George Will on the Social Contract

Hot off the Washington Post’s press. I’m tempted to quote it in its entirety because George Will is the best defender of the case for limited government: it frees individuals by maximizing their liberty, and respects individuals by honoring their personal decisions.

Here Will puts his pen against a rant by Massachusetts senatorial candidate Elizabeth Warren that recently went viral on the internet. He quotes her at length.

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. . . . You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea — God bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

According to Will,

Warren’s statement is a footnote to modern liberalism’s more comprehensive disparagement of individualism and the reality of individual autonomy. A particular liberalism, partly incubated at Harvard, intimates the impossibility, for most people, of self-government — of the ability to govern one’s self. This liberalism postulates that, in the modern social context, only a special few people can literally make up their own minds.

An invigorating read for those of us who believe in maximum freedom.

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Filed under Domestic Politics, Philosophy, Role of Government

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