Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Elected Babysitters

Unconvinced the Dems' are condescending and paternalistic? Better read Yale Prof David Gelernter's The 'We're Smart, You're Dumb' Principle in the April 29th LA Times:
Who could possibly be against cutting voter fraud on election day? You'd have to be some sort of fruitcake. But when Georgia's Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue recently signed a bill to reduce voter fraud, under which voters must show a photo ID before casting their ballots, many of Georgia's black legislators stormed out in protest. They even threatened to sue. The new process is simple, easy and fairly effective, but Democrats alleged that it would reduce voting by minorities, the elderly and the poor. So black legislators had to oppose it.

For legislators to announce that getting a photo ID is too tricky for their constituents is downright amazing. Wouldn't you expect those constituents to say, "Drop dead! Stop treating us like morons!"? . .

That's the whole basis of Democratic philosophy (I use the term loosely). We'll take care of you. Leave the thinking to us. . .

How could anyone be opposed in principle to private investment accounts within Social Security? I could understand Democrats arguing that "private accounts are a wonderful idea but the country can't afford the transition costs right now." But mostly I hear Democrats saying they're a lousy idea, and that President Bush wants to wreck Social Security — because, after all, he wants to let you keep a great big whopping 4% of your payroll taxes in a private account instead of handing over every cent to the government. How on Earth could anyone be opposed in principle to letting taxpayers manage a minuscule fraction of their own money (their own money, dammit!) if they want to? Because private accounts violate the Infantile American Principle, so dear to Democratic hearts. Little kids should turn over their cash to the Big Smart Government for safekeeping.

But of course they can't say that, so instead they say, "Bush wants to privatize Social Security" — as if government were going to wash its hands of the whole mess. The technical term that logicians use for this rhetorical gambit — applying a correct word for one part of a proposal to the proposal as a whole — is "lying."
Trading liberty for equality turns nations into nursery schools--and citizens into children. It's insulting and unworkable--literally. Just look at France.

(via Joe's Dartblog)


MaxedOutMama said...

Nice post - I believe the idea that people are too stupid to look after their own destinies is entirely antithetical to the ideas on which this country was founded.

There is a place for government - to deal with disaster and common needs - but the idea that it can fix everything or direct individual's entire lives effectively and efficiently is the source of much misery.

Hey - weren't you going to post that religious freedom test over here? I wanted to answer it over here....

Anonymous said...

These posts paint this issue as too black or white. Yes, self-determinism is important (even critical) to our system of government, but no person can look after his/her own destiny alone. Not everyone has the time/energy/knowledge/skills (or, yes, desire) to learn everything they need to know to make all the right decisions about their lives (or the lives of their loved ones) in this extremely complex world. And then there are children, the elderly and, yes, my high school friends who decided to go to the corner bar rather than college where it is possible to learn about the difference between liberty and equality. So, many people focus on the most important things in their lives and often/necessarily rely on others (e.g., paternalistic representatives and elected officials, oversight agencies, and yes, public interest organizations and trial lawyers) to cover their backs on many other things. Indeed, in some cases those with "liberty" will exercise it badly (and often illegally) to the detriment of others that might not know they are being treated badly.

"Equality," then, becomes a touchstone for how the paternalistic and elitist should help; it is not necessarily a specific end goal. They are not trading equality for liberty, but promoting liberty through measures that are based on equality.

Is this approach paternalistic and elitist OR is it realistic?