The girls pick up where they left off from last week’s episode and discuss Isabel Paterson’s seminal essay “The Humanitarian with the Guillotine,” a brilliant critique of and warning against humanitarianism and the welfare state. Paterson argues that most people are good and charitable, not evil; so why is it that when humans try to fulfill this desire to take care of their fellow men on the government level, they end up causing so much suffering? Can there ever really be an agreed-upon ‘common good,’ or has this phrase become nothing more than an empty excuse used to seize upon political power and endlessly expand the size and scope of government? The girls break down these difficult questions and more in today’s episode.
“Humanitarian with the Guillotine” is excerpted from Paterson’s masterwork, God of the Machine–which is really hard to find in print today! Sadly, a good amount of Patterson’s work has gone out of print.
The God of the Machine was published in 1943, the same year as Rand’s novel The Fountainhead and Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom. These works were written against the groundswell in favor of collectivism and New Deal Liberalism that dominated the national and political landscape at the time.
God of the Machine is a collection of essays using the metaphor of a machine to describe the harmonious relations between people, the market, and other pockets of society when they are left to operate without government oversight and regulation.
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