It’s actually much worse than that. As Steven Malanga argues, Obama is really beholden to social science and enraptured by the supposed capacities of "experts" to perfect the defects and injustices of capitalism (which is just another way to say that Obama and Co. believe that science can improve humanity). Malanga’s bracing column argues that we are slouching back toward an old-fashioned kind of 19th century corporatism--updated, of course, with a cool makeover for the 21st century--but still, for all the talk of freshness, it remains an idea that’s older than dirt. Its being old does not make it wrong, of course. But it has been tried; many times. So we can get a pretty good idea from history about how this is likely to go down.
Corporatism, says Malanga, "seeks to substitute the wisdom of the few for the hundreds of millions of individual actions and transactions of the many that set the direction of the economy from the bottom up." It’s heavy on the declaring, in other words, and light on the independence. Individuals have to be prodded along to make the right decisions because, as we know from Obama’s own lips, most people are too flawed--clinging as they are to their false choices (not to mention their guns and God)--to make wise choices for themselves. Even if Smith and Jones might make tolerably good choices about how best to provide their families with health coverage, to take one example, surely there is someone among Obama’s smart friends who is wiser and can choose better than those two rubes.
Another notion of corporatism, according to Malanga, is that "elite groups of individuals molded together into committees or public-private boards can guide society and coordinate the economy from the top [d]own and manage change by evolution, not revolution." (emphasis added) So as our independence is eroded, it will be managed in a way calculated to keep us insulated from the uncomfortable pressures of what might otherwise be a revolution and--though unspoken, one must surely see it--the temptation to overthrow the overseers or reinvigorate the principles of our original Revolution. But I say that if Malanga is right, it’s time to ring the bells. The Social Scientists are coming!