For years I have tried to find the right words to express my frustration with the notion that the problems encountered with government planning and technocratic meddling was merely the fault of having the wrong humans in charge, rather than of the system itself. For example. I wrote:
Today, via Instapundit, comes this story about the GAO audit of the decision by the FDA to not allow the plan B morning after pill to be sold over the counter.
And, knock me over with a feather, it appears that the decision was
political, based on a conservative administration's opposition to
abortion. And again the technocrats on the left are freaked. Well,
what did you expect? You applauded the Clinton FDA's politically
motivated ban on breast implants as a sop to NOW and the trial
establishing the FDA, it was you on the left that established the
principal, contradictory to the left's own stand on abortion, that the
government does indeed trump the individual on decision making for
their own body (other thoughts here).
Again we hear the lament that the game was great until these
conservative yahoos took over. No, it wasn't. It was unjust to scheme
to control other people's lives, and just plain stupid to expect that
the machinery of control you created would never fall into your
political enemy's hands.
Well, it turns out that Milton Friedman said it better decades ago. Megan Mcardle reminded me of this passage from Free to Choose:
The error of believing that the behavior of the social organism can be
shaped at will is widespread. It is the fundamental error of most
so-called reformers. It explains why they so often feel that the fault
lies in the man, not the "system"; that the way to solve problems is to
"turn the rascals out" and put well-meaning people in charge. It
explains why their reforms, when ostensibly achieved, so often go