All Commentary
Friday, April 1, 1994

Social Security, The Welfare State, And Market

The Welfare State Is an Inherently Bad Idea

Mr. Petro is Director of The Institute for Law and Policy Analysis, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Trustee Emeritus of FEE. This essay is an extension of his remarks at the regional meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in Rio de Janeiro, September 1993.

While old-line Communists in the Russian parliament strive to abort the market economy’s birth in Russia, the forces of darkness in the Nomenklatura of the Western welfare states work unremittingly to prevent their existing market economies from realizing man’s ultimate good: a peaceful world in which global free trade spreads instantaneously everywhere, from their points of origin, the improvements in human well-being brought about by the creators among us—the savers and the entrepreneurs, thinkers, and inventors, driven by the profit motive to serve mankind’s endless effort to better itself.

But no matter how vigorously they act to preserve and extend it, the Nomenklatura cannot make the welfare state viable because it is an inherently bad idea. And so, the West’s alternative to failed “Communism,” is itself foundering. It is foundering because it is attempting to serve man’s fundamental objectives of freedom, well-being, and security with inappropriate means.

Evaluating the welfare state’s role in the realm of human action ambiguously called “social security,” I make three points in this essay:

1. If we think of social security as the security of society as such, rather than as the economic welfare of individual persons, the institution known as the state has important work to do; for, without it, the peace, harmony, and freedom vital to the spiritual-material welfare of mankind, are unattainable.

2. If we define social security as the economic security and welfare of the individual persons in the society, however, both theory and history teach that efforts by states to provide such “security” directly are not only futile but counterproductive and even noxious.

3. When, to use Spencer Heath’s phrase,[1] the citadel engulfs the market and the altar, when the state takes over services optimally provided by private, market institutions, unsatisfactory performance is certain to follow.

I. Limits on the Competency of the State, Including the Welfare State

Contrary to opinion prevailing especially in the academic and journalistic communities of the United States, the human institution which we call the state partakes not of the divine; it is not omni-competent, but sadly all too human, and thus severely limited in its competence. The agency which history calls the state is not equipped to create health or wealth or long life or productive employment or art or intellect. Sad it may be, yet wishful thinking cannot make the state something it is not. The essence of the state lies in compulsion, but the only means to the ends just listed is liberty.

Yet states in our time, though they have never succeeded in the effort, increasingly direct their resources and energies mainly to these goals which they are incompetent to achieve, while impairing the condition essential to all human achievement liberty.

The state as we understand it is a sledge-hammer. With it, crime and aggression may be beaten into submission but so too may liberty and enterprise. The welfare state does not differ essentially, despite the wishful thinking of the socialist mentality which animates it. It may try to be all things to all men, but before everything else it is a state, a governing agency. Like every other state it is serviceable in only one variety of production, that is, the production of government—of suppression—not of creation.

It will not do to ignore the fact that suppression has its uses. Even the anarchically inclined must recognize the evil in man and, this far along in human history, that an agency such as the state is both inevitable in the normal course of human events, and indeed even crucial to the existence of the free and prosperous commonwealth if it confines itself rigorously to the peace keeping functions which have repeatedly induced mankind to create states or to accept those forced upon it.

Like the sledgehammer, the state is a tool of narrow competence. Attempt to make it into something which by its essence it is not and you produce a false artifact at best a curiosity, at worst a monster. Each time that evil men have induced fond and self-indulgent fools to turn the state from its proper governing mission into a welfare agency the result has been poverty and chaos. This is no historical accident. It is the product of inexorable law, as implacable as the law of gravity.

The agency which we call the state is reasonably well constituted for the performance of peace-keeping functions.

Commanding all the brute force and physical resources of a society, the state has, in principle, power enough to force its will upon any individual aggressor, any group, or any group of groups. With like-minded states it may preserve the peace against even international aggressors. In order to perform this function, however, its will must be intact. If like all too many local police forces in America, the state is unwilling to use its power to prevent aggression, confusing itself with a welfare agency while harassing and disabling its most productive citizens, in the meanwhile running up huge deficits in its futile efforts to enable the unable, the state becomes worthless, indeed noxious—not greatly different from and certainly less competent than the international Mafia which it has come more and more to resemble, even when it calls itself the Group of Seven.

