Arnold Kling  

The Genius of Libertarianism

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The Washington Post reports,


"You know the way to boost your poll numbers is not do anything," Obama said at a town hall gathering in Ohio last week. "That's how you do it. You don't offend anybody. I'd have real high poll numbers. All of Washington would be saying, 'What a genius.'

Libertarianism would indeed say that it takes a genius to do nothing.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
hanmeng writes:

Or Taoists ("Governing a great state is like cooking small fish.")

David writes:

Adam Smith wrote in the Theory of Moral Sentiments: “The man who barely abstains from violating either the person, or the estate, or the reputation of his neighbors, has surely very little positive merit. He fulfils, however, all the rules of what is peculiarly called justice, and does every thing which his equals can with propriety force him to do, or which they can punish him for not doing. We may often fulfill all the rules of justice by sitting still and doing nothing”. Is a politician's drive towards self-aggrandizement better served by mere negative justice, or by "positive merit".

[Smith's quote is available in context at http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smMS2.html#II.II.9 --Econlib Ed.]

Les writes:

Do I correctly recall that the Hippocratic Oath contains wording like: "First, do no harm ... ?"

Loof writes:

Yes, governing a great state is like cooking small fish — best fried from the bottom up. Yet, frying small fish is best done from the top down with ever bigger states and/or ever bigger estates.

Methinks writes:

He clearly sees his mistake but lacks the ability to learn from it. That really encourages me to turn over my health care decisions to him.

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