Friday, May 20, 2005

Do Gooders

Excellent short review of Do Gooders by Mona Charen is up at Blogcritics. Shorter sample:
True liberalism—the idea that personal freedom is a high, if not the highest, political virtue—respects a person’s right to do as he pleases. But it also refuses to insure the free person of the negative consequences of his bad choices. True liberalism works because it assumes that people will rationally consider the possible outcomes of their actions and choose what is in their best interest. A truly liberal society is thus a moderately conservative one precisely because most people will not make choices that carry large personal risks.

The liberalism Charen criticizes, then, is not true liberalism, which is also known as classical liberalism or libertarianism. Rather, it is the deformed liberalism of the Great Society, which maximized individual choice and minimized personal risk. Not surprisingly, people began to make bad choices because they knew that the government had stretched a “safety net” beneath them to catch them when they fell. And fall they did. A direct line of cause and effect stretches from Lyndon Johnson to Jimmy Carter, from the Great Society to malaise, from the zenith of post-war American liberalism to its nadir.
If I had the money, I'd buy this. I guess, instead, I'll have to see if the local library got a copy.

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