Friday, August 13, 2010

Mistrust of Government Is a Beautiful Thing



Mistrust of Government Is a Beautiful Thing | Penn Jillette | Big Think

But I think that it's forgotten that what everybody is trying to do is help the people that need it. Everybody is trying that and I will say that about every political group and I think that I would love to see people using the word "wrong" more and using the word "evil" less.
He may be a whacky Libertarian, and entertainer, but you have to admit that the man has interesting ideas.

He's absolutely right. Mssrs Harper and Bush aren't "Evil". They actually do genuinely want to help the people that need it, the disagreement (and where the "evil" comes in) is that sometimes the help that people need isn't necessarily compassionate in the short term. It's called tough love, and many conservatives are willing to provide it in answer to a problem in order to ensure that the problem ultimately gets solved.

Whether it is Insite, needle exchanges, condoms to teens, drug laws, immigration policy, what have you, conservatives will usually in favour of denying a benefit or help to those who don't "deserve it". How is the help deserved in a conservative's mind? By trying to help yourself. Helping yourself isn't going to a designated site to shoot up, or to get your clean needle. It isn['t about seeking out a free condom or taking it upon yourself to circumvent laws that prevent you from emigrating. Helping yourself is about actually seeking treatment, knowing that your activity is harmful to yourself or others and seeking to correct that behaviour in yourself. Helping yourself is about taking responsibility for yourself and doing everything legally in your power to correct the situation.

I disagree with Penn on some issues - more often than not the disagreement is in degree and not in fundamentals. Penn (and Teller) tend to be Libertarian to the point where the government has absolutely no role (even in law enforcement or infrastructure). I tend to be Libertarian in that the government has a very limited role. When all is said and done though, the fundamental question still comes down to one thing:

What do you want done at the point of a gun.

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