David Harsanyi

As The American Spectator reported in 2008, in a speech celebrating the anniversary of the U.K.'s National Health Service, Berwick asserted not only that the socialized systems were excellent but also -- and you might have believed he was talking about Gandhi or, at least, Angelina Jolie -- that they were "generous, hopeful, confident, joyous, and just."

Britain's rationing probably doesn't seem exceptionally "joyous" for many of that nation's elderly (the evidence is not pretty) or "generous" to those who pay a disproportionate amount of the tab. Yet Berwick's most revealing assertion was that he does not "believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do."

Health care choice is too complicated for you. When you're buying your kid medicine, for instance, you're woefully oblivious to the "proper configurations of the system" as a whole. This is a problem. You're not thinking about the group, my friend.

And seeing as Americans wrestle with an array of intricate societal systems -- from energy, education, technology, food, farming, communications, finance and so forth -- we're going to need strong leadership in a number of areas, apparently.

It seems that the negative externalities of our freewheeling ways have become too much for some of the enlightened to bear. Progressivism is the belief that we have too much freedom with which to make too many stupid choices.

But rarely do we see it this bluntly articulated.


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.