… is from page 166 of Deirdre McCloskey’s superb 2022 volume, Beyond Positivism, Behaviorism, and Neoinstitutionalism in Economics :
Deep in left-wing thought about the economy, and in a good deal of right-wing thought, too, is the premise, as Isaiah Berlin once put it with a sneer, that government can accomplish whatever it rationally proposes to do. As has been often observed about leftists even as sweet as John Rawls, the left has no theory of the behavior of the government. It assumes that the government is a perfect expression of the will of The People.
And nothing is more unscientific – indeed, more mystical – than is this still-commonplace practice of most Progressives, and also of very many conservatives, to analyze the economy and society, and to offer policy recommendations, using such a juvenile ‘understanding’ of the state. Yet such an ‘understanding’ of the state permeates the work even of some Nobel laureates in economics – laureates such as Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz. This ‘understanding’ of the state is inseparable also from the work of pundits too many to count, but these include E.J. Dionne, Katrina vanden Heuvel, and Michael Hiltzik (to name a mere three).
That these professors and pundits think of themselves as scientific – and are widely regarded as being especially intelligent, thoughtful, and scientific – testifies to the strength of the cult of democratically rubber-stamped coercion.