Roger Simon writes that those who truly value limited government should stop seeking government solutions to social problems.
It’s interesting how some of those who most vociferously object to government interference in our economic affairs are most desirous of government interference in our personal ones.
I’m referring of course to social conservatives, who want to legislate our morals and values according to their views. …
The social issues, whatever your position, are best dealt with outside the governmental realm.
I realize this is an unattainable goal and that government will always intrude in our private lives to some degree, but we must fight against it as much as possible for several reasons.
To begin with, social conservatives will be vastly more successful at having their views accepted if they make their case extrinsic of government.
Simon goes on to apply this thinking to the gay marriage and abortion debates. I actually disagree with Simon a bit on the abortion issue – if you believe life begins at conception then shouldn’t that life have the protection of the law? – but in a larger sense, shouldn’t we admit that when government tries to solve social problems the outcomes are usually worse than the original problem?
Take gay marriage, for instance. Had government bans on gay marriage not been instituted, if the government didn’t license marriages to begin with, the issue would have remained a societal one. One to be solved in our families and churches and other private social organizations. But since we’ve instituted government bans we’re now in the realm of creating more victim classes under the law, and criminalizing certain types of speech critical of homosexuality.
Is that where we wanted that debate to go?
And it’s not just things like abortion or gay marriage. Look, too, at things such as smoking bans which have less to do with sound public policy and a lot more to do with the fact that smokers just annoy a lot of people. Is that now the standard for passing laws? We’re just going to outlaw things that annoy us?
Conservatives would do better to embrace the idea that individuals are allowed to make decisions, even if the decisions made are ones we necessarily like.