Which wouldn't be an issue if the consequences were possible, or if we had sufficient information to bring them about, or if life didn't involve tradeoffs.
No worries! The left's fatal conceit knocks down all three in a single stroke.
In short, liberals don't like the idea that the dispersed, local, and tacit knowledge in a spontaneous order far exceeds what is available to any centralized regulocracy. They don't know that in principle, what we can never know dwarfs what little we can know at any given time.
So there's that.
Ever notice that inequality exists? I have. So what? Since liberty and equality vary inversely, absence of equality shouldn't be surprising in, of all places, the freest nation in history.
But since liberty is an "absence," they don't notice, much less value, it. Rather, they simply fill that space with envy, or resentment, or auto-victimization, or some other malevolent psychic presence.
"How," asks Conquest, "is equality to be attained?"
How else? By robbery, only legalized and entrusted to third parties. But doesn't this create a permanent class of unequal robbers? Yes, but four bureaucratic legs good, two free market legs bad.
Here's a whole book devoted to this sorry subject, American Contempt for Liberty. A note to myself says "prosperity foregone is invisible" -- as invisible as freedom forgone, the one following from the other.
As we've been saying, what animates the left is the truism that "capitalism fails miserably when compared to heaven or utopia." But give the left credit: their vision is idealistic. It's only the outcome that's tragic. Conversely, the classical liberal conservative has a tragic vision. It's only the outcomes that are ideal.
"Prior to capitalism" -- and after, as it so happens -- "the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering, and enslaving their fellow man." But with the rise of capitalism, "it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing one's fellow man" (Williams).
Harry Reid and Barack Obama have become wealthy men in the process of displeasing me and millions of others. In turn, they are at war with those corporations that bring me nothing but pleasure, prosperity, and a long life, e.g., oil companies. "There are literally thousands of examples, such as wonder drugs, vacuum cleaners, and refrigerators, of how the common man's life has been made better by those in pursuit of profits" (ibid.).
And what has been given to us by those in pursuit of equality? Again, a permanent bureaucratic class of unequals that promised to end poverty in a generation. Two or three generations later, the poverty level is identical, but the bureaucrats are happy, and the left is pleased to have this permanent class of venal Democrat supporters.
To paraphrase Williams, unlike capitalism, government is a way to pursue self-interest without causing a good outcome. Call it the invisible hand of inefficiency.
We're getting far afield. Back to Conquest. For the revolutionary, it is "in the nature of things that dictatorship and terror are needed if the good of humanity is to be served." Conquest cites the analogy of Aztec priests, who were needed to rip the hearts out of living persons in order to prevent the sun from going out.
Remember this next time the Democrat priesthood howls about what will occur of there is a Government Shutdown! For that matter, think of the billions of dollars funneled to the climate priesthood on pain of being incinerated by the sun god.
I remember in the 1980s, how the world-class assoul Tip O'Neill called Reagan a cold and evil man with "ice water in his blood," and who had no concern for working Americans. Yes, only 20 million jobs created during his tenure in office. In contrast, Obama, who loves the working man, has the lowest workforce participation in history.
O'Neill was a hateful man, but like all leftists, cloaked the hatred behind an idealistic Luv for the Little Guy. "Like all paranoiacs, revolutionists legitimized hatred, which they practiced effectively. They claimed to legitimize it in the interests of humanity..."
A Karl Marx was a thinker and a writer, but only on the surface. Like Hitler, he was primarily a hater, and everything else follows from that.
Conquest cites Dostoyevsky, who wrote of how "'causes' are attractive... because they provide an excuse for behaving badly." As in war, the restraints of the superego are lifted, such that the most primitive impulses are unleashed and legitimized.
Here is a quote from Norman Cohn, written some 35 years before the rise of the Obama cult:
"There exists a subterranean world, where pathological fantasies disguised as ideas are churned out by crooks and half-educated fanatics for the benefit of the ignorant and superstitious. There are times when that underworld emerges from the depths and suddenly fascinates, captures, and dominates multitudes..."
But exactly what "is the mental material into which they insert their ideas, like certain wasps into certain grubs?"
Those of us who were immune to Obama's charm can't answer that question. Rather, only a recovered ideolater could explain what the hell happened to his grubby psyche. But in any event, "intelligence alone is... far from being a defense against the plague," for where would Obama be without the state-academic complex and the MSMistry of Truth?
Let's try to end this post on an optimistic gnote by shifting over to Barron. Surely there must be some good news.
In chapter two, he explains how much we can learn from atheists and other crackpots. For example, they precisely "clarify what the true God is not," and therefore "expose and implicitly undermine new forms of idolatry."
By extension, the left never stops teaching us what is not real, what is not true, and what is not worthy of our respect and reverence.
In reality, we cannot "know" God per se; rather, we can only know a relationship, for "The human being is a relationship to the God who is continually making and shaping him; essential to the good life is an acceptance of this state of affairs," because your life cannot possibly be good if it is not conformed to the true.