Hitler's Handouts

Inside the Nazis' welfare state

Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, by Götz Aly, New York: Metropolitan Books, 448 pages, $32.50

Few subjects arouse a historian’s reductionist instinct like Nazism. It’s hard to resist that desire to explain, in a single bullet point, just how “the nation of Goethe and Schiller” descended into imperial, genocidal madness. The earliest Holocaust reductionists saw in the German character a preternatural fealty to power: the stolid Prussian willing to subsume morality to a vague notion of duty, with those not of the Junker class simply terrorized into submission, too fearful to resist.

Among historians, this idea fell out of favor long ago. For non-specialists, it was effectively debunked in 1996 by the Harvard political scientist Daniel Goldhagen, who demonstrated that punishment was rarely if ever meted out to soldiers who refused to participate in mass murder. (According to Goldhagen, S.S. chief Heinrich Himmler allowed the righteous—and the squeamish—to be redeployed from the killing fields.) But Goldhagen merely replaced one monocausal theory with another, contending that the Holocaust was a natural extension of popular anti-Semitism. Fascism flourished, he claimed, because Germany was a country suffused with a “racist eliminationist view of Jews.” Goldhagen’s book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners, was cut to ribbons by his peers, many of whom wondered why, if genocidal anti-Semitism was uniquely German, so many non-Germans willingly betrayed, deported, and executed their Jewish neighbors.

So if anti-Semitism alone cannot explain the fate that befell European Jewry, what can? According to Götz Aly’s Hitler’s Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State, most previous treatments of German complicity in genocide overlook a significant aspect of Nazi rule. Aly, a historian at the Fritz Bauer Institut in Frankfurt and the author of more than a dozen books on fascism, urges us to follow the money, arguing that the Nazis maintained popular support—a necessary precondition for the “final solution”—not because of terror or ideological affinity but through a simple system of “plunder,” “bribery,” and a generous welfare state. When first published in 2005, Aly’s book caused a minor sensation in Germany, with critics accusing him of everything from sloppy arithmetic (a charge he vigorously denies in a postscript to the English translation) to betraying his soixante-huitard roots by implicitly connecting West German social democracy to fascism. After the massive success of books like Günter Grass’ Crabwalk and Jörg Friedrich’s The Fire, two bestsellers stressing that Germans too were victimized by fascism, Hitler’s Beneficiaries shifts the brunt of the blame back toward ordinary Germans.

Far from being victims of Nazism, Aly argues, the majority of Germans were indirect war profiteers. Requisitioned Jewish property, resources stolen from the conquered, and punitive taxes levied on local businesses insulated citizens from shortages and allowed the regime to create a “racist-totalitarian welfare state.” The German home front, Aly claims, suffered less privation than its English and American counterparts. To understand Hitler’s popularity, Aly proposes, “it is necessary to focus on the socialist aspect of National Socialism.”

While underemphasized by modern historians, this socialism was stressed in many contemporaneous accounts of fascism, especially by libertarian thinkers. F.A. Hayek famously dedicated The Road to Serfdom to “the socialists of all parties”—that is, Labourites, Bolsheviks, and National Socialists. “It was the union of the anti-capitalist forces of the right and the left, the fusion of radical and conservative socialism,” Hayek wrote, “which drove out from Germany everything that was liberal.” Ludwig von Mises agreed, arguing in 1944 that “both Russia and Germany are right in calling their systems socialist.”

The Nazis themselves regarded the left-right convergence as integral to understanding fascism. Adolf Eichmann viewed National Socialism and communism as “quasi-siblings,” explaining in his memoirs that he “inclined towards the left and emphasized socialist aspects every bit as much as nationalist ones.” As late as 1944, Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels publicly celebrated “our socialism,” reminding his war-weary subjects that Germany “alone [has] the best social welfare measures.” Contrast this, he advised, with the Jews, who were the very “incarnation of capitalism.”

Using a farrago of previously unpublished statistics, Aly describes in detail a social system larded with benefits —open only to Aryan comrades, naturally. To “achieve a truly socialist division of personal assets,” he writes, Hitler implemented a variety of interventionist economic policies, including price and rent controls, exorbitant corporate taxes, frequent “polemics against landlords,” subsidies to German farmers as protection “against the vagaries of weather and the world market,” and harsh taxes on capital gains, which Hitler himself had denounced as “effortless income.”

