Gary North often wrote that the prevailing faith in Western societies nowadays is in “salvation through politics” or “salvation through the state”.
Nearly 30 years ago, economist Thomas Sowell laid out in his book “The Vision of the Anointed” how this falsehood works in practice. Wikipedia has an entry about that book. It says that in it, Sowell “brands the anointed as promoters of a worldview concocted out of fantasy impervious to any real-world considerations.”
First, he explains who the “anointed” are: The elites in leading media, universities, law and politics. One could add nowadays: in entertainment. These people believe they know better than most what needs to be done. And thus think themselves entitled to use government force to get these things done.
If an assertion is made that fits the ideas and vision of these people, they demand no evidence. They simply assume it is true and use their many and powerful channels to plant this assertion in the public’s mind.
Regarding the implementation by these people of measures to fight a perceived societal ills Sowell outlines a four-stage pattern – which we could see very clearly in action during the Covid crisis.
1. Crisis: We’re hyped to believe that something is a terrible crisis for which Something Must Be Done. Very often, the thing we are told is causing a crisis has been “getting better for years on end”. But that gets ignored.
2. A solution for this supposed crisis is suggested. The protagonists say: This will lead to beneficial results A. Critics disagree and say it will lead to detrimental results Z.
3. The suggested solution is implemented and almost immediately we get detrimental results Z.
4. Denial phase: The protagonists of the enacted measures deny that they caused Z. Because, they say, there are many factors, there’s complexities, it’s simplistic to blame it on this.
This is what we will see down the line once the media thinks it is safe to no longer suppress the evidence that lockdowns, masks and vaccines did much more harm than good.
This is what we will hear now that “saving the climate” and “supporting Ukraine” is leading to poverty and destitution.
This is what we have been hearing when discussing soaring crime rates.
And so on.
Economists tend to see through this because they are trained to think in terms of cost-benefit analysis and what is called “opportunity cost”: The cost of any action/decision is that it closes the door to other opportunities. What are they, and can we afford to lose them?
Our current elites don’t like that sort of thinking because it questions their beliefs.
Asked whether these people just don’t think their solutions might be detrimental, Sowell says there’s more to it: The solutions always gives these people more power and influence.
That is also something we see time and time again.