Undermining a Free Society

The reform of the welfare state is going to require courage, intellectual honesty and a willingness to admit that cherished beliefs were wrong. Politically, many of my friends are a little left of centre. I observe them having great difficulty coming to grips with the moral failures of the welfare state and its financial unsustainability. This is quite understandable. Their beliefs about social fairness are deeply held but seldom subjected to rational debate. The following quote from Yuval Levin, Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Centre in Washington clearly articulates what is wrong. It is a good starting point for serious discussion of issues that cannot be ignored and must be

Eliminating Prejudice

If we work, rest and pray solely with friends who live in the same neighbourhood, we develop fears and prejudices about outsiders. But if we develop multiple associations, if we mix with people from different backgrounds, we soon realise that they too are all right. Our prejudices dissipate. It is one hundred and fifty years since General Sherman burnt Atlanta and the American Civil War ended. Over a million lives had been lost and the Southern economy was devastated. Abe Lincoln had achieved his objectives: the United States remained one nation; amendments to the constitution ended slavery and gave all male citizens the vote. But laws of themselves do not change attitudes. Many in the South

The Impossible Promises of our Politicians

Now that the majority of voters are the beneficiaries of State largesse, has it become politically impossible to unwind middle class welfare? The Intergenerational Report has highlighted problems that astute writers like Tom Woods have known for a long time. The social democratic welfare state is financially unsustainable. "All over the world, the impossible promises governments have made to their populations are beginning to unravel. Millions or people have arranged their lives in the expectation of various forms of government support that will be mathematically impossible to provide." Thomas E. Woods Jr., Back on the Road to Serfdom Fixing this is not easy. All attempts to reduce governm

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Peter Francis Fenwick       Writer      Melbourne     Australia