Liberal Fascism

The People’s Romance

This essay by Daniel Klein comes very highly recommended to me. I’ve only just begun it, but I think those who subscribe to many of the ideas in my book will find it interesting. More when I’ve actually read the whole thing. Alas, it is a PDF.  Here’s the opening:

    In 1995, the annual meeting of the American Economic Association included a

plenary session about domestic policy issues. One of the panelists was the Nobel

laureate MIT economist Robert Solow. In the course of his remarks, Solow said

that he did not find school choice appealing. During the question-and-answer period, I

asked him why he did not find school vouchers appealing. He replied: “It isn’t for any

economic reason; all the economic reasons favor school vouchers. It is because what

made me an American is the United States Army and the public school system.”


    Admirable in its candor and lucidity, Solow’s reply suggests a solution to a broader

conundrum. If government intervention creates an official and common frame of ref-

erence, a set of cultural focal points, a sense of togetherness and common experience,

then almost any form of government intervention can help to “make us Americans.” If

people see government activism as a singular way of binding society together, then they

may favor any particular government intervention virtually for its own sake—whether it

be government intervention in schooling, urban transit, postal services, Social Security,

or anything else—because they love the way in which it makes them American.



The Latest