Where The Liberal Confronts Proper Role of Government

Role of Government

I often harp on the proper role of government.  In fact, it’s a favorite topic of mine.

“Yes, programs that provide milk to mothers are good for the mothers and the children, but is that the proper role of government?”

So you can imagine my excitement when I was confronted with a liberal questioning if a particular policy was, indeed, the role of government.  After all, it is the fall back position of the liberal to use the coercive force of the state to force compliance for an otherwise unpopular program.

“Don’t wanna voluntarily donate money to the plight of the spotted owl?  Fine, I’ll elect 2 new county commissioners and force you to pay taxes to do just that.”

Anyway, to the chase:

Is this the role government ought to be playing in people’s lives? John Stuart Mill condemned such efforts, writing, “The only purpose for which power may be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.”

People may make bad choices, Mill and others argue. But that’s one of the costs of a free society. And it’s not as though government intervention is risk-free: The government may make even worse decisions on people’s behalf. Or, when it treats them like children, why expect that they will ever act like adults?

What sorcery this?  Who has swooped in and transformed my liberal into a rock-ribbed conservative?  What government over reach could they possibly be protesting?

Or, as described below:

But the Worcester program goes a step beyond many of these initiatives, as the penalty for not complying is so great.

Jeepers!  What horribleness could this be?

“IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Residents Required to Go to Work/Attend School.” As long as they weren’t disabled or over 55, the letter elaborated, at least one member of each household had to go to work or school, or risk eviction.

Bullshit!

How dare the government over reach when applying conditions to government over reach!?

Yes, you read that right.  Forget the fact that confiscating my money to pay for someone else’s home is somehow not over reach, the radical idea that such a recipient should work or learn a skill enabling work IS over reach is only  possible in the mind of the leftist.

 

16 responses to “Where The Liberal Confronts Proper Role of Government

  1. First, you continue to make the “collectivization error” – pretending that a diverse set of people can be grouped as one – “the liberal.” There is not one liberal or conservative view; when people collectivize like that it’s usually to paint a caricature rather than make a serious point. Which is the case here. At least in the field of political science, and in classrooms at universities where there are many liberals and conservatives (but a myriad of views as the two don’t each have one perspective) the question of the proper role of government is hotly debated. It is one with no “right” answer – it is always a matter of opinion. But ultimately two things – the constitution and democratic oversight – shape which opinions get turned into policy. For the record, I am in favor of making some kind of work or community service a requirement for receiving welfare assistance, recognizing there may be cases where exceptions must be made (e.g., a single mom who can’t afford child care).

    • First, you continue to make the “collectivization error” – pretending that a diverse set of people can be grouped as one – “the liberal.”

      Not an error, I do it with thought.

      Name a single liberal that thinks global warming is a hoax, doesn’t support the minimum wage, thinks women are payed equally well as men or that a baker has a right to refuse service to a gay wedding.

      At least in the field of political science, and in classrooms at universities where there are many liberals and conservatives (but a myriad of views as the two don’t each have one perspective) the question of the proper role of government is hotly debated.

      There is no meaningful conservative voice in academia.

      See NY Times article.

  2. Well, most conservatives globally don’t think global warming is a hoax. Those who do are clearly ignoring science and believing an absurd claim simply because it fits their ideology. The evidence on global warming is overwhelming and neither left nor right – and except for a small contingent of mostly ideology driven Americans, conservatives world wide believe it is a human caused problem. Most conservatives support the minimum wage too – though there are vast differnces among both the left and the right on where it should be. Evidence shows that women are not paid equally well, that’s not a question of conservative or liberal, that’s an objective fact. As far as “baking a cake,” there are diverse views left and right on that issue as well. But you make a logical error – I can show you a list of things that baseball players have in common with soccer players. I cannot from there say the two are the same. Even if people had ten things in common, they very well could have hundreds of differences. Showing a few issues that most liberals may agree upon does NOT support the idea there is one collective “The Liberal.” Look at the fights within the Democratic party – or the Republican. When one uses a label like that it is usually a malicious attempt to caricature the other side.

    • Showing a few issues that most liberals may agree upon does NOT support the idea there is one collective “The Liberal.”

      As I thought. Not one single example.

      EDIT: I changed this comment to correct the italics in my response and add the section of Scott’s comment I was responding to.

  3. So my points stand unrefuted? Excellent.

    • So my points stand unrefuted? Excellent.

      Generalizations are the best way to describe large groups of people.

      Conservatives generally support free markets.

      Liberals generally support the restriction of free speech.

      Conservatives generally support national defense.

      Liberals generally support racism.

