Hang on a second while we grab that post for you.
Anyway, the principle we’ve learned is that man can’t survive if he has to make choices for himself. Think about it: From what to eat to what to wear to what to do, you basically do nothing but make choices about your life all day long. It’s annoying and tiresome, and none of us has read all the scientific studies to know what’s healthy to eat and how much exercise we need. We need smart people to limit this insane number of choices so we can know what to do. Thus we have politicians who hover above us (or, in Bloomberg’s case, below us) watching us lovingly and telling us what to do for our own benefit.
Or at least those are the forward-thinking ideas Bloomberg subscribes to. He’s a shrewd and cunning man — a regular Tyrion Lannister — and with his bans on trans-fats, salt, and large sodas, he’s taking away many confusing and wrong choices in order to make life easier and better for us all. Now, some people may say he should focus on job growth instead of individuals’ health, but Obama has been trying to add jobs for some time and hasn’t been able to, and if Obama can’t figure that out, obviously no one can. So Bloomberg is going to give up on complicated things that are out of his hands, like the economy, and instead focus on what he can control: you.
But notice what happened. The federal government tried to adopt a rule that can be justified only as part of an unlimited power to regulate economic activity, a power the federal government was never supposed to have. What stopped it? Not the Constitution, alas, but rather a public outcry.
Well, if the occasional public outcry is the only way to keep the federal government from regulating every single aspect of our lives, we’ve got a problem.
Like all good Rawlsians, President Obama finds it hard to conceptualize the possibility that private communities and associations might often be better at helping our neighbor in need than governments. Instead, his instinct is to search immediately for a political state-focused solution. If the president invested some time in exploring the concept of social justice, he would discover that its earliest articulators — mostly mid-19th-century Italian Catholic theologians – thought it should be primarily realized through associations and institutions of civil society with the government playing a supportive, but normally background role.
One of the limits of our president’s moral imagination is that he can’t seem to recognize that his opponents aren’t a bunch of narcissistic Randoids. The vast majority of them do in fact believe that we are our brother’s keeper. They also recognize that there are some — even many — problems that markets can’t solve.
But they also don’t think Americans should somehow delegate en masse most of their personal concrete obligations to those in need to elected officials and civil servants. Rather, they understand, as Tocqueville wrote, that “the morals and intelligence of a democratic people would be in as much danger as its commerce and industry if ever a government wholly usurped the place of free associations.”
“The idea that government can “make life fair” is intuitively appealing to people—at least until they think about it. I’ll try to help.”
“Maybe they can’t comprehend the mind-set of many of today’s conservatives, who revere both individual liberty and traditional morality as the necessary conditions for human happiness and thus say that certain behaviors are immoral but shouldn’t be illegal. Not only are traditional morality and limited government totally compatible, today they are intimately linked, as the Left uses big government to subsidize abortion providers and force all employers to pay for their employees’ contraceptives. …the moral law should guide our personal actions, and individual liberty should guide our political decisions. …When liberals cry that conservatives are trying to legislate morality, that’s typically projection and misdirection from liberal attempts to legislate morality”