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.
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.