If You Are Not a Liberal at 25, You Have No Heart. If You Are Not a Conservative at 35 You Have No Brain. (from here (quoteinvestigator.com))
Contemplate those toy soldiers. Imagine ordering millions of real men and women into bloody combat. Many of the same people, pacifists who abhor war, have no qualms about social engineering. Why? Social engineering, using the government to make society better, seems like the most laudable of goals. “We” are going to care for the aged, cure the sick, feed the hungry, stop racial discrimination, make sure everyone has a job, educate the ignorant, and so forth. Unfortunately, there are problems.
- We cannot trust our leaders with the kind of power required for efficient social engineering. We elect people to protect our rights. If we give our leaders the power to shape us like clay and mold us into supposedly perfect human beings, how can we trust them protect our rights? Our leaders, like us, are only human. Like us they too are subject to temptation. Isn’t history our guide? Don’t we know that in time we will become their toys?
- The end does not justify the means. In fact, the means is contrary to the desired end. Each of us has the right to choose our own religious beliefs, to live in accordance with our own conscience. It is unethical for one human being or group of human beings, even the government, to force other people to adopt or practice contrary beliefs. We each have the right to become the person we want to become. If the goal is to help our fellow citizens form good consciences, does it make sense to demand that our leaders violate their own consciences? Does it make sense to demand that our fellow citizens violate their consciences?
Still, when we are young social engineering seems like a great idea. We just elect the right people, make the right laws, tax the right people (the rich), and spend that money on the right people (the poor). What could be simpler? Why doesn’t it work?
Well, some people think the problem is that we need to fix our election system so we can elect the right people. So, they propose that the government fund elections. Supposedly, we cannot elect the right people because money taints politics. Yet this proposal begins with a serious problem. We are going to let money tainted politicians set up a system where elections are funded by the government? Who do we think will benefit from that?
In truth, it is all we can do to set up a government that protects us from each other. One that will make us better people is beyond our reach. Why?
When we are young, we don’t understand ourselves. We don’t appreciate the extent that we are subject to temptation. It is far easier to perceive another person’s character flaws and condemn them than it is to catalog our own faults.
If we are blessed, we learn from life.
We learn about our self when we trip and stumble. We learn to appreciate those who help us stand again, and we bless them. Instead of trying to be God, we thank God, and we strive to love others as He loves us.