Here is a message I sent to Daniel Henninger of the WSJ on December 13, 2011, when I got exasperated with the ubiquity of the impression that Newt Gingrich is a Conservative. Newt Gingrich is merely a central-planner who shoots for outcomes that Conservatives prefer.
Newt has always given off vibes that he is a closet central-planner, but his gratuitous assault on venture capitalists (via his populist riff on Romney) seals the deal. The ‘right-wing social engineering’ business gave us fair warning, but it is now clear that Gingrich’s conservative reputation was built almost entirely upon a couple of key elements of The Contract – e.g., balanced budget, welfare reform – and that the essence of Newtonian politics is micromanagement: trust Newt to come up with a Rube Goldberg (i.e., governmental) solution to every problem, because he is really really smart. If that isn’t a working definition of a central planner, as distinct from a believer in free markets and liberal democracy, I don’t know (and I doubt Hayek would know) what is.
Posted @ mecmoss.com 10 Feb 2012