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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 37 of the original edition of Walter Lippmann’s sometimes deeply flawed but profoundly insightful and important 1937 book, The Good Society:

The generation to which we belong is now learning from experience what happens when men retreat into a coercive organization of their affairs. Though they promise themselves a more abundant life, they must in practice renounce it; as the organized direction increases, the variety of ends must give way to uniformity. This is the nemesis of a planned society and of the authoritative principle in human affairs.

DBx: Yes.

There is much that is wrong, positively and normatively, with schemes to replace market-direction of resources with political-bureaucratic direction. Not the least of these evils is that the more we rely for resource allocation on politicians and bureaucrats, the fewer are the individual peaceful ends that can in practice be pursued with any prospect of success. To turn the responsibility for allocating resources over to government is to compress and narrow the set of human ends that are possible to pursue – and, also, of the human means that are possible to use in pursuit of those ends that can be pursued. Ends and means favored by the planners are imposed; ends and means preferred by the plannees but not among those favored by the planners are suppressed – all, of course, for the good of the plannees (so insist the planners).

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