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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

US Populace Jealous of Power?

I can't remember the exact train of thought--maybe Rachael Anne can supplement the record--but we were talking about various countries and I said something to the effect that it's surprising how limited our government is in the US when our citizens (relative to every other populace in the world, I dare say) are very naive about their own rulers. I.e. (and I think I got this notion from a Rothbard story about him hanging out with Polish dissidents) I think Americans trust their government far more than, say, a French or Swedish person trusts his. And yet, paradoxically, those governments have far more power.

Rachael suggested that this might be due to the simple fact that the US government is relatively young. Now it depends how you want to measure it, of course: E.g. the French Revolution happened after the American. But certainly France is older than the United States of America. So even though the French (we assume, and maybe this is wrong) are more cynical about their politicians, nonetheless they've had government around for so much longer (in their cultural history) that c'est la vie when it comes to various programs and powers.

18 comments:

  1. It occurs to me that the causality could run the other way, too, in a theory that's far more complimentary to Americans. Perhaps the reason the French (say) are more cynical is that their rulers have had more power and thus more opportunity to show how bad politicians can be. No American president has ever starved millions to death (okay Abe gave it the old college try) because none has really had the option of completely nationalizing agriculture (okay FDR gave it the old...) and thus we're not as cynical as the average Russian.

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  2. Anonymous3:43 PM

    I was looking through your photos back in the day....... and i saw the picture with all of them with BLACK EYES, what happened To Them???? and what do you mean they are hornoring their dad?

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  3. Quick! Hold the unsalted baby while I shave the chicken's id.

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  4. Anonymous3:00 AM

    ??????????????????????

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  5. Anonymous4:42 AM

    Do You hit your kids or something? whats up

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  6. Far more power? It's unclear what you mean by this, and so I suspect that no single explanation will be sufficient.

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  7. What are you people talking about?

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  8. I guess I belong to the "you people" set, and I while I can't speak for the posts emmidiately proceeding mine, I was just asking if the original poster had a particular type of power in mind when the claim was made that governments foreign to the U.S. had far more power over their populace even while the populace is more skeptical of the government. I was merely trying to get a sense of what this more power is. I for one think the U.S. government has far too much power, but it isn't always felt in the form of federal gov. but rather state and local gov. I'm highly skeptical of the government's actions and intentions, and so I wasn't clear on what basis the original claim by the original poster was being made.
    So, that's what I was talking about. The other "you people" will have to speak for themselves.

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  9. Actually, I was a lot more puzzled by all the black eyes and chicken ids.

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  10. Gene,

    Although I don't believe in "an eye for an eye," I do subscribe to "nonsense for nonsense." So that's why I responded to the original post about black eyes etc.

    gf,

    I don't have any kind of objective measurement. But I thought it was a generally accepted fact that the welfare state is bigger than in Sweden than here, say, and that generally speaking business regulations are stricter in most of Europe.

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  11. Anonymous10:57 AM

    That's Good, I'm not sure what they are talking about all i know is i see black eyes on 3 kids, I'll be sure to report this. I have your Computer #!!! so either we can talk about this and you tell me what happened or i will be sure to have this looked into. have a nice day !

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