The reaction of a French voter to the good performance of the party of the far-left Jean-Luc Melenchon against the party of “centrist” President Emmanuel Macron in the legislative election shows how some people have an angelic attitude towards the government. The The Wall Street Journal Reported (“France loses ground in parliament amid Russian pressure on Macron energy prices,” June 20, 2022):
Marie-Claude Dautricourt, 76, was concerned about the impact of rising living costs on young families. Retired people no longer go to restaurants because it is too expensive. On Sunday, he voted for one of Mr Melenchon’s coalition candidates. “Melancholy cares more about people’s daily lives than macros,” he says.
Why should we expect the state to take care of the daily lives of the people? Because politicians (or the right people) and government bureaucrats are particularly benevolent class? If this answer is accepted, how can the state take care of people’s daily lives when there are millions of people with different lives, preferences and values? The state may take care of some people, but it only, or at least in general, harms others. It can only take equal care of all in the limited and abstract sense that it protects the equal freedom of all individuals. James Buchanan used to say that the state only enforces rules that meet consent All Person (which is not a less abstract criterion).
Once this is realized, the question becomes: how can the motivation of the state and its agents be structured (albeit possible) in such a way that it protects the equal freedom of all individuals, without discriminating against certain citizens if biased. Others? I think this is what the various schools of classical liberalism have tried to answer.