Some questions

This flier started appearing on campus today, which is fine--I fully support conservative groups bringing on people to help advocate for their positions. And there's no hiding the agenda here--the Heritage Foundation is mentioned at the bottom and in the credits for the primary speaker. So good for them--open and free exchange of ideas and whatnot.

If I were going, and if there were a Q&A at the end that I could get to the microphone for, though, I would have some questions about the premise of some of the claims mentioned on this flier.

For example, the claim that Big Government is bad for free markets seems, at least from recent experience, to be pretty ludicrous. I mean, unless you like seeing market collapses across the board complete with massive unemployment, you know, the way we did pretty much all the time before and during the Great Depression. We had small government before then, I'd say, and it didn't work out so well for anyone but the Robber Barons.

But if the free market claim is ludicrous, the environment one is exponentially worse. Before big government got involved in the form of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and the EPA, the Cuyahoga River used to catch on fire, and pollutant levels were off the charts. Before big government got involved, you couldn't breathe in LA (and elsewhere) because of the smog, and acid rain was a part of daily life. Industry didn't slow polluting because it was bad for business--they did so because big government made them do so, and as a result, our air and water, while still not as clean as we'd like, are demonstrably cleaner than they were even thirty years ago.

And that's much the same story when it comes to energy needs. Big government forced higher efficiency standards on housing and automobiles and industry, and as a result, we produce far more per unit energy than we were thirty years ago. Would we have made some improvements without the prodding from big government? Undoubtedly. Would they be as far-reaching as they have been? I have my doubts, mainly because industry showed no inclination toward such changes when they were less-regulated.

I suppose those aren't really questions so much as they're statements, so here's the question I'd ask. Given industry's dismal track record on free markets, the environment, and energy production and conservation, why should anyone trust them over big government, whose results are easily recognizable and beneficial?

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