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Do Political Borders Possess Transformative Powers?

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

I share James Taranto’s aversion to the economically uninformed pop “Progressivism” woven throughout many of Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics (“What’s the Matter With ‘Nebraska’?” Feb. 28).  But if Mr. Taranto is right – and, presumably, also “pro-American” – to wag a scolding finger at The Boss for trusting Uncle Sam to meddle more deeply in the U.S. economy, why does he suggest that The Boss is wrong and un-American for wagging a scolding finger at Uncle Sam for meddling more deeply in foreign wars?

Mr. Springsteen is perfectly justified and correct to use his music to protest Uncle Sam sending troops (conscripted ones, at that) into Vietnam.  The mystery is why Mr. Springsteen trusts to intervene at home the same agency that he distrusts to intervene abroad – and why Mr. Taranto apparently trusts to intervene abroad the same agency that he distrusts to intervene at home.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030