Social affairs government

Walter E Williams titled one of his books, More freedom means less government. Less government means less government intervention, less government extraction, less government spending, and less government employment. More freedom means less government.

I know you hate neologisms, and yet I’m suggesting it Social affairs government. Albert J. nook titled book, Our enemy is the state. This title is more attractive than Our enemy is the government of social affairs. But Nock’s title is less true, I think.

“Government” is ugly. But that’s the thing you signify, so the ugliness is appropriate.

By “government” I mean governmental restrictions on individual liberty, but also (and perhaps more importantly) state-sector institutions such as senior players, living off taxes and privileged positions. Thus, the term the government The government captures not only as a violator of liberty, but also as a benefactor, permission-giver, employer, owner, customer, creditor, educator, transporter, access-giver, grant-giver, prestige-giver, regulator Agenda, organizer, or law enforcer, prison warden, keeper of records, librarian, museum curator, park ranger, owner of countless huge properties and resources within the political system. Each of these activities has a public relations arm, and influences school systems and culture. Governmental transformation imposes government influence on culture in general.

Freedom and government are, in large part, opposed to the way freedom and slavery are. Supporting freedom is opposing governance. Government preference is opposition to liberty.

Volunteering

Yikes! modern! can you forgive me I promise it will be the last.

In defending liberty over governance, classical liberals often approach it by explaining that liberty is born voluntarySequencing or ordering things, affairs, or activities through voluntary processes. The approach emphasizes that volunteering brings benefits: material, moral, cultural and spiritual. On the whole, the more social affairs are advanced by voluntarism, the greater their usefulness.

Two ways of being a classic liberal

Government curtails, limits, and obstructs volunteering. The improvement diminished. The government has blocked the way. There is a maximum gain loss. We can climb higher, but government judgment is holding us back. Deirdre McCloskey and Art Carden express the approach in the title of their book, Leave Me Alone, and I’ll Make You Rich: How the Bourgeois Bargain Seduced the World. We would all be much richer if the government would leave the people alone.

This approach is sound, but there is another way.

Instead of framing it as a blessing that governments impede, one can frame it as an evil of government constrained by liberal principles. It’s not that volunteering is cool, but rather that government is evil. It is not that we want less government because that means more freedom. Instead, we want more freedom because that means less government. Government is abhorrent and disgusting. It is hated.

We limit governance by adhering to liberal principles. Government is a cancer, and liberal principles shrink it. The drug does not bring joyful sensations, it simply reduces evil. In other metaphors, judgment is pollution, poison, and a plague of locusts. Liberal principles are reduction, antidote, pesticide.

We don’t expect pesticides to make us good or happy. We expect them to keep the locusts away.

Thus, one approach is about blessing, will, and undesirable examination, while the other approach is about curse, governmentalization, and desirable examination. Both approaches are valid, and they both complement the other. One highlights the blessing of voluntarism, the other the evils of judgment.

Do a thought experiment

Consider a world where Americans’ freedoms were as restricted as they are now. They faced the same restrictions and taxes, all of which coercion (including the threat of coercion) was exercised against them. But imagine further that, of the privately extracted resources, only 25 percent could actually be kept and used by the government, while the remaining 75 percent of the money would have to be destroyed, perhaps in a fire in the $1,000 bills.

This would be a world with fewer state actors in society. Cancer will be greatly reduced. But note that, in this thought experiment, freedom will not be increased, because the initiation of coercion by the government is not actually reduced.

So, is freedom really at the heart of classical liberalism? I’d say no. The welfare of mankind, the good of all, is. Classical liberalism sees governance as anathema. (Let me point out that I assumed a reasonably stable system of government all along; in the absence of that assumption, it is murkier.)

Classical liberalism, as a distinctive view of human welfare, has a backbone of liberty. Freedom is achieved by judgment. In order to get all those $1,000 bills passed by the government, and in order to protect the government from competition (and thus enable the Federal Reserve to forge $1,000 bills out of thin air), the government would have to infringe on liberty. Behind the position of the great player in the government is great coercion.

Classic liberal obedience

Classical liberals tend to take the second approach. They would say, as Robert Lawson and Benjamin Powell say in the title of their book, Bad socialism. But the focus is on socialism in other countries, such as Venezuela, North Korea, and China, not the evils of governance at home.

