I find the arguments of the libertarians persuasive, as I do no less the arguments of the liberals, of those who would drastically limit the role of government in our lives in order to empower the individual, as well as of those who would grow the role of government in order to lessen the natural and unnatural inequalities and injustices occurring among us.
I find both positions seductive, I find truth in both. But that’s the thing, both positions have some truth, but not all the truth, whereas too often the holders of both speak, write, and act as if they alone were in possession of the whole truth. They’re not, of course, and the right and proper place to be is in the middle, Why isn’t this obvious?
The real debate within our country, within our government ought to be going on between those in the middle, perhaps bit to the left and a bit to the right, a bit liberal and a bit libertarian (and/or conservative). But instead we hear little stemming from the middle ground, the debate being most often between those at the extremes, between, for example, those who would drastically reduce the government’s power to tax, and those who would no less responsibly increase entitlements and the taxes needed to pay the costs.
Why is this so? For there is no lack of thoughtful individuals (although not, alas, among our holders of office in Washington) who have clearly said what we must do to get the country back on track. The President’s own National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, created to address our nation’s fiscal challenges, stated what needed to be done. But the advice and findings of the Commission were almost immediately ignored, and by the President himself.
On the one hand why is it so hard to understand that governments do many things wrong, at the very least are wasteful, and that many government programs do not accomplish their intended aims and continue to operate anyway, often for many years, with little or no benefit to anyone. For there is some truth to what the libertarians are saying.
On the other hand why is it so hard to understand that the free market of free individuals if left to operate without supervision will not care enough for the natural environment, at a very minimum insuring air and water quality, nor will it provide for those individuals who for whatever reason are unable to provide for themselves. And these are only two of the many functions that make government, some government, necessary.