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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 164 of the 2000 Liberty Fund edition of Frederic William Maitland’s profound 1875 dissertation at Trinity College, Cambridge, A Historical Sketch of Liberty and Equality:

A consideration of the complexity of interests at greater length would bring us to the conclusion that, in a community fully conscious of the way in which it is governed, no system of representation can be stable which does not proceed on a few and simple rules.  Every addition to the number of rules leads to distinctions which must be felt as arbitrary.

DBx: Those who see society as an organization to be engineered, and the state as a social engineer, fail to understand that spontaneous ordering forces can give rise to social orders far more complex and productive than any arrangement that can possibly be engineered.  But those with the social-engineering mindset fail also to understand that their engineering schemes, by the very nature of these schemes, require the state to play favorites.  While the legislative and administrative regulations describing the states’ social-engineering pursuits can be written in language that gives the appearance of impartiality, beneath this language, in the actual carrying out of the social engineering that the language directs, state officials unavoidably have discretion to treat the individuals under their command differently from each other and arbitrarily – that is, differently and arbitrarily in ways that are irreconcilable with the rule of law.