Should the government shape our culture and values? - San Diego, California Talk Radio Station - 760 KFMB AM - 760kfmb

Should the government shape our culture and values?

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© Photo by AP/Rogelio Solis © Photo by AP/Rogelio Solis
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What is the government's role in shaping culture and values? This was the question of the 8:00 hour:

http://media.worldnow.com/kfmbam/podcast/the_mike_slater_show_6380.mp3

It started from this interview of Rick Santorum in 2005:

"One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. You know, the left has gone so far left and the right in some respects has gone so far right that they touch each other. They come around in the circle. This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don't think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn't get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can't go it alone. That there is no such society that I am aware of, where we've had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture."

I find this so interesting because I thought conservatism was all about personal autonomy and leaving people alone to do whatever they want to do as long as they don't violate the rights of someone else.

Santorum says no society has ever succeeded while adhering to a principle of radical individualism. That is strange to me, because America has succeeded precisely because we adhered to the principle of radical individualism.

What do you think? How do you define conservatism? And what role does government play in shaping our culture and values?

More on this tomorrow, and how economic, social and foreign policy issues all fall under the same principle. Until then, I leave you with Thomas Jefferson and his First INaugural Address, 1801:

"...a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities"

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