Obamacare is a good example of the trap conservatives fall into as a result. According to liberals, justice demands that everyone have the same level of health care. Unfortunately, conservatives have responded not by arguing that Obamacare is unjust but that it is too expensive. But this argument is weak because it implies that if Obamacare cost less then it would be OK. In other words, by not refuting liberals on the grounds of justice, conservatives concede the premise of liberal policies.
It is true that conservatives also argue that Obamacare is unconstitutional. But on this argument conservatives are hung by their own jurisprudence, which denies that the Constitution has anything to do with justice.
Conservatives ought to aim not at costs but at the injustice of Obamacare, focusing attention on the freedoms it threatens: freedom of association, contract, free speech, religious liberties and even life. We don't yet know the full implications of Obamacare, but even before its tyrannical policy implications flower, the threats to freedom are clearly visible.
Focusing on justice, also directs attention where it belongs, to the majority, the 85-90 percent who have excellent healthcare. Then the question becomes, "Is it just to deprive the vast majority of freedom for sake of the minority?"
This need not mean the minority should be ignored. But it does mean that in assisting the disadvantaged, we must distinguish, in the spirit of the Founders, between those who lack health care through no fault of their own and those who make bad choices, a distinction that can only occur at the local level.
Kesler's book shows conservatives that they must meet liberals on the grounds of justice. That means returning to the political philosophy of the Founding. It won't undo the outcome of this election but it might put conservatives on track to win in the future.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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