The Sensible Knave

"I do not see that we are further along today than where Hume left us. The Humean predicament is the human predicament." - W.V.O. Quine

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Creeping Socialism

Debating the relative merits of a socialist economic system is ultimately pointless. Capitalism is deeply entrenched. Were socialism to supplant it here in America, it would not be by way of rational persuasion. That would be like using gravity to levitate.

This doesn't mean that we can't debate the relative merits of a particular socialized public service. Would we be better served by socialized medicine or socialized higher education? Those are reasonable questions, and answering in the affirmative doesn't commit one to supporting comprehensive socialism.

Yet, I often find that arguments for socializing one sector must often appeal to "supporting measures." In order to maintain public health under a socialized care regime, the government would have to intensify the regulation of other industries (e.g., tobacco, junk food) in order to address moral hazards. It is hard to defend particular expansions of government without having to call for many more. That's why it always seems to come back to the big question: should we ditch the market economy altogether? And that's why leftists rarely gain any ground.