The Public vs. Private Experience

December 8, 2012   |  

Let me ask you something about the last time you went to a private company and the last time you had to deal with the state. I’ll take a simple example and compare:

You go to Nordstrom’s:

You walk in, and are greeted by the nearest sales person. They ask if you need any help and then let you browse. If you look lost, they help you find what you are looking for. Then they help you pick the product you wish to purchase. If you need to try things on, they bring things to you, and let you try them. They help you with your purchase as much as they can. And whether you buy something or not, they are always helpful and cheerful. You leave the store in an optimistic mood, whether you buy anything or not.

You go to the DMV:

You walk into the DMV and get a number. And wait. And wait. And wait. When your number is called, many minutes later, you are greeted by a surly clerk who brusquely tells you what you can and cannot do. They ask you to spend even more minutes completing paperwork asking you private questions that they have no business asking. After many more minutes, they take your paperwork. They then ask you to pay an exorbitant amount for a service that has no useful purpose to you. They give you more paperwork, and force you to pay for a service to “smog” your car at a third party private business. You eventually leave, much of your time wasted, your wallet empty, and feeling screwed over, and in a pessimistic mood.

Which do you prefer? Dealing with a private company that has a vested interest in keeping you happy, so that you will freely pay for a product or service from them? Or a public concern which doesn’t care about your feelings, moods, preferences, and makes money by stealing from you, and providing no services which benefit you at all in any way shape or form.

Would you really prefer that the state provide you with healthcare? Of all of the things the state could provide, do you really think that it can be trusted with something as important as your life? I mean this about it for a second: why this headlong rush to giving the government more and more power in order to “fix” things, instead of taking power away from the government and letting the people fix things? I mean, what was the last thing that you can recall that the government actually “fixed” instead of “broke”?

Recently, in my area, there was a high school that was pretty bad – in fact so bad that they had to have a private security detail come in and stop some of the lawless behavior at the school. However, since the budget crisis hit, they had to cut the security force. Everyone was up in arms – oh my God they would say – the school will now become a war zone. What are we to do? But guess what: when the security guards left – when the authority figures split – it turns out that violence actually went down and the students started to police themselves. Peer pressure was a more powerful motivator than force. This is probably typical: take away the authority and people will self organize to make things better. It’s a proven fact.

So take government away, and we can run things ourselves, a thousand times better.

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