by Jeff Wartman
This is a post that appeared in Libertarian Republican recently as a précis of a longer article by Jeff on his own site. In view of our recent controversy, this might be timely in order to get the thinking back on track.
To illustrate my own philosophy of government, I’ve often used an analogy of a road trip. The route and destination are analogous to the choices you make in life and the level of freedom you possess.
Too many big government Democrats want to drive your car for you. They feel that if they know the route better, it’s in your own interest to just sit in the back and let them drive the car for you — they will be able to plan the best route and will be able to get to the destination according to the way they think is best. It doesn’t matter if you feel that a different route may be better, because they know how to get there better than you do.
Unfortunately for the American people, some Republicans have deviated from the principles that the party was founded upon, limited government and personal responsibility. Therefore, there is also a part of the Republican Party, a segment of big government Republicans that also want to choose the route and destination for you. Rather than driving the vehicle for you, they will let *you* sit in the drivers seat and give you the illusion that you are making free choices, when in reality the government is in the passenger seat next to you with it’s own set of omnipotent pedals and a steering wheel that they can use to override any choice they deem as unacceptable.
Like the omnipotent Drivers Ed teacher, they can take control of the vehicle at any moment, big government Republicans want you to have the illusion that you are making your own choices but in reality they are only holding up a smokescreen. If they don’t like your choice, they can (and will) quickly override you. The only difference between big government Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans want to give you an illusion that you will be able to choose your destination, when in fact the level of control is the same.
Those who advocate limited government offer a different path. The proper role of government is not to shepherd you to the “correct” decision, government’s role is to protect your rights so that you may make your own choices, whether popular or not, good or bad. Therefore, in the context of the above analogy, to an advocate for limited government, the government is not in your car at all. No judgments can be made on either your route or destination because government is not a participant in the road trip.
Instead, government is the *mechanic*, keeping your car running so that you can make your own decisions while driving.
Note – Jeff Wartman is an activist for liberty in Will County, Illinois. He is a member of the Illinois Republican Liberty Caucus. You can read the full article at his self-titled blog.
For those interested in the Backseat Drivers Manual it can be found here.