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Mark LaRochelle

Despite the fact that he was a Fabian socialist, I think Hobhouse had it right: "a whole social system." This social system -- families, churches, religious and private schools, firms, the "market" itself -- are the result of consensual interaction of "millions of men" and women, the spontaneous order of customs generated through trial and error, the experience of "scores of generations."

The President's error was in equating this "whole society" with the government. As Tom Paine wrote, "Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one." While society, being consensual, must perforce be beneficial, government, being coercive, must at some point become a net detriment to society.

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