On justifying a minimum welfare state
Since anarchy is not viable, limited government is the best that the realistic libertarian can hope for. But limited government will itself always be threatened by an inherent tendency to transgress its limits. In modern western societies the regulatory and redistributive welfare state is the major threat to a constitution of liberty. However, a “minimum welfare state” which redistributes personal income among its citizens may comply with the same principles of individual liberty and the rule of law that are embodied in the protective state. Since any state, including the minimal state, necessarily incorporates regulation and redistribution and thus is a welfare state of sorts the non-anarchist liberal should turn against welfare state privileges rather than against redistribution and regulation per se. He may even have good reason to go beyond the minimal state to found a “minimum welfare state” if this is instrumental in securing liberty under the rule of law. Copyright George Mason University 1993
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