Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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False Prophets and Lefty Policy

The New Republic is running a list of "a few choice predictions about disaster that never came," which, they say, show that conservative critiques of liberal and/ or progressive policies are always mistaken.

An appropriate response, might be, Megan McArdle's long reflection on unintended consequences. A sample:

[In the 19th century] unwed mothers could not, in most cases, obtain welfare; they were not allowed in public housing (which was supposed to be--and was--a way station for young, struggling families on the way to homeownership, not a permanent abode); they were otherwise discriminated against by social services. The help you could expect from society was a home for wayward girls, in which you would give birth and then put the baby up for adoption. . . .

Now, in the late fifties, a debate began over whether to extend benefits to the unmarried. It was unfair to stigmatise unwed mothers. Why shouldn't they be able to avail themselves of the benefits available to other citizens? The brutal societal prejudice against illegitimacy was old fashioned, bigoted, irrational.

But if you give unmarried mothers money, said the critics, you will get more unmarried mothers.

Ridiculous, said the proponents of the change. Being an unmarried mother is a brutal, thankless task. What kind of idiot would have a baby out of wedlock just because the state was willing to give her paltry welfare benefits?

People do all sorts of idiotic things, said the critics. If you pay for something, you usually get more of it.

C'mon said the activists. That's just silly. I just can't imagine anyone deciding to get pregnant out of wedlock simply because there are welfare benefits available.


Etc., etc., etc.  Just because some predictions have been mistaken, that does not mean they are all mistaken.  I used to expect better from TNR.

Categories > Politics

Discussions - 4 Comments

Let me put on my liberal hat and respond:

Liberal: "The negative consequences you cite didn't really happen. Those are numbers from a right-wing think tank. They've long been discredited."

The burden shifts back to you to prove what you believed already proven. You layer fact upon fact until the cumulative weight causes them to reconsider.

Liberal: "Well ... the negative consequences weren't a results of the progressive policy. They were a result of conservative obstructions implementing the policies."

And on it goes, forever and ever.

Honestly, playing the liberal unencumbered by fact or reason, I could deflect anything you throw my way.

And that's what they do. Because they feel no obligation to honor truth and reason. They are unable or unwilling. If unable, they are fools; if unwilling, they are fiends.

Arguing or discussing anything with a liberal is like having a discussion with Charley Manson. Liberalism is a mental illness.

I've often thought that the record of "liberal successes" are simply unexamined history. For instance, what has been the effect of female suffrage on national and local politics...has anyone really examined this. If I had to bet, I'd say our gradual shift to the left (i.e., the nanny state) has much to do with female suffrage (I hope not to offend sensible female voters...many great gals out there). Also, the massive "ethnic" wave of immigration from 1850 on...what has been the result on American politics? Again, if I had to bet, I'd say the the whole "city machine" and socialist push come from this immigration and the seismic shift in political values in brought about.

Food for thought on Christmas Day...enjoy all!

@ Redwald: Uh yeah....pretty sure the Founders didn't have Sparta in mind as their model of government.

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