Remembering the purpose of government

In the CNN opinion piece “Sarah Palin likes government too,” an author expresses a lack of understanding regarding the conservative support for the military. Specifically, he takes note of Palin’s recent comments to Tea Partiers that we should not let our disdain for government extend to military expenditures. To weak minds, apparently the conservative pro-military view represents some sort of contradiction:

Palin’s speech touched on a historic problem for the conservative movement. Ever since conservatives embraced a hawkish stance toward national security policy in the early Cold War in the late 1940s and started to challenge Democrats for not being tough enough, national security has always been the poison pill for anti-government conservatism.

Despite all their rhetoric about the dangers of government intervention and the virtues of private markets, conservatives have rather consistently supported an expansion of the government when it comes to national security.

Quick question: Aside from merely accepting tax dollars, does the military intervene in the private market? No.

Early on in American history, some libertarians like Thomas Jefferson opposed the existence of a strong military. Then what happened? Our sailors got attacked by the French. Our civilians were murdered or captured by Barbary Pirates. Our colonies got raided by various Indian tribes. Our sailors were kidnapped by the British while they tried to cut off our trade with continental Europe. Our country was ultimately invaded, and the White House burned to the ground. Conceivably, we might have lost our independence altogether. That is where libertarian thinking leads.

Conservatives and libertarians are not the same thing. Libertarians are fools, whereas conservatives are wise.

Romans 13:3-7

For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

THIS IS WHY YOU PAY TAXES. We do not pay taxes for the purpose of subsidizing medicine for the lazy or even for the less fortunate. We do not pay taxes to protect ourselves from our unwillingness to invest in retirement by having the government forcibly take money from us and throw it into an account that earns virtually zero interest and periodically gets robbed by politicians. We do not pay taxes to fund abortions, or to give handouts to foreigners who invade our country. No, we pay taxes TO BRING WRATH ON THE WRONGDOERS. We pay taxes to help God PUNISH WICKEDNESS. If President Obama would start doing that, I would honor him. Since he instead furthers the cause of wickedness, I condemn him.

The “libertarians” who forget this purpose of government are merely reacting emotionally against the one evil they know to be wrong, which is socialist tyranny. And then, lacking any proper intellectual foundation for their rebellion, they go overboard and rebel against everything good in the process. They thereby demonstrate their foolishness, promoting open borders and zero national defense and legal drugs and free abortion and homosexualized families and whatever else. Then they make the rest of us look bad, as if opposition to socialist tyranny necessarily implied a support for all the garbage as well.

But for the most part, the taxpayers who are trying to revolt against the leftist Democrat agenda understand these principles either intellectually or instinctively. The Tea Partiers do not object to all tax expenditures. They object to waste, and to illegitimate expenditures. From what I can tell, they are by and large conservatives, not libertarians. These accusations about “The Tea Partiers like government, too” are just asinine.

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1 Response to “Remembering the purpose of government”


  1. 1 Ilíon July 25, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    This — “liberals” expressing amazement that conservatives aren’t what *they* think we ought to be — isn’t much different from the senseless “liberal” taunt “If you’re ‘pro-life,’ then why aren’t you pro-not-executing-murderers?

    “Liberals” “misunderstand” conservativism and then are “amazed” that we’re not much like they say we are.


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