Monday, April 8, 2013

Laissez Faire - by Don Boudreaux

I have struggled, and failed, for the last 5 years to express what Don Boudreaux says here in just three paragraphs. 
Why in the hell would anyone opposed to The Religious Right or The Ultra-Secular Left want a larger, more intrusive government? 

If you are a modern “Progressive” and cannot abide the notion of conservatives, Christian or otherwise, having a say in who you sleep with and who you may marry, when and why you may get an abortion, what sorts of scientific research and artistic projects should be funded, what school curricula should and shouldn’t include, or when and why Uncle Sam goes on world-policing ventures, then why do you wish to expand the scope of government authority? Doing so in a society with a wide franchise, such as the U.S., inevitably invites those rubes to intrude their antediluvian superstitions and dogmas onto you and onto all that you hold dear and sacred.

If you are a modern conservative, Christian or otherwise, and cannot abide the notion of “Progressives” having a say in how you school your children, what your tax rates are, what size Big Gulps you may buy, or whether or not you may fill in ditches and water puddles on your land, then why do you tolerate – indeed, frequently applaud – activities such as government’s ‘war on drugs,’ Uncle Sam’s interventionist foreign policies, strict immigration restrictions, and tariffs on imports? Doing so – by creating a large and discretionary state – only encourages those obnoxious know-it-alls to use government against you and against all that you hold dear and sacred.

Here’s why I ask the above questions: every time I’m in a supermarket check-out lane and catch the headlines of the reading materials on sale there – soap-opera digests, magazines featuring Oprah and other entertainment celebrities, and the like – I literally get a bit of a queazy feeling in the pit of my stomach. It somewhat sickens me that people care who Jennifer Anniston is dating, what Oprah is eating, or why male hunk du jour just ditched female sex-goddess du jour for some other equally vacuous if va-va-va-voom!-inducing babe. I don’t wish to prevent anyone from reading about or caring deeply about these matters about which I truly couldn’t care less. But it scares me that people who read that nonsense – because they care about that nonsense - have a say in how my life is conducted. I resent the fact that such people, if only through the ballot box, have influence how government orders me about.

The more expansive is the scope of government authority, the more my life is subject to commands issued in part under the influence of people who read Us magazine.


Not just scary.  Terrifying.  But people vote for more of it every 2 years. 


CenTexTim said...

Here's the short answer to Boudreaux's question: 'I' (not me personally - I'm speaking for the other side) support more government intrusion into all those areas because 'I' (naively and foolishly) believe that such intrusion will support/benefit my side.

From that perspective, there is 'good' government intrusion and 'bad' government intrusion. Expecting people who read Us magazine to understand that both paths lead to the same destination is optimistic at best.

Dr Ralph said...

CenTexTim - in a roundabout way I agree with you. Most people don't have any problem at all with government intrusion, as long as they approve of the type of intrusion. And when they do, they usually don't consider it intrusion. I'd be willing to bet one could find more than a few things the bloviating Dr. Boudreaux approves of that others would consider a form of intrusion, including having to pay state taxes (in Virginia) to fund his salary as a state university employee.

Given financial events over the last half dozen years, I have more faith in Us's readers to make good decisions than the readership of the Wall Street Journal.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Nah.... I think that what the good Doctor is saying is that we need the readers of The Congressional Record, Us, The Wall Street Journal, and The Whited Sepulchre to make fewer and fewer decisions that effect the lives of others.