Aly demonstrates convincingly that Nazi “domestic policies were remarkably friendly toward the German lower classes, soaking the wealthy and redistributing the burdens of wartime.” And with fresh memories of Weimer inflation, “transferring the tax burden to corporations earned the leadership in Berlin considerable political capital, as the government keenly registered.”

For instance, at the outset of war Nazi economists established a “wartime tax of 50 percent on all wages” that applied only to the wealthiest Germans. In the end, Aly writes, “only 4 percent of the population paid the full 50 percent surcharge.” In occupied Holland, administrators dramatically raised taxes to fund an “anti-Bolshevik campaign,” while some Dutch companies paid upward of 112 percent of profits in tax.

But most of the money used to fund the Nazi war machine, Aly argues, was obtained by simple theft. Berlin expressly sanctioned plunder of the occupied territories, urging soldiers to satiate the material desires of the home front with soaps, perfume, coffee, and meat, sent back to the Fatherland via the army post. Limits on package size were lifted expressly for this purpose, while puppet governments seized gold, looted treasuries, and undermined local currencies “to cover a significant proportion of the day-to-day costs of war.” Although his estimate has been hotly disputed by the British historians Adam Tooze and Richard Overy, Aly argues that theft accounted for a full 70 percent of the Reich’s wartime revenues, ensuring that the burdens of war fell squarely on the shoulders of the conquered.

“The Nazi leadership did not transform the majority of Germans into ideological fanatics who were convinced that they were the master race,” Aly concludes. “Instead it succeeded in making them well-fed parasites.” Aly notes that food was readily available throughout the war, and that it was not until 1945 that Berliners noticed a scarcity of rations. Thus, he argues, the people were generally well looked after and, until the bitter end, pliant subjects of the Reich.

In making his case, Aly subjects the reader to a dizzying and often tedious array of numbers. And while he ably demonstrates that the Nazis were both accomplished thieves and voodoo economists, I can’t help wondering if Hitler’s Beneficiaries is asking the right questions. If this loyalty-for-food was indeed the prevailing moral hierarchy amongst “ordinary Germans,” if decency was swiftly abandoned in a quest for moderate material gain, you can only wonder: Why were they so easily corruptible?
Can the occasional parcel of Serrano ham, a free dental exam, and a soak-the-rich tax structure convince a people whose population centers were regularly firebombed, whose Jewish neighbors were deported, whose sons were killed on the Eastern Front, whose cities were close to being overrun by the Red Army, to stick by a cruel dictatorship until the bitter end? The reality of Hitler’s war was never far from sight. The July 1943 bombing of Hamburg, for example, produced an astonishing 40,000 civilian deaths and 1.4 million refugees. Those seeking safety outside of large urban centers, the historian Robert Gellately notes, caused a ripple effect by “contributing to the fall of morale in cities behind the lines.”

Six months earlier, the German Army had capitulated at Stalingrad after having sustained 700,000 casualties. Jews were taken in broad daylight, never to be seen again. And while the material deprivation of Berliners may have been limited to the occasional interruption in the sausage supply, the “parasitic” hausfrau surely observed her city’s gradual reduction to rubble. It would be astonishing if, in the midst of this destruction, those in Germany gave much thought to taxes or pensions.

In its best passages, Hitler’s Beneficiaries demonstrates a correlation between moral collapse and government largess. But direct causation is harder to establish. And while he is careful not to claim that economics alone motivated the “ordinary German,” Aly is vague about just how significant a role it played, failing to make anything resembling a combined case, weighing economic incentive alongside anti-Semitism, nationalism, propaganda, and terror.

There is, perhaps, a rather less satisfying explanation: that ordinary people, German or otherwise, possess an extraordinary capacity—and tolerance—for evil. As the mass killings in Rwanda and Cambodia should demonstrate, a cash incentive is hardly a prerequisite. But the crowded field of Nazi historiography demands a measure of heterodoxy; mainstream publishers prefer the provocative to the prosaic. While Aly’s impressive economic history succeeds in reminding readers that Bolshevism and Nazism were, in the words of historian Richard Pipes, both “heresies of socialism,” that service is ultimately overshadowed by a needlessly radical conclusion.

