The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Thursday, March 31, 2005


In the course of writing the previous post, I realized something about the motivations of big-government supporters. What could be better than having the government tell everybody to do something you were going to do anyway?

When people believe their views cannot sway the majority, they suddenly see the merits of individual choice. But for those who believe the opposite, there is a continual temptation to ensure that everyone is obliged to make the same choice, because they are confident it will be their choice.

The fuzzy intellectual left, for example, is almost perfectly selected from those have become accustomed to being in the majority; e.g., they go through college in the center of the central group, surrounded by people whose views are agreeable to them, while smokers, fat people and conservatives lurk on the near-invisible fringe. They expect that most people will agree with them (hence their despair when an election is lost); they expect that their own opinions, skillfully phrased, will carry more weight than most (hence their frustration at opposition voters who are too stupid to listen). They expect to win.

Today's "big-government conservatives" provide a more sinister example of the same motivation. They have learned from experience that they can, indeed, sway the law to their own desires; and now they wish to maximize the effects of doing so.