Andrew Sullivan savages David Brooks’ opinion piece in today’s New York Times. If you want to see a pretty close approximation to what my politics are, this fisking by Sullivan lays them out pretty nicely. Money quote:
But bigger government always means less personal liberty. This is simply a fact, not an opinion. The trade-off is always there. It may be worth it in some instances – which is why I’m not a libertarian. But it is simply true that every dollar taken by the government is one dollar less for you and me to spend on what we decide is best; every freedom removed or infringed by the government is one less for you and me to enjoy. You can defend the trade-off, and should at times, but please don’t pretend it isn’t there.
I’m a small government Goldwater conservative, but I think compulsory high school education is worth the trade-off of freedom. I think universal healthcare insurance is an infringement of liberty, but since we have committed to providing emergency healthcare for all, it’s a trade-off worth making for fiscal and moral reasons. Small government conservatives don’t want to abandon government. We want it small – but strong and focused on what government really ought to do. And we have learned from experience that the bigger government is, the less effective it often is; and the more confusing and massive it is, the less accountable it is.