Matt Welch: “Want to promote tolerance? Cut government”

Matt Welch has a nice essay on Reason.com, Why Big Government Is Offensive: The faster the state expands, the more likely it is to violate your values.  It is not a new point, but is well made and deserves to be reiterated often:  the more government does, the more it offends basic values.   Up first for criticism are Republicans, who

are reliably opposed to big-government health care only when they are not the ones implementing it.   Whether passing Medicare Part D during the GOP salad days of 2003, intervening federally in end-of-life decisions by Terri Schiavo’s family in 2005, or creating the individual health care mandate in Massachusetts in 2006, Republicans have done their best to speed up government’s slow-motion takeover of the health care industry whenever doing so aligned with the party’sperceived interests and values.

But “[a]las, so have Democrats. In the very same week liberals and progressives were complaining about “theocracy” in Virginia, they were busy waving away social-conservative complaints about ObamaCare’s requirement that employers pay for contraceptive coverage regardless of whatever theological or philosophical objections they might have.”

Libertarians have their values stomped on by governments every day. My (high) taxes in Washington, D.C., are helping to pay hundreds of millions in debt service for a baseball stadium I fervently believe should not have received a drop in public financing. My local city council members—who work part time, mind you, and often maintain second jobs—receive $125,000 from taxpayers each year, a pay rate second only to the loot commanded by the inept legislators of the last city I lived in, Los Angeles. And the criminal code is a festival of offensive-to-me-value judgments, prohibiting actions I consider perfectly moral and proper, such as traveling to Cuba, smoking marijuana, or paying money to illegal immigrants.

The kerfuffles over mandatory ultrasounds and contraceptive mandates made brutally clear an axiom that partisans have a hard time understanding: Any power that government has to do something you like will invariably be used for something you abhor. Today’s decision interpreting the Commerce Clause to justify snatching home-grown medical marijuana from patients in California becomes the justification for tomorrow’s federal mandate to buy health insurance. Reduce the scope of government, and we reduce the culture war, while promoting true tolerance of divergent viewpoints. . . .

Want to promote tolerance? Cut government. Let different cultural claims fight it out in the appropriate venue, as far away from my tax dollars as possible.

Words to keep in mind as we head into the election season.