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Just Asking

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal; the point is not original, but it warrants repetition:


Regarding your editorial “The Kavanaugh Hazing” (Sept. 4): Progressives who oppose the elevation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court are deeply conflicted. As you note, they fear that a more conservative Court would “require back-alley abortions, deny contraception to women, end gay marriage, [and] strip voting rights from minorities” – which means that they fear the results of unrestrained majoritarian democracy. After all, the only way the Court could achieve any of these outcomes is to refuse to prevent majorities from outlawing abortion, from restricting women’s access to contraception, from refusing to recognize gay marriage, and from stripping minorities of voting rights.

Yet oddly, among all of today’s ideological groups, the one that clamors most loudly and stubbornly for far greater reliance on majoritarian democracy is that of progressives. Progressives trust unrestrained majorities with the power to redistribute income, to mandate paid leave and otherwise to regulate private enterprise in ever-greater detail, and to run K-12 schooling better than profit-seeking businesses and private non-profits would do.

Why should the same voters who are so parochial and ignorant that they can’t be trusted with the power to collectively govern abortion, school prayer, marriage policy, and other non-economic matters be trusted with even more power than they already possess to collectively govern the distribution of income, the manner in which people trade, the wages that employers pay, and other economic matters?

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030