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How to help people; take a glance at earlier Brits, and vote Britain out of the EU

Tim Congdon writes in the Telegraph,

Well-intentioned politicians are of two kinds, those who want to help people directly and those who want to free people so that indirectly they can help themselves. The distinction may sound like a quibble, but it is not.

The politicians who want to help people are in favour of an active state. They believe that the ordinary citizen is in some way inadequate (unhealthy, badly educated, even nothing more alarming than "beneath average"). The government must then do something (build more hospitals and schools, recruit more doctors and teachers) to ensure that no one is left behind and the nation becomes more "socially cohesive".

These paternalists see their job as being the application of their superior knowledge to state action of some kind. Their political impulses are to tax and spend, to meddle and regulate, and to interfere and control; they welcome state involvement in "socially desirable" activities.

Professor Congdon goes on to express his disaffection with these policies and David Cameron's Conservative Party and its links to 19th century Tory paternalism. He does not mention that by the end of that same century schools were not run by the government but almost every child attended them and virtually every child could read, write, and count; hospitals were not run by the government but they treated those who could not afford care; and thousands of Friendly Societies created by Brits on their own were effective social safety nets for the ill and unemployed. Some of this is recounted in the 19th century Ingenious Timeline, and a great deal of it appears in James Bartholomew's book, The Welfare State We're In.

Consequently, with nothing but increasing dependency and incompetence offered by the three major parties, Professor Congdon intends to vote for the UK Independence Party in the next General Election.

Update: Letters to the editor here contain a passionate discussion on "cradle to grave" provision by the government and its responsibilities to the elderly who need care.

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