Today's Quote of the Day...
…is from page 107 of the 2009 Mises Institute re-issue of FA Hayek’s 1948 book Individualism & Economic Order:
In principle the industrial protectionism and government-supported cartels and the agricultural policies of the conservative groups are not different from the proposals for a more far-reaching direction of economic life sponsored by the socialists. It is an illusion when the more conservative interventionists believe that they will be able to confine these government controls to the particular kinds of which they approve. In a democratic society, at any rate, once the principle is admitted that the government undertakes responsibility for the status and position of particular groups, it is inevitable that this control will be extended to satisfy the aspirations and prejudices of the great masses.
JMM: Hayek first wrote these words in 1947. They remain relevant today. Modern conservatives, in an effort to supposedly constrain socialism, turn to the very policies the socialists advocate. They make the mistake of believing, despite all evidence to the contrary, that their intervention is not the blunt hammer of socialism, but rather a precise scalpel that can just cut out whatever problem they see in society and leave the rest untouched.
But once the cutting begins, especially without an appreciation of how interconnected things are, greater damage is done. And to fix the problems of this one cut, other cuts need to be made, and the problem grows exponentially.
The industrial protectionism of conservatives is just a different flavor of socialism than the left-wing variants.