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Friday Five: Economic Freedom, the Constitution, and a Just Society

On Fridays, we bring you the best of our blog and the best of the web. This week’s roundup includes a personal story of economic freedom, reflections on the Constitution, a new look at equality and more. 1. Economic Freedom Matters for a Flourishing Society: Anne Bradley and Jay Richards consider the personal impact of the United States’ low ranking in the Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report.
Our loss of economic freedom has implications for how all of us are able to live, work, and raise a family. We need an opportunity society where people can use their unique gifts and talents, whether they sell shoes or software, to the best of their abilities.
2. My American Experience: Daniel Garza, executive director of The LIBRE Initiative, tells his story of what economic liberty means to him, and he presents the hope it offers to others. 3. The Constitution Still Matters: Wesley Gant reflects on the enduring importance of the Constitution, 225 years after it was first signed.
Sometime between the Civil War and the New Deal, the federal government as protector was refashioned into government as provider. The Constitution seemed to transform from a contract of limited powers to an open-ended guarantee of “general welfare.” In effect, this left our founding documents increasingly irrelevant to modern concerns.
4. Quality of Life in an Economic Downturn: RJ Moeller addresses the negative impact the “unhealthy relationship” between the US government and its citizens can have on individual’s lives.
We’ve been told for two consecutive generations that free health care, redistribution of wealth and progressive tax policies were just the things that could cure mankind’s societal (and even spiritual) ills. But every time that utopian dream is exposed as a nightmare by the unforgiving light of human history, the response is to condemn capitalism and free enterprise and (gasp!) deregulation.
5. A just society isn’t necessarily an equal one: Michael Strain and Stan Veuger question what theoretical equality looks like when applied to the real world.
In reality, incentives matter. So does hard work. Asking people how they feel about wealth inequality in imaginary worlds where these things don’t matter and suggesting that their answers are relevant to the actual world is at best a bit silly. If it somehow convinces people that taking other people’s stuff is the easiest path toward a better world then it crosses the line from silly to irresponsible.