Oh The Things (And People) I Own!

In one of my first posts on this blog I mentioned the usage of “the” as a catch-all term to include a variety of government-“offered” “goods” and “services” that people in general refer to offhandedly (“the” schools, “the” roads, etc.).

The Florida Department of Health has launched a campaign to eliminate second hand smoke from bars, parks and other public (or should that be “public”?) spaces. And what better way than to get folks behind this campaign that to be as inclusive as possible. Thus, the marketing/propaganda material uses “our” as much as possible. “Make our bars smoke-free” says one. Another one: “Make our public spaces smoke-free.” And — because we care about “the” children — “Make our parks smoke-free.”

Democracy, the devil that triumphed.

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  • Another one is “the government”–used by centralist libertarians to paper over the difference between state and federal government, and the constitutional limits on federal power. So for example if the feds refuse to strike down a bad state law, perhaps because the court recognizes limits on federal power are not limits on state power and are certainly not grants of power to the federal courts to review state law, then the centralist libertarian says “that decision was wrong because it says the government can do X.” Like in the Kelo case.