Carlos Rodríguez Braun

crb@ccee.ucm.es

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From Good Samaritan to Robin Hood

JUNE 10, 2009 by CARLOS RODRÍGUEZ BRAUN

The clamor from interventionists against inequality morphs into a clamor for a larger and larger state. This path leads to the loss of liberty and a distortion of both democracy and justice. It distorts democracy because, by attempting to solve inequality, it removes limits to power and expands the field of state action. It distorts justice because the only way to solve inequality politically is for the state to have the power to treat individuals unequally. Thus the struggle to eliminate inequality ends up destroying the most important form of equality for an open society: equality before the law.

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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