Saturday, April 30, 2011

Core Truths of Conservatism

It's not that I am incapable of understanding the point of view of those who disagree with me. I believe I have a good grasp of the core truths of conservatism. I see them as the following:

  1. Centralized decision-making is inefficient and ineffective. Society is too complicated for a top-down plan for how to improve things. It works much better to decentralize power, and give lots of people little bits of power, and the opportunity to try things out, see what works and what doesn't, and change plans in light of new information.

  2. Helping out those in need can backfire. First, it can create a culture of dependency, in which people don't learn to do for themselves. Second, it can encourage people to "play victim", pretend to be in worse shape than they are in order to get free handouts.

  3. Progressive taxation can discourage hard work and risk-taking. If you take from people based on how much they have earned through hard work, innovation, and risk-taking, you discourage those qualities. People may feel that it isn't worthwhile to try to accomplish great things because they won't reap the rewards, anyway.

  4. Government bureaucrats have an incentive to work to justify their own existence, rather than to improve things.

  5. Free enterprise naturally directs activity toward those things that people value. The fact that people are more willing to spend money on X than on Y means that they value X more. When you let government decide how the people's money is spent, there's no guarantee that it is being spent on things that people really value (as opposed to thinking they should value it).


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