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DTCI: Who needs government? Maybe we do!

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DTCI-Tyra-Kevin.jpgWhen I got out of bed this morning, a Tea Party activist on the morning news was decrying government intrusion into our lives and our freedom. He seemed to be saying that our lives would be so much better without government getting in our way and getting in the way of businesses trying to make our lives better through the free market system.

I assume he was referring to businesses such as AIG, Goldman Sachs, BP, and Massey Coal Company.

But I’m really onboard with what the Tea Party guy was saying. After all, whatever I have accomplished in my life is the result of my own hard work, right? I’m sure it wasn’t because of the federal government’s implementation of the G.I. Bill of Rights after World War II, which allowed my father to go to vocational school and my father-in-law to go to college, which made a world of difference in the socio-economic conditions of their families. And the fact that I, my wife, and our son, daughter, and daughter-in-law all received college educations at Indiana public universities subsidized by Indiana taxpayers (as well as numerous federal grants) doesn’t change the fact that we got where we are just through our own hard work and not with the help of the government.

I continued thinking about this as I efficiently made it into work on an interstate system largely financed by the federal government, and on city streets that have properly working traffic lights and are mostly pothole-free thanks to state and municipal funding and employees. I didn’t need to concern myself with risks to my personal safety on the way in since the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Indianapolis Fire Department have a pretty good handle on things. Not much by way of highway brigands. And thanks in large part to the Department of Homeland Security and related agencies, there wasn’t much chance of being caught up in a terrorist attack either.

As I arrived at work, our paralegal, Amy, was already gathering docket updates and data we need on various cases through government online sources such as in.gov and Doxpop. She was also on the phone to a Superior Court clerk with a question about a recent filing. When we file a pleading by mail, it’s pretty certain it will arrive promptly thanks to the U.S. Postal Service.

One of our associates, Jerry, was heading out to the federal courthouse for a settlement conference in which a federal magistrate was serving as a mediator in one of our cases, at no charge to the parties.

That afternoon I argued a summary judgment motion before an impartial judge in a court financed through a combination of tax dollars and filing fees (paid by the plaintiff, not by my client). Although sometimes the judge is wrong (defined as “the judge ruled against my client”), it’s still about the best system anyone could come up with.

Well, perhaps our ability to function in society, and to make a living, and to enjoy the kinds of lives we want to live, isn’t solely derived from our own efforts. Perhaps government isn’t merely an intrusion into our lives. In many respects, governmental activity makes the lives we enjoy feasible. And perhaps Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was right when he said, “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.”•

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Kevin C. Tyra is the principal of The Tyra Law Firm in Indianapolis. He is a member of the DTCI board of directors. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
 

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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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