… is from pages 248-249 of the 1998 Liberty Fund edition of Anthony de Jasay’s brilliant 1985 book, The State :
A political system which, by virtue of competitive bidding for consent, produces redistribution we regard as conducive to equality or justice, will also produce redistribution we will regard as pandering to interest groups. By no means is it clear that there are “objective” criteria for telling which is which. Still less evident are the means which could possibly constrain or stop one while letting through the other.
DBx: Power is a dangerous thing (not least because it intoxicates both those who have it and those who hope to have it). Among humankind’s many ‘fatal conceits’ is the widespread belief that we possess the wisdom and the ability to create state power that will be used to do good and never used, or seldom enough used, to do bad.