Whereas transactions in a market economy are voluntary and peaceful, the actions of government are essentially coercive, backed with the threat of violence to those who disobey. What government does, it does “at the point of the bayonet,” so to speak. Therefore, the fearsome power of government ought to be constrained to limited and specific purposes — defending the life, liberty and property of citizens.
When government begins to meddle in the economy, picking winners and losers, using appropriations and fiscal policy to transfer money from one group of citizens to another, it divides society into two classes, taxpayers and tax consumers, punishing the former in order to reward the latter.
Such a policy is not merely misguided, it is immoral — indeed, it is sinful . . . and by displaying the spectacle of government engaging daily in legalized theft, the welfare state tends to corrupt the morals of its citizens.
If conservatives are unwilling to defend the market economy on moral grounds, if they are unwilling to denounce coercive expropriation as immoral, all that remains to be settled is the question Lenin bluntly summarized as “Who, whom?”