Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Repost: Romney Didn't Say That, Did He?

I don't normally repost, but this post by Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings shows that Romney continues to repeat a statement I first commented on in September. That original post is reprinted below.

From the debate tonight [September 5, 2007]:

"And I hear from time to time people say, hey, wait a second. We have civil liberties we have to worry about. But don't forget, the most important civil liberty I expect from my government is my right to be kept alive, and that's what we're going to have to do." - Mitt "Battlefield Earth" Romney

I know this sounds great to those who call themselves conservatives nowadays, but really this is a blatant justification of authoritarianism/totalitarianism. Indeed, it was the underlying (if sometimes unspoken) justification for every authoritarian or totalitarian government action in history.

If the right to be kept alive by the government is the single most important civil liberty, then there are no other civil liberties. If the government's primary job is keeping people alive, then anything which can be potentially perceived as dangerous to life can be prohibited: "dangerous" speech, "dangerous" press coverage, the habeas corpus rights of "dangerous prisoners" held without trial, "dangerous" property rights like the right to buy or sell "dangerous" products (ie, guns, drugs, cigarettes, McDonald's, etc.). And this says nothing of the socialist implications of Romney's statement, since the "right to be kept alive" by the government necessarily implies that the government must provide its citizens free healthcare, free food, free water, and free anything that would tend to lengthen an individual's life.