Leftists use the term “systemic racism” to crush dissent and strengthen governance. They ignore how the government in education, for example, destroys the potential of black people. The systemic left is what drives disparate influences.

There are a number of reasons why classical liberals disparage the bad government approach. Liberal principles can rein in judgment, but it is reason that holds the reins. Classical liberal rhetoric involves the ambition to persuade policymakers, and policymakers operate in and around government. Telling government that government is bad is not necessarily the path to persuasion. Whoever holds the reins holds the skin.

There is a virtue in trying to persuade towards liberation. Mixed with this virtue, however, is professionalism. In most of government, its apparatus, and its vassals, it is left-wingers who rule the roost. If you argue that government is hated, then you are hated by governments.

If you wish to join the government, or in academia, or in the media, or in the political community, and in many other areas, you must not make yourself obnoxious to those who control there. Hatred tends to be mutual, so when you explain that government is an abomination, governments hate you for doing it.

The most prosperous path is to be accepted, by taking advantage of the blessings of volunteering: “Come on my dears, we will all be better off if we let volunteering enrich us. Let us not get in the way of what is good for us all.”

The government will not be offended. They nodded a little about the days gone by, when liberalization of markets was the order of the day. But then they neglected the lesson, and that was then and this is now. They proceed to rule. By insulting a few “nice” non-leftists they are under the illusion of being rational and open minded. Suitable for the market, even.

Meanwhile, too often the “nice” non-leftists lose touch with impassioned attacks against prudence, take their rhetorical stand, check their good standing, and give up the ghost.

What is your data set for absorption?

There is another reason that classical liberals stick mainly to the “come on, baby” approach.

One could use statistics to say that obstacles dampen the blessings of volunteering. One can quantify wealth, productivity, health, and longevity, and one can quantify government. Then one checks the correlation. These commodities, wealth, productivity, health and longevity, are indisputable. Also, in certain markets, such as housing, which is another non-controversial good, economists can estimate the maximum gain loss that results from government impediments.

However, the government’s fun approach is more aesthetic and cultural. Government sucks mainly because of its moral, cultural, and spiritual consequences. It is difficult to quantify these results precisely and precisely, both conceptually and empirically. When it came to unanimity, the supporters of the government filled the gallery with their own people, at the expense of the taxpayers or by forced concession, and drove out the dissenters.

Also, governments lie about the bad consequences of governance. They forge and bury the evidence, as in Venezuela, North Korea and China.

A poor argument for judging liberal principles can easily be dismissed as unscientific, subjective, normative, and mere opinion. Indeed, leftists are increasingly in favor of decriminalizing and exposing the lies and evils of government.

Change of approach

at 17The tenth and 18The tenthand a lot of 19The tenth For centuries, liberalism has enjoyed a kind of ascent. From about 1885, liberalism in the Anglosphere began to falter badly. One of the reasons is that people around 1885 felt Disappointed. Liberalism seems to promise happiness. Britain and the United States enjoyed liberalism to a large extent.

So, people woke up one morning in 1890, and what did they say to themselves? “Hey, I’m still not happy!”

The position of learning that (relative) liberalism was not a paradise. It did not eliminate the basic problems of human existence. It did not relieve man from the fundamental challenge of upward vitality, and therefore true happiness.

Liberalism seems to have failed. Its opponents lied about what the liberals promised. Has Adam Smith ever emerged as a promising drug? last sentence of wealth of nations to Britain in 1776, he says, “to adapt its future views and designs to the true average of its conditions.”

However, if liberals had placed greater emphasis on the evils of governance, rather than on the promise of voluntary partition, disappointment would have been less, gratitude and calm greater, and aversion to judgment stronger.

Albert Finn Dice wrote in his 1905 book, Lectures on the Relationship between Law and Public Opinion in England During the Nineteenth Century:

An increase in … public revenues by taxation means not only a reduction of each taxpayer’s private income and his power within a given sphere to do as he pleases, but also an increase in the resources and power of the state.

More freedom means less government, and less government means misery, servility, inconstancy, hypocrisy, denial, falsehood, decadence and degradation. The liberal backbone checks out the evil that is the rule of social affairs.

Daniel B Klein

Daniel B Klein

Daniel Klein Professor of Economics and JIN Chair at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, where he leads a program at Adam Smith.

He is also an Associate Fellow of the Ratio Institute (Stockholm), Research Fellow of the Independent Institute, and Editor-in-Chief Icon Journal Watch.

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