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Oren Cass Differs Little from Bernie Sanders

Alberto Mingardi is correct: Oren Cass, in his call for government to exercise discretionary power to proscribe and to prescribe Americans’ commerce, is quite akin to Bernie Sanders.

It is, of course, certain that each of these scholars would reject the comparison. Cass surely doesn’t feel himself to be motivated by the same sentiments that he believes fuel Sen. Sanders’s fires. And Sen. Sanders surely doesn’t feel himself to be motivated by the same sentiments that he believes fuel Cass’s fires. Yet both of these social engineers believe that government officials should be entrusted with the discretionary power to coerce ordinary Americans to support particular American producers that don’t profit in markets.

Both Cass and Sanders fancy themselves to be much smarter than markets. (Such hubris is common among the intellectualatti.) Both Cass and Sanders arrogantly elevate, over the actual operation of markets, their own privately formed fancies of the details of how markets should operate – meaning that neither Cass nor Sanders appreciates the information-gathering-and-processing role of markets. Neither man begins to understand Hayek.

Both Cass and Sanders, in short, reveal with nearly every word that they write and with each syllable that they utter an utter ignorance of economics – and also, by the way, a shockingly careless ignorance of history.

Cass and Sanders are simply two of the current shooting stars (along with Warren, Buttigieg, Trump, Biden…) in the long, long, long, and sorry parade of arrogance-saturated and economically uninformed pundits and politicians who, finding reality as they perceive it to be not quite to their taste, think nothing of coercing ordinary men and women to behave in ways that these pundits and politicians imagine will result in a reality that is more to their taste.