A Surefire Way to Improve the World

Imagine how wonderful it would be if each American, rather than lining up in support of politicians who promise to wield state force to Make America Great Again (or in pursuit of some equally preposterous and meaningless slogan), resolved instead to make himself or herself a better person. Who among us cannot be a better spouse, a better parent, a better son or daughter, a better friend, a better neighbor, a better employee, a better employer, a better business partner, a better member of our community?

The beauty of this alternative dedication is that it requires no state force whatsoever, no passage of 2,000-page statutes, no stationing of armed forces at the border, no dropping of bombs on strangers thousands of miles away. And it is feasible. It is simply impossible to imagine anyone who has already done everything possible to make himself or herself a better person. All that is required is that each of us act within the bounds of his or her feasible set, and the only thing that stands in our way is ourselves.

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Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute and Editor at Large of the Institute’s quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, the University of Economics, Prague, and George Mason University. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow at the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.

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