… is from page 209 of the final (2016) volume – Bourgeois Equality – of Deirdre Nansen McCloskey’s indispensable trilogy on the essence of bourgeois values and their essential role in modern life (links added):
[Adam] Smith was reacting here against a view of society and economy entirely dominant in 1776, and still vibrant down to the present – the proposition that a law on the books can say where taxes will actually fall, or that government can pick winners, or that consumers need to be corrected in their consumption (recently revived in proposals to “nudge” people), or that natural liberty in running airplanes or grocery stores or an education in medicine needs to be closely regulated lest we fall into human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.
The world today is indeed more gentle, if less frank, than it was 200 years ago. Back then, enslavers opened with explicit threats of force to gain control over their victims, most of whom the enslavers frankly and accurately called “slaves.” And the enslavers back then spent less time than do the enslavers today denying that the whole point of the enslaving was to yield benefits and profits to the enslavers.
Today, in contrast, enslavers open with fine words meant to entice their victims into agreeing to be led, sheep-like, to obey their enslavers’ diktats. Overt force is only a last – but never an absent – resort. And a great deal of theater, pomp, and bad poetry is devoted by today’s enslavers to the effort to dupe the enslaved into believing that the enslaving is done exclusively for the benefit of the enslaved. Indeed, today it isn’t even call “enslaving”; it’s called “nudging” or “public policy.” Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all the other mad-for-power people who met recently together in Cleveland and in Philadelphia were there only to help others – they were there only in the hope of gaining the top positions necessary to assist 322 million strangers with American passports.
Trump (we are supposed to believe) is concerned first and foremost for our, not his and his family’s and friends’, well-being. Hillary Clinton (we are supposed to believe) is concerned first and foremost for our, not for her or her family’s and friends’, well-being.
Anyone who believes such idiocy is, well, idiotic on this front.