Socialism, Bush Style
Tibor R. Machan
by Tibor R. Machan
conservatism always was a fraud but just how straightforward a fraud
it is can be seen from recent statements from Bush Administration
was it a fraud to start with? Because government cannot yes, literally,
cannot be compassionate toward people with other peopleís money.
You, I, our friends and neighbors can be compassionate, in the sense
that we can consider some peopleís misfortune, even bad choices,
and reach out to them with our help, be this money or some service
we could offer. Thatís compassion. But when we see such misfortune
and go out to rob a neighbor and hand over the loot to those in
need, that isnít compassion, conservative, liberal or any other
kind! It is criminal maybe we ought to dub it "criminal Ďcompassioní"!
recent days the Bush Administration has been making plans to spend
other peopleís hard-earned or what if simply luckily obtained
money on, as Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary, Administration
of Children and Families (Department of Health and Human Service),
refers to it in a letter to my local newspaper, "to support
couples in their desire to form and sustain healthy marriages."
Some people around the country have criticized this measure as yet
another robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul scheme that is plainly immoral.
In this instance, however, we have the good fortune of Dr. Horn
telling us why the Bush Administration believes in this program.
tells us first that troubled couples, and their children, can very
well benefit from receiving professional help from counselors. This
is true enough, although he gives no evidence for it. Still, perhaps
that is simply common sense if professionals really know their
stuff, they can give some helpful advice. Of course, it is still
up to those getting the advice to apply it, and there is no guarantee
for that. So, despite such help, people may still mess up their
let that go. Dr. Horn adds that people who lack sufficient funds
may not be able to obtain the help they need from professionals.
True enough another reason that many people should wait with
getting hitched and, especially, with producing children. One has
the responsibility to prepare for such things, including economically.
If you cannot afford to bring in professional help when you need
it, you should wait until you can afford it or do without.
then Dr. Horn goes on to line up the Bush Administration with out-and-out
socialism. He tells us, "Donít low-income couples deserve the
same chance to build and sustain healthy marriages as more affluent
ones?" So, government must provide, no?
is a devious question. "Deserve" can mean this: "Would
it not be something valuable to them to have such help?" Yes,
it would. But it doesnít follow from that that other people may
be coerced to provide the help to them. There are zillions of things
that would be valuable for people they just cannot afford and in
order to get these things they are not justified to rob others.
perhaps "deserve" means, "Should these folks not
be receiving help from others?" Well, here the answer isnít
that easy. Some might if they did everything reasonable to gain
the funds themselves and lost it, say, in an earthquake. But say
they lost it gambling? Or overspending? Or they never earned enough
to start with but decided to get married and have children anyway?
Do they deserve the help? Perhaps, in rare case, but generally not.
And what about their children? Their lot, first of all, is the fault
of the parents, not the taxpayers of the USA. And there are charitable
organizations to turn to for help to children. Unless special considerations
apply, leave the parents fend for themselves they made their rickety
marriage bed, now they must lie in it.
course, even when they do deserve help, it is not from government
they deserve it, but from friends and relatives and voluntary agencies
established to provide such help with the support of those who give
of their own free will. That is being compassionate, not what the
Bush folks and Dr. Horn propose, which is phony compassion and criminal,
to boot. More generally, there are inequalities all over the world,
as well as at home, that simply may not be erased by force of arms.
I am less handsome than Robert Redford but donít I deserve a happy
love life, too? Alas, if I am unable to attract the ladies as Robert
does, shouldnít the government make sure this imbalance is fixed?
No. What about vacations or schools to which our kids go the better
off can afford those while the less well off cannot. Is it the role
of government to even all this out?
not any more than it is the role of the referees at athletic contest
to make sure everyone comes in at the finish line together, or that
no team ever beats another.
enforcement agencies exist to make sure we do things peacefully,
without trampling on each otherís rights, not so as to try to make
sure everything turns out to everyoneís full satisfaction. The resulting
all-powerful state will soon manage not to satisfy anyone at all
just recall what happened in the good old Soviet Union.
him mail] holds
the Freedom Communications Professorship of Free Enterprise and
Business Ethics at the Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman
University, CA. A Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford
University, he is author of 20+ books, most recently, Putting
Humans First: Why We Are Nature's Favorite.
© 2004 Tibor Machan