Our age has demonstrated perhaps more definitively than any other that the state is incompetent to create but cruelly effective in destroying wealth and the personal well-being and security which only wealth can provide. And yet it has fallen also to this fecund and complex age, despite those failures, to keep producing governments which daily intervene ever more globally into economic and intimately personal affairs. Totalitarianism flourishes under another aegis, social security and the welfare state. The ablest persons and industries are persecuted and desanguinated in the name of welfare for the many, but in fact for the benefit of the wire-pullers, as Sir Henry Maine called them,[2] and of the Nomenklatura. The poor, sadly, we still have with us, despite the endless wars on poverty which the Lyndon Johnsons of the world keep waging.

The Soviet Union, the paradigm and paragon of economic interventionism, that tawdry throne of cradle-to-the-grave security for its citizens, foundling home where each would be served according to his needs, theater of the absurd in which bleeding-heart socialists have wept with joy for the last seventy years or so, is now no more. People in tatters go hungry there, vodka is in short supply, pensions worthless, medical care wretched. In short, it is in shambles.

Sweden, another paragon welfare state; Italy, the most state-dominated economy west of the Iron Curtain; England, mother of welfare states all nearly moribund. And now a Frenchman writes that the social security system of France is “bankrupt.”[3] Even still prosperous welfare states such as Germany and Japan falter. As for the United States, every year its immense deficit and bloated Nomenklatura add more dead weight for its overtaxed economy to carry, while the stupendous multi-trillion dollar national debt absorbs most of the exiguous savings which the thrifty manage to set aside despite the endless exactions of the welfare state.

I believe I could show, had I but time and energy enough, that every cent of the deficit traces to some governmental sin of omission or, more often, of commission. We go increasingly into debt year after year, in futile efforts to correct the evil results of previous interventions, when the only way to get back on track is for the government to get out of the intervention business and back to the business of keeping the peace, its one vital responsibility.

I offer pollution, the automobile, and the internal combustion engine as examples of the talent with which the interventionist welfare state has mired itself by aborting free competition and free pricing. Scarcely anyone in the world seems old enough any more to remember, as I do, that the petrol-fired internal combustion engine owes its current widespread usage to the price controls and harassing regulations which made it unprofitable for the private enterprises which created them, earlier in this century, to continue operating clean-running elec-tricity-powered trams and trains. Thus the interventionist welfare state is fundamentally responsible for the worst polluter of our time, but you would never know it unless your memory was long and your wits still sharp.

The interventionist state has thus literally transformed the face of the earth, for the worse, of course, with this one grotesque distortion of the free market for transportation. Unless it breaks itself of, or the citizenry compels it to kick, the intervention habit, God only knows where it will take mankind. In all probability, if the environmentalist fanatics have their way, it will be back to the caves.

I ask you to review in your mind other problems afflicting the welfare state today, especially in the United States: family breakdowns, juvenile delinquency, unemployment and homelessness, illiteracy, the economy-busting costs of medical care, perhaps worst of all the surging deficits and the inflation they cause, however hidden, and unchecked crime. Any one who has read Ludwig von Mises, especially Socialism and Human Action, knows that all these problems have been exacerbated if not indeed created by welfare-state intervention.

At the risk of vexing the reader, I repeat: by its nature, the agency we have come to call the state has an extremely narrow range of competence. It can regulate, control, govern; it can beat into submission, incarcerate, kill; it can force one person to compensate another, or to cease and desist from engaging in certain activities. It can compel human beings to pay tribute to it. It can take tribute from one person or group and transfer that tribute to other persons or groups.

But what government—as government—cannot do is create any thing other than government. The human construct that we call state, cannot make a baby or even nurture one. When a foundling is left at the police station, the gendarmerie places it in a foundling home. This proves, one might argue, that the state can do more than govern. But it proves no such thing. It proves only that the state may use its powers of coercion and compulsion to extract money from the citizenry with which to subsidize other human beings in operating the home. One may no more say that this reveals creative powers in the state than one may say that the state can grow corn because with money exacted from taxpayers it subsidizes corn-growing farmers.

The state produces one thing—government: good government or bad government; mostly bad government: but always government. When it taxes some people for the benefit of other people—the main, if not the exclusive activity of welfare states—the beneficiaries may produce something, perhaps even something good, perhaps even a good work of art, say. But this does not establish the state’s credentials as a creative agency. The state in this transaction remains what it has always been: an instrument of force and violence which now has used its power to redistribute wealth, not to create it.

It would not be correct to say that there is a net gain in this process in that now a work of art exists which otherwise would not. For one thing, we do not know that but for the government the artist would not have produced the work anyway; much fine art exists, we know, more despite government subsidy than because of it. For another, we do not know, and we cannot know, what net addition to the wealth and wellbeing of mankind might have been aborted by the state’s forced transfer of funds.

