As the word cloud of Jonah Goldberg’s recent column “Government Growth out of Control” shows, the article emphasizes the federal government, the president, and the individual. He objects to the FDA’s preliminary ban on trans fats in processed foods by claiming that it’s a sign that liberals love to push people around. He summarizes the differences between liberals and conservative views of governing like this:
The difference, however, is that conservatives tend to see government as a necessary evil, and therefore see policymaking with some humility. Liberals tend to see government as a necessary good and see ordering people to do things “for their own good” as a source of pride, even hubris.
From a conservative perspective, telling people how to run their lives when not absolutely necessary is an abuse of power. For liberals, telling people how to run their lives is one of the really fun perks of working for the government.
Besides unfairly attributing bad motives to liberals, it deceives in at least the following ways:
- The ban affects giant agribusiness conglomerates, not people,
- It’s been known for a long time that trans fats are bad for health and unnecessary, and
- Only the conglomerates will miss trans fats.
The purpose of such an article is not to inform but to infect Americans’ minds with the idea that liberals and progressives are bad and not to be trusted with power. We have to defend ourselves against these attacks. According to Drew Westen, taking the high road and not responding means that conservatives’ view of liberals becomes the only one out there. He challenges progressives to speak up and tell our own story in our voice. That’s what this site intends to help progressives do. How about:
Progressives believe that in a democracy, government represents and serves the people. Rather than being a distant threat, democracy government has a responsibility to protect and expand the rights and wellbeing of its citizens. That can mean placing limits on harmful products. Thanks to the government’s attentiveness, we enjoy safe food and water. The ban on dangerous trans fats makes our food supply safer while preserving plenty of choice in the grocery store.
On those rare occasions when food gets contaminated, we know the government will punish the negligent company. Though it might seem nice to think that we wouldn’t need government protection, the food industry’s self-regulation has sickened and endangered Americans in the past. We’re not going back there!
How would you say it?