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Government Intrusion? Bring it on.

August 24, 2009

Ed Kilgore writes:

And just as right-to-life activists are forever trying to manufacture evidence that “liberals” in government are plotting to encourage, not simply permit, abortions, they are now manufacturing evidence that those same liberals are plotting to encourage or actually require euthanasia. It’s part and parcel of a political strategy aimed at denying that government can be neutral on “life,” and that decisions about “life” can be consigned to private decision-making.

So next time you hear a conservative talk about “death panels,” you might want to ask about Terri Schiavo, not as a “gotcha,” but to expose the highly interventionist thinking that motivates many of those who pose a defenders of individual and family rights against Big Government.

Death panel rumor aside, Kilgore wrongly frames the issue of “decisions about life” as a choice between private decision-making and government intervention. Surely, Kilgore would agree that government ought to intervene — punish the perpetrator, that is — in the instance of an infanticide or patricide. What he doesn’t agree with is the pro-life argument that fetuses are persons and that patients in a persistent vegetative state have the right to continue receiving food and water. Now, the pro-lifers could be wrong about these points, but they are not any more or less in favor of government intervention on matters of life and death than is Kilgore. They simply disagree with him as to what counts as life.

Talk of government intrusion, whether on the right or the left, is usually a ruse. If you want minimal government involvement across the board, vote libertarian. Otherwise, lets all be honest and admit that we desire to limit “government intrusion” only to the extent we perceive government as a threat our most cherished values: self-defense, the right to marry whomever we please, or what-have-you.

I, for one, emphatically do not want government to remain “neutral on life.” That is why I want my country to insure all of its citizens, and why I am appalled by right-wing fear mongering intended to obstruct the very modest steps recently proposed by president Obama toward that end.

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