Promises, promises

David Limbaugh

8/22/2001 12:00:00 AM - David Limbaugh
Liberal Democrats seem to be guided by a worldview that sees man as perfectible and government as the primary change-agent. They rarely confront a problem for which they don’t envision a government solution. In their single-minded zeal to solve actual or perceived problems, they often ignore balancing considerations and rarely contemplate the detrimental consequences likely to flow from their proposals. They rarely hold themselves accountable for their policy failures because the criterion by which they judge themselves is that of good intentions alone rather than results achieved. Their "good intentions" exempt them from scrutiny, much less criticism. Meanwhile, their "solutions" beget further problems, which demand further "solutions." This leads to an ever-accelerating cycle of bigger government and less freedom. By now the pattern is strikingly familiar. First, they either discover or invent a problem. Next, they sensationalize it to work the public into a frenzy. Then they fashion a government panacea that will not only eliminate the problem but bring us one more step toward eradicating evil itself, which to them is finite and surmountable. (Consequently, those who resist are themselves evil. Thus, the constant demonization of political conservatives.) Finally, the problem is not solved, but new problems are spawned from the governmental solution. Let’s consider a few examples: Campaign-finance reform: Following Watergate, Democrats had to fashion a government solution designed to zap corruption from the electoral process. They passed campaign-reform laws. Lo and behold, free speech and freedom were eroded, yet corruption was hardly erased. Indeed, Clinton’s illegal foreign campaign contribution scheme dwarfed Watergate in scope and gravity. Undeterred and certainly unaccountable for the failure of their initial proposed reform, Democrats (and John McCain) simply called for more draconian reform measures. The "reformers" appeared wholly unconcerned with Clinton’s failure to obey existing laws and even less with the further assaults on free speech that would surely follow from their demands for additional reform. Welfare: After 5-plus trillion dollars of government money caused no reduction in poverty levels and catastrophic damage to the institution of marriage and the nuclear family, you hear nary a mea culpa from the well-meaning planners, many of whom even had the audacity to take credit for welfare reform. HMOs: Democrats insisted they would help solve the "health care crisis." When the promised solution didn’t materialize, they just as quickly turned on the HMOs, proposing that they be the trial lawyer’s new punching bags (and gold mines). Never mind that their original solution didn’t work – it is their stated intentions (then and now) that matter. School shootings: Exploiting each tragedy as a springboard for gun control they identify inanimate guns rather than depraved human beings as the culprit. In their incessant call for further gun controls, they cavalierly dismiss the erosion of the Second Amendment and fail to acknowledge the possibility that their "solutions" could cost lives by rendering law-abiding citizens less able to defend themselves and their property. Affirmative action: With their feel-good proposals for reverse racism they refuse to countenance the long-term damage to all races and race relations that occurs. Hate crimes: Because it is so noble in denouncing and outlawing prejudice, the left excuses itself from pondering the horror involved in policing thought. There are many more examples, such as conservation policy leading to energy crises, Motor Voter laws not increasing voter turnout but exacerbating electoral corruption, and the war on tobacco at the expense of the Constitution and the rule of law. Now Democrats are at it again, this time with calls for national election standards. It all started with Gore’s bitter defeat last year. They just can’t let it go. Despite all the hoopla, there is no evidence that Republicans or anyone else tried to disenfranchise minority voters in Florida. After endless recounts and rigged studies by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, House Democrats are proposing that the federal government require states to meet minimum national voting rights standards. As this issue is being debated, Republicans – even if they don’t remind Democrats that they are merely up to their old tricks again – should at least insist that Democrats meet their burden of proving that 1) there is an actual problem as claimed, 2) their "solution" will likely work and 3) their solution won’t create more problems than it solves, such as an erosion of states’ rights and political freedom. We need less hysteria, fewer promises and more accountability.