  4. Generalizations are often weak though. Conservatism as an ideology is inherently skeptical of free markets. LIberalism – both Democrats and Republicans are really ideologically liberal – is the free market ideology. Neither party accepts total free markets, both are very close to each other in ideology. The differences are a few percent on taxes maybe, or how much social security. But really – Republicans and Democrats are almost 90% ideological soul mates. Liberals are adamantly against restrictions on free speech – take a con law class, you’ll see historically it’s more often been conservatives that have tried to prohibit free speech. Now I think both sides are again very much in favor of free speech. Both parties are VERY close on national defense – Hillary is pretty Hawkish to be sure. And liberals are absolutely opposed to racism – so are most conservatives, but conservatives sometimes deny the lingering and real effects of racism on America today. But really – the differences between liberals and conservatives for most people are minor. That’s why the political rhetoric cherry picks bizarre cases and personalizes things. But really, we’re all more alike than different.

    • liberals are absolutely opposed to racism

      Not true. Liberals feel that minorities are unable to succeed on their own – they need special government assistance.

  5. Really Pino, you have to avoid that kind of silly caricatured way of talking about those with whom you disagree. No liberal I know thinks that – not even close. You’re simply making up something preposterous in order to press emotional buttons. Come on, you’re better than that!

    • No liberal I know thinks that – not even close. You’re simply making up something preposterous in order to press emotional buttons.

      Explain to me why we need affirmative action then. A program designed to allow minorities entrance into colleges with lower test scores. As if a black kid or Latino kid can’t get good enough scores on her own.

  6. To put it another way: if you ask any liberal if people of different races given equal opportunity, access and education have any more or less chance to succeed the answer would be no. Race is not a factor. If you ask whether social structures built on a racist past create situations where some of one race have it easier than others the answer is: duh. It’s OBVIOUS. No one can deny it. So there is a role to play to alter and mitigate those racist cultural remnants. But the problem is not race, the problem is racism – the problem is the social structures that constrain some and empower others. To make it sound like liberals think race is the problem is absurd. The problem is racism, and people who deny that racism is still a factor (luckily colleges are making this part of the general education curriculum, so students learn the role of privilege and racism)

    • luckily colleges are making this part of the general education curriculum, so students learn the role of privilege and racism

      It is my opinion that those programs teach intolerance and foster anger and resentment. But my experience is limited.

      So there is a role to play to alter and mitigate those racist cultural remnants.

      I would posit that we are largely post-racial here in America.

      I think that evidence of this can be found in the fact that when a black person moves to America they do just fine. For some reason, native born black populations don’t do so well.

  7. I think you are ignoring the vast array of evidence which shows that race is a huge structural problem in the US, that black kids learn early on that they are treated differently, that police treat them differently (a story today from an editor of the Daily Beast shows that). In fact, there is no doubt that we are not post-racial. I have no clue how you can ignore all the evidence and claim that. I guess it’s easy if one is in the position of privilege.

    • I think you are ignoring the vast array of evidence which shows that race is a huge structural problem in the US

      I am not ignoring anything of the sort. I’m just saying it’s not all ‘the white man’s fault’.

      In fact, there is no doubt that we are not post-racial.

      I said we are largely post-racial.

      I have no clue how you can ignore all the evidence and claim that.

      It is because I have an open mind, live in corporate America and am not stuck in some fantastically insulated echo chamber that is academia.

      I guess it’s easy if one is in the position of privilege.

      I wasn’t born here, I earned it. Perhaps my kids were, as your kids were, but that is not your point.

  8. Oh, and your last comment is down right racist. That somehow “black countries” aren’t as good. Colonialism destroyed political cultures and even know they are exploited for raw materials, bribed by big western (and Chinese) interests. 600 years ago Africans and Europeans were essentially equal in terms of quality of life. Then the Europeans conquered them, divided them into false borders, exploited them, and that continues to this day. Hey, but we benefit!

    • Oh, and your last comment is down right racist. That somehow “black countries” aren’t as good.

      Or for gawds sake – check your hyper-offednded self. American born black populations do less well than black immigrants to America. If we were an institutionally racist nation NO black person would do well.

      Then the Europeans conquered them, divided them into false borders, exploited them, and that continues to this day.

      How horrible must your existence be as you wallow in white guilt. The history of the world is awash in the common practice of war, terror and poverty. No one was safe from the vagrancies of the horrible nature that we call the human condition:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_slave_

      As horrible as it was, at some point we have to emphasize the ‘was’ and move on to what is the ‘is’!

      Scott, leave the past behind you and embrace the NOW! Your way of thinking is a relic; no one cares about what color you are today – love that!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *