"If men were angels, we would need no government"

So spoke James Madison, on that every pressing question of what to do with governance; how much is good and how much is too much? How much is too little?

Because men aren't angels, they lie to each other, sell each other faulty or unsafe products to make a buck for themselves, or any number of unwholesome things. Thinking more about what I posted yesterday, and the role of government in improving our lives and standards of living, I have to endorse many of the things it does for us. The government cannot be limited to, at its most bare, a military protection from outside forces, because we need protection from ourselves more often. I recalled something I'd read about a year ago, from the political commentary section of Reddit. It makes a strong point:

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to ny house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on freerepublic.com and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.

Let's give the powers some credit...

Sean Wilentz, in the Fresh Air interview, comments on that notion, of the government always being seen as a threat to liberty, to a paranoid degree. "What are we left with? We're left with no government at all. It's basically, it would end up with, a kind of dog-eat-dog world, mitigated I suppose by religious charity; it's a view of America that's just un-American."

(Since this comment was not the original work of the person who posted it, here is  the link to the commentary on Reddit, posted by nailz1000. This is the source of this quotation. He notes there that this is from the Laissez Faire subforum on Something Awful.)