Michael C. Moynihan is an associate editor of Reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • x,y||

    stolid Prussian willing to subsume morality to a vague notion of duty, with those not of the Junker class simply terrorized into submission, too fearful to resist

    Compare this with Guiliani's freedom must succumb to authority.

  • ||

    I never use the terms left or right I prefer socialist and free market.That's the true clash of ideas.As an aside,Otto von Bismark brought the world social security.He believed if you made the population dependent on the goverment they would be eaiser to control.He's called right wing today.

  • ||

    Socialism erases all wrongs! It is why Roosevelt gets a free pass from the left on the whole Japanese concentration camps, censorship, and spying on the mail, firebombing civilians, supporting segragation, and bombing neutral countries.

    He can't be evil, he created 'Social Security' after all!!!

  • Syloson of Samos||

    ...Hitler's Beneficiaries shifts the brunt of the blame back toward ordinary Germans.

    Given that there has been a whole wave of books since the 1990s which looked into the complicity of ordinary Germans it is probably more appropriate to say that this work is part of that wave.

    The German home front, Aly claims, suffered less privation than its English and American counterparts.

    The Nazis did not shift to full wartime economy until rather late into the war. In part this was because of the fears of another 1918 - that is the German population rising in mass revolt as a result of years of privation.

    While underemphasized by modern historians...

    Public works projects, etc. are discussed in works on the Nazi regime (at least the ones that I've read).

    Anyway, it is safe to say that the Nazis kept their ear close to the ground when it came to the hearts and minds of the German populace. Plugging into popular desires and concerns was one of their chief means of maintaining power.

  • Paul||

    Fascism: The ultimate public/private partnership.

  • Episiarch||

    Ever talk to a German who was alive at the time? You usually get a creepy version of "yes, it was a terrible thing...but..."

  • Paul||

    And while the material deprivation of Berliners may have been limited to the occasional interruption in the sausage supply, the "parasitic" hausfrau surely observed her city's gradual reduction to rubble. It would be astonishing if, in the midst of this destruction, those in Germany gave much thought to taxes or pensions.

    This is a complicated subject, to be sure. But we see this in very small measures, every day in modern society. You can find a wretched, decaying neighborhood, crime ridden and desperate, and yet the citizens of that neighborhood will defend their welfare structure to the bitter end. Even in the face of evidence which shows that the welfare structure is responsible for the decay. I believe it comes from a reasonable mentality: "look around, this sucks, now you're going to take the one small thing I do have."

  • ||

    "The Nazis did not shift to full wartime economy until rather late into the war. In part this was because of the fears of another 1918 - that is the German population rising in mass revolt as a result of years of privation."

    as far as I know, after 1933, the purchasing power of "German populace" decreased slowly until 1939 (the same as in Italy after 1922), then went down hard. While jobs and sausages might have been available, the jobs did not pay enough to buy the sausages, and the whole industry of surrogates (hydrogenated vegetable oil instead of butter, burnt fat plus salt as "soup cubes" etc. ) that now produces what we call "processed food" was developed during the late '30s to cater for the city dwellers not working for the government or a few privileged industies.

  • ||

    As the mass killings in Rwanda and Cambodia should demonstrate, a cash incentive is hardly a prerequisite.

    Michael Moynihan, the killings in Rwanda were mainly about the plunder -- specifically, stealing someone else's land, since the burgeoning population has shrunk average family farm plots down to the point where people couldn't get enough to eat.

  • ||

    "... the burgeoning population has had shrunk ..."

  • ||

    Geez, this thread comes "pre-Godwinized."

    Anyone searching for simple, all-encompassing theories about the Holocaust or Nazism is doomed to disappointment.

  • ||

    Socialism erases all wrongs! It is why Roosevelt gets a free pass from the left

    If that's the case, Rex, why doesn't Hitler get a free pass from the left?

  • ||

    Because Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, the heart of socialism.

    At the time, making the transition from cheering the Nazis to booing them was rather difficult for the left.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    empiler,

    While that may or may not be correct, production of items like hoisery and other civilian oriented products were not halted until relatively late in the war. Indeed, if true, the fact that the German government went to such measures demonstrates their desire to placate the homefront.

