John Stossel

"What Hayek is talking about is that we have to have a constrained vision of the universe. The unconstrained vision, the liberal vision, is that everything can be done, everything is accomplishable," he said. "We don't have the knowledge. ... There is only so much that government can do. ... It would be nice if giving all of our money to the government could cure poverty. Maybe, but giving money to the government causes slavery."

For Hayek, the "fatal conceit" is the premise that politicians and bureaucrats can make the world better -- not by leaving people free to coordinate their private individual plans in the marketplace -- but by overall social and economic planning.

Imagine trying to plan an economy, Mamet said, when we barely know enough to raise our kids. "(T)he guy in government can't know everything."

As you can imagine, when Mamet went public, he bewildered many of his showbiz peers. A Los Angeles Times critic called his book "a children's crusade with no understanding of real politics." The Nation called Mamet a "great playwright, (but a) moronic political observer."

Mamet said to his wife: 'Isn't it funny? ... The New York Times, the supposed newspaper of record that has been reviewing my plays for 40 years, isn't even going to review this book.'

"She says: 'Dave, grow up. The purpose of all newspapers is political."

Maybe the Times thinks it's insignificant that a celebrated cultural "liberal" now questions his faith in the supposed healing power of government. But as we sit mired in this endless jobless "recovery," with the wreckage of government failure all around, we should ask ourselves which one is out of touch with reality.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate