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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 46 of the 2000 Liberty Fund edition of Geoffrey Brennan’s and James M. Buchanan’s 1985 volume, The Reason of Rules:

The “politics as science” or “politics as truth judgment” conceptualization of the social interaction process is both authoritarian and antiindividualistic. These terms are intended to be descriptive rather than pejorative. The authoritarian imperative emerges directly from the extraindividual source of valuation of “public good.” If “public good” exists independently of individuals’ evaluations, any argument against the furtherance of such good because of some concern for individual liberty becomes contradictory. If “public good” exists separately from individuals’ preferences, and if it is properly known, it must assume precedence over (although, of course, it could embody) precepts for maintenance of personal liberties.

DBx: Yes.

Any conception of the state as something other than a human institution for the achievement of certain ends that are derived from the preferences of the individuals who have a meaningful say in how the state exercises its power is mysticism. The state is not society. The state does not create society. The state is not – or, rather, by right out not to be – society’s ruler.

And society is not an entity with goals of its own – that is, with goals that are independent of, and somehow ‘above,’ the preferences and goals of each of the individuals who comprise it. Society is not an entity to be engineered, for it as such has no purposes.