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I would like to thank Mr. Roush for his kind compliment that “Mike Dooley writes a thoughtful letter.” I dearly wish my eight grade English teacher had thought the same when she filled out my report card. I am also pleased to say that he and I are closer together on many issues than one would guess.
That aside, Mr. Roush expresses concern that there are people on the right “who see salvation in laissez-faire capitalism and the end to government regulation.” While I have no doubt this concern is real for many, it suffers from imprecision.
It is an unfortunate bit of nomenclature that Conservativism and Libertarianism are both thrown under the general heading of “the right.” Libertarians do advocate laissez-faire capitalism and a severe cut back if not a total elimination of regulation by the State. Libertarians believe in what they call “the superior virtue of liberty” both privately and communally. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe in an “ordered liberty.”
“Ordered liberty” is pretty much a contradiction in terms to most libertarians. But to the dismay of Libertarians, Conservatives do not believe freedom is an unmixed good nor do they believe in “absolute” rights.
Any right comes with duties and responsibilities. Liberties among imperfect human beings have to be mediated by experience and prudence. This mediation is made active by inculcated habits, customs and lastly (preferably) by law and regulation. Gentlemen and Ladies of good will shall differ on exactly where the lines between liberty and necessary societal order will be drawn; but the tension between rights and preservation of life sustaining order (both good things) is resolved by the community as it “processes” its differences over time.
I hope the above allays many of Mr. Roush’s concerns. Believe me, I am grateful for many things our government does — even however imperfectly. I don’t want tainted food. I don’t want my airplane falling out of the sky. And God bless the FDA that when I was treated for cancer the medicines were in fact what they said they were.
Mr. Roush’s does just a little poke in the ribs that I said nothing about threats to privacy among my list of liberties threatened by the Liberal elites. My “list” was not meant to be exhaustive. But I also said nothing about it because as a matter of custom and law “privacy” has different meanings across the civilized world — even among the English speaking nations. Seen in a particular way, the “right to privacy” as such doesn’t exist because it suffers from a particular vagueness. Instead, we talk about what the State cannot do to us. Such as, restrict speech, quarter soldiers, compel testimony against oneself, conduct unreasonable searches and seizures, and much more. We tend to focus on more or less concrete specifics rather than an ill-defined general notion. New challenges to our confidentiality will have to be dealt with in the same way.p>My overall point remains the same. We are still a free and self governing people. I don’t want that taken away from us because of someone’s elite special brand of “justice” and a more “perfect” America. br> — Mike Dooley /p>
P.S. I have worked in the medical field for almost thirty years and I have to giggle when someone refers to American healthcare as a system. It is many things, but a system it is not.