Monday, March 10, 2008

A couple of good thoughts and quotes from the Patriot

Thought you might enjoy these two quotes gleaned from the Patriot today. Ronald Reagan had a unique way of discussing tax cuts and putting them into perspective. Walter Williams points out the slippery slope that eventually leads to diminished rights and socialism. Enjoy.

“How can limited government and fiscal restraint be equated with lack of compassion for the poor? How can a tax break that puts a little more money in the weekly paychecks of working people be seen as an attack on the needy? Since when do we in America believe that our society is made up of two diametrically opposed classes—one rich, one poor—both in a permanent state of conflict and neither able to get ahead except at the expense of the other? Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?” —Ronald Reagan

“The fact that an obese person becomes ill, or a cyclist has an accident, and becomes a burden on taxpayers who must bear the expense of taking care of him, is not a problem of liberty. It’s a problem of socialism where one person is forced to take care of another. There is no moral argument that justifies using the coercive powers of government to force one person to bear the expense of taking care of another... Forcing one person to bear the burden of health care costs for another is not only a moral question but a major threat to personal liberty. Think about all the behaviors and lifestyles that can lead to illness and increase the burden on taxpayers. A daily salt intake exceeding 6 grams can lead to hypertension. A high-fat diet and high alcohol intake can also lead to diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to several costly diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart failure. There are many other behaviors that lead to a greater health care burden, but my question is how much control over your life you are willing to give government in the name of reducing these costs? Would you want government to regulate how much salt you use? What about government deciding how much fat and alcohol you consume? There are immense beneficial health effects of a daily 30-minute aerobic exercise. Would you support government-mandated exercise? You might argue that it’s none of government’s business how much fat, salt or alcohol a person consumes, even if it has adverse health care cost implications. I’d ask: Wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to helmet laws and proposed obesity laws?” —Walter Williams

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a guest editorial in today's WSJ, "The Inequality Myth", that attempts to debunk the class warfare issue being used by the Dem presidential candidates that should be in every Republican's
issue portfiolio.

Also, I have an issue with the quotes from Walter Williams under "Liberty" in today's O.J.

In general terms, Williams statements, in my opinion, are a reason that some "conservatives" are viewed with severe skepticism with many middle of the road American voters. There is a philo-sophical question about where "conservatism" & "libertarianism" converge or diverge in their basic beliefs.

There is much in Williams comments with which I agree. However, he jumps into purely theoreti-cal libertarian territory by merging concerns about governmental involvement in our social & personal lives with his comments indicating that government has no responsibility to essentially help those who are unable to help themselves. Conservatives (and Republicans) are often charac-terized by the Libs / Dems as uncaring Neanderthals interested only in enriching the upscale elite, and to hell with everyone else. Unfortunately, extending the concept of individual responsibiltiy to the nth degree only emboldens these claims. In essence, the "liberty" extolled by Williams goes to the extent of virtually validating the "survival of the fittest" & "law of the jungle" mantra that is the cliched concept associated with the most extreme of our conservative / libertarian breathren.

For strictly humanitarian reasons, there are areas where the government has a responsibility to assist certain of those who are unable to help themselves. Determining where that line exists is really the responsibility of a viable democratic dialogue. From my perspective, there is a wide variance between legislating the requirement for wearing seat belts & helmets for motorcycle riders and legislating eating habits. I realize that some of those in the 'conservative' movement are arguing that it is now necessary to move ever more toward a purely theoretical issue base at a time when the nation appears to be moving in the opposite direction. However, those issues have to be balanced against practical realities. And when certain extreme concepts bring only public suspicion and scorn, more harm than good can ultimately come to the propagation of truly positive conservative principles.