  • Paul||

    If that's the case, Rex, why doesn't Hitler get a free pass from the left?

    'Cause he was a racist. The left is also traditionally confused about Hitler. The left considers pro-capitalist, individualist government minimalists as being "right wing". They've bought their own propaganda.

    Oh, and I'm not trying to subverisvely suggest that the left is "like Hitler", but there are areas where ideology intersects. And I'm talking about the real left in this country. Not what we loosely call "liberals".

  • ||

    The average person doesn't even know that the Nazis were Socialists. The focus is on Hitler's racism not socialism, because racism ties into US taboos. Hitler attracted support from many different angles. Racism and anti-Semitism played on people's hate, jealousy, and desire to feel superior. Patriotism played on people's desire to be part of something larger than themselves. Wealth redistribution played on people's greed.

    Wealfare doesn't always lead strait to violence or genocide, but it sure helps. In politics, as in anarchy, people are more comfortable with someone beating up the innocent if the perpetrator throws them some cash.

  • ||

    This is a complicated subject, to be sure. But we see this in very small measures, every day in modern society. You can find a wretched, decaying neighborhood, crime ridden and desperate, and yet the citizens of that neighborhood will defend their welfare structure to the bitter end. Even in the face of evidence which shows that the welfare structure is responsible for the decay. I believe it comes from a reasonable mentality: "look around, this sucks, now you're going to take the one small thing I do have."

    I think this is a good point, and it illustrates the true purpose of welfare - to make sure you don't have a large class of people with nothing to lose. Welfare is a necessary evil in a capitalist state.

  • ||

    I haven't read the article yet but I am going to pre-emptively invoke Godwins law.

    I'll retract it after I've read the article if it seems inappropriate.

  • Stephen the Goldberger||

    Dan T's comment hits at exactly why welfare is so evil, it' designed merely to placate instead of to inspire. If anyone who actually supported welfare cared about the poor they'd realize it is little more than a bribe to shut up about the fact that they are failing. What these people need is opportunities. And the reason they don't have them is that we don't have a truly capitalist state, at least in my opinion.

  • ||

    Stephen the Goldberger | August 15, 2007, 3:03pm | #

    Dan T's comment hits at exactly why welfare is so evil, it' designed merely to placate instead of to inspire. If anyone who actually supported welfare cared about the poor they'd realize it is little more than a bribe to shut up about the fact that they are failing. What these people need is opportunities. And the reason they don't have them is that we don't have a truly capitalist state, at least in my opinion.


    This reminds me of the recent Hit and Run article about an African leader who criticized charity rock concerts. He wanted fair trade laws instead. Foriegn aid packages relieve the pressure so congress can decimate developing economies with farm subsidies.

  • ||

    Ok, I'll retract my godwin's law invocation. And I was vauge about whether it would have applied to the book author or the reviewer, but its a moot point now.

  • ||

    Dan T's comment hits at exactly why welfare is so evil, it' designed merely to placate instead of to inspire. If anyone who actually supported welfare cared about the poor they'd realize it is little more than a bribe to shut up about the fact that they are failing. What these people need is opportunities. And the reason they don't have them is that we don't have a truly capitalist state, at least in my opinion.

    Actually, I'd say it's a bribe to prevent the poor from rioting in the streets and hanging us from lampposts.

    The question is, does welfare prevent people from having opportunities or does it make up for the fact that not everybody is going to have an opportunity? I think that in a pure capitalist economy you are going to have a certain percentage of people who, no matter how hard they try, are not going to earn enough to make a living for themselves and their dependants. How should this be addressed?

  • ||

    It's important to remember that Hitler's "socialism" was "war socialism," a very old practice that has never respected left-right distinctions.

    It's all well and good to recognize that such a "socialism" goes transcends the left-right continuum - Bismarck is the correct exampole - so long as don't then double back on yourself and declare that adopting such measures demonstrates that the Nazis were leftist. The problem with this error is that it leads to another, more dangerous error: the inability to recognize totalitarianism when it puts on a conservative or capitalist (word chosen carefully, to distinguish from "free market") face.

