by Daniel Foster

ThinkProgress seems to believe they’ve made a major contribution to the discourse by cornering a few Liberty University students and asking them the question The Wolf Blitzer posed to Ron Paul at the CNN/TPX debate: Should we let an uninsured 30-year-old man die if some calamity befalls him?

Our off-screen interlocutor frames the question in terms of what the “Christian” thing to do is. Perhaps to liberals’ surprise, it turns out this sample of Christians thinks it’s rather unchristian to, you know, not try to help a dying man.

But of course, this is a category error. There are lots of unchristian things Christians shouldn’t do (presumably, all of them), but lots of unchristian things it’s perfectly fine — and right, and proper — for governments to do. The use of the unspecified “we” in the interlocutor’s question is telling. As many commenters noted the last time I wrote about this, so was Blitzer’s use of “society” in the version posed to Ron Paul. “We” are not the federal government; “society” is not the federal government. Society should not let the man die. Government should.

One of the biggest challenges of the Left-Right debate about the proper size and scope of government is that we are, in some fundamental sense, not speaking the same language as the Left — and because Big Government basically won the 20th century, the language of the Left has been internalized to a certain extent by all of us. In a world where the reflexive response is to equate government with society, folks may quite literally lack the vocabulary to understand conservative principles.

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