One thing we can know with certainty is that the persons whose funds have been taken from them have not been able to use them in creative ways of their own: the fruits of their efforts have gone to someone else; the private-sector has been impoverished; art has not been served; no deserving person is better off; goodness has been neither rewarded nor promoted. There is another thing we know with certainty—bureaucrats have decided which artists should be pa tronized, not the people who created the wealth. As Bertrand de Jouvenel has said: “The more one considers the matter, the clearer it becomes that redistribution is in effect far less a redistribution of free income from the richer to the poorer, as we imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State.”[4]

Observation confirms what logic and economic understanding have long known: that the more resources the government takes from the productive to redistribute to the nonproductive, the greater the impairment of the productive, the private, sector. If you take from me the fruits of my efforts, you impair both my capacity to produce and, more importantly, my will to produce. I have no desire to subsidize the Nomenklatura of the United States, any more than I had a desire to promote the welfare of Mikhail Gorbachev and his henchmen. And I know that confiscating the fruits of my efforts has not bettered the condition of the poor, but has in fact, in enervating the economy, made it harder for the ambitious poor to break the vicious circle of poverty.

Show me a state that has succeeded purely as a producer of goods, without resorting to force and violence to exclude competition from private persons. Cuba? Hungary? Poland? Italy? Good God!

The land of opportunity has always been—it remains—the land where capitalism and free enterprise are flourishing. Theory and history have combined over and over again to show that this is so, and why only free markets deliver the goods; only free enterprise creates wealth. And without plentiful wealth—or capital—none of the good things to which the welfare state pretends to aspire, but cannot deliver, are possible.

But capitalism needs capital if it is to flourish. In seeking to share the wealth through confiscatory governmental methods, greedy advocates of the welfare state are succeeding only in destroying present wealth as well as the mechanism of its future production. The savings with which capitalism could make the desert flourish and increase opportunities for all are now being diverted by the welfare state into nonpro-ductive channels. Our “social security” system when administered by the state is a device for consuming vast capital—and with it the only genuinely effective means of promoting the general welfare.

There are things that the state can do which promote capital growth and hence the general welfare, but these are things which involve social security properly understood, not the semantic trickery of a “social security” which subordinates the general welfare to the personal welfare of politicians, bureaucrats, and the wicked with whom they consort. And to this set of distinctions I now turn.

II. Security: Social and Personal; Individual Retirement Arrangements

The greed of the welfare-state interven-tionists seems to be exceeded only by their intransigent economic ignorance, the kind of ignorance which enabled George Bush to refer to the only coherent economic principles in existence, as “voodoo economics.” George Bush’s sad economic ignorance helped him lose his office; unfortunately, worse ignorance has failed to remove the even more culpable politicians in Congress and the bureaucrats who remain hell-bent to cripple the American economy in the name of a false conception of social security.

The greatest threat to the properly understood social security of the free world has disappeared with the breakdown of the world’s super welfare state, the Soviet Union, the nation which set out to demonstrate that cradle-to-the-grave welfare and security could be provided to all by the state, once evil capitalism was abolished. In a world governed by virtue and intelligence, the disappearance of this threat to mankind would have been followed by a huge reduction in taxation, a measure which all logic and experience indicate as the best means of increasing the wealth and hence the welfare of mankind.

Instead, in the United States there has been no peace dividend for the stockholders. It has all gone to the management the Nomenklatura and the permanent-tenure Congress—and to the wicked with whom they consort. For the savers and the productive taxpayers there have been only higher taxes with the greatest tax increase in U.S. history still to come under the Clinton plan to combat a recession which does not exist, with money the government does not have, for purposes of value only to bureaucrats, politicians, and the wicked.

Yet more deadly in the long run, we may look forward to a substantial increase in our already huge national debt, with the depressing economic consequences entailed in the servicing of such a debt.

There can be little doubt that de Jouvenel was right when he said that the welfare state was a mechanism mainly for increasing the power of government. Social security understood as the security of a society as such means the security of the principles necessary to the survival and prosperity of the community as a whole. This was the understanding which produced the preamble of the United States Constitution:

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The welfare to which the Constitution referred was not the particular welfares which are the pretended concerns of the welfare state—the old, the poor, the farmers, the spotted owls, etc. The Constitution refers only to the general welfare. The only possible meaning of general in the context of the preamble is the welfare of all, that is, the welfare of the whole community rich, poor, young, old, sick, well, tall, short, male, female—mankind in all its diversity. And the only way that mankind generally can be served, when one considers the diversity of its conditions and interests, is by general rules, equally applicable to all, empowering the energetic and the productive to act freely, and protecting them and the fruits of their efforts from aggression—not to their infinitely varying personal conditions of age, wealth, health, and so on. It seems impermissible, therefore, to interpret the general welfare clauses of the Constitution as authorizing, let alone commanding, the establishment of the welfare state as we know it.