    And if the Nazis' welfare state doesn't gain much attention from historians, it's probably because it was little different from those of other states at the time.

    It is why Roosevelt gets a free pass from the left on the whole Japanese concentration camps, censorship, and spying on the mail, firebombing civilians, supporting segragation, and bombing neutral countries.

    Um, what? Rex, have you ever actually read anything written by a leftist?

  • Stephen the Goldberger||

    "How should this be addressed?"

    private charity and religious institutions.

  • ||

    The hausfrau watching her city getting levelled is going to view that as a reason to support her government, and the incumbent regime, more.

    Did you live in this country in the Autumn of 2001, Mr. Moynihan?

  • ||

    First of all, Godwin's law is bunk.

    "Why were they so easily corruptible?"

    I'm not surprised at all. Look at how postwar Americans have traded their traditional liberties for a mess of pottage.

    The Greatest Generation was complicit in that, by the way. Their Depression childhoods can be compared to Weimar.

  • ||

    Dan T's comment hits at exactly why welfare is so evil, it' designed merely to placate instead of to inspire. If anyone who actually supported welfare cared about the poor they'd realize it is little more than a bribe to shut up about the fact that they are failing. What these people need is opportunities. And the reason they don't have them is that we don't have a truly capitalist state, at least in my opinion.

    How does the welfare state destroy opportunity?

    I suppose you could argue that it has some effect since higher tax rates tend to reduce the incentive to start a business or expand productive capacity or such. But if taxes are set at appropriate levels and revenue is generated from sources that are less likely to discourage job creation; that effect can be made quite minimal compared to the beneficial effect to the poor of having augmented income (or an income). And a thrifty, entrepreneurial welfare recipient may be able to save enough of his or her welfare money to start a business or do something to be more able to lift him or her self out of poverty.

    Maybe I misunderstood your comment, and you are really saying there are other things reducing opportunity and the welfare state makes it politically possible for those things to continue to exist. In that case, I'll wait until you clarify to comment further.

  • ||

    "How should this be addressed?"

    private charity and religious institutions.


    I agree, in theory. But I find it to be wishful thinking.

  • ||

    Actually, I'd say it's a bribe to prevent the poor from rioting in the streets and hanging us from lampposts.



    Since the poor are vastly outnumbered by the middle class, I think it is very unlikely to see some sort of open class warfare in the U.S.. Usually the people using class warfare rhetoric in the U.S. try to convince the middle class that they are poor, not actually try to win over real people who live in poverty.

    I think that in a pure capitalist economy you are going to have a certain percentage of people who, no matter how hard they try, are not going to earn enough to make a living for themselves and their dependants. How should this be addressed?



    In a capitalist society, the unemployed and poor make very poor consumers (you can't buy expensive stuff if you have no money), and so in a capitalist society there is no incentive to create a population completly dependent on bread and circus social services. That doesn't eliminate poverty, but it eliminates the economic incentives that perpetuate poverty.

    In a society where the political elite maintain power by redistributing resources to those in poverty, there is a huge economic incentive to keep people in poverty and dependent on handouts. Government social services aren't designed to alieviate poverty, they are designed to perpetuate and expand poverty, and thus create even more demand for Socialism Inc..

    I don't know if anything can be done for the unemployable poor, other than give them what they need to survive. However, I would like to see an end to the government system that rewards politicians for keeping people in unescapable poverty.

  • ||

    The average person doesn't even know that the Nazis were Socialists.

    You know, the kind of socialists that banned trade unions the minute they got power.

  • Stephen the Goldberger||

    My comment wasn't meant to say necessarily that welfare destroys opportunity (although i believe it does slightly as you argue), but that it is offered to the poor in place of opportunity.

    I think the ways opportunities are created in impoverished areas is by actually implementing protections of poor people's rights and their property so that they can play in the capitalist system. With the help of education they can develop their skills and better their lot in life.

    Instead of this we have gov't policy designed to protect the few who are employed (minimum wage which decreases the total number of jobs) and pay off those who aren't as lucky (welfare). The end result is decreased social mobility and the creation of a distinct class system. I believe the situation you described of the entrepreneurial receipiant exists, but i think for the most part it's a case of a state allowance, and an incentive not to work.

