Mitt Romney, the Tikkun Olam President?

Noam Neusner, who knows how to provoke, provokes:

If our goal is to heal the wounds in the world, maybe the right way to do that doesn't involve seizing wealth from people who work hard to give it to people who don't. Maybe it shouldn't involve the construction of a vast super state of regulatory czars and czarinas, people capable of writing a rule that could, without review from elected legislators, destroy a citizen's life work. Maybe we should ask ourselves whether tikkun olam means making people even more dependent on the goodwill of the state.

Maybe the best form of tikkun olam is to give people freedom and free markets as opposed to more state-sponsored goodies. Freedom and free markets have worked pretty well in lifting people out of poverty, creating strong middle-class societies, and supporting great voluntary and charitable institutions.

And by the way, freedom and free markets have been good for the Jews and for tikkun olam. Cast your eyes over the sweep of our 5,000 years of history. Wherever Jews have lived in relative freedom and free markets -- the United States, Britain and its commonwealth, the Ottoman Near East, post-Enlightenment Western Europe -- we've done pretty well. We've built great communities. We've devoted ourselves to Torah. We've pursued tzedakah, charity, with abandon.
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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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