Other: What Belongs?
Who do you trust more: business or government?
I've almost always come down on the side of government, and this frequently gets people tied in knots where they start babbling about "lost freedoms" and "Big Brother" and "cops". Sometimes it takes a little longer for the last one to come out, but it usually does. I also qualify my response by making sure we're only talking democracies, here. I'm not going to say I'd rather live in Nicaragua than have a WalMart in my town!
(On a side note: I took a bus up to Nelson, B.C. a few years back, and it was gorgeous. But after riding 14 hours through some of the most amazing views in the world, the bus stops outside of...)
What's more interesting than the knee-jerk reaction to the word "government" that some of my erstwhile opponents have is their image of what a "business" is: there is a prevalent belief that it's all mom-and-pop run corner stores, where if you have a problem you can talk to Phil at the counter and he'll fix you right up. Likewise, all they can see in government is this shadowy, nebulous mass of tentacles dancing bureaucratic automotons who enact unreasonable laws for unknowable reasons.
Which bugs me.
For a few reasons, but the most important one is this: living in a society, any society, is about striking balances, and there are a lot of them around. There is no such thing as a completely stable society (despite Confucius' best wishes), only one that is balanced. All politics is a social experiment, because the society we live in now is mid-change, and laws that may have seemed reasonable at one time are now looked on as outdated, overly restrictive, or even criminal. The society (that's us) changes, and with that change comes the change in laws.
People can be (and do get) voted in or out of political office as the tenor of the times change. Laws that are enacted by one government can be changed or superseded by another. Obviously, some governments are a vast amount better than others at reacting to their citizens demands, much like some companies are much better to their employees and those that live around them than others. On the other hand, companies that are big enough can demand certain things from those governments that they deal with, like: reduced (or eliminated) municipal corporate taxes; cash packages; 99-year leases of land for $1/year; and oh yes...
Having the government seize private land for their gain.
There is a problem when the balance only has weight one side.