    It's like Superfly said "[Coke's] the only game the man would let us play."

  • ||

    You know, the kind of socialists that banned trade unions the minute they got power.



    Castro banned labor unions. Mao banned labor unions. Lenin banned labor unions. They weren't socialist?

  • ||

    You know, the kind of socialists that banned trade unions the minute they got power.

    Totalitarians of the left and right always ban labor unions - real, independent labor unions, anyway.

    Better would have been, "You know, the kind of socialist who proclaims that the private owner of a business is the fuhrer of that workplace, and has a natural right to the obedience of his employees."

  • ||

    Castro banned labor unions. Mao banned labor unions. Lenin banned labor unions.

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    The holocaust of the Jews and other ethnic groups in Europe by the nazis is not a unique event in human history, though the "forces" behind such events may be unique. Comparing genocides - in other words - may be a way the social dynamics which lead to such extreme human activities.

  • ||

    Better would have been, "You know, the kind of socialist who proclaims that the private owner of a business is the fuhrer of that workplace, and has a natural right to the obedience of his employees."



    OK joe, so Hitler nationalized all industry under government control, created a national employment scheme, a national universal health care scheme, instituted strict price controls and wage quotas, and in general created an elaborate infrastructure of social benefits for the working class (excluding the Jews, who Hitler considered "paragons of Capitalism"... yet he wasn't "socialist".

    Can you give me a clear objective definition of what a socialist is joe? Just because it is embarrasing to socialists that Hitler was a socialist and a racist warmongerer, doesn't make his economic policies any different that those of Castro or Chavez.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    More specifically, compare the Roman genocide of the Dacians with that committed in WWII.

  • Stephen the Goldberger||

    Everyone knows the holocaust was caused by the ten homosexual jewish bankers that run the world from a bunker in geneva.

  • ||

    Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.



    It is a matter of record. Castro banned labor unions. Mao banned labor unions. Lenin banned labor unions.

    Claiming that there was anything resembling a labor union in the Soviet Union, Cuba, or China is pure fabrication. They don't exists, and they are explicitly banned by those governments from day 1.

  • ||

    It is a matter of record.

    Link

    They were coopted, but they were not banned.

  • ||

    de stijl,

    Trade unions are just as free market as cartels or temp agencies that hires out workers. In their current incarnation, they tend to foccus more on financing politicians to get hand outs, but then again so do many corporations. That's why some capitalists complain about them. There's nothing anti-capitalist about collective bargening, but I can see how statists would feel threatened by any large, nongovernmental organization.

  • ||

    They were coopted, but they were not banned.



    The Nazis also operated a government controlled labor union called the "German Labour Front".

    The Communist and Nazi had identical policies and rhetoric when it came to labor unions.

    The Nazis operated an economy in a manner almost indetical to modern day Cuba. If the Nazis aren't socialists, than Cuba isn't socialist. If the Nazis are "capitalist", then Cuba is "capitalist".

  • ||

    From the Wikipedia entry de stijl linked to: "Unlike labor unions in the West, Soviet trade unions were, in fact, actually governmental organizations whose chief aim was not to represent workers but to further the goals of management, government, and the CPSU."

    Calling a government bureaucracy opposed to the interests of workers a trade union doesn't make it one, the same as labeling a steaming pile of horse manure "fine chocolate" doesn't make it so.

  • JBinMO||

    "You know, the kind of socialists that banned trade unions the minute they got power.
    Castro banned labor unions. Mao banned labor unions. Lenin banned labor unions. They weren't socialist?"

    They may have been socialists, but they were brutal dictators first, socalists second. They didn't like the trade unions for the same reason they didn't like any other orginazition, it could become a threat.

  • SIV||

    Roosevelt gets a free pass for signing the Marihuana Tax Act too.

  • ||

    My comment wasn't meant to say necessarily that welfare destroys opportunity (although i believe it does slightly as you argue), but that it is offered to the poor in place of opportunity.

    Ahh, I see what you mean now. You might be right about that.

    To the extent that there are bad policies in place that reduce opportunities for the poor, I guess the best thing to do would be to correct those policies. However, I don't know that there would be more political pressure to do that if we didn't have a welfare state. We have plenty of calls for better education and crime-fighting today (though its not clear what kind of results we're getting). And whatever the arguments for or against a minimum wage (which you cite as decreasing the number of jobs) it was popular before we had a welfare state.

