Letters to a Young Conservative: Chapter 9 and 10

by Elizabeth on October 3, 2012 · 1 comment

Hello Online Book Clubbers! This week, we are covering in Letters to a Young Conservative Chapter 9: Why is Government the Problem and Chapter 10: When the Rich Get Richer. It is a great continuation of Chapter 8 about Reagan which Marian discussed last week.

In Chapter 9, one of most simple and relevant quotes I’ve ever heard is shared by Dinesh. It is actually written by Bernard Shaw:

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on Paul’s support. (page 78)

This simple quote, goes back to the question which separates conservatives and liberals: What is the government’s role in our lives and what is the government’s responsibility and what is ours?

There is much debate between not only what is the government’s responsibility and what is ours, but what is the government’s and what is the private sector. Dinesh says:

 …we recognize that whatever the government does, it usually does it badly…The problem is that, unlike the private sector, the government doesn’t have a “bottom line.” There is no clear criteria to determine whether or not a government program is working. (79)

Then, on page 82, he shares the sandwich story. If you give a hungry man your sandwich, he may be grateful and hopefully will pass on the kindness to someone else. If the government takes your sandwich and gives it to the hungry man, you will be a reluctant giver and the hungry man feels entitled to the benefit.

What do you think of this story? Is this how government works?

In Chapter 10, Chris asks,

…does wanting you to get rich make you a bad guy?

Dinesh answers:

Of course not. Indeed, I would go further: The rich are in the best position to be the good guys, because only the rich have the resources to really help those who are in need.  (85)

But liberals would not see it that way. They focus on equality of outcomes, instead of equality of opportunity.

 The authors of the best-seller The Millionaire Next Door estimate that 80 percent of American millionaires are entirely self-made. (88)

So why are we prohibiting personal growth? Why do we want to keep the rich from getting richer, and the poor from getting richer?

I can’t wait to hear what you all think of this, and how you enjoyed these chapters. For next week, Marian will discuss Chapter 11: How Affirmative Action Hurts Blacks. Can’t wait to read your comments!

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Marian October 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I loved the sandwich illustration. I’d never specifically thought about how ‘mandated giving’ is devoid of the moral element of generosity. Great read!

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