Instead, the U.S. Constitution seems best read as a rule-of-law document, confining the U.S. government to measures which benefit everyone equally broad principles, justice, tranquility, defense, liberty, the general welfare—in sharp contrast to the log-rolling, special-interest, special- subsidy offal which constitute the essence of the welfare state.

For we must not lose sight of the fact that the framers of the Constitution of the United States were for the most part remarkable men, endowed with considerable virtue and intelligence. In Philadelphia, in 1787, they were not busybodies trying to lead other people’s lives for them; they were not preoccupied with the trivia of daily life or even more serious personal problems such as career, health, sexual discrimination and the like. Mature persons of stature with a due respect for human dignity believe that those are personal problems for human beings to work out for themselves, once the state provides them with a society in which their lives and property are secured by a formidable army and police force and an effective system of justice, the institutions which the Constitution established.

The men who framed the U.S. Constitution were keenly aware that it was a constitution they were building, a structure of government, not a plan for daily living. We shall not see their like again, not soon, and not in politics, anyway; not until we have the sense to rearrange the terms and conditions of political office, so that legislators are motivated to protect property rights and to promote the growth of capital, not its destruction or desanguination.

The original Constitution of the United States survives today only in a grossly mutilated form, in a disgraceful government, where even its basic principle, the separation of judicial, legislative, and executive powers, is daily flouted. Where the Supreme Court prefers to legislate while accepting gross invasions of its judicial powers by both the Executive and the Congress;

the Congress delegates it law-making functions to administrative agencies while invading executive and judicial powers; and the executive cravenly submits to invasion of its powers while furtively encroaching upon the legislature and the judiciary whenever it can do so without arousing the sleeping lion which it fears more than all else, the impeachment power of Congress.

The perversion evident in the decadent condition of the separation of powers principle is equally pronounced in the transmogrification of the idea social security, which has now become personal security—just as general welfare has come to mean personal welfare. Indeed, one hears every day a repetition of the fundamental article of faith of contemporary interventionists: that the government of the United States is a government of unlimited powers and responsibilities; in short, a totalitarian government in all but name.

Because this constitutes ruling opinion, we have in Washington, D.C., today a government which, with the abundant means gained by desanguinating our economy, is bent on fulfilling the wishes of the sick busybodies among us to stick their noses into everyone’s business to a degree never dreamt of before, not even by the likes of Josef Stalin.

There is dreadful fascination in watching the destructive interventionists and the Nomenklatura at work, parrying threats, knifing anyone who imperils their privileges. Thus the 1980s, one of the longest periods of U.S. prosperity of this century, has since been called the decade of greed. That this is a characterization by the truly greedy—the nonproducers lusting after the wealth created by the productive adds to the dreadful fascination of the process. With the help of their ignorant vassals who dominate the journalistic media of the United States, the Nomenklatura and the social democrats preach that Ronald Reagan’s philosophy of government as the problem not the solution must be rejected as an apologia for greed. They know that if the inert masses ever grasp the idea that interventionism benefits only the bureaucracy and the wicked, and does the masses themselves harm, not good, the game will be over for them, as it seems to be for their soulmates in the former Soviet Union.

But even more morbidly fascinating is the way they have emasculated the “decade of greed’s” salubrious means of providing for old-age security a means capable of actually providing the security which the welfare state promises but which it cannot provide, namely, the tax-exempt individual retirement arrangements commonly referred to as IRAs.


* * *

The IRA is a savings device which permits persons to set aside a certain amount each year, without paying taxes on the money or its earnings until retirement. Unlike the compulsory “social security” payroll tax, IRA savings belong to the contributor himself, they become a part of the productive capital of the nation and are not subject to being furtively spent by a larcenous government anxious to hide the horrendous deficits it is running in order to finance its biennial vote-buying sprees, handouts which it mendaciously calls expenditures authorized by the general welfare clauses of the constitution!

