Friday, March 31, 2006

Lew's Latest

Are Conservatives Crazy?

The suggestion of conservatives that the government engage in all-out war on the world but otherwise leave people free to manage their own affairs is completely absurd in every way. It is akin to the demand that one's left leg march in one direction and the right leg march in the other direction. If we know how the human body works, we know that this suggestion is ridiculous. So too, if we know how government works, we know that a state that is expansionist abroad will never let well enough alone at home.

In all this, conservatives have two brains. One sees the government as a menace, something stupid, inefficient, brutal, isolated from real life, and the enemy of liberty. The other sees government as smart, wise, and all-knowing, a friend to all, in touch with life around the planet, and the friend to liberty everywhere. How these two brains are integrated is never explained. But the truth is that the Jeffersonian-Misesian-Hayekian-Rothbardian critique of the state applies in both cases. You either embrace it or you don't. As Harry Browne said: "The government that's strong enough to give you what you want is strong enough to destroy you."


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