  • ||

    The problem with leaving welfare up to "charity" is that far too many of the private so-called charities have decidedly nasty strings attached to their "assistance."

    Such as religious conversion, for one. Which squicks out a lot of people.

  • ||

    The problem with leaving welfare up to "charity" is that far too many of the private so-called charities have decidedly nasty strings attached to their "assistance."

    Not the best answer, but it beats the pants off of the current strings attached to welfare: The strings that are attached to everyone.

  • ||

    It is why Roosevelt gets a free pass from the left on the whole Japanese concentration camps, censorship, and spying on the mail, firebombing civilians, supporting segragation, and bombing neutral countries.

    Of course. And the left ignores all those on the American right in the 1940s who were opposed to all of the above. Oh, wait. Nobody of note on the right was opposed to any of those actions. (Although there were Republicans who were more pro-integration than FDR, but those kind of Republicans are now called "liberals."). You can't judge FDR by the standards of 2007.

  • ||

    'K, Vanya. I also didn't like him in 1967. If you can believe the Chicago papers (someone "of note" on the right), opposing Roosevelt during his regime was a good way to be accused of treason, sometimes with a death penalty specification.

  • ||

    private charity and religious institutions.

    I agree, in theory. But I find it to be wishful thinking.


    I guess you don't know about the extensive network of mutual social welfare organizations called "Friendly Societies" that existed before the welfare state came in:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendly_societies

    Really, Dan T., if you're concerned about poor people not receiving charity, I suggest you talk to the average american about getting rid of gov't welfare and noting their reaction. Hint: it will probably be something like your reaction.

    Now, if I didn't get that reaction every time I mentioned the idea to a non-libertarian type, I might be worried...

  • Gahan||

    Look at all the people who gave their Bush tax cuts away to charity. I remember lefties thought they were making some kind of rebellious "in your face" statement against the conservative establishment, but it really just served to undermine the necessity of those taxes in the first place.

  • ||

    I have been reading Prof. Ian Kershaw's (Leeds U.( superb biography"Hitler" for several months(80% complete). This thesis is supported by the description of Hitler's Obsession with raising the German Volk's standard of living by plundering the Racially inferior Jews and Helots to the East who would be worked to death until there were sufficient numbers of Germans to populate the occupied territories. Those who hadn't succumbed would be exterminated like the Jews in Death Camps.

  • Oliver||

    The German people supported the government to almost the end of the war due to the war. You don't change horses in the middle of the river. Germany had to win or consequences were going to be dire. Everybody knew that.
    The politics of peace time and the politics of war time are entirely different areas.

  • ||

    As did the Soviet Union.

  • nfl jerseys||

    jryrtf

  • دردشة||

    Thank you, my dear on this important topic You can also browse my site and I am honored to do this site for songs
    http://www.a6rbna.com
    This website is for travel to Malaysia
    http://www.m-arabi.com

  • منتدى العرب||

    Thank you

  • منتدى العرب||

    Thank you

  • دردشة عراقنا ||

    thnx you

  • دردشة عراقية||

    Thank you, my dear on this important topic You can also browse my site and I am honored to do this site for songs
    http://www.iraq3.com
    This website is for travel to Malaysia
    http://www.iraq3.com/vb

  • دردشه عراقيه||

    Thank you, my dear on this important topic You can also browse my site and I am honored to do this site for songs
    http://www.iraq3.com
    This website is for travel to Malaysia
    http://www.iraq3.com/vb

  • منتديات عرب||

    thnx u man

  • حجز فنادق مكة||

    thanks alot

  • Rent Car in Egypt||

    thank you

  • العراق||

    thnx u

  • ايجار سيارات مصر||

    thanks

  • دردشة العراق||

    thnx u man

  • badboy||

  • دردشة||

    nice

  • دردشة عراقنا||

    thnx u

  • عراقنا||

    Thanks

  • تركى||

    thnx u

  • مهرجان||

    thnx u

  • منتديات الصقع||

    tank you

  • شات عراقنا||

    thanks

  • دردشة عراقنا||

    thanks

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement