Some problems are public, period.

private vs public 2The lines between private and public are not always clear. This thought-provoking, albeit erudite, piece from the Washington Post examines the debate over this line for the past several decades. Author Mike Conczal concludes that modern conservatives are drawing this line so far to the right that it makes no sense, privatizing issues that most Americans would reasonably conclude have at least some public dimension. He argues this tactic will have negative consequences for conservatives in the long run.

One can spend an entire lifetime debating the distinction between “public” and “private,” but for this post let’s use an approach from John Dewey. In “The Public and Its Problems” (1927), Dewey argued that the public is involved wherever an action between two people has consequences “that extend beyond the two directly concerned.” Given “that they affect the welfare of many others, the act acquires a public capacity.” And as such needs a public response.

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