Tag Archives: limited government

Exploding TV sets and government regulation

Many people today consider government regulation to be a necessary evil. Without government overseeing greedy corporations, the thinking goes, attention to quality, and especially safety, will degrade.

It is assumed that government is the only entity with the ability and motivation to look out for the interests of everyone.

To help illustrate how faulty the notion of government regulation being our saving grace is, let’s take a look at how the Soviet Union regulated the production of its most effective propaganda outlet, the common TV set. Keep in mind that the USSR had an interest in producing quality TVs in order to govern more effectively.

Soviet television sets tended to explode, because of faulty manufacturing. The surprising and alarming propensity of Russian receivers to blow up, and by extension the apprehension it causes in Soviet viewers, was one of the stranger features of Soviet life. By one estimate, sixty percent of all apartment fires in Moscow are caused by mass-produced Soviet television sets, which hada tendency to explode. Of the 715 apartment fires in Moscow in November 1987, 90 were blamed on exploding television sets, a statistic the Soviet press viewed as an alarming commentary on Soviet technology. Police said three television models notorious for defective wiring are being removed from the market, and millions of warning leaflets have been mailed to television owners.

Its true that markets aren’t efficient (in terms of the efficient market hypothesis ), but as inefficient as they are, governments are worse. It is a fallacy to think that a small subset of the market can do a better job than the whole market in ferreting out bad products.

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Why don’t we just get the government out of the marriage business?

The most popular argument from the left regarding marriage seems to be that we should just “get the government out of any marriage decision between two (or more) consenting adults.

This, they argue, is more in keeping with a limited view of government that many aspire to (but precious few actually vote for).

Well here’s my take on the matter.

It is unrealistic to expect the government to not be involved in the institution of marriage. It would be great if we lived in a perfect society where no one ever cheated on their spouse, abused them, ran off leaving one to fend for themselves, etc.

But if all we had to contend with were the contractual issues between two or more partners which may or may not be sexual in nature we wouldn’t need to consider marriage to be any different than any other institution and thus it could be handled by existing contract law.

However marriage is not like any other institution because it carries with it the possibility of bringing new life into the world.

Sure, new life can come into the world outside of a marriage, but in those cases we have good data which shows that government has to step in and grow bigger to take care of the breakdowns marriage is designed to handle on it’s own. This is something we know thanks to years of liberal (including feminist) policies either explicitly designed to damage marriage or at the least disincentive it heavily.

So while it is impossible and wholly undesirable to “get the government out of marriage”, mostly for the sake of the children who are the unfortunate casualties of the “progressive” sexual liberation movement, it is definitely worthwhile to render the government idle by promoting strong healthy families. It would be great of all the government ended up having to do is record the names of married couples in a book. That is how we lesson the involvement of government in marriage. Not by requiring government to grow by disincentivizing marriage and promoting all kinds of things that etch away at the foundations of the building block to society, expecting the state to step in and take care of the wreckage left behind.