Journalisten, forfatteren og spasmageren P.J. O’Rourke er en af de meget få skribenter, som man i 9 ud af 10 tilfælde ikke kan genlæse for meget. Så når man mangler en eller anden at citere, kan man jo altid gribe ned i stablen af citatbare O’Rourke-klassikere. Her er lidt fra essayet “How to Explain Conservatism to Your Squishy Liberal Friends: Individualism ‘R’ Us“:*
“Why can’t life be more fair? Why can’t Americans take better care of each other? Why can’t we share the tremendous wealth of our nation? Surely if enough safeguards of liberty are written into law and we elect vigorous, committed leaders …
Have another hit on the bong.
Collectivism doesn’t work because it’s based on a faulty economic premise. There is no such thing as a person’s “fair share” of wealth. The gross national product is not a pizza that must be carefully divided because if I get too many slices, you have to eat the box. The economy is expandable and, in any practical sense, limitless.
Under collectivism, powers of determination rest with the entire citizenry instead of with the specific citizens. Individual decision-making is replaced by the political process. Suddenly, the system that elected the prom queen at your high school is in charge of your whole life. Besides, individuals are smarter than groups, as anybody who is a member of a committee or of a large Irish family after six in the evening can tell you. The difference between individual intelligence and group intelligence is the difference between Harvard University and the Harvard University football team.
Think of all the considerations that go into each decision you make: Is it ethical? Is it good in the long run? Who benefits? Who is harmed? What will it cost? Does it go with the couch? Now imagine a large group-imagine a very large group, say, 250 million people-trying to agree on every decision made by every person in the country. The result would be stupid, silly and hugely wasteful-in short, the result would be government.
Individuals are not only smarter than groups, they are also-and this is one of the best things about them-weaker than groups. To return to Harvard for a moment, it’s the difference between picking a fight with the football team and picking a fight with Michael Kinsley.
Collectivism makes for a very large and, hence, very powerful group. This power is centralized in the government. Any power is open to abuse.
Government power is not necessarily abused more often than personal power, but when the abuse does come, it’s a lulu. At work, power over the whole supply cabinet is concentrated in the person of the office manager. In government, power over the entire military is concentrated in the person of the commander-in-chief. You steal felt tip pens. Hitler invades Poland.
Most government abuse of power is practiced openly, and much of it is heartily approved by The Washington Post editorial board and other such proponents of the good and the fair. But any time the government treats one person differently than another because of the group to which that person belongs-whether it’s a group of rich, special-interest tax dodgers or a group of impoverished, minority job-seekers-individual equality is lessened and freedom is diminished. Any time the government gives away goods and services-even if it gives them away to all people equally-individual dependence is increased and freedom is diminished. Any time the government makes rules about people’s behavior when that behavior does not occasion real and provable harm to others-telling you to buckle your seat belt or forbidding you to publish pornography on the Internet-respect for the individual is reduced and freedom is diminished.”
* Det burde være unødvendigt, men for en ordens skyld: P.J. anvender her “conservative” og “liberal” i begrebernes amerikanske betydning.