Peter Ferrara[5] has shown that from the contributors’ point of view, the personal IRAs are superior in every way to the compulsory “social security” system. The problem, however, is that they are not superior from the point of view of the Nomenklatura. They may be good for the people, good for the country, good even for the whole world. But they do happen to expose the substantial bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration as an expensive, inefficient, irrelevancy, and this of course no Nomenklatura can tolerate. As a result, rather than expanding the scope of the IRAs, as a government of the people, by the people, and especially for the people would do, the U.S. government alas restricts them more and more.

We are to learn from this that under the welfare state government is neither by the people nor for the people, although, because someone must pay the bills, it must be of the people.

If the hammer of government is not the best tool to provide for the security of the aged, it is also not an appropriate means of ministering to the physical health of a society. Honest assessment must conclude that everything the U.S. government has done so far in the health field has created more harm than good.

In fact its various interventions have brought about truly menacing hospital, medical, and pharmaceutical costs; costs which, at the rate of growth of the last twenty years, would in a generation consume the entire national product. Any person of sense knows that if demand for a product in limited supply becomes infinite, the price of the product will unless somehow checked become infinite, too. In its usual fashion, however, the Nomenklatura ignores the laws of economics, offers nothing that would promote increased supply of health goods and services, and proceeds in its self-defeating way to encourage a growth in demand while then rationing the supply that it is doing its best to shrink.

The current American president, along with the current American Congress, is naturally blaming everyone but the government for the medical “emergency” that the government itself has created. And naturally the Nomenklatura apparatus headed by the president’s wife has only the standard welfare state remedies to offer, price controls on the drug companies and rationing of medical care. Thus the American health industry, the equal of which I believe does not exist anywhere in the world, is doomed to the same inanity which the interventionist state has afflicted us with in each sector of the economy to which it has directed its tender loving care.

Sensible people in the United States have been proposing free-market, private-prop-erty solutions to the health problem analogous to the plainly desirable IRAs for retirement. The virtues of medical IRAs would seem to be equally plain. But like the individual retirement arrangements they have one fatal flaw in our supposed democracy, our government of the people, by the people, and for the people. They threaten the relevant Nomenklatura. And so one could predict that the appointed 500-person task force would not propose individual. health-care IRAs as the solution of the medical-care emergency which threatens the country more gravely than the Soviet Union ever did.

Since it has already survived close to a century of vicious misgovernment, the United States is likely to survive even the current misrule. But it’s a close question. Health costs which already constitute a very large fraction of the gross national product have been climbing at a rate of 14 percent per year, and now the President swears that he is going to make socialized medicine universal in the United States. At the same time, the federal deficit is growing at a rate which makes repudiation of the national debt—probably in a way that deceives the unwary a virtual certainty.

The private watchdog organization called Citizens Against Government Waste points out that the U.S. deficit for 1992 is actually $342 billions, not the $290 billions being reported, because the government has hidden its diversion of $52 billions from the Social Security funds. It goes on to say that 61 percent of the annual personal income-tax revenue goes to paying the interest on the $trillion-plus federal debt, and that at the present rate of growth, “in less than seven years it will take 102% of all personal income taxes just to pay the interest on the debt . . . . We are rapidly approaching the day when we will no longer be able to make even the interest payments on our national debt and carry on any reasonable level of government service. When that happens our nation will be technically bankrupt.”[6]

It would appear that in transforming itself into a personal security agency, the government of the United States has sacrificed the social security that it was designed to preserve and protect. It has also betrayed the general welfare in its preoccupation with the particular welfare of the Nomenklatura and of the wicked with whom they consort, in dooming the poor to eternal poverty and that marvel of the ages, the American economy, to certain imbecility.

III. Life in the Welfare State: Automated Interventionism

Social security as conceived by welfare statists involves the politicizing of all human life. Though retirement, health care, and unemployment seem to be the welfare state’s major concerns, such are the inner necessities of politics, the seamlessness of economies, and the linkages in the diversity of human lives, that what starts out as a small effort to deal with a distinct problem turns into a global preoccupation with all of existence. The free society and the rule-of-law state are transformed, as Friedrich Hayek observed fifty years or so ago in The Road to Serfdom, into a totalitarian state. With the experience of the total state gained in those years, we now know that totalitarianism freezes human progress and thus turns entropy loose to produce the gray, featureless, sordid ugliness that westerners saw when the Berlin Wall came down.

