That people should wish to be relieved of the bitter choice which hard facts often impose upon them is not surprising. But few want to be relieved through having the choice made for them by others. People just wish that the choice should not be necessary at all. And they are only too ready to believe that the choice is not really necessary, that it is imposed upon them merely by the particular economic system under which we live. What they resent is, in truth, that there is an economic problem.
In is their wishful belief that there is really no longer an economic problem people have been confirmed by irresponsible talk about “potential plenty” – which, if it were a fact, would indeed mean that there is no economic problem which makes the choice inevitable. But although this snare has served socialism propaganda under various names as long as socialism has existed, it is still as palpably untrue as it was when it was first used over a hundred years ago. In all this time not one of the many people who have used it has produced a workable plan of how production can be increased so as to abolish even in western Europe what we regard as poverty- not to speak of the world as a whole.
From The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek. Originally written in 1944.
The fallacy of the government believing it has a better solution is that they would have us believe that a hard choice does not have to be made. We want to fight wars on the cheap and promise benefits without paying for them. The leader we need will speak clearly of the decisions, directly of the costs involved and be willing to stand up to the special interests that are committed only to ignoring the hard choices ahead.