Mitt Romney, the Tikkun Olam President?

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/08/mitt-romney-the-tikkun-olam-president/261723/