Now I know there are disagreements about what the role of government should be in providing these goods and services. Certainly, the private sector and the voluntary sector have a role in many of these areas. But we should be able to have a public debate about what government’s role should be. After all, there are no timeless principles determining the role of government. Government is us, citizens, acting collectively. We have a right to decide what we do and do not want to do collectively.
I recognize, of course, the problematic character of the word timeless, with its static connotations. Yet if political debate is simply a matter of citizens deciding collectively what they want government to do, that would seem to preclude a principled debate on what government ought to do.