The World in Black and White

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It would be nice if the world could be understood in black and white, with no shades of grey. We could proceed without needing to confront any layers of complexity, and we would not need to deal with any nuances. Such is the world of the Rand Pauls of this world; the libertarian philosophy makes few, if any, allowances for any ideas in between.

That’s one reason why it’s so dangerous. People like to view things in black and white: government bad, freedom good makes a compelling bumper sticker, but few of us would like to live our lives that way. But before Republicans start to accuse Rand Paul, they should also examine themselves. Higher taxes are not always bad; sometimes, they are needed to balance the budget or to facilitate critical and much needed programs. Same thing with the flat tax — it sounds appealing until you realize it means lower taxes for the rich and more for nearly everyone else.

… government bad, freedom good makes a compelling bumper sticker, but few of us would like to live our lives that way.

So before we rush to condemn Rand Paul, we must also examine some of the statements of his detractors. We got along fine without the Patriot Act for almost our entire existence as a country, and terrorists will think twice about attacking us when they look at what happened to Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, remember that Oklahoma City and Timothy McVey were a fact of life before Islamic extremism.

So, let’s continue this debate about privacy and security, but let’s allow for some nuances in the discussion.