The Righteousness Fallacy

Thoughts on a Free Market Economy…

“The Righteousness Fallacy”

By Phyllis Hunsinger

February 1, 2019

Dr. Bo Bennett described the Righteous Fallacy, also known as the fallacy of good intentions, as the idea that one is correct because their intentions are pure.

Throughout history this fallacy of good intentions may be observed, but nowhere is this fallacy demonstrated more succinctly than the 1965 War on Poverty.  As evidenced by data, not only did this infamous government program not end poverty, it exacerbated the problems associated with poverty.  The policy of single mothers receiving monetary assistance which increased with each child born to the mother and monetary assistance decreased with fathers in the home resulted in more out-of-wedlock births and fewer fathers in the home.  Individuals, families, and society in general are still paying the price of this detrimental policy enacted through good intentions.

A. Barton Hinkle on July 26, 2017, wrote “Good Intentions, Bad Outcomes:  The Story of Government.”  He identified numbers of government programs implemented with good intentions, yet were woefully ineffective:

Civil Asset Forfeiture originated as a bright idea to have the government seize the property of suspected criminals.  The forfeited assets could be sold and proceeds could help finance law enforcement; however, thousands of innocent Americans have been robbed at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect them.

TechHire Initiative was a government program aimed at reviving poor rural areas by retraining workers to become computer programmers.  After $1.6 million, only 17 out of 200 program participants have landed tech jobs.

Re-Integration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) Program is supposed to help former inmates rejoin society.  The analysis released two years ago found “no effect” on recidivism, mental health, substance abuse, housing, or child support.

As Mr. Hinkle said, “So Washington cancelled the program, right?  Of course not.  It was renamed and continues as the Re-Entry Employment Opportunity Program.  Because, after all, it’s full of good intentions.”

Beware of government programs enacted to “help” certain individuals or groups of people.  The government does not have a good track record of positive outcomes for programs designed with good intentions.

Individuals and private enterprise are more successful in solving problems because they operate on reality and results instead of good intentions., Phyllis Hunsinger © 2013 All Rights Reserved

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