I have come to use the term “automated interventionism” in my attempts to understand and explain the political necessities which have turned the American interventionist welfare state into a total state during my life. Once the distractions of politicians, professors, and journalists are shunted aside, the process is not hard to understand. Each intervention involves a transfer of funds from the frugal and productive members of society to the greedy, the profligate, and the unproductive. Perhaps it is better to call this an energy-dissipating transfer, as well as a redistribution of wealth.

Anyway, four significant results follow the transfer. First, the victims of the theft are impoverished, both their capacities and motivations diminished. Second, the economy generally suffers from a reduction in productive capital-formation. Third, the success of the redistribution encourages others to try the same method of increasing their wealth and well-being, often including the victims of the first transfer (there are trade journals which offer instruction on how to get government subsidies). Fourth, since U.S. politicians run for office continuously, and must in each election keep their old clients happy as well as replace attrition, our federal taxes, expenditures, and deficits grow every year.

The deficits keep growing because our increasingly desanguinated private sector cannot generate enough wealth to cover the ever increasing expenditures. The deficits grow also because as our government exempts the poor from direct taxation, it must tax them indirectly by inflation in order to cover such vital expenditures as, for example, the $6.4 million awarded by Congress to build an “authentic” Bavarian ski resort in Idaho.[7] And so our national debt runs to the trillions.

A national debt in the trillions will ultimately bankrupt the country, if not checked or retired, for the capital-starved economy will ultimately be unable to provide the funds with which to carry the debt-service. Yet, as long as politicians are running for office all the time, the debt is unlikely to be retired. The economy becomes increasingly anemic and listless. The complaints of the do-gooders mount, the interventions of the busybodies grow, the energies of the productive flag, their motivations diminish, and even the incurably energetic and inventive find it impossible to get capital enough to circumvent the inhibitions of the busybodies and to carry the load of the total state.

The end result would be not unlike what we see in the former iron curtain countries. However, I do not expect this end result to arrive. The case for privatization of the worst features of the welfare state is too strong, and there are too many among us who understand the case. Furthermore, the politicians of the western world themselves understand it. For example, the social democrats of Germany seem to be readying themselves to abandon the welfare state in the nineties, [8] as they abandoned pure socialism in the sixties, when Willy Brandt concluded that since capitalism delivered the goods and seemed to be inevitable, it behooved politicians to embrace it and milk it, rather than destroy it. And today in the United States, our own social democrats, who dominate the Congress, seem to fear the deficit more than they fear the do- gooders, some of them, anyway.

Busybody do-gooders who cannot tolerate freedom and free institutions will always be with us, trying to force their will on us, in order to expand the citadel and the state at the expense of the market, the free academy, and the altar. I cannot imagine a world without them, as wonderful as such a world would be.

But they can be held in check. Of course, it will take work and cheerful energy on the part of the proponents of capitalism and freedom to do so, but it has always been and more than likely will always be so. Benjamin Franklin of blessed memory knew this in 1787.

These things do not change. Freedom and the blessings it bestows must be fought and suffered for, eternally. []

  1.   Spencer Heath, Citadel, Market, and Altar: Emerging Society (Science of Society Foundation, Baltimore: 1957).
  2.   Henry Sumner Maine, Popular Government (London: John Murray, 1st ed., 1885), pp. 30- 33.
  3.   Guy Sorman, “Adieu French Socialism,” The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 1993, p. A-14.
  4.   Bertrand de Jouvenel, The Ethics of Redistribution (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, N.D.), p. 72. The Boutwood Lectures, Corpus Christi College, 1949.
  5.   Peter J. Ferrara, Social Security: The Inherent Contradiction (San Francisco: Cato Institute, 1980), pp. 351-402.
  6.   Citizens Against Government Waste, “Special Report: Social Security Crisis Update,” at unnumbered pp. 2-4 (March, 1993).
  7.   Ibid. at unnumbered p. 3.
  8.   Peter Glotz, described in The Wall Street Journal as a leading German Social Democrat, is quoted as saying that “The welfare state established after 1945 by social democrats ‘cannot continue to exist in the same way . . . . Instead we must put more value on the initiative of individuals.’” The Wall Street Journal, March 24, 1993, p. A 10. Of the German Social Democrats one may always say, better late than never.

  • Sylvester Petro (1917–2007) was a professor of law and the author of several books on the history of labor policy in the United States, including The Labor Policy of a Free Society, The Kohler Strike, and The Kingsport Press Strike.
    As professsor and director of the Wake Forest University Institute of Law and Policy Analysis, he taught generations of students about the history of labor unions, while defending free association and free contract as essential to the free and prosperous commonwealth.