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More Social Security insanity

The Conservative Philosopher blog really is the gift that keeps on giving--giving, that is, perfect examples of right-wing "thought" and "arguments". This time the gift-giver is William F. Vallicella:
Thinking about this proposal [that is, Bush's Social Security "reform" proposal--D.H.], a fair-minded person should be able to see how reasonable it is. This impression of reasonableness ought to be reinforced by the poverty and inanity of the liberal counterarguments. Harry Reid (D-NV) could do little better than to label the proposal ‘Social Security roulette’ and then make a lame joke about Las Vegas being in his district. Paul Krugman this morning on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now show spoke of money being "diverted" (his word) into private accounts.

This language of diversion, much loved by some liberals, betrays the liberal-leftist presupposition that the money a person earns does not belong to that person, but to the government, and that special argument is needed to justify a person’s keeping of his own money. That is precisely backwards: The onus is on the government to justify its taking of our money; the onus is not on us to justify our keeping of it.
Now it's more or less true that the money one earns belongs to that person. But, assuming the legitimacy of the state--a questionable assumption, but one almost all conservatives share--the money that the government collects via taxes does belong to the government, and no longer to the individual.

If conservatives object to the Social Security program, they ought to lawfully try to abolish it, rather than doing so surreptitiously by hiding behind the rhetoric of "reform" and "privatization". Why not just be honest, right-wingers, and admit that you want Social Security gone?

Well, because, as I mentioned earlier, they know that wouldn't fly with the public. But their true motives are not in doubt. Grover Norquist, one of the most influential "minds" behind GOP policy and head of the think-tank Americans for Tax Reform, summed up the conservative view nicely:

"Social Security should be reformed not because the system is going broke but because it's a lousy program."

If only more wingers would be this up front. (Of course, Norquist is by and large unknown to the American public, so he can afford to be blunt.) The conservative philosophy in general is also nicely articulated by Grover:

“I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

Again, I understand that this "starve-the-beast" philosophy is the mentality of many on the right. What I object to is the fact that they won't make an honest argument for this view. They pretend to simply want to "reform" government programs when they actually wish to destroy them. The fact that the vast majority of the public in what is supposed to be a democratic country supports these programs (at least with respect to Social Security) is irrelevant to them, except inasmuch as it requires them to use dishonest euphamisms to disguise their true intentions.

Right-wingers seem to see any government program that actually helps people as the result of a government drunk with power, robbing its citizens. Vallicella puts it this way:

I know that there are liberals who maintain that the government is us. But that is a proposition so manifestly false as to be beneath refutation.

It may actually be a false proposition, but it is not a necessary falsehood. It is the case that the government, as it stands presently, does not, for the most part, represent and execute the interests of the people. But it should. Indeed, this is the only kind of government that is legitimate.

So no, the government is not us. But that is in part due to right-wing office-holders and policy makers who at every turn attempt to thwart the government from carrying out the will of the people.

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