… is from pages 84-85 of my late Nobel-laureate colleague Jim Buchanan’s October 15th, 1968, The University of Virginia Newsletter essay, “The Thomas Jefferson Center for Studies in Political Economy,” as this essay is reprinted in The Soul of Classical Political Economy: James M. Buchanan from the Archives (2020) (edited by Peter J. Boettke and Alain Marciano):
A society is guided by its ruling philosophy – the prevailing conception of the “good” social order. Some political-economic philosophy must be the basis for intelligent social policy. Forthright and continuing discussion is necessary if this conception is to serve as a clear and coherent guide on numerous particular issues. Otherwise, statesmen and citizens will continue to lose their bearings amid the economic and social complexities of the mid-twentieth century.
DBx: Indeed so. And, of course, the same holds true for the even greater economic and social complexities of the early twenty-first century.