Government vs. The Private Sector

Note again, just to clarify, the govt. sector is the coercive sector. The private sector is the free and productive sector.

This column from the always good Sheldon Richman. Rachel Maddow: Government “Greatness” Versus Private “Smallness”: This question continues to be a puzzle until you realize that when Maddow says “America,” she means not individual Americans or society but government. And now her fallacy is clear. Frédéric Bastiat identified it in 1850. In his classic, The Law, Bastiat wrote that the “socialist” confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education… We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

I can see Maddow saying that. One need not be a state socialist, however, to commit this fallacy. It’s done all the time all along the political spectrum. But Maddow offers us a particularly good example.