I spent an evening with WE THE PEOPLE OF BRUNSWICK COUNTY (www.wethepeopleofnc.com) last week. I addressed a number of topics, including what I see at the top 10 liberal misunderstandings that must be countered when we engage our friends, neighbors, and co-workers between now and November. I’m sure my list is incomplete, but here goes:
- It’s Bush’s fault. I agree that Bush made some mistakes, particularly near the end of his presidency, but Obama is amplifying those mistakes. Everything’s on his watch now.
- Capitalism fails from time to time and must be countered with government intervention. Those who complain about the inadequacies of capitalism and demand more government fail to see how individual choices and current government intervention contribute to the crisis at hand. Healthcare is a great example. While Washington has been deeply embedded in healthcare for decades, we are told that millions of Americans (with cell phones and cable TV) just can’t afford health insurance. Yet we are also told that capitalism—more specifically the evil insurance companies—is the obvious problem. Really?
- The government can be trusted. While private industry must meet its contractual obligations, Washington can change the rules that govern its obligations at a whim. Your social security benefits can be changed at a stroke of a pen.
- The “rich” can pay more taxes to fund whatever new programs we need. The money just isn’t there. The Wall Street Journal did the math last year, but many on the left just don’t seem to get it.
- The government can print money to fix the deficit. They don’t seem to understand that every dollar printed eventually devalues the currency. Wealth cannot be created by a printing press.
- Government can be efficient if managed properly. The IRS, Amtrak, and the USPS are but a few examples of long term government inefficiency.
- The issues are often too complicated to understand, so how can we (capitalists) be so sure that Obama’s proposals (socialism) won’t work? Sure, many of the problems we face are complex, but it’s not too difficult to understand the basic causes. This defense is just an excuse for ignorance, regardless of who uses it.
- All politicians (and both parties) are the same. Perhaps you could have made a case for this a few years ago, but it’s hard to watch the healthcare debate and actually believe this is true.
- I don’t care because I’m a net beneficiary of bigger government. This sad argument comes from zero liability voters (thanks to Andrew Wilkow for this descriptive term) who don’t pay net federal income taxes anyway. This group is approaching 50% of the population and many don’t see that income redistribution mandated by Washington is simply legalized theft.
- “We have to do something.” Really? Should government take action just because there is a problem? What if the action won’t solve the problem, makes it worse, or creates another one? Liberals instinctively think that government can solve most of the challenges we face, so they often intervene even when there is not clear solution. Conservatives favor limited government because we know that most societal problems cannot be remedied by government action.
I am convinced that most liberal arguments boil down to a short list of flawed arguments or assumptions about the role of government, how wealth is created, and the importance of personal property rights. I hope this list helps you organize your own defense of liberty and you help the liberals in your life find make sense of the world…