“Hello. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
Conservatives love to use this line to mock the idea that government can do constructive things for you. Nothing gets a bigger laugh at conservative gatherings. The sentence has two meanings. First, it makes fun of the notion that politicians have your interests at heart and truly wish to serve them. Not so, according to the subtext; politicians are self-serving meddlers.
Second, it implies that even when politicians are well-intended, they aren’t to be trusted. Why? Because (1) they can’t really know our best interests as individuals, and (2) even if they knew them, they wouldn’t have enough information to serve them. Good intentions aren’t enough.
It’s a double-whammy against government solutions. It gets a laugh because we can picture the scene: a pushy politician insisting on helping someone, and that person hurriedly shutting and locking his door to keep the interloper out.
That’s a good attitude to have about government, so why do conservatives refuse to apply it consistently? They see through the state’s propaganda only selectively, say, on the minimum wage or welfare or gun control. But:
• They’re happy when politicians tell recreational drug manufacturers, distributors, and consumers, “Hello. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
• They’re very happy when politicians tell viewers of movies and television programs they find too risqué, “Hello. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
• They’re very happy when politicians send the military to tell foreigners, “Hello. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
This last case is particularly striking. The Bush administration is trying to force a “democratic” welfare state on Iraq and Afghanistan, and most conservatives couldn’t be more enthusiastic. Imperialism always entails using military might to lift up a foreign population — at least in the eyes of the imperialists. It’s “Hello. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you” writ large."
Conservatives Flunk Logic - The Future of Freedom Foundaton
This just sums it up wonderfully.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Conservatives Flunk Logic
at 12:26 PM