… is from page 212 of my late colleague Gordon Tullock’s pioneering article in the Autumn 1975 Bell Journal of Economics, “The Transitional Gains Trap,” as this article is reprinted in Virginia Political Economy, which is Vol. 1 of The Selected Works of Gordon Tullock (Charles K. Rowley, ed., 2004):
One of the major activities of modern governments is the granting of special privileges to various groups of politically influential people.
DBx: This truth is seldom denied when it is, as here, explicitly stated. And yet well-meaning people from across the political spectrum continue to plead for government to intervene in whatever ways these pleaders imagine the intervention – if carried out just right – will further their favorite cause. The pleaders never imagine that the power for which they plead will be used to further causes that they oppose.
Those in possession of concentrated power have an uncanny ability to enchant.