… is from page 191 of Lionel Robbins’s superb and still-relevant 1937 book, Economic Planning and International Order:
The rulers of this world have not often regarded their subjects as being the best judges of their own happiness. In our own day, there are many who would willingly dictate to their fellows the way they should live and act…. To adapt the people to the plan rather than the plan to the people is not likely to cease to be a temptation.
DBx: Yes. And nothing much has changed in the 85 years since the debut of this book by Robbins. Politicians and bureaucrats – along with the hordes of campus and think-tank intellectuals who are forever drafting blueprints for how the state might engineer society into some heavenly condition – look upon the masses of ordinary men and women as lab rats upon whom politicians, bureaucrats, and intellectuals might practice experimentation and regimentation.
That the politicians, bureaucrats, and their whispering intellectual allies who so experiment and regiment tell themselves – and, I suspect, in most cases also sincerely believe – that their experimentation and regimentation are for the greater good of
the lab rats the People does not, of course, change the reality that these politicians, bureaucrats, and intellectuals fancy themselves as our masters and we as, well, animals to be poked, prodded, protected, taxed, tariffed, subsidized, schooled, penalized, informed, ‘disinformed,’ and ‘nudged’ so that the social engineers might thrill to the implementation of their world-saving schemes.
In choosing a photo to accompany today’s Quotation of the Day I could have chosen a photo of any politician, bureaucrat, or intellectual almost at random. But the photo above of those particular experimenters-on-people-as-lab-rats is appropriate.