… is from page 46 of my late Nobel laureate colleague Jim Buchanan ‘s superb 1979 article “Politics Without Romance,” as it is reprinted in volume 1 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan: The Logical Foundations of Constitutional Liberty :
Public choice theory has been the avenue through which a romantic and illusory set of notions about the workings of governments and the behavior of persons who govern has been replaced by a set of notions that embody skepticism about what governments can do and what governments will do, notions that are surely more consistent with the political reality that we may observe all about us. I have always said that public choice offers a “theory of government failure” that is fully comparable to the “theory of market failure” that emerged from the theoretical welfare economics of the 1930’s and 1940’s.
DBx: What sober-minded and mature person reads these words and concludes that they describe a stealthy, evil, racist scheme to unjustly silence the many for the benefit of the wealthy few? What sensible and scientifically minded person insists that truth and justice are assured only when the imperfect markets of reality are compared to the perfect political institutions that exist only in the imagination rather than to the imperfect political institutions of reality? Answer: no such person.