|The Future of Freedom Foundation|
This is par-for-the-course conservatism. Engage in the never-ending game of criticizing federal paternalistic programs for being "inefficient" or for having "waste, fraud, and abuse" and then calling for "reform," always in the perpetual but futile quest to make such programs succeed.
Another example of this conservative reform verbiage is a recent op-ed entitled "The Junkets You Fund" by noted conservative columnist Michelle Malkin which appeared in the Washington Times. In her article Malkin detailed millions of dollars of taxpayer-funded "waste, fraud, and abuse" in federal junkets, those nice "spring-break-style trips," as Malkin calls them, that congressmen and federal bureaucrats take at U.S. taxpayer expense.
Guess what Malkin suggested needed to be done to solve the problem. You got it: "Reform." Just cut out the "waste, fraud, and abuse" from these federal junkets. Why, Malkin even shows us where to start!
Conservative think tanks love the reform game too because they know that by calling only for reform, rather than elimination, of government paternalism, a steady and perpetual stream of donor money is guaranteed to flow into the organization. Donor-funded studies, and then calls for reform. And then again, more donor-funded studies and more calls for reform. The game is never-ending because the paternalistic program never goes out of existence and, therefore, is always subject to being "reformed," no matter how many times it has been "reformed" in the past.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, if the paternalistic program were abolished, there would be no more need for studies or calls for reform and, therefore, no more need for solicitation of donations to fund more studies and more calls for reform.
Government paternalism is one of the things, of course, that distinguishes libertarians from both conservatives and liberals. Unlike conservatives and liberals, libertarians believe that the federal government has no more business taking care of people who suffer natural disasters than it does taking care of people who are elderly, sick, poor, or terrified.
conservatives and liberals, we libertarians believe in ourselves, in others,
in freedom, and in the free market. While we believe that a free society
nurtures such values as compassion, charity, and responsibility, we also
hold that freedom entails the right to be uncaring, uncompassionate, and
irresponsible, as long as a person doesn't violate the rights of others.
That's what genuine freedom is all about -- the right to make peaceful
choices. That's why we libertarians want to end, not reform, all such
paternalistic programs, along with the thousands of departments and agencies
that administer them and the ever-burdensome taxes that fund them.
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Samuel Bostaph is head of the economics department at the University of Dallas and an academic advisor to The Future of Freedom Foundation
Anthony Gregory is a policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation
James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy (Palgrave, January 2006) and Terrorism & Tyranny (Palgrave, 2003), and is policy advisor at The Future of Freedom Foundation
Benedict LaRosa is a historian and writer and serves as a policy advisor to The Future of Freedom Foundation
Bart Frazier is program director at The Future of Freedom Foundation.
Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va., author of Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State, and editor of The Freeman magazine.
Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Send him email.