Saviors Need Victims Who Need Saving

Saviors Need Victims Who Need Saving

by DON BOUDREAUX on APRIL 23, 2016

One of the many lovely benefits of the mass prosperity made possible by free-market innovationism is that it unleashes the better angels within us – angels that encourage us to turn some, and sometimes much, of our time and individual attentions toward helping others.  The mother of children dying of diarrhea or near starvation isn’t much interested in helping strangers.  In contrast, the mother of children healthy and well-fed has the luxury of being able to care about strangers.

But this praiseworthy human moral sentiment can, and often does, backfire.  Wealthy people – by which I mean people healthy, well-fed, well-clothed, well-shod, well-housed, and well-leisured and literate – are often deformed by their better angels into saviors.  Busybodies.  Officious do-gooders.  Arrogant meddlers.  Tyrants seeking as personal payoff not crass material gain but the perverted satisfaction of lording it over other people for what these tyrants sincerely believe to be the good of these other people.

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