It yielded a response from his liberal progressive regular:
The language of government/citizen partnership persisted for several decades until Ronald Reagan recast the partnership as paternalism. Reagan simply denied that complex, impersonal systems often outstripped individual will and understanding.
The essential conditions of social and economic life had not changed, he insisted; Americans could master them, as always, by "common sense and free choice" if government only got out of the way. This reversal set the tone for his successors. Clinton, somewhat reluctantly and Bush II enthusiastically agreed that government intervention eroded individual autonomy--or, turning Roosevelt on his head, did not protect individualism but hampered it.
See, the old American individualism of Emerson and Whitman died with the industrial revolution. Poof!
Surely you have read enough history to realize that essential fact. Economic self-sufficiency vanished into our heroic past. Dependence on large, impersonal economic arrangements became the rule and the national government became a force that could allow individuals to achieve some meaningful freedom.
You are trying to revive an archaic past that cannot possibly function. Marx warned that our alternatives were socialism or barbarism. Since you don't like to use the s-word (--the real kind, not the totalitarian travesty--), let's just say that our alternatives are a democratically energized liberalism or a banana republic.
Long before there were these "impersonal" social and economic systems (that he now touts as the only hope of the future), spontaneous order was an effective problem solving model. And it still is.Things get done faster with a select number of individuals who volunteer their time, money, and/or services.
When an outside force seeks to manage and direct interpersonal relationships, things get bogged down with bureaucratic red tape. When a bureaucratic beast that is out of control and morally reprehensible, it's purpose is tainted with self interest and richly teems with fallacies, red herrings, and other forms of BS. Nothing gets done without a favor being attached to it.
There is no way that this system can effect a better outcome. No @#$%&!! way. Time after time, we can pick a task; time after time, normal people can do a better job (at almost anything), than the government.
But Ducky may be right about it not functioning very well right now. It's because people in this day and age, want the government to take care of them, rather than having to rely on themselves. They would rather surrender their freedoms to make certain choices, in exchange for security. In other words, they trade freedom for easy gain. While it may be termed gain, it is quite expensive.
Sad but true. No responsibility, no freedom. Just dependence and obedience.
I will add:
Back in 400 BCE, a man named Chuang Tsu was a proponent of spontaneous order, before it was known as such. One of his more prominent quote used by libertarians:
"Good order results spontaneously when things are let alone."
This is the basis of the free market concept. And while there needs to be some regulation due to those who will certainly take advantage of liberties and freedom, the controls established should minimal, not be overly burdensome, and should directly address the problem that the regulation is designed to prevent.
In the case of Henrietta Hughes, we see the theory fully realized. Government failed her and used her only as a prop for propaganda. A private citizen was responsible for helping her far faster than any government assistance.