writes in today's Wall Street Journal: "As someone who worked inside a White House, I say you really believe
government should be small when you see your friends running it." What a great line. The whole article is worth a read, but I'd also offer a quibble. Where McGurn says, "[C]onservatives believe that even our smartest friend is no match for the collective wisdom of the marketplace," I would scratch the notion that the market is, in fact, wise.
It seems to me that this is one area where conservatives tend to get in trouble with liberals and even with non-ideological normal people who, quite sensibly, long for good government as opposed to chaos. Conservatives should give it up. There is no special "wisdom" in the marketplace--but there is, perhaps, more justice. And this is where we need to make our stand. In the first place, the "chaos" that the market produces cannot be distinguished from the "chaos" produced by modern-day wise men--except in the relative justice of it. We are bound to have some measure of chaos in government and in markets. Perfect justice is impossible. So the question is not whether we will
have chaos or whether or not some people will end up getting the shaft, but who or what should be controlling that inevitability. Do we trust that the intentions of our would-be Magi are more selfless and pure than chance? Or are we wise enough to recognize that they are every bit as flawed as our own friends would be if they were controlling it?
UPDATE: Wheat and Wheeds
makes an important amendment to my points above in noting that one big reason people tend to distrust what we call "free markets" today is that so few of these markets actually are free. Government intervention, in the form of over-regulation and cronyism, has undermined the freedom of too many markets and it (along with nascent class envy) has contributed to the cynicism about them . . . which is, of course, convenient for those who want argue that markets are inherently unjust. But that IS the way of the Left: take power, create a problem, complain about the problem you've created, promise that THIS time you will fix it, take more power, make the problem worse . . . and so on. Just look at health care.