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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 141 of the 1994 re-issue of Charles Murray’s 1988 volume, In Pursuit: Of Happiness and Good Government (original emphasis):

The ubiquitous “unintended consequences” that have been found by the evaluators of social programs would not have mystified Publius. Constituencies of persons, Publius already knew, would seek to use the reforms for their own ends. They would form factions, bringing pressures to bear on the politicians who design the policies and the bureaucrats who implement them. The politicians and bureaucrats themselves would have ambitions that affect the way that the programs are run, not to mention other human frailties of vanity, ineptitude, and foolishness that would obstruct the implementation of the great schemes. And if all that were not enough, Publius knew, the very definition of what constituted “serving the common good” would be impossible for anyone not omniscient and of Olympian detachment to discern. A central message for modern times to be drawn from The Federalist is that one cannot use central government to do such things – not just “ought not” use them but cannot, successfully. To work, to be just, to be stable, centralized social reforms demand every quality of public men that the Founders did not believe in.