Sunday, May 27, 2012

Isn't planning in itself a form of tyranny?

Yes. Planning is tyranny.

At some point during the closing of World War II, Max Lerner penned an essay titled "To Halt in this Land" in which he asks that very question, and here is how he answers it:(Page 150)

The third question may be: "Isn't all this tyrannical? Isn't planning in itself a form of tyranny?" I don't think so. We have been planning our war economy without tyranny. There were many who said before 1941 that if America entered the war against fascism it would itself become fascist in the process, that in a war for freedom we would lose our own freedom. We have neither lost our freedom nor become fascist. Planning is a neutral instrument, like an airplane. It can be used for purposes of destruction, or democratic survival.

I couldn't read the full essay, parts of it were blocked by Google. But here are some general observations:

Planning is indeed a form of tyranny, when applied by a government to it's own citizens. Hayek's book "The Road to Serfdom" could(theoretically) be summarized down to one single word, and that word would be planning, in the context of what it is that forces civil society to spiral down the rathole.(The word "planning" appears well over 100 times in "Road")

Considering Hayek, in looking at the table of contents of this book "The Return to Freedom", it strikes me that the second essay in the book is written by Carl L Becker, someone who is mentioned in The Road to Serfdom. See page 174, read that page if you have the book. Planning is indeed a form of tyranny - "planned freedom" is the most poisonous type of oxymoron, as it seeks to confuse people who know well enough that they don't want to be a slave to a tyrant, but doesn't yet realize that a liar stands before them selling them a bill of goods.

Reagan addressed this very concept as well:

"The full power of centralized government"—this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose.

This is the difference between planning in theory, and planning in practice. Governments necessarily have to use force and coercion in order to implement their schemes, and moreover:

For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan.

This right here is what makes it tyrannical, all things can be tested in reality, and when we test the theory of planning vs the practice of planning, planners treat individuals very, very poorly. Because when governments have usurped that much power over the people they govern, they don't stop ruining peoples lives. If the plan fails, the planners keep finding an excuses and devise new schemes in what becomes one big never-ending destructive path - The Road to Serfdom.


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