Saturday, November 1, 2014

Personal Response to the 1953 Debate Between a Libertarian and a Liberal



Both men agree in advocating for freedom, maintaining social order, upholding limited government, and in expressing concern for the economy and people's welfare. However, though both affirm the principle of limited government, they differ as to its extent. For Dr. Bennett, education and interfering in business particularly in times of economic crisis are parts of his concept of limited government. Rev. Opitz does not want the government to interfere in these spheres. Doing so, would lead to destructive ends. 

The major difference between the two is in the method to achieve their goals. For Dr. Bennett, the State plays a key role in realizing his concepts of freedom, order, and welfare. For Rev. Opitz, the State must stay away from the economy and focus instead on its legitimate function, the protection of life, liberty, and property. 

After reading the positions of both men, I see that clarity in the role of the state is critical in this debate. I don't have the privilege of knowing more about the position of Rev. Opitz on this matter. On the other hand, after knowing the arguments of Dr. Bennett, it convinced me all the more about the soundness of the libertarian case. It appears to me, that the man lacks basic understanding how the economy works. I do not doubt his sincerity about his faith in the state to address problems related to the economy. But due to his intellectual gap, he fails to see the role of the state in creating the problems that it later claims to solve. Moreover, though Dr. Bennett mentions that the state is a servant of society, but in most cases, it appears that he equates the interests of the state with that of the society. 

This debate was published in 1953. Perhaps, Dr. Bennett won that day. After 61 years, following the policies similar to Dr. Bennett's, the US is now facing an economic tsunami. It has a total of $17.9 trillion debt and $222 trillion unfunded liabilities. But despite of this, the libertarian case is still ignored. . . .

References:

Faith and Freedom May 1953 Issue

US Debt Clock

US 222 trillion total fiscal gap/unfunded liabilities