State intervention: quality not quanitity
A new poll for PoliticsHome shows that 79 per cent of people believe that the state has too much of a say over what people can and can’t do. This is excellent news for progressive conservatives who have long bemoaned the influence of an overbearing state in people’s lives. However, we should not confuse unnecessary bossiness with much needed intervention.
The progressive conservative argument goes that, sometimes, the state does need to get its hands dirty and get involved in people’s lives. The old left/right debate about how often that should happen is moribund and out of date; the real question is not the quantity of intervention but the quality.
If you want to reduce the impact of the state on the whole of people’s lives then, sometimes, you have to ramp it up in particular areas. For instance, all of the evidence points to the need to intervene in the lives of young children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds in order to prevent a long-term negative impact on their futures. The old libertarian, freedom too crowd may well bemoan such state action but by getting involved early on we can actually reduce the amount of overall intervention. A well -imed, well thought through intervention now can mean less involvement from social services, the police and the criminal justice system later on.
Freedom is important to progressive conservatives, but sometimes you need to act now to ensure it later on.