Here’s another example of how public decision-making is impossible without a notion of individual rights:

On the same day that the Anti-Defamation League reported that the number of anti-Semitic incidents at universities has increased by 24%, the number three Republican in the Senate, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and some of his colleagues met with Jewish activists to explore solutions to the trend. By the end of the meeting yesterday, Mr. Santorum was talking about introducing legislation that could cut federal funding to colleges where anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiments are prevalent–or more generally, where “ideological diversity” is lacking. [New York Sun, 3/27/03]
Santorum doesn’t want the government to stop funding ideas–just to stop funding bad ideas. But that is necessarily to put the government in the position of the arbiter of ideology. The government has no business in the field of ideas at all, but again this is only clear to a person with some notion of individual rights. Having the government encourage “ideological diversity” is just a way of producing more ideological irresponsibility.

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