Will out of step with Lincoln

To the editor:

The very recent letter submitted by a Tupper Lake resident who takes issue with Jon Hochschartner’s economic philosophy brings to mind a syndicated column written last month by George Will.

In his article Will extolled the credentials of a young conservative Michigan Republican and other neophyte members of the GOP in the U.S. Senate. It was a virtual orgy of praise for the likes of Ron Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake and other libertarian true believers of this ilk.

The erudite wordsmith also paid his usual homage to the blessings of limited government and the free market system.

Will cited Friedrich Hayek as an exemplar of the conservative/libertarian laissez-faire economic ideology.

This is all duly noted, but the dour Mr. Will conveniently sidestepped an interesting remark in Hayek’s classic “The Road to Serfdom.” According to Hayek, true economic competition requires a legal framework. In Hayek’s words, “In no system that could be rationally defended would the state do nothing.”

Hayek believed that the real battle is not between those who favor government intervention and those who don’t, but rather how the legal guidelines should be intelligently designed and continually adjusted.

Will’s ingrained and myopic disdain for government can be readily explained as his mindless resentment of the historic sucesses of Washington domestic social programs.

Legislation such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, the minimum wage and a host of other similar enactments have resulted in greater economic security for all Americans, enabling them to enjoy the blessings of liberty without worrying about the fear of poverty or physical disability.

Many of our greatest presidents viewed government’s role, quoting an Abraham Lincoln address to Congress in 1861, “as one whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men … to afford all an unfettered start and fair share in the race of life.”

This is surely a worthy endorsement and strong recommendation in favor of an activist federal government.

Bruce Dudley

Camden, Del.