Statism rests on a fairly simple conceit: the free market is ruled by greed and exploitation, so government intervention is necessary to level the playing field. Inherent in that mindset is the assumption that the government is benevolent, and its actors are without their own selfish motivations. A selective naivety is necessary to maintain this wishful worldview against the constant barrage that is reality, and it leads to some fascinating contradictions. For example, the same group that believes George W. Bush started a war in order to drive up Halliburton’s stock price (or something), never stops to think about the potential pitfalls of handing the government other immense powers, such as defining what the term “health care” will mean.
Politicians are happy to exploit this naivety to accumulate power, feigning self-righteous idealism to mask their ulterior motive. Getting away with anything is possible as long as you claim that you’re doing it for the children, or to uplift the disadvantaged worker, or to strengthen the middle class, or to protect… the bottled soda industry?
We’ll get to that in a second. First, recall O’Brien’s dark reveal at the end of George Orwell’s classic 1984: Continue reading