In a message dated 6/19/03 6:28:26 PM, [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes:

>The main "good" it provides is a negative one, that of keeping homelessness
>and starvation to a low enough level to prevent political instability.
This of course presumes that the welfare state reduces homelessness and
starvation rather than encouraging it.

Of course. But what it's proponents intend and what it actually does may be two different things. Then too, although non-statist alternatives might reduce destitution, they might also carry unacceptable costs to the ruling class. What's efficient from the perspective of the general welfare may be quite inefficient for those currently benefitting from the state.

Tolstoy had a little parable along these lines that beautifully describes the mindset of the corporate liberal: a humane farmer took extraordinary measures to make life more comfortable for his cattle. He had his hired hands take them out of the pen for walks; he played music for them; he bought better food, etc. He was asked, "But wouldn't it be a lot less complicated, if their welfare is your main goal, to just knock down the fence?" The farmer replied: "But then I couldn't milk them."

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