Friday, June 18, 2010

The Contradictions of Conservatives

During the very short portion of Sean Hannity's program that I heard on Monday, a caller rebuked Hannity for taking contradictory positions. You call for smaller government, the caller said, but now you attack Obama for not doing more in regard to the oil spill in the Gulf. Hannity responded that this was not a contradiction, that he was only demanding that the government do what it is supposed to do.

The fact is, cleaning up oil spills is not a proper function of government.

Hannity--and other conservatives--want to make the oil spill Obama's Katrina. They continually deride Obama for incompetence and indecisiveness in handling the spill. But the government's proper response should have been to do nothing but hold BP responsible for damages to the property of others.

For all their empty rhetoric about small government, conservatives are not opposed to government encroachments on our rights. Indeed, they champion many such violations--prohibitions on pornography and abortion ranking are but 2 examples.

Hannity and his ilk are not about small government (whatever that means). Nor are they about limited government. They do not advocate that government be limited to its proper function of protecting our rights. What they do advocate is the coercive imposition of their values upon the entire nation. In that regard, they are no different from liberals.


Steve D said...

"the government's proper response should have been to do nothing but hold BP responsible for damages to the property of others."

Well said. In fact the government should not take any special action other than adjudicating claims against BP which can not be settled out of court. As far as stopping and cleaning up the spill is concerned, the sooner BP gets that done the lower their liability. Unfortunately, not just conservatives but even some Objectivists seem to be urging the government to do more than its responsibility. The justification is usually the governments responsibility to protect property.

The only thing I would add to your post is that there is actually some merit to the accusations of incompetence against Obama. Even though it is not his responsibility or business to stop the spill, according to his philosophy and beliefs it is his responsibility and he has been doing a very bad job.

“In that regard, they are no different from liberals.”

Actually, worse in many ways it seems.

Brian Phillips said...

I've not heard any Objectivists urging the government to do more. If, as you write, their argument is "the governments responsibility to protect property" then they are mistaken. Government's purpose is not to protect property, but property rights.

You make a good point on Obama's view of his responsibility regarding the oil spill.

AMAI said...

There is one thing (at least) that Obama could have done - waive the Jones Act.

This is from June 21 and I am unsure how to make this hyperlink work:

After all the meddling that government rushes to do, the one time it could actually make itself useful (by removing or at least suspending the law) and treating the oil spill as an emergency situation, it declined to do. Instead, Obama set out about trying to shove more crappy legislation down everyone's throats, with the drilling moratorium.

I am just wondering when he can be impeached.