From the Sun’s lead editorial yesterday:

Lower taxes, however, don’t have to mean a lower quality of life in the city or the state. First of all, there is plenty of waste to be cut, no matter what the politicians say. And second, cutting taxes–especially in an overtaxed state like New York, which loses business and residents to nearby, lower-tax states–can spark growth, increasing government revenues in the medium term. [New York Sun, 4/25/03]

How about the much more fundamental issue that it’s not the government’s role to be doing all the things that it’s doing, that the ones that provide value should be privatized and the rest abolished? It’s not a matter of “waste,” it’s a matter of understanding and insisting on the proper role of government. But that would require defending one’s proposals in terms of principles–which apparently even the Sun has become reluctant to do. Here’s another one:

Robert L. Bartley, editor emeritus of the Wall Street Journal, reassesses the Scopes trial of 1925 and its legacy. In an evening of “Documentary, Dessert & Discussion,” Mr. Bartley will discuss “Fundamentalists and Other Bogey Men.” …”Bryan had a point,” said Mr. Bartley, a Minnesota native, outlining various aspects of the case. “And I don’t think it’s inappropriate for a legislature to decide how public moneys are spent. That includes the right to make mistakes.” [New York Sun, 4/25/03]
What Bartley is saying is that the legislature has the authority to fund false teachings based on religion, and that the courts have no right to say anything about it. (Apparently the legislature’s illegitimate power to fund education at all is never called into question.) Here once again is the conservatives’ morally empty majoritarianism. And another:

Sir John Templeton will be honored by the William E. Simon Foundation as the third recipient of its annual Prize in Philanthropic Leadership. Sir John is a pioneering businessman who founded some of the world’s most successful international investment funds….Through the Radnor, Pa.-based John Templeton Foundation, Sir John created the world’s richest award, The Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research and Discoveries about Spiritual Realities, believing an award should be given on par at least with Nobel Prizes. Mother Teresa received the first prize; other laureates have included Reverend Billy Graham, Russian Alexander Solzhenitsyn, author of “Gulag Archipelago,” and Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. The 2003 year Templeton Prize went to Holmes Rolston III, a professor of philosophy at Colorado State University who helped establish the field of environmental ethics…. [New York Sun, 4/25/03]
But then, it’s really not a surprise to learn that conservatives are mystics and altruists, is it?

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