The State versus the People

by Paul Craig Roberts

What use is the political left? This is a serious question, not a rant. The same question can be asked about the political right. The question does not imply derogatory implications about individuals on the political left or the political right. Rather, the question concerns the basket of emotions, issues, and knee-jerk responses associated with the political left and the political right.

Traditionally, the political left has had a Benthamite view of government, seeing government power as the tool for improving society whether through revolution or reform. Paradoxically, the political left has believed in Big Government despite the political left’s emphasis on civil liberty. The political left sees government power not as a threat to civil liberty but as a tool for enforcing civil liberty; for example, through Brown vs. Board of Education and coerced integration in the southern states.

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