… is from page 96 of George Will’s wonderful 2019 book, The Conservative Sensibility:
What moderation, what temperance, what restraint can there be in government animated by the idea that freedom, understood as emancipation from necessity, is the gift of comprehensively compassionate government? Such government has metastasized recklessly, and one of conservatism’s missions is to temper such government’s hubris and overreaching. This can be accomplished only by shifting the winds of public opinion.
DBx: Of course, by “conservatism,” George Will here means what most readers of Cafe Hayek understand to be classical – that is, true – liberalism.
Statists of the right no less than statists of the left are mystics. Each and every one of them believes that the state possesses supernatural powers.
Of course, none of these statists today think of themselves as believing such nonsense. But the only way to make sense of their proposals is to realize that nearly all such proposals can be carried out successfully in reality only if the agent charged with carrying them out – the state – has superhuman access to knowledge and information, and has superhuman magnanimity.
All statists – from Trump to Biden, from Cass to Krugman, from Corbyn to Orbán to Maduro, from the editors of the New York Times to the editors of First Things – believe the state to be a supernatural entity.