Sunday, May 29, 2005

Understanding the Party

Over at Gods of the Copybook Headings, Publius narrates the increasingly unfortunate history of the Liberal Party from George Brown and Wilfred Laurier to Paul Martin.

The historic divisions of language and religion had helped make Canadian politics among the least intellectual in the western world. Rather than confronting the grander issues of capitalism vs. socialism, detente vs. confrontation with the USSR, and other more technical public policy concerns, Canadian politics was dominated more by the need to balance off regional interests.

By replacing these regional, religious and linguistic conflicts with a battle of ideas over the future of the country Trudeau hoped to help unify Canada as well as improve the quality of public debate and policy making. Sadly, Trudeau the philosopher-king believed this sweeping transformation could be accomplished by white-paper, legislation and vague but pleasant sounding rhetoric. That it is inherently impossible to plan an economy - Mises' famous quip about planned chaos captures the futility of the attempt - should have been a warning to anyone attempting to plan something as complex and ineffable as private social relations and attitudes. The damage of a planned economy can be undone with comparative ease as it impacts at a basic level only man's material actions and desires. The damage of a planned society is far more insidious.
Read the rest here…