Perhaps no term is more banal, yet more terrifying, than “public policy.” It conjures up images of DC think tanks and bureaucrats, a land where intellectualism serves as cover for a stultifying grind of new regulations. It also puts the American public to sleep, as evidenced by a decided lack of “policy” discussion in the 2016 presidential campaign.
To seek to organize society is just as crazy as it would be to tear a living plant to bits in order to make a new one out of the dead parts.
Mises’s enduring quote from Socialism, written in 1922, neatly encapsulates the evil behind the concept of public policy. The public is an abstraction, consisting only of the aggregated actions of individuals. No person or group is fit to decide what policies should apply to each individual. Just as housing policy, energy policy, agricultural policy, and the like are all bunk, the summation of various issues into an overarching public policy approach is bunk.
Simply put, nobody should be making policies for your life.
That’s why the Mises Institute stands against the public policy industry and its careerists. DC think tanks like to create the impression that they’re influencing “policy makers,” which is largely untrue. But even if it were true, it’s an enormous tactical and moral mistake to cede authority to that state by adopting its language and its premises. It’s an incremental road to hell.
It is actually amazing if one thinks of it. All economics training is mostly around markets, markets and more markets. But then how quickly most top economists look to become policymakers and look to manipulate the same…