… is from page 202 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan‘s 1994 paper “Politicized Economies in Limbo” as this paper is reprinted in Ideas, Persons, and Events (2001), which is volume 19 of The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan:
Now, here, is the normative contradiction that does confront anyone who takes a classical liberal position. Margaret Thatcher, as you recall, was roundly chastized for her statement that there is no society as such. Her intent in that statement was to suggest that only individuals offer loci of value and evaluation. But taken literally, there could then exist no national interest, not national purpose, no national vision – whether for Germany, the United States or any other nation-state or group thereof. Yet almost all commentators – academic and media alike – proceed as if such an aggregate of interest exists, and regardless of their own position on some ideological spectrum. It’s almost as if we are forced willy-nilly to adopt an organicist conception of society, while simultaneously mouthing individualist norms in our philosophies.