Mugged by observation

David Mamet belatedly wakes up to the fact that giving people a monopoly on force and the power to tax does not make them inherently good:

What about the role of government? Well, in the abstract, coming from my time and background, I thought it was a rather good thing, but tallying up the ledger in those things which affect me and in those things I observe, I am hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow.

Liberalism, in the American sense, is little more than a failure to pay attention to history, human nature, and what is going on around you. It requires an astounding degree of obtuseness to look upon the past and present actions of government and conclude that government action is likely to improve any situation. Sadly, much of what passes for current “conservative” thought suffers from the same observational failure.