What great news! Can it be that an overwhelming majority believe – as we do – that Government should be limited? A new Rasmussen poll taken this week among likely voters found that “92% Favor Strict Limits on Government To Protect the Individual“. If this is true, our worries are over; we should have no trouble at all getting the necessary votes to oust Big-Government office holders and replace them with Limited-Government candidates.
But another Rasmussen poll this week puts Obama ahead of Romney among Ohio likely voters at 46% to 42%. Obama is certainly a Big Government candidate, with a track record of government solutions to every problem, while Romney (though some people question the depth of his conservatism) is far and away more protective of freedom and individual rights, and in favor of limiting governmental intrusion into our lives.
The results of the two polls certainly appear to be inconsistent. The answer to this conundrum may lie in the fact that words have different meanings to different people. The exact wording of the question from the first survey was, “How important is it for there to be strict limits on government so that it cannot take away individual rights and freedom?”
To the conservative, “rights” means those inalienable, God-given rights (such as life, liberty, and property). Conservatives value the equality of rights and opportunity for each individual; they see the government’s role as one of protecting equal rights. Of course they would consider it of utmost importance for there to be strict limits on government so that it cannot take away individual rights.
But to the liberal/progressive, “rights” has a different – and much broader – meaning. “Rights” encompasses everything from housing and healthcare to employment and daycare. Progressives view equality in terms of outcomes rather than opportunities; they see the government’s role as one of providing equal things. They, too, would agree that it is important to have strict limits on government so that it cannot take away from them what they are certainly entitled to have – after all, they have rights!