Why I am politically conservative
By Paul Bergstrom, Oct 26, 2004
By "politically conservative" I mean that in general the government's job is to keep the peace and provide national defense. In general it is not the government's responsibility to provide welfare, education, health care, and so on and so on. In general, the closer decision-making is to private individuals, the better.
I keep saying in general because I think there are exceptions and I am willing to make compromises. But advocates of more government intervention in our lives need to convince me that the benefits of government control in any given area outweigh the inherent inefficiency of government.
I see that the government accomplishes everything far less efficiently than any private company. A brief glimpse at any government agency confirms this: think about the IRS, drivers license bureau, etc. The explanation is obvious: human beings are naturally lazy. We all need motivation to work to the best of our ability. Free market competition is a natural mechanism which rewards clever ideas and hard work. I have to work at least as much as "the next guy" if I expect to succeed. Government agencies have no such built-in motivation. The actual results are obvious.
I believe most thoughtful liberals would concede this point - but they may argue that other priorities than simple efficiency make liberal programs beneficial.
I would agree with this point! Sometimes there are things more important than efficiency. Safety regulations come to mind: I agree that it makes sense for government agencies to make some safety regulations, even at the cost of efficiency. So, the question becomes where to draw the line. And here my opinion is that today, the line is too far to the left. As a nation, we would be better with less done by government and more done in the private sector. For this reason, at this time, I agree with the "conservative" position.