Government holding all the power and control. It’s supposed to be the government working for us, not the other way around. And a most of the people running the government are rich and getting richer at out expense.
To which I replied: You’ll get no argument from me on your last point, but can you clarify your first point? What power and control does the government now have that you think it shouldn’t?
And then the talking points came out. Observe:
Jim: Too many regulations (that change on a whim), restrictions (that change on a whim), never ending spending with no say from us, ever increasing taxes, fees, and fines, targeting of groups because of their political beliefs, and forget having privacy anymore. It’s not the governments job to lead us around by our noses. They work for US not the other way around. Our founding fathers never wanted a government with this much power.
Me: Jim, can you be more specific? What regulations do you object to? Which taxes, fees, and fines? Which groups are being targeted? Where do you feel your privacy has been violated? I’m not being antagonistic; I genuinely want to know what SPECIFIC things you’re objecting to. I’ve heard these complaints in generalities, but generalities are almost impossible to talk about in any meaningful way, and I want to talk in a meaningful way.
There have been crickets since then. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I AM disappointed; I’m always disappointed when I ask a respectful, pointed question that my counterpart can’t – or won’t – answer. How are we supposed to learn anything if we’re not willing to talk to each other?
Edited to include that Jim, after four days, finally got back to me. Here’s his predictable reply: LOL…Be more Specific? No offense but have you been paying attention to the events of the last six years? I answered your question what I didn’t agree with…I know where this is going. Your questions have already given me good idea what to expect. I’ll save us some time. Lets see how these “Complaints in generalities” pan out this upcoming election. I believe the critical thinkers have all the evidence they need.
Who’s surprised? Anyone? Anyone…?