An elderly woman sat on the stone steps of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral clutching a small handful of wildflowers picked from a field somewhere. She offered them up to any passerby, hoping to earn just a few cents for them. The air in Sofia was frigid, but at least the rain had finally stopped. I wondered if she had sat there in the rain the day before. I suspected she was there every day.
For almost half a century the countries of Africa have been awash in aid. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been given to African governments. More billions were lent to these same governments. Countless tons of food have inundated the continent, and swarms of consultants, experts, and administrators have descended to solve Africa's problems.
Libertarian, or classical-liberal, thinking is routinely divided into two supposedly different camps. In a controversial article some years ago, R. W. Bradford (using the pen name “Ethan O. Waters”) called these “The Two Libertarianisms”: “moralism” and “consequentialism.” Moralism is the belief that individual rights are justified through an appeal to natural law and natural rights. Consequentialism justifies liberalism by arguing that it will “optimize” the wealth and happiness of society.
Socialism, along with other movements founded on egalitarianism, has often been held up as a moral ideal. Many people consider the drive for “equality” to be laudable. It is frequently claimed, however, that socialism, although based on a moral principle, failed because it used immoral means to obtain its ends.