civil society

Libertarianism and the Poor

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Two different friends in two different contexts recently asked me about Libertarian approaches to helping the poor.  Here’s what I had to say on that question in my  2012 collection of campaign essays, “Less We Can.”

Libertarianism and the Poor

We know free markets produce more prosperity, and we know government spending is often ineffective or worse.  But many are nonetheless reluctant to embrace libertarian ideas because of their commitment to social justice.  Without the welfare state, how would Libertarians take care of the poor? Read the rest of this entry »

Full-Length Friday Liberty Quotation: Thomas Paine on the Real Source of Social Order

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Thomas Paine“A great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government.  It had its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man.  It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished.  The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all parts of a civilized community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together.  The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation, prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole.  Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their laws; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of government.  In fine, society performs for itself almost every thing which is ascribed to government.”

Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man [1792]