I was very kindly invited yesterday to a lunch hosted by Greg Lindsay, head of the CIS. The guest speaker was Charles Murray .... the topic of his talk was not elitism but ‘Why Bother To Be Libertarian‘.
He identified four institutions that humans invest their time in; family, faith, vocation and community. He argued that the government’s job is to get out of the way of these four areas as much as possible.
It was at this point that he parted company from the traditional libertarian script. He encouraged us not to become profit maximisers but to possess a sense of virtue, a habit that is acquired by daily practice not a quality that can be taught. His major criticism of welfare was not that it is inefficient, nor that it exacerbates the problems it tries to solve, but that it drains the stuff of life from life itself.
.... He cited Adam Smith as one of history’s greatest thinkers but encouraged us not to focus on ‘The Wealth of Nations‘ and the selfish invisible hand but to read instead ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ and discover his message of civic society, the volunteer ethic and virtue.