... often analysis seems to be based on the assumption that future economic output is almost entirely determined by inexorable economic forces independently of government policy so that devoting more resources to one use inevitably detracts from availability for another.
Liberals love to say things like, "We're just asking everyone to pay their fair share." But government is not about asking. It is about telling. The difference is fundamental. It is the difference between making love and being raped, between working for a living and being a slave. The Internal Revenue service is not asking anybody to do anything. It confiscates your assets and puts you behind bars if you don't pay.
Populism is the simple premise that markets need to be restrained by society and by a democratic political system. We are not socialists or communists, we are proponents of regulated capitalism and, I might add, people who have read American history.
But the stupidity which is common to all such "explanations" is, of course, simply that of proceeding as though the merits of a theory - such things as truth, or probability, or explanatory power - could not possibly be among the reasons for its currency.
The Conspiracy Theory of Society... [is] a typical result of the secularization of a religious superstition. The belief in the Homeric gods whose conspiracies explain the history of the Trojan War is gone. The gods are abandoned. But their place is filled by powerful men or groups - sinister pressure groups whose wickedness is responsible for all the evils we suffer from - such as the Learned Elders of Zion, or the monopolists, or the capitalists, or the imperialists.