Social Conservatives vs. Fiscal Conservatives You know, when fi scal conservatives try to distance themselves from conservatives, I just don't get it. (Th at's what I meant back on page ?? about the criticism I get for talking so much about "social issues.") Aft er all, it's obvious, at least to me, that everything is tied together. By fi ghting for marriage and the traditional family, we're also fi ghting against poverty and crime. Without tackling it all at once, how else can we achieve our goals of smaller government and lower tax rates? If you disagree, I'm willing to listen, but I believe that one thing leads to another. Stronger families will produce the educated workers who will be able to generate more total tax revenue. As that happens, we'll see a decline in the need for bigger government, higher spending, and larger defi cits. It's a no-brainer: Local, state, and federal governments will thereby be able to reduce outlays on welfare, food stamps, house and energy assistance, health care, law enforcement, and—last, but not least—prisons.
I see this goal as a win-win for ALL conservatives. Let the liberals continue to push for a redistribution of wealth, as President Obama clearly intends. But instead, we conservatives should call for a rededication to marriage and family, with all of the societal benefi ts that will definitely follow.
True Self-government Let me again stress the parallels between family and government and even church. When a corrupt leader is in offi ce, he corrupts what he leads. Th is is true of a family, true of a church, true of a nation. A corrupt father will ultimately corrupt his family. A corrupt pastor will corrupt, infl uence, aff ect, and infect his church. And a corrupt elected offi cial will infect his nation with corruption.
I like to tell a great background story to this idea from the ninth chapter of the book of Judges in the Old Testament. It's about Gideon's son Abimelech, who craved leadership and elevated stature. But he did not want to serve the people (as so many of our politicians claim they want to do); he wanted the people to serve him. At fi rst glance, it might have seemed that he was offering a pretty good deal: If they would only consolidate power in him, he would simplify their lives. This "simplification" would involve taking their responsibilities upon himself (translation: he would be taking from them for himself). Th at kind of political promise is gravely dangerous.
There are two basic elements that will collapse any organization, be it a family, a business, a church, or a government. Number one: consolidating power in the hands of too few people. Th at ignores the warning in the classic statement that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Number two: a people abdicating personal responsibility in order to remove any risk to and for themselves.
Our founders were brilliant in deciding that power would be constitutionally distributed carefully among the states, leaving the federal government very limited in its boundaries. Every amendment in the Bill of Rights expressly tells the government what it is forbidden to do. Not one of them explains what the people can't do.