John Stossel

Wait a second: That's the conservative case against federal funding? It's not effective? I thought conservatives wanted government strictly limited to what the Constitution prescribes. If Laffey is that clueless, conservatives shouldn't mourn his primary loss to Chafee.

Two years ago, when California had a referendum proposing that the state's taxpayers spend $3 billion on stem-cell research, lots of rich and famous liberals, including Bill Gates, said they were all for it.

I thought: Why don't they just donate their own money? Many of America's best innovations come from private research. Last year, a private ship reached space twice, inspired by a $10 million "X prize" offered by private investors. A private prize also inspired Charles Lindbergh to fly across the Atlantic. Government force isn't necessary for stem-cell research.

So I confronted the leader of the California campaign, a wealthy housing developer named Robert Klein: "Spend your own money. ... Gates wouldn't even notice it. It's $3 billion out of the -- what -- $40 billion he has?" Klein said, "What we're trying to do is bring the society together."

Bringing society together sounds nice, but government is force. Voluntary contributions to a charity would people together for the public good.

Klein added: "We have to provide this opportunity. If it's the will of the people."

The will of the people can mean tyranny of the majority.

Too bad neither liberals nor conservatives have scruples against forcing people to do things they don't wish to do.

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate