I’m just finishing up reading Jonah Goldberg’s book, Liberal Fascism. I thought it was very informative and thought-provoking book. (I’m a conservative who has subscribed to National Review for many years, so that’s not really a surprise.)
It got me thinking a lot about “the individual” vs. “the collective”, which is basically the relevant battle.
As someone from the right, I naturally favor the individual in this debate. I basically want to be left alone to pursue happiness how I see fit and would just as soon leave others alone. There are some cases, however, where I would feel OK about interfering in other people’s lives. Phillip Garrido, kidnapper of Jaycee Lee Duggard, needed to be interferred with. Just about all of us, regardless of our political affiliation, would agree with that.
The question, then, for all of us is – where do we draw the line? Which actions/situations of others need to be interferred with? More specifically, to borrow from Ayn Rand, which actions/situations of others need to be interferred with “at the point of a gun”? (That’s important. Everything that the government requires you to do – it does so at the point of a gun.)
Once you concede the need for certain things to be done at the point of a gun, you have admitted the need for some kind of government. I say this to point out that I am not anti-government. There is absolutely a need for government.
Having said that, I think government is terribly inefficient and wasteful. I think this is just the nature of the beast.
If you agree with these two points, the logical takeaway from that is – get government to do the things that it has to, but nothing else.
When you apply this to our current healthcare reform debate, I think the relevant discussion isn’t “should we or shouldn’t we”, but rather “can government do the job?” If you think of it as interviewing candidates for a new position, I think we are currently arguing about whether or not the position should exist. I think the more relevant argument is – our only candidate (government) can’t do the job we are interviewing for.