I've always thought that the classical 'conservative' ideology had its attractions. Chief among these attractions is the concept of government as inefficient and too blunt a tool to do much good in the world, and that if government stops doing things it doesn't do very well, the private sector will find a way to fill the gap. It's not hard to find evidence to support this view, and the counter-evidence is pretty murky. In today's http://www.electoral-vote.com/, the Votemaster mentioned that the libertarian candidate is polling higher than Nader, and is on the ballot in more states. The libertarian ideal is to privatize everything that isn't an unambiguously essential part of government.
Assuming that in one stroke the government got out of the social welfare system. No more aid to dependent children, foodstamps, welfare, or housing subsidies. Instantly there will be a significant population with fundamental problems that the government previously was helping them with: food, shelter, and medical care being the most pressing.
My question is this: what would the capitalist solution to these problems be? You're faced with this business plan 1. FEED AND SHELTER THE POOR 2. ???? 3. PROFIT!!!
Of course the idea is that people are responsible for taking care of themselves, and if they didn't have the government to rely on, they'd work something out. The other side of the equation is that the American business community, freed of the dead weight of supporting the losers of society, will be able to grow and provide jobs for said losers and turn those frowns upside down.
But it is the case that people get into trouble, lose jobs, go crazy, get sick, have children without the wherewithall to pay for what they need, and a scary percentage of the population are just a paycheck or two away from landing in the frying pan. It isn't good for anyone in society when large numbers of people are desperate and there's no safety net.
But my question is a serious one, for one simple reason: if you've ever had brushes with the social welfare system, or read the newspapers, it seems like the government really isn't that good at addressing these issues. Even as a knee jerk liberal, I would be completely fine with some sort of alternative arrangement, just as long as it isn't any worse than what we have right now.