At last January’s State of the Union, President Obama said America needs more passenger trains. How does he know? For years, politicians have promised that more of us will want to commute by train, but it doesn’t happen. People like their cars. Some subsidized trains cost so much per commuter that it would be cheaper to buy them taxi rides.
The grand schemes of the politicians fail and fail again.
By contrast, the private sector, despite harassment from government, gives us better stuff for less money—without central planning. It’s called a spontaneous order…
putemSpontaneous Order | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty.
Liberalism comes in two varieties, classical and modern. All liberals support limitations on government power, but modern liberalism favors, while classical liberalism opposes, significant interference with private property rights….
Arnold first asks if reasoned agreement between liberals about this agenda could be achieved by some shared principle. Liberals disagree too much about basic rights to provide common ground, but perhaps this ground could be generated by a common principle that the State has some role to play in providing public goods. Some classical liberals, however, accept the legitimacy of State-provided public goods only if they cannot feasibly be provided by nongovernmental means…
Finding no common ground between liberals on the modern liberal regulatory agenda, Arnold then discusses conversion arguments, arguments for why classical liberals ought to make exceptions to their principles about the scope of government action. Typically, modern liberals use these arguments by identifying some alleged failure in the market order that would supposedly be solved by government regulation; classical liberals reply that regulation makes things worse than they would be if the programs were dismantled or radically altered. After thoroughly canvassing this debate, Arnold concludes the replies are reasonable, which means reasonable disagreement between liberals persists.
putemImposing Values: An Essay on Liberalism and Regulation | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty.