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A Poverty of Imagination

One of the sad things about the modern welfare state – which I’d date to about World War I and really got underway with the New Deal – is that it’s caused a poverty of imagination. People can’t imagine what the world would be like without this or that government regulation or this or that government program.

For instance, I gently suggested below that three years of law school is a waste of time – and, in fact, most other common law countries don’t require it, and don’t seem to be imploding. I also suggested that maybe some rules should be loosened.

You merely need to look at the comments section of that post to see the handwringing about what would befall our great civilization if there were under-educated or incompetent lawyers!

This is what I meant when I said that people prefer security over freedom. You’d think, by suggesting that three year law schools (which have only been in existence since the 1930s or so) should be done away with, I was suggesting a return to the dark ages,

“I’m all for free markets,” people say. “I just think a free market depends on [insert this or that government program] to ensure [this or that value].” As if, granting the premise that a free market depends on those things [it plainly does not, because a free market depends on nothing but the free, unfettered interplay of billions of human beings], government has any reasonably good track record of providing any effective program that produces a desired value.

There are awful lawyers today. There are also awful cosmetologists, auto mechanics, plumbers, farmers, shopowners, etc. etc. Let’s have regulations for everything until every sector ends up like the health care industry.

This video is instructive. Watch to the very end. The woman’s rejoinder is a perfect encapsulation of the Poverty of Imagination mindset I describe above.

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