This bit from a piece in yesterday’s (Wednesday’s) Washington Post is still bugging me:
“Traditional conservatism has a piece missing — a piece that is shaped like a conscience,’ [Washington Post columnist and former Bush speech writer Michael Gerson] notes in ‘Heroic Conservatism.’ His ambition, he says, is to help ‘save conservatism from its worst instincts’ and build ‘a conservatism elevated by a radical concern for human rights and dignity.'”
Gerson is a wonderful writer-but thanks loads.
I haven’t read Gerson’s new book, but, when somebody chides us conservatives for being heartless, you can just about lay money that they’re going to call for some new government program.
The problem isn’t that conservatives lack consciences-it’s that they’re too often intimidated by the fear of being called heartless to make moral arguments against big government policies advocated by those with supposedly big consciences. With that in mind, I want to point you in the direction of a Tech Central Station article that makes the moral case against SCHIP expansion:
“Most opponents of SCHIP expansion have been mired in the pragmatics of politics, the minutiae of markets, or the defensive posturing that comes when engaging a majority power that uses moralistic soundbites like daisycutters. What we have failed to realize, however, is that we have the moral case….
“It’s not merely that the government would be stripping people of resources, but of the very moral impetus from which ‘being good’ arises. By expanding any entitlement, the government is not somehow helping people carry out their moral duties. One’s internal sense of goodness is the sense upon which the very notion of moral responsibility rests. By expanding Medicaid, the government would be removing part of that moral sense. Perhaps worse, the government would be absolving people who have means of their responsibility to provide for their own children, while foisting that duty upon those who never asked for it. And there is nothing moral whatsoever in that.”