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Quotation of the Day…

Posted By Don Boudreaux On February 16, 2014 @ 7:45 am In Great Depression,History,Hubris and humility,Man of System | Comments Disabled

… is from page 192 of the 2012 25th Anniversary Edition of Robert Higgs’s indispensable 1987 book, Crisis and Leviathan [1]:

The [Great] depression and the government’s responses to it made a deep impression on the nation’s intellectuals, the specialists in the production and distribution of ideologies.  Before and during the First New Deal, Roosevelt had his Brains Trust.  During the Second New Deal Professor [Felix] Frankfurter’s “boys” seemed to be everywhere, drafting laws and piloting them through Congress and past the courts.  Never before had the intellectuals enjoyed such pervasive involvement in the machinations of power politics at the highest levels of government.  The experience was intoxicating.  The respect for individualism and free markets that had survived to 1929 went quickly into retreat thereafter….  Whatever the social or economic problem the cause seemed always to be the same: unfettered capitalism.  Hence the universal cure: some form of collectivism.  The intellectuals actively debated the specific form the movement should take, but only a few of them doubted the need for a move to the left.  Right-wingers in those days were widely presumed to be unregenerate apologists for wealthy vested interests and grasping wicked reactionaries.

Plus ça change….

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[1] Crisis and Leviathan: http://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Leviathan-Government-Anniversary-Independent/dp/1598131117/ref=la_B001IXO2DE_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392554762&sr=1-1

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