Progressives Are *Factually* Incorrect

… there’s a very particular story … embodied since the late nineteenth century in what Tomasi calls High Liberalism.  The High-Liberal political philosophers … rely, against Kant, on a factual story which they take to be so obvious as to not require defense.  I claim that on the contrary their master narrative is mistaken, as anthropology or economics or history. …

The story is, in a few brief mottos to stand for a rich intellectual tradition since the 1880s:  Modern life is complicated, and so we need government to regulate.  Government can do so well, and will not be regularly corrupted.  Since markets fail very frequently the government should step in to fix them.  Without a big government ee cannot do certain noble things (Hoover Dam, the Interstates, NASA).  Antitrust works.  Businesses will exploit workers if government regulation and union contracts do not intervene.  Unions got us the 40-hour week.  Poor people are better off chiefly because of big government and unions.  The USA was never laissez faire.  Internal improvements were a good idea, and governmental from the start.  Profit is not a good guide.  Consumers are usually misled.  Advertising is bad.

No.  The master narrative of High Liberalism is mistaken factually.  Externalities do not imply that a government can do better.  Publicity does better than inspectors in restraining the alleged desire of businesspeople to poison their customers.  Efficiency is not the chief merit of a market economy: innovation is.  Rules arose in merchant courts and Quaker fixed prices long before governments started enforcing them.

Fantastic article. Read the whole thing. Via Factual Free-Market Fairness | Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

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