Dear Andrew K. Liberman,
The role of government in the United States has expanded dramatically over the last century (“Kronovet is misinformed,” Letter to the Editor, May 10-11). Compared to its pre-20th century functions, government has taken on new and vast roles, including old-age pensions, government-provided health care, and a host of other programs that typically comprise a modern welfare state.
I believe in Adam Smith’s position, the 18th-century Scottish moral philosopher, that the ideal functions of government were few and well defined. In his classic work, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,” written in 1776, Smith outlined three important government functions: national defense, administration of justice (law and order), and the provision of certain public goods (e.g., transportation infrastructure and basic and applied education). Clearly, government has grown beyond the bounds of these simple duties.
Our democracy has been created to provide equal justice not social justice. Sir, you speak about “level playing field” and “equal society.” Who is to administer what is a level playing field or what an equal society looks like.
I agree that our form of government is the worst possible, except when compared to every other.