TOC Washington Director Ed Hudgins has written a response to George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech.
His primary criticism is that Bush and the Republicans in general act “based on sentiments or short-term pragmatism rather than on a consistent set of core principles.” Hudgins argues that this way of making policy and governing leads to limitations on individual liberty and autonomy.
Hudgins explains how the Republicans should govern:
If Bush and the Republicans lived up to their limited government reputation, they would hold to the principles of individual liberty on which America was founded. The purpose of government, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, was to protect the life, liberty and property of each citizen. The federal government, as established by the Constitution, had certain limited and enumerated powers, with all other powers reserved for the states and the people. A system of checks and balances was established and a Bill of Rights added to make certain that government didn?t get out of hand.
These principles in turn were based on the understanding that individuals are ends in themselves; that they own their own lives; that to survive and prosper they must be free to act; that they thus should be left alone and in turn should leave others to live as they see fit. Based on these principles it is generally easy to judge which functions of government are legitimate and which are not. Thus government welfare programs are seen as based on the altruist principle that individuals must take care of others and be forced by government to do so, which of course limits everyone?s personal autonomy.
His full response is available on the TOC web site.