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A Conflict of Visions Different than the One Sowell Identified

Posted By Don Boudreaux On March 22, 2011 @ 10:34 am In Complexity & Emergence,Hubris and humility,Intervention,War | Comments Disabled

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

George Will’s wise skepticism of Uncle Sam meddling both in the domestic economy and in foreign affairs distinguishes him as one of today’s very few pundits who isn’t schizophrenic about the perils of power (“Is it America’s duty to intervene wherever regime change is needed? [1]” March 22).

Most modern “liberals” believe that domestic economic problems are caused chiefly by unsavory characters – “business people” – who impose their destructive rule on masses of innocent workers and consumers yearning for more prosperity, and that the best solution to these problems is government force deployed using armies of regulators to subdue these bad guys and to keep close watch over them and their successors.  Failure to intervene is immoral.  These same “liberals,” though, believe that foreign problems are typically the result of complex forces that can be understood only poorly by American-government officials; it is naïve to suppose that even well-intentioned foreign intervention by Uncle Sam will not have regrettable unintended consequences.

Most modern conservatives believe that domestic economic problems are typically the result of complex forces that can be understood only poorly by government officials; it is naïve to suppose that even well-intentioned economic intervention by Uncle Sam will not have regrettable unintended consequences.  These same conservatives, though, believe that problems in foreign countries are caused chiefly by unsavory characters – “dictators” or “tyrants” – who impose their destructive rule on masses of innocent people yearning for more democracy, and that the best solution to these problems is government force deployed with armies of soldiers to subdue these bad guys and to keep close watch over them and their successors.  Failure to intervene is immoral.

Talk about a conflict of visions.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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[1] Is it America’s duty to intervene wherever regime change is needed?: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/regime-change-in-libya-isnt-americas-duty/2011/03/21/ABhDlj7_story.html

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