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Conservative Disconnect

Here’s a letter to the Baltimore Sun:

Jonah Goldberg rightly defends Sen. Rand Paul against conservatives who react with hostility to anyone who questions the presidential use of military authority (“What Rand Paul got right,” March 14).  But I remain mystified that Mr. Goldberg and many other sensible conservatives nevertheless, to quote Mr. Goldberg, “agree with much of the substance of Mr. Paul’s critics.”

In what universe is a human being, one called “president of the United States,” who cannot be trusted to spend other people’s money wisely – who is held to be rash and irresponsible when pushing legislation to extend health-insurance coverage – who is regarded as arrogant and ignorant for his support of greater government regulation of financial markets – who is accused of being a dangerous social engineer when he launches schemes to redistribute wealth – who is exposed as a typical, high-on-hubris, popularity-grabbing politician who never lets his incomprehension of matters soothe his itch to tax, spend, and issue diktats all in ways that conservatives correctly understand to be destructive – in what universe is such a person to be trusted and saluted as Our Protector and as a paragon of prudence whenever he turns his attention to deploying military force?

Like conservatives, I look with deep suspicion upon any politician who exercises authority to spend other people’s money, to regulate wages, or to plan a ‘green’ economy.  Unlike too many conservatives, however, I look with even deeper suspicion upon any politician who exercises authority to kill.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030