Here's an editorial in today's The Oklahoman that asserts that Americans are ready to debate the cost and size of government.
While this - if true - is welcome news, it fails to address the underlying cause which guides the choices people make in such areas. That cause, of course, is morality, and Americans' choices regarding the size and cost of our government will be influenced by their views regarding morality: are individual human beings capable of living their own lives by their own efforts, or must human beings sacrifice their individuality to be their brother's keeper? Should individuals be free to discover and create their own value, or is that value something to be imposed on them by outside forces?
Political freedom implies an individualism that at least acknowledges the possibility that selfishness could be a value. It is an ethical regard for individual life that leads to individual rights in politics, and the proposition that government is legitimate only when it is limited to protecting those rights.
Altruism holds that the self must be sacrificed, which leads to collectivism. A society which recognizes no ethical boundaries between individuals has no need for rights - and no boundaries on the size of government. If an individual won't sacrifice his self voluntarily, what's to stop anyone from forcing him to do so?
What Americans desperately need to consider - and, yes, to debate - today is not merely the cost and size of government, but which is the proper morality: altruism or rational selfishness?
I have written a letter in response to The Oklahoman's editorial.
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