The Fear Factor
By Arnold Kling
In the latest issue of The Independent Review, Robert Higgs writes,
in the late nineteenth century the so-called welfare state began to take shape. From that time forward, people were told that the government can and should protect them from all sorts of workaday threats to their lives, livelihoods, and overall well-being—threats of destitution, hunger, disability, unemployment, illness, lack of income in old age, germs in the water, toxins in the food, and insults to their race, sex, ancestry, creed, and so forth. Nearly everything that the people feared, the government then stood poised to ward off. Thus did the welfare state anchor its rationale in the solid rock of fear.
Read the whole thing. I have written along similar lines.
Actually, the whole Winter issue of The Independent Review is interesting, starting with an opening salvo by Thomas Szasz, one of Bryan’s favorite thinkers.