Magazine May 17, 2010, Issue

A Government without Bounds

A young Oklahoma mother, aged 18, penniless, stranded in Imperial Valley, Callifornia, March, 1937. (National Archives and Records Administration/Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum/Reuters/Handout)
Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, by William Voegeli (Encounter, 280 pp., $23.95)

William Voegeli believes in the power of the simple question. Voegeli is one of conservatism’s best contemporary writers on the topics of liberals and the welfare state, and he notes that the former have a long history of insisting that the latter is too small, too miserly, too inadequate. His new book begins by asking: What would count as enough? “All the bitter accusations about the insufficiency of our social programs must point to a criterion of sufficiency, defining a completely adequate welfare state.”

Except that, he discovers, they don’t. Liberalism has no such “limiting principle.” Its agenda, like that of …

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

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