Policy, and knowing what's in your tool box

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

– Frederic Bastiat

I like this quote because it helps to explain the assumptions that the small government types have to battle when discussing ideas with lib/prog/social types without assuming that they are being disingenuous in their claims. Some may be, but I think most believe, incorrect as they may be, in the wisdom of their decisions.  Some will never be convinced, but there is a good portion of society, our friends and neighbors, that we have a chance at bringing back to the fold. We just need to dig at the roots, instead of focusing on the bits we can see.

Opposition to some measure of Social Security is answered with “why do you hate poor people?” Objections to a particular federal education law are met with “what do you have against children?” It is nearly impossible to convince the questioner that we would just prefer to manage these things a different way. Unfortunately, to the socialist there is no other way that they are willing to consider. To them if we wanted to do something, then instituting a government program is the first, last, best and only option.

Dissuading them from this concept/confusion is the essential first step in getting through.

I find myself and others too often arguing against the policies from a point that is predicated on shared assumptions that ultimately don’t exist. This is about keeping in mind that we don’t just differ on which solution we prefer, but how, at the most basic level, we see the world.

The saying, when all you have is hammer, the world looks like nails, comes to mind. Those of us that see some options in our toolbox need to convince the socialist types not just that another tool might work, but that they actually have other tools. So long as they believe that they only have a hammer, no amount of preaching and screaming about saws, screwdrivers and wrenches will matter to them, except for making us seem crazy.