In a provocative piece about unbundling the welfare state at National Review, the always thoughtful Jim Manzi makes an important point early on:

The West has built an edifice of markets and free political institutions through a combination of luck, work, foresight, and painful trial-and-error learning, and this has produced once-unimaginable prosperity. But that achievement faces a constant undertow of resistance. It is essential for those who defend market institutions not to mistake this resistance for a defective temperament or malign intent on the part of those who display it, but rather to realize that it is, in part, an inevitable manifestation of human nature. This tension sits at the root of the debate about the line between government authority and individual initiative, and a contemporary capitalist democracy must find a way to manage it.

He goes on to sketch a sane conservative vision for the future of America's social safety net and other functions of government. Perhaps the flagship magazine of the conservative movement is up for challenging the sacred cows of its readership after all.

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