Laissez Faire

by Don Boudreaux on April 7, 2013

in Politics

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, 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.

Scary.

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