It is not difficult to see what must be the consequence when democracy embarks on a course of planning which in its execution requires more agreement than in fact exists. The people may have agreed on adopting a system of directed economy because they have been convinced that it will produce great prosperity. In the discussions leading to the decision, the goal of planning will have been described by some such term as “common welfare,” which only conceals the absence of real agreement on the ends of planning . Agreement will in fact exist only on the mechanism to be used. But it is a mechanism which can be used only for a common end; and the question of the precise goal toward which all activity is to be directed will arise as soon as the executive plan has to translate the demand for a single plan into a particular plan. Then it will appear that the agreement on the desirability of planning is not supported by agreement on the ends the plan is to serve. The effect of the people’s agreeing that there must be central planning, without agreeing on the ends, will be to rather as if a group of people were to commit themselves to take a journey together without agreeing on where they want to go; with the result that they may all have to make a journey which most of them do not want at all.
From chapter 5, “Planning and Democracy” from The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek. Originally written in 1944. This may be the best explanation for the recent political reversal and the revolt against the health care bill. The President presumed an agreement on the ends which rarely occurs in a free society.