Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Conservative Libertarianism"

When asked to describe my politics, I say I am a "conservative libertarian." So what does that mean? My usual explanation is that while I think marijuana should be legal, I do not think you should enjoy smoking it.

Generally, I consider myself a "fusionist." I share many of the concerns of traditional conservatives. I worry that civil society is failing and that traditional values are under attack.

Where I differ from traditional conservatives is in the cause and solution. Traditional conservatives, especially in the Bush years, have begun to believe that the way to protect traditional values is through government action. I, however, believe that much of the reason for the decline in values is government intervention itself. When the government promises much, people can walk away from their individual responsibilities. And the more government promises, the more government tries to socially engineer results. And as government usually lacks flexibility, as programs become centralized in Washington, we see one size fits all solutions.

Hence, I believe that the best way is to generally let people find their own way. Government should be limited and any government action (such as what we probably will see on health care in the next administration) should provide the maximum flexibility and choices to individuals. To stick with the health care example, we should see a system that retains most of the elements of the current system, but is tailored to provide choices to those earning too much for Medicaid but not receiving employer health insurance. Single payor, under which every person in America is insured by a federal government program, would be a disaster.

(Of course, if I were a pure libertarian I would say government should have no role in health care, but if the democratic process wants it, at least I can try and push for what I believe is the best system).

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