Liberals, Conservatives, and Government Intrusion

In recent years, liberal politicians have had much control over U.S. politics, especially at the federal level. At the same time, the culture has become more liberal, giving more social influence to the liberal point of view. During this time, the power that government has to intervene and intrude in the private lives of its citizens has expanded, in support of a liberal agenda.

Government can now compel organizations to provide health care, and can control which health care services are offered in great detail. Government can decide what is and is not a marriage, and can compel businesses to provide goods and services against their conscience. The federal government is also intruding into education, with Common Core standards and new regulations for the food served to children in schools.

My opinion: this new role for the federal government, to decide and control any subject area — if it is deemed to be for the good of its citizens — represents an unconstitutional expansion of power. The Bill of Rights was intended to restrain government from an excessive reach into the lives of its citizens. Now that concept, individual rights limiting government power, has been turned on its head. The new claim is essentially that the government must extend its powers in order to guarantee a series of unenumerated (and possibly imaginary) rights for its citizens: the right to free contraceptives, the right to same-sex marriage, the right of children to have the caloric and nutritional content of meals at school decided by federal bureaucrats, etc.

There is no conceivable limit to that expansion. There is now no legal concept or constitutional principle that is said, by proponents of this expansion, to limit government intrusion. Whatever liberals want to impose on society, is imposed by law or executive action or agency regulations. Liberals have given government bold new powers over society.

Left Shoe, Meet Right Foot

Eventually, the shoe will be on the other foot. Eventually, a true conservative will be President, and conservatives will obtain a majority in both houses of Congress. Already, the Supreme Court is leaning conservative (with the Hobby Lobby decision).

Then the same government powers used to intrude on private life and impose liberal values will next be used to impose conservative values. Liberals do not seem to realize that in giving the federal government the ability to decide what is and is not a marriage, they are setting the stage for conservatives to decide that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and to impose that value on society as a whole. And now that the federal government has more influence over the curricula for schools, conservatives will eventually use that power to impose conservative values on the education system.

Every time liberals increase government intrusion into private life and local education, they are building a new house that will eventually be occupied by conservatives. And that house will be run according to a conservative point of view.

My preference would be for less government intrusion in the private sphere. But that outcome seems unlikely. The greater likelihood is for government to continue its expansion of power, and for the use of that power to see-saw between the liberal and the conservative agendas. That is not ideal, but at least conservatives will have their turn.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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One Response to Liberals, Conservatives, and Government Intrusion

  1. Francisco says:

    The rights belongs and should be given to the people for what they are and do, not for what they aren’t and don’t do. For example, if the government expand the rights of my neighbor to use my car whenever he wants, it is good for his personal interests, but this becomes an injustice to me for I’m the owner of the car.

    A screw and a nut are more worth more than two screws or two nuts, you cannot do the same with a screw and a nut than with two screws and two nuts. You cannot legalize things that are not authentic, you cannot legalize false bills. An homosexual can have the same rights as me (an heterosexual) as a human person, as a citizen, but an homosexual “marriage” cannot have the same rights as a normal heterosexual marriage for they are not the same, they do not produce the same.

    I don’t have the same rights to play as the forward of the Miami Heat as LeBron James does, I’m 5’6 and I’m not as skillful as he is, and it is NOT discrimination against me, it is simply that I cannot play as good he does. If you put me to play instead of LeBron James, it is an injustice to him, to the team and to the fans because I will mess the game with my poor basketball skills. Homosexual “marriages” cannot bring forth citizens to the state, two men or two women cannot bear children, so this union cannot have the same rights as marriages between a man and a woman.

    Also, if a married man has attraction for the woman neighbor, he does not have the right to commit adultery, he has to hold it! No one has the right to do all whatever we like.

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