… is from page 376 of George Will’s excellent 2019 book, The Conservative Sensibility:
Indeed, much of modern history is a sad story of absurdities cloaked in power.
DBx: Yes, and these absurdities, in the past 100 years alone, range from the gruesome to the ‘merely’ mildly harmful. They include – but, sadly, aren’t limited to – Soviet communism, Maoism, National Socialism, Fabian socialism, fascism, “progressivism” and eugenics, “nation building,” all varieties of protectionism, FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society, ‘urban planning,’ government-supplied education and health care, prohibition and the ‘war on drugs,’ Keynesian ‘fine-tuning,’ antitrust, wage-and-price controls, and so-called “industrial policy.”
These and other schemes, imposed coercively by the state and actively supported by intellectuals, and (sometimes) by the public, are built on many shared fallacies. Among the most common of these fallacies is that human society is in reality as simple as is the set of words and variables used to describe it in various blackboard and PowerPoint models offered by economists and other intellectuals.