"Private-public partnerships absolutely corrupt the private sector"
Arnold Kling has a fantastic essay at TCS Daily (via Instapundit) about libertarianism, small government, free markets, persuasion, and family values, which really struck a chord with me. Several paragraphs stood out:
I would contend that other forms of morality, like speech codes, are best reinforced by nongovernmental means. When we see moral decline, we ought to try to resist turning to government as the solution. Instead, we should view moral decline as a symptom of an adverse cycle of government expansion and family breakdown....This essay pretty much sums up my libertarian views. I am an old-fashioned gal, a vigilant mother, and I deplore cursing (to use Kling's example) and all the rest of modern U.S. life that seems so anti-family and in-your-face. But government intrusion (except as judicial or police/military bodies) almost always crowds out better solutions (no matter what the original intentions were, no matter how well-intentioned they were). Even on "pro-family values," I tend to favor persuastion over government force as being the most ultimately effective and the most moral choice, and when it comes to the government funding "faith-based charities," I clearly feel that is a disaster--for the faith-based charities--and that means, for everybody.
The original idea of "compassionate conservatism" was for government to achieve goals using as partners faith-based organizations and other nongovernmental associations. If that idea ever takes off, I believe it will be a disaster. My line is that "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and private-public partnerships absolutely corrupt the private sector."
There is nothing compassionate about government subcontracting out to private entities. The only real compassionate conservatism is conservatism that shrinks the role of government. Compassion should start with families and expand through voluntary associations. Government programs, everywhere and always, undermine families and weaken voluntary associations.
I am so glad there are so many voices expressing well-thought-out, coherent, and persuasive opinions like these today.