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Thursday, July 29, 2010

 

An old argument revisited

Scott Johnson at Powerline revisits the great debate between kings and free men; between the Left and modern Conservatives.

The economic "rights" asserted by Roosevelt in his second Bill of Rights differ and conflict with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are claims on the liberty of others. If I have a right to medical care, you must have a corresponding duty to supply it. If I have a right to a decent home, you must have a duty to provide it.

The argument for the welfare state belongs in the same family as "the arguments that kings have made for enslaving the people in all ages of the world. You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden." That's Lincoln again.

Lincoln memorably derided the underlying principle as "the same old serpent that says you work and I eat, you toil and I will enjoy the fruits of it."

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