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Beware of politicians with good intentions

Posted By Harry Browne On 05/16/2002 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

The death toll of innocent people killed in Afghanistan has exceeded 3,000 – at least as many as died in the Sept. 11 attacks.

But don’t concern yourself with this. As numerous readers have kindly pointed out to me, the Afghan deaths were unintentional – unlike those on Sept. 11. The dead Afghans were the unavoidable collateral damage involved in capturing Osama bin Laden and ridding Afghanistan of religious tyrants.

(And I’m sure that any day now, Osama bin Laden will be captured and the religious tyrants in the Northern Alliance now running Afghanistan will be converted.)

Supposedly, the fact that the U.S. military wasn’t gunning for innocent Afghans means the people aren’t really as dead as those who died in New York. And their families have no right to complain.

Responsibility

I’m sorry, but I just don’t see it that way.

If I give my car keys to a drunk, I may not intend for him to kill some family, but I’m responsible nonetheless. And as P.J. O’Rourke has pointed out, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

The politicians always put forward the best possible intentions.

  • They didn’t intend to ruin the best health-care system in the world when they created Medicare, Medicaid, the HMO Act, the Kennedy-Kassenbaum Act, the Kennedy-Hatch Act and all their other grand health-care projects – but that’s what happened.

  • They didn’t intend to dumb down education and make the schools unsafe when they intervened in local education – but that’s what happened.

  • They didn’t intend to create gang warfare, police corruption and unsafe drugs with their insane War on Drugs – but that’s what happened.

  • They didn’t intend to leave Panama defenseless against the drug cartels when they invaded Panama, kidnapped Manuel Noriega and destroyed the Panamanian army – but that’s what happened.

  • They didn’t intend to make the world a more dangerous place when they sent your money to the Taliban, the Shah of Iran, and Saddam Hussein – as well as Syrian, Saudi and Indonesian dictators – but that’s what happened.

When politicians enact new laws, they don’t say, “We’re doing this to enrich our friends, punish our enemies and wreck some important part of American life” – but that’s what inevitably happens.

Politicians always claim the best of intentions.

But when have they ever delivered anything but the worst results?

Pay attention

So if you’re in favor of the War on Terrorism, please don’t tell me that no one meant to kill innocent Afghans.

And please don’t feign surprise when the politicians pass a $40 billion “anti-terrorism” pork-barrel bill that doesn’t contain a single provision to stop terrorism.

And please don’t complain when the politicians say they have to monitor your e-mail, tie the airports into knots, conduct warrantless searches, suspend the Bill of Rights, and finish the transformation of America from the land of the free into an Old World empire.

You asked for all this when you supported the politicians’ request for the power to “rid the world of evil-doers.”

Didn’t it ever occur to you that it was politicians who gave us the Post Office, Waco, Ruby Ridge, and the bombing of a pharmaceutical factory in the Sudan?

Do you believe the politicians running the war effort are omniscient, compassionate, freedom-loving Gods?

Don’t you realize it was these same politicians who couldn’t defend New York on Sept. 11 – despite confiscating $2 trillion of our money every year?

Don’t you know that the Defense Department is simply the Post Office in fatigues?

Haven’t you been paying attention to what your government does?

If you have been paying attention to the government, why would you trust it with anything important?

More good intentions

Please consider this as the politicians get ready to impose more of their good intentions on us:

  • We’re going to get “prescription drug relief,” which will make prescription drugs harder to get – just as Medicare and Medicaid have run up the price of health care and made it less accessible.

  • We’re going to get school vouchers, which will turn private K-12 schools into clones of government schools – just as the G.I. Bill, Pell Grants and student loans have turned private colleges into politically correct clones of state universities.

  • And we’re going to “rid the world of evil-doers,” led by Mr. Compassionate-Conservative-turned-Macho-Man. I’ll let your own imagination visualize what that will lead to.

And all this will be done with the best of intentions.

The founding fathers understood what happens when you give power to people with good intentions. That’s why they wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights – to prevent politicians from foisting their good intentions on us. Jefferson said we must bind them down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.

The issue isn’t one of Republican vs. Democrat. They all have the same intentions – and they’re all politicians.

And none of them can make a government program work the way it’s promised.


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