Central Planning Fails Just as Much When Conservatives Are the Planners

It’s a popular narrative on the Left at the moment to say that members of the Right have an unhealthy disdain for “experts.” Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell is a notable critic on the matter, but the view here is that her criticism misses the mark. Reasonable members of the Right don’t loathe experts as much as they dislike central control.

Reducing all of this to the absurd, let’s imagine for fun that the smartest individual in the United States is none other than our President, Joe Biden. In a nation populated by geniuses, Biden sitting at the top in terms of intelligence wouldn’t alter a simple truth frequently ignored by the expert reverent: there’s arguably not a fraction yet conceived that could properly convey how small Biden’s knowledge would be relative to the collective knowledge of the American people.

All of which hopefully explains why markets always and everywhere beat central planning. It’s not that there aren’t smart and realistically brilliant people in high positions of government. There certainly are. But the combined knowledge of the revolting masses is much greater.

That’s why readers reasonably have a fool-proof way of detecting future trouble. It’s when those in power promise a crisis if they’re not allowed to do something in response. “Do something” is another way of saying “central planning by experts” will substitute for freedom. When government intervenes, limited knowledge pushes aside abundant knowledge, with predictable results. The “crisis” is always and everywhere born of the taking of freedom. It’s the intervention.

No doubt there are conservatives somewhere in the world reading what’s just been written, and agreeing. After all, Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom was nothing if not a call for freedom. Markets are wise because they’re a consequence of infinite decisions made every millisecond by thousands, millions, and billions of people. The problem is that conservatives are increasingly the planners.

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