美国保守主义的思想危机

伯克利—现在,在我书桌的左后角摆着三部新书:布鲁克斯(Arthur Brooks)的《战争》(The Battle)、穆雷(Charles Murray)的《崩溃》(Coming Apart)和埃伯斯塔特(Nicholas Eberstadt)的《匪之国》(A Nation of Takers)。总的来说,它们代表了重要的思想动向,这也恰好是当今美国保守主义对治理经济鲜有建设性意见、在美国选举舞台上频频败北的重要原因。

但让我们回顾历史,看看我们所谓的现代保守主义是如何在19世纪初的英国和法国起源的。一些人——巴斯夏(Frédéric Bastiat)和萨伊(Jean-Baptiste Say)立刻出现在眼前——认为当市场或生产出现了暂时性的干扰时,政府应该安排失业者去建设基础设施。但他们的观点被西尼尔(Nassau Senior)反对,他认为就连食品救济都不应该有:尽管数百万人因爱尔兰土豆饥荒丧命,但“这远远不够。”

早期保守主义的主要卖点是彻底反对任何形式的社会保险:让穷人变富,他们就会生更多孩子。结果,农场规模会下降(因为土地得分给越来越多的子女),劳动生产率会下降,而穷人会变得更穷。社会保险不但毫无意义;简直就是大逆不道。

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